Their Turn - The Social Justice Movement of Our Time Their Turn - The Social Justice Movement of Our Time

U.N. Court Curbs Japan’s Whale Hunt

April 2, 2014 by Leave a Comment


The News

The United Nation’s International Court of Justice ruled that Japan must stop its annual whale hunt in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary, rejecting the country’s argument that it was conducted for scientific purposes and declaring it to be illegal. Japan stated that it would abide by the court’s decision.  However, Japan, along with Norway and Iceland, will most likely continue to hunt whales on a smaller scale in other areas in defiance of the International Whale Commission’s ban on commercial whaling.

News & Opinion

Japan has circumvented the international treaty banning commercial whaling by claiming that they were capturing and killing whales for scientific purposes. How did Japan get away with this for so many years, given that they didn’t produce scientific data; they admitted to selling the whale meet for food; and they used “tradition” as a defense for the slaughter? The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, whose activists have put their lives at risk sabotaging Japan’s illegal whale hunt in the Southern Ocean, put this issue in the international spotlight, which is what ultimately led to the court’s decision. Ironically, the Japanese government, which is responsible for terrorizing thousands of majestic whales before killing them, describes the activists as “environmental terrorists.” Please thank Sea Shepherd for their heroic work by supporting the organization, which will continue to boldly protect wildlife in the oceans.


Did NYC Just Ban Wild Animals in Circuses?

March 31, 2014 by Leave a Comment


The News

The Daily News reported that UniverSoul Circus is suing New York City for refusing to allow their elephants and tigers from performing. The Circus lawyers say that, “the city made new rules this year requiring the circus to get a permit to use exotic animals, then refused to grant the permit on the grounds that the tigers were kept in cages deemed too small and the elephants had not passed a tuberculosis test.”

Photo source: NY Daily News

Photo source: NY Daily News

News & Opinion

Activists in NYC have been lobbying City Council members for years to support a bill banning the use of wild animals in circuses, but the bill never came out of committee for a vote. When he was a City Council Member, Mayor Bill de Blasio, who took office in January 2014, was a co-sponsor of that bill. Did he decide circumvent the cumbersome legislative route by having the Department of Health (DOH), which reports to him, refuse to grant animal permits to the circus? The Mayor’s office and the DOH aren’t speaking publicly about the lawsuit, so the public does not yet know the backstory. What we do know is that the local activist community will do whatever we can to help the City defend its position so that no circuses can use and abuse wild animals in NYC. Please contact the Mayor’s office to thank him for taking this historic step to outlaw the exceptionally cruel use of wild animals in circuses.


Activists Protest Chipotle in 26 Cities

March 24, 2014 by Leave a Comment


The News

Activists in 26 cities in 8 countries from an organization called Direct Action Everywhere (DxE) are conducting monthly protests against the vegan-friendly fast food chain Chipotle because they believe that their marketing campaign, which exposes factory farm cruelty and suggests that their animals are humanely raised and slaughtered, is fraudulent. As one of the campaign organizers states, “The company is trying to market killing as humane, but there is no escaping the reality that slitting an animal’s throat is violent.” According to an article in Salon.com, “DxE’s protests raise the question of whether, in the frenzy to market and consume more humane animal products, we are completely ignoring the fundamental moral issue. Why, for example, is cutting off chickens’ beaks unacceptable cruelty, but cutting their throats is perfectly fine?”

News & Opinion

Millions of the animals slaughtered by Chipotle come from the same factory farms that Chipotle claims to oppose. When Chipotle encourages consumers to pick them over other their competitors on the grounds that their animals are “humanely raised,” they are not only being dishonest, but they are also giving people a free pass to eat animals when they might have otherwise abstained. Even if Chipotle’s animals were raised humanely, which is impossible given the sheer numbers, they all meet the same grisly death. Slaughter is inherently inhumane, which is one of many reasons to advocate for a plant-based diet using free materials like those offered by Vegan Outreach. I would feel a whole lot better about eating Chipotle’s delicious vegan sofritas if they stopped saying that the millions of animals who they raise and slaughter had humane lives and deaths.


Three Circus Elephants Escape

March 23, 2014 by 2 comments


The News

Three elephants temporarily escaped from a circus in St. Louis, damaging cars in the parking lot.

Circus elephants escape

Circus elephants escape

News & Opinion

While the eye-witnesses who spoke to reporters used the word “escape” to describe the incident, none conveyed an understanding that these elephants are prisoners in the first place, kidnapped from their mothers, chained for most of their lives and deprived of the ability to do anything that comes naturally to them. While the circus spokespeople say that these elephants “are now resting comfortably in their compound,” we know that their “trainers” will punish them by beating them with bullhooks, the weapons used to scare elephants into submission. The use of bullhooks was recently outlawed in Los Angeles. In the absence of bullhooks, elephants would trample their trainers. Ringling Brothers can therefore no longer travel to Los Angeles. On March 21st, One Green Planet published an article on 5 ways you can help end the use of animals in circuses.


One Tiger Cub Death and Three Births at London Zoo Trigger calls for Boycott

March 21, 2014 by 2 comments


The News

Six months after a three-week old tiger drowned at the London zoo, three more tigers were born there. PETA has capitalized on the attention brought by the drowning and the births to call for a boycott of the zoo, which they describe as a “prison with living exhibits.” The zoo director, David Field, defends captivity, saying “The wild is just simply not an option for many species now, with habitats being destroyed and illegal wildlife trade soaring at unprecedented rates. Conservation breeding programmes are the only way to ensure a future for these animals.”

Tiger Cubs at London Zoo

Tiger Cubs at London Zoo

News & Opinion

By saying that the “wild is not an option,” the London Zoo director is suggesting that captivity is the only option for some animals. That message only reinforces the point of view that animals in zoos are money-making exhibits, not ambassadors who unwillingly sacrifice their freedom to help to conserve members of their species who live freely in their natural habitats. If we believe in wildlife conservation, then we should be supporting the work of groups like Sea Shepherd that are protecting animals and their habitats. To find out how you can help protect wild animals, please see this list of 10 other wildlife conservation groups.