Their Turn - The Social Justice Movement of Our Time Their Turn - The Social Justice Movement of Our Time

Modern Day Slavery

August 4, 2016 by 2 comments


The News

A slave is defined as “someone who is the legal property of another and is forced to obey them.” Across the globe, wild animals are held captive in circuses and subjected to violent punishment in order to force them to perform for human entertainment. Their plight is chillingly similar to that of the victims of the African slave trade.

Like the victims of the African slave trade, circus animals are often kidnapped from their homes and held captive in chains and prison cages — when they’re not performing.  Circus elephants, for instance, spend 97% of their lives shackled. One investigation showed that, for weeks at a time, UniverSoul Circus kept tigers in cages so small that they could not make “normal postural adjustments.” The confinement causes many animals to go insane.

Chains are used to restrain non-human animals in just as they were to restrain humans during the African slave trade.

Chains are used to restrain animals in circuses just as they were to restrain humans during the African slave trade.

Like the victims of the African slave trade, circus animals work out of fear of punishment. Tigers and lions are whipped; monkeys and camels are beaten with sticks; and elephants are stabbed with bullhooks, devices that resemble a fireplace poker. Fear is the only way to entice wild animals to perform unnatural – and often scary and painful – tricks in front of noisy crowds.

Like the African slaves, circus animals are forced to work under threat of violent punishment.

Like African slaves, circus animals are forced to work under threat of violent punishment.

The bullhook is a weapon used to beat and control elephants in circuses.

The bullhook is a weapon used to beat and control elephants in circuses.

Like the victims of the victims of the African slave trade, circus animals often taken have their children taken from them. The kidnapped children are taught to fear humans at a very age. Baby elephants, for instance, are tied up; beaten with bullhooks; and shocked with police tasers. Young animals, especially lions and tigers, are often used for photo ops.

Baby animals are oftentimes taken away away from their mothers in circuses, not so differently from how families were separated at Southern slave auctions.

In circuses and slave auctions, babies are and were taken away from their mothers.

The plight of circus animals falls squarely into the definition of slavery.

Your Turn

To learn more about the plight of circus animals and what you can do to help them please visit Born Free USA.

 


Advocates March to Home of MetLife CEO Steven Kandarian To Protest Abandoned Chimps

July 28, 2016 by 1 comment


The News

In spite of petitions, protests and letters from concerned citizens around the world, MetLife CEO Steven Kandarian continues to ignore the abandoned chimp crisis created by the New York Blood Center (NYBC), an organization that the company bankrolls.  Dozens of activists, therefore, took the campaign to his home in Summit, NJ, an exclusive suburb of NYC, for the second time since May 2015.

Activists march through Summit, NJ, the home of MetLife's CEO.

Activists march through Summit, NJ, to the home of MetLife CEO Steven Kandarian.

Activists marched from Summit’s train station to Kandarian’s home and back, all the while engaging with and distributing leaflets to Mandarin’s neighbors and other Summit residents. While some were annoyed by the presence of activists in a quiet suburb, others were eager to learn about the issue.

Activists protest in Summit, NJ, the home of MetLife's CEO.

Activists protest in Summit, NJ, the home of MetLife’s CEO.

“We are sorry that it has come to the point that we have to show up on Kandarian’s doorstep,” said Donny Moss, one of the organizers. “We are also genuinely confused about why a company that prides itself on corporate social responsibility is not only turning a blind eye to an atrocity being committed by an organization that it supports but also refusing to publicly address the crisis in spite of pleas by thousands of people worldwide.”

Activists protest at the home of MetLife's CEO, Steven Mandarin.

Activists protest at the home of MetLife’s CEO, Steven Mandarin.

“Tap Into Summit,” a local news outlet, reported on the protest both before and after.

The protest was covered by "Tap into Summit," a local news outlet.

The protest was covered by “Tap into Summit,” a local news outlet.

In November, 2015, primatologist Bob Ingersoll traveled from San Francisco to NYC to hand-deliver a petition to MetLife asking the company to cut its support of NYBC until the organization reinstates promised funding for its former lab chimps. While a representative from MetLife did collect the petitions from Mr. Ingersoll in the lobby, neither she nor anyone else from the company responded to him.

Primatologist Bob Ingersoll delivers petitions to a MetLife representative.

Primatologist Bob Ingersoll delivers petitions to a MetLife representative.

On April 26, activists staged a 30-minute disruption in the lobby of the MetLife building during rush hour. Two weeks later, they protested at the New Jersey home of MetLife CEO Steven Kandarian. On June 14, activists held a demonstration at MetLife’s annual shareholders meeting. To date, MetLife has ignored all of the protests and the efforts to open a dialog regarding the chimpanzee crisis.

