This week (Monday 22 July) marked the first lawsuit against ag-gag laws. The Animal Legal Defense Fund, PETA, environmental journalist Will Potter and animal rights activist Amy Meyer filed a civil lawsuit on Monday contesting the constitutionality of a Utah law that bans recording at an agricultural facility without the owner’s consent. In February of this year, Meyer became the first person charged under an ag-gag law, after she filmed a downed cow at a slaughterhouse while standing on a public sidewalk. Charges were later dropped.
The lawsuit alleges that the Utah law violates the Constitution, as it singles out certain types of speech for less protection under the First Amendment. It would also single out certain types of investigative reporting as illegal. Although its primary purpose is to put a lid on political debate over factory farming by preventing the public from finding out about the inherent animal cruelty, it could also impact food safety measures and apply to the filming of unsafe working conditions or bad employment practices.
A total of 8 states now have ag-gag laws. Proponents argue that this is a private property issue. They are right, of course. At issue is their private property: money.
Animal Activism 201: The Psychology of Change is a two-hour workshop being held at the University District Library this Sunday, June 2nd, 2013.
The event picks up where Animal Activism 101 left off–but don’t worry. You didn’t have to attend the first to come to the second. This one will focus on different issues, mainly how we can understand human nature and use that knowledge to be more effective activists.
Activism isn’t just attending demos, leafleting, or tabling. You can be an activist in many ways, including “behind the scenes.” Blogging, web design, graphic arts, letter-writing, data entry–there’s a job for all of us and this meeting will help you find a way to be effective.
We’ll get together and talk about how we can progress the movement for animal liberation by knowing more about how we humans work!
Check out the Facebook event and RSVP if you haven’t already or just show up!
Sunday, June 2nd, 2013
1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
The Seattle Public Library – University Branch
5009 Roosevelt Way N.E., Seattle, WA 98105
Best of all, the event is FREE! We’ll be heading to a local vegan eatery for some food and socializing after, so don’t miss it!
Charges against Amy Meyer have apparently been dropped. Hmm.
I am betting Auschwitzian walls are going to be going up around the Smith Slaughterhouse in no time at all.
Twenty-five year old Amy Meyer was arrested and charged with violating Utah’s new “Ag Gag” bill that makes it illegal for citizens to record the abuse of animals. She went to the Smith Meatpacking Slaughterhouse in Draper, Utah, because she had heard that anyone could see what was going on right from the street. While she was there, she saw cows fighting to get away, a downer cow carried off on a tractor lift, and ground flesh being spewed from a chute on one side of the building. While filming this with her cell phone, she never set foot in the slaughterhouse area, and remained at all times on public property. She was arrested and charged with agricultural operation interference. She is to go to court on May 23rd. If convicted, she faces up to six months in jail. By the way….the Mayor of Draper, Darrell Smith, co-owns the slaughterhouse. But that wouldn’t have anything to do with anything, would it?
Please call the following people and express your support for Amy Meyer and slaughterhouse transparency. I am guessing you can think of many ways of expressing this. And then write two quick emails. Please try to stay respectful and polite — don’t make people remember our rudeness rather than our rightness. These are EASY CALLS. No one is going to start arguing with you (and do you care?)
Utah Governor Herbert
Phone: (800) 705-2464
Draper Mayor Darrell Smith
Phone: (801) 576-6513
Draper City Prosecutor Ben Rasmussen
Phone: (801) 576-6545
Members of the Utah legislature
Please call the Dale T. Smith and Sons Meat Packing Company and express your disapproval of their mistreatment of animals and their decision to press charges.
Phone: (801) 571-3611
The spay/neuter assistance bills were recently introduced as SB 5202 and HB 1229 in the Washington legislature and have hearings scheduled on February 5 and 6.
Here we’ll guide you in attending the hearings, submitting a letter or email of support, and offer talking points. If something’s not clear, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for guidance. Thanks for speaking up on behalf of the animals!
Attending the Hearings
Your attendance at either or both hearings will be very helpful. You can testify or just sign in indicating your support for the bills, and you can bring copies of written testimony to provide the committee members (bring about 20 copies for committee members and staff).
Special notice for residents of District 19 (Pacific, Wahkiakum, and parts of Grays Harbor and Cowlitz counties): Please contact us email@example.com. Your attendance at the hearings is very important, since the committee chairmen represent your district.
If you Cannot Attend the Hearings
1. Identify your district and your senator/representatives, then call and/or email them to let them know you support these bills (mention both bills by number as SB 5202/HB 1229). Helpful Hint: to avoid forms, use the legislator email directory.
