Former Baywatch actress, animal rights activists target Foster Farms plant in California

·3 min read

A former Baywatch actress and a group of animal rights activists descended upon Foster Farms’ Livingston plant on Tuesday, blocking the main entrance to the facility.

Carrying signs that read “No More Factory Farms,” the group, called Direct Action Everywhere, arrived at the plant around 10 a.m.

By 4 p.m. Merced County Sheriff’s Office deputies had made 11 arrests for alleged trespassing and resisting arrest.

The group used a U-Haul truck to block the main entrance of the plant. Some activists chained themselves together on top of the truck, while others lined up on the ground.

“Employees or truck drivers weren’t able to exit or enter the facility,” said Merced County Sheriff’s Deputy Daryl Allen.

“We tried negotiating with them, we tried talking to them peacefully, to have them just get out of the way, ‘Please let the traffic go through.’ They refused to do that so we had to take matters a little further.”

Around 100 protesters total were at the site at the corner of Swan Street and Stefani Avenue.

Members of the group said they were there to protest inhumane treatment of the animals — behavior they say is in violation of state law.

“We’re here to draw attention to the criminal animal cruelty, environmental degradation and worker abuses that have been discovered at Foster Farms facilities,” said Samantha Eachus, who is the press coordinator for Direct Action Everywhere.

“Peaceful activists are putting their bodies on the line to stop the slaughter here today, to ask Governor Newsom to pass a moratorium on the expansion of factory farms and slaughter houses.”

According to Eachus, Direct Action Everywhere had obtained hidden video footage that shows animal cruelty that took place inside the Foster Farms facility in Livingston.

“We have reported that to the district attorney of Merced County and action has not been taken,” Eachus said. “So we’re here to demand action be taken against Foster Farms.”

According to the organization’s Facebook page, former Baywatch actress Alexandra Paul and another activist pulled two chickens from cages on one of the trucks entering the plant.

Meanwhile, others entered the facility and took two chickens from a conveyor belt, according to the group’s Facebook page.

“We’re trying to stop the killing of millions of chickens,” said protester Susana Chavez, from San Leandro. “Hopefully we’re able to keep going as many hours as we are allowed to do it.”

Members of the Merced County Sheriff’s Office, California Highway Patrol and Livingston Police were at the scene, making sure the protest remained peaceful.

“We totally believe in the right to come out here and protest, voice your opinion, say what needs to be said.,” Allen said.

“We are totally good with that. It’s just when you come in and start blocking the facility and not allowing people to come in or out of the facility, that’s when we start having a problem.

Ira Brill, vice president for communications at Foster Farms, said Tuesday’s action by the group did not disrupt business at the facility.

”The Direct Action Everywhere activists are blocking private property and represent a safety hazard to vehicular traffic and our employees,” Brill said.

“We are working with law enforcement to safely resolve the situation.”

The Foster Farms plant in Livingston came under fire in August of 2020 after a major COVID-19 outbreak resulted in 392 employees testing positive for COVID-19 and nine employees who died after contracting the virus.