Fight or Flight Tour Visits Delta Headquarters and Delta Executives’ Homes in Atlanta, Georgia

Demonstration at the home of Richard Anderson, CEO of Delta.
Demonstration at the home of Richard Anderson, CEO of Delta.

Upon arriving in Atlanta on Saturday evening, we decided to waste little time and immediately headed to the home of Richard Anderson, the Chief Executive Officer of Delta Air Lines. At the helm of the company, Richard Anderson holds one of the most influential positions in the partnership between Air France and Delta Air Lines. It is within Mr. Anderson’s power to cease Air France’s transport of primates and other animals to laboratory, quarantine, and breeding facilities across the world.

To our surprise, as we approached his house an officer jumped up from an undercover car to tell us we could not step onto his property. She had been stationed in front of his house in a luxury Mercedes Benz, which we can only assume was meant to blend in with the affluence and indulgence of the surrounding neighborhood. We took the police presence as a sign that Richard was aware of the tour and had fled for the weekend, so we continued with a demonstration outside his home to make his neighbors aware of his involvement in the animal trade and vivisection industry.

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Delicious vegan treats at Dulce Vegan.

On Sunday, we met with activists at Dulce Vegan Bakery & Café, which offered us great space and delicious baked goods during our workshop. In addition to discussing our tour, the Delta campaign, coalition building, and legal training, we talked about some of the local issues facing communities and activists in the Atlanta area—from the Yerkes National Primate Research Center, to the Savannah River Site nuclear dumping ground, to fracking in Northwest Georgia. Throughout these conversations, we urged local activists to engage in coalition building with communities and groups affected by these diverse issues of environmental racism, ecological devastation, and animal exploitation.

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Demonstration outside the house of Glen Hauenstein, Executive Vice President of Delta.
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Outside of Richard Anderson’s house.

Following the workshops, local activists joined us in another round of home demonstrations, this time visiting Glen Hauenstein, Executive Vice President, as well as Richard Anderson. Like the night before, undercover police were stationed in front of both homes and the executives were nowhere to be seen. We can only assume that Delta executives had left for the weekend, leaving their homes to be under constant watch by the police. At both places, we talked to neighbors about the roles these men have in the animal transportation industry and the power they have to stop it.

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Demonstration at Delta’s Headquarters.

Before leaving Atlanta on Monday, we met local activists at the Delta World Headquarters for a public protest. We were quickly met with resistance from Delta security and Atlanta police, yet again. At the entrance to Delta’s headquarters we urged employees to stand with animals and pressure their corporate executives to end the transport of animals to labs. We also informed Delta employees of Air France and KLM’s racist practices of deporting migrants and asylum seekers out of France and the Netherlands and of Air France’s involvement in human trafficking.

We will continue to put pressure on corporations such as Delta Air Lines and Air France-KLM until we see an end to the exploitation of living beings and an end to capitalist exploitation.

Empty Cages LA holds Demo at LAX against Delta

On the afternoon of Saturday, July 26th Empty Cages Los Angeles held a demonstration at Los Angeles International Airport against Delta Air Lines in solidarity with the ongoing Fight or Flight Tour organized by The Bunny Alliance, Resistance Ecology and Earth First! Journal. This date was chosen in conjunction with the next Fight or Flight Tour stop in Atlanta, Georgia, home to Delta’s corporate headquarters. At Empty Cages Los Angeles we want to ensure the message of our outrage at their inaction is heard loud and clear from both the doors of their fancy corporate office and from across the country at the second busiest airport in the United States, LAX.

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Ten seasoned activist armed with four megaphones were a force to be reckoned with as they used their voices on behalf of the millions of silenced lab animals suffering lives of nothing but isolation, torture and eventually death. They explained to Delta employees the power Delta has to sway their strategic business partner, Air France, to enact a ban on lab animal transport and that Delta will be held accountable for their apathy and indifference. Delta was also made aware that activists across the United States are embarking on a national campaign against them that won’t end until Air France enacts a ban. Activists also shared literature with hundreds of interested passengers and let them know not to fly Delta and to contact corporate and tell them exactly why: “I will not fly Delta until Air France enacts a ban on the transport of animals to labs.”

