Animal Rights Activist Profile: Alta Almeida

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Animal Rights Activist Profile: Alta Almeida

Animal Rights Activist Profile: Alta Almeida

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

A: This is a very interesting subject. I have been a vegan for many years and I always thought that being a vegan was the very least I could do when faced with the need for total abolition. I started to get involved with some activist groups in Brazil a few years ago, but I always thought the activism was missing something, because activism in Brazil is unfortunately still crawling.

The first few times I saw the Direct Action videos, I could not believe it and I thought it was fantastic. The fury was like taking a punch in the stomach, the passion of so many people taking action to defend the animals. I thought it was fantastic. Parallel to this, I met a Brazilian who plays for DxE Berkeley, called Lucas Freitas and he proposed "Why do you guys not build a DxE chapter in Sao Paulo, Alta?". I then got a second punch in my stomach and I was part of the DxE. Being a part of a DxE action for me was a dream and that's when we started DxE Sao Paulo. I admire the strength of everyone, the organization, the commitment and the Love for everyone's animals in Direct Action.

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

A: I realize every day, every little achievement, I think the most pleasure is the respect we earn, the respect that DxE Sao Paulo has of other groups in Brazil, Latin America and other countries. For example our last action "Open Rescue" had much recognition in Brazil and abroad. What I always hear said about the activists in Brazil is the fury of the good and the passion DxE for the animals, especially when we do the action. I want to forget everything and focus my love and energy on animals.

The most important moment for me is always the last action, and in our milestone action, we marched through the commercial center of Sao Paulo and it was a success. The activists ended up thrilled and received a lot of recognition.

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

A: Whatever I can get involved with that can somehow help the animals I get involved.

I want mainly in DxE Sao Paulo, to develop leadership, for the group to start walking alone regardless of my leadership or not, I also want to unite Brazilian activism, very separated by wars of vanities and intrigues. I always say and I repeat that people who want to be prayers of aesthetics and want to be incensed all the time are not real activists. True activist goes to the street and participates whenever he can.

Anyway, the DxE Sao Paulo, learns a lot with the global DxE network and has tried very hard to match the expectations of the larger community.

Q: How do you stay motivated as an activist?

A: Animals, my children and activism are my life.

I learned to give my best always in everything, not to be better than other people, but to have the conscience that I gave my best.

I do everything with love. I am a writer. I write with love. My job is in a company that I make with love. But my children and animals are the reason for my existence, my mission in this world is to fight for animals and this I will do until the end of my life. If we do not reach animal abolitionism before, so where possible to act I go, I have no fuss, nor pride. If it is for the animals, I will do anything. I commented with a friend that this month was going to leave a day to go to the movies, because the rest of the days I am involved with the animal rights cause. What makes me happy, what gives me pleasure, what makes me feel accomplished is to fight for animals.

Q: What advice would you give to new activists?

A: First: To fight for animals, see it as an honor and feel chosen by the universe to be a warrior for them.

Second: Do everything always with love, take the fury of good with you in your activism, do it with passion, give yourself to the cause and also be responsible. Fighting for them has to be commitment and a responsibility, because as I say to the activists of DxE Sao Paulo, It's not a joke, it's not fun and games, it's a responsibility. We're being the voice of at least 75 billion executions per industry per year.

Third: In each action, in each moment that participate in the animal cause, donate, totally surrender, do not allow distraction, do not allow conversations whose focus is not the animals.

Fourth: Discuss ethics, never discuss people. Do not engage in conversations that denigrate anyone, always discuss plans and projects, never people.

Fifth: Focus on animals, animals first always.

Q: Why Animal Liberation?

A: Because the human race destroyed the planet and enslaved and destroyed animals since its emergence on the planet.

Because these beings live the holocaust and live their hell precisely because man exists and I do not want to be part of human exploration and sadism. So animal liberation can redeem the right of animals to live free on the planet. I hope someday the animals and all their ancestors who must inhabit a world somewhere in love, light and energy forgive the human race for all the wickedness we have done to them.

As for humans, not all the infinite time in the universe will be enough to bring loss to us.

