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Exposing the Deathstar: Rescue Trial in the Utah Desert (Smithfield Foods case)

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  • Exposing the Deathstar: Rescue Trial in the Utah Desert (Smithfield Foods case)

    SEP 9 AT 7:00 AM – SEP 17 AT 7:00 PM PDT

    Exposing the Deathstar: Rescue Trial in the Utah Desert

    Various locations around Beaver, Utah and Salt Lake City, Utah

    Support the Right to Rescue at trial!
    Please join us for a convergence in Utah during the trial of DxE investigators Wayne Hsiung and Paul Darwin Picklesimer. Wayne and Paul are being prosecuted for investigating the world’s largest “pork” producer, Smithfield Foods, and rescuing 2 sick piglets, Lily and Lizzie. In 2017, they infiltrated a massive Smithfield farm in the Utah desert, a facility that raises 1.3 million pigs for slaughter every year. They filmed the conditions inside in 360 degree virtual reality footage. Their footage, titled "Operation Deathstar," documented row after row of mother pigs crammed inside gestation crates barely bigger than their bodies and piles of dead piglets covered in their mothers' feces. The investigators rescued 2 sick piglets, Lily and Lizzie, and took them to a sanctuary to receive care. Then, they published the whole investigation and rescue online and in the New York Times to show the world the nightmarish cruelty happening inside Smithfield’s farms.

    During this convergence we will fill the courtroom to show support for animal rescue, build community with one another, and take action together to expose Smithfield’s Deathstar to the world.

    More about the case:
    The publicity from DxE’s investigation was a PR disaster for Smithfield, and they retaliated with the force of the US government. The month after "Operation Deathstar" was published, the FBI launched a multi-state pig hunt searching for Lily and Lizzie. A six-car armada of FBI agents in bulletproof vests descended upon multiple animal sanctuaries and even cut off part of one pig's ear to do DNA testing. The following year, the state of Utah filed felony charges for 5 DxE investigators shown in "Operation Deathstar" totaling up to 60 years in prison for each of them. Now, as trial finally approaches, the judge has ruled that "Operation Deathstar" cannot be shown to the jury despite the fact that it is video evidence of the alleged "crime" and shows the defendants' intent. In fact, he ruled to exclude all evidence of “inhumane animal conditions” at Circle Four Farms after the prosecution argued that the footage from Circle Four could arouse horror in the jury, which is exactly why this footage must be seen.

    We need an upswelling of public action to compel the court to side with these brave investigators, not an overseas giant that is destroying our environment, exploiting workers, torturing animals, and subverting our legal system.

    Direct Action Everywhere (DxE) is a grassroots network of animal rights activists. Through open rescue, demonstration, and disruption, we are creating a world where every animal is safe, happy and free.
    DxE cultivates a welcoming and supportive community. We ask that all those who attend our events (online and offline) respect our Code of Conduct which can be reviewed at

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