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Animal Rights News Recap 3/24/2017

DxE SF Bay Area activists disrupted a bacon festival to deliver the message that killing and eating pigs is violence, not food.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a5sL_AevzDU

DxE Chicago disrupted the opening of a new Whole Foods to speak out against the lie that there is a humane way to exploit animals.

https://www.facebook.com/directactioneverywhere/videos/1491875070842837/

DxE Colorado's Aidan Cook was arrested for defending the rights of pigs at a pig-eating festival.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kO41aXQd_MM

A cafe in London has removed cow's milk from its menu completely after learning about the cruelty behind it.

http://www.riseofthevegan.com/blog/cafe-ditches-dairy-after-watching-youtube-video

Want to get involved? DxE is a grassroots network focused on empowering you to be the best activist you can be. Here are some steps you can take. 

  1. Sign up to our mailing list and share our content on social media. 
  2. Join a local DxE community (or, better yet, come visit us in Berkeley).
  3. Take the Liberation Pledge. And join us in building a true social movement for animals.

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Berkeley Animal Rights Center News (March)

Berkeley Animal Rights Center News (March)

Join us for a wide range of news stories in the past month. From news on recent charges against activists to a protest over a Safeway cage-free eggs investigation, February was a busy month.

Be sure to stop by the Berkeley Animal Rights Center the next time you're in Berkeley for weekly DxE meetups on Saturdays at 11 and a full suite of events.

 

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Animal Rights Activist Profile: Tim Swartz

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Animal Rights Activist Profile: Tim Swartz

Animal Rights Activist Profile: Tim Swartz

Q: What inspired you to first get involved with activism and to join DxE?  

I read Animal Liberation by Peter Singer and was exposed in detail for the first time to what happens with animals in modern farms, and I decided then I would go vegan.  Immediately afterwards I got involved with a Wisconsin based animal advocacy group and helped organize The Milwaukee Veg Expo. It was at the Veg Expo where I met many of the organizers with the Chicago chapter of DxE.  They encouraged me and another Wisconsin activist and I to start a DxE chapter in WI, and we agreed.  We managed to recruit a good sized group during the expo and put together the first ever DxE disruption in Wisconsin at a Whole Foods immediately following the expo. DxE Wisconsin was born there. 

Q: What is your favorite or most accomplished moment in activism or other DxE activity?

Hands down, the street blockade at last year's DxE forum.  That was the coolest moment I've had as an activist.  Over 100 activists blocking off a busy San Francisco intersection, animal liberation banners flying in the wind, megaphones blaring on all sides, cars honking - the intensity of the moment was unmatched by anything else I've been involved in.

Q: Are you a part of any working groups or unique activism in your chapter and how do they influence your activism?

Our chapter is not yet big enough for working groups, but I have enjoyed learning more about video editing recently.  I'm also excited about putting together a presentation about DxE to give at colleges, churches, etc.

Q: How do you stay motivated as an activist?

I draw constant motivation from my friends in the DxE community.  Their dedication and focus on the cause of animal liberation inspires me to push on in spite of the difficulties of doing activism.

Q: What advice would you give to new activists?

Keep your cool.  When you immerse yourself into a cause like ours you have to constantly deal with the frustrations of being a part of a culture that is largely indifferent to the suffering inflicted on non-human animals.  It's so important that we direct our outrage against the systems that normalize violence rather than against individuals who are largely victimized by that system.  Be careful to research and understand the issues and learn how to effectively communicate them with kindness and humility.  Find healthy ways to deal with your negative emotions.

Q: Why Animal Liberation?

Other animals have an interest in freedom just like we do.  When two individuals share an equal interest and only the interests of one are respected, that is discrimination.  There is no justification for the ways in which we discriminate against other species.  The only humane thing we can do for them is to liberate them.

Want to get involved? DxE is a grassroots network focused on empowering you to be the best activist you can be. Here are some steps you can take. 

  1. Sign up to our mailing list and share our content on social media. 
  2. Join a local DxE community (or, better yet, come visit us in Berkeley).
  3. Take the Liberation Pledge. And join us in building a true social movement for animals.

 

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A River in New Zealand Has Just Been Granted Personhood! Is it Time to Extend the Same Courtesy to Animals?

A River in New Zealand Has Just Been Granted Personhood! Is it Time to Extend the Same Courtesy to Animals?

