Why Target Amazon?

Why Target Amazon?

Why Target Amazon?

1. Amazon sells products that are illegal for animal cruelty.  

  A duck being force-fed to make foie gras.

A duck being force-fed to make foie gras.

Amazon sells fur coats that have been banned in cities like San Francisco because of the brutal mistreatment of animals including dogs. For some of these furs, hundreds of chinchillas are killed just to make one coat. Amazon also sells cockfighting gear, even though cockfighting is illegal in every single US state, and the company sells foie gras, the fattened liver of force-fed ducks and geese, which is illegal in states like California.

 

  Amazon's claims of responsible sourcing.

Amazon's claims of responsible sourcing.

 

Amazon says it is “committed to a lawful and ethical” business, and you’ll see all sorts of wonderful marketing slogans on their "cage-free" eggs and "humane" meat. But DxE has investigated Amazon’s suppliers and found criminal animal cruelty time and time again. The public deserves to see the truth behind Amazon's "humane" lies.

2. Amazon is the largest online retailer in the world.

Amazon ships an estimated 1.6 million packages out every single day to their customer base of over 300 million homes. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is the richest man on the planet. Environmental and animal rights groups have repeatedly reached out to this massive company with concerns, but Amazon has consistently ignored them and shown zero accountability. 

3. Amazon is taking over.

Amazon recently purchased Whole Foods for nearly $14 billion dollars, and now the company is making a huge push to ship animal products right to people’s doorsteps. It’s called Amazon Fresh, and they want people to be able to buy everything from foie gras to veal in one click. Amazon is making it easier than ever to pay for animal cruelty. Online grocery sales are predicted to capture 20% of total grocery retail by 2025.  And as Amazon continues to take over the grocery market, their one-click-cruelty has the potential to change the very way we think of grocery shopping. 

  An Amazon Fresh truck delivering groceries

An Amazon Fresh truck delivering groceries

We're not calling for a boycott of Amazon. Although you may personally choose to boycott, what we urgently need is to take direct action to expose Amazon’s crime.

 

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From a minority to a majority: how a minority group in Russia made history

From a minority to a majority: how a minority group in Russia made history

From a minority to a majority:

How a minority group in Russia made history

By Rasa Petrauskaite

 
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A month ago, I attended a charity fundraiser for a hospital in India.  At the event, I met a very interesting couple.  The husband was sitting next to me at our table.  I was one of the few people there eating a vegan option.  Most people around me were eating meat.  This Indian gentleman was eating meat too. 

He and I conversed on various topics and wanted to stay in touch.  As I was adding him on Facebook on my phone, we both looked at my profile picture. There was a slogan promoting an animal rights march plastered across the bottom of my profile photo.  I felt the need to explain the slogan to him.  I said, “I'm an animal rights activist.”  There was a long pause.  He briefly turned away from me. 

After a moment of silence, he turned back to me and said, “I believe that there will be a day when none of us will be eating meat.  We will no longer raise animals for food.  In fact, we will look back on history and say, 'What?!  People actually did that?!  It's so barbaric!'” The gentleman went on to compare raising animals for meat to owning other humans.  He said that looking back on history, we will regard both practices as equally barbaric. 

Listening to him, I felt pleasantly surprised.  I couldn't believe that this man who eats meat actually thinks that killing animals is barbaric.  When people who eat meat say that they will someday become animal rights supporters, it means that they are animal rights supporters already at least in their hearts.  It means that we, who are animal rights supporters, might not be a minority.  It means that we might be a majority.

Listening to him, I realized that all this time I have been feeling doubtful.  I doubted that we have what it takes to change the system where animals are killed for meat. 

I was thinking that we simply have too few people who share our vision of liberating animals and letting them live out their lives in peace at sanctuaries.

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For years, I've seen videos and photos of animals suffering in animal agriculture. I so badly wanted to help them.  But I felt powerless to do so.  I felt scared that no matter how hard I try, I will not make a dent in this system.  I felt almost hopeless.  I had only a little bit of hope.  But it was enough for me to take action. 

I saw incremental progress.  San Francisco banned the sale of fur a few months ago.  US senators from California started to change their rhetoric on animal rights over the past few years.  They became stronger advocates of animal rights. 

However, I also saw how hard it was for us to make any real difference.  Millions of animals are still living on farms, suffering terribly, and they will be killed.  We have large obstacles to overcome.  Sometimes they seem insurmountable.  We have opposition from some politicians, who have accepted money from the meat industry.  We have opposition from the FBI.  This may also be due to corruption.  Last year, several FBI agents raided an animal sanctuary.  They cut off a piece of the ear of at least one pig.  They said this was necessary to do a DNA test to determine if this pig was one of the ones who was removed from a farm.

Many of my fellow activists rescued a number of animals from farms.  The animals were either dying from diseases or they would have been killed, if they weren't rescued.  Unfortunately, some of the activists are now facing criminal charges.  They are being sued by public officials in Utah and North Carolina.  Their trials in Utah are beginning this week.  Some of them may have to serve up to 70 years in prison.  This is another example of the many serious obstacles that we face as activists.

However, by talking to this Indian gentleman at the charity event, I saw that we have a real chance to succeed.  Despite the many obstacles, we potentially have enough support from the US population to create real change.  I saw that my fear of my ineffectiveness in helping animals in any meaningful way was largely unfounded.  I felt relieved.  I also felt regretful that I have been living with this fear for many years.

After the charity event, I deliberated on the comparison of animal agriculture to human trade, a system where people could buy other people.  Many Americans don't realize it, but human trade had existed in Russia as well.  I'm originally from Russia and studied Russian history.  At one point in time, wealthy Russian nobles were able to buy peasants and serfs. 

  "Time of harvesting," painting by Grigoriy Myasoyedov, 1887.

"Time of harvesting," painting by Grigoriy Myasoyedov, 1887.

However, in 1861, the czar enacted the Emancipation Reform.  It freed the serfs and the peasants from being owned by nobles.

There were several forces that worked together to bring about the Emancipation Reform.  The first force was the Russian intellectual community.  It was a minority of the population.  Three prominent thought leaders in Russia were writing about the need for the emancipation of serfs.  They wrote about human rights.  The Russian intellectual community rallied behind them.

