NEWS OF THE WEEK: Vegan Skater Wins The Gold, Activists Protest At Westminster Dog Show, Feb. 13, 2018 – Feb. 19, 2018


Vegan Skater Wins The Gold, Activists Protest At Westminster Dog Show, Feb. 13, 2018 – Feb. 19, 2018

By Leslie Goldberg

Ice skater Meagan Duhamel has been vegan since 2008.

Ice skater Meagan Duhamel has been vegan since 2008.


Vegan ice skater Meagan Duhamel of Canada did us proud last week, winning the Gold Medal in pairs skating at the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics. Vegan since 2008, her coach initially was unenthusiastic about her switch from eating animals to eating plants, believing she would become malnourished. “I felt my body changing,” she told Veg News. “I lost weight, my skin was glowing, my energy levels were on the rise, and I woke up every morning feeling rested and ready to tackle the new day ahead.” Her coach saw her performance and strength improve and eventually came around to asking Duhamel to work with other athletes who were struggling with their diets. (Veg News, Feb. 13, 2018)


The Westminster Dog show, inspiration for the hilarious film, “Best In Show,” was met with animal rights protesters last week in Manhattan where the event is held. The activists, including members of PETA, said the extravaganza promotes dog breeding when many dogs living in shelters need homes. Some protesters brought along their mixed-breed dogs. Ashley Byrne of PETA told the AP, “Events like these just promote the buying of dogs as objects instead of adopting.” (Associated Press, Feb 12, 2018)


Despite the best efforts of the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) to stop the establishment of a slaughterhouse in San Francisco’s Bayview District, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted 11 – 0 to allow the project to go forward. The ALDF argued that the board should commission an environmental impact report before approving the enterprise but the supervisors countered that the slaughterhouse, which is going to be just over 2000 square feet, didn’t represent serious enough environmental harm. The slaughterhouse will be owned by Saba Live Poultry which is a small national chain of slaughterhouses. Saba owns a facility in Oakland which was the subject of a DxE protest last year. (San Francisco Examiner, Feb. 13, 2018)


In the UK, the Labour party is trying hard to appeal to animal rights advocates, promising everything from allowing renters to keep pets, to a ban on exporting animals for slaughter, to labeling on meat indicating the farm where it came from, and to providing low-cost vet care for low-income people. Meanwhile the Conservative party says it will institute around the clock CCTV in farms and slaughterhouses, ban puppy farms and increase the penalties for animal abusers 10 times. We think nonhuman animals would approve of ALL that. (The Telegraph, Feb. 14, 2018)


Two retired University of Iowa professors along with several animal rights groups including HSUS and environmental groups are calling for a moratorium on building new pig farms in Iowa. Iowa, the largest pig meat producer in the country, has been building or expanding 500 new pig farms a year for the last 10 years. “For several decades the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and state governments have failed to regulate the environmental impacts of factory farms,” the groups wrote in a letter to the Iowa General Assembly. “A moratorium will give legislators an overdue opportunity to evaluate the public health, economic and societal impacts of factory farms while providing Iowa’s communities with important statutory protections from further expansion of this industry.” A pork industry spokesman said such an action would be “devastating” to Iowa’s economy and livestock production. (Farm Journal PORK, Feb. 14, 2018)


An Alameda Superior Court judge, Ioana Petrou, ruled against DxE, in its claim of false advertising against Diestel Turkey Ranch. The ranch, which had been the subject of a months-long investigation by the animal rights network was found by that group to be raising turkeys in dark, filthy, crowded sheds, despite labels claiming the birds had been “thoughtfully raised” and “range grown.” Unfortunately, since this labeling had been approved by the USDA, the judge concluded that the state had no jurisdiction in the matter. “Once the USDA has reviewed and approved product labels, any claim that labels as approved are false or misleading is preempted by the PPIA [Poultry Products Inspection Acts],” Petrou wrote in her final ruling, citing a 2017 lawsuit against Campbell Soup Co. Despite this setback, DxE vows to fight on with its lawsuit, challenging claims made by Diestel in materials not approved by the USDA. (Union Democrat, Feb. 16, 2018)


NEWS OF THE WEEK: Pacelle Out At HSUS, Dog Meat At The Olympics, Feb. 7, 2018 – Feb. 12, 2018


Pacelle Out At HSUS, Dog Meat At The Olympics, Feb. 7, 2018 – Feb. 12, 2018

By Leslie Goldberg

Kitty Block, CEO at HSUS.

