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Largest Horse Racing Protest in History

June 13, 2019 by Leave a Comment

The News

On June 8th, approximately 150 animal rights activists staged a protest at the Belmont Stakes, the final leg in the American Triple Crown. According to the advocacy group Horseracing Wrongs, the protest, which attracted activists from as far as 150 miles away, was the largest ever at a race track.

During the protest, Patrick Batuello, the director of Horseracing Wrongs, spoke to TheirTurn about why the organization is working to abolish the horse racing industry.

“From the moment race horses are born, they are abused creatures. They are torn from their mothers as mere babes. Their bodies are pounded years before they are done forming. They’re intensively confined. They’re socially isolated. They’re drugged, doped and beaten with whips. They’re bought, sold, traded and dumped like common Ebay products and, of course, they’re killed routinely.”

While not unusual, the death of 35 horses since December at California’s Santa Anita racetrack has, for the first time, triggered mainstream public discourse about the ethics and future of horse racing in the United States. In a June 11th editorial (“We are Running Out of Ways to Tell Santa Anita to Stop Racing”), the Los Angeles Times wrote, “Over time, Americans have to decide how much death they are willing to tolerate in this ancient sport.”

According to Horseracing Wrongs, an estimated 2,000 horses die on the tracks or during training each year.

Horseracing Wrongs will be staging protests throughout July and August during the upcoming races at the Saratoga Race Track in upstate New York. In addition, the organization is, in the coming months, sponsoring protests in 16 states at 22 tracks.

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See How Onlookers React to 2018 Veggie Pride Parade in NYC

April 11, 2018 by Leave a Comment

The News

As hundreds of New Yorkers took to the streets to march in the 2018 Veggie Pride Parade, many onlookers spoke on camera, giving their honest feedback about the parade and its message.

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Animal Rights Activists Disrupt U.S. Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney’s Fundraiser

April 2, 2018 by Leave a Comment

The News

Animal rights activists staged a protest both inside and outside of U.S. Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney’s campaign fundraiser over her ongoing refusal to call off her $50 million plan to lease pandas from China and put them on display in New York City.

“Pandas are wild animals who exist for their own purposes,” said Edita Birnkrant, Executive Director of the animal rights group NYCLASS. “They should live freely in the bamboo forests of China, not in a display case in Manhattan.”

Animal rights activists protest U.S. Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney over her $50M plan to display pandas in Manhattan

In addition to opposing animal captivity for human entertainment, the activists argue that the Chinese breeding facility from which the pandas will be leased are merely money-making panda mills and that renting pandas fuels the market for captive pandas while doing nothing to conserve pandas in their natural habitat. 

Caretakers at the Chengdu panda breeding facility, the panda mill from which Carolyn Maloney plans to lease pandas, were caught on camera physically abusing panda cubs.

In February 2017, Congresswomen Maloney and her two billionaire backers, John Catsimatidis and Maurice Greenberg, held a “Black & White Panda Ball” at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel to raise money for the project, which is estimated to cost $50 million.  The gala raised approximately $500,000. Her charity, The Pandas are Coming to NYC, continues to raise money.

Animal rights activists in NYC say that displaying wild pandas in an enclosure in Manhattan would be inhumane

In June, 2017, the NYC Council voted to pass a bill to ban the use of exotic animals in performances following an 11 year campaign waged by animal rights activists and supportive lawmakers.  Lawyers are reviewing the language in this bill to see if and how it would affect the display of pandas in an exhibit akin to a roadside zoo.

Your Turn

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

Follow No Panda Prison NYC on Facebook.

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Activist Group in New York Targets Mayor Bill de Blasio over Failure to Help Carriage Horses

March 15, 2018 by Leave a Comment

The News

NYCLASS, the animal rights group leading the fight to help the carriage horses in NYC, staged a protest at City Hall to demand that Mayor de Blasio provide some relief to the horses if he is not going to fulfill his campaign promise to take horse-drawn carriages off of the streets of midtown.

According to Edita Birnkrant, Executive Director of NYCLASS, “Mayor de Blasio can act now on his own to help the carriage horses, yet he hasn’t lifted a finger.  We desperately need stepped up enforcement on the streets; an update of the antiquated, inadequate laws on the books to improve the welfare and safety of the horses; and a change in the way the carriage horses operate. Too many crashes occur because horse-drawn carriages operate in heavily trafficked areas, such as Central Park South and Times Square. Just last month, three tourists from Texas were sent to the hospital after the horse pulling their carriage spooked, threw the driver from the carriage, and bolted down Central Park South before crashing into parked cars. Carriage horses also still have no protection from being sent to slaughter. This is all taking place under the Mayor’s watch. It’s a disgrace.”

