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The Guardian on the North Carolina Trial
I’m cheating again. But in lieu of blogging today, I’m just going to share an excerpt of The Guardian story on the trial in North Carolina. It’s one of the best things that’s been written about animal rights, in recent years, and shows the power of sacrifice.
“What we’ve seen over the last four years is a dramatic escalation in the number and severity of charges being filed against animal rights activists,” says Hsiung over the phone from North Carolina, days before his expected court verdict. He perceives this as the agricultural lobby’s desperate attempt to keep its practices opaque, in light of the public’s increasing concern for animal welfare and awareness of the environmental impacts of livestock farming.
Should Hsiung be acquitted of charges in his current trial, it could set a legal precedent for the “right to rescue” agricultural livestock. Thirty-one states have right to rescue laws primarily aimed at protecting people from being sued if they break into hot cars to save distressed dogs. Hsiung and other activists want to see more protections provided for those who rescue any animal in distress – not just pets.
But for now he waits for the outcome of the trial, which started on 27 November. Being faced with jail for the first time , Hsiung has begun to muse on howit would feel to be imprisoned.
“There’s days when I feel good about … the possibility of incarceration, because I know this is often what [activists] have to do to get the attention and the political momentum we need,” he says.
But his political mission isn’t the only thing he cares about in life. “Other days I think of my personal life. I’m 40 years old, would like to have kids someday, don’t even have time to date anybody, and would like to spend more time with my dad in his later years,” as well as with his elderly pet cat, he says sadly. “And I’ll have less time if I’m in prison.”
For Rain, at least, the future is not so fraught. After receiving care for the pneumonia he had when rescued, he’s living in a sanctuary. There, at least, says Hsiung, “he’s safe and happy”.