By Abhijit Muduganti

New Zealand’s third longest river, the Whanganui, has recently been granted personhood by the country’s government in an unprecedented move. It just became the world’s first natural resource to be given the status and rights of a legal person after 150 years of struggle by the indigenous Whanganui iwi community. Nobody can deny the great benefits the declaration is going to provide those who depend on the river, but it also shows us that human beings are capable of extending our fundamental rights to entities outside our species. This begs the obvious question - is it time to seriously consider recognizing non-human animals as legal persons with the same fundamental rights as us?

The Nonhuman Rights Project thinks the answer is a resounding yes. They campaign to change the legal status of animals such as apes and dolphins from ‘things’ to ‘persons.’ In fact, they were at a hearing at a New York court yesterday, making a case for the freedom of two chimpanzees.This might seem like a very daunting task, but it is strongly backed by science and logic. An overwhelming majority of scientists agree that members of most animal species are sentient beings who are ‘aware.’ It is obvious that nonhuman animals value their lives and freedom just as we do, and thus, it is obvious that their desires as conscious beings should be respected. When one looks into the eyes of their companion dogs and cats, they don’t see a ‘thing;’ they see a thinking, feeling being. One-third of Americans believe that animals should have the same rights as humans to be free from harm and exploitation. Human society is finally beginning to openly admit what should have always been evident.

So why do we continue to regard nonhuman animals as mere commodities? Why do we torture them in labs? Why do we enslave and slaughter them for food? Why do we insist on inflicting fear and suffering upon them?

It is time to reevaluate our morals and laws to reflect rationality and compassion. It is time to discard our outdated descartian view of nonhuman beings and finally give them the rights they deserve. It is time for animal liberation!

Want to get involved? DxE is a grassroots network focused on empowering you to be the best activist you can be. Here are some steps you can take. 

  1. Sign up to our mailing list and share our content on social media. 
  2. Join a local DxE community (or, better yet, come visit us in Berkeley).
  3. Take the Liberation Pledge. And join us in building a true social movement for animals.

 

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Animal Rights News Recap 3/17/2017

DxE Toronto and PETA protested the debut of Canada Goose shares at the Toronto Stock Exchange.

http://www.citynews.ca/2017/03/16/canada-goose-shares-soar-debut-toronto-new-york-markets/

DxE Wisconsin disrupted a town hall meeting to confront Senator Tammy Baldwin about her proposed "Dairy Pride Act" bill, which woud force non-dairy milk products to no longer use the word milk in their labelling. 

DxE Denmark brought the animals' perspective inside a grocery store that profits from selling animal bodies. 

https://www.facebook.com/directactioneverywheredk/videos/664506697084031/

Los Angeles Animal Save visited Farmer John to bear witness to the final moments of life for pigs about to be slaughtered.

https://www.facebook.com/encoreankur/videos/10104739523279184/

Want to get involved? DxE is a grassroots network focused on empowering you to be the best activist you can be. Here are some steps you can take.

  1. Sign up to our mailing list and share our content on social media.

  2. Join a local DxE community (or, better yet, come visit us in Berkeley).

  3. Take the Liberation Pledge. And join us in building a true social movement for animals.

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Animal Rights Activist Profile: Kitty Jones

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Animal Rights Activist Profile: Kitty Jones

Animal Rights Activist Profile: Kitty Jones

What inspired you to first get involved with activism and to join DxE?

I saw a slaughterhouse video on Myspace when I was 15 and went vegan that day. I had never heard of it before but I knew it was what I needed to do, even though the adults told me I was going to die (silly adults). I feel like my life had been leading up to that point of realization. I had always felt the idea that humans were somehow more important than other species was redonk. I immediately looked into activist groups and got involved in the Northwest Animal Rights Network and every other animal group I could find, regardless of any petty infighting they may have had. 

I moved to Berkeley and someone was like “you gotta meet these people” and brought me to a potluck at Wayne’s apartment right around when DxE had just formed. I honestly thought everyone was super rad but also super unrealistic and idealistic. For example, I felt weird about the word “speciesism”, I didn’t understand why we would protest a place with vegan options, I thought we should be "nice vegans", and I didn’t get why it was DxE and not DAE!

But I stuck around in spite of any different perspectives because I sure as hell didn’t have the solutions or know how to end violence against animals, so why not work with everyone and work together to figure it out. We need to keep our minds open and support other activists, because at the end of the day we’re on the animals’ team and we need to defend them and not our egos and opinions. Anyway, I ended up learning a lot and DxE has changed my life in the best ways! I have learned so much and done so much self-reflection. I’ve come to realize that even though I had been vegan and doing activism for years I still recognized it as more of a personal thing and I didn’t truly believe it was possible to achieve animal liberation. 

