Sunday, March 31, 2019

3214. 300 March for Animal Rights in Santa Rosa, California

Editor's note: On Saturday, March 30, Direct Action Everywhere (DxE), a grassroots network of animal rights activists, held a rally and march for animal rights in downtown Santa Rosa. About 300 attended (see the video clip of a portion of the march below). What follows is largely taken from DxE's Facebook page its activities.  

Through open rescue, demonstration, and disruption, DxX hopes to create a world where every animal is safe, happy and free. Since 2014, whistleblowers and investigators of DxE have been documenting the conditions inside animal agriculture facilities in Sonoma County. In every instance, investigators have found criminal animal cruelty including violations of California Penal Code Section (CPC) 597 (which prohibits subjecting any animals to unnecessary suffering) and Proposition 2 (which prohibits intensive confinement of egg-laying hens).

The footage taken inside these farms shows baby chicks who are so sick and injured they cannot stand to reach food and water, hens who are trapped in wire cages for their entire lives, and birds who are cannibalizing each other due to stress and confinement. 

Investigators also found many dead animals inside barns, some of whom were in such advanced stages of decomposition that necropsies could not even be performed. Veterinarian reports confirm these findings and indicate that there are animals on these farms that are too sick and injured to stand or walk, have necrotic wounds, and are starving.

This information has been brought to key stakeholders including the District Attorney Jill Ravitch, the Sheriff’s Office, Sonoma County Animal Services, the California Attorney General, and the California Department of Food and Agriculture. In all instances, the whistleblowers have been either ignored or met with inaction. There has been no accountability for the corporations and farms engaged in criminal animal cruelty; instead, more than 75 activists have been prosecuted for investigating the farms. The County has made a concerted effort to take down DxE leadership, charging 6 Organizers, including 4 of the 5 members of the elected Core team, with seven felonies each. 
Despite repression, more and more activists are speaking up and taking action for animals. They are demanding that government officials commit to investigating animal abusing facilities and ending the prosecution of nonviolent whistleblowers.

Below, please find a speech given by Samantha Eachus at the rally.  

Kamran Nayeri

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By Samantha Eachus, March 30, 2019

I’m a Sonoma County resident. I was born here, and I grew up on the homestead of my grandfather’s dairy farm. Before I began kindergarten I would go with him into the fields he had sold to other farmers and pet the cows and horses. He taught me to watch the weather and to be careful around animals. I rode horses here for 20 years, and I competed in national competitions around the west coast. I spent more time riding up and down Roblar and Blank than I probably ever did in school. I love animals, and I love this place. I have a map of the county tattooed on my forearm, and I got it done right down the street at Faith. But I am also a citizen of the world. I know that everyone feels for their home what I do for mine. I cannot put my love of this place and my past above the simple survival and self-determination of others. That is why I wrote this and why I march for the animals.

There is no separating the evolution of animal liberation from the necessary work of environmental restoration. Respecting the migratory butterfly that pollinates the native wildflower means abstaining from the labor of honeybees that outcompete the endangered pollinators and refusing the grass-fed beef that tramples them. Respecting cows and chickens means respecting the Tule Elk and the Least Tern. Considering liberation and safety for both means protecting the areas where they can live, and not exploiting either for profit. Continuing animal agriculture is the leading cause of species extinction, ocean dead zones, water pollution, and habitat destruction. Eating some animals is killing all the others.

Climate catastrophe is real and it is being caused by the practices that take place here - the production and consumption of animal products. A common counter to this obvious fact is that we, Sonoma County, feed the world, and I’m not arguing with you. We do feed the world - the first world. The products that are made here, from the meat and cheese to the eggs and honey, these products are not being sent to aid starving villages of humans. They aren’t being handed out to the houseless even here. They are sold, for massive profits, to jaded elitists and delusional yuppies. History doesn’t look back fondly on the people who pump the brakes of progress. Absolutely no one is going to nominate Sonny Perdue (Trump’s USDA pick) for a Nobel peace prize. But a truant vegan teenager just got nominated for one this month. Denying, even skirting the line of acceptance of man-made climate catastrophe embarrasses us all. Is it not shameful to us, to take such a vast amount of the world for pleasing the upper crust of a deplorable culture? Is it not made that much worse by considering we don’t need to breed or kill animals for food at all?

Every day another adorable video of a chicken playing piano or a pig painting goes viral. Every day, the same individuals end up plastic-wrapped in innumerable ways. Every day our own reasoning for eating some and loving others is rapidly unwinding. Studying the cognition of animals has led us to re-evaluate our own understanding of intelligence. To see fear, to recognize immobility from illness, to understand each animal as an individual with a past and a future takes nothing from the world. It takes nothing from me. But ignoring these realities strips animals of their own flesh denies their own future, and destroys their own earth.

I will not accept the mild condolences of humane or local. I will not accept an apology for what we continue to do to the earth and all its creatures. I will accept action. I will accept allies and I will accept responsibility for creating change the innocent souls of animals need us to make. Together we have an incredible power to change the way the world works, and individually we have the power to change how we work for the world. Respect for animal life and individuality is inseparable from respecting the order and peace of the environment. Re-evaluating our position as restorationists is only the first step in freeing animals, the planet, and ourselves.

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