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.
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.
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.
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.