The Little Lives Matter, Too

As I walked home from school, a flutter of movement in fallen autumn leaves caught my attention. I looked down and saw a rat trying to drag himself over the leaves, but struggling to move a swollen body. Before reaching any sort of destination, the rat stopped and curled himself into a ball. I watched as he kept trying to curl up more tightly, shivering against the chill in the air. I looked around and saw that a rat poison box was about twenty feet away from us, and my heart sank and my eyes welled up. I could already tell that he was dying, and now I knew why.

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The little rat nestled in blankets, with his tiny face showing.

I wasn’t sure what to do, but I knew that he shouldn’t die alone and shivering in the cold, so I couldn’t leave him. I took off my sweatshirt and carefully wrapped it around him. As soon as he was wrapped up, he nuzzled his head into the sweatshirt in the same way that my dog nuzzles her way under warm covers. I sat down with him, and I wondered if I was waiting for him to die soon. But some rat poisons can take awhile to kill an animal, slowly poisoning them and giving them time to take pieces of the poison back to their babies and companions. So I scooped him up in the sweatshirt and held him protectively against my chest as I walked home. As I walked I could see his face, and I watched as he closed his eyes and let himself snuggle against me.

I took him home to a nest of blankets, wanting to at least let him have a warm and peaceful death as the poison took over his body. I called a wildlife center, which confirmed that rat poisons can take days to kill an animal, and they offered to euthanize him if I brought him to them. So I packed him and his nest of blankets into a box and put him in the car.

As I drove, I began to cry. His sleeping face poked out from the blankets, and I could see his tiny nose, black whiskers, and closed eyes. His feet were so small, with little hands that looked so delicate. His body barely moved up and down with his breaths; he was holding on, but already weaker than when I had first seen him. I kept thinking, Such a tiny little body, but so full of poison. I wanted to be able to do more for him than offer warmth and death.

This little rat had so quickly captured my heart, and I thought about all the animals who are so often invisible, but who are suffering and dying because of human poisons. I thought about the other little rats who do die out in the cold, and the ones who bring poison tablets back to their babies without knowing what they are doing. I thought about all of the rats in laboratories who are poisoned, cut open, and killed—generally treated as disposable lab objects. We talk much more often about the bigger animals—such as primates and dogs—who are killed, but each little rat also deserves to have us say that we will protect them from unnatural and terrifying deaths.

When I arrived at the wildlife center, I told the rat that I was sorry this happened to him, and I told him that we are working to make things better. None of that could save his life, but I hope he was able to feel love instead of coldness in his last moments. And I hope we can all feel his little heart in ours. He was tiny enough to snuggle into my sweatshirt, but he was a big reminder of how much every little critter’s life is precious enough to hold close and promise that we are fighting for something better for them.

Rat Poison Boxes

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An example of a plastic rat poison box.
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An example of a metal rat poison box.

Rat poison boxes are often on the sides of buildings. They contain poison tablets that the animals eat and take back to other rats. Depending on the type of poison in the box, the rats can take weeks to slowly die; many of the poisons cause them to slowly internally bleed to death. If another animal eats a poisoned rat, they can also become very sick or die.

Some people decide to stop boxes from being able to kill rats. They sometimes smash the boxes and sometimes take them to remove the poison, and are then careful to not discard the poison in a way that it could still kill other animals. For example, they don’t throw the poison tablets in the trash or flush them. They try to take the poison to poison control centers or other places where hazardous material will be disposed of.

When people can’t remove the boxes, they sometimes move them away from the wall they are against (rats are most likely to run into a box against a wall because they run against walls) or use objects to block the entrances into the boxes so that animals can’t get to the poison.

When someone removes or alters a box, they often check on the spot later to make sure that it has not been replaced or made so that rats can get to the poison again.

