While in Salt Lake City, we were excited to visit the Boing! Anarchist Collective space to host a workshop about our campaign against Delta, the tactics of corporate campaigns, and building solidarity between animal rights and other social justice movements. Members of Peaceful Uprising, UVU Animal Allies, No More Deaths, Salt Lake Dream Team, and Boing! helped to turn the workshop into a productive discussion about how to effectively organize mass movements while staying committed to not allowing oppressive behavior.
After the workshop we went to the Salt Lake City International Airport for a protest against Delta Air Lines for their involvement in the transport of animals to labs. We protested inside the Delta Terminal between ticketing and baggage claim, where all arriving and departing passengers could see us. Many of them took flyers, snapped photos, and told us how much they care about animals and support our work—and some passengers vowed to stop flying Delta as long as the airline supports animal torture. Several news stations covered the protest, including KUTV 2News, ABC 4, and Fox 13, and each interviewed one of the organizers of The Bunny Alliance about the campaign against Delta and the need for an end to animal research.
Our Salt Lake City stop also included meeting with members of the Utah Tar Sands Resistance to discuss their work to stop the first tar sands mine in the U.S. and bring more support from the animal rights movement. In addition to wanting to show long term solidarity with the Utah Tar Sands Resistance campaign, we wanted to do something to further the campaign while in Salt Lake City, so we decided to visit the neighborhood of a decision-maker directly involved with Utah tar sands mining: John Waller Andrews.
John Waller Andrews is the Associate Director and General Counsel of the State of Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration (SITLA), which recently leased 32,000 acres of wilderness in Uintah County to U.S. Oil Sands, a Canadian resource extraction company. John Andrews and other executives at SITLA claim that they are investing in tar sands “for the kids.” This messaging is intended to disguise SITLA’s never-ending quest for revenue through oil, gas, and mineral mining. In fact, SITLA contributes only 1% of the state’s annual $3 billion education budget. By using this public relations tactic, SITLA is able to maintain various devastating extraction projects while using children as shields. In reality, this project will threaten the health of future generations—poisoning the drinking water of millions, releasing increased rates of carbon dioxide, as well as destroying vital ecosystems and threatened species.
We went to the door of every house on John’s street to talk with his neighbors and pass out flyers about his dirty ties to tar sands mining. His neighbors were very nice and receptive and listened to our request that they talk with John about the dangers of tar sands mining to the community—and that he do his part to stop the destruction of the land, the poisoning of the water, and the extermination of the wild animals that call Utah’s eastern plateaus home.
After leafleting John’s neighborhood, we went to his house to see if he wanted to speak about his support of deadly resource extraction. Unfortunately, no one was home, so we decided to leave a box of flyers on his front porch, in case he wanted to hand them out himself.
We hope John realizes that people around the world—and even his next door neighbors—are concerned about the impact tar sands extraction will have on human health and the environment, and that resistance will not stop until the mining project is shut down for good.