Category Archives: Events

Thank You Wyomissing Family Restaurant For NO MORE FUR SALES

 

imageFor decades, the Wyomissing Family Restaurant has supported the fur industry by allowing Pollack Furs, a local fur shop, to have trunk shows in their banquet hall. A trunk show is a sales event for showing merchandise to any number of select customers. They often use huge discounts like 25%, 50% or 75% off to bring in more people, which creates larger sales volume. Larger sales volume in the fur and animal skin trade is no bueno. Each time the Wyomissing Family Restaurant allowed the Pollacks a platform to make their blood money, the restaurant was in turn making a bold statement that they too supported this egregious industry. An offense we did not take lightly.

imageWhen we first found out about their relationship with the Pollacks, we contacted the restaurant immediately and respectfully let the owners know that we were extremely disappointed to hear that they were supporting the fur industry. Their response was typical. “It’s just a business deal, it doesn’t mean we personally support it”. A totally bogus response to which we let them know had no backing. We reminded them that every time they allowed the Pollacks to sell fur from their establishment, they were 100% supporting the fur trade. No question about it. It was their choice.

imageIf the Pollacks were selling the fur of cats and the skin of dogs, surely the Wyomissing Family Restaurant would oppose. Everyone in the town would be outraged. Why? Because in this speciesist society we live in, cats and dogs are family, cows and pigs are food, and mink and raccoons are to be brutally killed and worn for no damn reason whatsoever. We know that’s bogus because it just doesn’t make sense. All species have equal rights to life, compassion, respect, and protection. It’s a just matter of us stepping up, speaking out, and replacing peoples misconceptions with the truth.

imageTradition and deals in long standing community businesses are hard to break and so the Pollacks continued their fur shows in the banquet hall of the Wyomissing Family Restaurant. We began protesting immediately. Compassionate people from our community (and beyond) were outraged that a “family” restaurant would support something so violent. We protested in a variety of ways for almost three years, giving people the opportunity to speak out against fur. We held signs, we yelled, we called, and we e-mailed. We let the truth be known that when you eat at the Wyomissing Family Restaurant you are in turn also contributing to the fur industry. And really, who wants to support a business who helps keep fur in demand and millions of innocent animals brutally killed annually?

imageJust before the first of this year, Hamid Chaudhry became the restaurants new owner. New ownership brought new opportunity. After a few calls and requests from patrons that he end his restaurants relationship with fur dealers, he has finally made the compassionate commitment to no longer have his restaurant support or be connected to the fur industry. The partnership between the Pollacks and the restaurant had expired and it was not going to be renewed.

imageThe Wyomissing Family Restaurant finally taking a stand against the fur industry is a small step, but a step nonetheless. A step towards the overall goal of becoming more compassionate for all species. We know more now, we know better now, and we know that the fur industry nightmare has got to end. This is a step in the right direction.

imageIt is HUGELY important we applaud businesses who make these compassionate changes and remind them that these changes are indeed positive ones. We ask that you take a moment and leave a post on the Wyomissing Family Restaurant’s Facebook page, or e-mail, applauding them for this compassionate commitment to leave fur sales out of their establishment. FINALLY!

Wyomissing Family Restaurant::

EMAIL:: email@wyomissingrestaurant.com

FACEBOOK:: https://www.facebook.com/WyomissingFamilyRestaurant/

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Duck, Duck, PUKE!

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For the past three years the West Reading Tavern, located in West Reading PA, has hosted it’s annual Duck, Duck, Beer! event. “Come end duck season with a bang!” the Tavern exclaims. This event marks a celebration for duck hunters at the closing out of duck hunting season. The Tavern states that the event is a “special tribute to the Woodward family and Dun Wurkyn.” You are probably wondering: who the hell is the Woodward family? What the hell is a Dun Wurkyn? And what do the two have to do with celebrating duck hunting? The West Reading Tavern is owned by the Woodward family. Dun Wurkyn was the name of their families hunting lodge in the 1950’s, which they later named their Tavern’s house beer after. “The Official Hunter’s Beer” they claim. Put it all together and you have an annual event where celebrating the needless, violent deaths of sentient beings is turned into a party.

imageLoaded with live music, ice carvings, a dress up contest and a full duck themed menu ducked out to the nines. Normally this charade only lasts two days, but this year the West Reading Tavern extended it’s Duck, Duck, Beer! event to a four day murder party. And to be clear, I do not use the word murder lightly. While the laws may allow the killing of gentle animals, that does not change the fact that the killing is premeditated and practiced. That the animals are tricked, have their lives abruptly stolen from them and the killer feels excitement before, during and after the act. To shoot and kill another against their will is beyond abuse. It is cold blooded murder and for those of us who know killing another is wrong, regardless of species, that is a serious offense. We can’t take that lightly.

