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.

 

Sign up here to get updates about this campaign and to find out ways you can help. 

 

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

 
35299906_2040737399278765_7893433386423812096_n.jpg
 

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.

26850661_1531551790476704_845284417039846847_o.jpg

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)