On July 29th the Fight or Flight Tour met up with Bunny Alliance supporters in Ohio to continue the campaign against ABX Air. ABX Air, a subsidiary of Air Transport Services Group (ATSG), along with Air Transport International, is the only airline left transporting primates from China into North America for vivisection labs. Through the efforts of the global Gateway to Hell campaign every Chinese airline—including China Southern Airlines, China Eastern Airlines, Air China, and Hainan Airlines—has stopped shipping primates for animal experimentation. Now ATSG, a U.S. company, and their subsidiaries are the only airlines keeping the import of primates into North America a viable business.
The evening in Ohio started with a protest outside of the ATSG/ABX Air headquarters in Wilmington, OH, where activists encouraged employees to talk to the executives and board members and urge them to end primate shipments immediately.
After leaving the corporate office activists headed over to the home of John Edward Vestal, the Vice President of Flight Operations at Air Transport International, for the second time in Wilmington. Chants and speak outs could be heard throughout the neighborhood as activists informed John’s neighbors that he is directly involved in the transport of thousands of primates to labs. John was also informed that activists had just held a protest at the ATI corporate office in Irving, Texas last week. The activists gave John’s neighbors leaflets to inform them of what kind of business he is involved in and what they can do to help put a stop to the transports.
After about 45 minutes of protesting, Wilmington Police arrived. They spoke to neighbors and to Vestal’s family and assured them that we had a legal right to engage in free speech activity in front of John’s home. Vestal’s family watched the protest through their glass door with the family’s dog, an animal that is no different than the dogs inside of Covance and Charles Rivers, just two of the labs to which ATSG supplies primates.
We left John Vestal’s house after an hour of protesting to try to meet with Joe Payne, Vice President of General Counsel and Secretary of ABX Air. Activists went up to Joe’s door to speak with him, and his beautiful dog greeted them through the window before his wife Carol answered the door. Carol told the activists that Joe was not home but that she is very aware of her husband’s involvement in transporting primates, and encouraged us to call him on his cell phone to speak with him about the issue. Joe Payne can be reached on his cell at 937-725-8352 or his home number at 513-683-0707.
In addition to having three protests during our Ohio stop, we hosted a workshop about getting more involved in the Gateway to Hell campaign, and we look forward to continuing that discussion in Ohio this October: From October 10th-13th Stop Animal Exploitation NOW! is hosting the Free the Animals Conference in Cincinnati. The conference is aimed at energizing activists from around the country and getting more people involved in the fight against animal experimentation. Speakers will share their knowledge on how to investigate laboratories and corporations, how to effectively use the media to push anti-vivisection messages, the importance of targeting laboratories and animal experimentation, and the need for sanctuaries and other care for animals that have been rescued from labs. Register for the conference today at SAENonline.org.
Throughout the Fight or Flight Tour, we have been so grateful for the support we are receiving, and we owe a special thanks for a generous donation from SAEN and other donors at the Animal Rights National Conference. Due to unforeseen complication, we were no longer able to use our original tour vehicle, but the donation allowed the Fight or Flight Tour to rent a vehicle to continue on with the tour. The support we’ve received from activists and organizations from around the world has been tremendous, and we are thankful for everyone who has helped to make this tour possible.