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Animal Rights Activists Disrupt Exclusive Pig Roast Event in Washington, D.C.

August 8, 2017 by 3 comments


The News

Dozens of animal rights activists disrupted a event celebrating pig consumption at the Watergate Hotel in Washington, D.C. According to organizers, Cochon555 is “a nose-to-tail culinary tour dedicated to . . . educating chefs and diners about the agricultural importance of utilizing Old World livestock.” The event is held in 14 cities around the country. “Cochon” is French for pig.

“Cochon555 is working to make people feel good about eating meat by perpetuating the myth that animals can be slaughtered humanely,” said Amanda Houdeschell, one of the organizers of the protest. “It’s a fraud, and it’s giving people who might otherwise abstain from eating animals a free pass to turn a blind eye to the horrors inflicted on them.”

Cochone555 guests appear to be amused by the disruption. Activists speculate that, for many, nervous laughter was a defense mechanism.

Several minutes into the disruption, Cochon555 organizers turned off the lights in the hotel ballroom and turned up the volume on the music in an effort to drown out the protesters. While many of the guests at the carnivorous event appeared to be amused by the disruption, organizers were visibly jarred.  As protesters exited the hotel, one Cochon555 representative attempted to justify the pig festival to the activists: “No matter if you think it’s murder or whatever, we’re still honoring a product that is bred by breeders with their wholehearted integrity.” In response to his assertion that the pigs are “treated just like your kids,” TheirTurn’s Donny Moss asked, “Do we slaughter our children?”

One of hundreds of individuals killed and dismembered during Cochon555 tour


Protesters Demonstrate at NYC Pet Store Exposed for Abusing Animals

August 2, 2017 by 7 comments


The News

Just days after the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) released video footage of pet shop employees abusing and neglecting puppies, over 50 animal rights activists and local area residents staged a protest at the store, Chelsea Kennel Club. NY Animal Defenders, the grass roots group that organized the protest, said that the video taken by an undercover investigator at HSUS “shows violence toward and rough handling of young puppies, neglect of sick animals, failure to disclose illnesses to customers, and other shameful behavior.”

NY Animal Defenders said the purpose of the protest was to demand an immediate investigation into the businesses of Dana Derragh, who owns several pet stores in NYC, and for the immediate closure of Chelsea Kennel Club. Participants also used the protest as an opportunity to inform neighbors about the abuses taking place inside and to encourage the public to adopt dogs instead of buying them from pet shops, which sell puppy mill dogs.

Animal rights activists march through Chelsea to educate area residents about the abuses uncovered at Chelsea Kennel Club, a pet store that sells puppy mill dogs

“This is what happens when profit is placed ahead of animal rescue and welfare efforts – abuse, cutting corners to save pennies, and lying to customers,” said Leo Nardo of NY Animal Defenders. “Instead of buying an animal companion, New Yorkers should adopt at one of the city’s many animal shelters, which are full of dogs and cats who desperately need a home.”

Animal rights activists demand that NYC shut down Chelsea Kennel Club after video showing abuses is released by HSUS

A day before the protest, several activists entered the store to confront the owner and inform unsuspecting customers about the abuses.

Animal rights activists disrupt business at Chelsea Kennel Club, a pet shop caught on camera abusing animals


Watch What Happens When Pedestrians are Offered $1 to Watch Video

July 28, 2017 by Leave a Comment


The News

Pedestrians lined up in NYC’s Union Square to watch a four minute video in exchange for $1, but many were so profoundly affected by what they saw that they declined to take their reward and instead engaged with the advocates on hand about transitioning to a vegan diet.

The “pay-per-view” event, organized by the 12,500 member NYC Vegetarian and Vegan Meetup Group, aims to expose New Yorkers to the cruelty of animal agriculture and help them transition to a healthier and more environmentally friendly plant-based diet. TheirTurn interviewed people who were willing to speak on camera about if and how the video, “Ten Billion Lives” (see below), would affect their behavior.

“One of the biggest challenges we face as advocates in our day-to-day lives is convincing people to watch footage of industrialized animal agriculture and slaughter,” said David Greene, who runs NYC Vegetarian and Vegan Meetup Group. “The ‘Pay-Per-View’ approach helps us overcome that obstacle and provides us with a platform to engage with a captive audience about making more compassionate choices.”

Activist Joyce Friedman conducts vegan outreach with a woman who was disturbed by the farm animal abuse in the video.

Here is the 4 minute video that the pedestrians were paid to watch:

Your Turn

If you live in the NYC tri-state area and would like to participate in pay-per-view events, other forms of vegan outreach or social events, please visit NYC Vegetarian and Vegan Meetup Group.


Rescued Chimps Get a Second Chance

July 15, 2017 by 2 comments


The News

By the time orphaned chimps arrive at Liberia Chimp Rescue & Protection’s (LCRP) new sanctuary, they have experienced more tragedy than most humans will experience in a lifetime. That’s because they watched poachers kill their mothers for bushmeat before kidnapping them and hauling them out of their forest home in an attempt to sell them as exotic pets. 

“Most of the orphans are inconsolable when they arrive,” Jenny Desmond, who, along with her husband Jim, created LCRP. “You can see the heartbreak in their eyes.”

