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

Primate Liberation Week Protest in Lyon, France

From Air Souffrance Lyon:

On Saturday, October 11th, anti-vivisection activists held a 2 hour protest in front of Air France’s commercial agency in Lyon as part of the Air Souffrance/ Gateway to Hell campaign and the Primate Liberation Week.

At the two entries, one of them was closed, some customers turned around, some others hardly noticed the second door where a security guard was standing. These measures didn’t prevent the activists to put pressure on the airline company thanks to speeches and megaphone’ sirens. To make the employees and customers fully aware of the horror off vivisection, images from laboratories were put under their eyes. Employees tried to ignore the activists and customers turned their eyes away, feeling too uncomfortable to face what they support by buying their plane tickets at Air France.
A lot of passers-by have been informed with many informational leaflets given away, and most of them agreed with the campaign.

This demo mark the beginning of the campaign in Lyon, which will last as long as there will be animals in Air France planes’ baggage hold. We’ll be back regularly to remind the airline company it must stop participating in the vivisection industry. Don’t hesitate to join or contact us for more information.

Until every cage is empty.
Air Souffrance Lyon

Ottawa Animal Defense League protests Delta and Air France

From Ottawa Animal Defense League:


On Saturday, October 11th activists with Ottawa Animal Defense League held a demo at the Ottawa International airport in support of Primate Liberation Week. Activists held placards at the ticket counter and then in the boarding security check up line up where other potential Delta/ Air France/KLM passengers waited. Comments such as; “Thank you for what you are doing”, “Thanks for this info -I will never fly Delta or Air France”, “You guys are doing a great job”, “I never knew that passenger planes supported this form of cruelty” were repeatedly made. When the last customer left we then proceeded through the airport down the escalator to the security screening area. When the line up was finished there we proceeded to the departure area where we stood again holding signs and educating potential Delta/ Air France customers. Police and the Airport Manager did their best to get us to leave, but we stood our ground and won’t back down.


Do you want to be part of Primate Liberation Week? Find all registered events: Click Here

Report back from the first DHL demo in San Francisco!

On Friday, October 3rd, San Francisco activists descended upon the DHL Express warehouse at 401 23rd St, San Francisco, CA, to pressure DHL to cut their ties with ABX Air or convince them to stop shipping primates to laboratories. ABX Air is the only airline currently transporting primates across the Pacific Ocean from China and Cambodia to be distributed to labs across North America. Seasoned activists and activists from across movements–from grand jury resisters, to prison abolition activists, to activists with Stop Smart Meters!–attended.

banner march
DHL is ABX Air’s main customer, with over 50% of their business relying on transporting cargo for DHL as well as leasing cargo planes to them. DHL has become a target of the global Gateway to Hell campaign, with activists speaking out against them all over the world. This effort is an international effort to end animal experimentation across the globe and was highlighted by the presence of an activist wearing an ALARM shirt, a French organization that recently co-organized a march and protest against Air France in Marseille where hundreds of activists attended.


At the DHL office in San Francisco, activists held signs and a banner DHL Driverthat read “DHL & ABX Kill Monkeys!” while chanting and handing out literature to passersby, construction workers, and DHL drivers. One DHL driver stopped to talk to activists and take information. He expressed his support for the primates and his disgust at his employer’s involvement in animal experimentation.

This protest marks the resurrection of the strategic animal liberation movement in the Bay Area, working within global networks to effect tangible change for animals through clear strategic actions and campaigns. Keep your eye out for more actions and join activists in San Francisco for a second protest against DHL on Friday, October 17th, and a protest against Air France on Saturday, October 18th at the SFO International Airport as part of Primate Liberation Week.


Report back from Animal Connection of Texas – Protest at DHL

From Animal Connection of Texas:
Expanding on recent protests Animal Connection of Texas has had in conjunction with The Bunny Alliance at ATIs Irving office, members of ACT gathered in front of DHL Express in Dallas on Thursday, September 25th, demanding that DHL use their influence – as the biggest customer of ABX Air, responsible for over half of their business – to insist that ABX Air/ATSG/ATI join the ranks of China Southern Airlines, Air China, China Eastern Airlines, & Hainan Airlines by enacting a policy against the transportation of animals to laboratories; where they are destined to be used in cruel, archaic experiments.
We began by forming a line near the front entrance of the building, chanting to get the attention of the employees inside, after a while, a IMG_20140925_182027570protester held the door open as we continued to chant. Eventually, a group of 8 – 10 DHL employees emerged from a loading dock nearby. We explained why we were there, but a particularly huffy employee – loudly and repeatedly declaring that we were wrong about ABX Air – made it difficult. After a few minutes of trying to engage them in a discussion about the barbarism of vivisection and the role ABX Air plays in it, we were informed that the cops were being called, we headed back to the public sidewalk.
At this point there were small crowds of curious people standing outside of nearby buildings. A man from the UPS building across the street approached us asking questions, and requested flyers to share with his coworkers and friends. We saw him handing them to the others standing outside.IMG_20140925_181854841
Shortly after that, about 8 cop cars pulled up, one after another. We were told sternly, that we had to leave because we didn’t pull a permit with DFW Airport. By the time they were done pulling up the ordinance number, as requested by us, the protest was over.
Overall we are satisfied that we engaged many people and brought attention to the issue, and we look forward to having more DFW area ABX Air/ATI/DHL protests in the near future in support of the Gateway to Hell campaign.IMG_20140927_145807

Put Pressure on DHL and ABX Air: Announcements and Upcoming Protests


ABX Air, a cargo company based out of Ohio, is the main airline transporting primates into the U.S. to be used in lab experiments for companies such as SNBL, Charles Rivers Laboratories, Covance, and others.