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 Activists Satirize Berkeley College Republicans' Animal Rights Barbecue

Animal Rights Activists Satirize Berkeley College Republicans' Animal Rights Barbecue

The Berkeley College Republicans held an "animal rights barbecue" today to mock animal rights activists, but DxE and Berkeley Organization for Animal Advocacy showed up and acted like it was a real animal rights barbecue, with tofurkey sausage, animal rights songs, and more. From the Daily Californian:

“BCR have been planning a barbecue of animals who have lived tortured lives,” said Zach Groff, a spokesperson for Direct Action Everywhere. “They are selling these tortured bodies.”

Matt Johnson, an organizer for the Berkeley Animal Rights Center, said the event was organized as a direct response to BCR’s “Animal Rights BBQ,” which he said was “mocking” the animal rights movement.

“We are on a mission to make Berkeley the most animal-friendly city,” Johnson said. “History tells us the rest of the country is bound to follow.”

Read more here.

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 4/21/2017

DxE Colorado investigated an egg supplier for Sprouts Farmers Market and found sick and starving birds, one of whom they rescued and named Annie.

VIDEO HERE

ARTICLE HERE

 

 

Amanda Ruberg of the Animal Care Team coordinated a rescue of 52 ducks from a mall in Danville where their pond was drained.

DxE Santa Barbara did their first action, disrupting speciesism in a grocery store.

VIDEO HERE

DxE SF/Bay Area activists took over the Ferry Building in San Francisco to disrupt a goat festival which was promoting animal exploitation.

ARTICLE HERE

 

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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Amplifying the Voices of Victims: Seeking Justice for ALL during Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Amplifying the Voices of Victims: Seeking Justice for ALL during Sexual Assault Awareness Month

By Ateret Goldman

CW: rape, animal abuse

“Why didn’t you just tell him to stop? It seems like you must have led him on.” He demanded my answer. My heart was racing. I didn’t know what to respond. Feeling like whatever I said would be the wrong thing, I had no words to share. The lamplight reflected off of his badge, giving it an eery glow and emphasizing the ‘289’ engraved upon its face.

I was staring too long, so he repeated, “Did you even tell him to stop?!” This wasn’t what I wanted. This is what my family had decided would be “the best thing for me.” They said I “needed justice.” With every question, I shut further and further down. With every question, I lost more and more control. I never wanted to be the “one in six,” but rapists don’t give you a choice.  

This wasn’t the detective’s intention. He was just doing his job. “I know this isn’t easy for you, but I need you to answer me,” he said, as my eyes flooded over. Tears started rolling down my cheeks but he just chided, “I am here to help you. If you won’t help me help you then I don’t have to be here.” He reached across the table, patting my shoulder. I cringed and it suddenly became harder to breath. I remembered the last time a man had touched me, the entire reason we were here.

He had slipped his hand down my skirt. The smell of alcohol drifted from his mouth and overwhelmed my senses. All I could see was the scraggly hairs on the bottom of his chin. I heard the muffled sound of birds chirping nearby, but their voices were disrupted by his raspy British voice. In the back of my neck I felt a twig, as he continued to push me to the ground. I didn’t understand what was happening. Every cell in my body tensed and I knew that this wasn’t okay. I didn’t have a way out, so I begged “stop.”

At this moment, just like last time, I felt powerless, like an object made to be used for one purpose or another. I had no choice in the matter; I had no vote. My bodily autonomy was stolen away from me. Both my predator and the folks who were “trying to help” poked and prodded, used my flesh and ignored me. No one cared about what I was going through. I was told that I should “demand justice.” There was no support- just questions about whose fault it was, and, I guess, they had decided it was mine.

This happens to so many. When we talk about sexual assault, it’s as if it is a distant phenomenon, an issue in another land. But it occurs every day. I am only one of the millions of survivors. I am told that having this label makes me stronger, that this experience has made me who I am today.  “Survivor” is the medal that I get to take away from this for “being a good sport!” but I am not a child anymore, despite what the law might say. Branding me with a word and expecting me to be proud does not restore my faith in humanity. It does not help me fall asleep at night.

I am a survivor of sexual assault. This was not something I wanted. This is not the path  I chose, but I will not let this silence me. I have been told for far too long that I am weak, but I will no longer let others dictate my beliefs. We live in a “rape culture,” and we must speak out for its victims- human and non-human alike.

