We came out in the lousy weather to hold up a large banner on the Aurora overpass during morning rush hour, in order to remind people of what happens to turkeys this time of year. We held the banner in the rain and waved at drivers. This sounds like a crumby experience, but it was actually fun, hanging out with other cool vegan activists. Many drivers were invited to consider the torture that so many beautiful birds are put through, simply because of a tradition.
Wayward Cafe has new owners, and is reopen for regular hours (Tues-Sun, 9am-4pm). They will keep much of the menu the same, make some new additions, and bring more consistency to the restaurant. Visit them for their tasty food at 901 NE 55th ST (just off of Roosevelt on 55th).
We met at Teapot Vegetarian House for this month’s Seattle Animal Rights Meetup’s discussion about how our diet is the most significant contribution to the destruction of the planet. In 2006 the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reported that the ranching and slaughter of cows and other animals generates an estimated 18% of total human-induced greenhouse-gas emissions globally.
We also talked about such topics as the effectiveness of PETA’s tactics; what to do when you feel passionate about animal suffering but others around you are unconcerned; how to answer the common question, “You’re vegan? So what do you do for protein?”; being required to cook meat at work when you’re a vegan; and the best vegan restaurants around town.
It’s good to talk with other folks who really understand where you’re coming from. Please join us at the next Seattle Animal Rights Meetup!
Our trip to Precious Life Animal Sanctuary started off rainy, with lots of wet bunnies scampering into their underground burrows. But the rain let up and the fog filled in the mountains surrounding the valley.
Some people hold this myth of vegans as weak, unhealthy, self-denying ascetics. But the vegans I know are some of the toughest, most hard-working, hedonistic food-loving people I’ve ever met.
Contractor Andy put us to work in the barn building a new shed for the animals. Theo and other students from UPS filled the barn with sounds of hammering, while Mike, Andy and Tove power-sawed 2×4′s.
(As Tove said delightedly, “I just love power tools!”)
Mark, Carrie, Wil, Rachel, and Mark’s mom dug up thistles in the relocated Woodland Park rabbits’ enclosure, while Ralph, Bob, Kim, Elisabeth, and David wielded pick axes digging trenches for fences to protect trees from the forthcoming pigs’ irresistible skin-scratching.
Later we all found ourselves sitting around Ralph and Carol’s living room gorging ourselves on a delicious arrangement of vegan food like pasta, baked beans, fruit salad, hummus, guacamole, and homemade pie with apples from their own trees.
And of course we got to spend quality time with all the animals, feeding carrots to bunnies, giving cows the size of cars scratches behind their ears, and admiring the horses and burros.
Remember all the cute bunnies you used to see hopping around Greenlake? They were abandoned there by owners who got them as cute live presents for Easter and then gave up on them. And they were being shot at by people, attacked by dogs, and carried off by hawks. One day Seattleites Mark and his girlfriend Carrie rescued one, then decided they had to save the rest. So they carried out a plan to relocate over 100 rabbits, the tame ones going to animal shelters for adoption and the really wild ones to Precious Life Animal Sanctuary.
The Animal Rights Meetup gathered at Bamboo Garden, where guest speaker Mark told us all about the Woodland Park Rabbit Rescue he and Carrie pulled off. They also talked about the logistical and ethical challenges of animal rescues in general, along with problems like perceptions by media and other animal rightists. As Elizabeth put it, “Learning about different animals and the challenges they face with humans is always interesting. It is very pleasant to hear about events that have been successful in improving their environment.”
- Something Rachel pointed out was that if you see something that bothers you–something you feel needs to get done–don’t wait for someone else to come up with a plan and carry it out. Just do it yourself. Mark and Carrie did just that. They saw a problem, and they solved it. If fur shops bug you, protest one! And people will join in and help you.
Ringling Bros has been cited over 100 times by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for repeatedly violating minimum standards of the Animal Welfare Act.
Their offenses include failure to provide veterinary care, safe and secure enclosures, sufficient space, adequate exercise, and proper feeding and sanitation. These violations pose a risk to both the public and to the animals’ lives.
Ringling Bros is on trial for allegations of abuses to their Asian elephants, in violation of the federal Endangered Species Act.
Former circus employees have testified that the elephants are so tightly chained by one front and one hind leg they cannot even turn around,
and chaining is a practice used on circus elephants virtually 96% of their lives.
In the wild, animals spend most of their lives foraging for food and raising young rather than spinning on giant balls or jumping through flames.
To perform these tricks, circus animals are repeatedly and brutally trained using electric prods, spiked metal hooks and whips.
