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In Spite of Lawsuit Aimed at Silencing Activists, Horse-Drawn Carriage Protests Continue

April 21, 2017 by 3 comments


The News

In response to a lawsuit filed by the horse-drawn carriage industry to silence the opposition in NYC, animal rights activists staged a protest wearing symbolic tape over their mouths to demonstrate that, even if silenced, they can convince tourists to abstain from taking “cruel and dangerous” horse-drawn carriage rides in midtown Manhattan.

The silent protest, which replaced chants with images, garnered so much attention from pedestrians that NYCLASS said it intends to its incorporate the tactic into future actions. That said, the organization will not be silenced, according to Jill Carnegie, NYCLASS’ director of campaigns: “We believe in the First Amendment – and that means we have the right to educate everyone about the cruelties of the reckless carriage horse industry. We won’t stop until they are removed from dangerous city streets.”

Animal rights activists in NYC stage a symbolic silent protest after being sued by the horse-drawn carriage industry

In December, 2016, Central Park Sightseeing, a horse-drawn carriage company, filed the lawsuit against NYCLASS and several individual activists in which it sought – and won – an injunction to limit first amendment expression in the area where tourists board the carriages. The defendants intend to appeal the injunction in order to protect their constitutional rights. ‘We cannot allow a ruling that says freedom of speech should be censored on public streets merely because carriage drivers don’t like the truth,” said Carnegie. “Speaking up and fighting for what you believe in is our duty as engaged Americans, especially at a time of upheaval and uncertainty.”

NYC’s horse-drawn carriage industry and animal rights activists in legal battle over protests

Your Turn

The NYC animal rights community did not expect to be protesting horse-drawn carriages in 2017 because, in 2013, NYC Mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio ran for office on an unmistakeable promise to ban horse-drawn carriages if elected. His “Watch me do it!” pledge has since been replaced with, “Take it up with the City Council.”

Please join NYCLASS in it effort to compel the Mayor and City Council to take horse-drawn carriages off the streets of NYC.


Activists Confront NY Blood Center’s Michael Hodin Over Abandoned Chimps

April 17, 2017 by 3 comments


The News

As New York Blood Center (NYBC) board member Michael Hodin walked toward his Manhattan home, activists protesting his decision to abandon 66 chimps with no food or water confronted him face-to-face for the first time. During previous protests outside of his luxury condo, Hodin has always watched from his windows.

Hodin, who is the CEO of the for-profit Global Coalition on Aging, stands by the Blood Center’s decision to abandon the chimps. “Hodin advocates for elderly humans, yet he signed off on a plan to leave elderly chimps to starve to death,” said Donny Moss of TheirTurn. “Elder abuse is elder abuse, regardless of the species. How sad that Mr. Hodin can’t connect the dots.”

Photo on the right by Jenny Desmond for HSUS

During the past year, the abandoned chimp protests at Hodin’s apartment have become more heated, as neighbors have grown weary of the presence of activists. In October, 2016, the New York Post ran a story about the protests (War Between Nonprofits Rages over Care of Research Chimpsin which a spokesperson for NYBC, Rob Purvis, made false claims about the activists:  “There have been attempts to enter trustees’ residences, and photos of trustees’ children and grandchildren have been posted online.”  

Christopher Hillyer, the CEO of this charity, had a compensation package that exceeded $1.5M as of 2014.

After conducting research experiments on almost 500 chimpanzees for 30 years and promising to provide the survivors with lifelong care, NYBC decided to abandon the 66 surviving chimps with no food or water on islands in Liberia, leaving them to die of starvation and thirst. Using money donated by members of the public, Citigroup and The Richardson Center for Global Engagement, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) has stepped in on an emergency basis to cover the monthly costs associated with feeding the chimps.

Among the many organizations that have spoken out against the New York Blood Center are Citigroup, MetLife and the Jane Goodall Institute

Dr. Jane Goodall, one of many leaders in the animal welfare community who have spoken out against NYBC’s decision to starve their chimps, wrote the following in a letter to the organization’s CEO, Christopher Hillyer, “I find it completely shocking and unacceptable that NYBC would abandon these chimpanzees and discontinue support for even their basic needs. Your company was responsible for acquiring these chimpanzees, some we understand even from the wild, and thus has a moral obligation to continue to care for them for the remainder of their lives.”

NYBC made a commitment to provide the survivors of its experiments with lifelong care, but the organization changed its mind, leaving the chimps to starve to death on islands with no natural food or water.

Your Turn

Please join the Facebook page, New York Blood Center: To the Right Thing, to stay apprised of the campaign to hold NYBC accountable and to participate in online actions on behalf of the abandoned chimps.


