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

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

July 26, 2016 by 1 comment


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 8 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.

Exported Australian cow being slaughtered.

Australian cow being slaughtered.

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.
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.


Gas Chambers – The “Humane” Alternative?

July 12, 2016 by 2 comments


The News

Following numerous undercover investigations revealing shocking cruelty in slaughterhouses, U.S. meat and egg companies are slowly shifting towards a method of killing regarded by many as being less inhumane: gas chambers.

Euphemistically referred to as Controlled Atmosphere Killing (CAK), gas chambers are widely used in Australia and some European Union countries to slaughter pigs, chickens and other animals.

In several countries, pigs and chickens are commonly killed using gas chambers.

In several countries, pigs and chickens are commonly killed using gas chambers.

PIGS

In order to gas pigs, slaughterhouse workers use electric prods to force them into small steel cages which are lowered into carbon dioxide filled chambers. Undercover footage shows pigs screaming, thrashing and gasping for air in their final moments. An Australian activist conducting an undercover investigation described what he saw: “In their last minutes, these pigs are burning from the inside out.”

Pigs being suffocated in gas chambers.

Pigs being suffocated in gas chambers.

BROILER CHICKENS

The travelling crates that contain chickens are typically unloaded from a truck onto a conveyor belt which carries them into a gas chamber. According to an eyewitness from Canadians for the Ethical Treatment of Food Animals, “Aversive behavior in the form of gasping, shaking of heads and stretching of necks to breathe could be seen beginning in window two [of the gas chamber] and, by window three, all were exhibiting strong convulsions. The birds’ movements eventually became still and by the time they emerged from the CO2 chambers they were completely lifeless…”

Gas chambers are used trendier broiler chickens unconscious before they are bled to death.

Gas chambers are used to render broiler chickens unconscious before they are bled to death.

EGG-LAYING HENS

Workers aggressively grab spent layer hens birds out of their cages and toss them into mobile metal gas chambers.  On some factory farms, the hens are simply stuffed into trash cans where they are gassed. According to a former worker at a supplier to Eggland’s Best: “It’s absolutely chilling to hear these birds scrambling and fighting for air in these gas chambers.”

At worst spent hens are killed by being thrown into trash cans which are than filled with gas.

At worst spent hens are killed by being thrown into trash cans which are than filled with gas.

Several animal advocacy groups are pressuring companies to transition to using CAK as their primary method of slaughter because it has been shown to be, in many ways, less painful and stressful than conventional methods.

Your Turn

To learn more about the use of gas chambers to kill pigs, please visit aussieabattoirs.com

To watch the investigation that revealed the use of gas chambers to kill spent hens, please visit Mercy For Animals

To learn more about animal cruelty in the food industry, please watch Farm to Fridge and Earthlings

To order a free vegan starter kit, please visit PETA


At MetLife Protest, Actress Elaine Hendrix Speaks Up For Abandoned Chimps

July 8, 2016 by Leave a Comment


The News

At a protest targeting MetLife for its complicity in the New York Blood Center (NYBC) chimp abandonment crisis, actress Elaine Hendrix, a tireless advocate for animals, spoke out on behalf of the 66 chimps left to die with no food or water on islands in Liberia: “MetLife is one of the largest donors to the NY Blood Center, and we’re simply asking them to help the chimps. It’s really a very easy thing that they could be doing.”

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.

MetLife has refused to hold NYBC accountable for its abandonment of 66 chimpanzees.

MetLife has refused to hold NYBC accountable for its abandonment of 66 chimpanzees.

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.

Liberians hired by HSUS feed the chimps abandoned by the New York Blood Center

Liberians hired by HSUS feed the chimps abandoned by the New York 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.

Activists protest at the Summit NJ home of Steven Kandarian.

Activists protest at the Summit, NJ, home of Steven Kandarian.

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.

Steven Mandarin is the CEO of MetLife.

Steven Mandarin is the CEO of MetLife.