Earlier this month, a family farm in rural New York was raided by police after the owners were cited on a number of trumped up regulatory violations. Joshua Rockwood, the owner of the farm, is being accused of mistreating his animals, and the local government has began confiscating some of them.
Police initially visited Rockwood’s property on February 25th to investigate reports of unlicensed working dogs, weeks before the raid. Unfortunately, Rockwood voluntarily showed local police around his property, which he had not yet tended to that day because of their unexpected interruption. After showing them around, they began to critically assess every aspect of the farm, writing a number of citations for arbitrary offenses.
The very next day, Rockwood had a veterinarian visit the farm to check on the animals to confirm that they were well taken care of and in good health. According to numerous reports, the vet said that the animals were just fine, and did not seem to share the concerns that the officers alleged during their walk-through.
A second veterinarian was also called in to verify the health of the animals and they also found them to be in perfect health.
A week later, police returned again to notify Rockwood that he was to appear in court the next Thursday on a number of charges relating to the animal’s food and shelter. In total, 12 different charges were brought against Rockwood, but he has posted a number of photos to a Facebook support page, which shows the animals with sufficient housing, and plenty of food.
Rockwood has been charged with 12 counts of animal neglect and abuse – some of the charges relating to frozen water bowls and tanks – despite the animals still having access to water. His dogs and horses have been seized and taken away.
Rockwood treats his animals better than most factory farms do, but since he uses traditional farming methods, his farm will fail regulatory inspections, while factory farms will pass.
Meanwhile, New York is one of many states that are currently considering “ag-gag” laws, which place criminal penalties on activists who expose animal abuse at factory farms.
The controversial ag-gag laws prohibit “recording an image or sound without the operator’s permission; gaining ‘access to an agricultural operation under false pretenses;’ asking for a job at a place for the purpose of making recordings; and making a recording while trespassing.”
The irony here is that the state will lock you in a cage for filming the horrific atrocities at a factory farm while simultaneously trumping up ridiculous and petty violations if you aren’t a factory farm. Just who does the state “protect” by doing these things?
Rockwood has launched a $50,000 gofundme campaign to raise money to post bond for his horses and to pay for the disrupted legal fees and lost business he has incurred and will incur due to the publicity and effort involved in defending himself. He means to go to court to try to fight the charges and to win back his reputation, his rescue dog, and his horses.
Because of his caring and generous customers and supporters they are almost halfway to that goal.