Know Your Rights and Stay Safe as an Activist

Know Your Rights and Stay Safe as an Activist

  DxE protestors head towards police during a mass Open Rescue at an Amazon and Whole Foods egg farm in Petaluma. Photo by Direct Action Everywhere

DxE protestors head towards police during a mass Open Rescue at an Amazon and Whole Foods egg farm in Petaluma. Photo by Direct Action Everywhere

Every person, non-citizens included, has rights protected under the U.S. Constitution:

The First Amendment protects your right to speak freely and to advocate for social issues. Protests, marches and other demonstrations are a protected right, though other laws and regulations still apply to these actions.

Whenever you are doing advocacy work or participating in a demonstration, remain nonviolent at all times. And even when you are not currently at a demonstration, even if you are just talking among friends or joking around on Facebook, remember that anything you say that hints at violence could later be used against you. If you are at a protest or other event and you hear someone say something violent like “I wish we could just burn this place down,” you should report it to the event organizers because even talking about violent acts can put the whole group in danger. Although the First Amendment protects your right to free speech and free assembly, law enforcement officials often target politically-active individuals who challenge the status-quo, and they may actively look for something to use against you to determine that you cannot continue your action. Violence or threats of violence will give police an easy reason to put a stop to your demonstration.

The Fourth Amendment offers protections against the government’s power to search your home or workplace.

It is always best practice to check who is at the door before opening the door. If a police officer or agent comes to your door, you do not need to let them inside unless they have a valid search warrant. If they have a search warrant, ask to see it to know specifically what they have been authorized to search as it may be only one room. You can say "I do not consent to a search" to make it clear that you do not give them permission to search anything not listed on the search warrant. If the police come to your door because they want to speak with you, you can tell them you do not want to speak to them and you will have an attorney reach out to them. You are not required to answer questions from law enforcement and you have the right to speak with a lawyer before you decide whether or not you will talk with them.

The Fifth Amendment gives you the right to remain silent. You are not obligated to answer questions asked by government agents or police officers.

Let’s say you pass a police officer after leaving a protest and they ask “Were you just at that protest?” You do not have to respond and can keep on walking. If you are detained or arrested and brought to jail, you still do not have to answer questions and can simply say: “I am invoking my right to remain silent.” Although you cannot legally lie to the police (another reason to not say anything to the police), it is not illegal for the police to lie to you. The police may tell you that they are vegan and support your cause in order to get you talking more openly, or they may say that they just need you to answer one question and you’ll be free to go. It’s important to remember that anything the police tell you could be a lie, and it is best to invoke your right to remain silent.

DxE News of the Week: DXE PROTESTS IN GERMANY, CANADA AND INDIA, August 24 - August 30, 2018

DxE News of the Week:

DXE PROTESTS IN GERMANY, CANADA AND INDIA, August 24 - August 30, 2018

  DxE organizer Priya Sawhney leads a protest in Berlin.

DxE organizer Priya Sawhney leads a protest in Berlin.

DxE News round-up by Rasa Petrauskaite

MAZ: DXE ACTIVISTS PROTEST A CHICKEN SLAUGHTERHOUSE NEAR BERLIN, GERMANY

About 50 DxE activists, including DxE organizer Priya Sawhney, protested a slaughterhouse near Berlin, Germany on Friday, August 24. Activists laid down white roses at the gates of the slaughterhouse. The action was a protest against factory farming and the expansion of slaughter capacity at the plant. For months, Wiesenhof plant had slaughtered 160,000 chickens daily instead of the permitted 120,000. Only after a court decision and a monetary penalty was production reduced in May.

PLANT BASED NEWS: 300 DXE ACTIVISTS FLOOD MALL IN TORONTO

On Saturday August 25, an estimated 300 DxE activists filled the halls of Toronto’s Eaton Center, a shopping mall for a mass protest. Activists held up signs and sang Jackie DeShannon’s mid-’60s hit, “What the World Needs Now Is Love.” Key lyric: “What the world needs now is love, sweet love. No not just for some - but for everyone.”

