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Why Did You Go Vegan?

September 7, 2018 by Leave a Comment


The News

During the 2018 Animal Rights March in New York City, participants shared their inspiring stories about why they became vegan.


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After Months of Protests, NYC Health Commissioner Mary Bassett Resigns with Over Three Years Left in Her Term

August 7, 2018 by Leave a Comment


The News

Ten months after animal rights and public health advocates launched a campaign to hold her accountable for failing to enforce health codes violated during an annual ritual animal sacrifice called Kaporos, NYC Health Commissioner Mary Bassett resigned, announcing that she is moving to Boston to teach at Harvard.  Dr. Bassett is vacating her position just eight months into a four year term as NYC’s top doctor.  The announcement comes on the heels of several protests inside of the headquarters of the NYC Department of Health.

“Commissioner Bassett’s decision to resign and wash her hands of this scandal does nothing to help the tens of thousands of people and animals who she betrayed while in office,” said Nathan Semmel, an organizer in the campaign. “She had the power and legal obligation to stop a public massacre of baby birds that exposes some of NYC’s poorest residents to infectious diseases, but she chose to prioritize politics over public health. Quitting her post and moving 200 miles away from us doesn’t make her any less accountable.”

In October, 2017, NYC activists began to protest Commissioner Bassett over her support of Kaporos, a ritual animal sacrifice that takes place before Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement. From October 2017 to July 2018, the activists disrupted six of her public speaking engagements and staged five protests in the lobby of the NYC Department of Health (DOH). The activists allege that Dr. Bassett is turning a blind eye to the health code violations because the ultra-Orthodox Jews who practice the ritual represent a powerful voting bloc that helped to elect her boss, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio.

During Kaporos, an estimated 60,000 six-week old chickens are intensively confined in crates without food or water for up to several days before being slaughtered and discarded. Many die of starvation, thirst and exposure before the ritual takes place. A toxicology reported submitted to the court as part of an ongoing lawsuit against the DOH states that the ritual poses a risk to public health in the neighborhoods where it takes place. While Commissioner Bassett has not publicly disputed the findings from the toxicology report or the activists’ and lawyers’ claims about the health code violations, she has issued a public statement asserting that “there remains no evidence that the use of chickens for Kaporos poses a significant risk to human health.”

Activists protest NYC Health Commissioner Mary Bassett over her ongoing refusal to ban a mass animal sacrifice that violates at least seven public health codes.

In anticipation of a protest during a talk that she was giving at the Boston University School of Public Health, Dr. Bassett attempted to defend her inaction on the grounds that her boss, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, would not allow it:  “Those of us who work in government face the reality of the fact that the people who appoint us have to go back to the public and back to the ballot box to be reappointed, so there’s always going to be a need for advocacy from people outside of government. For someone who is passionately committed to many issues embraced by advocates, it can be difficult to acknowledge the role that I play as a political appointee. I can’t always be at the barricades!”

“Dirty politics does not give Dr. Bassett a free pass to ignore a ritual that violates health codes, puts New Yorkers at risk of infectious disease and terrorizes baby animals,” said Donny Moss. “If Mayor de Blasio is instructing her to turn a blind eye, then it is her legal and moral duty to push back and assert her authority has NYC’s health czar.”


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The Impact of Anonymous for the Voiceless

July 14, 2018 by Leave a Comment


The News

During Direct Action Everywhere’s (DxE) 2018 Animal Liberation Conference, an estimated 500 animal rights activists took to the streets of San Francisco to participate in what was, at the time, the largest Anonymous For the Voiceless (AV) event ever.  As more than 100 video screens displayed footage of animal exploitation in six “Cubes of Truth,” dozens of advocates conducted vegan outreach with pedestrians who stopped to watch the videos.  Animal rights activists Chase Avior, Jane Velez-Mitchell and James Aspey spoke to TheirTurn about the impact of AV:

Anonymous for the Voiceless uses “standard-practice” footage of animal agriculture to expose the public to the atrocities that the industry goes to great lengths to hide, and it provides people with tools to switch to a vegan lifestyle.

