Their Turn - The Social Justice Movement of Our Time Their Turn - The Social Justice Movement of Our Time

Archives

Documentary Exposes U.S. Government’s War on Animal Rights “Terrorists”

February 17, 2016 by Leave a Comment


The News

“Investigating and preventing animal rights extremism is one of our highest domestic terrorism priorities. We are committed to working with our partners to disrupt and dismantle these movements; to protect our fellow citizens; and to bring to justice those who commit crimes and terrorism in the name of animal rights.”

Footage of an FBI agent delivering these chilling remarks at a U.S. Senate hearing is just one of many historic moments included in “Activists or Terrorists?,” a half hour Participant Media documentary narrated by Maggie Gyllenhaal that exposes the U.S. government’s tyrannical effort to intimidate and silence animal rights activists. Following is a short clip:

Profiled in the documentary are several activists who have been victims of government repression, including Lauren Gazzola and Andy Stepanian, who were convicted of terrorism and sent to prison for their role in undermining the animal testing behemoth Huntington Life Sciences, and Will Potter, an investigative journalist threatened by the FBI to be put on a domestic terrorist list if he didn’t agree to become an informant.

Will Potter captures factory farm footage with a drone before being confronted by the property owners

Will Potter uses a drone to captures factory farm footage before being confronted by the owners

Also profiled are activist Ryan Shapiro and attorney Jeffrey Light, who have used freedom of information laws to uncover the government’s war on the animal rights movement — a crusade backed by the multi-national corporations that exploit animals.

Andy Stepanian is arrested during a fur protest at Macy's in the lat 90s.

Andy Stepanian is arrested during a fur protest at Macy’s in the late 90s.

“Activists or Terrorists?,” which airs on Friday, February 19 at 10pm ET on Pivot TV, is one of ten episodes in a docs-series called “Truth or Power” about how private institutions and governments violate the public trust. Following is a trailer for the series:

According to the producers, the series “highlights the stories of ordinary people going to extraordinary lengths to expose large-scale injustice: from corporations receiving lucrative government contracts for dangerous private prisons, to governments using data-gathering technology to scoop up huge amounts of information about their citizens.”


Filed under: Experimentation, Food
Tagged with: , , ,

Animal Rights Activists Nationwide Protest CEO of Company Building Underground Animal Lab

January 23, 2016 by Leave a Comment


The News

In a weekend of protests dubbed #StormSkansa, animal rights activists from across the country travelled to New York to stage massive protests at home and office of Richard Cavallaro, the President and CEO of Skanska USA, a multi-billion dollar global construction company. Skanska was hired by the University of Washington to build a $90 million underground animal research facility in Seattle. According to organizers, Cavallaro was targeted because, as the head of Skanska USA, he has the power to shut down the project.

No New Animal Lab activists occupy a crane to halt construction of underground lab at the University of Washington

No New Animal Lab activists occupy a crane to halt construction of underground lab at the University of Washington

The convergence was co-organized by activists with the NYC Animal Defense League and the No New Animal Lab campaign, which was started in Seattle by grass roots activists who, in late 2014, discovered that thousands of animals would be held captive, abused and killed in the university’s proposed hidden laboratory.

The University of Washington experiments on baby monkeys. No New Animal Lab is aiming to stop the institution from building a new lab to for more animals

The University of Washington experiments on baby monkeys. No New Animal Lab aims to stop the institution from building a lab for more animals.

On Friday night, activists staged a disruptive protest at the Empire State Building, where Skanska’s main office is located. To the delight of activists and pedestrians who recognized him, actor and social justice activist James Cromwell participated in the protest. Following the protest, Mr. Cromwell gave a rousing speech about his advocacy during a Know Your Rights seminar at NYU Law School.

On Saturday, approximately 150 activists travelled to Huntington, a suburb 1.5 hours outside of the New York City, to march through Cavallaro’s neighborhood and demonstrate in front of his mansion. During the protest, two activists were arrested as they allegedly attempted to climb to his roof to drop a banner. In an interview with Newsday, Cavallaro described the activists as “terrorists.”
Activists with No New Animal Lab march through Richard Cavallaro's neighborhood in Huntington, NY

Activists with No New Animal Lab march through Richard Cavallaro’s neighborhood in Huntington, NY (photo: No New Animal Lab)

At one point during the protest, Cavallaro angrily emerged from his house and unwittingly gave protesters a photo op.
Skanska USA CEO Richard Cavallaro

Skanska USA CEO Richard Cavallaro (photo: No New Animal Lab)

Jay Johnson, an organizer with NYC Animal Defense League, said that No New Animal Lab is undeterred by arrests and by the injunctions filed by Skanska: “You can sue one person, or you can try to intimidate one person. But you can’t do that to an entire movement. We’re going to keep coming back to them. And we are going to stop this lab from being built.”
No New Animal Lab Protests at the home of Skanska USA CEO Richard Cavallaro (photo: No New Animal Lab)

No New Animal Lab Protests at the home of Skanska USA CEO Richard Cavallaro (photo: No New Animal Lab)

While No New Animal Lab was created to shut down the University of Washington animal lab, the organization has morphed into a modern day incarnation of Stop Huntington Animal Cruelty (SHAC), an activist group in the U.K. and U.S. that employed non-violent direct action to shut down the multinational animal research laboratory, Huntington Life Sciences.

