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James Cromwell Leads Protest at Utah Capitol With 11 Dead Piglets

“This is what you’re killing,” James Cromwell said of the dead piglets. “Do you want to do this? As a country, as a people, … as Christians, do you want to do this?”

Animal rights activists are protesting animal cruelty at the Smithfield’s Circle Four Farms in Milford with the help of Babe the Pig’s famous owner, actor James Cromwell. Cromwell, who played Farmer Hoggett in the 1995 movie Babe, and Wayne Hsiung, co-founder of Direct Action Everywhere (DxE), and about 200 demonstrators took their grievances to the Utah Attorney General’s Office and the Utah Governor’s Office last week. They had with them 11 dead piglets to drive home their message.

The demonstrators went into the Utah State Capitol building to demand that both the governor and the attorney general address ongoing animal cruelty at Smithfield. Cromwell had a dead piglet nestled in his arms, and 10 other activists bore dead piglets inside the government building. The dead animals were retrieved from a Utah farm.

Since filming Babe, James Cromwell has become a vegan and an animal rights and environmental activist. He has been arrested for protesting against animal testing, protesting a natural gas-fired power plant and for disrupting an orca show at SeaWorld.

But last week Cromwell was in Utah saying the state didn’t want to face up to animal abuses and called two activists facing charges for rescuing pigs heroes.

“This is what you’re killing,” Cromwell said of the dead piglets. “Do you want to do this? As a country, as a people, … as Christians, do you want to do this?”

After addressing the people, Cromwell led the protesters to the attorney general’s office and then the governor’s office. The attorney general’s office was bolted from the inside when the protesters approached. Hsiung, who is facing charges by Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes for investigating animal cruelty at Circle Four Farms in 2017, knocked on the locked door. The door remained locked. Protestors believed that staffers were under instructions to keep it locked.

The group then marched on to Gov. Gary Herbert’s office. A number of police officers were already stationed there. Michael Mower, Herbert’s Deputy Chief of Staff, emerged from the office to address the gathered crowd. He listened to their grievances and responded that he would bring their concerns to the governor. But Cromwell stated that Mower just said that to placate the crowd, adding Herbert is always under the control of his donors.

Cromwell said this in light of a revealing article published in The Intercept by Glenn Greenwald, a Pulitzer-winning journalist. The expose revealed that Smithfield had been sponsoring prosecution of DxE’s animal activists. When Reyes and Herbert campaigned for office in 2016, Smithfield funded the Republican Attorney General Association and the Republican Governors Association.

Having come to a brick wall at the Attorney General’s and governor’s offices, the demonstrators moved on to Circle Four Farms. They wanted to see the conditions under which animals were kept and to provide possible care to animals in need of help. But the farm management would not open their doors to the activists. All the animal rights network did to meet with the Smithfield management proved unsuccessful so they locked themselves in, while police officers were on hand to control the situation.

Cromwell made it clear in his speeches that pigs and other animals must be treated with respect and as intelligent beings, are capable of feeling fear and pain. “If we don’t deal with this appropriately, we’re not going to deal with each other appropriately,” he told the Utah State government.

Jeremy Beckham, who works in Utah as a PETA research associate, said Beaver County had asked the group to not come.

“They’re just trying to peaceably assemble on public property, and Beaver County doesn’t want people speaking the truth about what’s happening inside the facility,” Beckham said.



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