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In Confrontation with Mayor Bill de Blasio, NYC Activists Demand that He Fulfill Promise to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages (VIDEO)

September 16, 2016 by Leave a Comment


The News

In response to the collapse of a carriage horse in NYC, at least two hundred activists staged a protest at the home of Mayor Bill de Blasio to demand that he fulfill his 2013 campaign pledge to “end carriage rides” in NYC. The protest marks the re-birth of the movement to ban horse-drawn carriages from the congested streets of midtown Manhattan.

Following the protest at Gracie Mansion, which is located in uptown Manhattan, many of the activists traveled downtown to confront the Mayor as he exited an event at Cooper Union College.

The collapse of a carriage horse triggered about 200 activists to protest failure of NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio to fulfill his campaign promise to ban horse-drawn carriages

The collapse of a carriage horse triggered about 200 activists to protest failure of NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio to fulfill his campaign promise to ban horse-drawn carriages

In the months leading up to the 2013 Mayoral election in NYC, Bill de Blasio publicly vowed on several occasions to outlaw NYC’s horse-drawn carriage trade. After de Blasio declared that animal rights would “move into the mainstream” if he was elected, the community took to the streets to help him get elected.

The campaign to ban horse-drawn carriages from NYC was launched in 2006, but the animal rights community has been unable to free the horses because of opposition from the media, labor unions and NYC lawmakers. In addition, Bill de Blasio, who was the horses’ most powerful potential ally, has failed to effectively exert his power as Mayor to achieve a ban.  By the time he introduced a compromise bill that would contain the horses within Central Park, the majority of NYC lawmakers had already decided to take the politically expedient route, which was to reject any changes to the carriage trade.

Activists say that horse-drawn carriages cannot be operated humanely or safely in NYC.


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Modern Day Slavery

August 4, 2016 by Leave a Comment


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.

 


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

July 26, 2016 by Leave a 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.


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Artist Recruits Counter-Protestors to Discredit Animal Rights Advocates

June 21, 2016 by Leave a 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, recruited counter-protestors to discredit animal rights advocates who were demonstrating at his “Fly By Night” show, which took place from May 7 to June 19 over the East River in New York City. The counter-protesters wore pigeon masks, held provocative signs and attempted to blend in with the activists.

“The fact that counter protesters appeared is quite suspect,”said Nora Constance Marino of the Animal Cruelty Exposure Fund (ACEF), the animal protection group that organized the demonstration. “They claimed to be there because they disagreed with our position regarding animal cruelty; yet, they made no intelligent statements to support this position. They merely brought nonsense signs and yelled silly chants in an obvious effort to distract. In my opinion, this is evidence that there is no real defense to our claims of animal cruelty.”

Counter-protestor

Counter-protestor

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.

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

Excerpt from Creative Time's website

Excerpt from Creative Time’s website

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 of pigeons flying over the East River

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

Sign the petition to end “Fly By Night.”

Post a comment on Creative Time’s Facebook page.

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


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Unlocking The Cage Premieres in New York City

June 7, 2016 by Leave a Comment


The News

Unlocking the Cage, a highly-anticipated new film that documents the historic battle by the Nonhuman Rights Project (NhRP) to win legal rights for nonhuman animals, premiered in New York City on May 25th.

The film’s directors, D A Pennebaker and Chris Hedegus, who, according to the New York Times, have made the “most memorable documentaries of the past half-century,” followed their subject, Steven Wise, for four years to record his effort to achieve personhood for several chimpanzees in New York being held captive in laboratories and roadside zoos.

“We are grateful to Pennebaker and Hegedus not only for making such an excellent film about the groundbreaking legal work of Steven Wise and the NhRP but also because their involvement will expand the reach of the film to mainstream audiences worldwide,” said Kevin Schneider, Executive Director of the Nonhuman Rights Project.

From left to right: NhRP President Steven Wise and Unlocking The Cage filmmakers D.A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus

From left to right: NhRP President Steven Wise and Unlocking The Cage filmmakers D.A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus (photo: Lukas Maverick Greyson)

On the day before the worldwide premiere at the Film Forum in Greenwich Village, the New York Times gave the film a favorable review:

“It is hard to watch Unlocking the Cage without being somewhat swayed by the arguments — or at least impressed by the sincerity — of Steven Wise, a leading animal-rights lawyer. . . Mr. Wise has argued that animals should have the legal status of persons. What this means is not that they should be classified as human, but rather that their rights should be acknowledged and protected under the law.”

The review contains a strong pro-animal rights message: “It is also possible that practices and attitudes now widely taken as natural will look arbitrary and cruel to future generations, and that the future will arrive sooner than many of us expect. It wouldn’t be the first time.”

Unlocking The Cage premiered in NYC on June 25th.

Unlocking The Cage premiered in NYC on May 25th.

Your Turn

To stay apprised of developments with Unlocking the Cage, please follow the film’s Facebook page.

To learn more about the groundbreaking work of the Nonhuman Rights Project, please visit the organization’s website.


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