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This action was also in solidarity with local Los Angeles activists, Tyler Lang and Kevin Oliff, who were recently indicted under the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act. Please donate through their support site as this case sets precedent for the future of our movement. Differences aside, it is times like these when we need to stick together.

Until ALL Are Free,
Empty Cages Los Angeles

 

Fight or Flight Tour visits DHL and Worldwide Primates!

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Joe Hete: CEO ATSG & ABX AIR

In Florida, the Fight or Flight Tour met up with South Florida Smash HLS. The day began with a demonstration at the DHL Global Forwarding office (located at 1200 S Pine Island Rd, Plantation, FL) to bring attention to DHL’s relationship with Air Transport Services Group (ATSG) and ABX Air, the only airline transporting primates from China and Southeast Asia to laboratories in North America. This demonstration was planned on a day when Joe Hete, President and CEO of ATSG and CEO of ABX Air, and Quint O. Turner, Chief Financial Officer of ATSG, were meeting with DHL Aviation Vice President Red Alexander, further showing DHL’s close relationship with ATSG/ABX Air and those who are directly responsible for the shipments of primates to labs.

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Quint Turner: CFO of ATSG

While at the DHL office, activists attempted to meet with Bea Garcia, Director of Media Relations, and Jennifer L. Pakradooni, Director of Communications Americas, but neither were willing to come down from their offices to speak with activists. Additionally, security refused to contact Hete or Turner, so activists held a demonstration outside of the office during a rainstorm. Protesters gave information to DHL employees who were leaving the building and who were horrified to learn that their employer does business with one of the last remaining airlines carrying primates to their deaths, and even more horrified that the men responsible for the shipments were inside the DHL office.

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Outside of the DHL Global Forwarding office in Plantation, FL

Later in the day, activists held a protest at the Worldwide Primates quarantine facility in Miami-Dade County. When primates are transported into the U.S., this facility (like Covance) is one of the places that they are taken for quarantine until shipped off to DCIM100GOPROlaboratories. The primates sit in barren outdoor cages, wrapped by a fence that shielded them from our sight but that couldn’t keep us from hearing their cries. With voices loud enough for the primates to hear—as well as John Resuta and other employees inside the facility—activists chanted and spoke of how we will bring awareness to this facility and not stop working for the primates inside until the facility closes forever.

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John Resuta driving out of the Wordwide Primates facility.

We wrapped up the day with a workshop at the Animal Rights Foundation of Florida  space, where we discussed the state of animal rights and environmental activism in South Florida. With local activists, we talked through ways to build grassroots activism in the region and possible ways for the community to strengthen itself in the wake of State repression.

On that note, Christian, one of the Smash HLS 9 activists who were arrested last October during a protest at the same Worldwide Primates facility, begins his trial on July 31. He is the last of the Smash HLS 9 activists still facing charges, and needs your support. There will be a rally in support of Christian and against state repression on the first morning of the trial. Find out more here.

Volunteering at Jungle Friends Primate Sanctuary

During the Florida stop of our Fight or Flight Tour, we had the wonderful opportunity to spend a day volunteering at Jungle Friends Primate Sanctaury and meeting all of the monkeys who call it home. Jungle Friends is a sanctuary for monkeys who’ve been rescued from laboratories and the exotic pet trade and entertainment industries, but who are now getting to live the rest of their lives being cared for—able to play and touch grass, bonding with other monkeys, and learning that humans can sometimes offer compassion rather than abuse.

10325179_10152492783904521_1085864134778885990_nWhen we arrived, we got to take a tour to meet many of the monkeys. One of the first monkeys we met is named Frankie. He ran over to the side of his plant-filled enclosure to see who we were. After looking us over, he began to show off; he climbed up and down the wall of his enclosure, swung around with ease and grace, and then decided to earn some additional attention by flirting with us. This flirting included raising his eyebrows at us and repeatedly laying down in a lounging pose. When we had to walk away, he made excited chirping sounds, begging us to stay and watch more of his performance.