VEGAN FIRST: DXE ORGANIZED FIRST ANIMAL LIBERATION MARCH IN PUNE, INDIA

DxE held the first Animal Liberation March in Pune, India. DxE is quoted as saying, “Let’s show the world the animal rights movement is about LOVE!” DxE is described as, “a global grassroots network of animal rights activists that works to highlight atrocities against animals. Founded in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2013, the group mobilises activists and people worldwide through open rescue, mass protest and community building.” Shweta Borgaonkar, a DxE organizer in Pune, is quoted as saying,"The animal industries have been lying to us for a long time. Now it's time we reveal the truth to the public and expose their brutality towards animals. And to expose the animal ag, just non participation is not enough. We need to actively intervene violence. Through the power of people and nonviolent action, love will win over violence." A video of the march can be seen here.

DxE News of the Week: Felony Charges Filed Against DxE Organizer Sierra Post In North Carolina, August 17 – August 23, 2018

DxE News of the Week:

Felony Charges Filed Against DxE Organizer Sierra Post In North Carolina, August 17 – August 23, 2018

DxE News round-up by Rasa Petrauskaite

   “Amazon Creeper” inside Amazon store on UC Berkeley campus with store manager.

“Amazon Creeper” inside Amazon store on UC Berkeley campus with store manager.

PLANT BASED NEWS: DXE’S SIERRA POST ARRESTED AFTER 'REMOVING SICK PIGLETS' FROM FACTORY FARM

Sierra Liliann Post, 20, a DxE organizer in North Carolina, was arrested and charged with breaking and entering, and larceny - both felonies - and first-degree trespass - a misdemeanor - on Friday, August 17, for rescuing three sick piglets from a Smithfield Foods-owned farm in Laurinburg, NC last year. She was later released on $3000 bail. The article features both the DxE perspective and the Smithfield perspective on DxE investigations. Wayne Hsiung is quoted as saying, “This is an attempt at intimidation of nonviolent activism. When an animal is being mistreated, whether a dog, a cat or a pig, they deserve compassion. Those who help a suffering animal should be praised and not punished.” Smithfield spoke to Plant Based News earlier this year about the investigation (and the video that DxE released to alert the public to what the activists uncovered): “The audit results show no findings of animal mistreatment,” a Smithfield spokesperson told the publication. “Based on the review of our animal care experts, the video appears to be highly edited and even staged in an attempt to manufacture an animal care issue where one does not exist. The video features blatant inaccuracies and assertions, which could not be farther from the truth. The video’s creators, who claim to be animal care advocates, risked the life of the animal they stole and the lives of the animals living on our farms by trespassing and violating our strict biosecurity policy that prevents the spread of disease. This policy is particularly critical to the wellbeing of our piglets – the animals they claim to be rescuing.” For the record, DxE has strict biosecurity protocol that is followed during open rescue investigations including the Smithfield investigation. Also, the video was not staged, an absurd claim by Smithfield.

NBC BAY AREA: DXE ACTIVISTS IN “AMAZON CREEPER” COSTUMES PROTEST AMAZON AT UC BERKELEY

On Sunday, August 19, from 9 am until 4 pm, DxE activists held large TV screens displaying animal cruelty at local farms the group has investigated and protested the selling of animal products by Amazon/ Whole Foods. Many activists wore the “Amazon Creeper” costume, which they say is meant to resemble “an evil Amazon robot.” The protest took place near the Amazon store on Sproul Plaza. NBC Bay Area’s coverage featured an interview with Cassie King during two evening news segments, as well as footage showing the url for DxE’s oneclickcruelty.com website, which explains in detail why DxE protests Amazon. Also, Daily Cal covered the protest. The headline read: “Animal rights activists protest Amazon, sale of animal products.” Lewis Bernier and Kitty Jones were quoted. Lewis said, “We’re out here today to bring attention to the way Amazon uses and abuses animals, and the ways it is complicit in animal cruelty.”

