Tag Archives: demonstrations

Running with the bulls

It’s time again for another blood sport bath. Every summer from July 6th to 14th, the San Fermin Festival takes place in Pamplona, Spain. It’s a festival honoring Saint Fermin, a 3rd Century Roman who converted to Christianity.

Sadly, the festival revolves around the running of the bulls. Every morning bulls are forced onto slippery cobblestone streets filled with thousands of crazed revelers. As fireworks and explosives go off, the terrified animals run through a cordoned off section that creates a chute of sorts. The route leads to a bull ring, where they will be tortured and killed.

Photo credit: Bernard bill5 at nl.wikipedia
Photo credit: Bernard bill5 at nl.wikipedia

The festival is steeped in tradition related to transporting bulls to market. Today, it attracts mainly tourists, who think running among terrified animals makes them macho. It’s not brave or masculine. It’s shameful.

Many Spaniards oppose this cruelty. This year, animal rights activists from PETA UK and Spain’s Anima Naturalis joined forces to demonstrate against the barbaric practice. They stood in coffins (representing the 48 bulls that will be killed during the festival) to protest.

Photo credit: RAFA RIVAS/AFP/Getty Images
Photo credit: RAFA RIVAS/AFP/Getty Images

The San Fermin festival attracts thousands of tourists to watch the bull runs. Bull fighting is actually on the decline but tourism keeps it alive. When travelling, stay far away from bull fights and other forms of cruelty and vote with your dollar. Spain is a beautiful country so enjoy the scenery, hospitality, dance, art, architecture, nature and beaches instead.

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.


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

The University of Washington Board of Regents
139 Gerberding Hall, Box 351264
Seattle, WA 98195-1264

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

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.

World Week for Animals in Labs

We’re in the middle of World Week for Animals in Labs (WWAIL). April 20th to 28th is a week filled with demonstrations and events to educate people about the horrors of animal testing and about how needless it is, and to let researchers know that they are accountable for the cruelty they inflict on innocent animals.

Animal research is not advancing the medical industry or helping to cure disease. Real progress comes from other models such as genomic tests, human cell cultures, medical imaging and clinical trials.

wwail bunny

In observation of WWAIL, NARN will be holding a demo in front of the University of Washington Primate Experimentation facility at 3000 Western Avenue in Seattle, WA. Please join this Saturday, April 27th from noon to 2 pm and help educate passers-by about what goes on behind the walls of the “Blue Building.”

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

NARN will supply signs and leaflets, but you’re also encouraged to make your own creative signs. Questions? Email info@narn.org

For more information, check out http://uwkills.wordpress.com/.

Protesting the fur industry

Have you ever seen anti-fur demonstrations downtown Seattle?

Anti-fur demonstrators at Nordstrom

If you’re walking past Nordstrom and you’re offered an anti-fur leaflet, here’s why:

Nordstrom continues to sell fur despite the cruel nature of the industry. As long as fur is sold at Nordstrom, Action for Animals will continue to organize demonstrations outside the department store. NARN members frequently join AFA at the demos to shed light on the horrors that millions of animals endure in the name of fashion. Farmed fur animals gassed, poisoned, or genitally electrocuted. Wild-caught animals suffer for days in traps and break bones and teeth trying to free themselves.

We want Nordstrom to know that it’s unacceptable to sell fur, and we want to let consumers know about the barbaric practices they’d support if they buy fur.

The good news is, fur is completely avoidable. If you think suffering and death is too high a price to pay for fashion, you’ve got choices. There are a lot of retailers who don’t sell fur. There’s even a list to help you shop with your conscience.

So if you see AFA and NARN outside Nordstrom, say hi or join in! We appreciate your support. While you’re at it, tell Nordstrom you won’t shop there until they stop selling fur. Here’s a petition you can sign and a sample letter.

A Niche I Love or: How I learned to stop worrying and love the blog

Over the past year, my involvement in NARN has lead me down an interesting and somewhat painful path to self knowledge. It’s taken time, but I’ve had to define and redefine the nature of my activism, and my place within the animal rights movement. A lot has changed for me since I became an activist, especially because I live with a form of muscular dystrophy, a degenerative muscle disorder causing muscle weakness and wasting. (I’m lucky to have a mild form of the disease.)