James Beard Foundation Hosts First-Ever Vegan Dinner (VIDEO)

April 10, 2017 by 1 comment


The News

In March, The James Beard House, an historic culinary center that was once the home of James Beard, hosted its first-ever dinner catered by vegan chefs. James Beard, a legendary cookbook author, teacher and chef mentor, elevated American cuisine starting in the 1940s. In the culinary world, no recognition is more prestigious than the award that bears his name.

Veganizer, a NY-based company that “veganizes” restaurants in an effort to expand the reach of plant-based foods, produced the James Beard dinner, bringing in four renowned vegan chefs – Adam Sobel, Chloe Coscarelli, Daphne Cheng and Jay Astafa. According to Veganizer’s founder Kiki Adami, the unprecedented event sold out in 48 hours and had a waitlist of over 70 people.

Veganizer’s Kiki Adami takes a selfie with vegan chefs Adam Sobel, Jay Astafa, Chloe Coscarelli and Daphne Cheng

Susan Ungaro, the President of The James Beard Foundation, told TheirTurn, “At the Beard House dinners, we want to reflect what’s hot and happening all over the United States, and tonight’s dinner is emblematic of the movement and change that happening in the way American’s eat.”

 


See How Onlookers React To Veggie Pride Parade in NYC

April 4, 2017 by 4 comments


The News

On April 2nd, hundreds of New Yorkers gathered in the Meatpacking District, of all places, for the start of the 10th Annual Veggie Pride Parade. “We made it ten years; I don’t know how!” joked Pamela Rice, who produces the parade and post-parade exposition in Union Square.

Pamela Rice, organizer of Veggie Pride Parade

While some onlookers laughed condescendingly at the participants, the vast majority laughed with them, remarking on the creative fruit and vegetable costumes and good energy that filled the streets of Greenwich Village. TheirTurn spoke to many people along the parade route to get their reaction:

Several people told us that they would read the pamphlets and consider making changes to their diets, but we suspect that’s not the case for the man caught on camera saying, “Bro. I guarantee this was commissioned by Monsanto.”

A giant pea pod asks onlookers to “Give Peas a Chance.”


Advocates Confront New York Blood Center Employees Over Abandoned Chimps

March 27, 2017 by Leave a Comment


The News

Advocates fighting on behalf of the chimpanzees abandoned by the New York Blood Center (NYBC) confronted employees during a recent protest staged at the organization’s corporate headquarters.  In an effort to ignore the advocates and avoid being recorded, the employees exiting the building looked down the sidewalk and covered their faces. None expressed remorse about the crime committed by their organization.

After conducting research experiments on almost 500 chimpanzees for 30 years and promising to provide the survivors with lifelong care, NYBC abandoned 66 chimps with no food or water on islands in Liberia, leaving them to die of starvation and thirst.  Using money donated by members of the public, Citigroup and The Richardson Center for Global Engagement, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) has stepped in on an emergency basis to cover the monthly costs associated with feeding the chimps.

Chimps abandoned by NY Blood Center (Photo: Jenny Desmond for HSUS)

The NY Blood Center, which has earned hundreds of millions of dollars in royalties off of the research conducted on the chimps, has been condemned by its own corporate donors and in the media. In a New York Times article about the scandal, Dr. Brian Hare, an anthropologist and primatologist at Duke University, said, “I have studied great apes for 20 years in all contexts across the globe — labs, zoos, sanctuaries, the wild” and others. “Never, ever have I seen anything even remotely as disgusting as this.”

Among the many organizations that have spoken out against the New York Blood Center are Citigroup, MetLife and the Jane Goodall Institute

The approximate cost of feeding the chimps and paying their Liberian caregivers is $25,000/month, a small sum for an organization that earns over $300 million/year selling blood donated by the public. Advocates speculate NYBC is refusing to reinstate funding for the chimps not because of the cost but because the Chairman of the Board, Howard Milstein, does not want to cave in to pressure.  Following is an excerpt from Washington Post profile about Milstein:

“He’s not the kind of guy who backs down,” said Congressional Institute senior fellow Helen Kanovsky, a longtime friend who introduced Milstein to his future wife. In the rare cases when Milstein doesn’t get his way, he gets mad — and then he tries to get even, often through litigation….“He’s arrogant and difficult,” a former business associate said. “If you work with him, you have to understand: there’s only one way and it’s Howard’s way.”

NY Blood Center insiders say Chairman of the Board Howard Milstein “calls all the shots”

Advocates say the campaign targeting the NY Blood Center and its major donors will continue until the organization fulfills its promise to provide lifelong care to the survivors of its experiments.