Animal Rights Activist Profile: Selena Sobanski

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Animal Rights Activist Profile: Selena Sobanski

Animal Rights Activist Profile: Selena Sobanski

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

I was introduced to activism and, specifically, DxE by a friend I met at the Animal Rights Conference in 2014. I soon met the wonderful Zach Groff, who encouraged me to get and stay involved in the DxE CT chapter, of which I eventually became an organizer. DxE empowered me to be confident in my activism and to ditch the, at the time, growing pessimism for a refreshed perspective on how we can truly change the world for animals. 

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

My favorite moment in my involvement with DxE was when I, alongside other open rescue activists, rescued Avery Harika the turkey from Jaindl Farms. It was so incredible to feel a life move from a place of sure death to a place of safety and love. 

Are you involved in any affiliate or working groups or unique activism in your chapter and if so, how does this influence your activism?

With a fellow animal rights activist from New Mexico, Charlie, I helped create the only New Mexico DxE chapter, DxE Albuquerque! I am also moving to Berkeley in May and am so excited to dig my roots into Bay Area activism. 

How do you stay motivated as an activist?

Before I was an activist, I found staying positive and active to be quite difficult. After developing a DxE community and getting personally involved in direct action, however, I felt I was no longer idly sitting by while animals suffered and staying motivated became easier than ever. That doesn't mean there aren't challenges, but if I ever fall into pessimism, I recall carrying Avery away from impending death and watching her lay on fresh hay and eat delicious food for the first time at her sanctuary, and I remember that each and every one of us can help save the lives of animals. For that, there are so many reasons to be hopeful and stay active.

What advice would you give to new activists?

My advice for new activists? Make close friends within the movement. People you can rely on for emotional support and for activist inspiration. Community is crucial to activist longevity; if you don't know anyone around you, check out local DxE chapters or Meet-Up groups and develop new friendships. If you're still having trouble finding other activists, speak up about your goals for animal liberation to those around you and you may very well find others who share these aspirations. Keep in mind: you have an entire movement of people supporting you so you are never alone! 

Why Animal Liberation?

I fight for animal liberation because violence against animals has become so normalized that most people do not even recognize animals as victims of systemic abuse and objectification. 

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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The Greatest Show On Earth Is The Animal Rights Movement’s First Abolition, But Not Its Last

The Greatest Show On Earth's Demise Is The Beginning of Total Animal Liberation

By Tiffany Walker

Elephants escape from circuses and express their anxiety.

Elephants escape from circuses and express their anxiety.

Saturday night, Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus announced that the famous circus is shutting down for good - a sweeping victory for the area of the animal rights movement probably most known for protests. For arguably the first time in history, the animal rights movement in the U.S. has nearly abolished an entire industry, ending Ringling’s 100 years of traversing North America bringing wonder, amazement and unimaginable cruelty for the wild animals they tortured into submission. The announcement is a sign of the times - of the changes that happen in a country where 32% of people support equal rights for animals. The announcement is also a symbol of the power of nonviolent protest, as decades of picketers outside what was formerly seen as wholesome entertainment became a symbol of animal cruelty. It is a protest movement (coupled with the typical accompaniments of protest, such as lawsuits) that has brought the animal rights movement one of its biggest steps toward abolition. Those who protested - from PETA to Last Chance for Animals to grassroots communities like my own DxE chapter in Connecticut - tore down a violent behemoth.

For over a century, Ringling has kept children begging their parents to spend their money on the circus. I used to be one of those children, especially since the circus always came to town around my birthday. I was enamored by the elephants, lions, tigers and monkeys that the human performers would parade around the arena cloaked in greatness and pride. In my eyes, it was “The Greatest Show on Earth” - for humans.

