What started out at the Heart of the City Farmers' Market as a cultural conflict between animal rights activists trying to block live poultry sales and vendors catering to hundreds of Chinese customers, has taken a legal turn.
On Wednesday morning, Raymond Young Poultry, which has sold live chickens at United Nations Plaza for two decades, and the market -- the only one in the city that allows the sales -- were served a lawsuit from two animal rights activists.
The lawsuit, filed on Tuesday by San Francisco attorney Matt Gonzalez, charges Young and his employees of assault and human rights violations, and the market of negligent supervision, among other complaints.
Activists with LGBT Compassion began protesting last March, videotaping and replaying footage of how the fowl were handled.
The two most adamant activists, Alex Felsinger, 25, and Andrew Zollman, 43, of LGBT Compassion, cite more than half a dozen instances of being physically or verbally attacked by Young's employees.
Felsinger said he started looking for a lawyer in the days following Dec. 29, when he was wrapped in a tarp by a Young employee, punched by another and had the memory chip of his camera removed by a third.
"It's not surprising that people that act violently towards animals would also act violently against humans," he said.