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Protesters at Malaysia Consulate in NYC Demand Freedom for Lasah the Elephant

October 16, 2017 by 2 comments


The News

Animal rights activists staged a protest the Consulate of Malaysia in NYC to demand that the government liberate Lasah, a 37 year old elephant being held captive on Langkawi, an island off the coast of Malaysia that is popular with tourists.

Poachers kidnapped Lasah from the jungle in Malaysia approximately 35 years ago, taking him away from his mother and his herd. In the decades since, Lasah has been exploited by the logging and entertainment industries.  Today, he gives elephant rides at Langkawi Elephant Adventures. He has no elephant companions; he has no access to water for bathing; and he has been photographed after hours being chained by his legs.

Lasah at Langkawi Elephant Adventures

For the past year, the NGO Friends of the Orangutans Malaysia has been campaigning to compel the Malaysian government to relocate Lasah to the Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary, where he could spend his remaining years unshackled and in the company of other elephants.  Upon learning of Lasah’s plight, animal rights organizations around the world have stepped in to lend their voice.  Protests have been also been staged at the Consulate of Malaysia in London, in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia’s capital) and in Los Angeles, California.

Activists around the world demand that Malaysia liberate Lasah from his captors, Langkawi Elephant Adventures, and move him to the Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary.

“Lasah represents so many animals trapped in the tourist industry. If he’s released, that can pave the way for the others,” said Hannah Morris, a British photographer who has been ignored by the Malaysian government since she began campaigning to free Lasah since 2012.  In May, 2017, Ms. Morris spent the night in a tidal sea cave and documented her experience in a video called TRAPPED to raise awareness of the plight of Lasah.

On October 11th, the legendary French actress Brigette Bardot sent a letter to Malaysia’s Environment Minister asking that he relocate Lasah to the Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary. After being targeted with a Twitter campaign, Hotels.com/Expedia removed the pages on its website promoting elephant rides with Lasah.

In order to give elephant rides, Lasah was “broken” by being beaten into submission by his captors (photo: Hannah Morris)

At the protest in New York City, activists confronted visitors entering and exiting the Malaysian Consulate, informing them about Lasah and asking them to join caring people around the world in boycotting Malaysia until the government gives its 37 year old prisoner a reprieve.

Activist protest on the steps of the Consulate of Malaysia until NYPD Counter Terrorism officials removed them

Your Turn

Follow the campaign to free Lasah on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Sign the Care2 petition asking the Prime Minister of Malaysia to move Lasah to the Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary.

Post a comment under any of the posts on the Tourism Malaysia Facebook page, which has over three million followers.  Use the photo below.


60,000 Chickens are Swung and Slaughtered on Public Streets During Ritual Sacrifice

October 10, 2017 by 6 comments


The News

Before Yom Kippur (the Jewish Day of Atonement), a subset of Orthodox Jews in New York City slaughtered an estimated 60,000 baby chickens as part of an annual ritual sacrifice called Kaporos. During the ritual, participants typically pin the chickens’ wings behind their backs and swing them around their heads three times while reciting a prayer to transfer their sins to the chickens, who they then deliver to makeshift slaughterhouses where butchers slice their throats.

In spite of the video footage of showing the Department of Sanitation hauling the dead chickens away after the ritual,  ritual participants claim that the animals are donated to the poor.  This year, activists for the first time discovered garbage bags filled with hundreds of chickens who weren’t used in the ritual sacrifice because they died of heat exhaustion, hunger and thirst in the crates in which they are intensively confined for several days leading up to the ritual.

Thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jewish children pour into the streets to participate in the ritual and challenge the activists who are protesting.

Activists estimate that they saved several hundred chickens from the massacre. The survivors have been sent to sanctuaries around the country where they are receiving specialized care to rehabilitate them after the trauma of having been intensively confined in crates for several days with no food or water.

In Brooklyn, butchers slice the throats of approximately 60,000 chickens and bleed them out in upside down cones on public sidewalks.

In 2015, The Alliance to Ban Chickens as Kaporos sued the NYC Department of Health and NYPD for failing to enforce the 15 public health, sanitation and anti-cruelty laws and regulations that are violated during Kaporos. The case is pending in New York’s Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court.

The Alliance to End Chickens as Kaporos sued NYC in 2015. The case has made its way to the highest court in NY, The Court of Appeals.

Your Turn

The Alliance to End Chickens as Kaporos is raising money to pay for the long-term care of the rescued chickens and for the groundbreaking lawsuit against NYC for failing to enforce the laws that are broken by Kaporos practitioners. If you have the means, please contribute to the INDIEGOGO campaign, Justice for the Roses.

After Kaporos, activists found dozens of discarded chickens in the streets who were still alive. These and the other rescues will live out their lives on sanctuaries.


Orthodox Jewish Girl Secretly Gives Activist a Slaughter-bound Chicken

September 26, 2017 by 2 comments


The News

Each year in the days leading up to Yom Kippur, Rocky Schwartz, like dozens of other animal rights activists, attempts to dissuade ultra-Orthodox Jews from participating in chicken sacrifice called Kaporos. In 2016, she had a lucky break. This is the story of a young Hassidic girl named Rose who defied her community; an animal rights activist who convinced her to show compassion; and a chicken who got a second chance.

