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


Jenny’s Aha Moment

June 29, 2016 by Leave a Comment

The News

While eating in a restaurant in Brooklyn, Jenny Amlen saw skinned lambs being unloaded from a nearby truck. At that moment, she made the connection between the burger on her plate and the animal who was killed for it.

“I saw almost 100 slaughtered lambs being thrown into a shopping cart in broad daylight. I saw their eyes, and it was devastating, shocking and heartbreaking. I thought then that they were mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers just like us,” said Jenny Amlen. “Honestly, it reminded me of the Holocaust. It was just lambs instead of humans.”

Jenny sent the video footage to TheirTurn and said that the incident prompted her to go vegan.

Jenny Amlen saw skinned lambs being unloaded from a truck and decided to go vegan.

Jenny Amlen saw skinned lambs being unloaded from a truck and decided to go vegan.

Your Turn

To order a free vegan starter kit please visit PETA

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Using Bodies of The Deceased to Advocate for The Living

May 30, 2015 by Leave a Comment

The News

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

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

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

National Animal Rights Day ceremony observers (photo: John Hays)

2013 National Animal Rights Day ceremony in Los Angeles (photo: Sarah Jane Hardt]

National Animal Rights Day Founder Aylam Orian in 2013 (photo: Sarah Jane Hardt]

2015 National Animal Rights Day in Toronto, Canada

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

Animal rights activists pay their respects at a National Animal Rights Day ceremony

2015 National Animal Rights Day in Los Angeles (photo: Carole Raphaelle Davis)

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

2015 National Animal Rights Day Toronto, Canada (photo: Joanne McArthur)

National Animal Rights Day 2015

National Animal Rights Day 2015 (photo: John Hays)

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Unmuzzled: Former Thoroughbred Breeder Exposes Horse Racing Abuse In Tell-All Book

October 30, 2014 by Leave a Comment

The News

When Michigan native Jo Anne Normile entered a granddaughter of Secretariat into racing in 1995, she thought the “Sport of Kings” was all about custom hats, mint juleps, shiny trophies and a blanket of red roses thrown over a gleaming horse. Soon after, however, she learned the truth – that racing is $40 billion gambling industry disguised as a sport – an industry that discards spent horses the way a casino trashes a bent deck of cards.

Jo Anne with Baby at one year old

Jo Anne with Baby at one year old

In 1991, before she became a racehorse breeder and owner, Normile was looking after a horse for a breeder. When the horse gave birth in her barn, Normile had to resuscitate the newborn, who wasn’t breathing. The life-affirming experience moved her to adopt the foal and name him Baby. A year later, Scarlett – the granddaughter of Secretariat – was born in the same barn stall. Both were sent to the track.

Three years later, after Baby shattered his leg on a racetrack due to negligence of the track owners, Normile came to a harsh realization: “When you mix animals and money, the animals will always lose.” And she asked herself, “How I can support racing? The horses spend 23 hours a day in their stalls. Injured horses are forced to run. Drugging and death are rampant. And the finish line is too often a slaughterhouse!” She immediately pulled Scarlett off the track – forever. She says that 15,000 to 20,000 Thoroughbreds are sent to slaughter every year, and many of them are loaded into trailers by kill buyers right behind the tracks.

In her book, SAVING BABY, Normile gives an uncensored account of what happens behind the scenes at the track and chronicles her journey from race to rescue. “When I learned that the abuse and neglect at my own track were endemic to the industry and watched owners sell their supposedly beloved horses for pennies on the pound, I decided to take my fight into the halls of government. After much stonewalling, I resolved to take it to the streets with this book. I want people to know the fate of the horses they watch race.”

Saving Baby

In addition to writing SAVING BABY and lobbying government officials, Normile, as part of her about-face, founded CANTER, a rescue group that, under her leadership, collected more than 4,000 “used up” thoroughbreds at the tracks and transported them to save havens. Today, she gives speeches on the truth about racing at equine events across the country. And she co-founded a new rescue, Saving Baby Equine Charity that rescues all equines at risk.

Jo Anne and Scarlett

Jo Anne and Scarlett

Your Turn

Now available in hardcover, Saving Baby can be purchased at bookstores and online. Readers contribute to the rescue of horses because a portion of proceeds from the sale of every book goes to her new rescue, SAVING BABY EQUINE CHARITY.

To stay apprised of efforts to expose and end horse racing in the United States, please “like” Horseracing Wrongs on Facebook.


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Israeli Activists Use Street Theater to Shine Spotlight on Hidden Abuse

October 20, 2014 by Leave a Comment

The News

Using provocative street theater, a determined group of Israeli activists is attempting to shut down one of the world’s most extreme, but under the radar, forms of animal abuse: live transports. According to the activist group, Against Live Transports, about 200,000 sheep and cattle are shipped each year from Australia to Israel. The entire 7,600 mile journey is treacherous, but the activists are calling attention to the one part for which they have the most documentation – the unloading of the animals.


The ships hold up to 30,000 live animals

Photo: Against Live Transport

Photo: Against Live Transports

Usually in the dark of night to avoid public exposure, workers force frantic cows and sheep, who are weak from the long journey, down the ramps by kicking, punching and electrically prodding them.

Photo: Against Live Trasports

Photo: Against Live Transports

Israeli activists as animals

Photo: Against Live Transports

The activists’ efforts are having an impact. A local TV station aired a story not only about the unloading of the animals but also about the treacherous aftermath, when they are abused on farms before being slaughtered.

In addition to engaging in street theater, Against Animal Transports is “working on many other avenues, legal and political” to end the Australian exports. On those efforts, the group is collaborating with Let the Animals Live and Anonymous For Animal Rights.

Your Turn

Please sign the petition to end all live shipments to Eilat, a tourist city in Israel.

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Activist Arrested for Liberating Chickens; Hundreds of Others Found Dead

September 30, 2014 by Leave a Comment

The News

Kaporos, the annual chicken-swinging ritual that takes place before Yom Kippur, doesn’t start until Tuesday night, but, already, an activist has been arrested, and hundreds of chickens stacked in crates on the street have died.

Activist Arrested (photo: Yeshiva World News)

Activist Arrested (photo: Yeshiva World News)

Wearing a Mercy For Animals t-shirt, an activist from New Jersey was arrested on Monday for allegedly stealing chickens from a “Kaporos Center” in Brooklyn. Authorities found the liberated chickens in his vehicle. Sadly, these animals, who had a brief taste of freedom in the back of a van, will most likely be used in the Kaporos ritual and then slaughtered.

Liberated chickens are free no more (photo: Yeshiva World News)

Liberated chickens are free no more (photo: Yeshiva World News)

In a separate incident, Brooklyn resident Rina Deych, a founding member of the advocacy group working to end the chicken-swinging ritual, made the grisly discovery of hundreds of dead chickens stacked in crates, and she took footage with the hope that authorities would charge the perpetrators with animal cruelty.

stacked chickens kaporos2

Ms. Deych suspects that the chickens, who are deprived of food and water for several days, died of dehydration: “We just witnessed hundreds, possibly thousands of chickens dead in crates in Brooklyn. We called the police, but they would not take our report. NYPD is supposed to respond to animal cruelty and neglect cases.”

stacked chickens kaporos1

Ms. Deych’s video documentation of dead and dying chickens:

Your Turn

If you live in or near NYC, please attend one or more of the three anti-chicken swinging protests organized by the Alliance to End Chickens for Kaporos. The protests take place from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. in Brooklyn, New York.

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