DxE News of the Week: PUBLIC SUPPORTS DXE’S EFFORTS TO HELP DONKEYS IN ITALY, L.A. READY TO BAN FUR, August 10 – August 16, 2018

DxE News of the Week:

PUBLIC SUPPORTS DXE’S EFFORTS TO HELP DONKEYS IN ITALY, L.A. READY TO BAN FUR, August 10 – August 16, 2018

   Donkey in Santorini, Italy forced to carry heavy load.

Donkey in Santorini, Italy forced to carry heavy load.

DxE News round-up by Rasa Petrauskaite

Animal Rights News round-up by Leslie Goldberg

CORRIERE ITALY: ANIMAL RIGHTS GROUPS, INCLUDING DXE, PROTEST CRUELTY AGAINST DONKEYS IN SANTORINI, ITALY

Donkeys in Santorini, Italy are exhausted in the scorching sun and crushed by the weight of the tourists whom they have to transport up and down steep stairways each day. “Donkey rides begin at 9 am every morning and end at sunset, with the donkeys averaging seven round trips, from the harbor to the village of Fira, or nearly 600 steps,” DxE Italy organizer Maria Astradeni Scourta told the French TV station France 24. There are laws to protect the donkeys, but no one enforces them. In July, DxE Italy protested this cruelty against the donkeys, and the activists were attacked by an angry mob of donkey owners; two of the protesters were hospitalized. In addition to DxE, there are several other animal rights groups protesting the cruelty. A French publication, Europe 1 France, reported last week that many people on social media are denouncing the cruelty against the donkeys. The article features a video of an owner of a donkey who is seen hitting the donkey’s face with a stick. An online petition to “STOP ANIMAL ABUSE OF DONKEYS AND HORSES IN SANTORINI” has gathered over 100,000 signatures. Europe 1 France incorrectly refered to DxE as a “militant” organization,” whereas the Italian publication Corriere Italy describes DxE as “peaceful.”

INDY BAY: ACTIVISTS PROTEST INHUMANE CONDITIONS AT WHOLE FOODS/AMAZON SUPPLIER PETALUMA FARMS

Indy Bay writes: “Responding to undercover video footage of cruelty, activists with the international animal rights network Direct Action Everywhere (DxE) marched to a Petaluma factory egg farm which supplies to Whole Foods on July 30. Citing evidence that chickens were starving, cannibalizing one another, and suffocating in feces, the activists asked to be allowed to bring the chickens water and food, and to remove those in need of medical care. They presented a legal opinion in defense of their actions, which references California Penal Code 597e which makes it a crime to physically harm or neglect an animal, as legal grounds for intervention.” The protest was also covered by Citizen Truth however the writer incorrectly wrote that DxE protested Petaluma Farms in May, rescuing 37 hens, and then returned there in late July. In fact, in May DxE brought 500 activists to Sunrise Farms in Petaluma for a mass open rescue, then protested at Petaluma Farms in July after receiving recent footage of animal abuse at that farm. In January 2015, DxE went public with the network’s first open rescue investigation, conducted during 2014 at Petaluma Farms and showing serious animal abuse there. The Citizen Truth article includes a DxE video narrated by DxE organizer Cassie King that explains that nothing has changed since the 2014 investigation and that criminal animal cruelty is continuing at Petaluma Farms.

DAILY DOT: ASHEVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA  POLICE HAVE MONITORED DXE

In a number of cities across the country, Black Lives Matter (BLM) activists are being targeted and monitored by the police. In Asheville, North Carolina, after the police shot a black man and the tensions rose, the police began monitoring several groups, including DxE. DxE is incorrectly described as an “activist vegan organization.”

 

OTHER ANIMAL RIGHTS NEWS

THE INDEPENDENT: HORSE SUES FORMER OWNER FOR NEGLECT

A horse “owner” who was convicted of animal abuse for failing to both feed the horse and provide the horse with shelter is being sued by his victim – the horse, who is now named “Justice.” Justice, through legal representatives, is asking for $100,000 to be placed in a trust for his care. Justice now resides in a sanctuary in Oregon. The case goes to the question of whether animals have “legal standing” and the right to sue in court. Previously, courts in the United States and elsewhere have said no. Keep your fingers crossed!

