Animal Rights Collective Blog

Dark Days for Virginia by christine
November 26, 2009, 1:39 am
Filed under: Animal Rights News, Local Events

What the GOP Victory in Virginia May Mean for Animals and Their Defenders

On November 3, the Republican Party of Virginia won sweeping victories. The GOP won the governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general’s seat. The victory means Virginia Republicans will have a near monopoly on political power in Virginia and animals and their defenders may witness significant changes in the immediate future.

Bob McDonnell is the governor-elect in Virginia. The Republican outlined some of his political plans immediately after winning the statewide election.

McDonnell said his administration will accelerate granting permits for companies to explore and possibly drill for petroleum and natural gas off Virginia’s eastern coast. Geographic areas that may be explored include Virginia’s portion of the famed Assateague Island, located in Virginia’s Eastern Shore.

Assateague Island, which is shared territorially between Virginia and Maryland, includes a National Wildlife Refuge (NWF) that serves as a resting spot for numerous migratory birds. The Refuge also serves as a home to several threatened or endangered species including the Delmarva fox squirrel, peregrine falcon, and the piping plover.

If a petroleum spill were to occur off the coast of Assateague Island, whether accidental or intentional, Assateague’s NWF could be destroyed.

Governor-elect McDonnell, in addition to Republican Ken Cuccinelli, who ran for and won the attorney general’s race, have both promised to deregulate the state business sector. This might mean that existing environmental and animal protection statues will be dismantled. This means animal producers in Virginia will most likely not be faced with additional regulation of their business practices and will continue their animal operations with minimal interference from state regulators.

The attorney general-elect, Ken Cuccinelli, will be the top law enforcement officer and lawyer for the Commonwealth. As such, Cuccinelli will determine the direction of the attorney general’s office. In other words, which individuals and groups to pursue and to what end.

Cuccinelli marketed himself during the attorney general’s race as a “law-and-order” candidate. In essence, it means he has promised to use the power of the attorney general’s office to crackdown on street crime and political dissent while protecting business interests. Undoubtedly, Cuccinelli is likely to crackdown on animal rights activists if they pose a threat to the profits of any company exploiting animals.

Animal rights activists in the last few years have come under increasing scrutiny from the state for their political beliefs and activities and this is likely to accelerate with both McDonnell and Cuccinelli in high political office.

Animal rights activists in northern Virgina have been the victims of state scrutiny for several years. At George Mason University, animal circus protesters have been physically and verbally harassed by police officers and FBI agents. Additionally, those activists have been under explicit surveillance.

In April 2008, four local activists had felony arrest warrants issued for them after wearing masks at a Ringling Brothers demonstration. Wearing a mask in public is a Class 6 Felony in Virginia. The law states: “it shall be unlawful for any person over sixteen years of age while wearing any mask, hood, or other device whereby a substantial portion of the face is hidden or covered (§18.2-422 )” Eventually, three of the four arrests warrants were dropped while a fourth arrest remained outstanding until the respective activist was apprehended.

The immediate future of animals and their defenders may be difficult to predict as unexpected events occur and local jurisdictions change their political direction. However, animal rights activists should remain vigilant about changes that result from policies under the McDonnell administration.

Know Your Rights! by christine

Thanks to the Hippo House Book Collective (Frederick, Maryland) and a badass lawyer in a Mass Movement of the Moth t-shirt for providing an insightful and informative “Know Your Rights” training. Cops lie, lawyers lie – it’s up to you to know your shit! Here are some resources…

The Midnight Law Collective has a bunch of KYR information sheets, including:

Dealing with the Police

Basic Legal Info

“Know Your Rights” Trainer’s Manual

Other Resources:

If An Agent Knocks – by the Center for Constitutional Rights

Operation Backfire: Legal Manual for Animal Rights and Environmental Activists – by the National Lawyers Guild

Demonstration Manual – DC Justice and Solidarity Collective

ACLU Know Your Rights Card

Analysis of the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA)  by Will Potter,

Animal Rights Activists Face Higher Sentences than Racist Cross Burners by Will Potter (and rapists, and murderers…)

Why Wearing Fur is Fucked Up by christine
November 13, 2009, 4:34 pm
Filed under: Animal Rights Issue, AR Alert, Protest, Use Your Voice! | Tags: ,

Each year over 50 million animals are murdered for fashion by the fur industry. Around the world that number is even higher. The majority of the animals spend their entire lives on fur farms in filthy, cramped conditions where every natural instinct is denied to them. Animals on fur farms often show telltale signs of insanity such as nervous pacing, self-mutilation, and cannibalism. In the end, these animals die a painful death at the hands of the fur farmer.

For the millions of animals trapped in the wild, their fate is no better. Often animals caught in traps attempt to chew off their own legs to escape; some bleed to death before the trapper arrives; and others succumb to predators while trapped. Not to mention, cats, dogs and other “non-target” animals are often caught in these traps as well. Unwanted, these animals are thrown away or set free with fatal injuries. For the animals that do survive until the trapper arrives, death is inevitable.