Note: Humans should leave wild animals alone as much as possible, and respectfully and carefully handle them when there is need for intervention. We must balance protecting the wild lives of animals with the responsibility we have to help animals who have been harmed by humans. rat outside

Motion Filed to Challenge the AETA and Dismiss Charges Against Kevin and Tyler

On November 6, lawyers with the Center for Constitutional Rights, Peoples Law Office, and the Federal Defender Program filed a motion to dismiss the indictments of Kevin Johnson (aka Kevin Olliff) and Tyler Lang under the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act on the basis that the AETA is unconstitutional.  

Kevin and Tyler were indicted under the AETA for allegedly releasing—and conspiring to release—about 2,000 mink and foxes from Midwest fur farms. They were arrested during the summer of 2013 and took non-cooperating plea deals on state charges of “possession of burglary tools.” Then almost a year later, they were indicted on the federal AETA charges. 

Although it may seem ridiculous to charge people with “terrorism” for allegedly saving animals from living in barren wire cages and being killed by methods that may include anal electrocution or having their necks snapped, the ridiculousness speaks to what is beneath the surface of this legislation. The AETA was crafted by the American Legislative Exchange Council, a group of corporate power players who write pieces of model legislation that suit their interests, and then ALEC passes off the legislation to members of Congress. Many members of ALEC are part of the pharmaceutical, big ag, and other industries that exploit and kill animals for profit—industries that have a huge interest in stopping the actions of animal liberation activists.

To add to the mix, the State uses the label of “terrorism” with a lot of flexibility in order to be able to manipulate public fear based on the State interests of the day, and this context left the label open for ALEC to apply it to animal liberation activists. And so ALEC devised the AETA, legislation not meant so much for prosecuting activists (Kevin and Tyler are among only a handful of people who’ve been charged under the AETA), but to conjure public fear of the animal liberation movement and deter people from getting involved in activism, let alone from freeing animals from the hell of fur farms.

Right now is unfortunately one of those moments in which activists are caught in the crosshairs of an AETA indictment, and we must use this time to demonstrate to the government and corporations that we will not quietly watch our friends be taken from us or give in to the intended chilling effect of State repression. By filing the motion to dismiss the charges against Kevin and Tyler, the lawyers working on the case are fighting in the courtrooms to challenge the AETA on the basis that it is unconstitutional for being vague, overly broad, and a violation of due process rights.

As the lawyers fight in the courtrooms, we must fight everywhere else—against the intended effect of the AETA and against all other forces that try to stop us from fighting for animal liberation. Kevin and Tyler’s case should be a reminder to us all that—in addition to showing solidarity with the animals—we have to show each other love and support in the face of State repression and other obstacles. One of the best ways to fight back against government and corporate efforts to stop activism is to show them that we will unite in struggle and never back down from the fight for animal liberation. We must keep organizing, keep protesting, keep resisting, and keep fighting.

Read the full motion to dismiss here.

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Happy One Year Anniversary to The Bunny Alliance!

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Dear Bunny friends and supporters,

October marked the one year anniversary of The Bunny Alliance! So as we now move into November, we wanted to take a moment to highlight what we have done in our first year and invite you to continue to join us in fighting for animals as we move into the next year.

The start of The Bunny Alliance coincided with the launch of our national campaign against Delta Air Lines for their partnership with Air France, the last commercial airline that continues to fly primates and other animals to labs. Air France was left as the last commercial airline after a major victory against China Southern Airlines, a campaign that Bunny Alliance organizers, along with the international Gateway to Hell network, worked on for over a year.
CSVictorySince last October, we have coordinated demonstrations against Delta throughout the U.S., and activists in Canada have held their own demonstrations in support of the campaign. We have protested at airports, cargo offices, and the homes of the Delta CEO, a board member, and other executives.

To push the campaign further, we organized the Gateway to Hell Tour last winter and traveled to Delta’s hub airports, Atlanta headquarters, and CEO’s house to bring the campaign to their richard day3doorsteps. Over the summer, we organized our second nationwide tour, this time with Resistance Ecology, the Earth First! Journal, and the Civil Liberties Defense Center. This was the Fight or Flight Tour, and we embarked on it in support of the Delta campaign as well as to build solidarity among grassroots activists across the country. This winter, we will set out on a third tour, again in collaboration with Resistance Ecology, to talk with activists from the West to the East coast about creating a national mobilization of grassroots activists working for animal liberation. Watch for announcements about that tour soon!