The caregiver taking us on the tour then led us through meeting many other monkeys—including spider monkeys, squirrel monkeys, capuchins, marmosets, and tamarins. She told us their stories that broke our hearts. Some are of the rescued monkeys are former stinkyinhabitat“pets” who were kept locked away in basements; others spent years in laboratories and still don’t understand that the humans they meet now aren’t going to hurt them. Some were missing legs and tails that had to be removed because the monkeys engaged in self-mutilation as they went crazy in their former captivity. The stories hurt to even hear and we couldn’t even imagine the years of suffering that many of the monkeys have experienced—or how it must feel to now have a home that lets them breathe fresh air and feel the warmth of the sun.

Three tufted capuchin monkeys named Alex, Jake, and Gizmo became Jungle Friends’ newest residents the day we arrived. They 10553501_10152451912944504_9189798956982253313_nwere rescued from Wooster College after 30 years of living in a lab thanks to the amazing work of Stop Animal Exploitation Now, who also donated a new enclosure to the sanctuary. Because of SAEN’s work, Wooster College is ending all of their primate research, and these three monkeys now have a caring home.

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After the tour, we got to work volunteering—cleaning food bowls, preparing the next day’s meals, weeding, planting, and cleaning out enclosures. As we worked, we could hear the chirps and calls of monkeys around us. At one moment, I had to just stop and listen. Happy monkey sounds. I thought back to the monkeys we saw the week before, in rows of cages at Covance’s primate quarantine facility—the monkeys we could hear screaming. The sounds we heard at Jungle Friends were drastically different from the distress we heard that day, and I desperately hoped that someday the monkeys at Covance will find sanctuary and have reason to make happy sounds again—or for the first time in their lives.

As much as Jungle Friends truly is a sanctuary to the monkeys—giving them a chance to experience life outside of a nightmare—we couldn’t help but think that the enclosures in which the monkeys now live are still cages. The impact of exploiting animals is forever in their lives. Even when rescued from behind the bars of laboratory cages or out of dark basements, the monkeys cannot be released into the wild in which they were meant to live. They will live the rest of their lives dependent upon the kindness of humans rather than ever embracing what freedom is supposed to mean. The enclosures in which the monkeys live are a symbol of their escape from torture, but also a reminder of the need for the complete liberation of animals—the day when there will be no need for sanctuaries because there are no institutions of exploitation to either scar them or save them from.

Please support Jungle Friends in the great work they are doing to show monkeys compassion and love, as well as earth and sky. As long as monkeys and other animals are exploited, we need sanctuaries where they can find peace, as well as hope for the day when no animal has to know what it means to be in a cage.

*Photos courtesy of Jungle Friends

 Visit FightOrFlightTour.org for more updates on the tour.

Fight or Flight Tour: Houston workshop and Delta Board Home Demo

As soon as we arrived in Houston, we were quickly exposed to the region’s range of radical activity. Greeted by the very supportive and gracious folks of Tar Sands Blockade, we learned of a number of protests and actions that were set to occur over the weekend that reflect the diversity of activism that calls Houston home.

Earlier on Friday, anti-immigration groups protested the Mexican Consulate in response to a national call from the “Anti-Amnesty” movement. In response, FamiliasInmigrantes y Estudiantes en la Lucha (FIEL Houston), a migrant justice group, organized a large counter-protest that outnumbered anti-immigration protesters about 100 to 20. The same confrontation was set for Saturday, and the Fight or Flight Tour was prepared to make a show of solidarity with migrants. But by the time that we arrived, anti-immigration protesters had failed to make a showing, perhaps due to their overwhelming opposition, and the migrant solidarity counter-protest had been called off in victory.