Activists stage a disruption in the MetLife building's lobby.

Activists stage a disruption in the MetLife building’s lobby.

In May, 2015, the NY Times reported that NYBC had “withdrawn all funding for them [the chimps],” leaving them  to die of starvation and thirst. In order to keep the chimps alive, Liberians who had been employed by the blood center to deliver food and water, began to care for them on a volunteer basis. With virtually no resources and burdened by the Ebola outbreak in Liberia, these volunteers kept the chimpanzees alive until an HSUS-led coalition of over 30 animal conservation groups raised funds from the public to pay for the chimps’ care on an emergency basis.

chimpanzees abandoned by the NY Blood Center

Chimpanzees in Liberia abandoned by the NY Blood Center

The New York Blood Center, which has earned an estimated $500 million in royalties off of the research conducted on the chimpanzees, has publicly stated that it has no “contractual obligation” to pay for the chimps’ food and water and has shifted the financial burden of caring for their captive chimp population to the animal welfare community.

chimpanzees abandoned by the NY Blood Center receive food from a local volunteer

A Liberian volunteer distributes food to chimps abandoned by the NY Blood Center

Your Turn

Use the tweet sheet to contact MetLife, NYBC and their stakeholders.

Sign the Care2 petition to MetLife, NYBC’s largest corporate donor.

Join the Facebook page: New York Blood Center: Do the Right Thing to stay apprised of news and to participate in online actions to pressure NYBC board members to fulfill their promise to provide lifelong care to their laboratory chimps.

Follow TheirTurn on Twitter, and follow “Save NYBC Chimps”on Instagram and Twitter.


Artist Duke Riley Throws Tantrum At Protest Targeting His Live Animal Show

July 26, 2016 by 2 comments


The News

Duke Riley, an artist who strapped LED lights on the legs of 2,000 pigeons and forced them to fly in the dark, verbally assaulted animal advocates, calling them “racists,” “animal abusers,” and “animal haters.”

Artist Duke Riley Verbally Assaulted activists protesting his pigeon show.

Artist Duke Riley Verbally Assaulted activists protesting his pigeon show.

The Animal Cruelty Exposure Fund (ACEF), an animal advocacy group, staged three protests in front of Riley’s “Fly By Night” shows. At two of those protests, Riley brought in counter-protesters with provocative signs in an attempt to discredit the animal advocates.

Counter-protestor

Counter-protestor

“Duke Riley’s totally unsubstantiated accusations, in calling animal rights activists and protesters ‘racists’ and ‘animal haters,’ is beyond ludicrous,” said Nora Constance Marino, President of ACEF. “Mr. Riley has resorted to baseless and meaningless defamatory name calling in an apparent ill-conceived and feeble attempt to defend his actions.”

Counter-protesters recruited by Duke Riley.

Counter-protesters recruited by Duke Riley.

Pigeons, who are strictly daytime animals, have poor nighttime vision and only fly in the dark if disturbed. “Fly By Night” potentially subjects them to stress, disorientation and drowning in the East River.

Excerpt from Creative Time's website

Excerpt from Creative Time’s website

Creative Time, the arts organization that funded the pigeon show, claims on its website that the show took place “when there is still daylight.”

However, photos and video taken during “Fly By Night” demonstrate that the pigeons are, in fact, in the air after dark.

Video footage taken at the event shows that the birds were out while there was little to no daylight.

Video footage taken at the event shows that the birds were out while there was little to no daylight.

In a post on the Facebook page of Creative Time, Karen Davis, President of the national avian advocacy group United Poultry Concerns, condemned the event: “Perhaps what strikes me most significantly about this Fly By Night exhibit is the part where the pigeons are trying to land and get rest, but are forced to fly even though they are bewildered, scared and exhausted. . . No one who respects pigeons and empathizes with them as fellow creatures would dream of mistreating them so meanly, strapping gadgetry to them, and putting them in danger.

Pigeons have limited vision in the dark, but they are forced to "Fly By Night" for art exhibit

Pigeons have limited vision in the dark, but they are forced to “Fly By Night” for art exhibit

The use of live animals in art exhibits was recently addressed in a CounterPunch article critical of the practice written by Elliot Sperber, a New York-based writer and lawyer.

Your Turn

Post a comment on Creative Time’s Facebook page.

Tweet the organization that produced the event, Creative Time, and the artist, Duke Riley.


Dozens of Activists Protest Dog Meat Eating Festival At Korean Consulate

July 20, 2016 by 11 comments


The News

On July 15th, approximately 40 activists staged a protest at the South Korean consulate in New York City to demand that the government ban a dog meat eating festival, Boknal, that takes place every July in Korea. While displaying the posters and chanting “Cultural Justification is No Excuse For Animal Abuse,” the protesters distributed handouts to pedestrians and gathered hundreds of signatures on a petition that will be hand-delivered to Korean diplomats.