In addition to working to stop the Air France-Delta partnership from facilitating the torture of animals in labs, we have been campaigning against the Air Transport Services Group, home to the only cargo DCIM100GOPROairlines that transport primates from China and Southeast Asia into the U.S. for labs. We have organized phone and email actions against executives and protested them at their houses, as well as hosted demonstrations at their world headquarters in Wilmington, OH.

In addition to working as a part of the Gateway to Hell network to stop the transport of animals to labs and touring to strengthen campaigns and the animal liberation movement, we worked abx headquarters protestwithStop Animal Exploitation Now to host the biggest Primate Liberation Week ever, with dozens of events against animal testing spanning several countries. The week highlighted work being done to both stop the transport of animals to labs and to stop labs from continuing business as usual.

Unfortunately the year also brought some stress and heartache when one of our organizers and best friends, Tyler Lang, and our good friend Kevin Olliff were indicted under the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act for allegedly releasing mink and fox from fur farms. We have been working to support them as their case approaches trial, and we hope that their case is a reminder to everyone that—in addition to showing solidarity with the animals—we have to show each other love and support in the face of State repression. The best way to fight back against government and corporate efforts to stop activism is to show them that we will unite in struggle and never back down from the fight for animal liberation.
Supportstorebanner2Even though The Bunny Alliance is still a young group, we have been grateful for the international support we’ve received for the work we are doing, from our campaigns to support for Kevin and Tyler. We were excited to have been invited to speak at the Resistance Ecology, Free the Animals, and Animal Rights National Conferences. And we have been excited for all the discussions we’ve had with people during tour workshops, at protests, over phone and email…all of it showing us how much so many of you care about actively working to save animals from labs and other forms of exploitation. We are dedicated to continuing the work for animal liberation, and we encourage you to all join us in learning how to be more effective, strategic, and passionate in our fights.

This month Gateway to Hell and Stop Vivisection are organizing an dhlweekendofaction1international weekend of action against DHL and ATSG/ABX Air on November 15th and 16th. Join us and your local Gateway to Hell activists in San Francisco, Dallas, Seattle, and Los Angeles, or plan an event in your city!

This weekend of action will be followed by an international week of action against the transport of animals to labs from December 6-14, targeting both the Air France/KLM/Delta group and ATSG/ABX Air/DHL. We are encouraging groups and individuals to hold protests and outreach events at airports, corporate offices, cargo offices, executives’ neighborhoods, and shipping centers.

IWOA 2014 WebsiteYou all have helped make The Bunny Alliance’s first year more amazing than we could have ever imagined, and we are excited to embrace the next year to do even more for animals. Join us!

In solidarity,

Amanda and Jordan
Co-Founders
The Bunny Alliance

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P.S. If you’d like to make a donation to support our continued work for animals, you can do so online here.

Primate Liberation Week Gateway to Hell Actions From Around the World

For Primate Liberation Week this year, Stop Animal Exploitation NOW! (SAEN) collaborated with The Bunny Alliance and Gateway to Hell to organize a global week of action dedicated to ending primate experimentation. This effort resulted in over 20 actions against airlines that transport animals to laboratories and the most active Primate Liberation Week to date.

For a more detailed reportback on the goals of Primate Liberation Week, check out this article on the Earth First! Newswire.

ABX Air – ATSG – DHL Actions

ABX Air, a subsidiary of the Air Transport Services Group (ATSG), is the only known air cargo carrier transporting primates from China and Southeast Asia to research laboratories in the U.S. So far this year, ABX Air is known to have transported thousands of innocent animals to labs.

ABX Air‘s main business is transporting cargo for DHL, the major international cargo company, and more than half of ABX Air‘s aircraft are painted with DHL‘s colours.