When orphaned chimps arrive at Liberia Chimpanzee Rescue & Protection, caregivers work to help them recover from the trauma of losing their families; being kidnapped from the forest and being held captive by poachers. (photo: Jenny Desmond)

When government authorities deliver baby chimps to LCRP after confiscating them from poachers, Jenny and Jim swing into action right away, assigning a human caregiver to be the baby’s surrogate mother. With the support and guidance from the Desmonds, who have spent their careers working at sanctuaries, the caregivers spend the next days, weeks and months helping the chimps recover by bottle feeding them, playing with them, introducing them to other orphans, sleeping next to them and ultimately integrating them into a chimp group. In time, most of the chimps recover from their trauma and find happiness at the sanctuary.

“These babies should be in the forest, but, because poachers killed their mothers and families, they have to be raised by humans,” said Jenny Desmond. “We are their surrogate mothers – day and night. At about age five, wild chimpanzees start sleeping separately from their mothers, so we use this, along with their needs and personalities, to determine when they’re ready to fully integrate into our older nursery group and spend their days and nights with other chimps.”

Jenny Desmond, co-founder of Liberia Chimpanzee Rescue & Protection, plays with an orphaned chimp

The Desmonds hope that they can one day return some of these chimps to their natural habitat in the Liberian forests, which have an estimated 7,000 wild chimps remaining. Re-introduction, however, is a complicated, long-term process. In the meantime, they are creating as natural a life as possible for the chimps in a sanctuary setting. 

Jim Desmond, co-founder of LCRP and caregiver Annie, act as surrogate parents for the orphaned chimps.

The Desmonds arrived in Liberia in 2015 to take care of another population of chimps — the 66 who were abandoned on deserted islands by the New York Blood Center. Within weeks of their arrival, however, the FDA (Forestry Development Authority) knocked on their front door and dropped off two infants. In just over a year, that number has grown to 16.  The Desmonds have outgrown their space and plan to move to a more remote location in the forest where the babies can, along with their human caregivers and other chimps, can live in a semi-wild environment with minimal human contact.

As babies become adolescents, they are integrated into chimp groups and spend less time interacting with humans.

“Chimps are wild animals, not pets,” said Desmond. “Ideally, the only people who should be interacting with them are their surrogate mothers who provide them with the parenting and TLC that they need to survive during their first several years of life.” 

The Desmonds are working with government authorities and other NGOs to protect chimpanzees, a critically endangered species, in their forest home. Combatting Liberia’s illegal bushmeat and exotic pet trades means far fewer baby chimps will be orphaned and need sanctuary. They hope that ecotourism – trekking to see habituated chimps in the forest – can eventually be a source of income for those who are now poaching chimps and selling their meat. “Chimps are a valuable renewable resource for Liberians, as mountain gorillas are for Rwandans, but that means protecting them instead of killing them,” said Desmond. 

Liberia Chimpanzee Rescue & Protection (LCRP)

Between protecting wild chimps in the forest and raising orphaned chimps at the sanctuary, the Desmonds have a lot of work to do – in a difficult setting. Thankfully, they have a team of dedicated caregivers at LCRP who genuinely love the chimps and their jobs.

Your Turn

Please follow Liberia Chimpanzee Rescue & Protection on Facebook by giving their page a “like.”

Please make a contribution to support the life saving work of LCRP.

Dedicated caregivers at LCRP help orphaned chimps recover from the emotional trauma of losing their families.


Disruption of Hotdog Eating Contest Garners Widespread Coverage in Mainstream Media

July 7, 2017 by 3 comments


The News

Animal rights activists with Direct Action Everywhere (DxE) waited in line for five hours to get a prime spot at the annual hotdog eating contest at Nathan’s in Brooklyn, and their patience – and willingness to be manhandled – paid off.

After the activists disrupted the event and got arrested (see video below), several TV and print media outlets in NYC ran stories, and dozens of newspapers around the country published an Associated Press story. Notably, the New York Post, a paper frequently hostile to animal rights activism, reported on why the activists protested:

Several international newspapers also covered the disruption.  In Argentina, Flores Buenos Aires included the DxE statement from the NY Post article.

Animal rights activists have protested the infamous hotdog eating competition for the past several years, and have, each year, garnered at least some favorable media coverage. In 2016, the NY Daily News, another newspaper notoriously hostile to animal rights activists, published a story that included strong animal rights messages.

Ironically, the annual hotdog eating contest is held on Independence Day, in spite of the fact that the individuals who were consumed by the contestants spent their entire lives being held captive before being slaughtered.

Cattle are held captive in sheds and feedlots before being slaughtered

Matt Cataldo, one of five activists who was arrested and later released with no charges, told TheirTurn, “These people who stuff dead animals down their throats, vomit into their own hands and then shove it back in are regarded as athletes, but they are lazy cowards — exploiting innocent animals for money and fame. There is no excuse for animal abuse, and we will never stop fighting for their freedom.”

Police falsely arrest Matt Cataldo (left). Rocky Schwartz (right) and three other animal rights activists for legally protesting at Nathan’s hot dog eating contest on July 4th.

When she was released from jail, Rocky Schwartz, who was handled aggressively by police, encouraged her followers on social media to take a stand for animals. “Are you supporting the system that says my friends and I should be handcuffed for speaking out against violence–the system that glorifies the exploitation and killing of animals–or are you fighting against it? Because that is the choice each of us has to make.”