Last year we were protesting against the sales of foie gras sold at a local French restaurant, Papillon (who is now out of business). An older gentleman and a younger gentleman crossed the street over to where we were. The younger man had a huge smile on his face, let’s keep this confidential and call him Clark. Clark kept walking until he was about 5″ from a protesters face. He told us his father and he were the owners of the West Reading Tavern. Clark remained in the protesters face while talking about how our call in protest last year inspired them to have an even longer Duck, Duck, Beer! event this year. He kept repeating that there was nothing we could do about it because it’s such a popular event in our town. He handed their duck themed menu to the protester telling them to take it. The protester smiled and said “no thank you, I’m not interested”. Clark let menu fall to the ground and walked away, continuing to say there was nothing we could do about their duck hunting celebration. “And there’s nothing you can do about!” echoed over and over again as they walked across the street and back inside their Tavern.

imageLast year we found out about the Tavern’s event too late to pull together an on site protest. This year we were ready, and with the extra incentive of the owners threats that “there was nothing we could do about it”, we planned a huge protest. Unfortunately, or fortunately, mother nature had her own revenge in the form of a blizzard that resulted in multiple feet of drifted snow. While the Tavern claimed to remain open during the storm and have “booming duck sales”, as stated on their Facebook, we very much beg to differ. Especially since every local weather update made it clear over and over again that people needed to stay off the roads.

The bottom line is this. To extend such a despicable event speaks volumes of their establishment’s morals. But what can you expect from a family that has killed animals for fun for generations? When our local shops in our towns support and defend blatant animal abuse, we have a responsibility to speak on behalf of the victims whose voices aren’t being heard. After all, if the Tavern was hosting a four day long celebration of dog fighters with a dog meat themed menu, the town would be outraged. People would be calling from around the globe. Why? That’s where the problem lays. Why is this event not only celebrated but defended by so many in our community? We hear over and over again “how dare you pick on a small, family owned business!” What kind of twilight zone are we living in where hurting animals is cool, fun and highly defended? Why are people taking the side of the tormentors instead of the victims?

imageIt’s because we grow up ill informed on virtually every aspect of other species we share this planet with. We’re told to separate the animals we “love” from the animals we choose to eat and we let outrageous laws depict which species we can viciously hunt down without question. This is speciesism. In the words of the great Alice Walker, “The animals of the world exist for their own reasons. They were not made for humans any more than black people were made for white, or women created for men.” Other animals are not here for us to hunt, eat, drink, wear or experiment on. Nor are they here to amuse us. They are not here for us to exploit or profit from. They are not ours in any way. Saying “I love my dog, he’s family” while shooting ducks and then eating their bodies reveals a major disconnect. How can you possibly justify loving one species while turning your back to the mass suffering of other species who are just as deserving of our compassion, respect and protection? Just like racism and sexism, speciesism is just as harmful, offensive and unacceptable as we continue to grow into more compassionate and conscience communities.

imageHunting down gentle and kind animals should in no way be celebrated. Hunting is repulsive and devastating to wildlife. Less than 5 percent of the U.S. population (13.7 million people) hunts, yet hunting is permitted in many wildlife refuges, national forests, state parks and on other public land. And while you’ll hear people talk about it being an over population problem, the truth remains that it’s about blood hungry, money making. According to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, around 13.3 million ducks were harvested in the United States during the 2014-2015 waterfowl hunting season. This is down from over 13.7 million ducks harvested the previous season, which is a good sign but also shows how much our voices are needed to speak out against it. Many animals endure prolonged, painful deaths when they are injured but not killed nor collected by hunters. SOUTH DAKOTA GAME, FISH AND PARKS estimates over 3 million ducks and geese are not retrieved every year is the US and Canada alone. These animals die a slow death of starvation, freezing or drowning. Hunting also disrupts migration and destroys families, which is a point that must be made and brought to light because the human species seems to assume that it is the only species that values its friends and family.

