In August 2023, the vegan activist Curtis Vollmar and others were awarded $52,000 and legal fees from Beaver County, Utah, US, after they agreed to settle a federal civil rights lawsuit for the treatment they received from the police accusing them of disorderly conduct when they were just distributing leaflets to members of the public. The activists sued because they said their First Amendment rights were violated when police forced them to vacate Beaver’s Main Street Park in July 2022.

Vollmar was convicted in 2023 for giving leaflets at a Beaver Pioneer Day event in support of defendants from the animal rights organisation Direct Action Everywhere (DxE) who were on trial for their open rescue actions, and who were later cleared of pig theft (the Smithfield Circle Four Farms trial). However, Vollmar, five other activists, DxE, and the Utah Animal Rights Coalition sued the county and eventually received the award in a settlement of a federal civil rights lawsuit.

Vollmar is a community organizer with DxE, and on 24th July 2022, he joined several other activists at a public park in Beaver City to peacefully leaflet, gather petition signatures and engage in conversation with residents about Smithfield Foods. Vollmar says he was met with hostility from Beaver County law enforcement officials who cited him for disorderly conduct. Vollmar recorded the incident and submitted the video to the YouTube channel “Audit the Audit” where it went viral with 2.7 million views. He was found guilty on 25th April 2023 of criminal trespass and disorderly conduct by Beaver County Judge Shadrach Bradshaw, but now Vollmar has been economically compensated for the actions of the law enforcement officers. 

Vollmar told St. George News that “most” of the monetary award of damages and legal fees will be going to animal charities and shelters, including the one where the two piglets, Lily and Lizzie, were taken.

“Originally from Catalonia, but resident in the UK for several decades, Jordi is a vegan zoologist and author, who has been involved in different aspects of animal protection for many years. In addition to scientific research, he has worked mostly as an undercover investigator, animal welfare consultant, and animal protection campaigner. He has been an ethical vegan since 2002, and in 2020 he secured the legal protection of all ethical vegans in Great Britain from discrimination in a landmark employment tribunal case that was discussed all over the world. He is also the author of the book, ‘Ethical Vegan: a personal and political journey to change the world’.