Former “Baywatch” star Alexandra Paul and another woman went on trial this week in Merced County after taking two chickens from a Foster Farms truck outside a California plant.
The incident, which occurred in September, was captured on video by the animal activist organization Direct Action Everywhere.
The footage shows Paul and Alicia Santurio running towards a semi-truck carrying a trailer full of chickens outside the Foster Farms plant in Livingston. They open a chicken cage and grab two chickens.
A video from animal rights group Direct Action Everywhere appears to show actress Alexandra Paul and Alicia Santurio removing chickens from a truck outside the Foster Farms plant in Livingston, California.
The couple run back to a waiting car as chickens squawk in their arms and ruffle their feathers.
Paul and Santurio were charged with petty theft. Jury selection in his trial began Tuesday.
Paul said the action was an “open rescue” of the chickens from the alleged mistreatment at the plant.
“We posted this video in an hour with my name and Alicia Santurio’s attached to it because we believe that what we are doing is legally and morally right,” Paul said in an interview with The Times.
“We are rescuing sick chickens from a factory farm that has a history of abusing them,” he said.
Paul and Direct Action Everywhere said the chickens taken away were sick and one died shortly after being removed from the truck despite receiving veterinary care.
Foster Farms did not respond to a request for comment.
However, the company spoke to the New York Times in February about images of the plant taken by activists from Direct Action Everywhere, saying the allegations of animal cruelty were “baseless.”
The Livingston plant was also the site of a COVID-19 outbreak among workers in 2020 that killed eight people.
The trial of Paul and Santurio comes a few months after two Direct Action activists were acquitted in utah after taking piglets from a farm owned by pork giant Smithfield Foods.
TO video of that incident was also posted on YouTube by Direct Action.
“The prosecution has offered us five deals and we’ve said no,” Paul said. “When I think about the consequences for me, they are minimal compared to what the animals are going through.”