That same morning, over 60 activists from surrounding areas boarderswarmed at the US-Mexican border across from the McAllen Border Patrol Station in McAllen, Texas. Those activists were there to show their support for the some 57,000 Latin American children that have been detained this year by Border Patrol agents. We sent our love and solidarity to those caravanning from Houston to stand on the front-lines at the border.

solidarity houston[Photo courtesy of Melanie Scruggs of Zero Waste Houston]

That evening we presented a workshop at the Solidarity Houston space, a collectively-run community space that provides resources for counter-oppression organizations. Solidarity Houston also IMG_20140719_193835_931maintains a radical lending library, Sedition Books. Those in attendance represented a variety of backgrounds and worked with organizations such as Tar Sands Blockade, Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Service, Zero Waste Houston, and Southwest Defense Network. Due to the variety of backgrounds, we had a very productive discussion about building strategic campaigns and the importance of coalitions and solidarity work for grassroots activists.

After the workshop activists headed to the home of William H. 72961Easter III, aka Bill Easter, for a home demonstration. Bill is on the Board of Directors for Delta Air Lines and is a key player and decision maker for Delta. The event was held at Easter’s home in Piney Point Village, a city within Houston, TX that is one of the wealthiest cities within the state with a mean household income of $197,090 a year.

On top of being a Director for Delta, Bill is also a Director for Concho Resources, Inc. and has had his hands in the gas and oil extraction industry for decades profiting off the destruction of the environment and the workers he exploited.

easterhouse[Activist talking with Delta board member Bill Easter]

The demonstration began with activists going to Bill’s door to speak with him and give him information about Delta’s involvement in transporting animals to laboratories to be experimented on through their partnership with Air France. Bill was aware of Air France’s participation in the vivisection industry but denied Delta’s involvement in the practices, stating, “This is Air France’s problem, not Delta’s.” This is the first time we have received any response from a Delta representative denying their involvement; Bill chose to ignore the fact that Delta Air Lines schedules, books, and profits off of every international Air France flight bringing animals into North America.

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After Bill refused to discuss Delta’s deep involvement in shipping animals to labs, activists began a noise demonstration in front of his house with bullhorns and signs while handing out flyers to his neighbors to explain Bill Easter’s role in the transportation of animals to labs and what Bill and his neighbors can do to end it.

Before the activists left Bill came outside into the street to express that he understands our cause and our concerns and will speak with Delta and Richard Anderson, but feels that we should be focusing our efforts on Air France. Our message to Bill, Richard Anderson, and Delta Air Lines is that as long as Delta has a hand in shipping animals to labs, the campaign will continue and Air France’s tarnished reputation will spill over to Delta.

The following day after we left, Students for Justice in Palestine held palastinea large solidarity demonstration, protesting Israeli state violence and the current military assault on Gaza. Around 400 protesters voices their opposition to Israel’s recent military actions in the Gaza Strip and its US financial backing. Although we couldn’t make it, we stand in solidarity with all those oppressed by brutal occupations, setter expansion, and state violence.

Our Visit to the Covance Primate Quarantine Facility

Covance is one of the largest contract animal research corporations in the world, and their Alice, Texas facility includes a primate quarantine facility that holds primates who are imported into the United States while they wait to be approved to be trucked off to laboratories where they will be tortured and killed. Since one component of the Fight or Flight Tour is to further The Bunny Alliance’s work to stop the transport of animals to laboratories, having a Covance protest made sense as a way to highlight what happens to the primates after they are transported into the United States.

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To reach Covance’s Alice facility we had to drive miles outside of any semblance of a city or town, into an area where fields of corn meet the horizon and a few farm houses are the only sign of human inhabitants. I thought about why a corporation would build a facility in such a remote location, inconvenient for employees and a long trek for deliveries. The answer seems obvious though: what Covance does to animals is something that they want hidden, placed out of sight and thus out of the minds of most people. We were approaching a facility that few humans have seen, where thousands and thousands of animals have spent endless moments of suffering and have no one to respond to their screams.

 

We drove up to the Covance facility discussing the strategic merit of the protest, and possible media coverage and messaging, but that all fell into silence and became utterly insignificant when we saw the horror behind their fences. I expected to be pulling up to a building electicfencethat hid the primates behind concrete walls; instead, the nightmare in which the primates live was shockingly visible. Standing behind a barbed wire electrified fence bearing signs that warned against bringing cameras into the facility were rows and rows of cages—at least hundreds, maybe thousands—for as far as we could see. We all went silent, and as what I was seeing sank in more, I gasped and my hand flew to my mouth. Suzanna, the dog traveling with us, started whimpering. Even she knew something was very wrong.