HSUS: ILLINOIS BANS INTRASTATE SALE OF IVORY AND RHINO HORN

Joining the states of California, New Jersey, New York, Washington, Hawaii, Oregon, New Hampshire and Nevada, Illinois will be restricting the sale of ivory and rhino horn to ensure that Illinois doesn’t contribute to the wildlife trade.

EVENING STANDARD: PAINTING PONIES WITH CHALK-BASED MARKERS DRAWS COMPLAINTS

Some 60,000 people signed a petition protesting a new fad – children at birthday parties painting ponies. A spokesperson for PETA said ponies are not “party props” and should be treated with respect, adding, “The first lesson a child should be taught is the Golden Rule – to treat others as you would wish to be treated.”

ONE GREEN PLANET: L.A. IS ABOUT TO JOIN BERKELEY, SF AND HOLLYWOOD IN BANNING FUR

An L.A. City Council committee voted on Aug. 15, 2018 to pass a law banning the sale of fur in Los Angeles. The full City Council will decide soon if the measure should be passed to the City Attorney to draft legislation and to present to the mayor for his signature.

PETA: ANIMAL RIGHTS GETS A SOUNDTRACK

PETA has put together a playlist with everything from the Smiths’ “Meat is Murder” to more obscure tracks such as the reggae “Health Is Wealth” by Macka B. It’s all available on Spotify. According to PETA, the music transcends cultures and taste. “No matter your musical taste, there’s something to inspire the activist in you,” PETA says.

DxE News of the Week: DXE ACTIVISTS RETURN TO SMITHFIELD FARM; EATING CHICKEN CAN MAKE PEOPLE SICK, August 3-August 9, 2018

DxE News of the Week:

DXE ACTIVISTS RETURN TO SMITHFIELD FARM; EATING CHICKEN CAN MAKE PEOPLE SICK, August 3-August 9, 2018

  Activists rescuing dying pigs from Smithfield farm. Photo by DxE

Activists rescuing dying pigs from Smithfield farm. Photo by DxE

DxE News round-up by Rasa Petrauskaite

Animal Rights News round-up by Leslie Goldberg

FOX 13 SLC: DXE ACTIVISTS RETURN TO UTAH, VISIT FARM WHERE THEY CONDUCTED OPEN RESCUE

Following a court appearance in Beaver, Utah on August 6, 2018, DxE activists returned to the Smithfield Foods-owned Circle Four Farms farm where they rescued a dying piglet (they named Lily) in 2017 and demanded that farm staff allow them to inspect and audit the farm to determine if conditions and treatment of the pigs has improved there. The activists were met by police and denied entry. No one was arrested. The Utah Attorney General’s Office filed charges against the five activists in May of this year. The activists are being charged with multiple felonies and face up to 60 years in prison. The defendants are Wayne Hansen Hsiung, 37, of Berkeley; Paul Picklesimer, 40, of Berkeley; Samer Thomas Masterson, 24, of San Francisco; Andrew George Sharo, 24, of Berkeley; and Jonathan Frohnmayer, 33, of Santa Clara. The article features the DxE video, “And Lily Came Back to Life.” Similar articles were published at the KUTV and Good 4 Utah websites. The latter site features a news video which includes interviews with activists and open rescue footage.

EL DIARIO ES: ANTI-SPECIESISM MARCH IN BARCELONA

On Saturday, August 11, 2018 an anti-speciesism march will take place in Barcelona, Spain to promote the idea that all animals deserve compassion. Barcelona Animal Save, Anonymous for the Voiceless, Direct Action Everywhere and Events4Animals want to raise awareness that all non-human animals deserve compassion regardless of their species.