Hunting is not about food, it’s not a sport and it’s certainly not a game. It’s murder and violence, there’s no doubt about it. Ducks, like all species are beautiful and unique individuals. They are mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers. They are gentle and wise. They are kind and they are not here for us. They are here with us as we all share this beautiful planet together. Want to hunt for fun? Hunt each other. Leave innocent animals out of it.

imageWhen we speak out for one victim, we are speaking on behalf of them all. All who violently and unnecessarily lost their lives. All who are left suffering. We are speaking on behalf of the families that were torn apart and we are speaking on behalf of all those whose tragic fate still awaits them at the hands of human arrogance. Please reach out to the West Reading Tavern and invite others to do the same. Respectfully ask they end this senseless event. Send letters, post comments or call. Even if your voice shakes, please speak up for these animals; and always remember who we are speaking for. We have the power to create change, but not until we stand up and use our voice. We are no better, no smarter and in no way more deserving of respect, kindness and freedom. Let us not forget, we are ALL animals.

Phone:: 610-376-9232
Address:: 606 Penn Ave West Reading, PA 19611
Twitter:: https://twitter.com/WRTWestReading
Facebook:: https://www.facebook.com/pages/West-Reading-Tavern/299246126849241

Duck hunting sabotaging 101, from American Hunt Saboteurs::
Water fowl seasons, for some reason, are my favorite. In the reeds with a case of shells and some friends, firing away like it’s WW2—what could be more American? The primary goal here is to fire when the birds are still out of range and to convince the flock to seek another place to land. There are sabs that use a boat for this type of action. I like the ability to change my location and fire from many different vantage points without being spotted. 4-6 people in groups of 2 will spread you out even more. Most states require you be able to shoot no more than 3 shells at a time from a shot gun (preferred weapon of duck hunters). There is a plug that is sold with new shot gun; otherwise you will need to purchase one. It must be installed in the gun if you are in the field. This is usually covered in a hunter education course. Use only steel shot if you plan to engage in this type of sabbing. There’s no reason to pollute the water with any more lead. Other possible options include: Laser pointers to cause the birds to fly away or higher. Aim for the lead bird. Mirrors may also work. Predator-shaped kites have been used outside of hunting areas before. According to some they may work.

For more info on how to sabotage hunters and protect wildlife check out::
http://americanhuntsabs.org/

Action & Arrest: The Ephrata Pig Chase

 

Tuesday night, September the 22nd, I was arrested for disorderly conduct. I tried to hop a fence that was surrounding a baseball field of the 97th annual Ephrata fair pig chase.  A “family fun tradition,” says Stephanie Smith,  a secretary of the fair. I miscalculated my jump and fell face first onto the field. There were hundreds in the crowd and they roared with laughter. But let me start at the beginning.

About a month ago I was with my mother while she was getting her hair done. She and her hair dresser were talking about this and that, and somehow animal rights issues came up. She asked if we knew who to contact about getting a pig chase canceled and fast as lightning I raised my hand and passionately declared “ME!” I told her about the work we do as Animal Action of Greater Reading, a few of our campaigns and our latest fair protest stories. She said the Ephrata fair, which I later learned is the largest street fair in all of Pennsylvania, had a yearly animal chase – rooster and pig.

She said that last year was so horrible that a pig ended up getting it’s back broken. I was mortified and somehow surprised to hear about something like that happening so close to home, when in reality I should have known better. I told her I would get on top of it immediately.

I did some digging, looked at videos and photos from years past (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jcUzY_9K9m4). It was awful. The squeal of the pigs covered in grease, dirt and cuts, and the rooster running for it’s life was beyond appalling. I couldn’t begin to imagine what it would be like to be in that situation. Looking for safety but it never comes. It was incredibly clear that this annual, cruel “tradition” had to go. When I scanned the fair’s schedule for the chasing events, I saw that the rooster chase had been canceled for  this upcoming year. Their website stated “CANCELED due to avian flu.” BIRD FLU. Hey Ephrata fair here’s an idea, when our supposed community building events for children are abusive to animals and run the risk of bird flu contamination, we should be coming up with new ideas.

