Category Archives: Animal Liberation

Chimps to make federal endangered species list?

The US Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing that chimpanzees in the US be added to the federal endangered species list. The Washington Post published an article that explains the current situation and how changing the listing for captive chimps will help their plight.

creative commons Thomas Lersch

Right now, wild chimps are listed as endangered while their captive cousins are listed as only threatened. This differentiation lets people breed, sell, ship, and experiment on captive chimps in the US. Adding captive chimps to the endangered species list would change that and would help chimps in zoos, circuses, and in the entertainment industry.

Changing their status will prevent chimps from being used in invasive medical testing procedures and from being taken across state lines. It would also ban international commerce of chimps.

The Humane Society, Chimpanzee Sanctuary NW, and the Jane Goodall Institute all back the proposal.

Read the press release from Chimpanzee Sanctuary NW.

Take Action!

The US Fish and Wildlife Service is taking public feedback about the issue. Please visit this Humane Society page, add your comments, and sign the petition asking US Fish and Wildlife Service to help all chimpanzees by applying Endangered Species Act protections to captive chimpanzees.

Blackfish: A review of the new documentary

Blackfish reveals the complicated life of Tilikum, an orca born in the wild off the coast of Iceland. As a young whale, Tilikum was forcibly separated from his mother and sent to perform at a marine park in Victoria BC. He’s been in captivity since 1983 and is currently confined at SeaWorld in Florida.

The documentary reveals the frustrations Tilikum has endured and how he’s been picked on by other whales in his pool, cooped up in a dark “garage” of sorts during off seasons, and forced to perform year in and year out.

Orcas similar to Tilikum

Out of his frustrations, grew an aggression that wild orcas don’t display toward humans. Tilikum has killed three people, two of which were trainers.

The movie shows the horrors of wild capture and captive breeding. It documents the unnatural acts orcas are forces to perform in front of clueless audiences. The charade SeaWorld conducts is shameful. They lead people into believing these beautiful whales somehow enjoy their time in captivity and are safe and happy.

On the contrary, an orca’s life in captivity is extremely short. They live on average for 9 years from the time they are captives–regardless of how old they were when they entered captivity. In the wild, male orcas can live about 60 years; females up to 100.

Orcas, also called killer whales, live in family units called pods. Each pod speaks a different “language.” They live with or near their pod for their whole lives and travel about 100 miles a day. They are extremely social and have highly developed emotions. To see families separated and grief-stricken and captive whales isolated in concrete pools was heartbreaking. But the film is an important movie to watch.

Blackfish will be released in NY and LA later this summer, and more widely after that. CNN Documentaries is distributing the film on TV in the fall.

It’s a terrific resource and the things you’ll learn apply to all captive marine animals. Sadly, SeaWorld is one of the better marine parks. There are many more orcas who languish is worse conditions, including many at Canada’s Marineland.

What to do

First of all, never go to a marine park like SeaWorld or Marineland. Ask your friends not to go and talk to schools about canceling field trips to marine parks. Marine parks exist for one reason, and one reason alone: making money. Vote with your dollars and spend your time and money somewhere else.

Look at the websites below for information about how to help. Two orcas, Morgan and Lolita, are great candidates for release.

Resources

Blackfish website – Information about the movie, including the trailer and upcoming screenings.

Orca Network – Information about whales in the Pacific Northwest, creating safe whale habitats, and the Free Lolita campaign.

Voice of the Orcas – Interview and current event about conservation and activism.

Miami Sea Prison – Information about captive orcas and the fight to release Lolita, the last surviving whale from the L Pod hunt in 1970.

Free Morgan Foundation – The campaign to release Morgan, an orca currently in captivity in The Netherlands.

Marineland Animal Defense – A campaign to end animal captivity at Marineland in Niagara Falls Canada.

Demo at the UW National Primate Research Center

This past Saturday NARN held a demo outside the UW National Primate Research Center. The demo was organized to coincide with World Week for Animals in Labs.

The Blue Building

Hidden inside this dark, unmarked, sunless building, 700 primates live and die for research, subjected to painful surgeries and traumatic procedures until their usefulness is over. The Blue Building at 3000 Western Ave is the main facility for the UW National Primate Research Center, the largest of eight across the country.

About a dozen of us spent a few hours with signs and fliers and shared info with passers-by. Many people were shocked to learn that wasteful and cruel experiments were happening in their neighborhood. The beautiful sculpture park is across the street, and no one suspects cruelty is around them.

protesting animal cruelty

The University of Washington spends millions of taxpayer dollars conducting needless tests that haven’t resulted in any contribution to humans or animals. Harvard recently decided to close its primate research center and it’s time for UW to do the same.

The UW has even been cited with safety and cruelty violations including letting a monkey starve to death, and performing unauthorized surgeries. The UW breeds monkeys and removes babies from their mothers soon after they’re born.