Kaporos is a annual ritual in which ultra-Orthodox Jews swing chickens around their heads while saying a prayer to transfer their sins to the animals After the ritual, they give the chickens to a butcher who slices their throats. The ritual is performed prior to Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement.  

Many Kaporos practitioners transfer their sins to coins instead of live chickens.

In Brooklyn, where an estimated 60,000 chickens are swung and massacred each year, animal rights activists take to the streets to protest, disrupt, rescue, educate the public and plea for mercy.

Over the course of the week leading up to Yom Kippur, hundreds of animal rights activists protest Kaporos where the ritual is taking place. (photo: United Poultry Concerns)

Each year, activists rescue hundreds of chickens from the Kaporos and bring them to sanctuaries that give them a forever home. Rose is living in Brooklyn with Ms. Schwartz, her human companion Jay, three dogs and two other rescue chickens.

A one-year old Rose, who was rescued from slaughter after the Yom Kippur Kaporos ritual, enjoys an afternoon in the garden.

In 2015, The Alliance to Ban Chickens as Kaporos sued the NYC Department of Health and NYPD for failing to enforce the 15 public health, sanitation and anti-cruelty laws and regulations that are violated during Kaporos. The case is pending in New York’s Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court.

Your Turn

The Alliance to End Chickens as Kaporos, the organization that is leading the effort to stop the ritual slaughter, is raising money to pay for the long-term care of the chickens who are rescued and for a groundbreaking lawsuit against NYC for failing to enforce the laws that are broken by Kaporos practitioners. If you have the means, please contribute to the INDIEGOGO campaign, Justice for the Roses.


Backlash Against Politician’s Plan to Import Pandas and Put Them on Display in NYC

September 20, 2017 by 8 comments


The News

Carolyn Maloney, a U.S. Congresswoman from New York, is working to import a pair of giant pandas from China and display them in New York City.  

In a YouTube video, “The Pandas are Coming to NYC,” Maloney cites several ways in which this endeavor will benefit humans, including education, entertainment, increased tourism, and improved relations with China. She makes no mention, however, of the welfare of the pandas, who, like other wild animals, suffer in captivity.

U.S. Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney hosted a “Panda Ball” in NYC to raise money to import pandas from China to NYC.

Pandas are wild animals, not objects for display. In the forests of China, they have rich lives, gathering food, roaming freely and raising their young.  In captivity, they languish in their exhibit spaces while people take selfies through sheets of glass.

In 2012, the Director of Conservation Education at China’s largest panda breeding facility described captive-bred pandas as a “caricature” of the real thing. People who are genuinely interested in learning about pandas can watch nature shows that document their behavior in the wild. Observing pandas in an artificial enclosure will only teach people that wild animals can be imprisoned for our amusement. Furthermore, it will do nothing to help conserve pandas in the wild.

Animal rights activists say pandas are wild animals with instinctual needs that can not be met in captivity.

If Congresswoman Maloney moves forward with her plan to rent pandas from China, she will not only fuel the market for captive pandas but also help to perpetuate the abuse that exists in China’s panda breeding facilities. Undercover video released in July, 2017 showed workers using excessive force on two babies. This disturbing footage reinforces what we already know — that panda breeding facilities are panda mills in disguise. Indeed, the pandas born in captivity are rented out, like commodities, for $1 million/year to zoos.

Wild animal captivity is already losing favor in the mainstream, as evidenced by the closure of Ringling Bros., plummeting attendance at SeaWorld and the newly passed NYC law banning wild animals in circuses. Indeed, public attitudes are already shifting in favor of freedom.

Your Turn

Please sign the Care2 petition asking Carolyn Maloney to call off her plan to import pandas into NYC for display.

Follow No Panda Prison NYC on Facebook.


Luxury Faux Furs Take Center Stage at Fashion Week in NYC

September 15, 2017 by 1 comment


The News

In the mid-1990s, fashion designer Anna Tagliabue wanted to launch a line of luxury faux fur clothing. The technology, however, wasn’t available. Twenty years later, Ms. Tagliabue staged her a runway show during NYC’s prestigious Fashion Week.  Dozens of NYC fashionistas filled the seats, and, by all accounts, they loved what they saw:

While Ms. Tagliabue loves design, it was her love of animals – and her desire to protect them – that motivated her to start her company, Pelush. “Education and awareness about the plight of animals must come from fashion — not just food,” said Ms. Tagliabue. “With all of the beautiful, cruelty-free alternatives, people have no excuse to continue wearing fur and other animal skins.”

Pelush Runway Show in NYC during Fashion Week

When asked how activists who confront people on the street will know that someone is wearing a faux-fur Pelush garment, Ms. Tagliabue said she plans to sew on a patch that will be easily recognizable – similar to Canada Goose.

Fashion design Anna Tagliabue with models from her runway show during NYC Fashion Week

Pelush fans photograph the models after the show

Ms. Tagliabue says that her one-of-a-kind, cruelty-free designs serve as a “wonderful alternative to real fur for compassionate women in search of glamour, comfort and the warmth of a plush coat.”

NYC animal rights activists make the V for vegan symbol on the red carpet after walking the Pelush runway wearing t-shirts with messages about kindness to animals