Andrew Beale and Randi Rossman, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Nearly 100 animal welfare protesters were arrested Monday, hours after descending onto a west Petaluma duck farm as part of an organized demonstration, authorities said.
Hundreds of activists with the Direct Action Everywhere animal rights group arrived by the busloads at Reichardt Duck Farm on Middle Two Rock Road around 10 a.m., some chaining themselves together by the neck at the main gate of the property.
Local and state police made a show of force with more than 50 officers, including about three dozen in riot gear, stationed around the property. They arrested 10 demonstrators who walked onto the farm to remove birds, the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office said.
By about 4 p.m., deputies had made 88 more arrests, mostly for trespassing. Wilmar firefighters had to cut the farm’s gate to remove some of the protesters.
The animal rights group came prepared with water, food and music, with the bulk of protesters staying on the property until around 5 p.m.
Cassie King, a group organizer currently facing seven felony charges in Sonoma County related to previous animal-rights protests, said the demonstration was intended to spur Sonoma County authorities to take action against the farm for alleged animal cruelty.
“Whistleblower footage has come forward from this facility (showing) clear animal cruelty,” she said. “Authorities in Sonoma County have ignored those reports, so activists have come together to take matters into their own hands.”