Kitty Block, CEO at HSUS.


The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) has replaced its former longtime CEO Wayne Pacelle with a woman, Kitty Block. Pacelle was recently forced out due to accusations of sexual harassment. Block, currently named chief executive officer at HSUS, is a 25-year veteran of the animal rights movement and was the president of the Humane Society—International. She has headed up numerous campaigns for the organization including one against the dog meat trade in Asia. (Veg News, Feb. 7, 2018) 


Since the federal government isn't doing enough to end trophy hunting, animal rights activists in New York are turning to the state. Currently the state legislature there is a considering a ban on the importation, sale, possession and transport of “trophies” of African elephants, lions, leopards and white and black rhinos. New York is the biggest point of entry in the United States; activists hope this bill, called Save Africa's Big Five, will make a serious dent in trophy hunting. (Their Turn, Feb. 7, 2018) 


Although South Korean officials tried to persuade restaurant owners to forgo selling dog meat during the 2018 Winter Olympics, the practice is apparently in full swing. Ten of the 12 dog meat restaurants in Pyeongchang are continuing to sell dishes containing the flesh of dogs. Despite pressure from authorities, the restaurant owners argue that they shouldn't have to change their menus just because of foreign visitors. Fox News quoted a statement from the Olympic Committee: “We are aware of the international concern around the consumption of dog meat in Korea. This is a matter which the government should address. We hope that this issue will not impact on the delivery or reputation of the games….” (Fox News, Feb. 8, 2018) 


With chicken being the most consumed meat in the United States, the industry is expecting the market to grow 3 percent from 2019 to 2021. Tyson Foods is building numerous new chicken processing plants from Tennessee to Texas and Costco is building its first ever chicken plant in Nebraska. Ugh. (Post Gazette, Feb. 8, 2018)


This year, 2018, seems to be the year for vegan athlete documentaries. Now available at Amazon and iTunes is “From the Ground Up,” which profiles top performers from MMA, dance and the ultramarathon world. "From the Ground Up" gets the jump on James Cameron's soon-to-be-released “Game Changers,” which is also about the stunning health and fitness benefits of a vegan diet. A one-two punch to bust the Protein Myth. (Plant Based News, Feb. 9, 2018.)


An insurance company in Israel, Clal, is offering vegans discounts for health insurance. The program, Vegans Pay Less (VPL), is about recognizing the health benefits of a vegan diet. The company released a statement: “VLP's ultimate goal is to promote the declaration that vegan is healthier and the establishment of this declaration will result in the greatest wave of veganism seen in Israel until now…” (Jerusalem Post, Feb. 4, 2018)


Saba, which includes nine small halah slaughterhouses around the country, is trying to open another in San Francisco. Although the plan to establish a 2100 square foot facility to slaughter 140,000 animals a year inside an old automotive storage center was approved by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, the Animal Legal Defense Fund is appealing the decision. The activist group points to the fact that the San Francisco Planning Department approved the slaughterhouse while waiving an environmental review. Direct Action Everywhere, complaining of animal cruelty, conducted an open rescue and a sit-in at the Oakland location of Saba Live Poultry last year. Twenty-two activists were arrested for refusing to leave the facility. (San Francisco Examiner, Feb. 10, 2018)

Why Open Rescue?

Why Open Rescue?

What is Open Rescue?

Open Rescue is the act of directly liberating animals from places where they are being exploited and spreading the act publicly. Activists who are involved in Open Rescue do not hide their faces. They are not ashamed to be taking sick and dying animals to the veterinary care they need. Instead, they spread the message far and wide, publicizing the rescue and showing the world that compassion is not a crime.