I was watching a news video on last years chase (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jcUzY_9K9m4) and saw a man called “hog boss”, A.K.A. Paul Zimmerman. While I was disturbed with what I was seeing and hearing there was a glimmer of hope when I heard hog boss say “every year I think it’s enough now, but then you see faces of the kids and say ‘one more year.'” I thought this would be a great time to call him and see if we could have a civil conversation about what fun activity could replace this outdated, animal chasing tradition. Unsurprisingly that was not the case. From the moment I asked “Are you open to discussing some other fun options that could end the animal chases?” he became extremely defensive and did the whole “I’m a speciesist and couldn’t care less about the animals” thing. He kept saying things that were incomprehensible to me like “how do you know pigs smart?” and “how do you know they’re being hurt?” I told him I didn’t have to been there to know it was harmful and wrong. He started to get louder speaking over me but I cut him off immediately. I let him know he was being totally unprofessional and that I would not stop calling until I could speak to someone who was professional and have a open and calm conversation about evolving this event. He hung up.

I then decided to create an event urging people to RESPECTFULLY call the hog boss and fair office asking them to end all animal chasing events indefinitely. That in the year, 2015, this type of exploitation forced against innocent beings will no longer be tolerated by our community. Within a few hours of people calling the hog boss, his extension line magically disappeared. He was no longer reachable. We continued to urge people to call and email the fairs office. We also asked that people leave comments and reviews on the Ephrata fairs Facebook, again, respectfully asking that they end these chases. Within a few hours their Facebook had magically been shut down too. We then asked people to reach out to the fair’s sponsors, which was listed on the fair’s website, but just like hog bosses phone number and the fairs Facebook page, the sponsor list was gone. This went on for a few weeks up until the fair.

As the craziness continued it was clear that they wouldn’t be ending this years chase. I knew I needed to witness this first hand, but not alone. I asked a few activist friends if they were available to attend, but because it was last minute, only my good friend Crystal was available. We went there with the intention to get as much video footage as possible so we could use it to show sponsors of the fair, animal rights groups, local AND countrywide people that the horrors occurring during animal chases are completely needless, harmful, unacceptable and must end.

When we arrived there were hundreds of people surrounding the field. It completely freaked me out that SO many people were not only supporting this, but that they were all beaming with delight. There was a thick and uncomfortable energy that filled the field and spilt out over everyone. Their solidarity in loving this violence was infuriating. Everyone was so amped up. We decided to split up so we could get as many different angles of the chase as possible. Before I even began to record there was a cop that came up behind me. (NOW, the police reported that they “warned” me not to do anything, but that is NOT the case.) He said “Can I speak with you for a moment?” and I said “sure!”, with my phone up and recording his face immediately. (ALWAYS RECORD EVERYTHING.) He told me “I really appreciate you staying peaceful tonight.” I said, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” He repeated himself. I walked away and found a good spot to stand. He
followed close behind. The announcer of the chase went over the rules of the event, one of which was “no metal spikes allowed” and something ridiculous like “be gentle with the animal.” Total mind fuck.

The first age group, 5-8 years of age, ran onto the field and stood behind the line. Then three men with big red boards went over to the pigs pens. I couldn’t see how many pigs where there but it had to be around 4 or 5 tops. The men made a small opening in the crate and urged one pig out. The pigs obviously did not want to come out, and when they did, they just wanted to run away to safety. The red boards were used to keep the pig confined so they should shuffle him onto the middle of the field. Once at center field the red boards were lifted and a beautiful little pig covered in grease fat was exposed. Huge clumps of it melted all over his face and body. His tall was cut and I think it’s safe to assume his teeth were cut off as well, as that is standard “hog raising” protocol. This tiny pig was adorable, precious and I wanted nothing more than to grab him and keep him safe. He walked a little and sniffed where he had been placed. Within seconds, a whistle was blown and dozens of screaming children took off after him. As soon as the pig felt them coming, he ran in a confused panic and the children and crowd went wild. People screaming, laughing and applauding. Making bacon references, and shouting things like “DUMB PIG!” Very quickly a mob of children jumped onto the pig, grabbing and pulling at him. He shrieked out in total terror. Once the pig was pinned down by one child, a man instructed how to grab and hold onto the pig to carry them back to his pen for the win. Each “winner” received a trophy. I felt like I had the wind knocked out of me. I could barley stand. I had never seen anything like this in person before. I was mortified, I was in shock and my heart was in my throat. Everyone who was watching pointed and laughed at the pig’s distress and fear. I couldn’t even begin to comprehend any of what I was seeing or hearing. EVERY chase had a pig screaming so loudly you could hear it over everyone’s yelling, cheering and laughter; and even now as I write this almost a week later tears run down my face because I can feel it just as strongly as when I was there.