WWAIL Demo

We demo to let the public know about these atrocities but we also demo to let animal abusers know their deeds aren’t going unnoticed.

 What can you do?

Please send a polite letter requesting the UW reevaluate its policies regarding animal experimentation and commit to long-term reduction of the use of any animals for science.

Michael Young, President
301 Gerberding Hall, Box 351230
Seattle, WA 98195
206-543-5010
pres@uw.edu

The University of Washington Board of Regents
139 Gerberding Hall, Box 351264
Seattle, WA 98195-1264
206-543-1633
regents@uw.edu

If you’re a UW grad, you can also contact the alumni association and tell them that you won’t join them (or that you’ll be cancelling your membership) unless the university agrees not to use live animals in their research.

UW Alumni association
Box 359508
Seattle, WA 98195-9508
206-543-0540 or 1-800-AUW-ALUM
Fax: 206-685-0611
uwalumni@uw.edu

If you attend or are employed by the UW you can anonymously report any incidents or patterns of abuse or neglect of animals in the care of the university. Provide as detailed observations as you can, with dates, locations, animals involved, their serial numbers (if possible) the condition of the animals, and what incidents occurred to uwkills@narn.org.

We will protect your identity and initiate the investigation. You can also contact us to let us know what experiments are going on, who the researchers are, and what the animals go through. If you’re a student, please join or volunteer for Campus Animal Rights Educators (CARE) at the UW campus.

Harvard announces closure of primate research center

Press release reprinted from Stop Animal Exploitation Now.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Contact: Michael Budkie, SAEN, 513-575-5517 513-703-9865 (cell)

Harvard Announces Closure of Primate Research Center; Watchdog Group Applauds Move; Calls for Retirement of Primates

BOSTON/SOUTHBOROUGH, MA – Harvard Medical School has issued a statement announcing that the New England Primate Research Center will be closing within 24 months.

Harvard’s New England Primate Research Center has been embroiled in an ongoing controversy following the negligent deaths of at least 4 primates. The facility is currently under investigation by the USDA and faces a potentially major federal fine for multiple violations of the Animal Welfare Act.

“Harvard wants the public to believe that this closure is due to economics,” said Michael A. Budkie, A.H.T., Executive Director, SAEN (Stop Animal Exploitation NOW!). “That is simply not true. The only way Harvard could quash this scandal is to close the primate center, because even last year’s resignation of the Center’s Director could not end their ineptitude. This closure is the direct result of pressure from activists led by SAEN.”

“The closure of Harvard’s Primate Research Center is the best news I have ever heard,” added Budkie. “The potential exists to bring freedom to many monkeys and to redirect millions of dollars into clinical and epidemiological research which will more directly benefit humans.”

SAEN has announced plans to contact the Harvard Medical School’s administration to explore the possibility of placing at least some of the primates in sanctuaries.

“These primates have suffered enough,” added Budkie. “They deserve a chance to have a new life in another environment where their needs will be put first.”

National Primate Liberation Week: Win a Vintage 1985 Animal Rights Shirt

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.

DSC04050

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.

Britches Tshirt

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!

Film Screening: Maximum Tolerated Dose

Maxium Tolerated Dose Movie Poster

 

As part of National Primate Liberation Week, NARN and Seattle ADL will be bringing you a screening of the moving new documentary film, Maximum Tolerated Dose. Equal parts found-footage mash-up, verité investigation, and artful meditation, the film charts the lives of both humans and non-humans who have experienced animal testing first-hand, with hauntingly honest testimony of scientists and lab technicians whose ethics demanded they choose a different path, as well as the simultaneously heartwarming and heartbreaking stories of animals who have seen both sides of the cage. This film will help us re-ignite the debate about animal testing by bringing these rarely-heard perspectives to the fore.

Please check out the film trailer.

This free event is your opportunity to learn more about animal experimentation in the medical industry, think about the primates and other non-human animals in laboratories right here in our city, and most importantly, invite friends and family who haven’t thought twice about this issue. This meaningful and thoughtful film will leave you inspired by the honest and open conversations about what happens in laboratories. We may even have a special guest speaker! This is not an event to miss

Monday, Oct 8, 2012
7:30-9:30 PM
FREE
Odd Duck Studio – Capitol Hill
1214 10th Avenue Seattle, WA 98122 (near Union and 10th)

 

Bonus: As with all of the National Primate Liberation Week activities, every person who attends this screening will be entered into the drawing for the mega awesome vintage 1985 Animal Rights t-shirt showing the story of Britches, the famous baby macaque monkey rescued by the ALF.

See you there!

 

Declaration of Solidarity

We, as the Board of Directors of the Northwest Animal Rights Network,
recognize the culpability of corporations in the systematic exploitation and oppression of animals, in the promotion of their use, and in the violation of their interests by reducing them to commodities.

