The Rise of Animal Rights Trial Coverage
Los Angeles, California, April 10, 2023 — UnchainedTV, the world’s only 100% vegan-focused, animal rights streaming TV news network, is venturing into live trial coverage with expert panels, to bring the public crucial news they are not getting on mainstream television. And people are watching!
UnchainedTV’s founder, Jane Velez-Mitchell, is using the skills she honed for years as an anchor on Court TV and on HLN, aka CNN Headline News, to host UnchainedTV trial coverage. UnchainedTV is telling viewers about cases involving animals trapped in the industrialized factory farming system and the people trying to save them.
UnchainedTV recently ran daily, hours-long coverage of the trial of former Baywatch actress Alexandra Paul and her co-defendant Alicia Santurio. They were each facing up to six months in jail for taking two chickens off of a slaughter truck in rural California. They called it a rescue. The prosecutors called it theft.
At first glance, a misdemeanor case involving two chickens may not seem newsworthy. But it turns out that so many crucial legal and health issues were raised in this trial that UnchainedTV’s fascinating coverage drew 55,423 viewers across all platforms. Those platforms include the UnchainedTV streaming network itself, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.
Viewers learned that the two chickens were extremely ill. A veterinarian testified for the defense that one of the chickens later died and his necropsy revealed he had Enterococcus faecium. Trial watchers were told that this is a drug-resistant bacterial infection that can also be life-threatening to humans.
The defense took an intriguing legal approach arguing that, because the chickens were sick, they had no value to the company and were, indeed, a liability. Alexandra Paul’s defense attorney said, since nothing of value was taken from the company, “… you must acquit.”
That attorney, Wayne Hsiung, is the increasingly prominent activist who co-founded Direct Action Everywhere, the organization promoting the concept of “open rescue.” Hsiung himself was recently acquitted, along with a co-defendant, by a Utah jury of taking two sick piglets from a Utah factory farm. In the California trial, Alexandra Paul took the stand and explained to the jurors that she allowed herself to be videotaped while taking the chickens and intentionally showed her face, ensuring the act would be caught on tape, all in order to make the point that there is no shame in rescuing a suffering animal. Rather, she asserted, it was her moral obligation to do something given the lack of action by the government to protect factory farmed animals.
The jurors seemed to agree as they found both women not guilty. UnchainedTV was the only news outlet going live as the verdict came down, sparking cheers and tears among the animal activists outside court and some of the network’s expert panelists.
Unlike most mainstream media platforms, which purport to be objective and neutral while promoting specific agendas, UnchainedTV is transparent about its belief that animals are not mere property like cans or cars, as prosecutors in these cases have asserted, but rather, sentient beings deserving of protection and legal standing in court.
“Given that corporations now have a degree of personhood in the courts, animals certainly should,” observes Velez-Mitchell.
Among those on camera discussing the case, Nathan Semmel, a former Manhattan Assistant District Attorney; Bonnie Klapper, a famed former Assistant U.S. Attorney in both the Central District of California and the Eastern District of NY; Marina Bolotnikova, staff editor for Vox’s Future Perfect section who also wrote a brilliant piece on the trial; Dotsie Bausch, an Olympic medalist and Switch4Good founder; Donny Moss, a documentary filmmaker and founder of Their Turn; Ellen Dent, president of Animal Alliance Network; Mick Davoudian, an animal rights philanthropist; and others. Volunteers served as live reporters outside the courthouse, adding immediacy and excitement to the coverage.
Says Velez-Mitchell, “At UnchainedTV we are filling the gap and doing an end-run around the mainstream media blackout on these vital issues.” She adds, “Industrialized animal agriculture needs to be more thoroughly scrutinized by journalists. It impacts food safety, climate change, drought, pollution, human health, habitat destruction, wildlife extinction and more. We give this industry a pass at our own peril.” Velez-Mitchell adds that she invites anyone from the industry on at any time to comment, noting, “We would love to dialogue.”
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