The second force that brought about the Emancipation Reform was the accumulation of smaller reforms to improve the welfare of serfs.  The czars prior to the one who enacted the Emancipation Reform passed smaller laws that improved the welfare of serfs.  Some of these laws were not enforced at the time.  Nonetheless, the consistent efforts of the prior czars paved the way for a more sweeping measure.

The third force that enabled the reform was examples from other countries.  The Russian czar at the time, Alexander II, witnessed his Eastern European neighbors abolishing serfdom.  That legitimized his bold reform in the eyes of the Russian nobility.

Similarly to the way people in Russia could buy other people, we in the US today can buy (non-human) animals.  Also, similarly to how the forces in Russia synergized to end human trade, the forces are growing here in the US to end animal trade.

We, animal rights activists, are akin to the minority of the population in Russia in the early 1800s who rallied behind the several thought leaders to end human trade.  Similarly, we are one of the forces that will end animal trade.  The way Russia achieved human liberation, we can achieve animal liberation. 

Since the time of the charity event for the hospital in India, I have taken the Animal Liberation Pledge.  I'm letting my family, friends and acquaintances know that I will share a meal with them only if they eat vegan food with me.  I'm looking forward to getting more people to think about animal liberation and to see their thoughts and feelings about it.  At the next charity event, I will declare much sooner that I'm an animal rights activist.

NEWS OF THE WEEK: DxE Activists Charged For Rescuing Sick Turkeys, L.A. Considers Cruelty-free Cleaning Products, April 21 – May 4, 2018

NEWS OF THE WEEK:

DxE Activists Charged For Rescuing Sick Turkeys, L.A. Considers Cruelty-free Cleaning Products, April 21 – May 4, 2018

By Leslie Goldberg

  DxE activist rescues turkey from Norbest farm. Photo by DxE

DxE activist rescues turkey from Norbest farm. Photo by DxE

ANIMAL RIGHTS ACTIVISTS CHARGED WITH FELONIES FOR REMOVING SICK TURKEYS FROM FACTORY FARM

Six activists with DxE, including Wayne Hsiung, Diane Gandee Sorbi and Andrew Sharo, were charged with felony burglary and threatened with 10-year prison sentences in Utah for entering a Norbest turkey facility and removing three sick and injured turkeys and taking them to the vet. The horrific conditions of the farm were documented by the group and publicized around Thanksgiving, 2017. Utah, which has a state government largely controlled by agricultural interests, passed an “ag gag” law in 2012. Last year that law was struck down by the courts. Activists believe that charging them represents an end run around that failed ag gag law and an effort to continue to mislead the public as to conditions on these farms. (The Intercept, May 4, 2018)

LOS ANGELES CITY TO BUY ONLY CRUELTY-FREE CLEANING PRODUCTS?

An LA city councilman, Bob Blumenfield, has introduced a motion which would forbid the City of Los Angeles from purchasing cleaning products which were tested on animals. Already the state bans the testing of cleaning products on animals if other means of testing are available. That state ban, however, says nothing about the sale of animal-tested products in the state, i.e. products from somewhere else. Let’s hope the LA City Council goes for it! (City News Service, April 26, 2018)

PROTECTING SHELTER ANIMALS IN NEW YORK

The New York State Senate passed a measure to prevent convicted animal abusers from working in animal shelters. The measure goes on to the Assembly. (Buffalo NPR, April 25, 2018)

BILL AIMED AT GIVING FARMED ANIMALS MORE SPACE GARNERS NEEDED SIGNATURES

HSUS gathered some 600,000 signatures for the Prevent Cruelty California measure which is almost double what is required to get the bill on the ballot. In November, California voters will have the opportunity to vote for giving industrially-raised chickens, pigs and veal calves more room. The bill would also prevent companies from outside California who do not meet the standards from selling their products in the state. The bill is similar to Proposition 2, which passed in 2008. That bill contained no mechanism for enforcement, but according to the Prevent Cruelty California website, this one does. However, the Prevent Cruelty California measure, if passed, would become null and void if the King Amendment is successfully inserted into the federal Farm Bill. (Live Kindly, April 26, 2018)

FRANCE BENDS TO THE ANIMAL FOOD INDUSTRY

Companies selling plant-derived “milk,” “cheese” or “meat” have now been banned from calling those products “milk,” “cheese” or “meat” (in French of course.) Seems odd to us, that the French would feel the need to pass such a measure because the EU passed the same law in 2017. (Drovers, April 27, 2018)

A BAN ON BOILING LOBSTERS ALIVE IN THE U.K.

Legislators in the U.K. are considering banning the practice of boiling lobsters alive, as well as other crustaceans, such as crabs and crayfish. Last February, the U.K. banned the sale of plastic straws as part of an effort to protect marine life. Apparently plastic straws get caught in sea turtles’ noses, choke fish and get caught in the throats of dolphins. Recently it was reported that the U.K government pledged 61.4 million pounds to fight marine plastic pollution. (Live Kindly, April 27, 2018)

SO COOL, EUGENE OREGON

The Eugene, Oregon police will now be equipped with special thermometers which will determine the temperature inside cars. They will use them in rescues of animals trapped in hot vehicles. (KVAL, April 26, 2018)

TRIP ADVISOR STEPS UP

The U.S.-based booking site, Trip Advisor, says it will now no longer arrange trips involving human-to-wild-animal contact – that means no more swimming with dolphins, petting tigers and riding on elephants. (Plant Based News, April 30, 2018)

A GLOBAL BAN ON TESTING COSMETICS ON ANIMALS

Legislators in the U.K. are calling on the government there to pass a resolution demanding an end to the testing of cosmetics on animals worldwide. The E.U. no longer permits animal testing of cosmetics, but exempts cosmetics produced in Europe or elsewhere and tested in China. This China Exemption, is also a sticking point for efforts to ban the sale of cosmetics tested on animals in California. Obviously, industry wants a China Exemption and animal rights advocates do not. (Huffington Post, April 30, 2018)

THE MEAT INDUSTRY LOVES THIS

The state Senate in Missouri has just passed a measure to require all the packaging on plant-based meat to clearly indicate that the product does not contain meat. The bill now goes on to the state’s assembly. Since the federal government already requires companies to include all ingredients in a particular product, there is some confusion as to what this bill would actually do. Jessica Almy of the Good Food Institute said, "A phrase like 'plant-based meat' clearly communicates that a food is plant-based and how a food is meant to be prepared and consumed. Second, creating a Missouri-specific prohibition would create an untenable situation where products sold in Missouri must be labeled differently from products sold in all 49 other states." (U.S. News, April 29, 2018)