Over the last few years Ringling Brothers’ veneer of wholesomeness has faded away under the pall of constant protests.  Time and again, animal rights groups went after the circus, and even the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) went after Feld Entertainment, the parent company of Ringling Brothers. Alleged violations of the Animal Welfare Act cost the company $270,000 in 2011, cementing the circus’s identity as an animal abuser in the public eye. Protests from animal rights activists became commonplace at every show around the United States. The uproar culminated - or at least, it seemed like a culmination - in Ringling’s pledge to retire all the elephants, with the last performance taking place in May 2016.

Thanks to years of consolidation in the circus industry, Ringling’s demise sounds a near death knell for the animal-abusing portion of industry.  Not only has Ringling spent the last 146 years putting on shows, they have also spent that time becoming the dominating force of the circus industry by acquiring smaller circuses and ensuring their status as the only choice. Protests, lawsuits and public opinion affected their bottom lines to the point where removing the controversial elephant shows did nothing to boost them financially as attendance continued to drop.

Consumers fled the circus and the circus was increasingly beleaguered because of the powerful moral case that activists outside circuses across America forced circus-goers to confront. Animal rights activists inserted morality and ethics into the circus. The general public agreed and after a long struggle, we won the fight.

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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 1/13/2017

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Animal Rights News Recap 1/13/2017

After the death of Tilikum, an orca who spent 33 years in captivity at SeaWorld, protests and memorials have been held around the world.

http://www.seaworldofhurt.com/vigils-mourn-loss-orca-tilikum-memorial-photos/

DxE Harrisburg activists disrupted the Pennsylvania Farm Show.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g80jluVMMak

Donny Moss from Their Turn Animal Rights News joined DxE activists in an investigation of a certified humane egg farm and the open rescue of a hen named Helen.

https://www.facebook.com/theirturn/videos/1839469329636789/

Activists with DxE Chicago went inside a Whole Foods to share the stories of hens who suffer and die producing the eggs for sale there.

http://www.counterpunch.org/2017/01/12/why-i-got-kicked-out-of-whole-foods-again/

India banned the importation of mink, fox, and chinchilla fur as well as reptile skin.

http://www.onegreenplanet.org/news/india-bans-importation-of-reptile-skins-and-fur-but-what-about-leather/

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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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How Living Next to an Animal Rights Activist House Changed This Tattoo Parlor

How Living Next to an Animal Rights Activist House Changed This Tattoo Parlor

by Zach Groff

How do hearts and minds change when social movements form? As much as people often look at glamorous historical moments, it’s the water cooler conversations those moments provoke - activists and their allies speaking with friends and family - that change hearts and minds.

That happened a few months ago to Aaron Nassberg, who runs Modern Electric tattoo parlor in Berkeley, when a handful of animal rights activists moved into the apartment above his business.

Zach: What changes have you made, and why?

Aaron: My conversations with Naomi, Orlando, Sam, and all of [the activists who live upstairs from me] got me in and out of lacto-ovo vegetarianism. When I first went sober ten years ago, it got me thinking of God, spirituality, etc. I’m of Jewish descent, and I’ve always struggled with the not eating [pigs’ bodies] thing. When I got sober, I definitely decided that I wanted to start living my life cleaner and more conscious. In that recovery, I lived with a dog for the first time in my life, and that led me to give up all mammals.

Then it just happened one day… I moved on to caring about other animals. I’m opposed to the culture of meat. I’m opposed to the culture of the slaughterhouse. It was actually through a few of DxE’s links that I saw the phrase that behind every glass of milk was a baby calf, that the dairy industry thrives on meat animals.

It was this year that I found out that even if you buy supposedly humane meat, it comes from an unethical place. It still comes from a slaughterhouse which is a very cruel place.

Tattoo by @kerryirvinetattoo #realistictattoo #birminghamtattoo #worcestertattoo #redditchtattoo #bromsgrovetattoo

A photo posted by The Modern Electric Tattoo Co. (@modernelectrictattoo) on

Z: What changes has modern electric made?