Why Open Rescue?

Rescuing an animal from a farm, saving them from slaughter, means everything to that one individual, but it also has the potential to change social norms around the world. When an animal is rescued openly, their story helps people feel compassion for them as an individual and then apply this compassion to all the victims of animal agriculture. When activists strategically publicize rescues, the message of animal liberation can reach thousands through social media and even major news sources, including the New York Times and Washington Post.

If you believe in the power of Open Rescue, sign up to become a social media influencer and help us reach even more people with the message of animal liberation!

What do we want? Animal Liberation!

What do we want?

Animal Liberation!

While many animal rights groups focus on improving the living conditions of animals used for food, Direct Action Everywhere demands nothing less than total animal liberation. But just what does that mean?

A world in which we have achieved total animal liberation is a world where every animal, regardless of their species, has legal personhood instead of property status, and this world is not as far off as you might think. DxE has a 40 year plan that maps out numerous smaller legislative victories that culminate in a constitutional amendment giving all animals protection under the law. 

Lily and Lizzie were rescued from Smithfield's Circle Four Farms in Milford, Utah.

Lily and Lizzie were rescued from Smithfield's Circle Four Farms in Milford, Utah.

While animal liberation might seem like an abstract idea at first, we are getting closer every day to making it a reality. The stories of animals rescued from farms and slaughterhouses are spreading like wildfire, showing the world what animals truly deserve. Some day soon every animal living on a farm will be brought to sanctuary where they can live freely and safely because they deserve nothing less. 

If you want to see animal liberation become a reality, come to the Animal Liberation Conference in Berkeley in May.

What the Egg Industry Doesn’t Want You to Know

What the Egg Industry Doesn’t Want You to Know

What's wrong with eggs?

Chickens have been bred to lay around 300 eggs each year when they would naturally produce under 15 eggs each year. Their bodies struggle to keep up with the demands humans have put on them and the majority of hens in the egg industry develop reproductive illnesses as a result. Moreover, hens will actually consume their own eggs for calcium and other nutrients if they are not stolen by humans. We have no need to take hens' eggs from them. We should not exploit these innocent animals in any way.

What about cage-free eggs?

Repeated investigations of cage-free egg farms have shown extreme crowding, starvation, injury, disease and even cannibalization. When hens are not kept in metal cages, they often end up packed together so tightly in barns that they are practically living in cages of flesh. Birds in cage-free farms have to fight for their food and water, and the smaller, weaker birds are often unable to reach it. Consumers want to believe that they are doing something good for animals when they buy cage-free eggs, but the hens on these farms often suffer even more than the hens on caged facilities. 

See the full investigative report of DxE's findings at a California egg farm here.

NEWS OF THE WEEK: Monkeys Used For Diesel Fuel Tests, SHAC Activists Sentenced, Jan. 24, 2018 – Feb. 6, 2018


Monkeys Used For Diesel Fuel Tests, SHAC Activists Sentenced, Jan. 24, 2018 – Feb. 6, 2018

By Leslie Goldberg

Animal rights activists have been working to shut down Huntingdon Life Sciences for decades.

Animal rights activists have been working to shut down Huntingdon Life Sciences for decades.


German car makers, Volkswagen, BMW and Daimler, are contending with a public relations nightmare since the New York Times discovered that the companies hired researchers who used monkeys to test diesel exhaust. The research was designed to show that diesel exhaust was not unhealthy. The companies quickly tried to distance themselves from the animal research and Volkswagen apologized. “The scientific methods used to conduct the study were wrong,” Volkswagen said in a statement. “Animal testing is completely inconsistent with our corporate standards.” Daimler chimed in: “Daimler does neither tolerate nor support unethical treatment of animals. The animal experiments in the study are superfluous and repulsive.” (New York Times, Jan. 28, 2018) 


Late last month two animal rights activists who claimed to be members of the British arm of Stop Huntingdon Cruelty (SHAC) were sentenced in England. Sven Van Hasselt was sentenced to five years; his wife, Natasha Simpkins, got two years. They were convicted of making death threats and setting multiple fire bombs under the cars of Cambridge-based Huntingdon Life Sciences’ employees. Huntingdon is notorious for doing cruel research on animals and has been subjected to numerous protests and direct actions by animal rights advocates, most notably SHAC.

