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 4 comments


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.


Explosive New York Blood Center Protest (VIDEO)

October 5, 2016 by Leave a Comment


The News

Angry about the weekly nighttime protests, neighbors of NY Blood Center board member Michael Hodin are lashing out at the activists who are using drums and whistles to demand that he reinstate funding for the chimpanzees he and his colleagues abandoned on islands in Liberia with no food or water.

While some neighbors are supportive of the activists, many argue that they should not be “held hostage” in this campaign or be forced to pay the price for the bad behavior of a man who happens to live on their street. The activists argue that many of these same neighbors ignored them for months when they protested during daylight hours and that Michael Hodin’s refusal to address the crisis has left them with no choice but to become more disruptive. For the past year, Michael Hodin has refused to answer the calls, letters and emails sent by advocates asking that he meet to address the crisis he created.

Neighbor of NY Blood Center board member Michael Hodin pleads with activists to stop making noise.

Neighbor of NY Blood Center board member Michael Hodin tells advocates that they are ruining his family’s quality of life.

Michael Hodin and his colleagues cut all funding for the care of the chimpanzees during the Ebola in Liberia outbreak in March 2015 in spite of the fact that his organization, the NY Blood Center, experimented on them for 30 years; earned an estimated $500 million in royalties off of the research; and promised to provide the survivors with lifelong care.

A chimpanzee abandoned by the NY Blood Center receives water from a local volunteer.

A chimpanzee abandoned by the NY Blood Center receives water from a caretaker being paid by the Humane Society of the United States with contributions from the public.

Among the many institutions that have issued statements condemning the New York Blood Center and demanding that it resolve the crisis it created are The Jane Goodall Institute, MetLife and Citigroup. Prior to cutting their funding, the latter two corporations were among NYBC’s most high profile corporate sponsors.

Institutions that have publicly condemned the NY Blood Center for leaving their chimps to starve to death

Institutions that have publicly condemned the NY Blood Center for leaving their chimps to starve to death

Your Turn

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 the NY Blood Center to provide lifelong care to their former laboratory chimps.


Activists Jump on Stage During Gala Honoring NYC Horse-Drawn Carriage Drivers

October 1, 2016 by 2 comments


The News

Angered that the preservation group Landmark West was honoring NYC’s horse-drawn carriage trade, animal rights activists disrupted the organization’s gala at Tavern on The Green, a restaurant in Central Park.

In 2006, activists launched a campaign to ban horse-drawn carriages, arguing that they are inherently inhumane and that their operation is especially cruel and dangerous in the congested streets of midtown Manhattan.  In 2013, Mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio made a campaign pledge to ban horse-drawn carriages, but he failed to deliver on his promise when he took office.

The preservation group Landmark West honored horse-drawn carriage drivers at its gala. Animal rights activists disrupted the event.

The preservation group Landmark West honored horse-drawn carriage drivers at its gala. Animal rights activists disrupted the event.

In addition to protesting the horse-drawn carriage trade itself, activists are targeting Mayor de Blasio, demanding that he expend the political capital necessary to deliver on his promise. On September 15th, just a few days after a carriage horse collapsed in midtown, over 200 activists staged a protest at Gracie Mansion, the Mayor’s home, and confronted him as he exited a downtown gala several hours later.

Animal rights activists in NYC demand that Mayor Bill de Blasio fulfill his promise to ban horse-drawn carriages.

Animal rights activists in NYC demand that Mayor Bill de Blasio fulfill his promise to ban horse-drawn carriages.

NYC’s horse-drawn carriage operators own approximately 2oo horses. When the horses are not pulling carriages in midtown, they are kept in small stalls in former warehouses or garages in Hell’s Kitchen, a neighborhood on the far West Side of Manhattan.

The horses who pull carriages in NYC are housed in multi-story buildings after working in midtown. NYC has no pasture where the horses can graze and interact with other horses.

The horses who pull carriages in NYC are housed in multi-story buildings after working in midtown. NYC has no pasture where the horses can graze and interact with other horses.

Your Turn

Please contact Landmark West to let the organization know how you feel about its decision to honor NYC’s inhumane horse-drawn carriage trade by posting a comment on its Facebook page and/or retweeting this tweet.


Advocates Disrupt Dr. Laurie Glimcher Over NY Blood Center Chimp Abandonment Crisis

September 29, 2016 by 3 comments


The News

One minute after Dr. Laurie Glimcher began speaking at the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia, animal rights advocates launched out of their seats to disrupt – and ruin – her presentation. Glimcher, who served on the board of the New York Blood Center (NYBC) when the organization decided to abandon 66 chimpanzees on islands in Liberia, has refused to address the crisis since advocates approached her in mid-2015.

In May, 2015, the NY Times reported that NYBC had “withdrawn all funding” for its former lab chimpanzees, leaving the animals to die of starvation and thirst. With virtually no resources and burdened by the Ebola outbreak in Liberia, volunteers in Liberia 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 — until NYBC reinstates funding.

Laurie Glimcher is escorted out of the room during the disruption.

Laurie Glimcher is escorted out of the room during the disruption.

In 2015 and 2016, activists in NYC staged almost twenty protests targeting Dr. Glimcher at her Upper East Side home and at Cornell Medical College, where she served as the Dean.  Activists in Boston have taken over the campaign because Glimcher moved to Boston to become the CEO of the Dana Farber Cancer Institute.

Animal rights activists in Philadelphia disrupted Laurie Glimcher, who served on NY Blood Center board when it abandoned chimpanzees

Animal rights activists in Philadelphia disrupted Laurie Glimcher, who served on NY Blood Center board when it abandoned chimpanzees

Your Turn

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 the NY Blood Center to provide lifelong care to their former laboratory chimps.

In a letter to the NY Blood Center, Jane Goodall said the organization has a moral obligation to pay for the chimps' care.

In a letter to the NY Blood Center, Jane Goodall said the organization has a moral obligation to pay for the chimps’ care.


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

September 23, 2016 by 1 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.