Animals are killed for their fur using such methods as gassing, trapping, anal or vaginal electrocution, neck breaking, stomping, clubbing or drowning. As their skin is being torn from their muscle they are often still moving and fighting for their lives. Numerous animals continue to move once they are discarded – skinless – afterward. To make one fur coat the following number of animals suffer and die:

12-15 lynx

10-15 wolves or coyotes

15-20 foxes

35 rabbits

60-80 mink

27-30 raccoons

10-12 beavers

60-100 squirrels

200 chinchillas

Fur: There’s NO Excuse.

Fur Free Friday, November 27th DC Protests

Join us for legal demonstrations and us your voice to fight for those that are brutally silenced.

10:30 am to Noon: Norwegian Embassy at 2720 34th St. NW DC  (Why Norway?)

1:00 to 3:00 pm: Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdales, Max Mara, & Sax Fifth Avenue, upper Wisconsin Ave. NW DC

This footage was taken from Chinese fur farms. 

Petitions Galore. DO Something! by christine
November 10, 2009, 5:08 pm
Filed under: Animal Rights Petition, Petition/Letter Writing, Use Your Voice! | Tags:

Here are some current petitions at…Let the armchair activism commence!

Urge President Obama to Pardon ALL Turkeys This Holiday Season

Help Retire Over 200 Chimpanzees from Testing In Alamogorado, NM To a Sanctuary

Tell Congress to Provide Vegetarian and Vegan Meal Options in Public Schools

Speak Up for Southwest Wolves!

Pet Safety and Protection Act (H.R. 3907)-Class B dealers selling companion pets for experiments

Help Retire the 26 Elderly, Wild-caught Chimpanzees at the New Iberia Research Center

Reintroduce S2439: FBI database Tracking Animal Cruelty Crimes Act

Tell Xerox and Staples to Stop Supporting Animal Cruelty and Vivisection


NIH Funding Nicotine Testing on Animals by christine

Is the National Institute of Health (NIH) really tobacco free? This looks like false advertising to me…

Tobacco Free NIH?


Just one more reason to quit smoking…

NIH-Funded Nicotine Testing on Animals

by Stephanie Ernst for

Perhaps you’ve noticed in the last few days that one of the actions currently featured in the sidebar is “Tell the NIH to Stop Testing Nicotine on Animals.” For those of you who haven’t read the summary there yet, I’ll repeat my brief introduction to the action, sponsored by In Defense of Animals (IDA):

Researchers in the United States, with the help of millions of taxpayer dollars and the support of the federal government and National Institutes of Health (NIH), are still conducting cruel nicotine experiments on helpless animals—pregnant and newborn monkeys as well as rats and mice—even though the harmful effects of smoking are already well-known.

The first time I learned that the tobacco industry and federal government both are still funding nicotine and smoking experiments on animals (this campaign relates to just one area of such testing; there are more), I was stunned.

Many proponents of animal testing and medical research are fond of arguing that such testing and experiments are performed only when necessary—only when tests on animals are the supposedly best, most reliable option we have, only when the experiments’ results could lead to significant human benefits, and only when the potential benefit to humans outweighs the harm to the nonhuman animals used in the tests.

What-the-hell-ever. IDA points out, “Animal experiments failed to demonstrate that exposure to cigarettes and tobacco smoke caused lung and other forms of cancer, which is now undisputed in humans.” Yet conducting intensely cruel experiments on mother and newborn monkeys is our best, most reliable method of addressing the issue of smoking during pregnancy? How does the extreme harm to these monkeys not outweigh the potential benefit to humans when we already know that pregnant mothers should not smoke and when the ability of such experiments to predict results in humans has been disproven rather than proven?

Sign the Petition to Stop NIH Nicotine Testing on Animals

Beagles being forced to inhale smoke for tobacco research.

OHSU Nicotine Experiments on Animals (non-graphic)

More Resources

Smoking Animals: The Facts

In Defense of Animals (IDA) Stop Smoking Experiments Website

Can Smoking be Vegan?

Help Retire Over 200 Chimpanzees from NIH Testing by christine

To: Rep. Martin Heinrich (NM-01), Sen. Tom Udall (NM) and Sen. Jeff Bingaman (NM), see more…

Over 200 government owned Chimps languish in the Alamogordo Primate Facility on New Mexico Hollman Air Force Base under a $42.8 million 10 year contract between Charles River and the National Institute of Health. Many of the chimps have been there since the 1950’s. The Chimps are not being used for medical testing.

 A wonderful sanctuary in Alamogordo wants to see the chimpanzees be set free! The sanctuary, Save The Chimps, rescued 266 Chimps, and 61 monkeys from their lives as test subjects in 2002. Urge  NM  to release the Chimps from unnecessary testing and to send them to a  sanctuary to live out their lives in a safe, secure, and loving environment.

