We began our day in the Dallas-Fort Worth area with a demo at the Air Transport International (ATI) offices in Irving, Texas. ATI uses cargo planes to transport primates from China to the US to be used in laboratory experiments. Last month a shipment of monkeys was delivered to Houston, Texas, and the group Animal Connection of Texas (ACT) responded with a protest at the ATI Irving office. ACT was founded in 1986 and has a long and rich history of grassroots animal activism and was an integral part of the global SHAC campaign.
The July 17 demo organized by the Fight or Flight Tour and ACT brought over 25 protesters to ATI’s front door with another lively demonstration. Though the building is currently in use by ATI, there were no cars parked in front and the day’s mail was still piled up at the door. It appeared as if ATI knew we were coming and decided to abandon their work for the day. The demo began with activists approaching the door to the offices, ringing and knocking in an attempt to speak with the employees inside. When there was no response, activists lined up along the street, holding signs and chanting through megaphones. As workers from adjacent offices made their way into the parking lot to see what was going on, the property manager expressed frustration with the noise we were making. We suggested that if he wants a return to peace and quiet he should tell ATI to stop transporting animals, or evict them from the property.
ATI/ABX Air is scheduled to deliver 1,800 monkeys to Houston for Charles River Laboratories in the next couple of weeks. We hope people around the country will speak out and show their opposition to this torturous event. We’ll update our tour page when we have more details on the delivery.
After the demonstration, activists convened nearby for a workshop on the ATI/ABX and Delta-Air France campaigns, as well as a discussion on coalition building and a “know your rights” training. Members of ACT also shared about their campaigns against Ringling Brothers Circus, Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo, and an upcoming event against the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act—of which we were especially excited because of recent events. Keep an eye on ACT’s facebook page for more information on these campaigns and upcoming protests.
Also attending the demo and workshop were members of Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance, Resist ALEC, Cross Timbers Earth First! and Tar Sands Blockade. After a discussion about intersectionality and cross-movement organizing an activist with Resist ALEC mentioned a rally against the American Legislative Exchange Council’s annual meeting in Dallas happening at the end of the month. We hope lots of Texans will make it out to oppose this corrupt institution of corporate-controlled legislation.
Before heading towards San Antonio the next morning, we drove to FMC Carswell, the prison where political prisoner Marius Mason is locked in solitary confinement for his earth liberation actions. We held “Free Marius Mason” and “Fight for Liberation” signs in solidarity with his work in defense of animals and the planet. There is currently a campaign to move Marius out of the isolating and psychologically torturous conditions at FMC Carswell. See supportmariusmason.org for more information.