FEEDSTUFFS: ANIMAL AG NEWS SITE FEATURES PRO ANIMAL RIGHTS INTERVIEW

This article features an interview with animal rights activist Jacy Reese. Resse, along with former DxE organizer Kelly Witwicki, co-founded the Sentience Institute, whose mission includes working towards “a society in which the interests of all sentient beings are fully considered, regardless of their sex, race, species, substrate, location, or any other characteristic apart from their sentience.” The Feedstuffs article quotes from the DxE Wikipedia page which, Describes DxE as “an international grassroots network of animal rights activists founded in 2013 in the San Francisco Bay Area. DxE activists started with disruptive protests but now also use non-violent direct action tactics to further their cause, such as open rescue of animals from farms and other facilities and community building. Their intent is to build a movement that can eventually shift culture and change social and political institutions. DxE activists work for total animal liberation and the creation of a law requiring species equality.”

THE ATLANTIC: DXE’S MATT JOHNSON DISSES LAB-GROWN PET FOOD

“Lab-grown meat—for humans or pets—remains controversial among vegans. Bethencourt [founder of Wild Earth, a company developing lab-grown pet food] has staked out what he says is a pragmatic stance: It’ll reduce the number of animals who have to die for food. For other vegans though, it comes with a more fundamental problem. Matt Johnson, an organizer for the animal-rights group Direct Action Everywhere (whose members made headlines last year by wrapping themselves in fake blood and plastic to protest a Berkeley butcher shop), put it this way: ‘It still reinforces this notion that animals exist as commodities, that they exist as an object for us to consume.’ ”

 

OTHER ANIMAL RIGHTS NEWS

PLANT BASED NEWS: ‘THE END OF MEAT’ COMING SOON

“The End of Meat,” a new documentary about the vision of a post-meat world, will be released at the end of August 2018. The film features stories of rescued animals from the food industry and explores the brave new world of vegan commerce. One of the experts interviewed is Anita Krajnc, friend of DxE and founder of Toronto Pig Save. In the trailer we think we spotted Maryam Caspian and Jake Hobbs.

NEWSWEEK: ANIMAL RIGHTS ANARCHISTS TRY TO BURN ZOO

French animal rights activists, who call themselves Le Laboratoire, set fire to a central France zoo, calling it a prison for animals. A statement from the group read, “The wall, bars and electrified fences are a long way from the animals’ natural environment.” They demanded, “the destruction of all prisons whatever the shape of their bars.” The fire was put out before anyone was hurt by it.

FLORIDA POLITICS: A TRUMP DOES THE RIGHT THING

Lara Trump, who is married to Donald Trump’s son Eric, is the joining the fight to pass an amendment to the Florida Constitution to ban dog racing. Along with Florida Secretary of State Pam Bondi, Lara Trump was a special guest at a $2,500 a plate fundraiser to support “Promote Dogs-Yes on 13” held this past Thursday.       

LIVE KINDLY: A PETA WIN FOR ANIMALS

A big British publishing company, DK, says it will no longer advertise animal rides in its travel guides. Thank you PETA for persuading this corporation to step up!

TECH TIMES: EATING CHICKEN CAN MAKE PEOPLE SICK

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) announced that when it comes to food-borne illness, eating chicken is the worst. The government agency analyzed 5,760 outbreaks from 2009 to 2015 which made 100,939 people sick. Of those, 5,699 were hospitalized; 145 died. The food categories that could be identified as singly responsible for the most outbreak-associated illnesses were chicken/eggs (3,114 illnesses) and pork (2,670). The chicken or eggs that caused illnesses were contaminated with Salmonella.

DxE News of the Week: DXE MARCH AGAINST BIG AG IN PETALUMA, July 27-August 2, 2018

DxE News of the Week:

DXE MARCH AGAINST BIG AG IN PETALUMA, July 27-August 2, 2018

   Activists march towards Amazon-owned Whole Foods in Petaluma, CA. Photo by Michael Goldberg

Activists march towards Amazon-owned Whole Foods in Petaluma, CA. Photo by Michael Goldberg

DxE News round-up by Rasa Petrauskaite

Animal Rights News round-up by Leslie Goldberg

   DxE estimates there are one-to-two million hens at this “small family farm.”

DxE estimates there are one-to-two million hens at this “small family farm.”