Now I know for a fact we will achieve animal liberation. 

What is your favorite or most accomplished moment in activism or other DxE activity?

At the time, I didn't realize it was a significant event, but a few years ago I went with the Berkeley Organization for Animal Advocacy and DxE to disrupt a goat festival in San Francisco. The action did not go according to plan, but I just got up and started talking during a cooking demo that involved dead goat's bodies. I was so mad at the cognitive dissonance of the thousands of people who were laughing, eating dead animals, and petting baby goats. We shut down the cooking demo and somehow this little action got a ton of attention and I got tons and tons of messages and friends requests on Facebook by people who said they were inspired by the action. 

This little protest reached so many people and that's so awesome! That is why we have to speak the truth and we have to speak up for what is right because we are not alone and animal liberation is the future! We can inspire so many others to speak up for justice just by following our hearts!

The video is here: https://www.facebook.com/boaarocks/videos/947757061925329/

Are you a part of any working groups or unique activism in your area and how does it influence your activism?

I'm all over the damn place! I've been involved in a lot of groups here for various social justice causes. I think it's really healthy to be in multiple groups because it helps you have a broader perspective and share ideas between causes. More than anything, I've come to realize that many, if not all of the social issues and oppressions we are working to solve, are interconnected. There is so much going on in the world and we really do have to wake up and fight until we are all free from harm. Some of the other groups I'm involved with are the East Bay Sanctuary Covenant (which is an office that helps people get asylum, residence and any kind of support they need), Food Not Bombs (where we "rescue" food that is going to be thrown out and cook wholesome vegan meals to give away to anyone who needs it), and at the Berkeley Student Food Collective where I cashier and do other stuff.

I do a lot of random stuff with DxE from Open Rescue to subtitling videos. Officially I'm in the meetups working group, which is lowkey the cutest one! 

How do you stay motivated as an activist?

I think I'm a bizarre specimen of a human being because my default state of being is one of over-excitement and motivation. I often can’t sleep because I’m too excited about everything that is happening (or I’m scheming about what I’manna do about the bad stuff that’s happening). I think I was just born motivated. 

I also feel that there is nothing more inspiring and motivating than fighting for what you believe in and doing it from a place of love. I am beyond honored and blessed to live with amazing activists from so many different countries and backgrounds that are all untied for justice. Everyday I wake up to the most compassionate people EVER and being around them inspires me so much!

What advice would you give to new activists?

So many things, bruh.

1. Believe that animal liberation is possible, because it is! Justice always wins!
2. We are morally obligated the fight for justice. This isn’t a hobby and it doesn’t make you better than anyone else. We are all equal. We cannot give up and we’re in this together, for the long-haul!
3. Don't sweat the small stuff and if you have a conflict talk to the person and work it out, don’t be making drama! Hella people sweat the small stuff and let their egos or disagreements get the best of them, but if we are to be a strong movement for the animal (I repeat, the animals, not our egos) we have to be mature and work out our difference and disagreements in a compassionate way instead of blasting each other and dividing groups. I’m serious, because tiny disputes can cause big problems. 
4. All injustice is connected so learn up about other social causes too! The oppression animals experience doesn’t exist in a vacuum and we really do need to fight for liberation for all. Being vegan and an animal right activist is awesome, but doesn’t give us permission to ignore other important issues. 
5. Hit me up if you ever need support or have questions! crueltyfreetummy@gmail.com

Why Animal Liberation?

That's like "Why Justice" or "Why Make the World a Better Place"? Because we must!

Animal liberation because all of our liberation is tied. Animal liberation connects to human liberation and liberation for all! The world doesn't have to be an awful place. We can and will achieve a world without speciesism or any other systems of oppression.

Want to get involved? DxE is a grassroots network focused on empowering you to be the best activist you can be. Here are some steps you can take. 

  1. Sign up to our mailing list and share our content on social media. 
  2. Join a local DxE community (or, better yet, come visit us in Berkeley).
  3. Take the Liberation Pledge. And join us in building a true social movement for animals.

