Utah Takes A Stand Against Animal Extremist Crimes

By Jaclyn Krymowski for Protect The Harvest

Utah Lawmakers Are Taking a Stand Against Animal Extremist Crimes

Lawmakers in Utah are stepping up to prevent animal extremists like Wayne Hsuing and Paul Picklesimer from committing further crimes in their state after a jury acquitted charges against them for trespassing and theft.

In October 2022, there was a trial against DxE (Direct Action Everywhere) extremists who had trespassed and stolen animals from the Smithfield Foods Circle Four Farm. During the trial the jury acquitted the two men charged using the argument that the piglets they stole were “sick and had no value.”

The Theft Defense Amendment

The proposed Utah House Bill 114 Theft Defense Amendment would make it so a defendant cannot claim animals being “sick, injured, or a liability to the owner” as a defensible reason for theft and therefore be dismissed. Needless to say, DxE was less than impressed. One of the group’s lead organizers claimed such a bill “enables animal abuse.”

The bill passed in the Utah House on January 27th with a 65-4 vote and in the Senate on February 6th with a 19-7 vote. It now sits on Gov. Spencer Cox’s desk for further action.

According to the St. George News, “The floor of the Senate at the State Capitol in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Cedar City-based Sen. Evan Vickers, who was the Senate floor sponsor of the House bill, said the bill wasn’t meant to take revenge on the jury or the defendants in the trial.”

In reality, this amendment is simply holding all extremists to the same law as everyone else and defends the rights of personal property. It is a clear line against the claims of “open rescue” facade that groups like DxE, the Animal Liberation Front, and others have used to justify their criminal behaviors.

Animal and environmental extremist groups are becoming more emboldened and are seemingly getting away with their activities and crimes. This is causing lawmakers to look further into legislation that upholds basic rights and expected conduct. It is absolutely essential for the future of animal agriculture to hold extremists involved in criminal activities responsible.

No Regard for the Law

The extreme acts of DxE and their need to cause chaos for animal agriculture – including farmers, employees, and stakeholders – are widely evident. They are exposing farms to dangerous pathogens which can jeopardize our food system and animal welfare by violating biosecurity protocols.

Not only has the group demonstrated that they have no regard for the law, but they are unashamedly using the media as a platform to convey their message and grow their membership. It is even more concerning that Hsuing is himself a lawyer and has cited numerous times that he does not believe he is in violation of the law or doing anything immoral by his actions.

Media Culpability

We previously discussed how Harper’s Magazine was among numerous media outlets functioning as a biased shill for the agenda of animal and environmental extremism. These groups have also gained much exposure via Vice Media, Facebook, YouTube and other extremist-run platforms.

By publishing Op-eds by biased authors, nearly all of these platforms have encouraged and promoted the action of DxE’s crimes such as theft, breaking and entering, obstructing traffic, etc. to gain more support among the public.

Unfortunately, the media is already twisting the intent of the bill. One Salt Lake City news outlet claimed that the bill, “…would remove defense in animal welfare cases.” The bill has nothing to do with authentic animal welfare, it is all about preventing criminal acts by animal extremists and others against those who have no ties or education with animal husbandry practices and agriculture. This should be apparent when the local extremist group, the Utah Animal Rights Coalition, testified against the bill before it received House approval. Likewise, the bill is supported by the state’s agriculturalists and the state’s Department of Agriculture & Food Commissioner Craig Buttars.

We Can Expect More Extremist Crimes

The thefts in Utah are a case study of an ongoing trend in animal extremist circles. That is, they are pushing their agenda by leveraging media and public support into opposing laws that will criminalize actions and limit the power of farmers and agribusinesses to fight them.

We’ve previously covered Project Counterglow, which is a doxing database along with an interactive map that displays the location of animal enterprises. The website allows anyone to add information and locations for all interested extremist groups, such as DxE, to launch protests and acts of theft.

The Project Counterglow website states its goal is to offer a platform where, “animal rights activists can communicate, collaborate, and network with one another to be as effective as possible in their work towards animal liberation. Whether you want to learn how to lead investigations, use certain investigative equipment or need to network to find sanctuary for a rescued victim of animal ag, we are a one-stop-shop.”

With Project Counterglow up and running, animal extremist groups have a valuable tool in place. These groups are now pushing the limits of the law and how it is upheld.

What You Can Do

Please make sure your representatives are aware of your concerns about the activities of animal extremist groups like DxE. If you believe legislation like Utah HB 114 is an important step in protecting producers and our food security, please make sure your representatives are aware. Lawmakers need to hear our concerns so they can do the job they were elected to do – represent their constituents.

Protect The Harvest will continue to push for “A Free and Fed America” by informing the public of threats to our food security and property rights.


St George Utah news article HERE

Utah HP 114 language HERE

PTH article about media bias HERE and HERE

Information about Project Counterglow HERE

Information about jury trial HERE

Protecting Our Lifestyle and Livelihood information HERE

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