THE PRESS DEMOCRAT: DXE PROTESTS “INHUMANE CONDITIONS” AT PETALUMA FARMS

On July 29, about 140 activists with DxE marched in Petaluma, CA to Amazon/Whole Foods supplier Petaluma Farms, a cage-free egg farm that was the site of DxE’s very first Open Rescue (written up in the New York Times in early 2015). Based on a California law (California Penal Code 597e) that activists say allows them to enter a farm if they have information that an animal is being mistreated, activists hoped to gain entry to Petaluma Farms. They were stopped by police who threatened to charge activists with “trespassing” if they stepped on farm property. DxE negotiated for a meeting with police in the near future, and then marched five miles through the Petaluma streets to an Amazon-owned Whole Foods where there were speak outs in the parking lot in front of the store. Jonathan Mahrt, whose family owns  Petaluma Farms, told a reporter for the Press Democrat that DxE was “rehashing old allegations” of bad conditions for the hens. He said the DxE protest was “an attempt to intimidate a small family farm.” DxE estimates that this “small family farm” has between one and two million egg laying hens. Mahrt also said that he has no current plans to sue DxE. Petaluma Farms supplies Whole Foods with eggs under at least three different brands: Uncle Eddie’s Wild Hen Farm, Judy’s Family Farm and Rock Island. This story was reprinted in the Argus Courier as well.

DAILY MAIL AND THE SUN: DONKEY OWNERS VICIOUSLY ATTACK ACTIVISTS IN SANTORINI, GREECE

This past weekend peaceful protesters from the Athens, Greece DxE chapter were attacked and injured by a mob of 30 donkey owners in Santorini, Greece. Members of the mob grabbed and burned DxE signs, hit the protesters with sticks and yelled, “We are going to kill you.” DxE was there to protest the use of donkeys in Santorini to transport tourists up the steep flights of stairs in the ancient constructions on the cliffs. Many of the donkeys have open bleeding wounds from ill-fitting harnesses and often carry heavy tourists on their small bodies. DxE Athens chapter leader Maria Skourta said [members of the mob] pulled her hair, and she was thrown to the ground and kicked repeatedly. “They threw my bag over the cliff and then lifted me up, ready to throw me too,” Skourta told a reporter. “Luckily one of the [DxE] group came to save me.” A Greek newspaper covered this story as well.

ISTHMUS: U.S. SENATOR TAMMY BALDWIN IS NOT PROGRESSIVE WHEN IT COMES TO ANIMALS

Sen. Tammy Baldwin, who is running for re-election this November, supports affordable college education, Medicare and Social Security. She is the first openly-gay U.S. Senator. However, she also cosponsored a bill to delist gray wolves from the Endangered Species Act and introduced the Dairy Pride Act. In a new article about Baldwin, Isthmus, the Madison, Wisconsin weekly, reports that DxE disrupted a 2017 Milwaukee town hall meeting hosted by Baldwin over her Dairy Pride bill and support for the dairy industry in general. “In keeping with the progressive values that you demonstrate in other areas, how about working instead for those who have no power in this issue?” a DxE activist asked Baldwin. “A discriminated-against-group that is rarely talked about and heard from: the dairy cows in Wisconsin.” Baldwin said that visiting a dairy farm is an “awesome thing to do.” And: “I am open to the perspective that you’re sharing,” she told the activists last year. “But right now, I have no apologies about the Dairy Pride Act.”

OTHER ANIMAL RIGHTS NEWS

ASSOCIATED PRESS: SMITHFIELD ORDERED TO PAY $473.5M FOR INDUSTRIAL PIG ODORS

A federal jury decided Friday (August 3, 2018) that Smithfield Foods, the world's largest pork producer, should pay $473.5 million to neighbors of three of the company’s North Carolina industrial-scale hog farms for unreasonable nuisances they suffered from odors, flies and rumbling trucks. Five DxE activists have been charged with felony charges for removing two sick piglets from a Smithfield farm in Utah. They are due back in court Monday August 6, 2018.