The “dairy” industry profits off of humans sticking their hands inside of female cows to artificially inseminate them. Goats, pigs, and horses are treated no better. All animals suffer and feel fear, just like we do. Bodily autonomy is not a privilege; it is a right that every sentient being deserves.

We live in a world where I was blamed for my own sexual assault at the age of 13. I refuse to accept this as the norm, to be complicit while survivors are silenced and the vulnerable are exploited. During this month for sexual assault awareness, I will stand up for them, no matter their species. Join me.

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: Paola Ibarra

Animal Rights Activist Profile: Paola Ibarra

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

   I was born in Mexico, my Mom is Peruvian and I have been living here in Lima, Peru for a little over 10 years now. I work as interpreter/translator.  I got married to a Chilean musician and graphic designer and we decided to have a baby. And so we did,  when the baby was born (I had been a vegetarian from age 11 to 30 and for no good reason started eating some fish flesh and some chicken flesh when I got to Lima, not very often but always with a sense of disgust/shame while doing so). and when baby arrived I started questioning it all, vaccines, food, why was my mother in law trying to feed the baby with red meat which I never ate. To make a long story short, when my son was 5 months old I announced to my husband that all 3 of us would be vegan as of that very morning. He said yes. 

I did not know any other vegans here and decided to browse online and the very  first thing I bumped into was the phrase- Don't be a lonely vegan, join DxE!!! And so we did. I took the pledge and the next weekend had a video meeting with Priya Sawhney along with my husband and BOOM started a DxE chapter in Lima.  At this point, we had been fully vegan for more than 2 years and knew that being vegan was definitely not enough, we had to get moving and fast.  We had our first disruption in January, then another one in February and the 3rd one last March. We will be having our fourth disruption this month.

Also two months ago, we joined the Save Movement we will be having our second vigil this coming weekend.

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

Seeing that all other activists from the many different local Animal Rights organizations are willing and thrilled to join DxE Peru and are eagerly awaiting for our next disruption. Apparently something like this had never been done here so people are getting a different feeling to it,  no longer only leafleting or informing, but also disrupting and getting people's attention by putting Animal Rights on everyone's radar.

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

There are only two organizers in our chapter, so we are involved in everything. We are very active with two other Animal Rights groups in Lima and are also part of a clandestine animal rights group that prints and plasters every month a large poster with a strong vegan message/image throughout the entire city.

Q: How do you stay motivated as an activist?

I would prefer to dedicate all of my time to activism, but as of now we still have to keep our day jobs, but I do not need any motivation. I am thinking about the non human animal plight all of the time and how to best be useful in resolving this terrible situation, hopefully in this generation.

Q: What advice would you give to new activists?

Be aware of the truth, be strong and be as active as possible, always trying to maintain balance and not to burn out. Now that I am very involved with activism, I feel useful on this planet, not just living for my family and myself but for the beings that are in dire need of us.

Q: Why Animal Liberation?

Why not!! It is the only cause that attracts me because the non human animals have never harmed us in any way shape or form and it is an animal holocaust happening this very minute. We will also open the first animal sanctuary in Peru because believe it or not there isn't one and we plan on attending to it for the rest of our lives. That is our dream. Obviously, would love to attend a DxE Forum to receive the proper rescue training, but all will come in due time. During my first vigil, the last thing I saw was this beautiful baby cow looking at us asking for our help. That look is embedded in my mind at all times.

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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Open Rescue is Spreading - and You Won’t Believe What we are Digging up

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Open Rescue is Spreading - and You Won’t Believe What we are Digging up

Open Rescue is Spreading - and You Won’t Believe What we are Digging up

By Aidan Cook

It has been just over three years since Direct Action Everywhere brought Open Rescue, the boldest tactic in the animal rights movement, back to American shores. In that time, it has expanded exponentially, with teams across the country taking animal liberation into their own hands. The force driving that growth is the very thing that sets Open Rescue apart. You see, by pulling back the curtain on “certified humane” farms, Open Rescue activists are challenging the most profitable narrative in the food industry: that there is an ethical, “humane” way to exploit and kill animals.

