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Tensions Mount During Horse-Drawn Carriage Protests

January 18, 2017 by 4 comments


The News

With NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio failing to deliver on his campaign promise to ban horse-drawn carriages from the streets midtown Manhattan, animal advocates with Empty the Carriages have resumed the grass-roots effort to compel tourists to boycott carriage rides. Along Central Park South where tourists board the carriages, tensions are running higher than ever between the advocates and the drivers.

With many tourists opting out of carriage rides, the drivers have filed a lawsuit against the advocates in an effort to curb their impact. Among their demands is a 15 foot buffer zone that would prevent advocates from being able to interact with tourists contemplating a carriage ride.

A NYC horse-drawn carriage driver tears up an activist’s poster

For decades, animal advocates and other concerned NYers have campaigned, in the streets and at City Hall, to ban horse-drawn carriages on the grounds that the industry is inhumane and unsafe. When, in 2013, Mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio included a horse-drawn carriage ban in his campaign platform, the industry fought back with the help of the pro-carriage media, elected officials and actor Liam Neeson.

This 2006 accident in which a horse named Spotty died sparked the movement to ban horse-drawn carriages from Manhattan

Instead of working to fulfill his promise by building a case for a ban with lawmakers, the media and the public, the Mayor abandoned the very issue that helped catapult him to his Mayoral victory.


Investigating “Humane” Claims at a California Egg Farm (VIDEO)

January 12, 2017 by 3 comments


Opinion

Direct Action Everywhere (DxE), an animal rights organization that has visited many “humane” animal farms to investigate their claims, invited TheirTurn to document one of their many nocturnal visits to JS West, an egg farm certified by the American Humane Association. Our visit, which was intended to be an investigation, morphed into a rescue mission.

After spending less than a minute inside of a warehouse with 150,000 egg-laying hens, my worst fears were confirmed. The “humane” label is nothing more than a marketing fraud designed by the animal agriculture industry and retailers to make consumers feel good about purchasing their products.

A hen with a growth on her on her face that is larger than her head is rescued

Your Turn

Please visit Direct Action Everywhere to learn more about how the animal agriculture industry preys on well-intended consumers by fraudulently marketing their products with language that states or suggests that their animals are treated humanely.


New Yorkers Rally in Support of Historic Bill to Ban Wild Animals in Circuses

January 9, 2017 by 5 comments


The News

Elected officials and animal advocates in NYC staged a rally at City Hall and testified at a public hearing in support of a bill to ban wild and exotic animals from circuses.

In 2016, Ringling Brothers eliminated elephant acts from its circus, but the company continues to use tigers, camels and other exotic animals. Other circuses that travel to New York, such as Universoul, continue to use elephants. Cole Bros., another company that used elephants in its circus, went out of business in 2016 due to  diminished attendance and show cancellations in Long Island and New Jersey.

Elephants and tigers among the many animals beaten into submission by circus “trainers.”

At the public hearing, City Council Member Corey Johnson, a co-sponsor on the bill, said “We’re probably going to look back on this [wild animals in circuses] years from now and say, ‘Why were we comfortable with that?’ In the largest city in the United States, I think we need to set the tone and example for the rest of the country.”

NYC Council Member Corey Johnson testifies in support of bill to ban wild and exotic animals from circuses

Dozens of cities and countries around the world have banned the use of wild animals in circuses. Animal rights groups in the United States say they will continue to protest until all circuses retire all of their wild and exotic animals.

Your Turn

If you live in NYC, please ask your Council Member to co-sponsor Int. 1233 to ban wild & exotic animals from performances in NYC.


Deceptive Advertising by Animal Products Industry Fools Consumers; Advocates Fight Back

December 29, 2016 by 3 comments


The News

A 2016 survey conducted with 1,000 Americans who purchase or consume meat, eggs or dairy products revealed that misleading advertising by the animal agriculture industry and grocery stores has succeeded in fooling consumers. The survey showed that:

  • 65% of consumers believe that the label “free-range” means that animals spend most of their time on a pasture. In reality, a legal definition of “free range” does not exist for most farm animals. In fact, farmers do not need to prove that animals have access to the outdoors.
  • 63% believe that “cage free” means the animals have access to the outdoors when it simply means that they are not raised in cages. Advocates point out that, in “cage-free” facilities, cages of steel have been replaced with cages of flesh, as the animals are stuffed so tightly into warehouses that they have little, if any, space to move.

