Teen animal rights activist arrested after chained sit-in to save Cal Poly cow

After attempting to rescue a pig from a meat processing center on campus just over a week ago, 15-year-old Zoe Rosenberg was escorted off the Cal Poly campus in handcuffs Monday after chaining herself to a gate to stop a cow from being slaughtered as part of a meat science class.

"For all I care, they can kill me instead of this cow," Rosenberg said in a video of her arrest. "I'm being treated as a criminal. Me, a 15-year-old girl, who just wants to save a cow's life."

According to Cal Poly spokesman Matt Lazier, Rosenberg and a woman identified as Julianne Marie Perry, 31, of Sunnyvale were arrested on charges of trespassing and resisting arrest; Rosenberg's mother, Sherstin Rosenberg, 48, was also arrested on charges of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

"Cal Poly insists on the humane and ethical treatment of any animals used on campus or by affiliated entities," Lazier said following the arrest. "Cal Poly recognizes its responsibilities to ensure that animals are well cared for, and therefore adheres to all applicable federal, state, local and institutional laws or guidelines governing animal welfare."

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In a live video shared on the Facebook page of the animal rights activism group Direct Action Everywhere, Rosenberg appeared to jump over pens at the university's processing center before chaining herself to a gate, blocking workers from bringing a cow in a trailer into the unit.

"I'm here today because violence against animals is wrong," Rosenberg told the camera. "I'm chained here, and I'm not going to leave until they give us this cow."

She additionally claimed the unit was violating California's Penal Code regarding animal cruelty.

Rosenberg and Perry chained themselves in front of the unit while another unidentified activist went to negotiate for the cow's release to Rosenberg's animal sanctuary, Happy Hen Animal Sanctuary.

"We're going to call her Justice," Rosenberg said in the video. "And we're actually asking for justice. We're asking for Justice to be released, and we're asking for justice for her."

During the live video, Rosenberg encouraged watchers to call the university and demand they turn "Justice" over to her animal sanctuary.

The University Police Department arrived at the processing center, and officers asked Rosenberg and her fellow activists to leave the area.

After they refused, officers pulled out a pair of bolt cutters and cut Rosenberg and Perry from their chains, while a group of onlookers shouted, "Where is Justice?"

Rosenberg and Perry were then escorted into a police vehicle.

Lazier said UPD issued new temporary stay-away orders for both Rosenbergs and Perry following the arrest.

Editor's note: A previous version of this story gave an incorrect spelling for Julianne Perry's name.

Kaytlyn Leslie: 805-781-7928; @kaytyleslie