DHL has the power to stop ABX Air‘s animal transports since it is responsible for over half of ABX Air‘s business, so we are demanding that DHL either use its influence to force ABX Air to cease these animal transports or that DHL end their relationship with ABX Air.

Primate Liberation week kicked off on October 11th with a demonstration outside the home of Air Transport International (ATI) Vice President John Vestal. ATI is a part ATSG and shares a corporate office with ABX Air and ATSG companies; Vestal has a direct influence over ATSG and ABX Air policies. Activists from all over the country joined The Bunny Alliance at Vestal’s home, letting his neighbors and the local sheriffs know what kind of business Vestal runs, profiting off the death of thousands of primates a year.

Demonstration at the home of John Vestal, VP of ATI.
Demonstration at the home of John Vestal, VP of ATI.

The home demonstration took place during SAEN’s Free the Animals Conference, which also included a large protest at the world headquarters of ATSG/ABX Air in Wilmington, OH on Monday, October 13th. (View a full reportback from the conference here.)

ATSG/ ABX Air World Headquarters in Wilmington, Oh
ATSG/ABX Air World Headquarters in Wilmington, Oh

In Zurich, Switzerland, activists dropped a banner that exposed the relationship between DHL and ATSG on the 13th, followed by a banner drop on the 19th over the freeway that leads to the Hamburg Airport in Germany.

Banner Drop near Hamburg Airport against DHL/ ATSG and Air France/ KLM.
Banner drop near Hamburg Airport against DHL/ATSG and Air France/KLM.
Zurich, Switzerland
Zurich, Switzerland

On October 16th, The Bunny Alliance teamed up with Empty Cages LA and Progress for Science to hold three demonstrations in Southern California against DHL and ABX Air. The day started off with a protest outside of the DHL office in Los Angeles where activists spoke out against DHL’s relationship with ABX Air with bullhorns and a banner that read “DHL & ABX Kill Monkeys!”

Postal Annex in Irvine, CA
Postal Annex in Irvine, CA

Activists then held an outreach event at a DHL Authorized Shipping Center in Irvine. The owner of the Postal Annex expressed that he loves animals and will contact DHL about its involvement in animal experimentation; he also assured us that hardly anyone ships with DHL out of his business. After talking with an overwhelmingly supportive public, activists went to the DHL Worldwide Express Office in Irvine where the manager refused to speak with anyone about DHL’s policies and business relationships.

DHL Worldwide Express Office in Irvine, CA
DHL Worldwide Express Office in Irvine, CA

In San Francisco, activists took to the streets for their second protest at the San Francisco DHL Office  where they hand-delivered a letter Banner SF DHL Demoto DHL employees to inform them about why protesters all over the world are targeting DHL and ABX Air and about the primate trade. Activists greeted DHL drivers as they returned from making their deliveries for the day; many drivers slowed down to read our signs, which they’ll soon get to know by heart as activists plan to be a regular presence at DHL in San Francisco.
DHL group shotIn the Pacific Northwest, activists spoke out against DHL with outreach events in Seattle and Portland. On the 18th, The Bunny Alliance leafleted outside of The Home Office, a DHL Authorized Shipping Center, while Portland Animal Liberation and Portland Animal Welfare Advocates leafleted outside of the Postal Annex to supportive individuals passing by.

Settle event at DHL Authorized Shipping Center.
Seattle event at DHL Authorized Shipping Center.
PAL/ PAWA event at DHL Authorized Shipping Center
PAL/PAWA event at DHL Authorized Shipping Center

The message across the globe is clear: as long as ABX Air transports animals to labs, DHL will be held responsible. Join activists around the world next month for a weekend of action against DHL and ABX Air on November 15th and 16th and organize an event in your city today!
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Air France – KLM – Delta Air Lines Actions

Air France is the leading commercial airline that continues to transport primates, dogs, cats, and other animals to laboratories around the world. Global pressure against them is increasing with new organizations popping up nearly monthly to take action against the transport of animals to labs. These groups hold protest and outreach events against Air France, their subsidiary KLM, and their North American representative Delta Air Lines.

