An animal rights activist in Petaluma, California had a brush with death when his head got stuck in a slaughter line during a protest on Monday.
Thomas Chiang thought it would just be another day in the office when he and his group trespassed inside the Reichardt Duck Farm in Petaluma on June 3.
The machine, however, was suddenly turned on as they were shackling themselves to a slaughter line with u-locks as part of their protest.
Chiang, as can be seen in the video posted on YouTube specifically around the six minute mark, was being strangled and had his head nearly cut off by the machine. Everyone started panicking as people tried to save the man from certain death.
“Almost decapitating my head from my neck,” Chiang told ABC7 via Facetime on Wednesday. “I was feeling my life leave my body, as I was struggling to get out of that lock.”
Locking himself onto a machine that facilitates death is dangerous — life-threatening even — but it was something Chiang was willing to do for a reason.
“We have to escalate all of our actions because this is a global crisis we’re under,” he said. However, none of the activists know who exactly turned the machine on while they were still chained to it.
“I think whoever the manager was, whoever was working there, was extremely upset that we were disrupting his business,” he added.
Reichardt Farm, however, told investigators that what happened to Chiang and the protesters was an accident. It was said that the employee who turned it on at the time didn’t know that they were chained to the machine outside.
Chiang, meanwhile, was taken by the ambulance after he was removed from the machine and says his injuries will heal. The man is still unsure if he will file a police report.
His fellow protesters, on the other hand, were apprehended. It was said that 80 of them were arrested and most of them were booked in jail “on misdemeanor trespassing and felony conspiracy,” but they were released on Wednesday as a filing decision was not made.
Chiang was part of the group Direct Action Everywhere who protested at the duck farm on Monday. He was included in the small group who entered the duck farm through the marked fences and shackled themselves to the machine.
Images screenshot via YouTube / Condition One VR