NO MORE MOHAIR AT GAP, H&M AND ZARA

Following a PETA investigation of multiple goat farms in South Africa, H&M, Gap, Zara and others have vowed to stop selling mohair products. The companies’ decisions follow the release of undercover video showing workers dragging goats by their horns and legs and lifting them up by their tails, as well as trying to cut their throats with dull knives. Workers were also seen throwing goats across the floor. The end of mohair sales won’t be instantaneous. H&M and Zara have vowed to have no mohair by 2020. (The Inquirer, May 1, 2018)

PUBLIC DOESN’T LIKE THE WORD “VEGAN”

A survey conducted by food consulting firm Mattson of more than 1,000 people found that 80 percent of the respondents preferred the term “pant-based” to “vegan.” Wrote Viva Glam Magazine: “Those surveyed believe the term ‘plant-based’ is more positive than the term ‘vegan.’” They added, “ ‘Plant-based was viewed as a ‘positive food choice’ while ‘vegan’ was seen as more depriving in nature.” (Viva Glam Magazine, May 2, 2018)

NEWS OF THE WEEK: The Draconian King Amendment, California Cruelty-Free Cosmetics Act Passes First Hurdle, April 20 – April 27, 2018

NEWS OF THE WEEK:

The Draconian King Amendment, California Cruelty-Free Cosmetics Act Passes First Hurdle, April 20 – April 27, 2018

By Leslie Goldberg

  Protesting to ban fur sales in San Francisco earlier this year. Photo by Michael Goldberg

Protesting to ban fur sales in San Francisco earlier this year. Photo by Michael Goldberg

UPDATE ON THE DRACONIAN KING AMENDMENT

The dreaded King Amendment, deceptively called the “Protect Interstate Commerce Act,” which would destroy states’ abilities to regulate both animal welfare and environmental protection in their states, passed a House Agricultural Committee vote last week. Proposed by Rep. Steve King, a Republican from Iowa, the amendment which is part of the Farm Bill takes specific aim at California’s ban on the sale of eggs from hens trapped in battery cages. (Iowa wants to sell its eggs in California.) The King amendment could also overturn states’ regulation of puppy mills, bans on the sale of dog and cat “meat,” San Francisco’s ban on the sale of fur, and other protections. Call your representatives! (HSUS, April 20, 2018)

CALIFORNIA ANIMAL RIGHTS LEGISLATIVE NEWS

This week at the California State Capitol, animal rights activists won two and lost one. A bill banning the practice of declawing cats didn’t make it out of the state’s Public Safety Committee. The loss was possibly due to the testimony from two representatives of the veterinary association who argued that the practice was medically appropriate in some situations. On the victory side was the Iconic African Endangered Species Act, SB 1487, which bans the possession of body parts of 11 different African animals including lions and elephants. SB 1487, passed with a vote of 5 to 2 along party lines in the Public Safety Committee. Next stop is a vote in the whole state Senate. The other victory was the California Cruelty-Free Cosmetics Act, SB 1249,  which passed the state Judiciary Committee and heads off to the Appropriations Committee. The act bans the sale of cosmetics tested on animals. (Reported by Leslie Goldberg)

A BIG BREAK FOR DOGS IN JAPAN

The Japanese government has now banned the testing of agrochemicals on dogs. Typically, this type of testing subjected animals to these pesticides (either ingesting or inhaling) for a year. Now the Japanese government has concluded this practice is not only cruel but ineffective. This ban is a big deal – it will save over 4 million dogs a year. (Live Kindly, April 21, 2018)

WHO IS MOST LIKELY TO GO VEGAN?

According to research conducted by the University of Albany and published in a journal called Appetite, people who grew up with pets were the most likely to become vegans and/or vegetarian. And folks who grew up with the widest variety of animals (meaning cats, rodents, farm animals and not just dogs) were even more likely to go vegan or vegetarian in later life. (Bustle, April 21, 2018)

THE PRICE OF MEAT

Eating meat in the United States costs about 10 percent more than the world average, according to a study published in the Journal of Hunger and Environmental Health. But go to Switzerland and you’ll find it costs a whooping 142 percent more! In Norway it’s 67 percent higher and in Hong Kong it’s 61 percent higher. Why so cheap in the U.S.? Government subsidies. There’s a lot not to like in the Farm Bill, besides the King Amendment. (Fin24, April 21, 2018)

BABOON JAILBREAK

Four baboons, using a large barrel which had been placed in their pen for “enrichment” climbed out to freedom from the Institute for Biomedical Research in San Antonio. The facility which houses 2,500 animals and uses them for medical experiments had been the subject of a HSUS undercover investigation. The activists found them kept in “poor conditions” where the apparently underfed animals were eating rocks, wounding each other, engaging in hair plucking and self-biting. Some improvements were made, but it wasn’t enough according to four baboons who made their way onto city streets before being caught. Human activists called for the primates to be released to a sanctuary. So far, the facility hasn’t responded. (Newsweek, April 17, 2018)

DXE CO-FOUNDER ARRESTED AT BOULDER WHOLE FOODS

DxE co-founder Wayne Hsuing said he was only trying to ask Whole Foods a question but the company doesn’t like to be questioned. A store manager in Boulder refused to answer Hsiung. Instead, she called the police and Hsiung was arrested, along with his intrepid camera person, DxE activist Ateret Goldman. As he attempted to get a Whole Foods manager to have a conversation about Whole Foods’ promotion of “humanely-raised” meat and tried to get her to look at the photos he had brought of the dismal conditions at one of the store’s “humane meat” suppliers, Deistel Turkey Ranch, she asked him to leave. Hsiung, as is his habit, took his time. In the Whole Foods parking lot he was cited for trespassing and taken to jail because he didn’t have his I.D. (Boulder News, April 24, 2018)

DXE TEEN ACTIVIST ARRESTED IN SAN LUIS OBISPO

DxE activists Zoe Rosenberg, who is 15, and Julianne Perry were arrested this week after chaining themselves to a pen where a cow was to be killed for a California Polytechnic University butchering class. The activists were trying to draw attention to this appalling exercise in needless cruelty. When the truck driver bringing the animal who activists named “Justice” saw the protesters he drove off, never unloading the victim from his truck. As Rosenberg and Perry wailed “Where’s Justice?” police cut their chains and dragged them to jail. (The Tribune, April 23, 2018)

