ANIMAL-RIGHTS ACTIVIST WHO FILMED EGG FARM ACQUITTED OF BURGLARY
- We, here in Rochester are thrilled with the verdict! What a coup
for all activists and a blow to Battery Egg Businesses!!
Rochester, N.Y. An animal-rights activist who sneaked into an egg
factory to videotape multitudes of egg-laying chickens clumped
together in small wire cages was acquitted Thursday on felony
burglary charges but convicted of criminal trespassing, a
Adam Durand, 26, denied on the stand that he broke into the egg farm
during three nighttime visits in 2004 he said he climbed in
through a hole in a building wall and maintained he had no
intention of removing any birds. Fellow activists took away 11
hens "because in every case they were sick or dying and there was
just this feeling that they needed veterinary care," Duran testified
A jury in Wayne County found Durand not guilty of third-degree
burglary, which is punishable by up to seven years in prison, as
well as three counts of petit larceny. Durand freely admitted
entering the building where 700,000 hens produce more than a half-
million eggs a day and was convicted on three counts of criminal
"I think six months would be the maximum sentence in jail, but we
don't expect any jail time," defense lawyer Len Egert said. "It's
just usually not given for a low-level offense like this."
Sentencing was set for May 16.
Two friends who accompanied Durand to the farm operated by Rochester-
based grocery store chain Wegmans in Wolcott, 50 miles east of
Rochester, pleaded guilty to reduced charges of trespassing and
petit larceny, both misdemeanors. The trio were arrested last summer
when Durand, a graphic designer and director of a consumer-advocacy
group called Compassionate Consumers, produced a 27-minute
documentary entitled "Wegmans Cruelty" that was screened at a
Rochester movie house. The film contains footage of hen corpses
lying in cages with other live hens, a few that had fallen into deep
manure pits running the length of the building or others with their
heads apparently caught in the wire.
About 95 percent of the nation's eggs are produced at caged-hen egg
farms, and Durand's group wants to alert the public to a practice it
considers cruel and neglectful.