Six animal activists defend actions during turkey raid

MANTI Utah (ABC4 Utah) – Animal activists are claiming it was a rescue operation and not a crime.

The six members of Direct Action Everywhere are facing burglary and theft charges related to a raid at a Norbest turkey farm in Sanpete County last year. 

The six, Wayne Hsiuing, Paul Picklesimer, Samer Masterson, Andrew Sharo, Diane Gandee Sorbi and Jonathan Embonmayer are all from California and are facing third degree felony charges.

The six appeared before a judge for an initial appearance in Sanpete County court. 

They claimed it was a rescue rather than a break-in and don’t believe a crime was committed.

 “We see animals being cannibalized,” said member Diane Gandee Sorbi.  “They were rotting to death.  Many were on the throes of death. It's a very painful thing to witness. We are going to do everything we can to alleviate their suffering and get them help.” 

The group appeared with their attorney and was officially charged.  They were ordered to return in August for another scheduled hearing.

“I’m shocked by these charges,” said Gandee Sorbi.   “I believe the people of Utah will choose compassion over animal cruelty.”

When the group first released findings of their investigation last year, Norbest Turkey farms issued a statement.  The company said they were concerned over what they saw on the video Direct Action Everywhere released.  In their statement they said a contractor was raising the turkeys in question.  But they claimed an in-house review had already pinpointed the conditions of the animals and were taking steps to prevent further problems.

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