Each year before Yom Kippur, the Jewish day of atonement, tens of thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jews around the world swing chickens around their heads in a ritual to transfer their sins to the animals, who they then slaughter and dump in the garbage. In Brooklyn, an army of activists, many of whom are observant Jews, clashed in the streets with the perpetrators as police officers struggled to control the chaos.
In July, the Alliance to Ban Chickens as Kaporosfiled a lawsuit to stop the ritual slaughter from taking place in 2015. On September 14th, a NY County Supreme Court Judge denied that request and the request to require the NYPD and other city agencies to enforce the fifteen health, sanitation and anti-cruelty laws and regulations that are violated by the event. With the possibility of an appeal and other legal actions, the attorney for the plaintiffs, Nora Constance Marino, said, “It’s not over.”
Activists protest Kaporos chicken massacre in Brooklyn
Please join the Facebook page The Alliance to End Chickens as Kaporos to lend your voice and support to the tens of thousands of chickens who are stuffed into crates, swung and slaughtered each year in the name of God.
In one of the most highly anticipated animal events of 2015, thousands of people traveled to High Falls, New York on September 5th to celebrate the grand re-opening of the Woodstock Farm Sanctuary in its new location. Situated on 150 lush green acres, the new sanctuary will serve not only as a refuge for rescued farm animals but also as a living classroom for visitors and a venue for cruelty-free events, such as summer camps and celebrations.
Jenny Brown and Doug Abel, the founders of Woodstock Farm Sanctuary, opened the original location in upstate New York on 26 acres, but they – and the animals they rescue who serve as ambassadors to all victims of animal agriculture – have outgrown the space. The new sanctuary is six times the size and far more expensive to own and operate. Please support Woodstock Farm Sanctuary by making a contribution or becoming a member.
In the past couple of days, millions of people on social media, who don’t normally address animal cruelty, have expressed sorrow and outrage about the murder of Cecil, the beloved lion in Zimbabwe. While we have people’s attention, how can we tap into these powerful emotions to awaken them to the plight of other animals who are equally deserving of a life free from harm? How can we help people connect the dots between Cecil, who endured 40 hours of agony, and the billions of farm animals whose entire lives are consumed by suffering?
Please use this rare moment in time when the world is paying attention to ensure that Cecil did not die in vain and that his murder is wake-up call to the millions of people who have not made the connection between the animals we love – like lions, whales and dogs – and the animals we consume. They are all the same.
One easy way to help people make the connection is to share these images on Facebook and convey your thoughts about why farm animals deserve to live in peace just as much as Cecil.
On a trip to Spain in 2010, Aylam Orian, an actor and filmmaker from Los Angeles, stumbled upon a public spectacle that would change his life forever — a ceremony in which dozens of animal rights activists displayed the bodies of dead animals to help observers make the connection between the animals they were seeing and the food on their plates. It was an event so provocative and impactful that it inspired Mr. Orian to replicate it in the United States.
Igualdad Animal (Animal Equality) stages animal rights rally in Spain
Animal rights rally in Spain
Five years later, Mr. Orian is, with the help of dozens of volunteers, producing the fifth National Animal Rights Day (NARD), with rallies in eight cities in the U.S. and Canada that are expected to attract over 1,000 participants.
2014 National Animal Rights Day in Los Angeles
The use of animals’ bodies has its critics, but Mr. Orian asserts that the tactic helps observers connect the dots: “Most people never see farm animals in their lives; they only see their body parts on their plates. When we show them what these animals look like in the flesh, cradled in our arms like you would cradle a baby or a beloved pet, they feel something. Many stop to ask questions, and that gives us a chance to inspire them to change their lifestyle.”
National Animal Rights Day ceremony observers (photo: John Hays)
National Animal Rights Day Founder Aylam Orian in 2013 (photo: Sarah Jane Hardt]
2015 National Animal Rights Day in Toronto, Canada (photo: Joanne McArthur)
When people criticize the ceremony, Mr. Orian explains that the deceased animals, all of whom were donated, are treated with exceptional respect: “Instead of being ground up in a rendering plant or thrown into the garbage, we clean them, treat them with dignity and, after the ceremony, cremate them and spread their ashes. It’s the only tenderness most of these animals will ever receive.”
Animal rights activists pay their respects at a National Animal Rights Day ceremony
2015 National Animal Rights Day in Los Angeles (photo: Cameron Wapner)
Jane Velez-Mitchell of Jane UnChained spoke to Mr. Orian to talk about National Animal Rights Day, the controversial use of deceased animals and the impact of the rallies on the public.
The National Animal Rights Day ceremonies are produced by Mr. Orian’s newly-incorporated charity, Our Planet, Theirs Too, and are taking place on May 30th in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Colorado Springs, Seattle, Toronto and Ottowa and on June 7th in New York and Northampton (MA).
2015 National Animal Rights Day Toronto, Canada (photo: Joanne McArthur)
National Animal Rights Day 2015 (photo: John Hays)
In a speech on climate change at Yale University’s School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Tom Vilsack, defended the intensive confinement of farm animals on the grounds of demand, saying “the market has been encouraging [farmers] to do that.” He also stated unequivocally that abuse on factory farms is the exception, not the norm, in spite of the fact that confinement is, in and of itself, abusive and that animal mutilation is standard practice on industrialized farms.
Animal rights activist Zach Groff confronts USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack
Mr. Vilsack made the remarks in response to the following question posed by animal rights activist and Direct Action Everywhere (DxE) organizer Zach Groff: “You are on the record supporting more subsidies for animal agriculture, defending animal agriculture left and right whether it goes for pink slime or keeping animal products in the [government’s] nutritional guidelines. Everyone in this room knows that animal agriculture is devastating for forests, for the climate, for the water supply. But most ignored is that there are innocent animals who are routinely the victims of horrendous violence. And I want to ask you – why do you support horrendous violence against innocent animals?”
After Mr. Vilsack addressed Mr. Groff’s remarks, categorically denying the inherent cruelty of animal agriculture, DxE activists disrupted the event, chanting “It’s not food. It’s violence” as they exited the auditorium.
Brian Burns, a DxE spokesperson said, “Tom Vilsack is dangerous. His carefully crafted messages about built-in animal protections and his sympathetic tone belie the fact that he is subsidizing the country’s most violent industry with our tax dollars. And his lies about animal agriculture, which must sound compelling to those who are uninformed, serve to marginalize the activists who are fighting to end the cruelty.”
USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack
DxE activists disrupt USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack after he minimized animal abuse on factory farms
Activists say that Mr. Vilsack is the American version of Barnaby Joyce, Australia’s Minster of Agriculture who notoriously works to convince the public that the millions of sheep and cattle who are abused and tortured in his country’s live export trade are treated “humanely in almost every instance.”
Has Australia’s Minister of Agriculture Barnaby Joyce met his match?
DxE is growing rapidly. In the 1.5 years since launching the “It’s not food. It’s violence” campaign, the organization has added chapters in 110 cities in 24 countries, including India, Bolivia, Romania, Indonesia and the Republic of Georgia. Following is short video highlighting their recent non-violent direct actions.
Please visit Direct Action Everywhere to learn about, support and/or join the organization’s ground-breaking campaign to expose animal cruelty in the very spots where it is taking place.