METRO: PETA IS NOT BUYING THE IMPOSSIBLE BURGER

The bleeding Impossible Burger made it past U.S. food regulators this week, but PETA isn’t a fan. Why? The inventors tested it on rats.

DAIRY HERD: DAIRY INDUSTRY BLEEDING

Thanks to Trump’s tariffs, the American dairy industry has lost its Mexican customers for cheese. According to Tom Vilsack, who heads up a dairy lobbying group, the milk/cheese/etc. business lost $1.8 billion in the last few weeks. Trump’s $12 billion bailout won’t help the industry regain its foreign markets.  

FOX NEWS: STEPPING UP FOR FISH

Two Save groups, the Wilmington Fish Save and the North Carolina Farmed Animal Save, staged a vigil for fish, protesting the Wrightsville Beach Inshore Challenge, a fishing contest. In an effort to be “humane” and environmentally aware, the contest gives extra points to fishermen who bring in fish alive, so the fish can be released back into the water. Unfortunately, this practice does almost nothing for the fish, since wounds caused by being impaled usually become infected and the fish die.

INQUISITR: NO MORE TESTING ON CATS, DOGS AND PRIMATES IN BRUSSELS

The Brussels region of Belgium has banned testing on cats, dogs and primates, thanks to the hard work of animal rights activists.

SCIENCE ALERT: MEAT INDUSTRY BEGGING TRUMP

In an effort to protect their practice of torturing and killing animals for profit, the meat industry is pushing the Trump administration for strict regulation of lab-grown meat. They want lab-grown meat producers to be inspected the same way slaughterhouses are. They want “clean meat” overseen by the USDA instead of the FDA.

VEG NEWS: THE HORROR OF WORKING AT A SLAUGHTERHOUSE

A report by the Bureau of Investigative Journalists, published in The Guardian, said that the U.S. meat industry averages two amputations a week and that workers in factories are three times as likely as other workers to suffer burns, head trauma and finger fractures. Yet the industry is pushing the government to allow the speed up of the production lines, increasing the danger to workers

DxE News of the Week: DXE MARCH AGAINST BIG AG IN PETALUMA, TRUMP HURTS ANIMAL AG, July 20-26, 2018

DxE News of the Week:

DXE MARCH AGAINST BIG AG IN PETALUMA, TRUMP HURTS ANIMAL AG, July 20-26, 2018

  DxE activists led by Wayne Hsiung at mass open rescue on Petaluma farm in late May. Photo by Michael Goldberg

DxE activists led by Wayne Hsiung at mass open rescue on Petaluma farm in late May. Photo by Michael Goldberg

DxE News round-up by Rasa Petrauskaite

Animal Rights News round-up by Leslie Goldberg

SF CHRONICLE: MARCH AGAINST BIG AG & ANIMAL CRUELTY

In a round-up of upcoming political events, the San Francisco Chronicle continues to provide a link to the DxE Day of Action Facebook page that promotes the animal rights march in Petaluma on July 29. This promotion appeared on July 23, 24, and 26, and the previous week.

MARION WEST: THE TROUBLING EFFORT TO SILENCE ACTIVISTS

Overview of coverage by The Intercept of Big Ag’s attempt to silence activists. The writers note that Smithfield gave $310,000 to the Republican Attorney General Association, a group that funded Utah’s Sean Reyes campaign for attorney general. Earlier this year Reyes filed criminal charges against activists in DxE including co-founder Wayne Hsiung.

TETARTO PRESS: THREE-DAY PROTEST ON GREEK ISLAND

On the Greek island Santorini a 3-day protest led by several animal rights organizations, including DxE, began on July July 27 and will continue through July 29. The outreach focuses on educating the public about the suffering of donkeys on the island. These nonhuman animals are being used for transportation and to carry heavy loads in the hot weather with almost no access to water or shade.