Whereas,
having examined the resolution and declaration voted upon and passed by the New York City General Assembly of the Occupy Wall Street movement, which takes a united stand against abusive corporate power and expresses solidarity “in a time when corporations, which place profit over people, self-interest over justice, and oppression over equality, run our governments;”

And whereas,
noting with approval within their declaration the following statement among 23 listed grievances of corporate malfeasance, “(t)hey have profited off of the torture, confinement, and cruel treatment of countless animals, and actively hide these practices;”

And whereas,
we recognize that corporate oppression is negatively impacting all beings, both human and nonhuman, and see the need to stand in solidarity acting as agents for all human and nonhuman animals who are exploited and oppressed to express a feeling of mass injustice;

Thereby,
we stand unified as one with the New York City General Assembly, the Occupy Wall Street movement, the Occupy Seattle movement, and the other attendant populist movements across the nation. We will act in concert with their stated call to assert our power to peaceably assemble; occupy public space; create a process to address the problems all beings face; and generate solutions accessible to everyone.

On October 6, 2011, this resolution and declaration was presented at NARN’s monthly board meeting, voted upon, and passed unanimously .

Tonight's NARN Social Discussion

Note: this entry has been edited since its initial posting.

Tonight’s NARN Social was a great time. We had some new faces (both were new to me, at least), and some spirited discussion.

The topic I came up with at the midnight hour–literally at midnight last night–was: How can we reconcile animal liberation and animal interests with animal welfare regulation in the agriculture and food industries? How much confidence can we have that changes will be made for the better when Smithfield Food’s phasing out of gestation crates has been delayed, and the veganness of KFC Canada’s veggie chicken sandwich is in question? Does it ultimately matter in the long term, or are these dead-ends on the road to animal liberation?

That’s a mouthful. It was all I could come up with, but it’s a huge issue. I framed it in a way that asks more of a practical question I was too tired to realize when I wrote it: can we regulate animal industries? There are certainly limits on what we can regulate–but the limits on what we can abolish are greater, at least logistically and politically.

Some great points were made in discussion tonight, once we hit on the topic: all social movements have ups and downs, gains and losses, and they all need different kinds of people working on things. I was glad the newcomers had interesting perspectives to share from queer rights and other, more historically established social movements. It was another good reminder (in the wake of Let Live) that all of us working to help animals are chipping away at a larger edifice of exploitation, and that change takes time.

I would go so far to say that it’s a myth that animal welfare and abolition of animal exploitation are exclusive or incompatible with one another. If we only sought to protect animals while they are still being exploited, we definitely wouldn’t get anywhere on the animal rights front. Fortunately, the movement as a whole is not taking things on in such a manner, but instead with a variety of positions, groups, and approaches. This diversity is a good thing. Besides that, animal liberation is probably a long way off if it’s going to happen–so it’s a worthy goal to relieve the more egregious animal suffering that’s out there.

(Note: It’s not that I don’t believe in liberation, it’s just that I’m skeptical about the progress humanity will make on this or any front–but still hopeful.)

I might also make the argument that if we could persuade more people to take action to make animals used for food suffer less (eating fewer of them, not intensively confining them, etc), it might cultivate more awareness and compassion, which might make people easier to reach and persuade to stop exploiting animals altogether.

There is certainly a concern that people becoming comfortable with so-called “Happy Meat” could entrench meat eaters and others who might otherwise be persuaded to go vegan. It’s my feeling that this depends on how pressured people are to give up their (fictional) humane meat.

But in the sense that it reduces suffering, efforts by PETA and HSUS to improve farming conditions is a good thing. But it’s far more important that the vegan message be promoted. I have no doubt that if factory farming was abolished tomorrow, all activist efforts focused on welfare would go towards promoting veganism. (I have yet to read Francione’s entire blog entry about this, which I linked to above, so I may write more on this subject once I have.)

(Edit: Before editing, I erroneously implied that PETA and HSUS both support veganism. HSUS doesn’t particularly support veganism, but PETA does. My point was: it’s good that welfare improvements are underway, but if there was no effort to spread the vegan message, it obviously would not help end animal exploitation. The converse is not so, however–animal liberation would end any need for animal welfare campaigns in the current sense)

It might be a harder sell without the horrific imagery of factory farms, but the situation would be less dire in terms of animal suffering, and abusive agricultural practices (not to mention exploitation) exist independent of factory farms. This movement may not have gotten the kick start it needed if factory farming hadn’t come into its heyday, but I would certainly celebrate if those dank sheds disappeared from the landscape–even if they were only replaced by somewhat less brutal farms.

In its current guise, the movement, like the factory farm, is not old. As someone said tonight, and as many others have said in the past: it’s going to take a lot of smaller steps before animals are truly free.

It’s always heartening to be reminded of the quantity and quality of people who are in it for the long haul.

-Bryan