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Animal rights activists found not guilty after rescuing pigs from Utah farm

Two piglets laying on a blanket
Direct Action Everywhere
Two animal rights activists were found not guilty after taking two piglets from a Utah farm and filming the conditions inside.

Two animal rights activists accused of taking two piglets from a Utah farm and recording the conditions inside have been found not guilty in a unanimous jury decision.

Paul Darwin Picklesimer and Wayne Hsiung, the activists in question, reportedly broke into a factory farm near Milford, Utah several years ago. There, they took two piglets from the largest pig farm in the nation, a farm owned by Smithfield Foods. Picklesimer and Hsiung are part of an animal welfare organization named “Direct Action Everywhere.”

According to Picklesimer, he and Hsiung took the pigs and posted a video of the factory to show the world “what’s happening in there,” hoping that it would resonate with people and spark a change. If convicted, they could have each faced up to five years in prison.

On Saturday, the two were acquitted of felony burglary and theft charges. Hsiung represented himself at the trial as a former Northwestern Law University visiting professor, saying that there’s a “big difference between stealing and rescue” in his closing remarks to the jury.

Jared Gereau is pursuing a Journalism major with an emphasis in Social Media at Utah State University. He is planning on using his experience to pursue a career with USU Athletics sometime after he graduates. In his free time, Jared enjoys watching movies, playing games and creating content for his YouTube channel.