Animal rights activists protesting at the Korean embassy.

Animal rights activists protesting at the Korean consulate

“We stand in solidarity with the Korean activists who risk their lives to rescue dogs from hellish farms and who give them the loving homes they deserve,” said Roberto Bonelli of Animals Battalion, the group that organized the protest. “All animal slaughter is wrong, regardless of the species, and, when activists around the world rise up in protest, we will be there to support them.”

Animal rights activists protest at the Korean embassy.

Animal rights activists protesting at the Korean consulate.

One protester, Silva Baker, told TheirTurn about two dogs who she adopted from activists who rescued them from a South Korean dog farm: “I look into Jacks and Gigi eyes every single day, and I can’t believe what would have happened to them. Now I look at these at these pictures, and I think of all the unlucky dogs that are still there.”

Silva Baker adopted two dogs rescued from a South Korean dog farm.

Silva Baker adopted two dogs rescued from a South Korean dog farm.

Every year, approximately 2.5 million dogs are slaughtered in South Korea. Some of them are specifically raised for food (on filthy backyard farms); others are kidnapped or were abandoned by their owners. When transported to the slaughterhouse, the dogs are stuffed into crates so small that they cannot move. The methods of slaughter include throat-slitting, bludgeoning with metal poles or hanging. Some dogs are intentionally tortured before being slaughtered because of a superstitious belief that the meat of tortured animals is healthier.

In South Korea, dogs around 2.5 million dogs are killed for their flesh every year.

In South Korea, around 2.5 million dogs are killed for their flesh every year.

Your Turn

To learn more about how you can help end South Korea’s dog meat trade, please visit koreandogs.org.

To find out about future protests regarding South Korea’s dog meat trade, please follow The Animals’ Battalion.


Cheap Third World Labor Fuels Australia’s Notorious Live Export Trade

July 19, 2016 by 14 comments


The News

Harrowing footage of Australian cattle being slaughtered in Vietnam has shined a global spotlight on Australia’s notorious “live export” trade. The footage, released by Animals Australia, shows restrained cows being bludgeoned with sledgehammers as they frantically attempt to avoid the blows meant to smash their skulls. The footage has triggered a public discussion and debate about the rationale for exporting live animals instead refrigerated meat from animals slaughtered in Australia.

Live export companies claim that  animals must be exported live because refrigeration in the countries to which they are shipped is inadequate. According to advocates, however, that rationale is dubious. A Cambodian company called SLN Meat Supplies, which recently imported almost 3,000 Australian cattle, stated that it plans to store and eventually export the meat of those animals to China, Vietnam and Japan. According to SLN, refrigeration will be used in the process. SLN is one of many companies that imports live animals, slaughters them and then exports the refrigerated meat to other countries.

Live export companies claim that live exports are necessary due to lack of refrigeration in the importing companies despite those countries refrigerating the meat and exporting it.

Live export companies falsely claim that exporting animals while they are alive is  necessary due to lack of refrigeration in the importing companies.

Simon Whitehouse of Live Export – GlobalVoice4Animals has a different theory about why Australian companies export live animals instead of slaughtering them locally:  “large profits [made] through the exploitation of grossly underpaid, third world labor.”  Cheap third world labor fuels the live export trade in many ways.

Slaughterhouse workers in poor countries are paid much less than those in more wealthy countries. A Cambodian slaughterhouse worker, for instance, receives about 1/200 the salary of an Australian worker. Since the wholesale price of beef in poor countries is about the same as it is in wealthy countries, the lower wages lead to a greater profit margin for the companies that import live animals. In some cases, live export companies partially or fully own the importing companies, so slaughtering the animals where labor is cheaper increases their profit margins. When live export companies earn higher profits, they offer ranchers more money for their animals. Cheap third world labor therefore affects the live export trade at virtually every step in the supply chain. “Without that cheap labor source, there would be no live export trade” says Mr. Whitehouse.
Exported Australian cow being slaughtered.

Exported Australian cow being slaughtered.

 Each year, Australia ships millions of live sheep, cattle and goats to countries in the Middle East and Asia where they are slaughtered for meat. Footage taken during more than 30 investigations conducted by Animals Australia demonstrates that many of these animals endure “routine abuse” and “brutal slaughter” in countries that have few, if any, protections in place. In addition, millions of animals have died on the ships during the treacherous overseas journeys during which are intensively confined and deprived of their basic needs.
Live exports are notorious for animal cruelty.

Australia’s notorious live export industry

Your Turn

Please visit Animals Australia’s Ban Live Export initiative to learn more about live exports and find out how you can help.