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Victim Uses Media Interest in His Assault to Generate Attention for Abused Animals

March 21, 2015 by Leave a Comment


The News

When Direct Action Everywhere (DxE) organizer Nicholas Shaw-Mcminn arrived at an upscale French restaurant in California to protest foie gras, he was not expecting to be attacked with a weapon by the restaurant manager. But you’d think he was, based on his thoughtful reaction that led to extensive media coverage exposing the atrocities of foie gras production.

Restaurant manager attacks DxE activist Matthew Shaw-Mcminn

Omar Haddedou, the manager of Le Vallauris in Palm Springs, attacks DxE activist Nicholas Shaw-Mcminn (photo: DxE)

La Vallauris patrons could hear DxE activists speaking out against foie gras cruelty from the restaurant's parking lot.

DxE activists spoke out against foie gras cruelty from the Le Vallauris parking lot, which is in earshot of the restaurant’s outdoor seating.

Wayne Hsiung, a co-founder of DxE, commended Nick’s reaction: “Even as his face was being clubbed, Nick directly confronted the violence with camera in hand. He did not run. He did not strike back. He did not even curse. He calmly continued recording.”

When asked by a reporter why he didn’t press charges against his assailant, Nick shifted the story to the animals, asserting that the pain he felt is something the animals experience every day: “We want to keep the attention on the animals and not make it just about me. Violent people are causing horrible harm to animals, and someone needs to be there to bring awareness and to try to end this violence.”

Nick is no stranger to being assaulted during a protest. In 2014, several staff members of BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse in San Bernadino, California, aggressively ejected him from the restaurant as he attempted – by  himself – to speak out on behalf of the animals who were being eaten.

DxE’s Wayne Hsiung argues that the physical backlash experienced by Nick and many other activists serves to strengthen the animal rights movement: “The press coverage that results from these incidents has exposed hundreds of thousands of people to the plight of animals and has triggered activists around the world to ask us how they can participate in our non-violent, direct actions.”

After he was attacked in Palm Springs, Nick insisted that the protest continue, in spite of the fact that his face was battered: “These attacks only strengthen my resolve to fight for the animals.” As they were leaving the parking lot, the DxE activists encountered a man overcome with rage who frantically repeated, “Take George Soros and go!” — giving participants a second story to tell.  See for yourself:

Your Turn

To learn more about DxE and create or join a DxE group near you, please visit Direct Action Everywhere.


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Shortest Animal Rights Campaign In History?

September 23, 2014 by Leave a Comment


The News

Eight hours after an animal rights group asked its supporters to leave comments opposing foie gras on the Facebook wall of The Sopwell House, the well-known hotel and spa in England announced that it will remove foie gras from its restaurant’s menu. It was that easy.

“We have reconsidered our offerings, and this dish will now be removed by our Executive Head Chef. Kindly note that it will take a couple of weeks for our menus to be reprinted. However, please be reassured that we are no longer serving foie gras.”

Sopwell House ends sale of foie gras

Sopwell House to remove foie gras from menu

In response to the news, Hertfordshire Animal Rights spokesperson Tod Bradbury said, “We would like to publicly thank Sopwell House for listening to the concerns of the public. Foie gras does not belong in a civilised society – it is undeniably cruel. We hope Sopwell House can be an inspiration to other purveyors of foie gras in the area.”

Foie gras is produced by force feeding ducks and geese through metal pipes until their livers become diseased, swelling up to ten times their normal size.

foie gras force feeding

Hertfordshire Animal Rights has stopped the sale of foie gras at five restaurants in England since August and intends to continue its campaign until the region is foie gras free. In the United States, the production and sale of foie gras were banned in California in 2012. A similar ban was passed in Chicago in 2006, but it was overturned in 2008.

In his 2011 book The Foie Gras Wars, Chicago Tribune reporter Marc Caro profiled the Humane League of Philadelphia’s multi-year campaign to stop the sale of foie gras in local restaurants. According to activist Nick Cooney, who ran the campaign, between 80% – 85% of the targeted restaurants ultimately removed foie gras from the menu.

foie gras wars

Your Turn

As evidenced by the victories in England, California and Philadelphia, grassroots activism works. If you live near a restaurant that serves foie gras, then you can employ the same tactics used by Hertfordshire Animal Rights and the Humane League to campaign against the sale of foie gras. To learn more, please watch Farm Sanctuary’s undercover investigation of a foie gras farm.


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