Jabari Brisport, a 32-year old Brooklyn native, has spent his entire life in New York City, but now he’s setting his sights on Albany, the state capital. The Caribbean American public school teacher, who identifies as a Democratic Socialist, is running for State Senate to help make New York City a more humane home for all of its residents – human and non-human.
During an interview with TheirTurn, Brisport describes his progressive platform, which includes reforming New York City’s housing, education, health care and criminal justice systems. He has an equally ambitious agenda for the animals, including a statewide ban on the sale of fur and ending dairy subsidies.
Jabari Brisport’s campaign is featured in the New York Post
As a college freshman at NYU, Brisport was the victim of a racist, homophobic attack while walking in Greenwich Village with his black boyfriend. During the interview, he explains why this traumatic experience compelled him to become an advocate not only for minorities but also for animals.
Jabari Brisport, candidate for New York State Senate in 2020, protests at the opening of the Canada Goose store in 2019.
Brisport is running in the 25th State Senate district, which includes Fort Greene, Boerum Hill, Red Hook, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Sunset Park, Gowanus, and Park Slope and other neighborhoods in Brooklyn. The primary election takes place on June 23, 2020.
During the 2019 Kaporos, an annual ritual slaughter that takes place in the days leading up to Yom Kippur, several teams of animal rights activists in New York City rescued 211 chickens who were hours away from being killed in makeshift slaughterhouses erected in Hasidic Jewish neighborhoods in Brooklyn. The rescues were organized by the Alliance to End Chickens as Kaporos and Long Island Orchestrating for Nature (LION).
The activists brought the chickens to a triage center where they provided them with food, water and, in some cases, acute medical care, before transporting them to farm animal sanctuaries around the country. Eight chickens were taken to veterinarians for emergency surgery due to broken wings and other life-threatening injuries.
Jill Carnegie with the Alliance to End Chickens as Kaporos transports a rescue to the triage site.
Jill Carnegie, the Campaign Strategist for the Alliance to End Chickens as Kaporos and an organizer of the rescues, said that the number of chickens who activists rescued was determined by the space available in farm animal sanctuaries: “We spent several months securing quality homes for the chickens. Since Cornish Cross birds are some of the most genetically-altered animals, they require specialized care. Each year, we can only rescue the number of chickens we can confirm homes for to avoid a potentially catastrophic scenario; we put in many hours of placement work so that we can save as many lives as possible. We wish we could have saved more.”
Activists estimate that over 100,000 chickens are trucked into the city and stored in crates on the street for up to several days with no food or water
With an estimated 300,000 Hasidic Jews in New York City, activists believe that well over 100,000 chickens are used and killed each year. During Kaporos in 2019, thousands of chickens died of hunger, thirst, sickness and heat exhaustion in the crates where they were being stored before the ritual even began.
During Kaporos, hundreds of activists provide watermelon and water to thousands of chickens stacked in crates on the streets of Crown Heights, Williamsburg and Borough Park in Brooklyn, New York
During Kaporos, practitioners swing six-week old chickens around their heads while reciting a prayer to symbolically transfer their sins to the animal. The vast majority of the chickens are then killed in open-air slaughterhouses, leaving the streets contaminated with their blood, body parts, feces and feathers. In 2015, an attorney suing the City on behalf of area residents hired a toxicologist to test the contaminants. In his report, Dr. Michael McCabe concluded that Kaporos “constitutes a dangerous condition and poses a significant public health hazard.”
Mayor de Blasio’s Health Commissioners have refused to address a toxicology report that outlines the risk posed by the mass slaughter of over 100,000 animals on public streets during Kaporos.
Advocates have, on multiple occasions, sent the toxicology report to Dr. Demetre Daskalakis, the head of Infectious Disease Control at the NYC Department of Health, and to Drs. Oxiris Barbot and Mary Bassett, the City’s current and former health commissioners. Activists speculate that they have refused to acknowledge the correspondence because they could be liable if and when a disease outbreak does occur. Nora Constance Marino Esq., the attorney, argued the case to the State’s highest court — Court of Appeals. In their ruling in 2018, the six judges wrote that city agencies have discretion with respect to the laws they choose to enforce.
