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Activists Occupy MetLife Building To Protest Chimp Abandonment (VIDEO)

April 29, 2016 by Leave a Comment


The News

On April 26th, animal rights activists in NYC staged a 30 minute disruption inside of the MetLife building at the height of rush hour. Protesters demanded MetLife hold the New York Blood Center (NYBC) accountable for its decision to abandon 66 chimps in Liberia. As NYBC’s largest corporate donor and partner, MetLife can compel the organization to uphold certain ethical standards – or risk losing funding.

In May 2015, when the NY Times reported that NYBC cut off all funding for the chimps and their caregivers, advocates worldwide began contacting MetLife, believing that a company that prides itself on “corporate social responsibility” would intervene on behalf of NYBC’s victims. MetLife has neither responded to the communications nor made any public statements about the scandal.

MetLife-Lobby-disruption

Approximately 20 activists occupied the lobby of the MetLife building for 30 minutes during rush hour. Employees were diverted to the back exit.

Participants suspect that the police did not make trespassing arrests because MetLife does not want to draw more attention to the scandal

Participants suspect that the police did not make trespassing arrests because MetLife does not want to draw more attention to the scandal

In November, 2015, primatologist Bob Ingersoll, who is the subject of the documentary film Project Nim, traveled from San Francisco to NYC to hand-deliver a petition to  MetLife asking the company to cut its support of NYBC until the organization reinstates funding for the chimps. While a representative from the company did collect the petition from him in the lobby, neither she nor anyone else from the company responded to him.

Primatologist Bob Ingersoll delivers petition to MetLife, asking company to cut funding to New York Blood Center

Primatologist Bob Ingersoll delivers petition to MetLife, asking company to cut funding to New York Blood Center

MetLife has considerable influence over the operations of NYBC, both as a donor as its rent-free landlord. MetLife donates space to the blood center in its global headquarters.

NYBC blood collection site in the MetLife building

NYBC blood collection site in the MetLife building

In March, another NYBC donor, Citigroup, did respond to the call of advocates, issuing a public statement asserting that “the current situation is not tolerable” and making an unsolicited $50,000 donation toward the care of NYBC’s chimps. Until MetLife takes similar action, activists in the New York area intend to step up their campaign, staging protests at MetLife’s office buildings and at the homes of executives who have failed to respond to the global outcry.

Citigroup takes a principled stand on behalf of the chimps abandoned by the NY Blood Center

Citigroup takes a principled stand on behalf of the chimps abandoned by the NY Blood Center

For a thirty year period starting in the mid-1970s, NYBC conducted experiments on over 400 hundred chimpanzees in Liberia, where they could capture, breed and experiment on them with little regulatory oversight. After the research was conducted, NYBC moved the survivors onto six islands with no natural food or water and made a public commitment to provide them with lifelong care.

The New York Blood Center abandoned 66 chimps in Liberia, leaving them to die of hunger and thirst

The New York Blood Center abandoned 66 chimps in Liberia, leaving them to die of hunger and thirst

In May, 2015, the NY Times reported that NYBC had “withdrawn all funding for them,” leaving the chimps to die of starvation and thirst. In order to keep the chimps alive, Liberians who had been employed by NYBC to deliver food and water, began to care for them on a volunteer basis. With virtually no resources and burdened by the Ebola outbreak in Liberia, these volunteers 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.

Jane Goodall attempted to meet with the NY Blood Center, but the organization refused.

Jane Goodall attempted to meet with the NY Blood Center, but the organization refused.

Your Turn

Sign the Care2 petition to MetLife.

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 NYBC board members to fulfill their promise to provide lifelong care to their laboratory chimps.

Use the tweet sheet to contact MetLife, NYBC and their stakeholders.

Follow “Save NYBC Chimps” on Instagram and Twitter.

 

 


Filed under: Experimentation
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Man Who Trains NYC Carriage Horses Admits to “Breaking” Them

January 14, 2016 by Leave a Comment


The News

It’s not just elephants and tigers in the circus who are broken by “trainers” in order to scare them into entertaining us. The horses who pull carriages in urban areas are broken too.

Norman Martin tells a Daily News reporter that "God has made them [horses] for the service of mankind.”

Norman Martin tells a Daily News reporter that “God has made them [horses] for the service of mankind.” See video.

In his autobiography A Tough Son of Gun: Thoughts on Training Horses and Living Well, the man who primes NYC carriage horses for work on the city streets describes in great detail how he breaks them so that they will obey their “masters.”

Ironically, the trainer/author, Norman Martin, was used as a horse expert by the NY Daily News as part of its campaign to convince the public that operating horse-drawn carriages in midtown Manhattan is humane. In fact, while Mr. Martin wrote that he uses “a disciplining device” that “stings a little more than a whip” to train his horses, the Daily News reported that he uses positive reinforcement: “He gradually helps them overcome those fears by gently caressing their heads or slowly getting them used to more populated towns.”