OTHER ANIMAL RIGHTS NEWS:

VOX: TRUMP'S TARIFFS ARE HURTING ANIMAL AGRICULTURE

The United States now has a huge glut of cheese and meat thanks to overproduction caused by the selective breeding of animals and to Trump's tariffs. The tariffs have slowed American exports to China and Mexico. The tariffs have also caused the prices of grain and soybeans to decline, forcing down the price of feed and contributing to the glut.

WASHINGTON POST: THE $12 BILLION 'GOLDEN CRUTCHES'

To mitigate the damage his tariffs are doing to the agricultural industry including the animal agricultural industry, Trump is proposing to send checks to farmers to the tune of $12 billion. Congress is not happy and Republican senator Ben Sasse called the bail-out "golden crutches."

QUARTZ: ANIMAL AG - A CLIMATE CHANGE BEHEMOTH

A new report from the non-profit Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy calls out the animal food industry for producing more greenhouse gas than any single oil company. The Institute points to the methane produced by animals, particularly cows, the energy that it takes to run a farm, the energy it takes to transport feed for the animals and the energy it takes to ship the "products." We have to note that the study failed to take into account the massive depletion of the rainforests to create pasture and crops for animals, as well as animal respiration. The UN has said that animal ag is a bigger contributor to climate change than the entire transportation sector.

ROLLING STONE: THE ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT IN THE CROSSHAIRS

The Endangered Species Act, which was introduced in the '70s by President Richard Nixon, is now endangered itself, despite massive public support for the law. Trump has proposed legislation that would effectively gut the Act. Another example of Republican support for Big Oil and Gas, Big Ag, Big Chemical and mining over people and animals.

MARKET WATCH: KFC GETS INTO THE PLANT-BASED ACT

KFC, the fast food mega chain, is developing a plant-based version of their fried chicken in response to an increasing demand for "meat replacements," the company says. The vegetarian "chicken" will be first marketed in the UK.

DxE News of the Week: FORMER USDA INSPECTORS CONFIRM DXE’S NORBEST INVESTIGATION RESULTS; NORTH CAROLINA POLICE HAVE MONITORED DXE, July 13 -19, 2018

DxE News of the Week:

FORMER USDA INSPECTORS CONFIRM DXE’S NORBEST INVESTIGATION RESULTS; NORTH CAROLINA POLICE HAVE MONITORED DXE, July 13 -19, 2018

By Rasa Petrauskaite

 DxE investigator with sick turkey. Photo by DxE

DxE investigator with sick turkey. Photo by DxE

THE INTERCEPT: FORMER USDA INSPECTORS CONFIRM DXE’S NORBEST INVESTIGATION RESULTS

A powerful story of two former USDA inspectors who suffered serious health problems while working at a Norbest slaughterhouse in Utah. Both believe their health problems were due to exposure to chemicals including, as Politico wrote, “peracetic acid — an antimicrobial wash used to eliminate pathogens — that caused them and other inspectors headaches, nausea, respiratory problems, bloody noses and in some cases, lung damage.” Deep in the story, the two confirm that DxE’s findings of injured, sick birds and filthy conditions at Norbest farms are accurate. The story was reprinted at foodwhistleblower.org

SF CHRONICLE: DXE JULY DAY OF ACTION MARCH

In a round-up of upcoming political events, the San Francisco Chronicle provides a link to the DxE Day of Action Facebook page that promotes an animal rights march in Petaluma set for July 29. In the article, the description and link appear towards the middle of the page.

ABC: SINCE 2016 ASHEVILLE, NC POLICE HAVE MONITORED DXE

The North Carolina ABC affiliate reports that in 2016 Asheville police began using social media and public events to monitor DxE, Black Lives Matter and other activist organizations after Jai “Jerry” Williams, an African-American man, was killed by a police officer. It’s not known if the monitoring has ended. This story has also been covered in the Asheville Citizen Times, where DxE is described as a “vegan organization.”

THEIRTURN.NET: IMPACT OF ANONYMOUS FOR THE VOICELESS AT DXE’s ANIMAL LIBERATION CONFERENCE 2018

Two and a half minute video including interviews with Chase Avior, Jane Velez-Mitchell and James Aspey.

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.