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The Rise of Animal Rights Trial Coverage

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The Rise of Animal Rights Trial Coverage

UnchainedTV's expert panel reacts to the not guilty verdicts.
Defendants and legal team in court
Defendants Alexandra Paul, Alicia Santurio and attorney Wayne Hsiung in court.

Hollywood, California, March 31st, 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.

55,423 Views Says: People Want to Know!

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.

Baywatch actress Alexandra Paul with chicken during open rescue.
Baywatch actress Alexandra Paul with chicken during open rescue.

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.

Trial Raises Crucial Issues about Food Safety, Morality, Law

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.”

Two Not Guilty Verdicts in a Row for Animal Activists

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 an Utah jury for taking two sick piglets from a Utah factory farm. UnchainedTV also provided days-long, panel coverage of that trial.  Panelists noted that two trials in a row, ending in not guilty verdicts for animal activists engaged in open rescue, would appear to be a trend whereby jurors, aka American citizens/consumers, are telegraphing that dramatic action to alert the public about conditions for animals in factory farms is warranted.

 Curtis Vollmer served as a volunteer reporter at the courthouse.
Curtis Vollmar served as one of the volunteer reporter at the courthouse.

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 amongst the animal activists outside court and some of the network’s expert panelists.

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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.

UnchainedTV's expert panel reacts to the not guilty verdicts.
UnchainedTV’s expert panel reacts to the not guilty verdicts.

Among those on camera discussing the case, Nathan Semmel, a former Manhattan Assistant District Attorney, Bonnie Klapper, a famed former Assistant US 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, veterinarian Crystal Heath, founder of Our Honor, Donny Moss, a documentary filmmaker and founder of Their Turn, Ellen Dent, president of Animal Alliance Network, Mick Davoudian, an animal rights philanthropist, Direct Action Everywhere activists Carla Cabral, Emek Echo, James Madison 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 through our animal rights trial coverage.” 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 ads that she invites anyone from the industry on at any time to comment, noting, “We would love to dialogue.”


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