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.

Animal Sanctuary Support: Pigs Peace

Lots of piggies.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. MaybeEmma Sue & Tibbet. 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.

Maria & a sleeping buddy.

Vegan Outreach: Capitol Hill Block Party

The Block Party was crammed with hipster kids in funked-out punker clothes, the girls Pat Benatar look-alikes and the guys cracking sardonic jokes to look cool and sophisticated for their friends. I’ve never seen so many aviator sunglasses in my life. New volunteer Fernando (photo below) from the Seattle Animal Rights Meetup and NARN members Jenn, Anna and David were rockin the scene on Broadway & Pine, handing out Veg Restaurant Guides to concert-goers. There were less “I like meat!” comments this time, and these primarily came from the girls for some reason.

Fernando se habla espanol.Mostly what I heard were things like “SWEET! I totally NEED one of these!” which always makes ya feel good to be out there spreading the good news about a cruelty-free lifestyle. There were also a few surprised looks, but I think that’s because people didn’t see a connection between a music fest and veg restaurant guides. That’s alright–we still gave out a ton of ‘em. And I didn’t spot a single pamphlet thrown on the ground. Kids were folding them into the back pockets of their tight jeans, or even standing in line looking through the Why Vegan? pamphlets and lamenting the sad state of pigs in cages. It was a good day to be out there flyin’ the flag for animals.

Community Presentation: "Zoos: Elephants at Woodland Park"

We hosted Nancy Farnam from Friends of Woodland Park Zoo Elephants, who told us the history of the elephants’ imprisonment and the need for their release to the elephant sanctuary in Tennessee. 

12 people came out Chaco Canyon for this Animal Rights Meetup, including Elizabeth, Bryan, David, Sri, Hol and her family, Brandon, and Rachel. As Elizabeth said afterward, “The right thing to do is obvious. That doesn’t mean it will be done.”

We also addressed the following questions:

♣Zoo Curator Nancy Hawkes says zoo animals are “ambassadors for what is going on in the wild and without them, out of sight out of mind. People will not care about them as much as they will if they have that kind of one-on-one experience that we can provide here.” Do you agree?

♥Is it impossible to tell whether elephants are happy in zoos? In the wild, elephants also face difficult circumstances, such as destruction of their habitat and diminishing numbers. Are zoos simply giving animals the best life they can?

♦What does viewing animals in zoos teach people about our relationship to wild animals?

♣Are zoos primarily for people’s entertainment, or do they promote conservation by preserving habitat and protecting endangered animals?

♥What is the difference between zoos and animal sanctuaries?

*Recommended reading/listening: KUOW’s “Woodland Park Zoo and Its Critics Debate What is Best for the Elephants”

Vegan Outreach: Bite of Seattle

The Seattle Center was packed with moving masses of people carrying plates of food to and fro. New volunteer Katrina from the Animal Rights Meetup came out and rocked the party with her down-pat hospitality skills, handing out Veg Restaurant Guides and Even If You Like Meat pamphlets like a natural. Rachel got a spot on the other side of the EMP, and I threw myself into the middle of the crowd deep inside the festival near the “REPENT, YOU SINNERS!” folks.

I heard more “I LIKE MEAT!” comments from passersby than usual, but to me this indicates something interesting. If someone finds a free vegetarian restaurant guide threatening enough that they feel compelled to defend their eating style with a shout like that, are they truly confident about their meat eating? Or are they announcing to all around that their only reason for continuing to participate in animal cruelty, environmental destruction, and courtship with health problems is the fairly trivial reason that they “like meat”?

Activist's diary: Elephant Vigil

Over 50 animal activists and Friends of Woodland Park Zoo Elephants stood outside on a sunny Friday afternoon to be a presence for the elephants at the same time as the zoo’s Jungle Party their largest fundraiser of the year. We asked donors not to donate to the zoo until the elephants are freed to the 2,700 acre Elephant Sanctuary          As Elizabeth said, “It was an opportunity to make others think about thier actions without being too in-your-face. I hope we made some of the big money contributors think!”

   What a great chance to get the truth out about these elephants’ lives behind bars, so far away from their original homes. Such great people showed up to stand up for these elephants. 

Elephants Chai, Bamboo, and Watoto spend 18 hours per day locked in a 18′ X 23′ room. Watoto in the shower room at WPZooBut in the wild, the planet’s largest land mammal normally needs to walk 10 – 30 miles a day for their physical and mental health. Captive elephants tend to live about half their natural lifespan in zoos. Chai paces on her front legs, Watoto has arthritis, and Bamboo bobs her head—evidence of captivity-induced stress and suffering.

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