Protester arrested at Petaluma chicken plant

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An animal rights protester was arrested early Monday for blocking a driver with a truckload of live chickens making a delivery to Petaluma Poultry Processors.

Jon Frohnmayer, 32, of Berkeley, was booked into the Sonoma County Jail by Petaluma police after a plant security guard arrested him for trespassing, said Police Lt. Tim Lyons. Frohnmayer had blocked the truck for about 15 minutes around midnight at the plant at Cader Lane and Lakeville Highway.

Frohnmayer was the first person arrested in Sunday vigils that have taken place frequently at the plant over about two months.

Sunday’s 10:30 p.m. event was organized by Bay Area Animal Save.

An animal rights network, Direct Action Everywhere, which lists Frohnmayer as one of its organizers, issued a press release Monday alleging the truck at the plant “drove into a throng of activists,” who felt “intimidated” and “threatened.”

Lyons, however, said, “The truck didn’t drive into the protesters.”

Frohnmayer, who was released after posting $1,000 bail, said he decided to sit down because the truck “was definitely moving and forcing protesters to move.”

By sitting in the parking lot, he reasoned it would be “impossible to push me back without running me over.”

Asked about feeling intimidated, Frohnmayer said he thought the security guards were “mostly just trying to do their jobs.”

Petaluma Poultry spokesman Brian Sobel insisted the guards there have been “very, very patient” with the protesters.

While acknowledging the demonstrators’ right to peaceful protests, Sobel said the company intends to conduct business, “and we’re trying to do it as safely as possible.”

You can reach Staff Writer Robert Digitale at 707-521-5285 or On Twitter @rdigit.

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