On October 11th, Chattahoochee Earth First! organized a protest at10696412_1500470710208966_4069177377555585746_n the home of Richard Anderson, CEO of Delta Air Lines, with a clear message that he will be held personally responsible for Delta’s involvement with Air France and animal experimentation. Multiple demonstrations have already occurred  outside of Anderson’s house because Delta helps to schedule and book Air France flights that are transporting primates to North America; Delta directly profits off of the animal testing industry.

Outside of Delta CEO Richard Anderson's house
Outside of Delta CEO Richard Anderson’s house
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San Diego Airport

Protests also occurred across North America at airports. Empty Cages Los Angeles and Progress for Science held an event at the Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX on October 11th, while the Ottawa Animal Defense League hosted a protest against Delta and Air France in Canada. Progress for Science also organized a protest against Delta Air Lines and Air France at the Minneapolis Airport  on the 12th, and activists held an event at the Delta Terminal of the San Diego Airport in California on October 18th. Following the DHL protest in San Francisco, activists held a protest at the International Terminal of the San Francisco International Terminal to speak out against Delta and Air France.

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Left- Minneapolis, Right – Los Angeles
Ottawa Airport in Canada
Ottawa Airport in Canada

Last Chance for Animals (LCA) relaunched their efforts against Air France with a huge protest on October 18th at LAX, where over 30 activists came out in a display of protest and outreach that no international traveler could ignore.

LCA protest against Air France at LAX
LCA protest against Air France at LAX
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Nuremberg, Germany

In Europe activists were busy taking action against Air France/KLM with a protest in Lyon, France, on the 11th organized by Air Souffrance Lyon. (The full report can be seen here.) On October 12th Animal Liberation Network held a protest in Hamburg, Germany, while Menschen für Tierrechte Nürnberg e.V. protested in Nuremberg, Germany.  Both of these demonstrations brought out dozens of activists in Germany, one of the most active countries in the Gateway to Hell campaign. The Nuremberg event also featured an activist dressed up as a primate who was being experimented on, strapped to a restraining device, forced to endure implants into their skull, and sliced open before they “died” in a pool of blood on the airport floor.

Lyon, France
Lyon, France
Hamburg, Germany
Hamburg, Germany
Nuremberg, Germany.
Nuremberg, Germany.

On October 19th Berlin Animal Liberation Action (Berliner Tierbefreiungsaktion – Berta ) held a protest against Air France/KLM at the Berlin Airport while Tierrechtsgruppe Basel held a demonstration at the Basel Airport in Switzerland where they had large banners and a “primate” and “rabbit” inside a cage to show the public the conditions that many animals in labs face.

Berlin, Germany
Berlin, Germany
Basel, Switzerland
Basel, Switzerland

This list of actions is just a short list of what was accomplished during a a single week of action across the world with dozens of other protests and educational events that happened at laboratories, vivisectors’ homes, universities, and breeding facilities. Actions against transportation companies and laboratories are happening every single week all over the world, and by working together we can achieve animal liberation and see an end to animal experimentation, but we need the help of the global community. This is a call to action to activists, animal lovers, environmentalists, and vegans to get out into the streets, make real-world connections, and achieve tangible gains for animals and the earth. Organize today for a better and brighter tomorrow!

Primate Liberation Week Reportback on the Earth First! Newswire

From the Earth First! Newswire:

Reportback: Primate Liberation Week

by Amanda Schemkes / Earth First! Newswire

Photo from inside SNBL lab.

For over ten years Stop Animal Exploitation NOW! (SAEN) has organized Primate Liberation Week, an annual week of events dedicated to pushing for the end to the use of primates in research. This year SAEN coordinated with The Bunny Alliance and Gateway to Hell to organize the biggest Primate Liberation Week yet, with 34 registered events that spanned three countries and 15 U.S. states.