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Animal Rights News Recap 3/20/17

The first coordinated, international open rescue saved 37 lives in four countries.

or international.jpg

https://www.buzzfeed.com/zdgroff/what-do-animals-in-four-countries-have-in-common-2qhr2?utm_term=.asmgA14nK#.pmqkdo7NO

On International Women's Day, PETA activists spoke out against the abuse that cows suffer whenever their milk is stolen from them and their babies.

https://www.facebook.com/official.peta/videos/10155127110134586/

A new video from Mercy for Animals reveals the true conditions of dairy farms with footage from drones flying overhead.

https://www.facebook.com/mercyforanimals/videos/10154707274114475/

DxE's lawsuit against the fraudulent advertising of the Whole Foods Supplier, Diestel, just got covered by Truthout in an article by Robert Grillo, the director of Free from Harm.

http://www.truth-out.org/speakout/item/39776-false-advertising-lawsuit-against-major-whole-foods-supplier

DxE activist, Paul Darwin Picklesimer, is facing federal charges for allegedly entering into a restricted area during a Bernie Sanders rally.

http://www.dailycal.org/2017/03/09/berkeley-animal-rights-activist-races-federal-charges/

Want to get involved? DxE is a grassroots network focused on empowering you to be the best activist you can be. Here are some steps you can take.

  1. Sign up to our mailing list and share our content on social media.

  2. Join a local DxE community (or, better yet, come visit us in Berkeley).

  3. Take the Liberation Pledge. And join us in building a true social movement for animals.

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Cal Student Animal Rescuers Are Speaking the Truth

Cal Student Animal Rescuers Are Speaking the Truth

Olivia Staser, Daily Californian Staff

Olivia Staser, Daily Californian Staff

From Cassie King in this week's Daily Californian: 

"Most of my classmates have probably never heard the term “open rescue,” which refers to the activity that has kept me up for hours at night several times in the past few months. Open rescue is the quietly radical act of entering farms, filming the conditions found inside and taking out the animals in the most severe need of care. It’s something that would be normal and widely celebrated were these animals dogs and cats. Instead, the act is often criminalized. By doing it, I am taking a stand against animal exploitation and the laws that allow it to continue. My act in solidarity with three other groups around the world this past weekend inspired thousands of people with the stories of animals rescued from violence."

Read more here.

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Animal Rights Activist Profile: Ateret Goldman

Animal Rights Activist Profile: Ateret Goldman

Q: What inspired you to first get involved with activism and to join DxE?

When I first learned about what’s happening to animals in the system,  I was immediately touched by it and realized I couldn’t partake anymore. I quickly realized that other people weren’t so touched by one video and that it’s a pretty special thing to be able to see one thing and change your entire life. I knew that I needed to do more and I started looking for ways to change the world. I was able to connect with people in DxE and learned more about Animal Rights theory and theories of social change. Once I learned about that, I knew I couldn’t turn my back from this work.

Q: What is your favorite or most accomplished moment in activism or other DxE activity?

The moment I did my first speak out was the most empowered I ever felt. The overwhelming support I’ve had from the community with that experience and everything else I’ve done, has been incredibly life changing. We are a community that takes people and “lights them on fire” by empowering them to make waves in this world.

After getting to know animals, other than humans and seeing their individuality, I’ve become extremely sensitive to images of their exploitation. Both while they are alive and images of them being commodified. I have built up the capacity to take radical actions in the name of that love. For example, exposing the reality of “butcher counters” that are simply a speciesist and white-washed funeral. I know that the individuals backing that system are generally unaware of the reality of what is occurring and I feel that it is our obligation to disrupt that system and expose the truth.

Q: Are you a part of any working groups or unique activism in your area and how does it influence you?

I’m part of the outreach and activism working groups locally and also part of the global social media working group. I think the power of working groups for me has been really embracing my own talents and what I am passionate about. I’m super super excited about the work that I do with the social media team. I really really enjoy that group of people. I think working groups are awesome because we are able to be excited about pretty much everything we are doing within them. I don’t know of a better feeling than working in a group that all has shared values and is working towards the same long term and short term goals.

Q: How does your status as a young person in the AR movement affect your activism?

I think this is a really mixed question, because the reactions I get being my age in this movement are profoundly different. In a broader sense, the reactions from people who know me personally or are involved in DxE has been phenomenal. I’ve never felt more respected and valued in my life. While on the other hand, the reactions from outside people who don’t understand the message have been extremely condescending. Overall, out of all the negative things I've faced being an activism, the love I’ve received has reaffirmed the concept and philosophy that the universe is on the side of justice.

In terms of parental support, my mom was really influenced by the videos I showed her of animals other than humans in farms and she has grown to be incredibly supportive of the work that I do. After engaging in countless conversations about theory, we have come to a shared resolution about our values. Her support has overshadowed any of the backlash from other family members. She’s been able to really appreciate my depth in activism and delve deeper than what I ever expected.

Q: How does being raised as an Orthodox Jew affected your activism?

