Did you know that we are going to the Animal Rights National Conference June 27-June 30, 2013 in Washington DC? It’s true! Well, not the whole board, or every NARN member, but one board member and hopefully some NARN supporters.
If you haven’t heard of this conference, then you’ll be astounded by its breath: 3+ days of content, networking sessions, 90+ speakers, an awards banquet, 80+ vegan vendors, movie screenings, amazing sponsors (see below), and more than 1000 attendees. Not to mention, one of my personal heroes, stand up comedian, Myq Kaplan. Check out the extensive program.
I’m personally most excited by the sessions that focus on new strategies and the psychology of social change. Here are some of the talks I plan to attend and hopefully bring back all sorts of smarts for NARN and our NW community:
I’m particularly drawn to the talks that include Dr. Alex Hershaft. Originally from Warsaw Poland, Dr. Hershaft is the founder of FARM USA and a holocaust survivor. I think his story, his life, his dedication, and even his non-AR reputation are fascinating and I hope to get to meet him personally.
If you want to get last-minute flight to DC and join me, please do! If not, comment below on the talks you want me to attend and blog about. I can also purchase the audio recordings of any session you want for $9, the key notes for $15 each, or the entire 3 day conference for only $150.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
Charges against Amy Meyer have apparently been dropped. Hmm.
I am betting Auschwitzian walls are going to be going up around the Smith Slaughterhouse in no time at all.
Twenty-five year old Amy Meyer was arrested and charged with violating Utah’s new “Ag Gag” bill that makes it illegal for citizens to record the abuse of animals. She went to the Smith Meatpacking Slaughterhouse in Draper, Utah, because she had heard that anyone could see what was going on right from the street. While she was there, she saw cows fighting to get away, a downer cow carried off on a tractor lift, and ground flesh being spewed from a chute on one side of the building. While filming this with her cell phone, she never set foot in the slaughterhouse area, and remained at all times on public property. She was arrested and charged with agricultural operation interference. She is to go to court on May 23rd. If convicted, she faces up to six months in jail. By the way….the Mayor of Draper, Darrell Smith, co-owns the slaughterhouse. But that wouldn’t have anything to do with anything, would it?
Please call the following people and express your support for Amy Meyer and slaughterhouse transparency. I am guessing you can think of many ways of expressing this. And then write two quick emails. Please try to stay respectful and polite — don’t make people remember our rudeness rather than our rightness. These are EASY CALLS. No one is going to start arguing with you (and do you care?) 🙂
Utah Governor Herbert
Phone: (800) 705-2464
Draper Mayor Darrell Smith
Phone: (801) 576-6513
Draper City Prosecutor Ben Rasmussen
Phone: (801) 576-6545
Members of the Utah legislature
Please call the Dale T. Smith and Sons Meat Packing Company and express your disapproval of their mistreatment of animals and their decision to press charges.
Phone: (801) 571-3611
Have you ever seen anti-fur demonstrations downtown Seattle?
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.
As many of you probably heard, Dr. George Tiller, a doctor that performed late-term abortions was murdered at his church this past Sunday.
Any death is tragic, and this one also serves as a reminder of the “special” legal hurdles faced by animal rights activists. The man that shot and killed the doctor was not called a terrorist by the government or by the media, even though the action he carried out was based on his religious and philosophical views. The man is an extremist. He is part of a group that fights in behalf of the voiceless and the anti-abortionist movement as a whole professes to value all human life.
Animal rights activists are often compared to anti-abortion activists , and we do have many similarities to the Anti-Abortionist movement. We both proclaim to value life, we both conduct protests and we have been known to label members of the opposition “murderers”. It is worth noting however, that 4 people have been killed by anti-abortion activists, while zero people have been killed by animal rights activists.
The government however, treats us differently. If an animal rights activists commits an action in the name of Animal Liberation, we are automatically labelled terrorists. Anti-abortionists are not. They are only prosecuted based on their crime, not on their ethical, religious or philosophical views. The man that murdered Dr. Tiller will be charged with murder, not terrorism. He will not be tried in Federal Court, and it is unlikely that he will receive a special sentence.
This double-standard treatment is unfair, but this should be nothing new to us. Animal rights activists are fighting against unequal standards every day. Dogs are given more protection that pigs, cows more protection that chickens. Any cute animal has more advocates that the less visually appealing. We should not let the injustice that we face at the hands of the legal system deter us.
We must keep fighting on behalf of the voiceless, for the obstacles that we face, are nothing compared to the injustices faced by the animals.
Local animal rights supporters came out in their best prom wear to eat delicious vegan tacos and succulent desserts, be stirred by activist talks, and hit the dance floor to 80’s music spun by DJ Coldheart.
Board member David summarized our current campaigns in which, in the words of one supporter, “NARN has really been kicking ass lately.” Attorney Jenn Kaplan explained the significance of the recent arrests of four activists who are being charged under the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act. Darius Fullmer of the SHAC7 gave a rousing speech about the importance of not succumbing to fear in our fight against animal oppression, as well as his own experience being charged under the AETA. “How ever you think is the best way to achieve animal liberation, keep doing it, and do it more,” he said.
If a cop asks to see your I.D. at a protest, are you legally obligated to show it?
Do protesters have the right to display images that other people might find offensive?
A local lawyer with NARN outlined what an animal rights activist needs to know in this day and age. She explained Fourth Amendment (search and seizure), Fifth Amendment (self-incrimination) and Sixth Amendment (right to counsel) rights.