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'What if this was your dog?' SLO teen activist tries to save pig from Cal Poly slaughterhouse

Cal Poly University Police Sgt. Felipe Lucero forcibly lifts animal rights activist Zoe Rosenberg to her feet as she protests the conditions and treatment of pigs kept at the university on Thursday, April 12, 2018.
Cal Poly University Police Sgt. Felipe Lucero forcibly lifts animal rights activist Zoe Rosenberg to her feet as she protests the conditions and treatment of pigs kept at the university on Thursday, April 12, 2018. Direct Action Everywhere

A 15-year-old animal rights activist and her mother were ordered to leave Cal Poly campus Thursday after launching what they described as an attempted rescue of a pig at a slaughterhouse.

Zoe Rosenberg, 15, and her mother, Sherstin Rosenberg, captured the entire exchange on Facebook Live — from the moment their truck and trailer pulled up to the J and G Lau Family Meat Processing Center to when they were ordered to leave campus by University Police officers.

The Rosenbergs run Happy Hen Animal Sanctuary, where they said they hoped to take the pig.

Cal Poly spokesman Matt Lazier confirmed that "a couple of people were out near the meat processing center this afternoon" but said he did not have details beyond that.

In the video, Zoe Rosenberg delivered an impassioned plea, first to a Cal Poly staff member who asked her to leave the pen where the pig was kept. She decried the conditions that the pig was kept in, and also the manner of death she said it would endure.

"What if this was your dog?" she asked the staff member.

The staff member contacted police, and multiple officers arrived a short while later. University Police Sgt. Felipe Lucero detained both Rosenbergs and issued a seven-day trespass order. If either of the Rosenbergs return to the campus within a week, they could be arrested.

Neither was charged with a crime. It's unclear what happened to the pig after the Rosenbergs left.

"Cal Poly insists on the humane and ethical treatment of any animals used on campus or by affiliated entities," Lazier wrote in an email response.

He wrote that the university complies with all federal, state, local and institutional laws regarding the treatment of animals and that a staff of veterinarians "ensure all live animals are given the medical care and attention they need."

Thursday was not Zoe Rosenberg's first direct action as a protester.

In October 2016, at 14, she interrupted a Cal Poly discussion during which then-Whole Foods co-CEO Walter Robb was speaking, handing him a flower "for all the animals he has killed."

In December 2017, she led a protest outside the Charles Paddock Zoo in Atascadero, timed to coincide with the "Holiday Magic at the Charles Paddock Zoo" event. She cited "the unnecessary and cruel confinement of animals in zoos" as her reason for protesting.

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