Every year in the U.S. over 100,000 primates are caged in breeding facilities, quarantine facilities and the laboratories of large corporations and universities. In these labs, primates are subjected to so-called “research” that includes restraint chairs, maternal deprivation, poisoning and being cut open while conscious. The primates also often suffer from dehydration, starvation, diseases, hypothermia and being alone; many of these animals—driven insane by being away from their families and anything natural—engage in self-mutilation. To the primates, labs are a nightmare. But to those profiting off of the torture that happens in labs, the nightmare has dollar signs placed over it. Primate research is an industry of over a billion dollars a year in the U.S. alone.

Because primate research is a rich and powerful industry that fights off activists’ calls for animal liberation, we have to organize in a way that doesn’t just ask the industry to stop, but that forces it to do so. We have to pay attention to how the industry works and use that knowledge to inform our actions against it—and target the industry at its weak points. Primate Liberation Week highlighted how Gateway to Hell, The Bunny Alliance and SAEN, as well as many other activists, are effectively organizing around weak points.

Almost half of the Primate Liberation Week events plugged into the ongoing international campaign to pressure airlines to stop transporting primates to labs. Because airlines are not wholly invested in animal research as labs are, it is easier to convince them to stop flying animals to labs than it is to convince labs to stop using the animals—and campaigns against airlines have been very successful. Due to the work of the international Gateway to Hell network, Air France is the only commercial airline left that transports primates to labs, and the Air Transport Services Group (a cargo airline company) has the only remaining airlines that fly primates from Asia into the U.S. for labs. In the U.S., The Bunny Alliance launched a national campaign against Delta Air Lines (partner of Air France) and also coordinates protests and other actions against ATSG airlines. During Primate Liberation Week, activists held protests at airports, cargo offices and the homes of Delta and ATSG executives, as well as hosted letter writing and leafleting events.

Home demo at the house of John Vestal, a Vice President at Air Transport International (part of ATSG).

The other Primate Liberation Week events targeted university and private laboratories, as well as breeding and quarantine facilities, and were a reflection of the work that many groups do throughout the year to fight labs through protests, lawsuits, letter writing, and raising public awareness. SAEN works to expose the worst of the worst of what happens in labs to place the incidents in the media spotlight, have citations and fines brought against the facilities and get projects shut down. Groups across the country—such as Progress for Science, Animal Connection of Texas and Portland Animal Welfare Advocates—work locally to target labs in their communities, as well to plug into the work of broader networks such as Gateway to Hell.

While Primate Liberation Week offers a look at how activists are organizing against the primate research industry at some of its weak points, we have to also consistently look to how our campaigns change the industry and be prepared to have to organize at additional angles. For example, the repeated successes of convincing airlines to stop transporting animals to labs helped to shut down Mazor Farm, a primate breeding facility in Israel, but now as that facility approaches its January 2015 closure date, information has been released that suggests that it may be resurfacing in Florida. Mazor Farm has applied for authorization to export primates into the U.S., and one of the Mazor Farm owners is involved in building a new primate breeding facility in Florida. This facility, if completed, would be the world’s biggest primate breeding facility, able to house 14,000 primates—and it won’t have to rely on airlines to transport primates to U.S. labs as the facility in Israel has.

The news about Mazor Farm is a sad end to Primate Liberation Week, but it’s a new reality that we have to take into account when we are deciding how to most effectively organize against the primate research industry. Across the globe, activists are already working to stop the export of the primates from Mazor Farm and considering how to combat the plans for the new Florida facility. At moments like this, we have to realize that we have made a huge impact on how the primate research industry functions and it is attempting to adapt. And now we have to take on the responsibility of showing the industry that we can also adapt and find more weak points—and that we will continue to impact the industry until the only change it is able to make is to end.

The Bunny Alliance at the Free The Animals Conference

Last weekend the founders of The Bunny Alliance, Amanda Schemkes and Jordan Ezell, traveled to Cincinnati, OH, to speak at the Free The Animals Conference. Free The Animals is an annual anti-vivisection conference organized by Stop Animal Exploitation NOW! that provides attendees with tools and information to be effective advocates against animal testing and other forms of animal exploitation.

Bob Ingersoll and his best friend, Nim.
Bob Ingersoll and his best friend, Nim.

