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Over 100 Activists Protest & Celebrate Ringling Bros. Final Performance (VIDEO)

May 23, 2017 by 2 comments


The News

Activists from as far as California and Nevada traveled to New York to say “Good Riddance” to “The Cruelest Show of Earth” during Ringling’s last-ever performance.

Organized by PETA, LION and CompassionWorks International, the final protest, which took place at the Nassau Coliseum in Long Island, was not only a celebration but also an opportunity to encourage Ringling fans to abstain from patronizing other traveling circuses that beat wild animals into submission.

Animal rights activists celebrate the last-ever performance of Ringling Bros.

PETA began protesting Ringling when the organization was formed in the early 1980s. Since then, the animal rights group has staged protests at thousands of performances around the country, at times following the circus from city to city in a “Ringling Beats Elephants” van.

PETA followed Ringling around the country in a van in an effort to educate patrons

As undercover videos of circus trainers terrorizing animals emerged, many local animal rights groups around the country began to protest the circus and lobby their lawmakers in support of restrictions on the use of animals in performances.

In recent years, several municipalities in the U.S. banned the use of bull hooks, the weapons used by “trainers” to beat elephants into submission. Without bull hooks, Ringling could not use elephants in their shows. These bans, coupled with increasing public discomfort about the use of elephants, triggered Ringling to remove them from the show starting in 2016. This victory, celebrated by activists worldwide, was overshadowed by an even bigger victory – Ringling’s announcement in 2017 that it was shutting down the circus altogether. A representative from the Circus Fans Association of America told TheirTurn that the Ringling decided to end its 146 year run because of a substantial drop in revenues following the removal of elephants. Animal rights groups say that ticket sales declined because of the public’s increasing discomfort with the use of any animals in circuses.

Elephant “trainer” with Ringling carries bull hooks to scare animals into submission

The 100+ activists at Ringling’s final performance were greeted with hostility by some patrons, as expected. Parents were the angriest, as they don’t want their children’s circus experience to be tainted by the presence of activists wielding “Ringling Beats Animals” posters. While some patrons gave protesters the middle finger or shouted “Snowflake” or “Go Trump” while driving past the protesters, most just laughed nervously.


IBM Issues Public Statement Severing Ties With New York Blood Center Over Chimp Abandonment

May 16, 2017 by 19 comments


The News

In a statement posted on its website, IBM announced that it has severed all ties with the NY Blood Center on account of the organization’s decision to abandon 66 chimpanzees with no food or water on islands in Liberia. IBM joins NYBC’s other long term corporate partners, MetLife and Citigroup, in demanding accountability from the organization.

IBM severs ties with NY Blood Center over chimp abandonment

The announcement, which states that IBM has suspended its blood drives, marks the end of a 54 year relationship between IBM and NYBC.

IBM has terminated its 54 year partnership with IBM on account of the abandoned chimps

IBM donated space to the New York Blood Center for blood drives.

IBM’s decision to sever ties with the NY Blood Center marks the end of a 54 relationship.

The news comes after a protest at IBM and months of discussions with animal welfare advocates who have been working to convince NYBC’s corporate parters to demand accountability from the organization.

The Care2 petition asking IBM to demand accountability from NYBC was signed by over 163,000 people.

The NY Blood Center abandoned 66 chimps on islands with no natural food or water and cut all funding for their care. Here, the chimps await the daily delivery of food and water. (Photo: Jenny Desmond for HSUS)

After NYBC abandoned the chimps, the animals went a week with no food or water.

After conducting research experiments on approximately 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 the public, 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 and thus has a moral obligation to continue to care for them for the remainder of their lives.”

The NY Blood Center made a promise to provide their chimpanzees with lifelong care.

In February, TheirTurn’s Donny Moss traveled to Liberia to visit and document the abandoned chimps; the Liberians who stepped in on a voluntary basis to save their lives; and Jenny and Jim Desmond, the American couple contracted by HSUS to oversee the care of the chimps.

Your Turn

Please thank IBM for taking a principled stand against the New York Blood Center by retweeting this tweet.

Please join the Facebook page, New York Blood Center: Do 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.

Chimps abandoned by the New York Blood Center on islands in Liberia await their daily delivery of food and water.


Saved From the Brink of Starvation (VIDEO)

May 8, 2017 by 2 comments


The News

Two years after the New York Blood Center (NYBC) abandoned 66 chimps on islands in Liberia with no food or water, TheirTurn traveled to the West African nation to meet the American and Liberian heroes who stepped in to save them from the brink of death.

After conducting research experiments on over 400 chimpanzees for 30 years and promising to provide the survivors with lifelong care, NYBC decided to abandon the 66 surviving chimps, leaving them to die of starvation and thirst. In addition to abandoning the chimps, NYBC abandoned all of the Liberians tasked with caring for the chimps, who were totally dependent on humans for survival. Many of the Liberians, who were impoverished and suffering from the effects of the Ebola epidemic, continued to work on a volunteer basis until the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) stepped in and reinstated their salaries using funds donated by thousands of individuals and animal welfare organizations from around the world.

The New York Blood Center abandoned 66 chimpanzees on islands in Liberia with no food or water (photo: Jenny Desmond for HSUS)

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.”

Jenny Desmond (pictured on left) and her husband Jim were hired by HSUS to oversee the care of the chimps abandoned by the New York Blood Center

Your Turn

Please join the Facebook page, New York Blood Center: Do 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.


NYU Goes Vegan (VIDEO)

April 27, 2017 by Leave a Comment


The News

The Animal Welfare Collective at NYU and NYU Dining Services partnered to “veganize” a student dining hall for three days, serving plant-based, environmentally sustainable food in observance with Earth Day.

Anami Nguyen and Aneri Mehta, members of the Animal Welfare Collective, told TheirTurn that feedback they’ve received from non-veg students has been overwhelmingly positive. Even those who were disappointed to discover that the dining was serving exclusively plant-based foods returned to the buffet to refill their plates.

A student dining hall at NYU was “veganized”

While they wish that NYU’s vegan pop up was permanent, Ms. Nguyen and Ms. Mehta readily acknowledge that the event was ground-breaking and a sign that plant-based diets are becoming more and more mainstream.


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

April 21, 2017 by 5 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.