Community Presentation: "Global Warming + Animal Agriculture"

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!

Animal Sanctuary Support: Precious Life

Wet bunnies.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.Andy & Tove love power tools!

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!”)Wil takes CONTROL of the thistles.

 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.Ralph & Bob wield picks.

 

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. David gets a friendly lick.

 

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.   

 

UPS students & David find new friends.Djinn & Heather make new friends.

 

I would never have imagined when I got involved in NARN how much manual labor, animal petting, and delicious food stuffing I’d be doing. But sometimes in life, things turn out better than you ever hoped. 

 

Community Presentation: "Animal Rescues: Woodland Park Rabbits"

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.

Opposing Cruelty: Circus Protest

Whitney & EricThe Ringling Bros circus came to Everett and animal advocates from all over were there to educate circus attendees about the animal cruelty involved in the “greatest show on earth.”

 

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.

 

Despite what Ringling Bros says, viewing wild animals performing in circuses is not a realistic educational tool.

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

Opposing Cruelty: Dolphin Slaughter Protest 9/3/08

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 The cute dolphins MUST LIVE.porpoises each year, we called upon Japanese authorities to ban the brutal slaughter of dolphins, porpoises, and other small whales.

Mike & Tove, loving the world's dolphins.Orca Network, Northwest Animal Rights Network, and Seattle Animal Rights Meetup were all there.Everyone at the Japanese Consulate 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. Dolphins are lanced in Japan.

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."]

Vegan Outreach: Bumbershoot

Lots & lots & lots of people.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 info@narn.org. Thanks!

Opposing Cruelty: Rodeo Protest

We all thought it’d be much worse. Protesting a bull-riding event at the rodeo, we figured we were gonna get spit on and shouted at. I expected I’d at least get something thrown at me. My mom simply said sadly, “Well, I hope you don’t get beat-up, is all.”

It was a beautiful day on the ferry over to Bremerton. Outside the entrance to the Xtreme Bulls event at the Kitsap Rodeo, a couple of cops came over to us: “Hi–how many of you are coming today? Just you three? Well, we heard you were coming today, so thought we’d come over and say hi. If you need anything, or if anybody gives you a hard time, we’ll be right over there.” Patty offers rodeo reality FLYYY-errrrrrs!

Rachel got out her sign saying, “www.rodeocruelty.com,” I held one with “Don’t Support Animal Cruelty,” and Patty worked her crowd magic calling out, “Free Rodeo Reality FLY-errrrrrs! Get yer free FLYYY-errrrrrs!”  Though it did rain hard on us, and most people who passed by chuckled or mumbled something to themselves, without a doubt every single person who attended the bull-riding contest that day saw us and read our signs exhorting them to think about the animals they were about to see. Even if all we did was plant little seeds of doubt in people’s minds about the “entertainment” they came to see that day, then we were successful in bringing attention to animal suffering.

There were some gems for comments, though:David, soaked to the skin in the rain.

A tall lanky guy in a cowboy hat makes a beeline for us before his girlfriend steers him away. He blurts out, “You’re missin’ the f-’n point!” (Rachel leans over and mutters to me, “Yeah, I guess we are, buddy.”)

A dad says to his 2-year-old daughter who he’s pushing along in a stroller, “Let’s support animal cruelty, Sally! Yes, let’s go watch some animal cruelty.” (What must his daughter think of this?)

Some young kids slouch by and one yells out, “Go back to Woodstock, if you can’t kill anything, ya HIPPIES!” (Rachel couldn’t stop laughing at this one.)

Truth is, the huge size and fierce appearance of a bull does not make him impervious to pain. Bulls receive the worst abuse from electric shocking in rodeos. Cattle are particularly sensitive to electricity, and rodeo animal abusers use that to their advantage to make calm, docile bulls appear to be wild killers.

If these supposedly “mean” animals were “born to buck,” they The man on the right uses a Power-Mite electric prod to deliver 5,000 volts to a confined bull.wouldn’t have tormenting straps tightened around their flanks, or get blasted with 5,000 volts of electricity from a Power-Mite electric prod to a confined bull. In rodeos the prods are often used on animals in pens who are unable to move or even turn around. The rodeo people use the pain of the prod to force the animals to “perform” — to run or buck against their nature and beyond their natural abilities.

Rodeos victimize and abuse animals for profit. These animals are trucked around the country in intensely hot trailers, kicked, hit, and shocked in their pens, then forced to act wild, run and buck through pain, fear and torment.

Community Presentation: "Animal Testing: Monkeys at U.W."

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.UW Primate Center--the blue building at 3010 Western Ave

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.

Vegan Outreach: Hempfest

Hempfest 2008

A teenage kid with puffy, half-closed bloodshot eyes ambles up to our table. He spies the free stickers we have out.

No joke. It's true.“‘Whoa, wha–? Milk’s got pus in it? For real? But doesn’t milk taste, like, SO GOOD, dude? Heh heh, I don’t even CARE if it’s got pus in it, yo!”

The rest of his friends crowd around, looking at our literature. One guy takes a look at Bailee and me, then says, “But what do you do for protein? Is it really a myth that you can’t get enough protein if you don’t eat meat? I mean, you both look pretty healthy and everything.”

So that’s an opening to talk about how it’s really possible to care about animal suffering AND be happy and healthy at the same time. For these kids, maybe they’ve always thought they couldn’t do anything to help the tortured animals who die for their food. And maybe they’ve never met vegans who were happy to answer their questions about how they go about leaving factory farming behind.Rachel KNOWS you can go vegan.

Mark offers Jerry Garcia a Veg Restaurant Guide. No, seriously.Lots of people helped out at the NARN table at Hempfest. Rachel (above), Mark (left), Bryan (below), Patty, Carrie, Claudine, Rabbit, Andy, Jason, Andre, Bailee, and David handed out over a thousand Why Vegan? pamphlets. It was a real success in spreading the cruelty-free lifestyle message. Bryan and Rabbit at the NARN outreach table at Hempfest 2008.

Action alerts, news, tips, stories, and resources for Animal Advocates in the NW