Your Turn

Please visit No New Animal Lab to learn more about the group’s campaign and to join and/or support their efforts.


Filed under: Experimentation
Tagged with: , , ,

New York Blood Center Blames Animal Welfare Groups for Plight of Abandoned Chimps

August 10, 2015 by Leave a Comment


The News

One day after activists staged a third protest at the home of its Chairman of the Board on August 4th, the New York Blood Center (NYBC) posted a stunning public statement (Q&A) defending its decision to cut off funding to its former lab chimps (see below).

In the Q&A, which it has since removed from its website, NYBC argues that it neither owns nor has responsibility for the chimps; that the blame for their plight lies with animal welfare organizations who refused to take them; and that their priority is helping humans, not chimpanzees.

With no natural food on the islands where they were relocated, the chimps eagerly await the delivery of food

With no natural food on the islands where they were relocated, the chimps eagerly await the delivery of food

“We have no obligation to these chimpanzees.”  In an effort to distance itself from its chimps, NYBC asserts that the government of Liberia owns them and is responsible for their care. Nowhere in its statement does NYBC acknowledge that they captured the chimps from the wild; bred them in captivity; conducted experiments on them for 30 years; and dropped them off on islands with no natural food and water, rendering them totally dependent on humans for survival.

Language about ownership in contracts between NYBC and the government of Liberia doesn’t change the fact that NYBC has a moral obligation to pay for their care. In fact, previous executives at NYBC publicly acknowledged this obligation.

new york blood center

In its Q&A, NYBC asserts that Dr. Prince was not authorized to make this statement.

“The animal welfare groups did nothing to help us.” NYBC claims that it attempted to work with animal welfare organizations to find a long term solution for the chimps, but, according to individuals involved in those discussions, NYBC merely attempted to shift the responsibility to these groups without offering to pay for the expenses, such as expanding the sanctuaries to accommodate the chimps and providing them with food and medical care for the remainder of their lives. During these discussions, NYBC was well aware of the fact that great ape sanctuaries in Africa, which are chronically short on space and financial resources, could not assume the millions of dollars in costs associated with caring for its chimps.

Chimp greet a volunteer who brings them food

Chimp greet a volunteer who brings them food

“Our obligation is to humans. Other organizations better suited to funding and supporting the chimps.” NYBC also justifies its decision to eliminate funding for the chimps on the grounds that humans are a greater priority: “Our mission is to save lives here in the United States. NYBC’s responsibility is to blood donors, hospitals and patients.”

Even if one subscribes to the point of view that humans are more worthy of life than other animals, NYBC doesn’t have to make that choice. The organization, which pays its President over $1.2 million and has $450 million in assets, has earned $500 million in royalties from their chimp research. Even if NYBC was not a wealthy organization backed by some of the biggest corporations in the United States, it would still have a moral obligation to pay for the care of their chimps.

Jane-goodall

Jane Goodall’s letter to the New York Blood Center

In a demonstration of its lack of ethics, NYBC describes the islands to which they relocated the chimps as “sanctuaries,” even though they have no caretakers, facilities or infrastructure. Given that the chimps had no survival skills and were traumatized by decades of experiments, they should have been relocated to accredited sanctuaries where they would have received much needed care as soon as they were released. Instead, they have been struggling to survive on isolated islands, at times going several days without food and water. Over the years, many of the chimps have needlessly died from starvation.

In a statement entitled “Left To Die In Liberia,” the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) paints a picture of just how difficult the animals’ lives on the islands: “One chimp bargained for food by offering his leg to the caregivers, as he would have done in the lab when being darted.”

chimp-research-liberia-cage

Captive chimp at NYBC’s research facility in Liberia

Q&A Posted on NYBC's website on August 6th

Q&A Posted on NYBC’s website on August 6th

Your Turn

Please join the Facebook page New York Blood Center: Do the Right Thing in order to participate in the online actions and keep apprised of the campaign to compel NYBC to reinstate funding for the chimps.