Advocates argue that horses should not be pulling carriages anywhere in the congested streets of NYC, much less Times Square

When running for Mayor, Bill de Blasio made an explicit campaign pledge to ban horse-drawn carriages from Manhattan on the grounds that they are inhumane and unsafe. He also publicly declared that, in his administration, animal rights would move into the mainstream. As a result of his promises, the animal advocacy community in NYC rallied behind him, helping him get elected.

The animal rights group NYCLASS stages a rally at City Hall to demand that the Mayor help NYC’s beleaguered carriage horses.

“We feel betrayed,” said Jill Carnegie, campaigns director at NYCLASS. “We moved mountains to help Mayor de Blasio get elected, but the animals who he promised to help are in worse shape now than before he took office.”

Horse-drawn carriage operators are prohibited from working in inclement weather, but the city does not enforce the laws.

Your Turn

Join NYCLASS on Facebook and sign up for action alerts on to stay apprised of and participate in the group’s effort to help NYC’s carriage horses

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Activists Target Eric Trump During Worldwide Rally Against Trophy Hunting

February 7, 2018 by Leave a Comment

The News

During the Worldwide Rally Against Trophy Hunting (WRATH), dozens of animal rights activists in New York City protested at the home and office of one of the planet’s most notorious trophy hunters — Eric Trump.  Several broadcast and print media outlets reported on the event.

During the rally, Edita Birnkrant, the Executive Director of the animal rights group NYCLASS, entered Eric Trump’s apartment building to deliver a letter to his wife, animal advocate Lara Trump, encouraging her to dissuade her husband from trophy hunting. Two reporters followed her into the building with their cameras rolling.

Flanked by reporters, Edita Birnkrant, the Executive Director of NYCLASS, delivers a letter to Lara Trump, encouraging her to discourage her husband Eric from trophy hunting.

WRATH was created in 2016 by the animal rights organization CompassionWorks International in response to the killing of Cecil, a beloved lion in Zimbabwe who was shot and beheaded by Walter Palmer, a trophy hunter from Minnesota. The death of Cecil sparked global outrage and triggered several weeks of public discourse around trophy hunting.

Walter Palmer, a trophy hunter from Minnesota, killed and beheaded Cecil in Zimbabwe.

IN 2018, WRATH events took place in 32 cities in several countries around the world, including Australia, Ireland, Canada and Brazil.  

Activists in NYC participate in Worldwide Rally Against Trophy Hunting with protest at home of trophy hunter Eric Trump.

WRATH is held to coincide with the annual convention of Safari Club International, a 50,000 member Texas-based pro-hunting organization that spends millions of dollars each year lobbying elected officials to support their mission. During the convention, organizers auction off hunts with endangered & threatened species. In 2018, a polar bear hunt was featured in the in promotional materials for the convention. 

Trophies on display at Safari Club International’s annual convention in Las Vegas

Trophy hunters justify the killing on the grounds that the money they spend helps to conserve the species and supports local community. Activists dispute that claim, arguing that most of the money spent by trophy hunters goes to the trophy hunting companies and to local government officials.

Vendors at the annual convention of Safari Club International display the bodies of exotic animals

During the WRATH event in NYC, Nicole Rivard, a campaigner with Friends of Animals, told rally participants about pending trophy hunting legislation in the state of New York:  “We cannot rely on fluid federal law to ensure that Africa’s big five do not go extinct. When it comes to trophy hunting, federal law is not protective at all.  We have legislation – Save Africa’s Big Five bill – to stop trophies from entering New York. The state bill would ban the importation, possession, sale or transportation of the trophies of elephants, lions, leopards and black and white rhinos. New York is the busiest port of entry for African wildlife in the US. Let’s shut it down.”

Animal rights activists protest Eric Trump during Worldwide Rally Against Trophy Hunting

Your Turn

Please follow CompassionWorks International on Facebook to stay apprised of the organization’s life-saving work.

Mainstream media coverage of CompassionWorks International’s 2018 Worldwide Rally Against Trophy Hunting

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