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


Dozens of Activists Protest Dog Meat Eating Festival At Korean Consulate

July 20, 2016 by Leave a Comment

The News

On July 15th, approximately 40 activists staged a protest at the South Korean consulate in New York City to demand that the government ban a dog meat eating festival, Boknal, that takes place every July in Korea. While displaying the posters and chanting “Cultural Justification is No Excuse For Animal Abuse,” the protesters distributed handouts to pedestrians and gathered hundreds of signatures on a petition that will be hand-delivered to Korean diplomats.

Animal rights activists protesting at the Korean embassy.

Animal rights activists protesting at the Korean consulate

“We stand in solidarity with the Korean activists who risk their lives to rescue dogs from hellish farms and who give them the loving homes they deserve,” said Roberto Bonelli of Animals Battalion, the group that organized the protest. “All animal slaughter is wrong, regardless of the species, and, when activists around the world rise up in protest, we will be there to support them.”

Animal rights activists protest at the Korean embassy.

Animal rights activists protesting at the Korean consulate.

One protester, Silva Baker, told TheirTurn about two dogs who she adopted from activists who rescued them from a South Korean dog farm: “I look into Jacks and Gigi eyes every single day, and I can’t believe what would have happened to them. Now I look at these at these pictures, and I think of all the unlucky dogs that are still there.”

Silva Baker adopted two dogs rescued from a South Korean dog farm.

Silva Baker adopted two dogs rescued from a South Korean dog farm.

Every year, approximately 2.5 million dogs are slaughtered in South Korea. Some of them are specifically raised for food (on filthy backyard farms); others are kidnapped or were abandoned by their owners. When transported to the slaughterhouse, the dogs are stuffed into crates so small that they cannot move. The methods of slaughter include throat-slitting, bludgeoning with metal poles or hanging. Some dogs are intentionally tortured before being slaughtered because of a superstitious belief that the meat of tortured animals is healthier.

In South Korea, dogs around 2.5 million dogs are killed for their flesh every year.

In South Korea, around 2.5 million dogs are killed for their flesh every year.

Your Turn

To learn more about how you can help end South Korea’s dog meat trade, please visit

To find out about future protests regarding South Korea’s dog meat trade, please follow The Animals’ Battalion.

Filed under: Food
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Outrage Over Dog Leather Opens Door to Discussion about Cow Skin Products

December 23, 2014 by Leave a Comment


In mid-December, PETA Asia released undercover footage of workers in China bludgeoning dogs with sticks and peeling off their skin in order to make gloves, belts and other accessories.

Media reports suggest that people around the world are outraged by the violence against the dogs, as they should be. But the dog skin trade is no more abusive than the cow skin trade.

cow leather

During their treacherous lives on factory farms and in feedlots, cows are branded, castrated and dehorned with no painkillers. Shouldn’t we be equally outraged by these abuses? And, if so, then how can we justify buying cow leather?

Some people argue that dogs deserve a free pass because they’re companion animals. Even if that could be used as a justification, it’s inaccurate. In China, dogs are food. Their skin is another source of revenue, much like cow skin in Western countries.

Dog skin gloves

Dog skin gloves are sold as “leather” in the U.S.

Skin belongs to the animal who was born with it, not to people who want to make things out of it. Suggesting that one animal deserves to keep her skin more than another is arbitrary. With all of the non-animal alternatives available to us, we simply cannot justify stealing anyone’s skin.

Filed under: Clothes
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After Much Debate, Denmark to Ban Bestiality

October 13, 2014 by Leave a Comment

The News

In response to an onslaught of negative press, Denmark is outlawing bestiality on the grounds that animals cannot consent to sex. Denmark is the last European country where sex with animals is legal, which explains why busloads of tourists from other countries travel there to engage in legal bestiality.

Animal rights activists have been lobbying for a ban for years, but authorities resisted due to fears that it could drive the worst offenders underground. Lawmakers also rejected the idea in the past because Denmark’s ethics advisory body said that a crime is not committed if the animal isn’t injured. That argument, however, was diminished by evidence of atrocities against animals used in the sex trade.


