Animal welfare activists want Minnesota Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor to step down as governor

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Activists who have disrupted three Minnesota Timberwolves games at two NBA arenas over the past two weeks are demanding that Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor step down as governor and contribute $11.3 million. dollars to various entities in the name of animal welfare.

The activists, members of the organization Direct Action Everywhere, are targeting Taylor for her ownership of Rembrandt Farms, a large-scale factory farm that produces tens of millions of eggs each year. Rembrandt’s establishment experienced an epidemic of bird flu in March.

“For Taylor and other hugely powerful industrial agriculture businessmen to get these taxpayer bailouts goes against the values ​​of ordinary Americans,” said Direct media contact and activist Matt Johnson. ActionEverywhere. “Taylor should set a powerful example by stepping back from NBA ownership and refusing to take grants related to the HPAI outbreak, and donating funds previously received to help repair some of the industry’s damage. most destructive on the planet.”

To combat the outbreak of highly pathogenic avian flu, the company killed more than 5 million birds with a method called ventilation shutdown plus at one of its major facilities in Iowa. According to the method, the airflow in the industrial sheds where the birds reside is closed. Activists consider this practice inhumane.

Protester Alicia Saturio stuck her hands on the court during the Timberwolves’ live game against the LA Clippers on April 12 at Target Center in Minneapolis, the first of three incidents. Security quickly lifted her off the field and kicked her out.

“I was nervous,” Saturio told ESPN. “I had never really stuck to anything. I didn’t know how the fans were going to react. I certainly didn’t want any of the players to get hurt, so I made sure to do that when they were at land. at the other end of the yard.”

In Game 1 of Minnesota’s first-round playoff series against the Memphis Grizzlies, activist Zoe Rosenberg chained herself to a basket post near Taylor’s seat during the game at FedExForum in Memphis. She was quickly unleashed by the police and taken out of the arena. Rosenberg faces charges of trespassing and disorderly conduct.

Johnson attended Game 3 at Target Center with the intention of disrupting play. He was apprehended and tackled by security before he could reach the ground. He was placed under arrest and banned from Target Center for a year.

In Game 4 of the series in Minneapolis, activist Sasha Zemmel rushed onto the field right in front of Taylor, interrupting live play. She was dressed in the official NBA uniform. His intention was to approach Taylor, whose net worth was estimated at $2.5 billion by Forbes magazine in 2020, and call a “technical foul” on the owner of the Timberwolves and Rembrandt Farms.

Security personnel immediately tackled her to the ground and removed her before she could make the move. The referee’s jersey number was 5.3 to represent the 5.3 million birds killed at Rembrandt. Zemmel faces charges of disorderly conduct and fifth-degree assault.

“I didn’t even know what it was,” said young Timberwolves star Anthony Edwards after Minnesota’s Game 4 win. “You all need to stop running on the floor in Minnesota. Do that in Memphis. We don’t need it.”

Direct Action Everywhere performs public acts of civil disobedience as well as what it calls farm factory rescue missions. Although recent actions are in response to the Rembrandt murders, the group opposes industrial agriculture more broadly.

The organization filed a complaint with local and state authorities in Iowa alleging that Rembrandt’s conduct violated state law. He demands that Taylor expedite the team’s pending sale to Marc Lore and Alex Rodriguez, who have agreed to the terms. Direct Action Everywhere is also demanding that Taylor Corp., Rembrandt’s parent company, donate the $11.3 million it received in federal funds to help during a 2015 outbreak to public health and health organizations. animal protection.

Neither the Timberwolves nor representatives for Taylor provided comment at the time of publication.

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