DON’T EAT CATS OR DOGS SAYS CONGRESS

U.S. lawmakers advanced a bill to make eating dogs and/or cat illegal here. It’s not that a lot of Americans eat dogs or cats, but rather, as the Washington Post explained, the measure is to make a strong statement to the international community that eating these animals is wrong. It’s a way for the American government to support international animal rights activists. However, it is not a way to stop our own country’s citizens from engaging in the parallel cruelty of eating cows, chickens, pigs and others. (Washington Post, April 24, 2018)

COMMERCIAL PUPPY AND KITTY MILLS FACE MORE OPPOSITION

The State of Maryland just banned the sale of puppies and kittens in pet stores. The measure also encourages people to visit shelters if they want to acquire an animal. The message is “Adopt, Don’t Shop.” California has already got that message. In this state pet shops must sell dogs and cats from shelters instead of commercial operations. (Washington Post, April 24, 2018)

NEWS OF THE WEEK: McDonald’s Under Fire From Animal Rights Groups, Cal Senate Committee Passes Iconic African Species Protection Act, April 13 – April 20, 2018

NEWS OF THE WEEK:

McDonald’s Under Fire From Animal Rights Groups, Cal Senate Committee Passes Iconic African Species Protection Act, April 13 – April 20, 2018

By Leslie Goldberg

  Exposing the hidden truth behind “happy meals.”

Exposing the hidden truth behind “happy meals.”

LOOK OUT MCDONALD’S

The ubiquitous fast food chain McDonald’s is now facing the Humane League along with a coalition of other animal rights groups including Mercy for Animals, Compassion Over Killing and Animal Equality. The groups are demanding higher animal welfare standards for broiler chickens including more space and switching to slower growing breeds. Apparently, some big bucks are behind this “I’m Not Lovin’ It” campaign. The groups managed to take out a full-page ad which ran in the New York Times on March 25. Protests were staged in Chicago and two large truck billboards toured the city. They featured a 6 foot by 10 foot “I’m Not Lovin’ It” art installation. (ALTERNET, April 16, 2018)

 IF THE FEDS WON’T DO IT CALIFORNIA WILL!

A bill banning the possession of any dead body part of an African elephant, African lion, leopard, black or white rhino, giraffe or zebra has passed the California Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Water by a vote of 7 to 2. California Senate Bill 1487, the Iconic African Species Protection Act, exempts body parts already in possession at the time of enactment or in possession by a bona fide scientific or educational institution. The bill is the work of Senator Henry Stern and sponsored by the animal advocacy group, Social Compassion in Legislation. It now faces another vote in the Public Safety Committee on April 24. (World Animal News, April 17, 2018)

MORE FROM SOCIAL COMPASSION IN LEGISLATION

Two more bills, sponsored by Social Compassion in Legislation, are making their way through the California Legislature. One is the CRUELTY FREE COSMETICS ACT, SB 1249 which bans the sale in California of cosmetics tested on animals. SB 1249 will be introduced to the Senate Judiciary Committee on April 24. (State Capitol, Room 112 at 1:30 pm.) The other, SB 1138, FOOD OPTIONS: PLANT-BASED MEALS, requires California patients and prisoners have the opportunity to choose plant-based meals. A hearing will be held on April 25 in the Senate Health Committee, Room 4203 (John Burton Hearing Room) at 1:30 pm. (Social Compassion in Legislation)

EPA COMES TO AID ANIMALS

The Environmental Protection Agency is pushing for a policy which encourages researchers to find alternatives to pesticide and chemical testing on animals. The agency stated that there are now newer, more effective and less cruel ways to determine if certain pesticides and chemicals pose a risk to human health. They invite public comment up to June 6 at EPAcomments@humanesociety.org – (HSUS, April 13, 2018)

PETA AND OTHERS SUE THE USDA

PETA and numerous other animal rights groups have joined a lawsuit over the recent decision USDA’s  (thanks Donald Trump) to deny public access to information on whether laboratories, puppy mills, roadside zoos and other animal-abusing industries have violated the federal Animal Welfare Act. The USDA’s effort to hide information on facilities such as these hamper efforts to investigate animal cruelty. (PETA, April 16, 2018)

ONE STEP CLOSER TO ENDING GREYHOUND RACING

Now Florida voters will have the chance to decide whether to continue to allow the cruel practice of greyhound racing in the state. It has been estimated that every three days a dog dies on a Florida track. Typically, the dogs are kept in small cages 23 hours out of the day. Florida is really the center of dog racing in the United States and 12 of the 18 tracks nationwide operate there. This measure banning dog racing will appear on the November ballot and has the support of the state’s Republican governor Rick Scott. (HSUS, April 17, 2018)

FISH WIN IN COURT

A Hawaii court just invalidated all of the state’s 131 aquarium collection permits because they were issued without environmental impact reviews first. The permits (which are still in effect) allow commercial aquariums to collect 2,000 fish a year for a total of about 250,000 fish including endangered species and endangered coral reefs. Environmental and animal protection groups sued the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources to achieve the victory in the 1st Circuit Court; the groups regard the court’s decision as an important step in an effort to protect fishes. (Center for Biological Diversity, April 16, 2018)

 

NEWS OF THE WEEK: PETA Says ‘Deport Donald Trump Jr.,’ Horse Slaughter Ban Renewed, April 6 – April 13, 2018

NEWS OF THE WEEK:

PETA Says ‘Deport Donald Trump Jr.,’ Horse Slaughter Ban Renewed, April 6 – April 13, 2018

By Leslie Goldberg

  Billboard PETA hopes to put up in El Paso and elsewhere.

Billboard PETA hopes to put up in El Paso and elsewhere.

DEPORT DONALD TRUMP JR.!

