Direct Action Everywhere’s press release following their coalition rally on Tuesday calling for a moratorium on new factory farms and slaughterhouses in California reads:
JANUARY 12, SACRAMENTO, CA – “I will continue to be dedicated to saying nice things, and not doing anything.”
So said activist Curtis Vollmar, who donned a dapper suit and the signature slicked-back haircut with gray streaks in impersonating the California governor outside the Capitol Tuesday afternoon. Vollmar goaded the dozens in attendance for their demands for substantive change in addressing the public health, environmental and animal welfare concerns related to factory farming.
As seen on Facebook livestream, the stunt was part of a No More Factory Farms rally led by the animal rights network Direct Action Everywhere (DxE), in coalition with a variety of environmental, racial justice and animal rights groups, including Sunrise Movement Bay Area, East Bay Resistance, and Physicians’ Committee for Responsible Medicine. Speakers from various groups spoke at the event before the Newsom impersonator took over the podium.
DxE made national headlines with another creative stunt last month, when they fooled Fox Business’ Maria Bartiromo into believing an activist was Smithfield Foods CEO Dennis Organ. The imposter went on to make damaging claims about Smithfield, interlaced with corporate-speak which permitted the ruse to go on for the entire six-minute segment.
Tuesday’s action was the latest escalation of the No More Factory Farms campaign, which calls on Governor Newsom to issue an executive order prohibiting the construction of new factory farms and slaughterhouses statewide. In October, a DxE protest at the California state capitol led to 19 arrests, including Vollmar.
DxE says animal agriculture poses a dire threat to public health by spreading the current pandemic, as well as enabling the emergence of future pandemics due to filthy conditions inside factory farms. They also cite animal cruelty concerns and the industry’s contribution to climate change. They want Governor Newsom to issue an executive order moratorium prohibiting the construction of new factory farms and slaughterhouses in the state. They note a similar Cory Booker proposal as an indication of both the urgency and public support for bold policy, as well as a recent survey finding 68% support among Californians. They see such a move as a necessary first step toward an animal bill of rights they call Rose’s Law.
DxE says the public opposes abuses to workers, animals, the environment and public health, but they are denied truthful information by a political system rigged in favor of powerful industries and corporations. Activists say they accept the consequences that may come with fighting for change.
“As we approach the hopeful end of the Covid-19 pandemic, the same dangerous system of animal agriculture continues unchecked, ready to unleash the next deadly virus at any moment.” said Vollmar. “We need immediate action to end this industry, and a moratorium on the construction of new factory farms and slaughterhouses is a significant first step.”