The SHAC 7 were U.S.-based animal rights activists who were alleged to have operated a website that reported on and expressed ideological support for protests against Huntingdon and its business affiliates. For that, six of them were convicted in 2006 of “terrorism” under the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act and served an aggregate of more than 18 years in federal prison. (UK Metro, Jan. 24, 2018)


The Humane Society of the United States, the Defenders of Wildlife and the Center for Biologic Diversity are suing the National Marine Fisheries Service for failing to protect right whales from lobster traps. Since 2017 some 18 right whales have died off the East Coast and Atlantic Canada. An endangered species, there are only an estimated 450 of these whales in the world. “Right whales could disappear forever if they keep getting tangled up and killed in fishing gear,” said Kristen Monsell, a senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Federal officials have to act now before it’s too late.” (Bangor Daily News, Jan. 27, 2018)


Using the same technology that was initially used to clone Dolly the sheep 20 years ago, researchers from Shanghai’s Academy of Chinese Sciences of Neuroscience have now managed to clone a macaque monkey and have plans to clone more. The idea is to enlist these monkeys for experiments. “Experimenters constantly receive funds to perform monstrous experiments on animals, and cloning monkeys is the latest Frankenscience,” said a PEYA spokesperson. “Cloning is a horror show: a waste of lives, time and money – and the suffering caused by such experiments is unimaginable.” (The Sun, Jan. 24, 2018)


Plant Based News has come up with some recent statistics guaranteed to float your vegan boat: 

·         Dairy sales to drop 11 percent by 2020 in the US.

·         One out of 10 UK adults wants to go vegan in 2018.

·         Plant milk sales have surged 61 percent since 2012; at the same time dairy milk fell by 15 percent in the US.

·         In the last year the demand for meat-free food increased by 987 percent in the UK.

·         One in 12 parents are raising their kids vegan. 

One research group, VoucherCodes, also found that the most common reason people cited for going plant-based was health (61 percent) versus ethical reasons including animal welfare (35 percent). (Plant Based News, Jan. 25, 2018)   

There’s No Such Thing as Sacred Meat

There’s No Such Thing as Sacred Meat

By Amine Mohamad

DxE activist Amine Mohamad at San Francisco march to ban fur. Photograph by Michael Goldberg

DxE activist Amine Mohamad at San Francisco march to ban fur. Photograph by Michael Goldberg

The guys working in the Oakland halal slaughterhouse were, like me, Muslim. We all had learned that Allah wants us to respect animals, treat them well and bless them before slaughter. We were also taught the essence of Islam is compassion.

 For the Muslim workers there, the killing of animals for food is a natural part of life and God offers humans these animals, along with the rest of creation, as a gift to sustain us. I used to think that way too, but not anymore.

On Oct. 21 of last year, I, along with a group of some 200 animal rights activists, entered that slaughterhouse to silently and nonviolently protest the killing of animals and to rescue animals from certain death. I was among those who refused to leave that squalid place of suffering. Twenty-three of us were arrested.

At one time I might have seen that slaughterhouse as a normal and natural part of a devout life too. After all, I had witnessed my uncle actually performing ritual animal sacrifice without getting particularly upset. How many times had I gratefully broken my Ramadan fast with my friends and family by gorging on lamb, chicken and beef? How many times had I enjoyed the delicious taste of my mother’s cooking?

“Delicious” – that’s what my family says to me now. They beckon me to join them: “But it (meat) is so delicious – have some.” But I won’t; I can’t. I can’t believe Allah, who created animals as sentient and beautiful, intended them to suffer for just our taste. It’s not necessary to raise large numbers of animals for human use. Eating an animal to survive is one thing, but we don’t have food scarcity in the U.S. for the most part. To eat an animal in this day and age is “haram,” which means sinful in Arabic. How can causing unnecessary suffering be “halal” (sacred)?

