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First-Ever DxE Demo in Mexico City

First-Ever DxE Demo in Mexico City

By Saryta Rodriguez and Juan Carlos Fraga

 

En Julio 2015, la primera demostración de DXE en la Ciudad de México se llevo a cabo. Al enterarse de esta emocionante noticia, me acerqué a la activista con sede en México - Ciudad Juan Carlos Fraga para más detalles. Este fue un evento verdaderamente inspirador, y es un placer para mí compartir puntos de vista de Juan Carlos con ustedes. Disfrute! (Y muchisimas gracias, Juan Carlos!)

In July 2015, the first-ever DxE demo in Mexico City took place. Upon hearing this exciting news, I reached out to Mexico-City-based activist Juan Carlos Fraga for details. This was a truly inspiring event, and it is my pleasure to share Juan Carlos’s insights with you. Enjoy! (And many thanks, Juan Carlos!)

SR: Dondes estaban? (Where were you?)

JC: La acción se llevo a cabo en el centro de la ciudad en una calle en la que hay mucha gente y hay más de 10 restaurantes de comida rápida que venden cuerpos de animales como comida. Logramos hacer la acción en 12 lugares en algunos desde afuera y en otros entrando, estos lugares eran KFC, Mc Donalds, Burger King, Pizzas Hut, Carl's Junior y otros menos conocidos.

The action took place in the city’s center, on a street where there are many people, as well as over ten fast-food restaurants that sell animals’ bodies as food. We ultimately performed the action in 12 locations— some outside and some inside. These places included a KFC, a McDonalds, a Burger King, a Pizza Hut, a Carl's Junior and other lesser-known restaurant chains.

Left to right: Sujeto X, Jelly Mizery, Pako, Nut, Laura, Nelly, Perla, Marce, Fany, Kitty, and two more amazing activists!

Left to right: Sujeto X, Jelly Mizery, Pako, Nut, Laura, Nelly, Perla, Marce, Fany, Kitty, and two more amazing activists!

SR: Cuantos gentes llegaron para participar? (How many people showed up to participate?)

JC: Esperabamos ser menos, pero fuimos muchos— un poco más de 30 personas!

We expected to be few, but wound up being many— just over 30 people!

SR: ¿Cómo la gente viendo reaccionan? Aggresivo? Simpático? Confundido? (How did the people watching react? Aggresively? Sympathetically? Confusedly?)

JC: Algunas personas nos ignoraron e hicieron como que no nos escuchaban, pero fue muy buena la experiencia en un restaurant muy pequeño con solo 4 mesas en el que al terminar, las personas se quedaron muy pensativas y nos aplaudían cuando nos fuimos. En un Burger King, cuando el personal de seguridad intentaba sacarnos una señora les dijo que no nos sacaran que nos dejaran terminar. Lo que fue una experiencia muy buena, y además la señora logró que el policía dejará de molestarnos y nos dejara terminar el speech por lo que, en general, la actitud de la gente fue muy buena, ya que nuestra actitud hacia ellos en todo momento también lo fue. Esperamos haber dejado un mensaje que no olvidarán y que ojalá tomen en cuenta la siguiente vez que van a comer.

Some people ignored us and acted as though they were not listening to us, but we had a great experience in a very small restaurant with only 4 tables in which, at the end, people were very thoughtful and applauded us as we left. In a Burger King, when security personnel tried to kick us out, a lady told them not to do so and to let us finish. It was a very good experience, and the lady also convinced the police stop bothering us and let us finish our speech. So, in general, the attitude of the people was very good, and our attitude towards them at all times was also. We hope to have left a message they will not forget and will hopefully take into account the next time they go to eat.

SR: ¿Qué dijeron la gente que hablaron por los animales? (What did the people who gave speak-outs say?)

Read speak outs here.

SR: Comos te sentiste durante el evento? (How did you feel during the event?)

JC: Al principio me daba un poco de miedo sobre lo que podría hacer el personal de seguridad con nosotros, pero después de que lo hicimos por primera vez fue más fácil. Cometimos muchos errores que seguramente en las siguientes acciones iremos corrigiendo, muchos errores en el speak out pero cada vez los estaremos diciendo mejor!

At first I was a little scared about what security might do to us, but after the first disruption it was easier. We made many mistakes that we will surely correct in future demonstrations, many errors in the speak-out but each time we said it, it got better and better! 