Labels such “organic,” “humane,” and “cage free” are used to deceive customers.

  • 60% believe that “humane” means animals have a better than average quality of life. In fact, the “humane” label is meaningless, as a legal definition does not exist.
  • 46% believe that “USDA organic” means that animals spend most of their time outdoors. However, regulations do not specify the length of time that farmers are required to give animals access to the outdoors, and they do not specify the size or quality of the outdoor space.
  • 46% believe that “natural” means animals have a better than average quality of life. However, “natural” only refers to how meat is processed and is unrelated to the treatment of the animals.

It’s not only the companies that supply the animal products that mislead the public. Grocery stores also perpetuate the “humane myth.”

In recent years, companies perpetuating the “humane myth” in order to make consumers feel good about buying their products have been exposed by animal rights groups that have conducted investigations at their facilities.

In 2016, Direct Action Everywhere (DxE) and PETA exposed corporations that supply eggs, turkeys and pork to Whole Foods, a company that notoriously promotes the animal products on their shelves as humanely raised and slaughtered. These investigations revealed animals living in filthy, overcrowded warehouses, suffering from lack of veterinary care and being physically abused.

Direct Action Everywhere has exposed horrific cruelty at Whole Foods turkey and egg suppliers.

Turkeys and egg-laying hens at Whole Foods suppliers

In addition to conducting investigations, DxE has staged hundreds of protests in Chipotle restaurants and Whole Foods markets in order to educate the public about the animal welfare lies being aggressively marketed by those companies.

The results of the survey, which was conducted by Lake Research Partners and sponsored by the ASPCA, are available online.

Opinion

According to Animal Equality, over 56 billion land animals are slaughtered each year by the animal agriculture industry. All of these animals – even those raised in the least objectionable of conditions – are treated as money-making commodities, not as individuals with a desire to live freely and in peace.  If the animal agriculture industry and the retail stores who sell their products truly cared about the humane treatment of animals, then they wouldn’t sell them. After all, isn’t killing someone who wants to live inherently inhumane?

Your Turn

With hundreds of cruelty-free, plant-based alternatives to meat, fish, dairy and egg products, making the switch to an animal-free diet has never been easier. Please take the first step using this Vegetarian Starter Kit .


Animal Rights Activist Turns 95

December 20, 2016 by 1 comment


The News

Natasha Brenner, a NYC-based animal rights activist, turned 95 on December 16th, and, apart from a few aches and pains, she is a picture of health. Ms. Brenner, a vegetarian since 1992 and vegan since 2012, attributes her longevity to meditation and her plant-based diet. “It was very hard to give up cheese, but my consciousness was raised. It’s just very satisfying to know that you’re not hurting, killing or injuring an animal.”

During her career, Ms. Brenner worked in copy editing, public relations and real estate investing. In recent years, however, she has dedicated herself exclusively to animal rights. Over the past decade, Ms. Brenner and her husband Noah, who died in 2014, participated in weekly protests and rallies to ban horse-drawn carriages from the streets of midtown Manhattan.

Natasha Brenner educates tourists about the cruelty of NYC’s horse-drawn carriage trade.

While her participation in the street protests has declined in the past two years, she continues to be advocate online. “I’m on the computer every day doing animal actions and petitions.”

Animal rights activist Natasha Brenner turns 95

While Brenner admits that she is “amazed” that she is “still here,” her friends and family are not at all surprised. “She’s as sharp today as the day I met her five years ago,” said Mickey Kramer, a friend of Brenner, who is a mere 48 years younger. “And you should see her play ping pong… amazing.”

Animal rights activist Natasha Brenner celebrates her 95th birthday with friends and family

When asked what she wants for her birthday, Brenner took a bite of her mango chick’n and said, “for all animals to be treated with respect and kindness.” And, without missing a beat, she added, “and to be six inches taller.”