Wildlife killer Donald Trump Jr. may be seeing his face on billboards in El Paso and possibly other border towns. The signs call for his deportation. “All nations have their undesirables. Kindness welcomed,” reads the deportation billboard mock-up. The billboard project is the brainchild of, yes, PETA. PETA president Ingrid Newkirk said that if troops are being sent to the border to scare immigrants away then “we should look closer to home; the president has two sons who are flying to another country and committing violence.” (Newsweek, April 6, 2018)

VEG NEWS FROM UC-BERKELEY

The always-at-the-forefront University of California at Berkeley is now offering a course on creating a sustainable vegan future. The Sustainable Foods Lab program will cover animal product alternatives, the relationship between diet and environment, health and animal welfare. The course aims to cover both the theoretical and the practical and will include material on starting a vegan business. (Plant Based News, April 9, 2018)

HORSE SLAUGHTER BAN RENEWED…FOR NOW

The recent spending bill which funds the government until September does not include money for horse slaughter facilities inspectors, which means horse slaughter houses remain closed at least until September. Even with that minimal protection American horses still face slaughter in Mexico. According to the Humane Society of the United States, an estimated 100,000 horses are sent to Mexico for slaughter every year. Florida congressman Vern Buchanan has been pushing his Safeguard American Food Exports measure for years. The bill bans the export of horses for slaughter. The measure has never even gotten a hearing in the House. (Dallas Morning News, March 28, 2018)

SEVEN-HOUR SIT-IN AT AN AUTRALIAN PIG FARM

Some 60 protesters entered a Beerburrum, Australia pig facility while another protest was taking place outside. The activists remained there for 7 hours before police were able to persuade them to leave. Thirty-four were charged with trespassing. James Aspey, an organizer for the protest said, “The activists are trying to rescue innocent prisoners who will soon become murder victims. The farmers doing the torturing and killing are the ones who should be arrested.” Aspey will be speaking at DxE’s Animal Liberation Conference in May. Australian Pork Limited claimed that instead of rescuing pigs, the activists were endangering them: “Anyone entering a pig farm without completing the relevant biosecurity protocols puts the health of the animals at risk.” The demonstrators insisted they took appropriate precautions as they engaged in civil disobedience. (April 8, 2018, Plant Based News)

ARKANSAS ‘TURKEY DROP’ DROPPED

Apparently yielding to pressure from animal rights activists, the Yellville Chamber of Commerce will no longer sponsor the Northern Arkansas community annual Turkey Trot Festival which has featured the barbaric and bizarre practice of dropping turkeys from an airplane. The town had been subjected to an avalanche of bad publicity and protests regarding the “turkey drop.” So far, no other group has stepped up to take over the event. Keep your fingers crossed! (Sacramento Bee, April 6, 2018)

MARYLAND READY TO BAN THE SALE OF PUPPIES FROM PUPPY MILLS

The Maryland state legislature voted overwhelmingly to ban pet stores from selling puppies from puppy mills. The bill is now awaiting the governor’s signature. According to Plant Based News, lawmakers in New York, Rhode Island, Illinois and Pennsylvania are considering similar legislation. More than 250 localities in the U.S. have already enacted laws preventing this practice. Last year, California became the first state to ban the sale of puppies from puppy mills. (HSUS, April 9, 2018)

ANIMAL TESTING TAKES ANOTHER HIT

Virginia now joins California, New Jersey and New York in passing legislation designed to minimize animal testing. HB 1087 requires researchers to seek alternatives to using animals for testing cosmetics, household products, industrial chemicals and other substances. BTW, California, now, is taking that measure even further and trying to ban the sales of cosmetics tested on animals with its proposed California Cruelty-Free Cosmetics Act.  (HSUS, April 10, 2018)

TWO THOUSAND SHEEP DIE DURING TRANSPORT FROM AUSTRALIA

Undercover video has surfaced showing the horrific conditions sheep endure during trans-oceanic voyages, shocking the Australian public. Out of 65,000 sheep transported on a single trip from Perth to the Middle East last year, 2,400 recently died of heat exposure. The Australian government said it would stop another shipment of 65,000 sheep from Perth until the company takes steps to improve animal welfare – improvements like reducing the stocking density by 15 percent. In 2011 the government stopped all live trade to Indonesia for six months after a TV documentary aired showing extreme animal cruelty. (BBC, April, 6, 2018)

GOOD NEWS FOR ELEPHANTS

Taiwan announced it will ban the commercial sale of ivory starting in 2020. At the same time the U.K. declared it will amp up its strictures against selling ivory, proposing what Prime Minister Teresa May called “one of the toughest bans on ivory sales in the world.” This year China banned the sale of ivory and Hong Kong says they will stop the practice by 2021. The import and export of ivory is already banned in the United States. (HSUS, April 5, 2018)

California’s Biggest Beef Producer Can’t Take the Heat of Two Teenage Girls on Facebook Livestream

California’s Biggest Beef Producer Can’t Take the Heat of Two Teenage Girls on Facebook Livestream

By Zoe Rosenberg

Zoe is an organizer for DxE San Luis Obispo and founder of Happy Hen Animal Sanctuary

   Equipped with a camera and “Kids Against Cafos” backpack, Zoe is approached by a police officer outside Harris Ranch, despite having broken no law.    

Equipped with a camera and “Kids Against Cafos” backpack, Zoe is approached by a police officer outside Harris Ranch, despite having broken no law.
 

Rows and rows of cows. Acre after acre of filth. The rain drenched my clothes, but I barely noticed. Desperate cries and passing cars were all the noises I could hear. Feces was the only stench I could smell. Overwhelming heartbreak was the only emotion I could feel.

At any given moment, Harris Ranch is imprisoning and exploiting over 100,000 cows at their feedlot. Located in Fresno County, CA, Harris Ranch is the largest ranch on the West Coast.

We decided to call ourselves “Kids Against CAFOs." The term “CAFO” is a euphemism for “slaughterhouse,”  it stands for “Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation.” I’m 15 years old, one of my best friends is 16 years old, and we set out on a mission to find out what Big Ag is up to. In between schoolwork, we began to plan.

I began doing research, deep into the internet, to find anything and everything there is to know about Harris Ranch. It seemed too good to be true that they championed transparency, sustainability, and humane practices, so I continued digging.

I discovered that the facility at Harris Ranch has been found to be producing and emitting methane, ammonia, carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, and other pathogens.

I discovered blogs and social media posts from Fresno community members expressing concern over the environmental destruction being caused by the feedlot. The drought, a disastrous issue in Central California, came up repetitively. The amount of water being used, both to hydrate the cows and to grow crops for their feed, is proving catastrophic.  