Left to right: Laura, Juan Carlos, Nut, Mimi, Nelly, Kitty

Left to right: Laura, Juan Carlos, Nut, Mimi, Nelly, Kitty

SR: ¿Hay algo más que te gustaría compartir con nosotros acerca de su experiencia? (Is there anything else you’d like to share with us about your experience?)

JC: Me encanta DxE, y también me encanta el compromiso de cada uno de los activistas que he conocido. Me encanta el compromiso de Kitty. Sin ella, y sin el apoyo de Wotko Tristan, ninguna de las acciones que hemos echo habría sido posible. Otros activistas como Chris Van Breen y Priya Sawhney han sido una gran inspiración para nosotros y para quienes quieren unirse a DxE en México D.F. Me encanta también la comunidad que DxE promueve sin importar que tan lejos estemos o nuestras diferencias, siempre y cuando creamos en la justicia y en los derechos para todos los animales. Quiero conocerlos a todos!

I love DxE, and I love the commitment of every one of the activists that I have met in it. I love Kitty’s [Kitty Jones’s] commitment. Without her, and without the support of Wotko Cristan, none of the actions we did would have been posible. Other activists such as Chris Van Breen and Priya Sawhney have been a huge inspiration to us and and for those who want to join DxE Mexico City. I also love the community that DxE promotes: No matter how far apart we are, or how different we are, as long as we believe in justice and rights for all animals. I would like to get to know all of them!

Interview with Sanctuary Volunteer Marissa Bell

Interview with Sanctuary Volunteer Marissa Bell

By Hana Low

 

I’m pleased to call Marissa Bell, the mother of my partner and the guardian of many special nonhumans, a member of my family. Her transformation from animal eater to animal activist after deeply connecting to a local sanctuary speaks to the power of individual animals to inspire us to build and fight for them. The sanctuary, which shall remain unnamed for privacy, is operated by two volunteers (and supported heavily by Marissa) who both work full-time, unrelated jobs and donate their salaries to the 350+ animals’ care.

Note: Monica, one of the sanctuary residents mentioned in this article, has passed away since it was written. Debeaked at a young age, she was a mother to many generations of chicks who were sold to feed stores so humans could raise them and eat their eggs. At the rooster sanctuary, she was able to carry out her natural behaviors and form friendships with other survivors, but she was still trapped in the prison of her own body. Even the tiny fraction of animal agriculture survivors who are rescued and brought to sanctuary usually don't live for long. More often than not, reproductive disease kills them. The wild ancestors of chickens lay only 10-15 eggs per year, while domesticated birds have been genetically manipulated through thousands of years of selective breeding to lay nearly one egg per day. This causes tremendous strain on hens' bodies. Stuck eggs may burst inside the reproductive tract and cause systemic infection. Monica died from reproductive cancer, a leading cause of death in hens. As long as humans feel entitled to breed and eat animals' bodies and the things that come out of their bodies, this will happen. Nonhuman animals are persons, not commodities. (To learn more about "humane" eggs, read this.)

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HL: How did you get involved in volunteering at the rooster sanctuary?

MB: My daughter, Alexis, was going up to volunteer one day and I asked her if I could go with her. I don't really know why, but I was really compelled to go. I love to be around animals and I love to hang out with my daughter, and I thought it would just be something fun to do, not knowing that I would get as involved as I did.

HL: So, what happened after you started going there? How did it affect you?

MB: After the first time I went – it was hard work. We cleaned coops and cleaned up around the sanctuary, and I got to hang out with a lot of hens, roosters, and ducks, as well as a pig. When I went home, I thought a lot about the animals that I had spent time with that day and I couldn't fathom ever eating meat again, because I felt like I had made a lot of friends among the animals, and I felt like I couldn't go home and eat my friends.

HL: Is there something unique or interesting you’ve observed about chickens that the general public might not know?

MB: I hadn't spent time around chickens at all, in my entire life. I, like so many people, thought of them as food, and when I went up there and started spending time with them I realized that they are very intelligent little beings. They can remember up to 100 faces, and roosters can make thirty different calls to alert their hens— to predators from the sky, predators from the ground, "I found you a treat," "Here's a nice place for you to lay your egg," etc. And I could not believe how funny and curious they are. Some of them, like humans, were really standoffish and still are, but there are some that every time I go up there, they come running to greet me because they know me.

HL: There's one that you know much better than the others, since he's come to live with you. Can you tell us that story?

MB: Maui was a rooster that was part of a rescue. The owners of the sanctuary had gotten word that there was a cockfighting bust in Wyoming and he was one of 70 roosters who were rescued. They lived in tiny little kennels in Wyoming for three months, while they waited to get the bloodwork and paperwork necessary to cross state lines.

