After hearing of the events that took place at the West Wind Acres Farm, we at Dauntless Dialogue were extremely put back. Dauntless Dialogue immediately contacted the farm’s owner, Joshua Rockwood. After a brief back and forth, we decided to visit West Wind Acres and speak to Josh in person. Due to the pending charges, Josh declined to make any official comments or to appear on video.
Police Arrest on Bogus ‘Animal Cruelty’ Charges
On February 25, Glenville Police Department arrived at West Wind Acres to investigate if Rockwood had licensed his work dogs. Rockwood cordially welcomed the police and toured them around the first generation family farm. West Wind Acres is a livestock farm that raises cattle, sheep, goats, and chickens humanely without any growth hormones or antibiotics.
GPD noticed that some of the water bowls for the dogs were frozen so hydration tests were performed on the animals. All animals passed. Still, GPD issued Rockwood a fine for “failure to provide proper sustenance,” despite the fact that most of Glenville’s resident population was also experiencing frozen pipes.
Two days later, a veterinarian visited the farm, checked on every animal, and wrote them all a good bill of health.
On March 3, GPD showed up again, this time with a warrant and the promise to charge Rockwood with more crimes including his horses having “long feet,” or having long toe nails which is practically ubiquitous on farms in the winter time.
As promised, police returned on March 12 accompanied by the Humane Society to raid West Wind Acres. Up to date, they have confiscated 3 horses. They wanted to remove all pigs from the farm but did not have the space to hold them. Rockwood was arrested that night.
Now, Rockwood faces 13 charges of animal cruelty and is stuck in a financial Catch 22. Peaceful Acres Horses charges $28/day for each animal it confiscates and houses; but since he is legally incapable of getting his horses back, Rockwood is held hostage to pay $84/day until his charges clear.
False News Reports Spreading Disinformation
Glenville Police Department claims to have conducted an extensive investigation into the matter when in reality they took a single claim of animal cruelty at face value and responded with draconian force, ignoring all evidence that vindicated Rockwood of his charges.
Rockwood is being “made an example of” by NY State which is a farming state heavily influenced by the biotech and food industries that like to rake small organic farms across the coals. The charges brought against Rockwood are bogus and defamatory. Having met Rockwood personally, I think they picked a fight with the wrong guy. This is already proving to be a major backfire for all aggressors involved.
Massive Support from Public
It is our philosophy at Dauntless Dialogue that the true road to change is a seed within each individual just waiting to grow. This story is not nearly finished, but after speaking with Josh we feel that it will have a happy ending. Josh stands with confidence, knowing that the road to change is created through adversity. His story is shedding light on an all too common injustice taking place throughout the country.
Today’s world is different from the tyrannical worlds of the past. Information moves quickly, and the stroke of a key can change the course of history. Social media has been ablaze with stories and comments in support of West Wind Acres and continues to draw more attention and organizations to participate in defense of the small farm.
Rockwood feels confident and encouraged by the amazing amount of support he has received from his community, neighboring cities, states, and the internet. Rockwood set up a Go Fund Me campaign to help him with his legal defense, veterinary bills, and to buy his horses back. At the time of this writing, the campaign has raised nearly $20,000 in 4 days. You can follow the farm on their Facebook page here.
He receives several hundred emails, text messages, and phone calls everyday since the story broke. Dauntless Dialogue, in collaboration with Green Earth Health Market of Oneonta, NY plan to run an awareness campaign to help gain more public support.
Rockwood is optimistic about the events unfolding and aims to use this disgusting public spectacle to change unjust Agriculture and Market Laws and bring attention to disingenuous organizations like Peaceful Acres Horses.
Police State Bullying Small Farms
Police raids on small sustainable farms is nothing new. Here are just a few recent examples of similar Gestapo-like tactics police are employing to make examples of organic farms across America.
- August 15, 2013: Police SWAT raids small organic farm in TX to confiscate garden vegetables [full article here]
The police seized “17 blackberry bushes, 15 okra plants, 14 tomatillo plants … native grasses and sunflowers,” after holding residents inside at gunpoint for at least a half-hour, property owner Shellie Smith said in a statement. The raid lasted about 10 hours, she said.
- April 21, 2014: Police SWAT raids small intentional community on suspicion of marijuana – found nothing [full article here]
That vision was the Garden of Eden—a sustainable community that would open its doors to whoever wanted to come and join them. The white-painted gate at the Garden of Eden in Arlington used to remain open. People could come in and buy clothes and jewelry made by members of the community; and they could tour the garden beds. That was before the raid.
- 1990-2011: Police conduct 55 raids on raw milk distributors [full article here]
What you see from this is a pattern of government-sponsored terrorism against innocent Americans and small business people; all done in the name of “protecting” the public from milk, walnuts, vitamins, plants or fruit extracts. The real reason behind all this, of course, is that the FDA has long waged a campaign of fear and intimidation against natural product providers for the sole purpose of destroying the natural products industry and thereby handing Big Pharma a monopoly over health treatment medicines.
The Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund is an invaluable resource for any farmers who find themselves in this mess and need financial assistance (the website lists an additional 21 raids conducted on small farms from 1994-2011).
Police Are Paid to Follow Orders, Not Their Consciences
Today, the recruitment methodology of police and their ability to exercise discretion has changed dramatically from the sepia-toned days of protecting and serving. They exist now merely as “order-followers” – militarized, lethal, and conspiring. Police are recruited using extensive psychological tests to filter out individuals with high IQs and a strong sense of empathy. Think this is untrue? Look into the various court rulings on the matter which have made it unequivocally and terrifyingly clear that police departments strategically hire less intelligent individuals.
Generally speaking, police officers escalate situations into grim ordeals rather than defusing a potential threat. Police are the threat, as Mark Passio points out in the following video. For, police and service men are incapable of exercising discretion or thinking for themselves when they are following orders. By definition, they are not acting on conscience – they are doing exactly as they are told to earn approval from their new surrogate family of equally despotic bullies.