It only got worse with each passing event. Each different age category became not only more intense, but also more difficult to keep filming. A few pigs managed to escape under the fence but were drug back in. You could tell the same few pigs were being used over and over again because when they were brought out, they were filthy from being plummeted to the ground previously. I saw how each time the same pig was brought out they became more defeated with each whistle blow. Towards the end they gave up from exhaustion and stayed in place. Each pig screamed for help and safety, but no one helped and no one saved them – only roaring applause and laughter from the enormous crowd surrounding them. I was so sickened by this I could barely stand. The ignorance was like a drug in the air and the crowd seemed to became more intoxicated with each round. Everyone was so worked up and excited watching these animals be terrorized. It was one of the most violent and
barbaric events I have ever had the displeasure of seeing in my life and I will never forget.

The chases kept going until they reached the “16 and up” girls. I was shocked to see there were mostly ADULT women in this chase. They released a larger, older pig and I was mortified to see adult women participating in this violence. It was brutal. I was shaking inside and when they were announcing the “16 and up” men’s chase to come onto the field I couldn’t take it anymore. It was awful to see the young children acting in this way but when adults proudly marched onto field I was once again in total disbelief. The guys were ready to go at the starting line. By now most people knew who we were and the men started yelling arrogantly “FILM THIS”. As they brought the pig out, I could no longer be still. I could no longer be silent.

I told Crystal I had to do something. Being the amazing activist she is, she told me she’d follow my lead. I said “I have to jump over this fence and say something… on the count of three”. So we counted and I tried to jump the fence but I ended up falling face forward and hit the ground. The audience went WILD. Cheering, laughing, booing, yelling comments like “I love bacon” and “get her”… I didn’t care. I stood up. I spoke from my heart and I screamed because there was no time to be quiet. I screamed because I had been traumatized by what I saw and I couldn’t take it anymore. The cops tried to make it over the fence but it took them a minute. They finally made it over, grabbed me, cuffed me and took me out. I heard, “you’re a communist,” and, “I’m eating more bacon now!” as the police walked me to their car. Crystal and I both started screaming chants “ONE STRUGGLE, ONE FIGHT. HUMAN FREEDOM, ANIMAL RIGHTS!” Everyone went nuts.

Crystal recorded the whole thing and was assaulted by an older man (white, mid 50’s, white hair and beard, 6′-6’2″, around 300lbs wearing a navy blue sweater). He came up behind her and started pushing and elbowing her in the back. There was a female cop right next to her who did nothing and that’s a really serious issue. They watched hours of people tormenting animals and did nothing. They heard pigs screaming and humans laughing at them; and they did nothing. They heard Crystal screaming she was being harassed, and they did nothing. One person steps in to the ring to say ENOUGH to the violence and they get dragged off to the station? We need to start questioning laws that keep the innocent oppressed and the tormentors free and wild.

You could hear Crystal yelling “You would never do this to a cat, or to a dog,” and someone yelled back “We would if it was legal!” These are the people who think this event doesn’t hurt animals. These are the people who laugh as an animal is being abused. These are the people who applaud when a sentient being is shrieking from panic. These are the people who think this is a “family fun” event and these are the ONLY people who defend it.

It was dark by this time and all I could see were the flashing blue lights of the cop car coming to take me away. I kept telling the police that they were arresting the wrong person. “How could you watch that violence for hours and do nothing, until someone stood up and spoke out against it?” Crystal and I continued screaming chants as they put me into the back of their car. As soon as we drove away, I started sobbing. I was so emotionally distraught from all I had seen. I kept asking the cop if he understood our cause and his reply was textbook, “When I’m in his uniform, I have no option.” He told me there were better ways than breaking the law to get our point across. I told him there was no way I could watch another second with out doing something. We pulled into the station and I was brought out of the car and escorted inside. I was still sobbing and I told the police that I was not crying because I was scared, or intimidated by them. I told them I was crying because I couldn’t get the pigs screaming and everyone’s laughter out of my head. I was in total disbelief. They booked me, took my mugshot, finger prints and let me go. The whole process was an hour or less.

I believe that there’s a time to be quite, listen and ask; and there’s a time to stay respectful but get loud and start demanding. So that’s what we did. We demanded people see that this is wrong and that we won’t be silent about it. We demand that these violent, needless events end immediately. Not just in Ephrata PA, but anywhere animal chases are occurring. Whether a cat or a dog, a pig, a rooster or human; we need to be the reminder that we are ALL animals and ALL of our lives matter. We are no more deserving of respect, compassion and protection than any other species.

