In September of 2021, Alicia Santurio and Baywatch actor Alexandra Paul rescued Jax and Ethan, two gravely ill chickens, from a transport truck heading for a slaughterhouse owned by Foster Farms. The activists faced misdemeanor charges for petty theft, and this March, they stood before a 12-person jury as part of a nine-day trial, previously unheard of for such charges.
Alexandra and Alicia join us to discuss the rescue and how they ultimately chose to take the case to trial despite being offered five different plea deals. They describe the importance of shining light on the cruelty in animal agriculture through court trials and the “necessity defense” as it relates to animals in the eyes of the law. We also get into Alicia and Alexandra’s thoughts about personhood for animals and how organizations can help promote ethical choices.
*We are thrilled to expand the accessibility of our podcast by offering written transcripts of the interviews! Click here to read Mariann’s interview with Alexandra Paul & Alicia Santurio*
Alicia Santurio is a committed animal rights activist who dedicates herself full-time to the cause. Currently serving as a Fellow with Direct Action Everywhere, she plays a crucial role in the organization as a Paralegal/Legal Aide and Lead Investigator, working closely with the legal team. Before this, Alicia gained valuable animal care experience, which informed her passion for animal welfare.
Alexandra Paul, a well-known actress, political activist, and environmentalist, has been advocating for animal rights for more than three decades. She has been a member of PETA since 1991 and has been actively involved in promoting animal welfare through various campaigns and demonstrations. Alexandra has been arrested multiple times for her involvement in animal rights protests. She is also the cohost of the Switch4Good podcast.
“We need to continue doing grassroots open rescues all over the world, shedding light on what goes on behind closed doors, and challenging these systems in courts.” – Alexandra Paul
“Animals have protections under the law, and that shows that they’re not just things—they are someone.” – Alicia Santurio
Highlights for Episode 693:
- How much planning Alicia and Alexandra put into their recent open rescue
- The distress of chickens being transported, including Ethan and Jax, whom they were able to rescue and nurse
- An overview of the recent trial, including the four defenses presented
- The “value defense” and how it was established that the chickens were of no value to Foster Farms
- How their philosophy of openness and honesty helped their case
- Why Alexandra and Alicia decided to turn down plea deals involving zero jail time and minor penalties
- The importance of having strategies and theories of change as animal activists
- How legal action against animal rights advocates can change attitudes about factory farming
- When ‘The Kitten Lady’ met ‘The Cat Photographer’
- An Eagle Who Adopted a Rock Becomes a Real Dad
- What a Girl’s Goat Teaches Us About Our Food
Connect with Alicia Santurio and Alexandra Paul:
- Alexandra Paul on Facebook
- Alexandra Paul on Instagram
- Alexandra Paul on Twitter
- Alicia Santurio on Twitter
Connect with Our Hen House:
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The Our Hen House theme song is written and performed by Michael Harren.
This episode is brought to you in part through the generosity of A Well-Fed World. A Well-Fed World provides the means for change by empowering individuals, social justice organizations, and political decision makers to embrace the benefits of plant-based foods and farming. Learn more at awfw.org.