Animal Rights Collective Blog

ARC @ Mason Day! by christine
April 26, 2010, 12:43 am
Filed under: ARC Events | Tags:

The Animal Rights Collective at Mason Day 2010:

Get your pictures from our Flickr!

GMU Sodexo Workers Strike! by christine
April 15, 2010, 7:22 pm
Filed under: Local Events, News, Protest, Use Your Voice! | Tags: ,

The Sodexo workers at George Mason University marched on the JC North Plaza today, demanding higher wages and healthcare. After delivering petitions yesterday to Denise Ammaccapane, Sodexo Resident District Manager, who refused to accept them, the workers decided to it was time to finally make their voices heard. Over 70 Sodexo food service employees marched from Braddock road down to the Johnson Center.

The Animal Rights Collective hopes that this move will finally force Sodexo to give employees the dignity and respect they deserve.

Join them in solidarity!

Email Denise Ammaccapane and let her know that you don’t support GMU & Sodexo’s poor treatment of workers:

BREAKING NEWS: Sodexo Workers at George Mason University On Strike


In response to rampant mistreatment by food service contractor Sodexo, around 75 cafeteria workers at George Mason University went on strike today. The one-day work stoppage is in protest of Sodexo’s attack on workers’ right to raise their families out of poverty by forming a union with SEIU 32BJ.

“All we want is respect and to improve our lives but Sodexo management has only responded by intimidating and threatening us”, says Andres Ujueta, one of the striking cafeteria workers at George Mason University.

Despite their dedication and hard work, GMU cafeteria workers earn a poverty wage–as little as $8.65 an hour. With Sodexo’s healthcare plan costing $240 a month, most workers say they can’t afford health insurance for their families.

Since George Mason cafeteria workers began forming a union, they have been subjected to harassment and intimidation by Sodexo management. Earlier this month, the workers voted to strike. Before taking this action, workers have demonstrated their support to form a union by holding rallies and delivering petitions to Sodexo management.

Yesterday, union leaders representing Sodexo workers in England and France met with George Mason cafeteria workers and students and were shocked at the conditions and treatment workers faced.

Connect2Mason: “Sodexo Employees Strike, March on North Plaza” & “Petition Signed by Over 70 Sodexo Employees Hand-Delivered to Management”

Save the Frogs! Film Screening by christine
April 13, 2010, 10:04 pm
Filed under: AR Event, ARC Events, Campaign, For the Environment, Video | Tags: , ,

Learn more about amphibians and their vital role on earth, join us Wednesday night to watch the PBS documentary “The Thin Green Line.”

Frogs are the most threatened group of animals on the planet and are rapidly going extinct due to human activity. Nearly one-third of the world’s 6,450 amphibian species are in danger of extinction and up to 200 species have completely disappeared in the last 30 years.

When: April 14, 2010 – 7:00 pm
Where: Student Union II Ballroom

To learn more about amphibian conservation, visit Save the Frogs!

In Broadside: Circus Protesters & GMU Police Injustice by christine
Mon, 04/05/2010 – 12:49 | Broadside News Editor Yasmin Tadjdeh

Circus protesters claim GMU police injustice: Participants inhibited by barricades and police tape

Over the last two weeks, protesters have gathered around the Patriot Center to rally against the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus for alleged animal cruelty of their circus animals. However, according to some protesters, George Mason University police have been unfairly targeting them and inhibiting their protests.

Through police barricades and caution tape, protesters claim that the Mason police force has been infringing on their right to protest by keeping them away from the public.

“This year when we arrived on campus, there were metal barricades put in place at the top of the steps that lead down from the corner of Roanoke Road and Po River Lane,” said Lisa Qualls, a protester at the event and a volunteer with the local Washington, D.C. based animal’s rights group, Compassion 4 Animals. “Last year, that had been our main protest spot.”

“We were told that the barricades were placed there because, in the past, children were looking over [their] shoulders at us and could have fallen down the steps,” said Qualls.

“The next time we came back, we were told we had to stay outside of the barricades,” said Qualls.“This made it very difficult to leaflet and it created not just a physical barricade, but a psychological one, too. It gives the illusion that we need to be controlled and that we are not approachable. We have never blocked anyone or been threatening. This barricade seems to be a deliberate attempt to suppress our rights.”

Other protesters at the event felt similarly.

“Throughout the demonstrations, the GMU police erected metal barricades whose aim was to enclose circus protesters,” said Nicholas Zinzer, a protester who was issued a trespassing warning on March 27. “Several protesters went behind the metal barricades and were nearly impotent when attempting to disseminate literature and hold visible signs.”

“I was issued a trespass warning at 10 p.m. that day and it will stand for at least one year,” said Zinzer. “The trespass warning is not justified. I was both peaceful and lawful throughout the protests. The GMU police were both aggressive and partial.”