WE create the change we want to see, but not until we rise up and use our voices. Please use your voice today and help make sure this event is canceled indefinitely. Call and email the Ephrata fair and ask that they end all animals chasing events. Let us make sure the violence forced upon these animals, and ALL animals previous, was not in vain.

“We must always take a side. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” – Elie Wiesel

Please contact the Ephrata fair and respectfully ask they end their animal chasing events indefinitely.

PHONE:: (717) 733-4451
EMAIL:: fair@ephratafair.org

Need help ending an animal chase in your area? Contact Defend_animals_always@yahoo.com.

PLEASE CHECK LINK BELOW FOR FULL NEWS ARTICLE AND OUR VIDEOS OF THE ARREST AND PIG CHASE::
http://lancasteronline.com/news/local/police-arrest-animal-rights-activist-who-disrupts-pig-chase-at/article_656f1616-61f2-11e5-ba06-8f9bde3ef007.html

Some search engine screen shots from the day after the event:

ephratepig3
ephratepig4

Fast Against Slaughter

fast2014 - 1Today is World Day for Farmed Animals, chosen because it is Gandhi’s birthday. Throughout his life, Gandhi undertook nearly 20 fasts as political and social protest. We are #FastingAgainstSlaughter

Most farmed animals are starved for hours, even days, as they are being transported to slaughter. We are fasting in remembrance and solidarity for their tremendous suffering. Yearly,  65 billion animals are violently abused and killed every second of every day around the world for unnecessary human consumption. The terrors these animals face day after day and night after night is unimaginable and then to be starved of food and water up until they are brutally murdered at the slaughter house is unacceptable and needs to end NOW.

fast2014 - 2Raped, punched, teeth cut, tails cut, branded, heads bashed into cement floors, throats slit, bolt shot in the head, skinned alive, diseased, babies ripped from their mothers wombs as they scream for each other as the baby is dragged away to be slaughtered just days after their birth. Slow growing piglets have their heads bashed in by workers because they are considered “useless.” Male baby chicks ground up alive because they are deemed “useless.” Female ducks on foie gras farms are killed daily because their livers don’t produce a “good enough product” for human consumption. They are suffocated, gassed, strangled or have their necks twisted off. This is all the norm on factory farms and if you believe otherwise or think, “It can’t be that bad,” please know you are very wrong and have been lied to.

fast2014 - 396% of Americans are against animal abuse. Can you imagine how the whole world would change if that 96% stood strong with those values? If you are in the 96% of people who are against animal abuse, today is the day to start standing true to your views. End animal violence now. It starts with you and it’s in your hand. Your dollar is your voice. Make no mistake, if you are eating and drinking and wearing animal bodies or products, you support animal abuse, animal rape, and animal murder. Their blood is on YOUR hands. It’s never been an easier time to make the switch and for more info on switching to a truly compassionate lifestyle check out the links below.

fast2014 - 4These innocent animals are not ours. Their bodies are not ours to eat, to drink, to wear, to experiment on, or to exploit in any way. They are beautifully and uniquely their own with purposes beyond far beyond our greed. They have loving and funny personalities just like the cats and dogs we love so much in our homes. These farm “food” animals are not things, they are not dumb and they are not nerveless. We need to open our eyes and hearts to see them for the incredible beings that they are. Someone, not something. Individuals, sweet and innocent living, sentient beings. Please be a part in stopping this insanity.

fast2014 - 5I’ll finish with a quote from FARM (Farm Animal Rights Movement):

“We now have OVER 11 THOUSAND pledges worldwide! Please take a moment to reflect on this number. Sometimes we feel so helpless and alone in making a difference for farmed animals. We are never alone. Together we are raising awareness worldwide on the suffering of these animals. Together we are saying this is wrong and unnecessary. Together we are planting seeds of compassion far and wide. And we’ve only just begun.”

http://dayforanimals.org/

https://www.vegansociety.com/try-vegan/how-go-vegan

http://vegankit.com/be

http://www.veganoutreach.org/guide/

http://www.vegancoach.com/go-vegan.html

 

Guns, A Confederate Judge and Shooting Pigeons. Oh My.