Sign the petition at


Transitioning from testing labs to sanctuary, “Saving the Chimps” film clip:

Oh, NO! Ohio Issue 2 by christine
November 4, 2009, 3:16 am
Filed under: Animal Rights Issue, Animal Rights News, News | Tags: ,

Ohio passed Issue 2 yesterday, which HSUS was fighting against in order to work on legislation outlawling the close confinement of laying hens, breeding sows, and veal calves. Laws outlawing such conditions have already been passed in seven states, including California, Michigan, Colorado, and Florida. Hopefully this won’t set a precedent for agricultural states, however many fear this will become the standard. 😦

Here’s an article published before the decision passed…

If You Can’t Beat ’em, Cheat ’em

by Tom Laskawy, Grist

Consider the weasel: so unassuming, even sweet—on the outside. But put them near their prey and watch out! I’ve got weasels on my mind, of course, thanks to Ohio Issue 2, which goes before voters tomorrow. Issue 2 is the Ohio livestock industry’s attempt to head off restrictions on their worst practices, such as tail docking, battery cages and gestation crates, and, purely coincidentally I’m sure, to keep the Humane Society of the United States from doing in Ohio what they’ve done in California, Michigan, Florida and Colorado just to name a few—either through the ballot box or negotiated executive order, change the way factory farms raise their animals. Fiendishly clever in its construction, Issue 2 would create a new commission called the Livestock Care Standards Board to regulate livestock farming techniques. It sounds so reformist! There would even be consumer and human society representation. How unassuming, even sweet—on the outside.

Indeed, once you take a good look at Issue 2, you see how truly weaselly it is. Eleven members of the 13 member board would be appointed by the governor (who also appoints the chairman). While spaces would be reserved for those consumer and humane society representatives, as well as for family farmers (who may also be large-scale factory farmers), the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation itself would not have underwritten at least $500,000 of the estimated $5 million Issue 2 campaign [PDF] if there were not a clear understanding of whose interests would ultimately prevail.

But far worse for Ohioans than the board’s makeup will be its influence. Issue 2 would write the LCSB into the Ohio State Constitution, rather into than the legal code—no half measures for Big Ag! Why would this be a problem? The group Ohio Against a Constitutional Takeover explains (via PDF):

The Livestock Care Standards Board, once cemented into the state constitution, would have the power to override any act by the Ohio Department of Agriculture or the state legislature, or any other initiative or referendum brought before the Ohio public other than an additional constitutional amendment. In effect, this means that any standard created by the Board is a final decision, giving it unchecked power over animal agriculture.

Nothing like the exercise of little raw power to put a spring in an industry’s step. To be clear, this board would have sole and supreme authority—it would take “self-regulation” to a ridiculous extreme. Again, short of amending the state’s constitution (which is more difficult than simply passing a referendum), voters, along with the state ag department and the state legislature, would lose any ability to control the livestock industry. They could, quite simply, do as they please.

The sad fact is that, in a low-turnout off-year election like tomorrow’s, the odds of passing this ludicrous amendment are surprisingly good. Yes, newspapers across the state both large and small are opposed. Groups from Farm Aid, to the Ohio Farmers Union to Food and Water Watch, and the Center for Food Safety have stated their opposition as well. But that durn LCSB sounds so professional and reform-minded! Why not just trust it?

Make no mistake, this is not just Ohio’s problem. Should this bit of governmental legerdemain succeed, a similar commission will likely be coming to a state near you. Big Ag isn’t even pretending it’s a one-off. Having been embarrassed at the polls in state after state when it’s gone up against the Humane Society, Big Ag is trying not so much to take but to steal Ohioans’ ball and go home. Let’s hope they fail.

Climate News, U.S. and Abroad by christine
November 4, 2009, 3:01 am
Filed under: News | Tags: , , ,

Some current climate news from Grist

The Real Reason the Climate Bill Is Going to Suck

All the finger-pointing and recrimination aside, there’s a pretty simple reason why whatever clean energy legislation the U.S. Congress produces is going to be weak.

Negotiators Take Aim at U.S. on Day 1 of Barcelona Climate Talks

The final round of negotiations prior to the Copenhagen Climate Summit kicked off Monday in Barcelona, Spain. Climate activists set the scene with 1,000 ringing alarm clocks that served as a literal “wake-up call” to the climate negotiators.

Rich Countries Halt Barcelona Climate Talks with Inaction; Africa Walks Out


The United Nations Climate Change Conference takes place in Copenhagen December 7-19 1009, the world will be watching…

World Vegan Day! by christine
November 1, 2009, 12:00 pm
Filed under: Announcement, News, Vegan | Tags:

Today celebrates the 65th anniversary of the founding of The Vegan Society. Go vegan today and start living more compassionately! For the animals, for your health, and for the environment! Start saving the world…

Why Vegan? 

Free Vegan Starter Guide, PDF (which includes recipes).

Do they live this way for YOU?

Do it for her…

…or them…

Veal Crates

…or them!

Learn more about the founding of veganism and World Vegan Day! 

they have families too!