 DHL is ABX Air’s largest customer (providing over 50% of their business), and so the Gateway to Hell network is demanding that DHL use the influence that it has with ABX Air to stop the primate shipments. Gateway to Hell is calling for an immediate escalation of the campaign against DHL to hold them accountable for ABX Air’s actions and stop ABX Air from accepting any future shipments of primates.

DHL is a global company, just as Gateway to Hell is a global activist network, so DHL can expect global opposition for as long as they remain complicit in ABX Air’s facilitation of the torture of animals in labs.

As part of Primate Liberation Week, October 11th-19th, activists all over the world are organizing demonstrations against ABX Air and DHL, as well as Air France/Delta and laboratories that experiment on primates. Below is a list of upcoming demonstrations in the U.S. that you can attend, and we are calling on all of our supporters to organize a protest in your city!

Here is what you can do:
1. Find a DHL Express office or DHL Authorized Shipping Center near you. This includes many franchise mail box and shipping centers that can be found in nearly every city.
2. Print out literature to hand out to the public and to DHL and shipping center employees. Leaflets about DHL and ABX can be downloaded by clicking here or going to
3. Print out signs or make your own signs with poster board and a marker.You can download signs about DHL and ABX by clicking here or going to
4. Get some friends and local activists together to go to the DHL location near you and have a protest!
5. Be sure to let us know about your protest so that we can help advertise it. Email us at
6. Take pictures of the event. Send us the photos and a short description of the event so that we can post it on our website and on for DHL and ABX Air to see how many people are speaking out about primate transports.

If you need any help organizing a protest, finding a DHL location near you, or getting signs and leaflets, please contact us at We are more than happy to help!

Primate Liberation Week is kicking off with Stop Animal Exploitation Now’s (SAEN) annual Free the Animals Conference, October 10th- 13th in Cincinnati, OH.  The conference focuses on anti-vivisection activism and how to organize strategic campaigns to stop the animal testing industry. Bunny Alliance co-founders and organizers Amanda Schemkes and Jordan Ezell will be speaking at the conference about the importance of the global Gateway to Hell campaign, strategic campaigning, how to organize a protest, and what your legal rights are as an activist. To register for the Free the Animals Conference, go to

Following the conference, join us for a protest at ABX Air’s global headquarters in Wilmington, OH on October 13th at 11:00am.

Upcoming events:

September 25th: DHL protest in Dallas, TX
Hosted by Animal Connection of Texas
Time: 6:00 PM -7:00pm
Location: DHL near Dallas Airport
1640 West 23rd Street, Dallas, TX 75261
NOTE: The legal address is Dallas because it’s near
DFW Airport, but it’s actually in  Grapevine.
Contact: Savanna Batten (817-584-2503)

October 3rd: DHL Protest in San Francisco, CA
Hosted by The Bunny Alliance
Time: 11:00am  – 1:00pm
Location: DHL Express SF
401 23rd St., San Francisco, CA 94107
Contact: Jordan Ezell (925-667-5049)
October 10th-12th: Free The Animals Conference in Cincinnati, OH
Hosted by SAEN
Please visit for more information and for

October 11th: Air France Protest in Los Angeles, CA
Hosted by Empty Cages LA and Progress for Science
Time: 2:00pm-3:30pm
Location: Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
Tom Bradley International Terminal (3)

October 12th: Air France Protest in Minneapolis, MN
Time: 9:00am-11:00am
Location: Minneapolis/St. Paul Airport

October 13th: ABX Air Protest in Wilmington, OH
Hosted by The Bunny Alliance and local activists
Time: 11:00am-1:00pm
Location: ABX Air, Inc. / Air Transport International
1113 Airport Road, Wilmington, OH 45177
Contact: Jordan Ezell (925-667-5049)

October 16th: DHL Protest in Los Angeles
Hosted by The Bunny Alliance and Progress for Science
Time: 11:00am-12:30pm
Location: DHL Express
1900 Sacramento St, Los Angeles, CA 90021
Contact: Jordan Ezell (925-667-5049)


October 16th: DHL Protest in Irvine, CA
Hosted by The Bunny Alliance and Empty Cages LA
Time: 2:00pm-3:30pm
Location: Postal Annex
15333 Culver Dr Irvine, CA 92604
Contact: Jordan Ezell (925-667-5049)


October 18th: DHL Protest in Seattle, WA
Hosted by The Bunny Alliance
Time: 1:00pm-2:00pm
Location: The Home Office
2606 2nd Ave, Seattle, WA 98121 (located
between Cedar and Vine
Contact: Amanda Schemkes (425-314-7511)

 October 18th: Air France Protest in San Diego, CA
Time: 10:00am- 11:30am
Location: San Diego Lindberg Airport

Add your event to the list today and be a part of saving animals from labs!

Contact The Bunny Alliance at


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