I was raised an Orthodox Jew until a few years ago and because of that, I have been able to be in touch with a tremendous tragedy that occurred to our community, as well as being able to experience being a part of a tight knit group that thrived off our shared values. This has influenced me by giving me a foundation in collectivist relationships that allowed me to delve deeply into this community. Jews have also generally showed up in mass to support other social justice movements throughout history. As long as I can remember, I’ve been exposed to images and victims of the Jewish holocaust and that has made me a lot more sensitive to imagery of animal suffering on farms. Both of these influences have further motivated me to embrace this movement and shift animal rights activism towards the forefront of my identity.

Q: How do you stay motivated as an activist?

The community that is DxE, is phenomenal. The relationships I’ve built from it could withstand most things. When I connect with animals other than humans, especially those who have been rescued from this system of oppression, it motivates me to not only prioritize them in my life, but figure out how to do so in a sustainable fashion. As hard as it is to take time off, the animals need us for at least 40 more years. We have to be able to keep up that fight!

Q: What advice would you give to new activists?

My advice for new activists would be to jump in. Don’t be afraid to reach out to people in the community who have been doing activism longer. There is always a place you can contribute. Reach beyond your comfort zone and ask where those places are. If you don’t see those places, start your own projects and make what you want to see happen in this movement, happen for animals. Just do it!!!

Q: Why Animal Liberation?

Once we recognize that a system is unjust, we have the moral obligation to try to change that system and quite honestly, if I was a non-human animal, I would be furious if people weren’t taking these actions. Animals feel just like us and I know that they have the right to be free from suffering. Once you’ve come to that conclusion, there is nothing left to do except fight for their rights.

Want to get involved? DxE is a grassroots network focused on empowering you to be the best activist you can be. Here are some steps you can take.

  1. Sign up to our mailing list and share our content on social media.

  2. Join a local DxE community (or, better yet, come visit us in Berkeley).

  3. Take the Liberation Pledge. And join us in building a true social movement for animals.


 

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Animal Abusers Are Running Scared, As They Should Be

Animal Abusers Are Running Scared, As They Should Be

By Matt Johnson

A recent "Conscious Capitalism" event in San Francisco offered a troubling sign for those who would celebrate violence against animals. I joined four activists as we set out to disrupt a keynote speech by Whole Foods CEO and Conscious Capitalism, Inc. co-founder John Mackey. DxE investigations have repeatedly exposed Whole Foods' lies and violence towards animals. We also planned to join an outdoor protest against sexual assault, also directed at Whole Foods.

Strangely, the website promoting the event, with ticket prices in the hundreds, was very vague about the schedule. It didn't describe when any individual was to speak, just listed the 9:00 AM-5:00 PM conference time. Emails and phone calls similarly provided no specifics, which were only available after registering.

Protest at "Conscious Capitalism."

Protest at "Conscious Capitalism."

We assumed the keynote speaker would be speaking at or near the end of the conference, so we arrived just before the 11:00 outdoor protest. I went inside, trying to figure out when and where John Mackey would be speaking. I pretended to take a call to deter staff from talking to me as I approached the registration desk. Instead, the staff interrupted my call to insist on knowing if I was registered, how they could help me, and who I was. They crowded around me so quickly in suspicion that I could not even snap a picture of the schedule.

I saw what I needed to, though: "9:00-9:45: Conversation with John Mackey." We were already too late. Was Mackey speaking early at a hidden and unknown time to hide from us?

This wouldn't be the first time we've seen animal abusers playing defense:

-DxE first released an investigation of Whole Foods in 2015, and soon after that, much of Whole Foods' most aggressive "humane" branding disappeared. (For instance, phrases like "Raised with Care" were replaced with "Raised According to Our Standards.")

-The Whole Foods location in Walnut Creek, California didn't bother with a ceremony at its grand opening last November, likely fearing our activists showing up to speak truth as we'd done previously (and did on that day).

-Local events which celebrate violence are now expecting our protesters and even rehearsing protest protocol with employees.

And now John Mackey is running scared from his own conference. Change is in the air. Violence towards animals is being properly stigmatized, with its perpetrators taking increasingly desperate measures to silence the truth. Let's keep fighting.

Want to get involved? DxE is a grassroots network focused on empowering you to be the best activist you can be. Here are some steps you can take.

  1. Sign up to our mailing list and share our content on social media.

  2. Join a local DxE community (or, better yet, come visit us in Berkeley).

  3. Take the Liberation Pledge. And join us in building a true social movement for animals.

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