During Kaporos, over 100,000 chickens are slaughtered on public streets in residential neighborhoods in Brooklyn, exposing area residents to E. coli, campylobacter and many other pathogens and toxins
In recent years, resistance to the use of live chickens has been building in the Hasidic Jewish communities. In discussions with animal protection advocates, many Kaporos practitioners have acknowledged that the mass commercialization of the ritual has led to systemic abuses that violate “Tza’ar ba’alei chayim,” a Jewish commandment that bans causing animals unnecessary suffering.
“As long as this cruel ritual slaughter takes place, we will continue rescuing as many of the victims as we can before they are slaughtered,” said Jill Carnegie. “One day, the use of live animals for the ritual will come to an end, either because the Department of Health decides to enforce its own laws in order to prevent the spread of an infectious disease or, more likely, because a disease outbreak occurs.”
Paul Watson, the founder of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, is best known for using direct action to protect whales from Japanese whaling vessels, but he’s also a world-renowned advocate for the oceans and all of its other inhabitants. During an interview with TheirTurn in New York City, Watson explained why protecting the oceans is not only vital to sea animals but also to the very survival of the human species. “If the oceans die, we die.”
Watson explains that oceans, which he describes as the “blue lungs” of the Earth, produce 70% of the oxygen that we breathe and that the source of the oxygen are phytoplankton. Since 1950, the amount of phytoplankton in the oceans has dropped by 40% due to whaling, commercial fishing, animal agriculture and other forms of pollution.
Watson is the subject of new award-winning documentary film, Watson, that chronicles his career as an eco-warrior on the high seas. Watson is available on Animal Planet.
Natasha Brenner, an animal rights activist in NYC, celebrated her 98th birthday with friends. While homemade vegan lasagna for her birthday party was cooking in the oven, Natasha spoke to TheirTurn about why she went vegan and became an animal rights activist in her mid-70s.
Animal rights activists in New York have staged four protests at the Manhattan home of Madison Square Garden president Andrew Lustgarten, demanding that he cancel a rodeo scheduled for June 2020. The ongoing protests are being organized by Animal Cruelty Exposure Fund (ACEF) and NYCLASS, animal rights organizations based in New York.
During the protest, Janet Enoch, Investigator of Showing Animals Kindness & Respect (SHARK), an organization that has been exposing rodeo cruelty for three decades, told bystanders why the rodeo is cruel: “Rodeos shock the animals to make them buck and appear wild. Rodeo contestants rake horses and bulls with spurs causing internal hemorrhaging. Rodeos use the buck strap which causes abdominal pain. In an effort to get the buck strap off, horses sometimes crash into walls often causing injury or death. Animals should not be tortured for human entertainment.”
Agitated by the ongoing protests, Mr. Lustgarten’s neighbors are lashing out at the participants. On the evening of December 8th, a woman wearing pajamas exited a nearby apartment building and angrily confronted protesters before attempting to enter Mr. Lustgarten’s building to complain to his security team.
An angry neighbor attempts to enter Andrew Lustgarten’s building to complain about the protest.
For the past several years, ACEF has staged protests at the annual Professional Bull Riders’ event at Madison Square Garden, but the organization decided to move the protests to Mr. Lustgarten’s residence when it learned that MSG would also be hosting the rodeo.
“Calf roping, steer wrestling, and other rodeo events are acts of extreme violence masquerading as entertainment,” said Nora Constance Marino, the President of ACEF. “Rodeos are nothing more than horrific acts of violence towards defenseless terrified animals, many of whom are mere babies torn from their mothers.”
As part of its ongoing effort to compel MSG to cancel the rodeo, ACEF launched a petition with Change.org.
Both ACEF and NYCLASS have vowed to continue protesting Mr. Lustgarten until he cancels the rodeo.