Jane Velez-Mitchell of JaneUnChained reporting from the Cube of Truth in San Francisco

Since its inception in April, 2016, AV has staged over 4,000 “Cubes of Truth” in 650 cities around the world, convincing over 214,000 people to consider making the transition to veganism.

Cube of Truth in San Francisco organized by Anonymous for The Voiceless and Direct Action Everywhere during the 2018 Animal Liberation Conference.


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Over 500 Animal Rights Activists Participate in Slaughterhouse Vigil; Nine Animals Saved

July 6, 2018 by Leave a Comment


The News

During the 2018 Animal Liberation Conference in Berkeley, California, over 500 animal rights activists traveled to the city of Stockton to bear witness at a chicken slaughterhouse. During the four hour vigil, which was organized by The Save Movement and Direct Action Everywhere, slaughterhouse workers brought the activists five chickens as a peace offering. A total of nine animals were saved during the course of the day.

The Save Movement is a worldwide network of Save groups bearing witness to farmed animals and promoting veganism and love-based, grassroots activism.  Two local chapters of the Save Movement, Bay Area Animal Save and Stockton Animal Save, stage monthly vigils at the Stockton Poultry Market.

Over 500 activists bear witness at a slaughterhouse in Stockton, California (photos: Bay Area Animal Save)

The Save Movement aims to set up vigils at every slaughterhouse and now has over 415 groups in 50 countries worldwide.

Activists participate in slaughterhouse vigil during 2018 Animal Liberation Conference. (Bay Area Animal Save)

 

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Animal Rights and Public Health Advocates Disrupt NYC Health Commissioner Mary Bassett Over Ritual Sacrifice

July 1, 2018 by Leave a Comment


The News

As NYC Health Commissioner Mary Bassett began delivering remarks at a forum about charitable giving on July 21st, activists angered by her refusal to enforce health codes violated during an animal sacrifice shut down her talk.  This was the fifth time that activists have disrupted Commissioner Bassett over her support of Kaporos, a religious ritual during which ultra-Orthodox Jews in New York City swing an estimated 60,000 six-week old chickens around their heads and slaughter them, contaminating the streets and sewers with their blood, body parts, feathers and feces.

“How can Commissioner Bassett make a presentation in good conscience about taking care of the less fortunate when she’s endangering the health of some of NYC’s most vulnerable residents?” asked Nathan Semmel, one of the organizers of the disruption. “We know we can’t ask Dr. Bassett to align her behavior with the values she publicly espouses, but we can demand that she enforce the law.”

A dozen animal rights and public health advocates disrupt NYC Health Commissioner over her refusal to enforce health codes violated during a mass animal sacrifice on public streets.

The most recent protest comes on the heels of news about the spread of bird flu. On June 15th, Newsweek reported that The Centers for Disease Control said the current strain of avian influenza has “the greatest potential to cause a pandemic of all human viruses.”  If the flu spreads to the United States, New Yorkers will be particularly vulnerable because tens of thousands of city residents come into contact with the sick and dying chickens who are stacked in crates on the streets for several days leading up to the Kaporos ritual.

NYC Health Commissioner Mary Bassett refuses to acknowledge a toxicology report which includes avian flu as one of many health risks associated with the ritual sacrifice Kaporos (center photo: Unparalleled Suffering Photography)

Sources inside the administration say that Commissioner Bassett is refusing to enforce the health laws because the ultra-Orthodox Jews who violate them represent a powerful voting bloc that helped to elect her boss, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio.

NYC Health Commissioner Mary Bassett refuses to acknowledge the multiple health codes are violated during a mass sacrifice of 60,000 six week old chickens on public streets.

“Not only does Dr. Bassett refuse to enforce the health codes, but she also refuses to acknowledge a toxicology report which unequivocally states that the violations jeopardize the public health by exposing New Yorkers to e-coli, salmonella, avian flu and many other pathogens and toxins,” said Jessica Hollander, who participated in the protest.  “Her decision to put politics ahead of public health will come back to haunt her if a disease outbreak occurs because she has been warned by experts that the illegal animal sacrifice poses serious health risks.”

Multiple health codes are violated during Kaporos, a ritual animal sacrifice, but NYC Health Commissioner Mary Bassett turns a blind eye because the practitioners represent a powerful voting bloc.


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