A: We have devised a vegan workflow. This man James Spooner used to come up here from Southern California who runs a vegan movement and has a tattoo shop. I started talking to James and saying, “what are your vegan inks?” I’m interested in thinking about what I am pounding into somebody. As far I can tell, the difference between vegan ink and non-vegan ink is that non-vegan ink is likely bone black. I had never thought of it before. Other animal factors are shellac pigments (beetle based) and glycerin.  

Pigment selection is intensely political. The selection you make determines what you put into yourself and where it is sourced. While there’s still a little shadowy aspect to tattooing, I think it’s really important to expand that discourse, though.

So now, to answer your question, if you want an entirely vegan workflow, yes, it’s here for you. I’m not vegan, but I support the movement, and I understand that animal rights has an intense meaning to it. It’s very intensely political. I have cognitive dissonance, but that can’t get in the way of acting.

Z: Have you experienced any pushback?

Yeah - while so many people have been excited, I’ve also been shocked by the hostility of some people. It’s weird. I think I’d be drummed out of some of my social circles, but I feel like it’s because people know that we’re doing something wrong. Like I think people know that they’re doing something wrong, and people get angry.

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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: Mat Winton

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Animal Rights Activist Profile: Mat Winton

Animal Rights Activist Profile: Mat Winton

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

I first became interested in activism when I was living far up north in remote Yellowknife.  Shortly after making the switch to veganism, I found myself watching as many documentaries and YouTube videos as possible trying to learn more about veganism and everything that happens behind the scenes with animal agriculture.  After watching hours and hours of videos, I stumbled upon DxE's videos of stunning demonstrations and astounding speak outs during disruptions; I knew at that moment that I had to be part of it.  I had ended up seeing a lot of the actions done in Toronto by DxE and took it upon myself to connect with some of the activists via social media and worked towards getting to know them and getting a feel for Toronto's Animal Rights activism scene.  I met a lot of the activists before ever stepping foot in Toronto and was blown away by all the things they were doing for the animals and I was beyond inspired.  I came to the conclusion then; Toronto was the place to be for activism in Canada and I was going to go there and join the good fight.  Shortly after, I packed up my stuff and purchased a one-way ticket and arrived in Toronto the day before the March to Close All Slaughterhouses, giving me the chance to finally meet all the amazing activists I looked up to in Toronto.  After having the opportunity to meet the amazing DxE Toronto Organizers and Steering Committee Members in June and participating in some talks, training sessions and actions with them, which included my first Whole Foods disruption. I knew then that DxE was doing what was necessary for animal liberation and was always going to be a part of my life.

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

I would have to say my most accomplished moment in activism was the moment we stepped into Baton Rouge Steakhouse for the #FlowersForAnimals disruption; the first event I ever organized myself. After taking a lot of time hesitating and trying to work past my anxiety, I had reached out to a Toronto Organizer and pitched him my plan and asked him for advice and pointers.  He was incredibly supportive, reassuring and really made me feel like I had the ability to take on the challenge.  The disruption went very well despite me completely cracking under pressure and forgetting the speech I had prepared.  Nothing can compare to the feeling of seeing all of the activists so overjoyed, empowered and itching to be even more involved after an event you worked hard to create. My other favorite moment of course is when I was asked to join the DxE Toronto Organizer team.  I was incredibly honored and it is definitely one of the highlights of my life.  

How do you stay motivated as an activist?

Community.  When you are apart of such a huge and wonderful community full of activists all fighting for the same goal, it's really easy to stay motivated.  For me, making animal rights and animal liberation a huge part of my life has made it very easy for me to always stay active and always be motivated.  The Animal Rights community here in Toronto are my true friends, my family and they are my life.  They have always been there when I have been discouraged, they are always there to greet me with a smile and a hug, they are there to encourage me to push myself, they are always there to defend me when I'm in a tough situation and they are always there to remind me what I'm fighting for. 

What advice would you give to new activists?

