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


Americans To Protest Australia’s “Horrific” Live Export Trade

March 28, 2015 by Leave a Comment

The News

For the first time ever, U.S. animal rights activists are staging a protest against Australia’s live export trade. The organizer, Loretta Smalls, says it’s “a show of solidarity with thousands of our Australian brothers and sisters who are fighting to ban the horrific practice.” The protest will take place at the Australian consulate in Los Angeles on April 15th.

U.S. Animal Rights Activists To Protest Australia's "horrific" Live Export Trade

U.S. animal rights activists to protest Australia’s “horrific” live export trade in Los Angeles on 4/15

Each year, Australia ships millions of live sheep, cattle and goats to countries in the Middle East and Asia where they are slaughtered for meat. Footage taken during more than 30 investigations conducted by Animals Australia demonstrates that many of the animals who are exported endure “routine abuse” and “brutal slaughter” in countries that have few, if any, protections in place for animals. In addition, millions of animals have died on the ships during the treacherous overseas journeys.

For the Australian activists, the U.S. protest can’t come soon enough. “We need all the international support that we can get,” said Sue Clarke, an activist in Brisbane, Australia. “In spite of growing public demand to end live exports, our government is working to expand them.” In fact, Australia is finalizing plans to ship an estimated one million cattle to China each year. If the $1 billion deal is signed, the number of cattle exported would double from its current levels.

live export cows

Cows being unloaded from a live transport ship

As the government works to increase the number of animals exported, it is also reducing the amount of oversight, which, according to Australian activists, is already wholly inadequate. Starting on April 1st, the Department of Agriculture will decrease by 30% the number of audits of unloading docks, feedlots, slaughterhouses and other live export facilities.

Australian cow in Gaza (photo: Animals Australia)

Australian cow in Gaza (photo: Animals Australia)

Protests against the live export trade across Australia attract hundreds of people, but the government is unmoved by the public backlash and the graphic videos that have triggered it. In fact, Australia’s Minister of Agriculture Barnaby Joyce stated in late January that a review of the government’s oversight program “demonstrates that Australian livestock exported overseas are treated humanely in almost every instance.”

Live export protest in Sydney (photo: James Morgan)

Live export protest in Sydney (photo: James Morgan)

Of all of the countries in Asia and the Middle East that receive live exports from Australia, only Israel has a community of local activists who are working to stop them. According to the Israeli group Against Live Transports, about 200,000 sheep and cattle are shipped each year from Australia to Israel. The entire trip from the feedlots in Australia to the slaughterhouses in Israel is treacherous for the animals, but the activists call particular attention to the one leg of the journey for which they have the most documentation – the unloading of the animals. On April 8th, dozens of Israeli activists are traveling to the port city of Eilat to protest the arrival of a transport ship from Australia.

Israeli activists protesting live animal exports

Animal rights activists with Against Live Transports use street theater to educate the public about live export cruelty (photo: Against Live Transports)


Live export protest in Eilat, Israel on April 8th. Translation: Stop the Horror (photo: Against Live Transports)

The U.S. and Israel are not the only countries to protest Australia’s live export trade. Activists in the Czech Republic, Greece and Egypt have also demonstrated in solidarity with Australian activists — while activists in England battle their own country’s live animal exports.

live export protest in the Czech Republic

Activists with 269Life in the Czech Republic protest Australia’s live exports

Your Turn

If you live in or near Los Angeles, please participate in the protest against Australia on April 15th.

Please visit Stop Live Exports and Animals Australia’s Ban Live Export initiative to learn more about live exports and find out how you can help.

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Three Victories to Celebrate!

December 11, 2014 by Leave a Comment

The News

Today, it really is Their Turn! We have three victories to celebrate – each better the next.

First up – Eight female pigs are jumping for joy – literally – because their recent journey from gestation cage to slaughterhouse was pleasantly interrupted by people who liberated them. The brains behind the rescue? A student taking a “swine production” class who fell in love with them. The money? None other than Sam Simon, the Simpsons co-creator who is donating his fortune to animal rights causes.