As far as I could see, there was nothing even faintly holy about that small slaughterhouse. Chickens, quails, ducks and rabbits were crammed into filthy cages along with the dead bodies of other animals who had died under those conditions. The animals’ food and water bowls were empty. Sheep and goats were penned up in another part of the place as they awaited their deaths. The animals would have their throats partially cut so that they are supposedly unconscious but alive enough to pump the blood out of their bodies.

In the area where the chickens and other smaller animals were killed we saw a bucket of blood. We saw a trash can filled with coffee cups, bits of paper and the bodies of animals, as if they, too, were just garbage.  

Part of Sharia law is that Muslims may eat the flesh of certain animals but we are not to consume their blood. How is that even possible? Forbidden animals include pigs, dogs – any animals that have wet noses or animals that roll around in the dirt. The people doing the actual killing must be Muslim and they must say a prayer before slaughtering any animal.

There are so many rules and regulations around the killing, cooking and eating of meat, it’s almost as if Allah doesn’t really want us to eat meat. And in the Quran you can find mention of sanctuaries for animals.  

Although I have lived most of my life in the United States and am a citizen of this country, I was born in Vietnam. The Muslim culture that I grew up in was called Cham Islam. Cham people were not only Vietnamese but from other Asian countries like Cambodia, Indonesia and Malaysia. My grandfather, who was an imam and the kindest person I have ever known, taught me how to read Arabic. I have memorized about a third of the Quran. I know how to lead the prayers.

As a child I learned of the strict Islamic obligation of caring for the poor and caring for the vulnerable. I wonder who could possibly be more poor or more vulnerable than an animal who possesses nothing more than their life, trapped in a cage waiting for slaughter.

Becoming vegan was a major change in my life. After realizing that animals suffer and want to live just like we do, everything looked different to me. But one thing looked the same: compassion. Islam taught me that compassion is essential and it was that strong belief in compassion that brought me to veganism.

I don’t think the Muslim community is aware of what the animal food industry does to animals, to the environment and to the workers. I don’t feel any hatred or anger for people who work in these places. I just want to spread awareness. During our protest I said to one of the workers there, “As-salamu alaykum,” which means “peace be upon you.” I wanted him to know that there are people who are Muslim who care about this. I wanted to say, “Hey, this is how I grew up too.”

Halal meat is a big seller. People think, “It’s blessed so let’s eat it.” But there’s no such thing as sacred meat – it’s not what Allah wants from us.



Many people, even other vegans, will tell activists who use the tactic of civil disobedience that they are extreme, that they are making vegans look bad. This is no new idea.

In the fight for women’s voting rights, Emmeline Pankhurst was called “militant” for her confrontational activism, which often resulted in arrest. It was not just men but also other female suffragettes who criticized her abrasive methods. Yet, hers is the name who history remembers over the women who asked politely for their right to vote.

In the Civil Rights Movement, the four student activists who performed the first sit-in against segregation in Greensboro, NC were met with ridicule and disbelief, even in the black community. When they began their protest, the black waitress at the counter said to them, "Fellows like you make our race look bad." Within 10 years, of course, tens of thousands of activists were doing the same, and the forces of racial oppression were on the retreat.

Every act of resistance inspired others to do the same. Every word of dissent made it easier for subsequent dissenters to raise their own voices.

We won’t end animal exploitation by asking nicely. We must boldly challenge social norms and even laws when they are unjust, to demand an end to this atrocity with the urgency that it deserves.

At last year's conference, activists liberated six dying birds from a slaughterhouse in San Francisco.

At last year's conference, activists liberated six dying birds from a slaughterhouse in San Francisco.

If you believe in the power of civil disobedience, join us in May at the Animal Liberation Conference in Berkeley where we will challenge injustice together.



Every single year humans kill over 56 billion animals for food, and countless more marine animals whose lives are never even tallied. Each one of these animals is a sentient individual, capable of feeling fear, joy, and pain just like us. Each one of these animals deserves the right to live free and safe from harm.