My advice for new activists would be:  Just keep pushing yourself.  Make goals for yourself, accomplish them and then move on to the next goal.  Social anxiety used to be a huge problem for me and always prevented me from speaking up, being vocal and being active in what I believed in.  By continually pushing myself with activism and DxE actions, I was able to work past my anxiety and do things I had never thought I would have been able to do.  My second piece of advice is:  Surround yourself with like-minded people.  It's really easy to become discouraged when you keep negative people around that are trying to talk you out of activism or are always being negative towards what you think and what you do.  Push the negativity out of your life and allow people in who truly love you, want to work towards the same goals as you and share similar values and morals.

Why Animal Liberation?

Animal Liberation because it's what they deserve and it's what they are entitled to. Animals were not put on this planet for us to do to them as we see fit.  Anyone that has spent time at a sanctuary, a vigil or even or in a place of violence against animals can attest that each and every animal feels just like we do, has unique personalities like we do, has likes and dislikes like we do and is much different from the next person, just like us.  The least they deserve is to be free from harm and sorrow, have a chance at living the life they want to live, have families and of course, total liberation from human 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 1/6/17

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Animal Rights News Recap 1/6/17

Animal Rights News Recap 1/6/17

Last Friday, China announced that it would ban all trade of ivory by the end of 2017, a powerful move against elephant poaching!

http://nyti.ms/2iXi7pc

Tom Tkach, an organizer with DxE Toronto, was interviewed about his animal rights activism on a radio talk show called The Good News Only. His compelling responses have been uploaded to YouTube in the video below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vO6pgmS8eHY&feature=youtu.be

PETA replaced every ad in a London subway station with posters promoting veganism.

https://www.yahoo.com/news/tube-station-ads-replaced-encourage-120418826.html

DxE Pinellas held a demonstration involving video outreach and engaged with the public on New Year's Eve night in the busy downtown of St. Petersburg, Florida.

https://www.facebook.com/dxepinellas/videos/612692295581018/

Croatia abolished fur farms effective January 1st, creating a more compassionate 2017.

https://www.total-croatia-news.com/lifestyle/15601-croatia-begins-2017-by-abolishing-fur-farms

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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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Have You Read the Berkeley Animal Rights Center Newsletter?

Have You Read the Berkeley Animal Rights Center Newsletter?

Each month, volunteers at the Berkeley Animal Rights Center put together a newsletter chronicling the month's events. Did you get a chance to read December's? If not, check it out below - and look for another one coming toward the end of the 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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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: Connie Pearson

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Animal Rights Activist Profile: Connie Pearson

Animal Rights Activist Profile: Connie Pearson

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

I live in Southern California, and my daughter Ruby lives in Oakland. I just happened to be visiting her in May of 2015, and she told me she had heard about a talk being given by Lauren Gazzola at the UC Berkeley campus, and asked me if I'd like to go. I said sure - I was familiar with Lauren and the SHAC 7, so it sounded interesting. The talk was great, but what turned my life upside-down that day was discovering that the talk was part of The Forum, (never heard of it) which was sponsored by Direct Action Everywhere (never heard of them) and that all of The Forum participants were going to "go inside a Trader Joe's and do a disruption." (What!?) I've been a vegan and animal rights activist for many years, but nothing in my activism history felt as right as marching into that store that sells violence and lies, and letting the world know we will not tolerate this anymore. And these disruptions were happening all over the world, all the time. When I found out there were DxE chapters in SoCal, that was it for me. I had to tell the truth about animal liberation in the same way that I did that day at The Forum.

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

I never dreamed I would become an organizer. That's something other people do! But when a need for an organizer opened up in the Inland Empire chapter, I knew I didn't have a choice. Participating in disruptions for me is exhilarating. Organizing is another matter - it sounded terrifying. But there are times in life when you just have to do what terrifies you. Continuing to spread the message of liberation is far more important than my fears. So that first disruption at Costco as an organizer was huge for me. Mistakes were made, surprises happened, but the bottom line was that we were able to deliver this all important message.