Animals at the feedlot have been visibly mutilated. Just about every single cow has a large tag lanced through their ears. Many have also been branded. Branding is a practice where a mark, carved into a giant metal rod, is placed in a hot flame. Once it’s burning, the metal is pressed against the cows’ backs. It’s important to remember this is casually done with no pain relievers or anesthetic.

I live with two cows at Happy Hen Animal Sanctuary. Just giving them an injection causes clear discomfort. I can’t even imagine punching a hole in their ears, or burning them with hot metal. How anyone could do that to such a gentle being truly blows my mind.

The company proudly claims to make animal welfare a primary priority. In the past, Harris Ranch has been known to arrest activists for taking pictures of the feedlot from public property. It definitely raises eyebrows that they are trying so hard to keep their practices in the dark.

A few years ago, there was a bill passed in the United States called the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, labeling anyone who interferes with an animal enterprise as a terrorist. It appeared that Harris Ranch was taking full advantage of this unethical law.

On the morning of March 20th, 2018, my friend, Ateret, and I drove two hours from San Luis Obispo to Fresno, CA. We made backpacks that read “KIDS AGAINST CAFOS” and purchased matching outfits. We gathered our things and went on our way. If they are really so proud, we figured that maybe they would show us the barns - on a Facebook livestream.

We pulled off of the freeway, and parked on public property. I grabbed my backpack, threw it over my shoulder, and got out of the car. I grabbed my camera and Ateret grabbed the livestream, and we began to bear witness to the cows within.  I didn’t want a single one of them to suffer alone.

It was only a matter of minutes before security began to harass us, threatening to call the police if we didn’t leave. They said it was illegal for us to take pictures and document the animals at the ranch. We told them we would like to tour the facility, and we wouldn’t be leaving any time soon. The security guard drove away, and we continued to document the horrors. Looking into the eyes of the cows, so filled with despair, was utterly heartbreaking.

Growing up, I was taught that animals in farms live happy lives. I read storybooks and fairytales where cows, chickens, and pigs roam on grassy fields and even ASK to be eaten. Harris Ranch was nothing like that.

The police arrived and asked that we move our car to a different location, which we politely agreed to do. When we made it back to the car, the police were there, taking down the licence plate and talking with a farmer. They asked for our IDs, and myself, being 15, told them I don’t have one. We were told we were free to go, so we got into the car and began to drive.

Only a minute after, their lights began to flash and they pulled us over. Intensely, they demanded to know if we had an arrest record, if we were on probation, and where we lived. I asked if they were treating us unfairly because we were animal rights activists, but they hastily dodged my question.

After evoking our Fifth Amendment right to remain silent, they gave my friend and driver, Ateret, a ticket. Ateret, and one of her parents who lives in Colorado, will have to appear in court sometime in the coming weeks.

I grew up with people telling me that police officers are the good guys, protecting the people in our country. But if that’s the case, I don’t understand why WE are the criminals, while animal abusers are let off with a slap on the wrist.

The fact that animals are suffering at Harris Ranch is as plain as day. Even the police officers, who may not know anything about animals, should be able to see that.

As long as animals are being exploited, and our right to know where our food comes from is being violated, our world will be filled with violence. I would like to see a world where children, like myself, are not told that animals are things to be used and abused. I would like to see a world where animal agriculture companies are transparent, and animals are sent to sanctuaries, not slaughterhouses.

Supervisor Tang and the SF Board of Supervisors Ban Fur and Usher in a Brighter Tomorrow for Animals

Supervisor Tang and the SF Board of Supervisors Ban Fur and Usher in a Brighter Tomorrow for Animals

By Wayne Hsiung

fur ban rally 2.jpeg

“There are other ways to profit and it shouldn't be off the backs, literally, of animals.”

San Francisco Supervisor Katy Tang’s bold words at a rally outside City Hall in January met with cheers from an enthusiastic crowd of 90+.

The first city in the nation to allow same-sex marriage again made history in social progress by becoming the first major US city to ban the sale of fur.

In its findings, the ordinance presented five reasons to pass the ban:

1. More than 50 million animals are killed violently for their fur every year. A vast majority—about 85%—of fur fashion products are made with pelts sourced from animal fur factory farms.

2. Animals raised on fur farms typically spend their lives in cramped cages and are subject to cruel and filthy living conditions. Methods frequently used on fur farms to kill livestock for their pelts include gassing, anal and vaginal electrocution, poison, and neck-breaking.

3. Fur farming contributes to water and air pollution. Each mink skinned by fur farmers produces about 44 pounds of feces in the mink’s lifetime. That adds up to 1 million pounds of feces produced annually by American mink farms. One dangerous component of this waste is nearly 1,000 tons of phosphorus, which in excess amounts upsets ecosystems in rivers and streams. Raising animals for their fur also pollutes the air. In Denmark, where more than 14 million minks are killed for their fur each year, more than 8,000 pounds of ammonia is released into the atmosphere annually. In addition, chemical treatments applied to fur products reduce their biodegradability and contribute to human health problems.

4. Fur farming consumes significant quantities of energy. The amount of energy required to produce a coat made of real fur from ranch-raised animal skins is over 15 times that needed to produce a fake-fur garment. For each kilogram of factory-farmed mink fur, 110 kilograms of carbon dioxide is produced.

5. The sale of fur products in San Francisco is inconsistent with the city’s ethos of treating all living beings with kindness. In light of the wide array of faux fur and other alternatives for fashion and apparel, the demand for fur products does not justify the unnecessary killing and cruel treatment of animals. Eliminating the sale of fur products in San Francisco will promote community awareness of animal welfare, bolster the City’s stance against animal cruelty, and in turn, foster a more humane environment in San Francisco.

Go to any big department store selling fur coats in America and you will likely see a label reading "Origin Assured.” The label is supposed to let consumers know that the fur they are buying came from a "good country” like the United States, which protects animals from harm, instead of a "bad country" like China, where animals are brutalized.

Those labels are a lie. They are part of the fur industry's "humane-washing" campaign intended to mislead the public. No matter where animals are raised for fur, be it China, Finland or the U.S., they are abused during their short lives and killed. Sometimes they are skinned alive.

I know plenty about humane-washing. My fellow activists and I have been inside some of the most so-called "humane" farms in the U.S. We have seen up close how animals are treated on farms here. There is nothing humane about it.