Each one of these animals is someone who needs you to take action. If you agree, then join us in fighting for their rights. Direct Action Everywhere is a grassroots animal rights network focused on empowering you to be the best activist you can be.

We need your help to save animals like Oliver, who was rescued from a dog meat farm in Yulin, China, and Miley, who was rescued from a pig meat farm in Los Angeles, and then to share their stories with the world.

oliver and miley.jpg

NEWS OF THE WEEK: Fur Ban In San Francisco, Chris Christie Hurts Animals, Jan. 16, 2018 – Jan. 23, 2018


Fur Ban In San Francisco, Chris Christie Hurts Animals, Jan. 16, 2018 – Jan. 23, 2018

By Leslie Goldberg

S.F. Board of Supervisors member Katy Tang (center) speaks at fur rally with DxE organizer Priya Sawhny (left) and IDA’s Dr. Elliot Katz (right). Photo by Michael Goldberg

S.F. Board of Supervisors member Katy Tang (center) speaks at fur rally with DxE organizer Priya Sawhny (left) and IDA’s Dr. Elliot Katz (right). Photo by Michael Goldberg


San Francisco may soon become the first major city in the United States and indeed the world to ban the sale of fur. A bill introduced by Supervisor Katy Tang aims to outlaw purchases of fur starting Jan. 1, 2018. Animals trapped by legally approved traps will be exempted from the measure, which will let off Canada Goose, a company that specializes in coyote-trimmed parkas. (“Coyotes are trapped, unlike mink and foxes which are typically raised in small wire cages.”) "I love animals and unfortunately animals can’t speak for themselves,” Tang said. “I just think it’s completely inhumane knowing that there are people who farm animals particularly to use their fur or skin for fashion apparel.” (San Francisco Chronicle, Jan. 23, 2018)  


New Jersey will not be the first state to ban elephants and other exotic animals from traveling circuses and fairs, after Chris Christie declined to sign “Nosey’s Law,” a bill backed by animal rights activists and named after a 35-year-old elephant who was subjected to abuse on the circus circuit. The bill passed the Senate unanimously and the Assembly with only two votes against it. (Press of Atlantic City, Jan. 15, 2018)  


A judge in Tennessee has ruled that Nosey the Elephant, who was chained and neglected by the owners of a traveling circus, will remain in a Tennessee sanctuary. She will not be returned to her former owners. The owner of the circus, Hugo Liebel, is facing animal cruelty charges. (WHNT News, Jan. 22, 2018) 


“Clean Meat,” Paul Shapiro’s new book about lab-grown meat just got a lab-grown leather cover, making it the first leather-bound book produced without the use of an animal (sort of). The book is being auctioned off on E-Bay and the proceeds will go to the Good Food Institute, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the promotion of plant-based and animal-free alternatives to animal products. The book was provided by a Northern California company, Geltor. They grew the book cover using microbial fermentation which does involve the use of some animal cells. They are currently working on a gelatin substitute. (Live Kindly, Jan. 1, 2018) 


Lara Trump, wife of elephant-killing Eric Trump and daughter-in-law of HIM, is being asked by a New York animal rights group to please support an event, The Worldwide Rally Against Trophy Hunting. The group apparently has hope for Lara since she is a dog lover and supports the Beagle Project, which finds homes for dogs surrendered by research organizations. In a statement the AR group asked her to “start small by imploring your family to disentangle their passion for marksmanship and their interest in majestic wildlife. And then we urge you to use your considerable standing to influence national policy.” (Newsweek, Jan. 17, 2018)


For years, activists hounded the Vancouver Aquarium for keeping whales and dolphins in captivity and using them for entertainment. Now that gig is up and the aquarium announced they will no longer house and/or exploit cetaceans. The aquarium’s president told the Guardian, “It had become a local hot topic, to the point where it was hijacking everything else. As much as we understand the tremendous value that an animal like a beluga whale brought to our mission … public controversy had gotten to the point where it was just preventing us from moving forward on so many other parts of our mission.”  (The Guardian, Jan. 20, 2018)