Open Rescue is the act of entering a farm without permission, documenting the conditions inside, and taking animals out, all without concealing your identity. By doing this, activists are putting the spotlight on the notion that there could ever be something wrong with saving animals’ lives. But perhaps the most striking thing about these investigations is the vast gulf they have exposed between the way that animal products are marketed, and the reality of life on a modern “humane” farm.

The latest corporation to come under the scrutiny of Open Rescue was Sprouts Farmers Market, after my team of Colorado activists entered Morning Fresh Farms, a cage-free egg producer less than an hour from Denver. In spite of all the horrors we have found at cage-free farms in the past, we were shocked by what we saw.

In each barn we visited, tens of thousands of hens were crammed shoulder-to-shoulder in a constant struggle to access food. Every single bird we examined was severely emaciated, and many resorted to cannibalizing the corpses of their sisters, who had starved to death. All of this flew in the face of Sprouts’ claim on their website that cage-free means hens have “unlimited access to food and fresh water.”

When we found Annie, she was on the brink of death, literally lying next to another dead bird. She had long ago resorted to eating off of the feces-covered ground, and her beak had become sealed shut with feces. As I watched her sway back and forth on the ground to the rhythm of her labored breath, eyes shut, I didn’t think she had any chance of surviving.

Annie's recovery was one of the most tense periods of my life. She spent three days on life support, with no promise that she would survive. Even after she came off oxygen, we had to tube feed her for a week before she could eat enough on her own.

But in Annie’s miraculous recovery, I see a promise. A promise that someday soon, far sooner than any of us can believe, the humane myth will be completely eradicated. No animal will ever be treated as an object, a machine to produce profit for someone else. We will all recognize that animals live for their own reasons, and that they are entitled to a life free from suffering.

Annie now lives with Hana and Alexis Low, the brave, inspiring activists who went into Morning Fresh with me, on the first of what will soon be hundreds of open rescue microsanctuaries in Colorado and around the country. But before that can happen, we’re going to need a lot more ordinary people like us who are willing to step up and take direct action for animals. This movement belongs to all of us, to Annie and her sisters, to every person of any species who is dreaming of a brighter tomorrow. It is high time we seize that ownership today.

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 4/14/2017

An 8 year-old DxE activist spoke out against violence inside of a restaurant.

WATCH THE VIDEO HERE

DxE Chicago blocked a truck bringing lambs to slaughter as a powerful form of nonviolent direct action.

ARTICLE HERE

Activists with DxE Colorado protested the violence of the wool industry with a theatrical demonstration.

The FDA's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition is partnering with Emulate, a company that develops organ-on-chips technology: polymer chips that are lined with human cells and which can be used in place of animal testing.

PETA ARTICLE HERE

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 Mayor: "We welcome more ideas of [animal rights] legislation"

Berkeley Mayor: "We welcome more ideas of [animal rights] legislation"

Sounds like animal rights activists have a job to do in Berkeley. In an interview with the Daily Cal regarding Berkeley's recent receipt of a PETA Compassionate City Award for its ban on the sale of fur products, Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin enthusiastically supported the movement for animals in Berkeley:

[PETA's] award acknowledged Berkeley for its “progressive” decision to ban the sale of fur.

“Berkeley has a history of being at the forefront in fighting for the welfare of all animals,” said Mayor Jesse Arreguín. “We welcome more ideas of legislation.”

Arreguín said he believes it is the job of the government to regulate the free market and ensure that the activities are both ethical and promote health and safety.

DxE and Berkeley Coalition for Animals will be happy to oblige! Read more here.

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Animal Rights Activist Profile: Sarah Hewson

Animal Rights Activist Profile: Sarah Hewson

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

I chose at a very young age to stop participating in most animal exploitation. However, most of my life, I didn’t personally know anyone else who made these lifestyle changes or felt that it was wrong to use nonhuman animals for unnecessary purposes. So, I had no vision of global animal liberation and no expectation that I could convince many people to see things from my perspective. There was no internet at this time and very few ways for me to connect with like-minded people. It wasn’t until I was in my 30s that I accidentally stumbled on some vegan Facebook groups and met someone who directly challenged why I wasn’t involved with activism. As I was processing that, that same person posted a video of a huge group of DxE activists singing songs of liberation in public places. I have always been inspired by the way music communicates ideas and emotions in a way spoken words cannot. And seeing such a large group of people united by their passion for animal liberation immediately motivated me to find out if there was a DxE chapter near me. I sought this out at just the right time because some absolutely awe-inspiring organizers were just coming back from the DxE forum and were ready to start a Colorado revolution. What kept me coming back to these local gatherings was DxE’s 40-year strategic plan for animal liberation. This was the first group to tell me that animal liberation was actually possible. That changed my thinking from despair to hope and my actions from avoidance to direct and daily action.