I have been inside Chinese dog meat farms as well and have seen first-hand how dogs are literally beaten to death for their flesh. For my efforts there, I too was beaten—and arrested by Chinese police. I am now banned from entering China.

We've been inside some of the most so-called humane and animal welfare-certified farms in the U.S. We have seen up close how animals are treated on farms here and there is nothing humane about it. We have gone into pig, chicken and dairy farms in the U.S. and have been stunned by the horrific conditions we found there. We have been investigated by the FBI for entering those farms and rescuing sick and injured animals.

Things are not really better for animals raised or trapped for fur here in the U.S. Americans, Canadians and Europeans have been duped by corporate marketing schemes that amount to false advertising and deception.

Blackglama, an American mink company, proclaims on its website: "Origin Assured farms [which includes Blackgama] adhere to strict governmental and agricultural guidelines and regulations that govern mink production, ensuring the highest standard of humane care."

The company fails to mention that the U.S. has almost no federal regulations regarding fur farming. Animals raised for their pelts are specifically exempted from the Animal Welfare Act. And most European countries—with the exception of those that have banned fur farming (Germany, Austria, Croatia, the United Kingdom, Norway, and in 2019, the Czech Republic)—have virtually no legal protections for animals raised for their fur. Nothing has changed here in the U.S. to make life better for fur-bearing animals of any kind.

As recent undercover American investigations have shown, mink and foxes—the most commonly raised animals for their fur—are still housed in tiny, dirty, wire cages. The animals frantically spin in their cages, sometimes chewing parts of their own bodies out of frustration. Mink are still being killed by carbon dioxide from truck exhaust, while foxes are still killed by electrical devices inserted into their rectums.

Yet, fur sales all over the world are booming, in part, because the fur industry marketing departments are managing to tamp down any queasy or guilty feelings a customer might have about wearing someone else's skin, just as the meat, dairy and egg industries have convinced consumers of the lie that animals raised for food somehow live a good life.

At one time in the not-so-distant past, there was some discomfort—or at least concern—about being seen wearing fur in public. Now magazine pages are awash with photos of movie and music stars in brightly dyed fur coats, or the more understated Canada Goose jackets with their coyote fur-trimmed hoods.

This is another example of the massive corporate manipulation of our entire culture (including China, which takes its fashion cues from the West). The public has a sense it is wrong to kill animals for their skins, yet Gwyneth Paltrow wears a Canada Goose coyote fur-trimmed parka and she looks like she just stepped out of the Sierra Club magazine. Jimmy Fallon also wears Canada Goose and so does Rihanna. The fur industry's deception is being reinforced by celebrities and the entertainment industry.

While San Francisco became the first major US city to cut through the fur industry's "humane lie" and pass a ban on fur, there are two smaller cities that did just that, following the work of grassroots activists: West Hollywood and Berkeley. While those bans were big victories, those cities don’t have the big department stores and exclusive boutiques that San Francisco does.

Many fashion designers also acknowledge the inherent cruelty behind fur: Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, Vivienne Westwood and most recently, Jimmy Choo, Michael Kors, Gucci and Armani. In addition to the aforementioned Europe nations that have banned fur farming, Italy and Denmark have instituted some fur-bearing animal welfare laws.

But the truth is, no animal welfare law that still allows for animals to be killed for their fur can make the lives of fur-bearing animals better.

In this day and age, no one needs to wear fur, least of all for decoration. No amount of vanity can be worth this much suffering.

NEWS OF THE WEEK: U.S. Pigs May Win in Trump Trade War, Protesters Infuriate Chef, Mar. 31 – April 6, 2018

NEWS OF THE WEEK:

U.S. Pigs May Win in Trump Trade War, Protesters Infuriate Chef, Mar. 31 – April 6, 2018

By Leslie Goldberg

  Pigs in the U.S. could benefit from Trump’s trade war with China. Photo by DxE.

Pigs in the U.S. could benefit from Trump’s trade war with China. Photo by DxE.

AMERICAN PIGS MAY BE THE WINNERS IN TRUMP'S TRADE WAR

The price of pork may be going up in the United States thanks to Trump's proposed tariffs on some Chinese products. China says it's going to retaliate with some tariffs of its own, including a 25 percent tariff on pork. Since, some 60 percent of American "pork variety products," which are parts of the animal such as their feet and hocks are sold in China, the industry would take a significant hit, reports Fortune magazine. "Chinese customers would be less likely to buy them, resulting in lower profits for U.S. farmers," Scott Brown, assistant extension professor of agriculture and applied economics at the University of Missouri told the magazine. "That loss would force farmers to either look for new markets or produce less pork."  As he explained to Fortune, it is unlikely that U.S. producers would be able to make up such a big loss from China. His forecast is fewer pigs raised and higher prices for American pork consumers. (Fortune, April 4, 2018)

CANADIAN PROTESTERS INFURIATE CHEF

It all started with a sign at the Antler Kitchen and Bar reading "Venison is the New Kale." The joke so angered vegan activist Marni Ugar that she decided to research the place and she found that in addition to selling "humane" meats from supposedly wild animals, they also offer foie gras. "I don't think there's any such thing [as 'humane' meat],” said Ugar. "It's very misleading because they're calling these animals wild animals, the deer and boar, but they are actually being farmed...They're just bred and killed." The protests started up. They got bigger and activists brought signs (Looks like DxE signs to us) and bullhorns. Business dropped off and chef Michael Hunter dragged a deer leg from the kitchen and began butchering it in the window. Ugar offered to reduce the number of protests if the restaurant would post a sign: "Attention, animals lives are their right. Killing them is violent and unjust no matter how it's done." Interesting! So far, the restaurant hasn't responded. (Washington Post, March 28, 2018)

KEEPING PANDAS OUT OF MANHATTAN

Friend of DxE/activist Donny Moss tells us in his blog, Their Turn: New York Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney's $50 million idea of leasing farmed panda bears from China and installing them in a New York City zoo will not fly, if activists have any say in the matter. "Pandas are wild animals who exist for their own purposes," said Edita Birnkrant, Executive Director of the animal rights group NYCLASS. "They should live freely in the bamboo forests of China, not in a display case in Manhattan." Moss and company were spotted at a Maloney fundraiser, protesting noisily. (Their Turn, April 2, 2018)

