Pitman Farms gives 20 turkeys to activists for Thanksgiving reprieve

DXE founder Wayne Hsiung, animal rights activist, is holding the first of 20 turkeys donated by Pitman Farms on Monday. The turkeys will be placed in a sanctuary.

Pitman Farms gives 20 turkeys to activists for Thanksgiving reprieve


By Robert Stevens

Managing editor



MORONI—Once again, Pitman Family Farms and animals rights activists have teamed up to pardon Sanpete-grown turkeys this holiday season.

According to Matt Johnson, spokesperson for animal rights group Direct Action Everywhere (DXE), the turkey rescue is the result of an unlikely and enduring friendship struck between activists and Rick Pitman, owner of Pitman Family Farms.

Last year, Pitman worked with DXE to release 100 turkeys on Monday, Nov. 19, 2018, and they are releasing 20 birds to activists this year.

Six members of DXE were charged with multiple felonies after removing a sick turkey from Norbest, which is now owned by Pitman.

“Rather than continuing their fight in court, the two sides decided on a dramatically different path this Thanksgiving: acts of cooperation and compassion,” Johnson says.

Although the rescue event happened after the Sanpete Messenger went to print, the plan is for the six defendants in the case to join approximately 50 other activists and Utah organization, Utah Animal Rights Coalition, to provide food and gifts for employees of the Moroni turkey plant. Johnson says, in turn, Pitman agreed to release 20 turkeys to the group as “an act of holiday compassion.”

In contrast, Johnsons says DXE members have also been charged after removing two piglets from Utah-based Circle Four Farms, a Smithfield hog grower. Each activist is facing felony theft charges from the Smithfield case, as well as charges of racketeering and rioting.

The rescued birds will be taken to local animal sanctuaries to live out the remainder of their lives in peace. “The two parties hope to demonstrate how people with differing views can still work together and find common ground solutions to do good in this surprising holiday triumph,” says Johnson.