“The idea that it is funny to see wild animals coerced into acting like clumsy humans, or thrilling to see powerful beasts reduced to cringing cowards by a whipcracking trainer is primitive and medieval. It stems from the old idea that we are superior to other species and have the right to hold dominion over them.”
—Dr. Desmond Morris, anthropologist, animal behaviorist, author
We all came out at lunch time to speak up for the dolphins in front of the Japanese Consulate downtown. In light of Japan’s killing of over 20,000 dolphins and porpoises each year, we called upon Japanese authorities to ban the brutal slaughter of dolphins, porpoises, and other small whales.
Orca Network, Northwest Animal Rights Network, and Seattle Animal Rights Meetup were all there. It’s true, some people—like the woman who looked straight out of “Sex and the City” (or was it “101 Dalmations?”) who waved an impatient hand at us with a “No, I don’t want any!!” as she sped away in her convertible—had more important things to do than worry about dolphins being slaughtered. But most people were downright shocked to learn that people actually kill and eat dolphins.
Every year in Japan, fishermen round up and slaughter hundreds and even thousands of dolphins and other small whales. In the small fishing village of Taiji, entire schools of dolphins are driven into a hidden cove after a prolonged chase. Once trapped inside the cove, the fishermen kill the dolphins, slashing their throats with knives or stabbing them with spears. The water turns red with their blood, and the air fills with their screams.
[Photo above: Dolphins being lanced as they thrash around in the shallows on Iki Island, Nagasaki Prefecture. A similar fate awaits almost all those rounded up in ongoing "drive fisheries."]
Wil, Claudine, Bryan, Rabbit, Anna- Lynne, Andre, Michael, Rachel and David helped spread the message of cruelty-free living Labor Day weekend at Bumber-shoot. Trillions (well it seemed like it) of people packed themselves into Seattle Center to listen to Stone Temple Pilots. And, well, I guess a few people came to see the other bands, too. We gave out lots of Why Vegan? pamphlets and Veg Restaurant Guides, and we got lots of “Thanks!/Perfect!/Hey cool!”‘s from people. Tabling was real easy and smooth, and we got more members, too.
One guy said he doesn’t eat hardly any meat…except for bacon:
“Dude, I LOOOOOOOVE bacon! I mean, if they made cigarettes out of bacon, I would totally NOT quit smoking next month!”
So, okay, that’s a challenge: find this guy a tasty vegan bacon alternative. I promised him I’d look. I mean, if bacon is the only thing holding him back from 1) helping to save the planet, 2) avoiding cancer, and 3) saving a lot of poor pigs’ skins, then by gum let’s point him in the direction of some faux bacon! If you have any ideas, tell us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!
Our most energetic, lively discussion yet, while we all ate vegan pizza at Pizza Pi. We learned that the University of Washington’s Regional Primate Research Center (WRPRC) has more than one animal experimentation facility in Seattle, and even owns a breeding facility in Indonesia that captures monkeys from the wild, all at taxpayer expense. Their baby monkey research lab sits near Magnuson Park, and their primate virology lab faces the Olympic Sculpture Park. UW has been genetically engineering monkeys to be more susceptible to getting particular diseases for their experiments. We also made plans for building public awareness and media coverage of these abuses.
U.W.’s Washington Regional Primate Research Center (WRPRC) is located just across the street from the Olympic Sculpture Park downtown. It plays a major part in the torture and killing of primates every year. UW is the most federally-funded animal research facility in the country, receiving over $270 million last year from NIH. The university holds captive over 16,000 animals, including 3,000 primates.
At the Primate Center, UW researchers cut holes into macaque monkeys’ skulls. Recording cylinders are attached to their skulls, so that electrodes may be fed directly into the brain. The monkeys are then confined to restraint chairs and forced to perform behavioral experiments. Juice or water is often used as a reward in these experiments. To make the experiments more effective the primates are deprived of fluids except when they are performing the experiments.
These experiments have been going on for decades with no conclusive results. In addition, these projects are very similar to one another, potentially duplicating experimental procedures.
We shared a blustery day with the pigs, dogs, cats, and llama at Pigs Peace Sanctuary.
Little baby piglet Emma Sue, who was saved from being a factory farmed pig, is growing bigger by the day, galloping around and making barking noises. Maybe it’s because she and pug dog Tibbet have taken to each other like Tom Sawyer & Huck Finn, running around the sanctuary creating mischief.
Maria, Emma, and I cleared out old straw from the barn, while Margaret and Jason scooped up poop in the fields. After a huge country potluck provided by Judy, she led us on a walk through the forest, with all the dogs in tow, to the sanctuary’s two cabins, and we took turns riding the zip line. All the dogs took a splash in the pigs’ hidden forest pond. I can’t wait to go back there.