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As Carriage Horses Fight NYC Heat, Animal Rights Activists Fight City Hall

July 5, 2017 by 1 comment


The News

As carriage horses pounded the pavement in NYC’s sweltering heat, over 50 animal rights activists staged a protest at the Department of Health (DOH) to demand that the city enforce what few laws exist to protect the beasts of burden.

NYCLASS and PETA targeted the DOH, which is responsible for protecting the horses on the streets and in the buildings where they are kept at night, because the city agency has refused to take action following several incidents in which carriage horses collided with motor vehicles; ran untethered through the streets midtown Manhattan; or were photographed living in squalid conditions.

Animal rights activists with NYCLASS and PETA demand that the NYC Department of Health enforce laws to protect carriage horses

While running for Mayor of NYC in 2013, Bill de Blasio publicly pledged on at least a dozen occasions to “end carriage rides” in midtown Manhattan. “Watch me do it!” he said. Advocates speculate that he has walked away from his promise because betraying the animal rights community, which was instrumental in getting him elected, is more politically expedient than angering the media and unions, which staunchly support the horse-drawn carriage trade.

Your Turn

Join the fight to ban inhumane and unsafe horse-drawn carriages from NYC.

To learn more about NYC’s epic horse-drawn carriage controversy, watch the documentary film BLINDERS: The Truth Behind The Tradition.


Animal Rights Activists Rejoice as NYC Lawmakers Vote to Ban Wild Animals in Circuses (VIDEO)

June 28, 2017 by 1 comment


The News

An 11 year campaign came to a screeching halt on June 21st when NYC lawmakers voted to ban the use of exotic animals in circuses. The bill, which has been championed by Council Member Rosie Mendez since 2006, passed with 43 votes. Only 6 Council Members voted against it.

NYC’s Public Advocate, who presided over the Council meeting when the vote took place, broke protocol by allowing animal rights activists in the Council chambers to break into applause when the vote count was announced, “Let it rip,” said Letitia James, who herself was a supporter of the ban.

Animal rights activists in NYC applaud the advocates and elected officials who led the fight to ban wild animals in circuses (from L to R: Activist John Phillips, Council Member Corey Johnson, Council Member Rosie Mendez, ADI’s Christina Scaringe, HSUS’ Joyce Friedman)

According to HSUS’ Wildlife Protection Specialist Joyce Friedman, NYC joins “over 125  municipalities and four states that have banned or restricted the use of animals in circuses.” Christina Scaringe, General Counsel of Animal Defenders International (ADI), added that 37 countries around the world have implemented a ban on exotic animals in circuses, with some of those countries also banning the use of domesticated animals.

In traveling circuses, wild animals are held captive for life in small cages and are beaten into submission with weapons

After the Council meeting, several elected officials bill joined activists on the steps of City Hall for an impromptu rally to celebrate the historic vote. NYC Council Member Corey Johnson, a co-sponsor of the bill, remarked on the historic significance of its passage: “We’re going to look back on this day and all of the hard work that has gone into it and see it as a seminal moment – – when the largest municipality in the country said, ‘Enough!  This law is a step for a more just and humane New York City and society.”


Anti-Fur Activists Disrupt Fashion Designer Michael Kors at NYC’s Met Museum

June 22, 2017 by 12 comments


The News

Animal rights activists have pleaded with fashion designer Michael Kors to stop using – and promoting – fur. But, on June 21st, they stopped asking nicely. As Kors delivered remarks to a packed theater in NYC’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, over 20 animal rights activists occupied the stage and the balcony while chanting and playing the sounds of animals being killed for fur.  After several minutes, event organizers escorted Kors out of the theater, shutting down the event for approximately ten minutes.

Over 20 activists disrupted Michael Kors during his talk at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (photo on right: AFP Photo)

“If Michael Kors wants to profit off of animals who are skinned alive, anally electrocuted, gassed or captured in painful steel leg hold traps, then he is going to have to face a new reality – never knowing for certain when we will disrupt his public appearances or retail stores,” said Rob Banks, an organizer of the protest.