Norman Martin NYC Carriage Horses

From Norman Martin’s book about training horses

Following are excerpts from the book:

“They [NYC carriage horse operators] come out to the farm and ask if I can give their horse an attitude adjustment . . .What these horses need is discipline – an understanding that they have a master, and they are to do his or her will.” (page 120)

“I couldn’t break through that stubbornness or cure Charlie’s bad habit until I used a stronger method and that reprogrammed his mind from doing things his way to doing things the way his masters wanted him to do. That reminds me of some people, sometimes we have bad habits we need to repent from.” (page 127)

“I have a disciplining device that is a little stronger and stings a little more than a whip for the thick-hided horses. But I only use it if I have to break strong ingrained attitudes and habits.“ (page 121)

In his book, A Tough Son of a Gun, Norman Martin explains how he's far more than tough on the NYC carriage horses he "trains."

In his book, A Tough Son of a Gun, Norman Martin explains just how tough  he is on the NYC carriage horses he trains.

“I put what’s called a ‘power line’ on him. I could pull hard and force his head against his neck, so he would choke himself until he passed out and fell down on the road.” (page 40)

“That was the first horse that I had to cure of five bad habits, and I was the seventh guy that had him and the only one who broke him.” (page 42)

“That horse stood straight up on his hind legs and come up over backwards. He hit his head on a sharp rock right between his ears and killed himself instantly. And that was the end of the horse that no one could break. His stubbornness broke him, but this time it was his own brain that broke and he did it all himself on his own terms. Sorry.” (page 43)

Mr. Martin recounted moments when he abused his horses even when he wasn’t “training” them. He describes one incident in which he intentionally spooked a skittish horse by dangling a plastic strip in front of him: “It was a full rolling gallop. I remember laughing like a madman as he surged down the road.” (page 21)

When the Daily News reported that Mr. Martin “gently caresses” the horses as a training method, did the editors know that this self-described “renowned trainer of carriage horses” published a book about using weapons and fear as his preferred method?

carriage horse flees copy

Carriage horse escapes and flees down 12th Avenue in Manhattan (Dec, 2014)

NYC Mayor de Blasio ran for office on a promise to ban horse-drawn carriages from Manhattan as soon as he was elected, but he lost the support of the public after the carriage operators, Teamsters and media launched a coordinated campaign to protect the industry. Now, the Mayor is negotiating a highly controversial compromise, which would reduce the number of horses and house them in Central Park.

From left to right: Horse pulls a carriage in Times Square; NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio

Your Turn

To stay apprised of the effort to ban horse-drawn carriages in NYC, please visit NYCLASS and The Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages

To see why activists have been fighting for years to take horse-drawn carriages out of NYC and other congested urban areas, please watch the award-winning documentary film BLINDERS:

 


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Fire Department To Host “Squirrel Slam” Killing Contest

February 20, 2015 by Leave a Comment


The News

A fire department whose motto is to “save lives” is hosting a shocking event to end them.

On February 28th, the Holley fire department in upstate New York is hosting its ninth annual “Squirrel Slam,” a squirrel hunting contest that raises funds for the fire station. Hunters who kill the heaviest squirrels win cash and other prizes.

Hunter carries dead squirrels to the weigh in

Hunter carries dead squirrels to the weigh in

Hunters hang dead squirrels on hood of truck and out the window

Hunters hang dead squirrels on hood of truck and out the window

The “Squirrel Slam” is nine years old, but animal right activists only learned about it two years ago. In 2013, Friends of Animals (FOA) offered to host an alternative fundraiser that would raise more money that the squirrel hunt, but the fire department turned them down. In 2014, FOA staged a demonstration that attracted 60 people. Video shows hunters and their supporters taunting, harassing and, in a couple of cases, threatening the protesters.

Activists have also been working to cancel the hunt online and in court. For the Love of Alex, a charity that provides veterinary care to pets in urgent need, sent a letter to the Mayor of Holley offering to pay the fire department to call off the hunt:

“We, as citizens, look to our government, police and fire officials to set examples of conduct and decency, of fairness and compromise. For a fire department to sponsor and organize the mass slaughter of innocent living beings in the name of fun is really the wrong message to send your constituents and our children, who you have invited to participate. We implore you to consider permitting our 501c3 org to donate to the Holley Fire Dept. the amount equivalent to last year’s net proceeds from the event, which we understand to be the sum of $4,000, in exchange for cancellation of the event.”

Squirrel_slam_2014_protest

About 60 people protested Holley’s 2014 “Squirrel Slam.” The 2015 slam is being held on 2/28

On the legal side, an area resident filed a lawsuit to block the hunt on the grounds that it violates the State Environmental Quality Review Act, which prohibits the destruction of large quantities of vegetation or animals in a confined geographic area. On February 19th, a county judge heard arguments and dismissed the case.

Counter-protesters support the hunters during 2014 Squirrel Slam

Counter-protesters support the hunters during 2014 Squirrel Slam

When activists brought the squirrel hunt to the attention of state lawmakers, several introduced legislation to outlaw all killing contests in New York. At a press conference announcing the bill, Senator Tony Avella said, “Running a contest in which participants must kill as many small and defenseless animals as possible to win prizes, including guns, is a disgrace. What kind of message are we sending to our youth, especially in light of the increasing gun violence in this country.”