For over a year now, I’ve been attending demonstrations despite the fact that it’s physically difficult and exhausting for me (and if I’m not very careful, painful afterward). Some people might be tempted to view this as admirable or determined, but it was largely my stubbornness and slowness to learn that were responsible, along with a slight disregard for my own health.

Several months into the foie gras campaign, the frequency of the demos picked up, and after attending two in the same weekend, I was left completely exhausted well into the next week. That’s what it took to make me realize that I might need to take my condition and health more seriously. I was emotionally burned out, too, and it was clear I needed to reconsider my role within NARN. The obvious answer was to spend more of my time doing technical work, particularly on the NARN web site.

There’s never a shortage of things to do for the VegSeattle and NARN.org websites, and I was already having a hard time keeping up, so it was the obvious choice. But it still wasn’t easy to talk myself out of demoing in favor of sitting at my desk–I do enough of that at my day job–but I was left with little other choice if I was to take proper care of myself. Although somewhat resigned, I stuck to my decision.

This is perhaps the first major lesson many activists must learn: take care of yourself first. I believe Kim McCoy (of Sea Shepherd) emphasized this at the opener for the Let Live Animal Rights Conference in Portland, Oregon. It’s clear why this is advice that should be taken to heart: if you don’t find a balance in your life and take care of yourself, you won’t be an effective animal advocate. There was a lot of talk at the conference about knowing your strengths, doing what you’re good at, and constantly re-evaluating what you’re doing to see if it works. While a lot of this was focused at the campaign level, it clearly hit me on a more personal level.

Other aspects of Let Live helped me gain additional perspective on my situation, and renewed inspiration. It felt like I gained a new lease on life, although it also left me exhausted (from the drive to Portland, not getting enough sleep, and the sheer number of people attending). I also found it difficult to socialize in this state, which led me to realize that perhaps I wasn’t cut out to network on behalf of NARN–so the same big questions were on my mind that weekend and I plenty of time to ponder them: what was my role? What were my strengths? It was pretty clear that web sitework was one. Writing has also long been a passion of mine–fiction and otherwise–and Let Live provided me with a few pathways to learn more about how these areas intersect with activism.

I attended workshops on design (by Josh Hooten of Herbivore, whose clothing I wore on several occasions during the conference) and writing (by Jasmin Singer of Farm Sanctuary). What both of these had in common was behind-the-scenes work. While often less glamorous and less recognized, supporting the infrastructure of the movement is as important as having people at protests. It also offers opportunities for nearly anyone to be involved—regardless of their abilities. The internet has opened Pandora’s box on this front: blogs, social networking sites, content writing and IT work for websites; the list goes on. And this is on top of other forms of office activism: preparing literature, sending letters and emails, doing basic administrative and financial work for animal rights organizations, etc. The possibilities are almost unlimited.

So if you’re new to activism and looking to get involved, realize that you have a host of options—including things as simple as encouraging friends and families to adopt a more compassionate lifestyle, the most basic form of activism. Prospective activists should also be made aware of the various ways in which they can contribute, although demand for such work usually ensures that it’s sought out (NARN certainly has some such opportunities, and we’re happy to accept help from volunteers). What’s more, this can make it easier to participate in animal advocacy without leaving your home, and without having to so much as leave your comfort zone. You can work when you want to on your own schedule, and if I sound like an ad for a job stuffing envelopes at home, it’s only because I’m excited about my new found focus on this sort of work.

I hope my experiences will inspire anyone reading this to do more – and do whatever you can to help animals. I wrote above that you don’t have to leave your comfort zone to do activism, but I hope all activists will choose to challenge themselves: you can always do more by trying things you’re not initially comfortable with. You might feel like you’re too shy or otherwise not good for front line activism, but don’t discount it without trying it. If you don’t like it, try it again, and remember that some forms of activism will never be comfortable or easy–but they are worthwhile. Even if it was unhealthy for me, I value what I learned about the movement and myself on the front lines.

So do what you can–and don’t run yourself into the ground. Remember, the animals are counting on us to be our best.

-Bryan Schultz