Are you involved in any affiliate, working groups, or unique activism in your chapter, and if so, how does this influence your activism?

I've been an organizer for five months now. The IE chapter is a small but extremely dedicated group of amazing activists. So for now, within DxE, organizing (with the other organizers and key contributors) is full-time! Outside of DxE I participate in local Save vigils and many events put on by other AR groups. I love talking about DxE with activists at various events. I know that we need a variety of voices, approaches, and attitudes within the movement, and it's crucial that every group works together to support our common goals. That said, I feel so strongly that DxE is the present and future of animal rights, I use any opportunity I can to share with people that DxE is the fast lane to liberation.

How do you stay motivated as an activist?

I'm in my thirty-seventh year as an activist. When I first learned of animal rights in 1980, I was so passionately involved, I think this led to ignoring other aspects of my life. Also, young as I was, I became discouraged over time that we weren't getting fast-enough results. This combination led to some serious burn-out. I didn't quite see it at the time, but I think this burn-out led me to want to participate in other forms of activism. I was a home birth activist for many years, and during the Bush years, was involved in the peace movement. Of course, I'm glad I was involved in other forms of activism. They are critically important issues, and I think as a result I am more well-rounded. And while I always did some less-involved form of animal activism in addition to these other issues, I carried some unacknowledged feelings that there was something missing, and I now realize that that is to be involved at the level I am now.

So while this may sound almost contradictory, what keeps me motivated is to look back on the mistakes I made in the past and to not repeat them. Don't sacrifice other parts of my life to the point of wanting to leave the movement. Have patience. Liberation will happen, but we are still in the process of laying a foundation. And feeling so excited with being involved again at a deep level allows me to realize that this is my comfort zone. I believe this is what I was born to do.

How does your longevity in the animal rights movement influence your activism?

When I became an activist, I was seventeen. This may not be true everywhere, but in my region, a couple of friends and I were the only young activists. The participants in all the demonstrations were these great, eccentric, older women. My friends and I really stood out! Now, the movement is so much younger than it was then, and I love it. Now I'm the eccentric older woman. It's like the ages have reversed. Also, in the early eighties, vegetarianism was a low priority, and veganism was hardly on the radar. My introduction to animal rights was through the issue of vivisection. I became a vegetarian within days of learning about AR (veganism came later), but it was actually unusual to be vegetarian as an animal rights activist! Hard to believe. And the focus of most AR groups now is on farmed animals. Of course there is still activism around animals in laboratories, but not nearly as much as there used to be. So like the age reversal, the focus on specific animal issues has reversed. I wouldn't say this has affected my activism, but I do think it's interesting to see the changes and be aware of some of the history.

I am so grateful that farmed animals are in the spotlight now. When talking with non-activists, it is easier for people to make the connection that their behavior -what they eat- has a huge impact on the planet, and is directly contributing to unfathomable suffering. When discussing lab animals, there is an unfortunate "what can I do?" attitude. When discussing a decision of what to eat several times in one day, the "what can I do?" question answers itself. And I think it's easier to create activists from this angle. I like to take full advantage of what I see as a more direct route to inspiring activism. My longevity has allowed me to see where we are now, compared to when I began. Tremendous changes have taken place, but the majority of those changes have happened fairly recently. In the past, changes sort of chugged along, now change is happening exponentially. This is the time to push for animal rights harder then we've ever pushed. Seeing all these changes influences my attitude to keep going, keep going. We're on a roll!

What advice would you give to new activists?

The friends you make through becoming an activist will likely be among the best people you have in your life. Activists are endlessly interesting, inspiring, fascinating people. Who wouldn't want that in their life? Take advantage of every opportunity to socialize and build strong connections with activists. They will be like family. And the satisfaction that comes from knowing you're creating positive change for animals is incomparable. Celebrate even small victories - it all adds up.  

Why Animal Liberation?