 We got out of the car to stand closer to the fence and look at the cages, barren and so far away from the forests from which the monkeys were kidnapped and torn away from their families. We heard a monkey scream, and I felt the cry reach inside me and tear me apart in a way that still makes me feel numb in knowing that I can’t even begin to imagine the terror that the monkeys experience—and in knowing that the terror has just begun for them. As awful and lonely as the cages look, they are a sanctuary compared to the scalpels, needles, and restraint devices that await the monkeys in laboratories. I held onto Suzanna as I listened to the screaming monkey, and I wished that my protective arms wrapped around her could be felt by all of the animals before me.

hutsFootage of the cages can be viewed by clicking here.

We hoped that in some way the monkeys knew we were there because we want them to be free from the clutches of the labsvivisection industry. What we are doing now on this tour will not save the monkeys who are currently imprisoned at Covance, but we are fighting to make sure that the nightmare stops recurring. By working to stop the transport of animals to laboratories, we are working to make it so that Covance can no longer fill its cages. We are working for the day when the cages are empty and rusting, and the grass around the cages grows up around them and the nightmare is but a haunting memory.

Media coverage of our stop at Covance:
Kiii-TV segment: Click Here
Alice Echo-News Journal article: Click Here

 

Fight or Flight Tour: Phoenix-Tucson Stop

After leaving a long and busy weekend at the Animal Rights 2014 National Conference in Los Angeles, The Fight or Flight Tour returned to the road to head to Phoenix, Arizona. The Bunny Alliance, Resistance Ecology, and Earth First! Journal met with folks from Phoenix Animal Liberation Squad, who were kind enough to help us organize this tour stop. Aside of Heart, an awesome vegan café that provides space for activist events, offered their space for the event.

Phoenix Animal Liberation Squad (PALS) is a grassroots animal liberation group founded in early 2013. Since then they have become quite active in the Phoenix area, organizing community events, film screenings, and regular protests, including protests against a local JBS slaughterhouse, the largest food processing company in the world. Currently, PALS is focusing on gearing up for a campaign against a planned but yet-to-be-built biotechnology lab that is a collaborative effort between Arizona State University and University of Arizona.

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The tour stop involved critical and in-depth discussions of strategic campaigning, research, coalition building and solidarity, as well as the ways to get plugged in to the Delta campaign and broader Gateway to Hell campaign. Additionally, folks from Chuk’son Earth First! were also in attendance. They announced the relaunching of the group and also discussed their new local campaign work and indigenous solidarity efforts. The Tucson and Phoenix area has a rich history of radical environmentalism, land defense, and animal liberation work, so it was awesome to see these two groups, PALS and Chuk’son Earth First! connect and lay the foundation for future cross-movement alliances.

Although our time in Phoenix was short, it was definitely enriched by meeting such a great community of folks working on a variety of issues surrounding animal abuse and ecological destruction. Better yet, these communities were interested in working with each other and plugging into the broader network of grassroots animal/earth liberation activists. We look forward to connecting with these groups again in the future and helping them collaborate and strategize for both local and international campaigns.

Phoenix Animal Liberation Squad Upcoming Events Calendar:

 

Thursday, July 17, 7:00pm- “Third Thursdays” Vegan Potluck with Author and Activist Sailesh Rao @ David’s House in Tempe*

Saturday, July 26, 7:00pm- JBS Slaughterhouse Protest. Meet @ Aside of Heart 6:30pm

Friday, Aug 1, 7:00pm- First Fridays march for Animals. Meet @ Aside of Heart 6:30pm

Saturday, Aug 9, 7:00pm- Chick Fil A Protest @ 1601 E. Camelback Rd.

*for directions contact

PALSactivism@gmail.com

RSVP for Events on Facebook or Meetup.com

Phoenix Animal Liberation Squad

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