This past Labor Day weekend I had the pleasure of being apart of two animal outreach events through SHARK (SHowing Animals Respect and Kindness), Animal Activists of Philly and our own Animal Action of Greater Reading. The target? Ending live pigeon shoots NOW.

judge pigeon 5While Pennsylvania is not the only state to hold live-pigeon shoots, it is the only state known to host multiple pigeon shoots and most of them at private rod and gun clubs. Pigeon shoots are disgusting competitions where thousands of beautiful, loving, innocent birds are shot, killed and/or suffer terrible wounds and crippling pain. Even the 1900 Summer Olympics included live pigeon shooting as a demonstration event, although due to public outrage at the cruelty it was never granted official status.

These harmless birds are given no food or water and are kept in darkness for days prior to the live shoot. They do this so the birds will be exhausted and confused, making them easier “targets”.

judge pigeon 1Distressed from dehydration and starvation, the birds are then launched out of small wooden boxes into gunfire. Most of these birds are too weak to fly and are shot on the ground. The goal is to shoot the most birds within a ring. Thousands of birds may be killed outright but are usually left to suffer a slow death. This is beyond heartbreaking and cruel. Full of pain and shock from searing bullet lacerations, “some will twist and fall from the sky with broken wings and backs. Others will escape, though death comes slowly for these poor birds for it may take days for them to succumb to their wounds.” —PAshame.com

70 percent of the birds released in pigeon shoots are wounded rather than killed, escaping into the area to suffer for hours or days before dying. Unacceptable.

An October 2013 poll shows that 75% of Pennsylvanians favor passing legislation to ban live pigeon shoots. Now is the time more than ever to get loud and be heard for these birds. The poll found that 75 percent of Pennsylvania voters favor a law that would ban live pigeon shoots, while only 16 percent oppose it. Overwhelming majorities of men and women, as well as Democrats, Republicans and Independents, support a complete prohibition on live pigeon shoots. When asked whether live pigeon shoots were a tradition that should be preserved, or an unnecessary form of animal cruelty, 83 percent of respondents agreed with the latter. Supporters of SB 510 include: The Pennsylvania Bar Association, Pennsylvania Council of Churches, the Pennsylvania Veterinary Medical Association, the Pennsylvania Federation of Humane Societies and the ASPCA.
–Mason-Dixon Polling & Research

judge pigeon 2On Friday a protest was held at our Berks County Courthouse in Reading, PA. This protest was focusing on the newly appointed Common Pleas Judge, Adolph Antanavage. Adolph is a racist asshole who gets off shooting and killing animals along with illegal gambling practices. There will be NO JUSTICE IN HIS COURTROOM, and it is imperative that we get his out NOW.

“Many of the people who will come before Antanavage recognize that the Confederate flag is a symbol of bigotry and oppression. A judge cannot hold in his office with that much staining him. We are therefore calling on judge Antanavage to immediately resign”-SHARK

Please stand up for these birds and any poor soul that would be assigned Antanavage as Judge. Call President Judge Paul M. Yatron and ask him to pull all of Antanavage’s cases.

President Judge Paul M. Yatron
Court of Common Pleas of Berks County
633 Court Street Reading, PA 19601
Phone: 610-478-6208

Call Governor Tom Corbett and ask him why he PERSONALLY nominated Adolph Antanavage.

Governor Tom Corbett
Phone: 717-787-2500

The second event was held in front of The Reading Public Museum, where they were memorializing the 100th anniversary of the death of the last passenger pigeon.

Passenger Pigeon 1The passenger pigeon was once the most abundant bird in North America and possibly the world. It accounted for more than a quarter of all North America birds. The species lived in enormous migratory flocks until the early 20th century. The exact number of passenger pigeons in North America is not known but the best guess is around 5 billion — a third of all the birds in North America at the time and the same as the total number of birds to be found today in the United States.

The early Europeans in North America frequently spoke of the huge numbers of blue, long-tailed, fast and graceful pigeons in the country. One of the first settlers in Virginia wrote, “There are wild pigeons in winter beyond number or imagination, myself have seen three or four hours together flocks in the air, so thick that even have they shadowed the sky from us.”

Passenger_pigeon_shootIn 1854 in Wayne County, New York, a local resident wrote. “There would be days and days when the air was alive with them, hardly a break occurring in the flocks for half a day at a time. Flocks stretched as far as a person could see, one tier above another.”

People were amazed by the group size of these birds. It was breath taking.

Very sadly hunting and habitat destruction led to their demise. It is sickening to think about what mans selfish, profit hungry, egotistical bullshit is capable of.