In spite of protests, Michael Kors continues to design with real animal fur.

During Fashion Week (Feb, 2017), PETA staged a provocative protest at Michael Kors’ flagship store in Manhattan. During the protest, an animal rights activist wearing a giant Michael Kors mask and long black grim reaper coat dragged “bloody” fur coats and “exotic skins” to draw public attention to Kors’ continued use of animal skins.

PETA stages anti-fur protest at Michael Kors’ flagship store in NYC

The activists who participated in the disruption say they plan to continue targeting Michael Kors until he stops designing with real fur.


Orphaned Baby Chimps Find Refuge

June 19, 2017 by 1 comment


The News

Jenny and Jim Desmond arrived in Liberia in 2015 with a big job to do – overseeing the care of the 66 chimpanzees abandoned on six islands by the New York Blood Center. Little did they know that, within weeks of their arrival, the government would be adding to their workload by bringing them orphaned baby chimpanzees who needed sanctuary.

Liberia has an estimated 7,000 wild chimpanzees remaining in its forests. The fact that these great apes are endangered doesn’t stop poachers from illegally hunting them for their meat.  The baby chimps, orphaned when their mothers are killed for their meat, are then sold as exotic pets.

Chimps rescued from the illegal exotic pet trade in Liberia are brought to Jenny and Jim Desmond with Liberia Chimpanzee Rescue & Protection (LCRP)

Before the Desmonds arrived in Liberia, the government turned a blind eye to the illegal chimp trade because authorities had no place to bring chimps who they could have confiscated from their captors or new “owners.” Because the Desmonds have experience rescuing and rehabilitating great apes, authorities began to bring them babies – some just weeks old.

Baby chimps rescued by LCRP are raised by surrogate mothers until they are old enough to be integrated with a group of juveniles who no longer need around-the-clock attention.

The Desmond’s property in Liberia, which is owned by the government and is adjacent to a busy laboratory, is not ideal for raising orphaned chimps. Jenny and Jim are therefore now tasked with looking for land in a nearby forest to build a proper sanctuary with all of the facilities needed to care for the chimps, including an infirmary, overnight housing for the babies, a kitchen, offices and housing for caregivers and volunteers. The Desmonds have already created an entity, Liberia Chimpanzee Rescue & Protection (LCRP). Now, they need to raise money in order to build the sanctuary.

A rescued chimp takes the wheel from Jim Desmond on the way home from “chimp school” at LCRP’s temporary location

Jenny Desmond is quick to point out that providing sanctuary for rescued chimps is only part of their mission. One of their biggest priorities is using the sanctuary as a platform to educate the public about the importance of conserving chimpanzees in their natural habitat. “We’ll know that our efforts are having an impact when we stop receiving chimps,” said Desmond. “Our ultimate goal is to not need to exist at all.”

Your Turn

Please follow Liberia Chimpanzee Rescue & Protection (LCR) on Facebook and Twitter.

Adopt a baby chimp at LCR.

Snack time at LCRP


Activists Worldwide Participate in National Animal Rights Day

June 9, 2017 by 2 comments


The News

On June 4th, animal rights activists in 22 cities around the world took to the streets to participate in the 7th annual National Animal Rights Day (NARD).

Animal rights activists in North America, Europe, Asia and Australia participated in 2017 National Animal Rights Day

According to the organizer, the non-profit organization Our Planet. Theirs Too., NARD “gives a voice to all animals” and will continue to do so “until all animals are free from enslavement and their rights are established and protected by law.”

TheirTurn documented the ceremony in New York City, which attracted hundreds of participants and onlookers.

NARD events consist of a memorial ceremony for the billions of animals killed each year by humans; the reading and signing of a Declaration of Animal Rights; and a rally with speakers covering topics from animal rights advocacy to making the switch to a cruelty-free lifestyle.

Participants in NARD’s NYC used deceased animals during the memorial service