The conference opened on Friday night with a screening of Project Nim. Project Nim is a powerful documentary that follows the story of Nim, a chimpanzee who was born at a primate research center and then taken from his mother to be placed in a university language study. Eventually, Nim was sold into medical research, a tragedy that is the fate of thousands of primates every year. Through a lot of hard work on his behalf, Nim was fortunately rescued from medical research, but by the end of the screening, most people in the room were in tears. Although Project Nim offers hope, watching the film was also a reminder of all the primates who will never again see the walls outside of laboratories. The film was followed by an discussion led by Bob Ingersoll—who describes Nim as his best friend—that brought the conference attendees together in an emotional understanding of what this weekend was to be about. The conference was to be more than a schedule of speakers, but a rallying point to come together to learn to be stronger advocates for animals—with the animals being our inspiration and guiding light.

The tone that was set by the screening of Project Nim carried through the conference. Speakers and attendees went from strangers to friends, and everyone was eager to support and learn from each other. Amanda and Jordan spoke on a panel about Strategic Organizing for Effective Campaigning, and they talked about The Bunny Alliance’s work as a part of the Gateway to Hell network and the international collaboration to end the transport of animals to laboratories. The next day, Amanda and Jordan spoke on another panel, this time about Building Strategic Alliances for Successful Campaigns, and they talked about how The Bunny Alliance uses cross-country tours to build relationships with other groups—both within and outside the animal rights movement—and continued work to build a national grassroots network. Amanda then presented a “Know Your Rights” Training for Activists to help people to feel empowered in situations of dealing with law enforcement—and to not let State repression be a deterrent from being an effective activist. Finally, Amanda and Jordan talked about Organizing Effective Actions, which included information about how to think and act strategically in planning campaigns and actions so that we can effectively resist the exploitation of animals and the earth.

Demonstration at the home of John Vestal, VP of ATI.
Demonstration at the home of John Vestal, VP of ATI.

In addition to talks, the conference included two protests. The first was a home demonstration organized by The Bunny Alliance at the house of John Vestal, a Vice President with Air Transport International. ATI is a part of Air Transport Services Group, which also includes ABX Air, and this group of cargo airlines is the last to continue to transport primates from Asia into the U.S. for laboratories. Sixteen activists lined the street in front of John’s house and they chanted loudly with bullhorns and called on John to end ATSG’s involvement in the torture of animals in labs. The chants echoed through the neighborhood and John’s neighbors came out of their houses to see what was going on and called the police. But their attempts to silence the protest were in vain; the police sergeant made a personal visit out to the demonstration to tell the activists that what they were doing was fine and that they had the right to do so.

abx headquarters protest
Protest at the ABX Air Global Headquarters.

The other protest was a joint organizing effort between SAEN and The Bunny Alliance and was a demonstration at the ABX Air Global Headquarters. Dozens of activists from the conference gathered outside the headquarters and held signs and banners, and they took turns leading chants. People who had never led chants embraced the opportunity to do so, and they were excited to bring that energy back to their communities. The protesters decided to continue the protest for an hour longer after scheduled, a show of their commitment to holding ABX Air accountable for flying primates to labs where they are tortured and killed.

The voices of activists—whether at the homes of executives, in front of offices, or over the phone or email—will continue to be in solidarity with the animals and loud in demanding an end to the transport of animals to labs, and ATSG needs to listen and get out of doing business with the bloody vivisection industry. We are working for the day when not a single primate or other animal is in a lab, and when all animals may live wild and free.

Thank you to everyone who organized, spoke at, and attended the Free The Animals Conference. We were honored to spend the weekend with you all, and we really appreciated the overwhelming show of support for The Bunny Alliance. If you’d like to get more involved with our work or have us support your work, please let us know. We are also always interested in speaking about our work, strategic organizing, legal resources, or other topics related to being effective grassroots activists and the fight for animal liberation, so please be in touch if you’d like to have us visit your community. Contact us at thebunnyalliance@riseup.net

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