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

The Yom Kippur Massacre of 2016 (VIDEO)

October 31, 2016 by Leave a Comment


The News

Before Yom Kippur, the Jewish day of atonement, tens of thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jews in Brooklyn, New York, partake in a sacrificial ritual called Kaporos. During Kaporos, practitioners swing a live chicken around their heads while saying a prayer to transfer their sins to the animal, who is then slaughtered. In 2016, hundreds of animal rights activists disrupted the massacre.

Slaughtering animals on public streets is illegal, as it violates 15 city and state health, sanitation and animal cruelty laws, but NYC’s elected officials and the agencies that report to them, including the NYPD and Department of Health, turn a blind eye because the ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities that partake in the ritual vote in blocs. NY-based attorney Nora Constance Marino is suing the City of New York on behalf of local residents and the advocacy group The Alliance to End Chickens as Kaporos for failing to enforce both city and state laws.

Shimon Shuchat, who was born into the Hassidic community but has since left, encourages a Kaporos practitioner to swing coins instead of live chickens.

Shimon Shuchat, who was born into the Hasidic community but has since left, encourages a Kaporos practitioner to swing coins instead of live chickens.

Animal rights activists in New York, Los Angeles, Miami and Jerusalem, cities with large populations of ultra-Orthodox Jews, are  campaigning to ban Kaporos.


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In NYC, Hundreds Stage Dramatic Memorial Service for Animals (VIDEO)

September 23, 2016 by Leave a Comment


The News

It was a sight that stopped hurried New Yorkers in their tracks — hundreds of people, many cradling the bodies of dead animals, staging a memorial service for the billions animals who are killed each year by humans.

Photo: Gunars Elmuts

National Animal Rights Day ceremony in NYC (Photo: Gunars Elmuts)

Established by “Our Planet. Theirs Too.” in 2011, The National Animal Rights Day (NARD), which is observed in cities in the U.S. and Canada, “gives a voice to all animals and raises awareness for their rights, until all animals are free from enslavement and their rights are established and protected by law.”

Following is a short video of the NARD memorial ceremony in NYC:

Two of the  NYC organizers, Michael Dolling and Alfre Amin, traveled on multiple occasions from NYC to live animal auctions in Pennsylvania where they collected the bodies of dead animals who had been thrown into dumpsters.

NARD organizers retrieved animal bodies at live animal auctions in New Holland, PA

NARD NYC organizers retrieved animal bodies at live animal auctions in New Holland, PA (photo: Michael Dolling)

According to Dolling, “We hold the bodies of animals because it is a powerful way to expose the truth. These animals are ghosts in the machine of animal agriculture, hidden away from the world. I found many of these animals thrown away like trash in dead piles and in dumpsters, and I believe that they deserved more then that. We clean them, hold them, love them, wrap them up and place flowers on top of them in this very respectful and beautiful ceremony. They were never shown respect in life, so it is our obligation to give them that love and respect after death. In this ceremony, they represent the billions of animals slaughtered each year who suffer and die due to human greed.”

After the ceremony, which included the reading of the Declaration of Animal Rights, singer/songwriter Vanessa Dawson debuted “Be Their Voice,” which is the song used in the video. Throughout the afternoon, other musicians and speakers took to the stage, and food vendors served plant-based fare to participants and the hundreds of onlookers in Union Square.

Vanessa Dawson debuts "Be Their Voice" at NARD (photo: Bernard Jones, Jr.)

Vanessa Dawson debuts “Be Their Voice” at NARD (photo: Bernard Jones, Jr.)

Your Turn

Please visit National Animal Rights Day for more information.


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Catskill Animal Sanctuary Hosts 15th Anniversary “Shindig” in Upstate New York

September 18, 2016 by Leave a Comment


The News

On September 17th, about 1,500 people traveled to upstate New York to attend Catskill Animal Sanctuary’s (CAS) annual “shindig,” a day long celebration with rescued animals, live bands, cooking demonstrations, vegan food vendors, speakers and hayrides.

According to Kathy Stevens, the founder of CAS, sanctuaries enable visitors who aren’t already vegan to “connect the dots between their lifestyle choices and the suffering of these beautiful animals.” She asserts that people must “understand that our choice to eat animals condemns countless beings to an unthinkable level of torture, fear and terror.”

Attendees bond with farm animals at Catskill Animal Sanctuary's 15th Anniversary Shindig

Attendees bond with farm animals at Catskill Animal Sanctuary’s 15th Anniversary Shindig

By inviting many vegan food vendors to the shindig, Stevens demonstrates that adopting a diet free of animals is hardly a sacrifice, given how delicious vegan food in 2016.  And while not all vegan food is health food, a plant-based diet, Stevens asserts, is better for our health and for the planet, as animal agriculture “is the primary cause of the global devastation we’re experiencing.”

catskill-animal-sanctuary-food

At least a dozen vegan food vendors lined the roads within the sanctuary.

Your Turn

Please visit Catskill Animal Sanctuary to learn more about and support the organization’s life-saving work.


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Watch What Happens When Activists Show Earthlings on TV in NYC (VIDEO)

August 30, 2016 by Leave a Comment


The News

Activists with Friends of Animals United (FAUN) screened the documentary Earthlings in Union Square, a public space in New York City with a high concentration of pedestrians. The following video, which was viewed almost 300,000 times in the 24 hours after it was posted on Facebook, shows some of reactions generated by the film:

Phyllis Letthembe, the organizer, told TheirTurn that the activists show Earthlings and distribute information in an effort to open peoples’ eyes to animal cruelty and tap into their empathy.

Pedestrians in NYC stop to watch the documentary film Earthlings

Pedestrians in NYC stop to watch the documentary film Earthlings

During the two hours that Earthlings was screened, hundreds of pedestrians stopped to watch the film and talk to the activists who were standing by to answer questions. “We can tell based on the discussions we are having that people are profoundly affected by the video,” said Letthembe. “We wouldn’t be out in the streets if we didn’t think we were making a difference. After all, it was videos like Earthlings that made me and many of my fellow activists go vegan.”

The next outreach event takes place in the same location on September 15th.

Your Turn

To watch Earthlings, please visit the website for the film.


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Dozens of Activists Protest Dog Meat Eating Festival At Korean Consulate

July 20, 2016 by Leave a Comment


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.


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