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

I’ve been a part of so many incredible actions in the last year, but my favorite moment was at a community event last fall. We filled the room with potential activists and one of the organizers was sharing a history lesson and relating it to the 40-year plan I mentioned. There was just this critical moment when I got chills looking around the room and realizing I was likely sitting in a gathering of activists who were going to bend the arc of history toward justice (paraphrased MLK quote). Now, even many of my most mundane daily tasks incorporate a message of antispeciesism, veganism, or animal liberation. I will be 73 in 40 years. I’ve vowed not to die until animal liberation is achieved. I don’t really want to live forever, so I need to work on this every day. And I’m happy to, because the meaning and purpose this goal has brought to my life makes getting through each day 100 times easier.

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

Within my chapter, I have worked mostly with the activism working group and occasionally with other working groups. I’ve enjoyed collaborating on creative ways to spread our message. I’ve also started organizing gatherings of “DxE Kids and their Significant Adults”. My son goes with me to most activism activities and I’ve found ways to make them a positive experience for him. By connecting with other activists with children in their lives, I hope to make them feel more comfortable bringing children to events and also to brainstorm with them ways that children can spread a message of animal liberation.

Q: How does your life experience of being a teacher, a mom, and having a child with autism influence you?

Being a teacher and a mom of a special needs child takes a tremendous amount of time and energy. It was another reason I never really considered doing activism until recently. I felt that there was no way to work that into my schedule. However, these roles were great prep work for me. As a teacher, I am constantly involved in addressing issues of gender, race, class, ability, etc. The more I learned, the more important these social justice issues became to me. And it is clear to me that antispeciesism is the next social justice movement and many of the same issues I’ve learned about in other movements apply in this context as well. My job has also taught me a lot about effective and creative communication, which is so important for activists to consider. Having a child has deeply connected me to the emotion of what animals go through daily- in particular, the special connection of breastfeeding your baby and the horror of a cow’s baby being taken away and her milk being unnecessarily given to a human. Having a child with autism has helped me to grow stronger in questioning social norms and traditions and also valuing the variety of ways an animal- human or nonhuman- can express love, joy, fear, and pain. Sharing my personal connections seems to have an effect on people who would usually ignore my more general messages.

Q: What advice would you give to new activists?

Find ways to make your activism your own. Consider your strengths and interests and turn them into a form of activism. Your passion will then often be too hard to ignore by those who know you and have previously dismissed your message. Also, if possible, be sure to spend time in a supportive community where antispeciesism is the norm. That peek into the future will keep you motivated to create an antispeciesist world.

Q: Why Animal Liberation?

Animals are here with us, not for us. I wish to create a world where each of us is free to explore our own purposes, rather than simply serving someone else’s purpose. Freedom is the very least we should be giving to other animals, regardless of their arbitrary differences. Love, support, and appreciation of other animals and their differences should be the ultimate goal.

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 4/7/2017

Berkeley is officially the second city in the nation to have banned the sale of fur!

http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/Berkeley-Becomes-Second-City-to-Ban-Fur-Clothing--418460063.html

Switzerland became the 35th country to ban seal products.

http://www.peta.org.uk/blog/switzerland-become-35th-country-ban-seal-derived-products/

A mountain lion who spent 20 years chained to a truck and used in an illegal circus has finally been rescued and is just now discovering freedom.

https://www.thedodo.com/mountain-lion-chained-to-truck-rescued-1466555241.html

DxE activists in Washington, D.C. disrupted the confirmation hearing of Trump's agriculture secretary to speak out against government subsidizing of animal agriculture.

https://www.facebook.com/directactioneverywhere/videos/1508676362496041/

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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