Topic: agriculture, animals
Word just came that Adam Durand, one of the brave young folks who went into the Wegmans egg farm in Wolcott to film the industrial-strength abuse of some 700,000 laying hens there, has been sentenced to six months in the Wayne County jail for trespass.
The sentence is way out of line, and hopefully Durand won’t spend the whole time behind bars.
He was very recently found not guilty of several serious charges that the Wayne County DA brought against him – including burglary. These charges were more wildly pumped up than the one of trespass. But the jury apparently understood they were being given bit parts in a corporate show trial, directed by the DA. So they did the right thing and voted to acquit on all but the least serious charge.
Now the Wegmans gang must be crowing; they lost the show trial, but the judge came down hard on Durand, regardless. In the Rochester area, you don’t fool with Mother Unnatural.
Durand and his friends did nothing wrong; they acted morally and affirmatively. When going onto the farm, they didn’t damage property (in fact, they saved some, in the form of ailing hens they rescued). Their purpose was solely to document the horrors of “battery cage” husbandry methods – fowl crammed into tiny spaces, “de-beaked,” exposed to their own feces, kept isolated from earth and sun and prevented from engaging in natural social behavior.
But again, you put at least a chunk of your life and freedom on the line when you embarrass the likes of Wegmans, a company that polishes a squeaky-clean image even as the mountains of manure – chickenshit of the PR variety included – pile up.
My last official dealing with the Wegmans flack-farm occurred a few years ago. I was tracking the company’s plans for expanding the East Avenue store near Winton. It looks like the company is determined to bulldoze some old buildings (one of which is arguably historic) near the present store to make way for a new Big Box (and acres of parking space, too).
Here as elsewhere, the project may take time; even an 800-pound retailer can’t wear down the opposition all at once. But I predict Wegmans will get its way with East Avenue, if it hasn’t already. The corporate voice - a real cockadoodle-doo - sounds as loud in Monroe County as in Wolcott.