FOA's Edita Birnkrant & State Senator Tony Avella announce bill to ban wildlife killing contents

FOA’s Edita Birnkrant & State Senator Tony Avella announce bill to ban wildlife killing contests

Your Turn

1. Sign the petition to the Mayor of Holley and to the Holley Fire Department asking that they cancel the 2015 “Squirrel Slam”

2. Sign the petition to State Lawmakers to support the legislation to end wildlife killing contests in New York.

3. If you live in New York, please ask your state legislator to support the legislation prohibiting wildlife killing contests.

4. Call the Mayor of Holley, NY and explain why the “Squirrel Slam” should be cancelled. Dial 585-638-6367 and press 5 to reach a live person or leave a message.


Filed under: Entertainment, WIldlife
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In Epic Battle to Ban NYC’s Horse-Drawn Carriages, Activists Leave No Stone Unturned

January 15, 2015 by Leave a Comment


The News

In the highly charged effort to ban horse-drawn carriages from the streets of NYC, activists can rarely anticipate the unseemly events that lurk around the corner  – from false accusations by elected officials and hostile media outlets to physical and verbal attacks by carriage operators. What they can – and are – doing, however, is moving mountains to help pass the Mayor’s historic bill to ban the city’s inhumane, unsafe and archaic horse-drawn carriage trade.

Following are some of the most compelling tactics being employed by NYCLASS, the animal rights group leading the lobbying effort, and the Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages, which started the movement in 2006.

1. TV Commercial: With the help of a pro-animal TV production company, NYCLASS created a commercial that has aired and will air again on local television in the months leading up to a vote.

2. Postcard Campaign: The NY Observer reports that NYCLASS “is turning up the heat on lawmakers by mailing graphic postcards to all 51 Council Members every day until the carriage-banning legislation is passed.” Each of the 7,000 postcards is signed by a NYC voter and will be sent to his or her Council Member.

One of many postcards being sent by NYCLASS to NYC lawmakers

One of many postcards being sent by NYCLASS to NYC lawmakers

3. Subway ads: In February, the Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages is rolling out this provocative ad campaign in NYC subway stations. Since 2007, the Coalition, which is the go-to group for information about the issue, has been staging regular protests against the industry and producing a weekly newsletter sent to advocates around the world.

Subway ad campaign

Subway ad campaign

4. An army of activists: Hundreds of NYC voters feel passionately enough about the plight of the horses to dedicate their free time to educating voters in the streets and lobbying lawmakers at City Hall. This week, activists with NYCLASS conducting outreach in front of the offices of two “undecided” NYC Council Members were unexpectedly invited inside to make their case for a ban.

Councilmember unexpectedly invites picketers in for meeting

Councilmember unexpectedly invites picketers in for meeting

Luckily, the activists were not carrying the dead horse replica that they sometimes use to attract attention in neighborhoods where local Council Members opposes the ban.

City Hall in Manhattan (Photo: NYCLASS)

City Hall in Manhattan (Photo: NYCLASS)

NYCLASS and The Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages are leading the fight locally, but they are not working alone. Representatives from national advocacy groups, including PETA, HSUS, FOA, the ASPCA and Last Chance for Animals, are also lobbying Council Members and/or running educational campaigns.

Since 2008, PETA has also lent major star power to the effort, rolling out billboards and videos with pro-animal celebrities like Pink, Lea Michele, Kathy Najimy and Kristen Johnston.

PETA billboard in Times Square

PETA billboard in Times Square

Actress Kristen Johnston

Actress Kristen Johnston

To date, the majority of Council Members have not publicly stated whether they plan to vote in favor of or against the horse-drawn carriage ban. Like most politicians, they will make their decision based on political expedience — not on the merits of the issue. In the unlikely event that the bill to ban horse-drawn carriages is voted down, it won’t be for a lack of effort by the advocacy community. But perish the thought!

Your Turn

1. If you live in NYC, please join NY-CLASS in its efforts to rally support among lawmakers for the Mayor’s bill to ban horse-drawn carriages. If you live elsewhere, please sign their petition.

2. To learn more about the issue and keep apprised of news, subscribe to the weekly newsletter of the Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages.

3. Watch the award-winning documentary film BLINDERS to see why people have been fighting for years to take the horses out of NYC:


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Surveillance Cameras Capture Spooked Carriage Horse Running Wildly Through Savannah

April 16, 2014 by Leave a Comment


The News

In the past two days, horses have spooked and crashed in Savannah, Santa Barbara and Belgium. Surveillance cameras in Savannah captured a spooked horse running wildly through the streets with passengers in the carriage. See video below. In Santa Barbara, the local paper reports that “two men were injured, one seriously, on Tuesday afternoon. . . For unknown reasons, the horses became scared and bolted, resulting in the driver losing control and the carriage overturning.”

News & Opinion

No amount of reform or regulation can stop a horse from spooking and bolting, which is one of the many reasons why horse-drawn carriages should not operate in urban areas. To see a list of cities with active campaigns to ban horse-drawn carriages, please visit Horses Without Carriages International.

 


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