Filed under: Experimentation, WIldlife
Tagged with: ,

Video: Animal Rights Activists Stage Disruption Inside New York Blood Center

June 4, 2015 by Leave a Comment


The News

Six days after the NY Times reported that the New York Blood Center abandoned 66 of its lab chimps, leaving them to die on islands in Liberia with no food or water, activists in New York City staged a disruption at its headquarters, demanding that the organization reinstates the funding.

Activists protest NYBC's decision to abandon chimps after experimenting on them for 30 years

Activists protest NYBC’s decision to abandon chimps after experimenting on them for 30 years

NY Blood Center Protest

Activists did not alert the media, but Fox News heard about the protest and sent a cameraman

Hundreds of pedestrians stopped to take leaflets, ask questions and convey their support

Hundreds of pedestrians stopped to take leaflets, ask questions and convey their support

Activists plan to protest until the NY Blood Center reinstates funding for the chimps who they left to die.

Activists plan to protest until the NY Blood Center reinstates funding for the chimps who they left to die.

Your Turn

For updates on the campaign to get the NY Blood Center to reinstate funds, please join the Facebook page: NY Blood Center: Do the Right Thing

Send an automated letter to the NY Blood Center.

Call Christopher Hillyer, the President & CEO of the NY Blood Center, and demand that his organization fulfills its obligation and promise to provide lifelong care to the chimpanzees used in their medical experiments: (212) 570-3000.

Sign the Change.org petition “to urge NYBC to reinstate funding for this chimpanzee colony before it’s too late!”


Filed under: Experimentation
Tagged with: , , , ,

Leaders Express Outrage Over NY Blood Center’s Decision to Abandon Lab Chimps

June 2, 2015 by Leave a Comment


The News

After ignoring inquiries from animal advocacy groups for weeks, the New York Blood Center (NYBC) admitted to the NY Times that it abandoned 66 former lab chimps in Liberia, leaving them to starve to death after using them in experiments for three decades: “We never had any obligation for care for the chimps, contractual or otherwise.” The NYBC’s stunning admission has sent shockwaves through great ape conservation and animal protection organizations worldwide.

NYBC has abandoned chimps who they used in experiments in Liberia from 1974 - 2006

NYBC has abandoned chimps who they used in experiments in Liberia from 1974 – 2006

In a public letter to the NYBC, Jane Goodall, the legendary chimpanzee researcher said it’s “completely shocking and unacceptable that NYBC would abandon these chimpanzees,” adding that it has a “moral obligation to continue to care for them for the remainder of their lives.”

Jane Goodall has expressed outrage at the NYBC's decision to abandon their research chimps

Jane Goodall has expressed outrage at the NYBC’s decision to abandon their research chimps (photo: National Geographic)

Betsy Brotman, the head of NYBC’s chimpanzee research program from 1974 – 2006, suggested that her former employer’s effort to shift responsibility to the Liberian government is unethical and deceptive: “We brought those chimps to the Institute and encouraged them to breed. This had nothing to do with the Liberian government.”

Betsy Brotman ran the NY Blood Center's chimp research facility in Liberia

Betsy Brotman ran the NY Blood Center’s chimp research facility in Liberia

Ms. Brotman, who says that NYBC has an obligation to pay for the care of the chimps, is outraged by the organization’s callousness: “This is awful. It’s unspeakably awful.” Primatologist Brian Hare agrees. In an interview with the NY times, Dr Hare, who has studied wild and captive great apes around the world, said he has “never seen anything even remotely as disgusting as this.”

Caretaker feeds New York Blood Center's former lab chimps

Caretaker feeds New York Blood Center’s former lab chimps

Florida Attorney Wally Baldwin, a Board Member of Center for Great Apes, said “When the news broke that the NYBC was abandoning the chimps, I thought they’d say ‘there’s been a misunderstanding’ and reinstate the funding. I was stunned to discover that the news was true.”

Christopher Hillyer, CEO of NYBC who earns over $1.2 million/year, has left chimps to starve to death.

Christopher Hillyer, CEO of NYBC who earns over $1.2 million/year, has left chimps to starve

The NYBC has attributed its decision to cut funding for the chimps to difficult economic times for blood banks. Michael Budkie, the Director of Stop Animal Exploitation Now (SAEN) says that’s a poor excuse: “The NYBC has $400 million in assets; earns $320 million in annual income; and pays its President, Christopher Hillyer, over $1.2 million a year. Do they really expect us to believe that they don’t have the money to provide food and water for these animals?”

Your Turn

Please join the Facebook page New York Blood Center: Do the Right Thing and participate in the calls to action.

Call Christopher Hillyer, the President & CEO of the NY Blood Center, and demand that his organization fulfills its obligation and promise to provide lifelong care to the chimpanzees used in their medical experiments: (212) 570-3000.

 


Filed under: Experimentation
Tagged with: , , , , ,