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Support Animal Rights Activist Abandoned by Her Own Organization
Direct Action Everywhere reneges on its promise to pay Rachel Ziegler's legal fees
Because I am one of so few women left in the vegan movement willing to speak out about the various abuses we experience, I occasionally hear from others seeking help.
Last week, a heartbreaking story landed in my inbox from Rachel Ziegler. While I do not know Rachel personally nor have I confirmed her account, several colleagues I trust vouch for her heartbreaking story.
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Here is the background, as it appears on Rachel’s fundraising page:
From investigating farms, rescuing animals, and spending days in jail, to leading workshops, photographing protests, and building communities in multiple cities across the US, Rachel Ziegler is a prominent activist who has spent the past 8 years of her life dedicated to the animal rights movement. She has been the face of countless fundraisers and press pieces for Direct Action Everywhere, and has influenced thousands of activists in the process (DxE).
On September 29, 2018, 58 activists were arrested in a mass rescue attempt of chickens from Petaluma Poultry in California. Of those 58, 6 prominent DxE activists were later charged with multiple felonies, including Rachel. After a five-year legal battle, Rachel’s trial is now just two months away, but, at the last minute, DxE went back on their promise and is refusing to pay her lawyer.
Direct Action Everywhere has a long history of employee abuse. Feminist author and activist Carol Adams wrote about their cult-like abuses in 2018.
DxE’s current actions may be in retaliation for Rachel privately speaking to others about her concerns over the abusive culture. If true, it’s disgusting and disheartening for a group to refuse to pay legal fees for their own activists as retaliation for speaking out. It’s no wonder so many are afraid to come forward. The movement is not helping any animals when humans are treated this way.
Making matters worse, it appears that DxE may have interfered with Rachel’s own fundraising efforts. The group Rights for Animal Rights Advocates recently sent out a statement of support for Rachel, saying in part:
We, along with University of Denver Sturm College of Law National Lawyers Guild student chapter, are supporting Rachel Ziegler and other DxE whistleblowers. We believe that DxE members flagged the original GoFundMe, which was fundraising for Rachel's legal costs after her funding was dropped by DxE, effectively shutting down the fundraiser and causing the $3,000 raised in one day to be refunded to those who donated. Additionally, we have heard that DxE has been removing comments by activists who raise concerns on their social media pages, effectively silencing them. Please share Rachel's fundraiser with your networks if you can and keep your communities safe.
I originally donated to Rachel’s GoFundMe, only to have the money returned, which seemed odd. I am glad to see another fundraising page, so please join me in donating to help support Rachel’s legal fees and share the link with your networks.
If you know of similar abuses at this or other vegan / animal welfare organizations or food or biotech companies, feel free to share them with me.
We must break the silence.
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