We are obligated to do everything in our power to end suffering, and there isn't anything close to the suffering and abuse that happens to animals every moment of every day. Creating animal liberation isn't a choice; it's a necessity. On a positive note, I know animal liberation exists. It's our job to find the way to get there.

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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 12/30/16

DxE Toronto disrupted a shopping mall to speak out against Canada Goose because murdering coyotes for fur isn't fashion. It's violence.  

https://www.facebook.com/garytvcom/videos/1184756668246246/

Actress Laura Vandervoort stayed in an industrial freezer as long as she could bear it to speak out for animals who are left outside in the cold.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x7WBQK9QtyI

In Defense of Animals rescued a pig named Ronaldo from being eaten in Cameroon, Africa.

 

A Silicon Valley startup is working on creating a baby formula made without cow's milk.

http://vegnews.com/articles/page.do?pageId=8816&catId=1

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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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2016 Was a Groundbreaking Year for Animal Rights in Berkeley - Here Are Five Reasons Why

2016 Was a Groundbreaking Year for Animal Rights in Berkeley - Here Are Five Reasons Why

by Zach Groff

Social networks: concentration or distribution?

Social networks: concentration or distribution?

Just under a year ago, Wayne Hsiung and I sat down with Stanford sociologist Doug McAdam to chat about his groundbreaking work on the politics of contention and asked him a question: should social movements concentrate in a few places or spread out? We expected a somewhat tempered answer, as academics typically like to hedge overly bold answers. What we got was one of the most resolute responses:

"Concentration, no brainer."

One academic might not be enough for a complete overhaul of our strategy, but McAdam's advice came on the heels of a slew of other academics saying similar things - not to mention our own familiarity with history and science suggesting that social movements do best when people come together, literally.

We'd been seeing potential political and social opportunities in Berkeley, a city that has served as ground zero for social movements for decades, so we made a shift. Here's a look at five things that have happened in the year since that turning point:

1. The opening of the first ever Animal Rights Center in the Western hemisphere.

July saw new residents at 2425 Channing Way in Berkeley: a community of animal rights activists with regular meet ups, training sessions, and a supporting activist store. The ARC, as it's called, has become a tourist demonstration for animal-friendly travelers and has fueled a striking increase in energy for animal rights in the Bay Area.

2. Animal rights becomes a public issue in Berkeley.

Pao, a dog rescued from Yulin dog meat farms, at the Berkeley Animal Rights Center.

Pao, a dog rescued from Yulin dog meat farms, at the Berkeley Animal Rights Center.

From headlines across the Bay Area around a protest at famed Berkeley eatery Chez Panisse to a march for animal rights, animal rights was a public presence in Berkeley. There are plans in store to establish a vegan chamber of commerce, and businesses are rethinking their use of animals (more on that in a later blog). Hundreds of people are coming through the doors of the animal rights center and seeing animal rights in a new way.

3. Berkeley City Council becomes the first government body in the U.S. to condemn dog meat.

The Berkeley City Council showed how Americans can stand in solidarity with Chinese activists on the ground, condemning dog meat and tacitly saying that killing animals is a form of abuse. With a rousing speech from councilmember Max Anderson on the importance of speaking out against injustice, Berkeley came down on animals' side.

A rally outside Berkeley City Hall

A rally outside Berkeley City Hall

4. Berkeley city officials' attempt to shut down the Animal Rights Center is halted.

Berkeley officials threatened to evict the Animal Rights Center in a thinly veiled attempt at political gamesmanship. Activists organized and got the support of fellow tenants and dozens of animal advocacy groups. 80 activists showed up at the Berkeley City Council meeting, and before long, the city rescinded its threat, showing the power of nonviolent mobilization.

5. Signs of a promising future for animals appear in Berkeley - and around the world.

The Berkeley Coalition for Animals organized, fueled by the growing animal rights presence in Berkeley, and began planning for changes to businesses, civic institutions, and legislation in Berkeley. Authority figures, media, and others have started taking notice, and the coming year offers opportunities for historic shifts for animals.

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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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