In the fall of 2017, Glenn Greenwald reported on a nationwide FBI manhunt for two pigs named Lily and Lizzie. The pigs had been removed from a factory farm in Utah by animal rights activists from a group called Direct Action Everywhere. From the perspective of the activists, the pigs were rescued. From the perspective of Smithfield Farms, the Chinese-owned multinational corporation that owns the factory farm, they were stolen.
Direct Action Everywhere, also known as DxE, engages in a practice called “open rescue.” Open rescue involves entering, without authorization, the facilities of animal-based industries, such as farms, slaughterhouses, and puppy mills, documenting the conditions within them, and removing as many animals as possible, usually from among the sick and injured. The activists don’t wear masks and make no effort to conceal their identities; they post the videos on social media for the world to see. By practically inviting prosecution, the activists aim to make a point: that the laws that regard these animals as mere property are wrong and that violating those laws is a moral imperative.
Since Greenwald’s story was published, prosecutors in Utah have charged six DxE activists with multiple felonies, both for the Smithfield action and for a separate open rescue of turkeys at a Utah factory farm owned by Norbest. In Utah, stealing property worth less than $1,500 is generally a misdemeanor. But lawmakers have carved out an exception specifically for the benefit of the animal agriculture industry. If the property in question is an animal “raised for commercial purposes,” then no matter how little economic value that animal may have, the crime is a felony. Because of this exception, DxE activists are potentially facing decades in prison.
Our new documentary tells the rest of the story to date. It’s an alarming example of the power of the animal agriculture industry, the confluence of interests between industry and law enforcement, and the appalling treatment of animals in industrial agricultural production.
» Lees verder
As Turkey braces for a fresh round of US sanctions amid a plummeting lira and what Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan says is “economic warfare” with Washington over the detention of US pastor Andrew Brunson, millions of refugees – primarily from Northern Africa and neighboring Syria, would likely flood into Europe as the Turkish economy collapses according to Newsweek.
Over 3.5 million refugees now live in Turkey after having escaped the brutal conflict that has continued for over seven years in neighboring Syria. At the same time, there are at least half a million refugees from other parts of the Middle East and Northern Africa also living in the transcontinental country.
Many of these migrants settled in the country because of a deal Ankara struck with the European Union in 2016. –Newsweek
“There are 4 million refugees in Turkey. Even though they haven’t integrated into Turkish society, they have benefited from a welcoming government. Erdoğan says he’s spent $20 billion of unbudgeted funds on these people. It’s quite clear these are unbudgeted expenditures he’s been willing to spend. But if you add another million on top of that, who knows,” Bulent Alizira, director of the Turkey program at the Washington, D.C.–based Center for Strategic and International Studies, told Newsweek.
Erdoğan was convinced to bring the European migrant influx under control in exchange for $6.6 billion in assistance, however this may be untenable as the Turkish economy goes deeper into a death-spiral, and another million migrants may cross the border after an impending Russian-backed Syrian government offensive in the jihadist stronghold of Idlib province.
Turkey, meanwhile, has threatened to open the floodgates to Europe in the past – as foreign minister Süleyman Soylu warning that Ankara could send “15,000 refugees to you… each month and blow your mind,” while threatening Brussels into footing the bill for the multi-billion dollar deal.
Such a scenario “could have major political consequences for politicians like German Chancellor Angela Merkel,” whose internal battles within her coalition government have left it in a precarious state after significant pressure to dial back her EU open-border migration policies which began in 2015.
» Lees verder