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I am in jail. And I'm grateful.
My words to the court after conviction.
I want to thank the court, the prosecutor, the jury, and everyone in this case — including the farm owners — for their words and efforts over the last two months. I have believed for the last 20 years that it is crucial for us to discuss the issues we discussed in a court of law. And you gave me, and the animals I represent, a chance to do that. I have immense gratitude for that.
I want to also apologize for any word that caused offense, any failures on my part to live up to the high standards of nonviolence (in both my actions and my heart), and in any disruption or disturbance that resulted from the things I’ve done. In this courtroom or beyond.
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But what I cannot apologize for is defending animals from being caged, cannibalized, and left to starve to death on the floor of a factory farm. What we have done to these gentle creatures on this earth is, in both scale and severity, the greatest source of terror and suffering in the history of our species. And I do not regret or apologize for my efforts — our efforts — to combat this grave injustice.
Over the last 20 years, the corporations who profit from the torture of animals have used shadow and subterfuge to deceive millions of Americans. They do not know that their certified humane eggs were produced in an industrial factory farm, where not a single animal ever sees the sun or sky.
Over the last 7 years, our government, which is intended to serve the will of the people, and not the will of powerful corporations, has ignored the most popular ballot initiative in California history, Proposition 2, and failed to bring a single enforcement action to protect tens of millions of animals who remain trapped in cages. Our voters do not know that their democracy is being threatened by corporate influence and corruption.
And for the last 100 years, since Upton Sinclair wrote The Jungle after visiting the Chicago stockyards, something dark has been happening in factory farms and slaughterhouses. And it is happening at this very moment. A little bird is collapsed on the floor of her cage, just minutes from where we stand. She is scared and too weak to stand. She cannot reach food and water, and she is slowly starving to death. She needs our help.
I do not regret or apologize for my actions because that little bird needed help, as do so many others.
I did not carry any animals to sanctuary, on May 29, 2018, or June 3, 2019. But I am proud of every person who did. As I said in my closing, giving aid to those who need help is not the worst in us. It’s the best in us. I believe, when we all begin listening to our hearts, the world will see this, too.
It is part of the traditions of my ancestors, both the Buddhist masters who taught my family for generations, and the modern teachers of nonviolence, like Dr. King and Gandhi, to accept punishment with peace in our hearts. I am a deeply imperfect person, and have much to learn from these teachers. But I will strive to do that today. Thank you.