2. If your senator or representatives are on the House Agriculture & Natural Resources Committee or the Senate Agriculture, Water & Rural Economic Development Committee it is especially important that you submit a letter/email or come to the hearing (where that legislator is a member) to testify.
SB 5202: The hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, February 5, 10 am, before the Senate Agriculture Committee. The hearing will be held in Senate Hearing Room 3 in the John A. Cherberg Building at the Capitol.
HB 1229: The hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, February 6, 8 am, before the House Agriculture Committee. The hearing will be held in House Hearing Room B in the John L. O’Brien Building at the Capitol.
Please note that hearing schedules are subject to change. Please confirm the senate hearing schedule here and the house hearing schedule here before you travel to Olympia. Need directions to Olympia? Please see this page on the Legislature’s website.
Talking Points for Your Email or Testimony
The bills would provide financial assistance to support the costs of companion animal spay/neuter surgery. Expected impacts include significant cost reductions for animal care and control of homeless animals and a significant reduction in the numbers of dogs and cats euthanized in Washington shelters. For possible talking points, please see our flyer that explains the bill, and our flyer that summarizes the financial benefits of passing this bill. Remember to be brief and polite in any communications with legislators.
Questions? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Washington Alliance for Humane Legislation has taken a lead role in preparing and advocating for passage of the Spay/Neuter Assistance Bill (SB 5202/HB 1229) and the two bills addressing animal cruelty (SB 5204/HB 1202 and SB 5203/HB 1201). Please join us in supporting the passage of these bills, and all bills that advance and preserve the humane treatment of animals.
The Bad News:
We humans systematically breed, torture, and brutally kill billions of animals each year for pleasure. We do unspeakable things to our fellow earthlings – creatures with physical and emotional needs similar to ours. Most people’s eyes, hearts, and minds are closed to these horrors. Most of us are complicit and literally pay others to do these atrocious deeds to animals. It is happening right now as you read this. Millions are in pain, suffering, dying without hope in crates, shackles, cages, and boxes all over the world. 98% of human society finds this is acceptable.
The Good News:
Things change. Just in the past 5 years the blinders have started to fall, people from all backgrounds around the world have been moving in droves to a more compassionate and reasonable lifestyle. People have taken to the streets in Italy, Cork, Syracuse, Turkey, and of course, Seattle to speak out for those who can’t speak for themselves. Almost every week you hear of a new influential person who is trying veganism. There are more positive sentiments online around veganism than there are negative. The tide is very slowly turning.
Things don’t change without us. We are the problem and the solution. The animals in cages today, and their offspring for generations to come, are counting on YOU AND ME to help them, to do something. There is no magical group working working for their rights and freedom except us. You, me, your mom, you weird cousin, that guy holding a sign by himself in the rain outside the UW Primate Testing Facility. We are their hope. If we don’t tell people what is happening to animals, hearts will remain hard and closed. If we don’t work to change things, they won’t change. The suffering will continue unabated. If we chose being popular over fighting injustice, then we should all despair.
So What? You matter. Right now, decide to use your talents, energy, and love to work to evolve the human race. Join the groups that will push society into a saner, kinder, and more sustainable future. By helping to open others’ hearts and minds, you’ll open cages. Every animal counts. Every cage matters. The way we are in the world is the root of evil, and we must strike at the roots.
Being vegan means you’ll be on the right side of history. But being an activist means you are an agent of history.
If you aren’t sure how to get started, come to the next NARN open meeting January 13.
“It does not take a majority to prevail … but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brushfires of freedom in the minds of men.” – Samuel Adams
We’ve noticed that there are many phases or “faces” of veganism. They aren’t in the same order for everyone, but maybe you recognize yourself in some of these. They can last for 10 days or for 10 years. Sometimes all at once.
- I’m vegan! I’m my family thinks I am a freak and I want to be loved so I pretty much never mention it to my grandma, and I downplay any inconveniences and never talk about how others hurt animals around people who aren’t vegan. I don’t use the world vegan often and nobody at my work probably even knows. Veganism is a personal, private choice.
- I’m vegan and I want some comfort food! I try to make or eat everything that is labeled vegan. It doesn’t matter that I haven’t eaten a real vegetable in weeks. And I go out to eat with my friends many times a week just to be with like minded people and eat vegan waffles and gravy and cake. Why isn’t everyone vegan? The food is so amazing!