Once the owner of the sanctuary got word that they were ready, we made the initial trip up there and got the first twenty-six roosters and we brought them home. We had been furiously building and getting ready for their arrival at the sanctuary and when he (Maui) first got there, he was fine. He moved into a run of his own and he seemed perfectly normal and happy to be out and free, very happy.

Over time, however, he started to show signs of depression that the owner noticed. I didn't particularly notice because I didn't know what to look for. She moved him into the house. He started to jerk his head a little bit. Not much, just a little bit. And over the next few days it got worse and worse and worse and it looked like a neurological disorder. So the owner took him back to the vet and they couldn't figure out what was wrong with him. He had trouble eating, he couldn't drink water at this point. He was sleeping away most of the day. Every time we held him he would either seize or he would hold his head upside down. She was tube-feeding him, giving him subcutaneous fluids and giving him supportive care. There are so many animals at the sanctuary and it was difficult to give him the attention that he really needed.

It was at that point, because I had bonded with this rooster and whenever I went up to the sanctuary the first thing I wanted to do was see Maui and hang out with him, that I started to consider adopting him. I was able to get him to eat when I was there, a little bit of watermelon or strawberries, and over a couple of weeks he started standing and he crowed a little bit here and there. The owner of the sanctuary asked me if I wanted to have Maui come and live with me, because she knew that I would be able to give him a lot more one-on-one time and attention. (The sanctuary doesn't work like that. The animals that go to live there are – that's their forever home, they will never leave. I felt really good that she trusted me enough to let me take him home.)

We waited a few weeks because he was on some medications, and the vet had put him on steroids in hopes that that would help him. It didn't; it actually made him worse for a while, but after he stopped taking the medication he seemed to get better every day and one day I was up there working and we decided that that was the day that he would come home to live with me. I'll never forget it because my daughter Alexis was with me and he was in the back of the Jeep and I kept making her check on him. "How's Maui, how's Maui? Is he okay? Does he look happy?" Everyone in my family welcomed him with open arms.

HL: Who's in your family? Who's living in your house?

MB: My husband Jackson, and he said that he wondered how long it would be before I brought either a hen or a rooster home. Because I spend so much time there now and I talk about them constantly. He knew that I would probably bring somebody home eventually to live with us. And then our son Jack, who has MS (multiple sclerosis), lives there and we have another friend who lives at the house. 

HL: Do you have any other nonhuman companions at home?

MB: We do, we have two dogs. Loki is a chihuahua and Beylah is a beagle.

HL: How has everybody responded to having a rooster live in the house now? 

MB: I thought it would take a lot more time for them to bond than it actually did. My husband is very much in love with Maui and is very concerned that he has fresh fruit, and a variety. Jack has bonded with Maui in a different way than anybody else because he feels that Maui's possible neurological problem is much like his own neurological problem. He thinks that the rooster probably feels the same way that he does about his disease: confused, angry, and upset. As a result, Maui has brought him out of his shell in a way that nobody has been able to do.

Everybody was really worried, especially with Loki, that they wouldn't get along or that there might be problems and I just made sure that I introduced them in harmony. In the beginning, Loki and Beylah were pretty scared of him, especially when he would make warning calls or stretch his wings. Now, they live harmoniously. They are curious of each other, Beylah and Loki show no signs of being scared anymore and even approach Maui regularly to smell him. In the garden, Loki sticks pretty close to Maui and is always aware when Maui makes his alarm sounds.

HL: What does Maui do when he's at your house?

MB: He gets to do whatever he wants. He doesn't walk very much, but he will spend time walking around on the floor. He gets to go outside several times a day and play in the garden, sunbathe, dustbathe. He has two different kennels, one for sleeping and one for daytime use, if I know that he needs to be secure. He gets to perch on the back of the couch. He gets to perch on my shoulder. He gets to eat whenever he wants. He's like a spoiled child. 

HL: Does he like both being indoors and being outdoors?

MB: He does. Like most roosters, when I first started taking him out I was excited because he seemed to really enjoy it and perk up when he was outside. I discussed every little thing with the owners of the sanctuary and come to find out that the sickest of roosters will act normal when they are outside, because they don't want to show their weaknesses to predators. I didn't know that. When I found that out I was a little more careful not to take him out for extended periods of time, just little by little, until he got used to it. Now he's at the point where he's fine. He's fine falling asleep outside and he's not as aware like he was before. He was very concerned about what was going on around him instead of what was immediately around him like the ground, or digging for bugs.