ELEPHANT KILLED IN TRUCK ACCIDENT AND FOUR OTHERS HURT

A truck transporting five elephants from a circus in Spain flipped on a highway, injuring four pachyderms and killing one. "These incredible animals are being carted around the country, confined and forced to perform," said Animal Defenders International President Jan Creamer, adding that animals are "often confined in small spaces, deprived of physical and social needs, spending excessive amounts of time shut in transporters." Out of the 22 traveling circuses in Spain, 13 use animals in performances. (ABC News, April 2, 2018)

THE VEGAN COUNTRY

The UK now boasts 3.5 million vegans! According to a recent survey of 2,000 people completed by Compare the Market, some 7 percent claimed they were vegan, while 14 percent said they were vegetarian. Thirty-one percent said they were eating less meat than they used to. (Huffington Post, April 4, 2018)

WORLD'S FIRST VEGAN FILM FESTIVAL

Ottawa, Canada will be the site of the world's first vegan film festival. It will take place at that city's Mayfair Theater on Oct. 14, 2018. The event will feature short and full-length films on health, nutrition, animal advocacy and environmental protection. The director of the festival, Shawn Stratton, said, "I would like the films to deliver authentic stories with a sense of hope. Attendees can expect to leave the event inspired and educated about the vegan lifestyle." The deadline for entries is July 31. (Veg News, April 2, 2018)

INDIA SAYS 'NO' TO SEAL SKINS

Joining the United States, Russia, Mexico, Taiwan, Switzerland and the 28 countries of the European Union, India has now banned the sale of seal skins. Kudos to the Humane Society International for their tireless work on this one. (Humane Society, April 2, 2018)

VEGAN ATHLETES ARE KICKING IT

Vegan cyclist Abdulla Zeinab just won the grueling 3,400 mile Indian Pacific Wheel Race held in Australia. It took him 14 days. No animals were killed in that victory. He ate nothing but plants for his meals and snacked on Gatorade and nuts during the race. In the last few years, a growing number of top level athletes including professional football players are saying no to animal products. Sports Illustrated dubbed vegan weightlifter Kendrick Farris one of 2017's fittest athletes. (Live Kindly, March 31, 2018)

NEWS OF THE WEEK: Blow To Military Research on Dogs, Pet Store Refuses To Sell Easter Bunnies, Mar. 24 – Mar. 30, 2018

NEWS OF THE WEEK:

Blow To Military Research on Dogs, Pet Store Refuses To Sell Easter Bunnies, Mar. 24 – Mar. 30, 2018

By Leslie Goldberg

  The White Coat Waste Project’s conservative agenda is good for dogs.

The White Coat Waste Project’s conservative agenda is good for dogs.

A BLOW TO MILITARY RESEARCH ON DOGS  

Tucked into the recent spending bill passed by Congress is a provision that sharply curtails the use of dogs in Veterans Administration research. "The measure would prohibit the use of dogs in VA research unless the objectives of a study can be met only by using them," reported Stars and Stripes. "Even in that instance, the study must be directly approved by the VA secretary. It also requires VA secretary report to Congress, detailing studies using dogs and that there were no alternatives." The push for this provision came from a conservative group, the White Coat Waste Project, which aims to cut government spending. (Stars and Stripes, March 23, 2018) 

DxE, CASSIE KING GET SHITTY PRESS

Dare devil animal rights activist and member of the radical animal rights group Direct Action Everywhere (DxE), Cassie King lay covered in a heap of animal manure (obtained from a sanctuary) in front of a San Francisco Trader Joe's market on Wednesday, March 21. The stunt followed an investigation by DxE into one of the store's egg suppliers where hens were found living under hideous conditions. King's protest was designed to draw attention to the plight of these hens. "The supposedly 'humane' eggs sold at Trader Joes' come from birds who lived their entire lives in piles of waste," King told the SF Gate, adding that deceptive labels "mislead consumers into paying for cruelty." (SF Gate, March 23, 2018) 

A BUNNY FOR EASTER? ONE PET STORE SAYS NO  

An unnamed pet store has decided to not sell rabbits until after the holiday in response to all the people who buy Easter bunnies, without realizing these are real animals that need real care. "People think, ‘They're so cute. They're so cuddly. They're so wonderful.’ That's all true but bunnies grow very quickly. They're living beings, a sensitive species that requires a real commitment," said Sandra DeFeo, executive director of the Humane Society of New York. An estimated 80 percent of all bunnies purchased for Easter are abandoned. According to the HSUS, most of these domesticated rabbits are released into the wild where they are unable to survive. (Romper, March 22, 2018) 

BANNING PROCESSED MEAT FROM NEW YORK SCHOOLS PROPOSED

New York City Council members have introduced a resolution that would keep processed meats out of school cafeterias. The measure was introduced by Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams who went vegan to counter health problems he was having. "We cannot continue feeding our children substances that are scientifically proven to increase their chances of cancer later in life," Adams told the New York Post. The bill is sponsored by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM.) (Live Kindly, March 24, 2018) 

VEGAN FOOD FOR ALL IN CALIFORNIA

The Physicians for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) are sponsoring another bill, this time in the California State Legislature. State Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) introduced the bill mandating that vegan options, including food containing no animals or animal by-products, be available in all public institutions, including hospitals and prisons. "Everyone in California deserves the same access to nutritious food," said Skinner. (Business Wire, March 27, 2018)

NO HORSE SLAUGHTER

A measure renewing the ban on slaughtering horses made its way into the $1.3 trillion spending bill which was passed by Congress last week. The ban, which was set to expire at the end of this March, was saved at the last minute by a bipartisan group of more than 100 senators and representatives called the Animal Protection Caucus. "The slaughter of horses for human consumption is a barbaric practice that must end," said Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-Florida). At DxE we can think of a few more barbaric practices that need to end. (USA Today, March 26, 2018) 

VICTORY FOR THE KANGAROO AND FRIENDS!  

Responding to pressure from animal rights activists and customers, the UK's last grocery store to sell kangaroo meat is now stopping the practice. "Following customer feedback we have taken the decision to no longer sell kangaroo meat at Lidl UK," said a spokesman for the chain store. Kangaroo is, according to One Green Planet, the most hunted wildlife in human history. It's estimated that during 2018 nearly 7 million will be killed. Activists have been trying to stop the slaughter for years. Activist Juliet Gellatley said, "Having campaigned for two and half decades, I couldn't be happier to finally say - we did it!" (One Green Planet, March 23, 2018)