Discover more from The Simple Heart
What I learned in the Sonoma preliminary hearing
The fight for the right to rescue is just beginning
NOTE: I’m writing every day in memory of Lisa, who died on October 13. Not all of these posts will be sent out by email, and some I may write from jail/prison, as I go to trial on November 29. So if you want to follow this journey, visit the blog every day. I’ll try to post by 10 am each day, but occasionally, I’m sure a post will be late.
It’s been a long few days. Preliminary hearings that were scheduled for 3 days are now going for at least 2 more days, scheduled for early December. I’ve been burning the midnight oil every night, to try to get all my meetings and tasks done. And this blog, and therefore my promise to Lisa, have suffered. But finding even one hour to write has been hard. So bear with me a few more days, as I offer truncated musings due to the commitments I have to preparing for trial.
I thought the most interesting thing for me to share, for now, are things I learned from the last few days, i.e., our preliminary hearing.
First, our arguments are incredibly strong, once we get the chance to present them. This is most true of our central argument — that animals are living creatures with rights, not things for a corporation to use and abuse. Even Farm Bureau executive director Tawny Tesconi, who attended the hearings, agreed with this! We just need more opportunities to bring that argument in court. But even on the details — the health of the animals we removed, the truthfulness of the advertising — our arguments were very strong, and swayed everyone in the courtroom (including, at times, the judge).
Second, our grassroots support is so much stronger than the industry’s. The Farm Bureau and our other critics in Sonoma County have repeatedly argued that we are outsiders who know nothing about the county or its farms. Yet, even counting only Sonoma County residents, our grassroots support was much stronger than the industry’s. They had only 3-4 people on days 1 and 2, and only 1 on day 3. And those folks all appeared to be associated with (paid by?) the Farm Bureau, which is one of the largest beneficiaries of Big Ag largesse. This should make us more optimistic about change, even in farm counties.
Third, having great lawyers makes a huge difference. All of our lawyers did an extraordinary job. But my personal attorney, Izaak Schwaiger, did an incredible job of getting the industry witnesses to admit things that will be damaging to their case. Among other things, the industry witnesses conceded that a sick or spent hen has no value; that the companies have been lying about the condition the animals are raised in; and that, despite their hyperbolic claims about biosecurity risk, they were doing relatively little to protect the animals themselves.
Much more to say, but I’m exhausted and have a lot of other work to get to. Thanks for reading, and thanks to everyone who came out to support us in Sonoma.