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


Zoo Visitor Crushes Tasmanian Devil in His Small Enclosure

October 21, 2014 by Leave a Comment

The News

A Tasmanian devil crawled into his enclosure and died after a visitor crushed him with a block of asphalt at the Albuquerque Zoo in New Mexico. With no surveillance cameras at the devil exhibit, law enforcement probably won’t find the killer.

photo: Dean Hanson/Albuquerque Journal

photo: Dean Hanson/Albuquerque Journal

A spokesman for the local Mayor said that “our poor Tasmanian devil was killed, intentionally, by what seems to be blunt force trauma to the head.”

Photo: AAP/Dave Hunt

Photo: AAP/Dave Hunt

Jasper, one of four devils acquired by the zoo several months ago, came from the Healesville Sanctuary, a zoo in Australia. Healesville is attempting to breed several thousand devils in captivity for eventual release because the wild population in Tasmania is being decimated by a contagious facial cancer.

Contagious facial tumor

Contagious facial tumor

In the wild, Tasmanian devils, who are nocturnal, swim across rivers, hunt, eat with other devils, climb trees, run exceptionally fast and have complex sex lives. Captivity can’t possibly meet the instinctual needs of these animals, but, at the moment, it might be their only chance at survival.

tasmanian devil screech

Devils are famous for their strong bite and blood-curdling screech


After a three-week old tiger drowned at the London zoo in 2012, PETA called for a boycott, describing the zoo as a “prison with living exhibits.” The zoo director, David Field, defended captivity, saying “Conservation breeding programmes are the only way to ensure a future for these animals.”

If members of a species are forced to sacrifice their freedom to help to conserve the entire species, then they should at the very least be housed in sanctuaries. Zoos are inherently inhumane, and they teach children that animals are exhibits, not individuals who want to live freely.

Your Turn

The ideal way to preserve wildlife is to support the work of groups like Sea Shepherd that protect animals in their own habitats.

Filed under: Entertainment, WIldlife
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Every Nation is the Worst Offender

October 12, 2014 by Leave a Comment


In moments of frustration and anger, many of us demonize an entire country when we learn about the atrocities they commit against animals, but those feelings are misguided. Only a small percentage of people in any country participate in the abuse, and most are probably unaware. In addition, whatever country we happen to call home is probably committing abuses that are every bit as bad, so why point a finger?  Every nation is culpable:

The French insert tubes down the throats of ducks and force feed them:

Force-feeding of a goose to make foie gras

The Spanish set some bulls on fire and chase others through city streets:

photo: Jose Jordan/AFP/Getty Images

photo: Jose Jordan/AFP/Getty Images

The Chinese skin animals alive for fur:

skinned alive

Americans lasso young animals, wrestle them to the ground and twist their necks at rodeos:

Rodeo cruelty

Canadians club baby seals:

Canadian seal hunt

Africans tear the tusks out of elephants’ faces:

Photo: Mark Deeble & Victoria Stone

Photo: Mark Deeble & Victoria Stone

Australians hack flesh out of sheep to keep insects out of their wool:


Mexicans stab bulls to death to cheering crowds:


The Danish drive pilot whales into the shore and butcher them:

Denmark whaling

Photo: Sea Shepherd

The Japanese shoot harpoons with explosives into protected whales and serve animals at restaurants who are still alive:



This list goes on. Instead of vilifying entire countries, which does nothing to help their animals, we should target our anger – and energy – toward those who commit the atrocities and the authorities who have the power to stop them.

Filed under: Opinion
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“Ag Gag” Bill Blocked, but Agribusiness To Escalate Fight To Keep Cameras Out

September 25, 2014 by Leave a Comment

The News

An “ag gag” bill that was introduced in Southern Australia after undercover investigations exposed animal abuse on pork and wool farms has been voted down. The Surveillance Devices Bill would have penalized activists with up to $15,000 in fines or with imprisonment for releasing footage taken of factory farms.

gestation crates

What agribusiness doesn’t want consumers to see

The Sydney Morning Herald, which declared the vote “a win for consumer advocacy, workers’ rights, freedom of the press and animal protection,” cautioned that supporters of “ag gag” will push for legislation at the federal level.

Following is a two minute non-graphic video taken inside of a pig factory farm in Australia. As the Communications Director of Animals Australia describes the conditions, the intelligent pigs in the background attempt to escape from the intensive confinement of their cages:

Your Turn

As reported on TheirTurn in August, supporters of ag-gag in Australia attempted to disguise the bill as a measure to protect farm animals when its true intent is to keep the public in the dark. Most consumers continue to be unaware of the existence of factory farms and probably believe that the animals who they eat are raised on the green pastures shown on the packaging.

As activists, we must ensure that the work being done by undercover investigators is protected by law and distributed widely to the public. To that end, please share Mercy For Animals’ video  – Farm to Fridge – that takes viewers behind the scenes on modern-day factory Farms.

Filed under: Food, Victories
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Senator Attempts to Disguise Ag Gag Bill as “Animal Protection”

August 19, 2014 by Leave a Comment

The News

After recent undercover investigations cast a negative light on Australia’s wool and pork industries, a Senator is introducing a bill that would criminalize the taking of photos and video of “a legally operating animal enterprise.” But instead of calling it what it is – “ag gag” – the Senator is attempting to disguise the proposed law as one that would “strengthen genuine animal welfare protections.” Of course, eliminating transparency by keeping out the cameras will make conditions worse for the animals, as agribusiness will have no incentive to minimize abuse. The law would also require animal rights activists to turn over their video evidence of animal abuse to the proper authorities within 24 or 48 hours. In other words, if you do manage to get footage of animal abuse, you have to both incriminate yourself for trespassing AND turn over the footage to people who are not going to publicize it, as the activists would.

Photo: Animals Australia

Photo: Animals Australia

Your Turn

In light of public support for transparency and whistle-blowing, ag-gag proponents are attempting to hide their true intent — keeping the public in the dark — behind not only “animal protections” but also “biosecurity,” as if the mere presence of an activist with a camera is going to spread disease in a shed with thousands of animals living in their own excrement. The cameras don’t pose a risk to anyone but the abusers. Please see how you can support the effort to block ag gag bills.

Filed under: Food, Investigations
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Australia to Resume Live Animal Exports to Iran

May 29, 2014 by Leave a Comment

The News

Australia is set to resume the export of sheep and cattle to Iran after a 30-year ban. Hundreds of thousands of animals are already exported by boat to the Middle East each year, but the industry experienced a financial set back when exports to Indonesia were temporarily banned in 2011 after Australian TV aired graphic footage “showing brutal treatment of cattle in Indonesian abattoirs.” Regarding the resumption of exports to Iran, Australian lawmaker Andrew Wilkie said, “That is just appalling news. The fact is that the live-animal export trade is systemically cruel.” In 2011, thousands of people around the country marched against live animal exports.

News & Opinion

According to the animal rights group Animals Australia, “Most animals who are exported live for slaughter have their throats cut while fully conscious. Millions have died at sea. Some 30 investigations have revealed that in destination countries, many animals endure routine abuse and brutal slaughter in places where laws do not protect them from cruelty.” For more information and to find out how you can help, please visit Ban Live Export.

Filed under: Food
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