Next up- the gay bull in Ireland who became an international sensation when his story went viral. As Benjy was being fattened up for a premature slaughter because he wasn’t inseminating female cows, the Irish animal rights group ARAN convinced his owner to sell him. Now, Benjy will live out his remaining years at a luxurious sanctuary, serving as an ambassador to all farm animals. And who’s funding his retirement? A few hundred people made contributions, but Sam Simon swooped in with the big bucks to close the deal.

Last, but not least, lawmakers in Oakland, California, have voted to ban the use of bull hooks, the weapons used by circuses to beat their elephants into submission (see video below). Los Angeles is the only other U.S. city with a bull hook ban. Without these weapons, the monsters at Ringling Bros. will be unable to bring their battered elephants into the city limits. The ban doesn’t go into effect until 2017, but it’s a major victory, and it sets a precedent for other municipalities. Let’s hope that Ringling employees don’t take out their anger on the elephants.

Your Turn

Hit the pause button to celebrate, share and be re-energized by the victories.

Filed under: Entertainment, Food, Victories
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Oakland Weighs Ban on Bull Hooks

November 26, 2014 by Leave a Comment

The News

Lawmakers in Oakland, California, are considering a ban on bull hooks, a move that would prevent Ringling Bros. from bringing its circus elephants to that city. Bull hooks are weapons used to inflict pain on elephants in order to keep them submissive and obedient.

Four of eight Council Members in Oakland are poised to vote in favor of outlawing bull hooks. One member told the press, “We’re not going to look the other way when it comes to torturing animals.”

Circus elephants are tied down & assaulted with bull hooks at a young age

Circus elephants are tied down & assaulted with bull hooks at a young age

A spokesperson for Ringling, who describes bull hooks as “USDA-approved husbandry tools,” says that the circus cannot have elephants without them and will not come to Oakland at all if they cannot bring elephants, feeding into the concerns expressed by some Council Members about the economic impact of a ban.

Fear of bull hooks keeps elephants submissive (Photo: Amy Meyer)

Fear of bull hooks keeps elephants submissive (Photo: Amy Meyer)

In 2013, the Los Angeles City Council passed a law banning bull hooks that takes effect in 2017.  The lawmakers made their decision after viewing PETA’s undercover footage of Ringling trainers attacking elephants with bull hooks.

In addition to being beaten, elephants and other wild animals forced to perform in circuses, are deprived of the chance to do anything that comes naturally to them and are forced to travel in small boxcars on trains for days at a time while traveling between cities.

Ringling circus elephant in box car

Photo: PETA

The use of elephants in circuses has already been banned in Bolivia, Peru, Slovenia, Cyprus, Greece, Paraguay, Columbia, the Netherlands. A ban in the United Kingdom goes into effect in 2015.

Your Turn

If you live in Oakland or in San Francisco area, please see In Defense of Animal’s Action Center.

If you live elsewhere, please see five ways you can help end the use of animals in circuses.

Ringling Bros

Ringling Bros.

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Los Angeles Bans Use of Bullhooks on Circus Elephants

October 24, 2013 by Leave a Comment

The News

Los Angeles became the first city in the United States to ban bullhooks, tools used by elephant trainers in traveling circuses to “keep elephants under control.” According to the L.A. Times, “voting unanimously, the City Council asked the city attorney’s office to prepare an ordinance outlawing the use of the bullhook. Baseball bats, ax handles, pitchforks and other implements used on the pachyderms would also be banned.” Some activists are angry that the Council” agreed to give circuses three years to either change how they handle elephants or remove them from shows altogether.” Because elephants cannot be controlled without bullhooks, a ban on their use is really a ban on the use of elephants. According to One Green Planet, circuses that use elephants have already been banned in Bolivia, Peru, Slovenia, Cyprus, Greece, Paraguay, Columbia, the Netherlands. A ban in the U.K. goes into effect in 2015.

Circus Elephant Trainer with bullhook

Circus Elephant Trainer with bullhook

News & Opinion

Bullhooks are weapons used by “trainers” to scare captive elephants into submission. Their use is one of many reasons why elephants and other wild animals should not be used in circuses. If you support a ban on circus animals, then please see this article published by One Green Planet on ways you can help.

Filed under: Entertainment, Victories
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