According to Zinzer, he and a group of activists were preparing to leave the Patriot Center after protesting the circus when several Mason police officers approached them. After surrounding Zinzer, Zinzer said he was detained by Lt. Kevin Barrett and issued a trespass warning; he was then escorted off campus.

However, according to Mason police, the trespass warning was warranted.

“We have a designated area for protests, and he [Zinzer] was not cooperative with those directions,” said Deputy Police Chief George Ginovsky. “He didn’t comply with the directions and he was issued a trespass warning. He was escorted from campus without further incident.”

However, Ginovsky said, “If he feels he was mistreated, he needs to make a complaint and we will thoroughly investigate.”

04/21/2008 – Past Article: “Circus Protestors Protest Police Behavior”

Circus Elephant Kills Trainer in Pennsylvania by christine
April 10, 2010, 3:23 pm
Filed under: AR News | Tags: , ,

by Stephanie Feldstein for April 10, 2010 12:37 PM (PT)

Dumbo, an elephant with the Irem Shrine Circus, stomped on his groomer, causing fatal injuries just a few hours before Friday’s performance in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. Early reports said that Dumbo had been startled, perhaps by some electrical wires.

The investigation is in the hands of the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Personally, I think it should be turned over to the humane society.

It was only six weeks ago that a SeaWorld trainer was killed by an orca. In both of these cases, the people were experienced, caring professionals. And, in both cases, the animals were animals. These incidents are passed off as “accidents,” but they’re no more an accident than a drunk driver running a red light and crashing into another car. Sure, the animals didn’t premeditate the murder of their caretakers, but they were set up from the day they were enlisted as performers.

Unlike SeaWorld, the circus doesn’t even bother with the pretense that the animals are there for any reason other entertainment. There is nothing about life under the Big Top that would make an animal want to run away with the circus. They’re taught to do unnatural tricks for human amusement, they endure abusive training practices, they’re kept in small enclosures and exposed to the overstimulation of crowds and spotlights, they travel around the country, through all kinds of climates, and like Dumbo, are often isolated from others of their species.

Putting wild animals under this level of stress in close quarters with humans is putting the drunk guy behind the wheel of the car. He might get lucky and make it home okay, but when disaster ensues, it’s really not that surprising.

The Irem Shrine Circus still performed last night. A spokesman said, “We’ve asked the circus if they wanted to perform tonight and as true performers they wanted the show to go on.” I’m betting that they didn’t ask the 11 tigers and one lion how they felt about continuing to perform.

The U.K. just banned the use of wild animals in circuses after learning that 95 percent of the population thought it was cruel. Even Nabisco has uncaged its animal crackers; this month, they’re doing away with the old red box with circus animals behind bars in favor of a more humane design by Lilly Pulitzer of free animals. The company is also making a $100,000 donation to WWF (now they just need to ditch the “Barnum” name on the package).

The Shrine Circus reduced their animal acts this year to keep costs down. So, keeping wild animals for entertainment is unprofitable, unpopular, and inhumane. And, as recent news shows, it can be deadly for employees. What will it take for the industry to change?

CNN – Elephant Kills Trainer at Pennsylvania Circus

GMU Police Trample First Amendment Rights by christine

George Mason University police violated the First Amendment rights of protesters during the Ringling Brothers Circus demonstrations. The protesters were Mason students, as well as members of the local community.

Before the Ringling Brothers protests last week, several metal barricades were erected by the GMU police. The barricades severely restricted both our movement and our message. The barricades prevented animal rights leafletters from distributing informative pamphlets and ultimately restricted their message and actions. As of this evening, additional barricades further hindered our ability to distribute information.

The erection of the barricades was ridiculous considering our nonviolent and lawful actions. Their placement was meant to demonize us and it demonstrates bias against animal rights protesters.

Our goal during the demonstrations was to educate patrons about the animal abuse that occurs in circuses. We also encouraged circus patrons not to endorse animal circuses in the future.

If obstructing traffic was our goal, then we would have engaged in different tactics. We would not be leafleting and holding signs; but instead, chaining ourselves to the Patriot Center entrances.

We were lawful during these protests and there was no reason for the GMU police to violate our First Amendment rights.

From This:

Protesters clearly NOT blocking traffic.

To This:

Same area (West Entrance), shot facing left instead of right.

This isn’t the first time…

9/29/05 – “We are writing to inform you of a serious violation of civil liberties and blatant racism that occurred on campus today. Tariq Khan, a Pakistani-American student at George Mason, was assaulted and detained by the George Mason police. His crime? Standing 4 feet from the U.S. Marine recruiting table with an 8×11 piece of paper reading, “RECRUITERS TELL LIES” held by tape to his shirt. Tariq, an Air Force veteran, was exercising his right to express his opinion that military recruiters have no business being on a college campus. He was harassed by members of the ROTC – one of whom, a self-described Iraqi war veteran, stated that he couldn’t wait to go back to Iraq to kill more Iraqis.”