The 2014 documentary Animal F*ckers, which chronicles the efforts of animal rights activists to ban sex with animals, presented a nuanced view of the practice, informing viewers that zoophilia (attraction to animals) is, for some, a sexual orientation, not a fetish, and that “zoophiles” love and care for their animal companions.

In the film, Oliver Burdinski, a German man who speaks openly about his sexual relationship with his dog, says, “When I was 14 or 15, I wasn’t sure if it was right, so I tried to get human partners. But I was not happy with them. I tried to be normal. In 1994, I got internet and realized that I’m not alone.”

Oliver Burdinski says his huskie decides when they have sex.

Oliver Burdinski says his Siberian Husky decides when they have sex. (photo:


If Denmark outlaws bestiality on the grounds that the animals cannot consent, then will lawmakers take a closer look at other circumstances in which animals are exploited without their consent? Gestation crates on factory farms have been banned in other European countries, yet they’re still legal in Denmark. What pig would willingly reside in an indoor crate that is so small that she can’t turn around or lie down?

Filed under: Companion Animals, Victories
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In Just One Week, Group Exposes Illegal Abuse at Three University Labs

October 10, 2014 by Leave a Comment

The News

In the past week,  the organization Stop Animal Exploitation Now (SAEN) has uncovered egregious acts of violence against animals by lab workers at three different universities. In all three cases, SAEN has filed complaints with the U.S. Department of Agriculture asking for penalties and/or for the studies to be terminated.

SAEN animal testing

Here’s what SAEN’s uncovered by combing through records:

At The University of South Florida (USF), lab workers deprived monkeys of water, leading to at least one death.

At Oregon Health & Science Univsersity (OHSU), an animal caretaker was exposed for repeatedly punching a pig in her face, drawing blood. Within a week of her arrival, the pig was killed in a “terminal procedure.”

Protesters block OHSU animal research site in 2010 (photo: Brent Wojahn/The Oregonian)

Protesters block OHSU animal research site in 2010 (photo: Brent Wojahn/The Oregonian)

At Washington University in St. Louis, a lab technician with “a history of rough handling of animals” was exposed for punching a dog with “a closed fist.”

After a busy week exposing the lab abuse and filing complaints, SAEN’s Executive Director Michael Budkie reflected on the individuals for whom he is fighting: “As if being caged in a lab and subjected to painful experiments isn’t bad enough, these animals are often victims of gratuitous abuse — abuse that is rarely exposed because of the extreme measures taken to hide the truth. But SAEN will continue to use all tools available to us to shine a spotlight on these abusive facilities until they’re shut down for good.”

SAEN's recent victories

SAEN’s recent victories

As expected, all three of the universities issued statements claiming that they “place a high priority on the proper care and treatment of research animals” and that “mistreatment of any research animal is not tolerated.”

Your Turn

In 2012, In Defense of Animals (IDA), another organization that works to end laboratory abuses, released the findings of a two year undercover investigation at OHSU. Here’s what they exposed then is consistent with the abuses that continue today:

Please visit to learn more about these incidents and find out what small steps you can take to be a voice for animals who are held captive and used in painful, unethical, redundant and unnecessary laboratory experiments.

Filed under: Experimentation
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Our Choice of Words Matters

October 8, 2014 by Leave a Comment


When advocates refer to an animal as “it” instead of “he” or “she,” we reinforce the perception that animals are objects, not living beings. Why do we do that? Bad habit? Because we don’t know the sex? Because that’s what the media does?

homeless dog

How can we expect others to regard an animal as “someone” (who deserves to be treated kindly) as opposed to “something” (which can be discarded) when we ourselves describe animals as inanimate objects?

chicken is someone

The burden is on us to use every opportunity we can find in our daily lives to use “he” or “she” or “him” or her” when referring to an animal. Let’s lead by example.

Filed under: Opinion
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