- I’m vegan and I want omnivores to know that vegans aren’t freaks, and I’m normal, so everyone should know that I am vegan. I’ve got vegan pride. So I talk about how good vegan food is to anyone who will listen. And I tell my co-workers how good it feels to be vegan. And I make vegan food for my family, friends, and anyone who will eat my food and let sing vegan praises. I invite others out to dinner. I eat healthy so that I can be a good vegan role model. I rarely mention the animals at all. Just food. And I do everything else normal so vegans aren’t so scary.
- I’m vegan but all of the animal suffering around me still makes me incredibly sad. I want others to discover how easy it is to be vegan. Someone influenced me once, so maybe I can influence others? How can I be supportive and encouraging while also telling the hard truth about how animals suffer in factory farms, laboratories, fur farms, zoos, circuses, and beyond? I’ll do some vegan outreach at the Fremont Fair. I want a vegan world! Veganism is political!
- I’m vegan and I want to help animals right now. I don’t need to fit in anymore. Animals are suffering this very moment and I can’t turn away. I can’t forget them. I want to make a difference. When history is on our side, I want to say that I spoke out. That I made a fuss. That I didn’t let let suffering and tyranny run rampant on my watch. That I tried to do something with my time and talents.
Recognize any of this? Board member Pete is fond of the slogan: “Silent = Consent.” We don’t consent to the horrors that are perpetrated in the name of human desires. We won’t be silent. Board member Anika’s favorite quote is “There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.” - Elie Wiesel. She likes it because it admits that she sometimes feel powerless – but that even if that is the case, she should still speak out against injustice.
If you are feeling more and more inclined to speak out against the ways we torture and needlessly kill animals, NARN is here to support you. We can help you follow your passions, join with others, and make a difference in the lives of animals today. Just email us at email@example.com.
“We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” ― Elie Wiesel
As you know, Oct 6-14, 2012 is National Primate Liberation week. While we aren’t excited that researchers continue to abuse and exploit our close cousins in the name of human health, we are excited to get together to talk about what we can do for these monkeys and future generations of primates.
We plan to kick-off the week with a great social and information sharing event and letter writing party. If you are vegan and have been thinking of getting more involved, this is the ideal gathering to learn more about NARN and what is possible when a group of people get together to make a difference.
The current president of NARN will speak about what type of primate experiments and financial support come into the NW and we’ll have other guests as well. We’ll also show a trailer for the upcoming documentary screening of Maximum Tolerated Dose, which will screen on Monday evening. Vegan snacks and treats will abound – Violet Sweet Shoppe is even donating some vegan sweets.
NARN will provide some sample letters designed for: a) UW Leaders and Policy Makers b) Those Currently Involved in Primate Research, c) other academics and professors at the UW who would be willing to open up the conversation with their students and colleagues and d) press and media. We will have physical paper and envelopes, and some old stationary and cards too. We can be creative and serious about our cause at the same time. Children are welcome – as long as they are old enough (or young enough) to see photos of animals in cages and hear open discussion about why it matters. There won’t be anything specifically gory, but use your best discretion. Their letters may end up being some of the most influential.
Bring your laptop if you have one! We have more than 30 different people to write – sending emails and typing is much faster – even if less fun. We’ll have sample letters on a memory stick for you to take and modify – adding your own voice and ideas.
And remember: For every single letter or email that you you write, you’ll be entered into the drawing for this amazing vintage Animal Rights shirt commemorating the liberation of an infant rhesus monkey, not unlike the many infant monkeys that suffer in UW labs today. For more information about the activities for the week RSVP on the Facebook Event Page and for more information about the experiments and abuses in UW labs visit uwkills.wordpress.com.
See you Sunday!
University Friends Meeting Hall
4001 9th Ave NE, Seattle
Free parking, bike racks (and right off the Burke-Gilman trail), and on many bus lines!
OK Animal lovers. We you know are you are getting ready to attend some of the National Primate Liberation Week events that we have in store for you. But to make coming out even more fun and rewarding, NARN is giving away an extremely rare and special t-shirt.
This T-shirt, only worn once for this photo session, commemorates the liberation of Britches from a California lab in 1985 by the ALF. Britches story is inspiring and special – and reminds us of the real lives behind the laboratory cages. If you aren’t familiar with Britches, check out the 10 minute mini-movie made about his story and his rescue. The t-shirt is bright white and an XL, so it can be made to fit most sizes either as-is, or with tailoring. Could be made into a patch, or tank, or something else cool too.
How to enter the drawing? Each event that you attend during National Primate Liberation week (kick-off, movie, UW protest, postering, etc) you’ll be entered. And bonus: for every letter you write at the kick-off event, Sunday Oct 7, you’ll be entered too! Please share this awesome drawing with all your vegan and animal loving friends too. We can’t wait to run into someone in Seattle wearing this shirt!