250 People Staged The Largest Open Rescue March in U.S. History - and You Can Be Next
By Zach Groff
Flanked by street marshals in neon green jackets on one side and a virtual reality camera on the other side, nearly 250 DxE Forum participants stormed a slaughterhouse Tuesday as a half dozen activists rescued six of the most tortured victims of the slaughterhouse for veterinary care. The activists held flowers outside as activists Jewels Pearson, Hana Low, and Wayne Hsiung entered the slaughterhouse to aid injured hens with Shiki Wang, Conrad De Jesus, and Victoria Gu behind them. Within minutes, activists began passing injured hens - hens suffering from starvation, dehydration, and blindness - from the slaughterhouse until six hens were on their way to a life of safety.
The six activists and six hens have since made waves on social media, mainstream U.S. media, Chinese media, and vegan media, but the untold story of the rescue is the story of hundreds: hundreds of family members, college students, and everyday people who bore witness as the hens were transported to safety. In fact, widely respected social science shows that it's not a few leaders but large masses of people who change society.
If it's masses of ordinary people who change the world, then this past week was very, very good news for the animal rights movement. With 370 people, six demonstrations, and dozens of hands-on training sessions in activism skills from working with media to conducting open rescues, the annual Direct Action Everywhere Forum exploded with the energy of a growing movement preparing to shake the world to its core.
Activists filled the famed San Francisco Ferry Building with a line from one end to the other before dying in and erupting in an echoing chant of "Animal Liberation Now" before hundreds of people. Activists enthralled hundreds more inside San Francisco's mall as onlookers stared down from six stories at the crowd below. Activists appeared to shut down a slaughterhouse in Petaluma, California for several hours simply by standing at the gates with candles and music.
Perhaps more significant than anything, the Forum saw the burgeoning of a broad coalition with Anita Krajnc of the Save Movement delivering a keynote address and activists with In Defense of Animals, Animal Justice, the Light Movement, and Alliance for Animals all coming together.
New DxE chapters are popping up in cities like Houston and Portland, and a new Save chapters is popping up in the Bay Area. Other Forum attendees are preparing to move to Berkeley to fight for animal liberation. Save and DxE organizers from across the U.S. and Canada are gearing up for targeted campaigns at upending powerful institutions.
The question is: will you join us?