An estimated 1,200 animal rights activists took to the streets of San Francisco to participate in a dramatic march for animal liberation. Organizers made planned stops at Sephora, Uggs and Burger King to draw attention to the cruelty of animals in the cosmetics, clothing and food industries. They also staged a mass die-in to draw attention to the plight of elephants and other animals exploited in the entertainment industry. TheirTurn spoke to onlookers along the parade route to get their reactions:
Organized by the global animal rights network Direct Action Everywhere (DxE), the march was one of several high profile actions staged during the organization’s one-week Animal Liberation Conference, which was held in the nearby city of Berkeley. After the march, DxE staged a rally in Union Square featuring renowned activists James Aspey; Natasha from That Vegan Couple and Wayne Hsiung, co-founder of Direct Action Everywhere.
2018 Animal Liberation March hosted by the animal liberation network, Direct Action Everywhere (DxE)
The march was organized by the global animal rights network Direct Action Everywhere (DxE) and was one of several high profile actions staged during the organization’s one-week Animal Liberation Conference, which was held in the nearby city of Berkeley.
On May 8th, animal rights activists in Dublin, Ireland, liberated nine lobsters from a Chinese restaurant and released them into their natural habitat, giving them the chance to live and generating widespread media attention about the cruelty of boiling live animals.
Animal rights activists scoop lobsters out of small tank in Dublin restaurant
Activists remove rubber bands from lobster claws before releasing them into the sea. (photo: NARA)
In an interview with BBC, the founder of the National Animal Rights Association (NARA), Laura Broxson, said that the activists were motivated by compassion in what was a “life or death” situation for the lobsters: “They were free and had the chance to live, rather than facing certain death by being boiled alive.”
By intentionally revealing their faces while filming the liberation (“Open Rescue”), the participants could face legal consequences, a risk that some activists take in order to show the public that they are regular, relatable people, not the mask-wearing “terrorists” portrayed in the media. The real terrorists, they argue, are those who exploit and kill animals, not those who rescue them from egregious abuse and imminent death.
In January, activists with London Vegan Actions used a different approach to advocate for lobsters – staging a loud disruption on their behalf inside of a restaurant that serves them at multiple locations. Using a megaphone, they chanted, “If you want to get some peace, make the lobster torture cease.” After being aggressively ejected from the restaurant by staff, the activists continued to chant through the bullhorn at the restaurant’s entrance.
In the United States alone, more than 20 million lobsters are consumed each year. The unthinkable end of lobsters’ lives – being boiled or torn apart while still alive – often overshadows the horrific journey they take from the ocean to the kitchen. After being caught in traps and dragged out of their homes onto boats, lobsters are transferred into restaurant or grocery store tanks where they suffer from hunger, low oxygen level, stress, confinement and overcrowding. Scientists have proven that lobsters suffer.
Rina Deych, a New York City-based activist who has spoken out against home delivery of live lobsters said, “We are quick to demonize people in other cultures for boiling puppies and kittens alive, yet in our society, people think nothing of dropping a sentient creature of another species into a pot of boiling water.”
In 2008, an Australian apparel company called Just Jeans produced a provocative commercial in which customers in Chinese restaurant make a spur of the moment decision to empty the lobster tank and release the animals into the ocean.
The Dublin liberation was conducted by the National Animal Rights Association, Direct Action for Animals and The Alliance for Animal Rights.
In September, animal rights activists liberated 80 foxes from their small, wire cages at a fur farm in Poland. After, they issued the following statement: “The animals have escaped a cruel death, which inevitably would have awaited them at the hands of the farmer. Take matters into your own hands!”
On fur farms, animals are held captive in small cages, where they go insane from immobility, boredom and the inability to do anything that comes naturally to them.
Life in a wire mesh cage
And, after a life of utter misery, they are gassed, anally electrocuted or skinned alive.
Wild animals captured for fur are caught in steel leg hold traps, medieval torture devices that hold them hostage until they die or are collected by the trapper.
Steel leg hold trap
Given the extreme cruelty to which fur-bearing animals are subjected, it’s no wonder why activists around the world sacrifice their freedom and safety to liberate them and why so many rejoice when an animal trapper gets caught in his own trap:
Please sign the Change.org petition to ban fur farming in the European Union.
In an a op ed about the importance of humanities in education, NY Times writer Nicholas Kristof says that one of the three philosophers who has “shaped the world” is Princeton Professor Peter Singer, who “pioneered the public discussion of our moral obligations to animals” with his 1975 book “Animal Liberation.” Kristof points out that, in his book, Singer argues that “it’s wrong to inflict cruelty on cows, hogs or chickens just so that we can enjoy a tasty lunch.” That is an extraordinarily important message for NY Times readers to see.
Kristof has written extensively about the cruelty of factory farms, but, oddly, he still eats meat. In a beautifully written 2008 op ed in which he describes how thoughtful, intelligent and aware the animals were on his childhood farm, he says “Perhaps it seems like soggy sentimentality as well as hypocrisy to stand up for animal rights, particularly when I enjoy dining on these same animals.” In today’s op ed, he says, “I’m not a vegetarian, although I’m sometimes tempted.” Mr. Kristof: If you know about the horrors of modern-day animal agriculture and are tempted to go veg, then just do it – for the animals, for your health and for the environment.