Passenger Pigeon 2After 1830, the practice of releasing live pigeons from traps for shooting practice began. By 1855, 300,000 pigeons a year were being sent to New York alone to be sold as easy cheap meat. Even in 1880, Michigan sent over a million birds to the markets in the east and two years later was sending 400,000 a week at the height of the season and a total of 1.6 million a year. In 1869, Van Buren County, also in Michigan, sent 7.5 million birds to the east.

Not surprisingly, even the vast flocks of pigeons could not withstand slaughter on this scale. Numbers fell rapidly and by the late 1880s large flocks, which had once been so common, dwindled so rapidly that their numbers had become a matter for comment and investigation. Most flocks  by this time were no more than a few hundred strong. The passenger pigeon became extinct in the wild in Ohio about 1900. The last survivor of a species that had once numbered 5 billion died in captivity in 1914.

“Probably the most terrible example of mass slaughter in the history of wildlife was not the bison but the passenger pigeon – a story that almost defies belief.” — Clive Ponting

labor day pigeon 1We stood outside the museum with large signs in hopes that people saddened by the extinction of the beautiful passenger pigeons, would wake up to the fight against the live pigeon shoots that are still happening in PA. A man approached us and said, with a smirk on his face, “What a waste of time. Don’t you have anything better to do? They’re just rats with wings.” I walked over to him and said, “Breeding innocent, sentient animals just to be shot and killed as a ‘sport’ is unacceptable, and if you feel differently please keep walking.” And he did. However we got a lot of honks and thumbs up which always makes it worth it to me.

Our group was small, and I don’t know how exactly we helped the situation, but I do know that when you stand up for the innocent, no matter the size of your group, people see it, feel it and know we’re here. Our presence was felt, and as long as we stand strong for the voiceless, we are creating and promoting change. Good work will not go unnoticed. Good work will spark change, and once it’s sparked, we’re well on our way to creating a more compassionate and conscious community. It starts at home — it starts with us — it starts with YOU.

labor day pigeon 2I hope reading this has moved you to want to take a stand for these animals. So, what can you do to help? Easy peasy. Tell your legislators that pigeon shoots don’t belong in modern day Pennsylvania
and tell them to pass SB510 which explicitly bans pigeons shoots once and for all. The current legislative session ends September 30. 2014.

Please contact Governor Tom Corbett and tell him that it’s long past time for them to end the abominable cruelty of live pigeon shoots.

Governor Tom Corbett
Phone: 717-787-2500
Fax: 717-772-8284
Email: governor@pa.gov
Governor’s Facebook page

Please contact the Pennsylvania Tourism Bureau and tell them that you won’t be vacationing in PA because of illegal live pigeon shoots. Phone: 800-847-4872

https://www.facebook.com/events/1495999210640967/

Review of Bethlehem VegFest

Review courtesy Kelly Lehman.

When we arrived at VegFest, it was grey and rainy. As we got closer to the tents I was really happy to see that even though it was raining and damp and chilly, there were still so many people there and everyone had a smile on their face. It was clear that the compassion and love for animals we shared cast out any storm.

Vegan Treats, located in Bethlehem, was one of the first booths. They of course had an amazing display of pure vegan yumminess. Vegan whoopie pies, thick gooey brownies, cookies and mini cakes decorated to the nines.

The next booth we hit up was the Lehigh Valley Vegetarians. They were awesome people and let me put out our flyers on their table. We talked about a number of things including how awesome it would be to host a Veg Fest in Berks County! One day soon I hope.

We walked by a number of cruelty free booths that had make up, clothing and art. As we were walking a member from Mercy for Animals asked if we would like to sign a petition demanding Walmart to end the use of gestation crates in its supplier chain. (See more about this here and sign online here.) After gladly signing we talked with them for awhile, told them about our Dans Foie Gras campaign and that we needed as much help as possible. They promised to help spread the word. I left their booth with great info flyers, and a MFA sticker and pin!

We past by the famous Cinnamon Snail, an awesome mobile vegan restaurant from NYC, and the line was ridiculous. Had to be about 20 people in line the whole time they were there. The scent from the truck was divine.

While i did not get to hear any of the speakers, I was very impressed and delighted to see how many they had lined up. Karen Davis From United Poultry Concerns spoke on “Free-Range Poultry & Eggs: Humane Alternatives to Factory Farm Products?” Matt Frazier, one of my vegan crushes, talked about the No Meat Athlete‘s “Fit, Fast and Happy”. Anne Dinshah, from the American Vegan Society, gave a talk about “Will Veganism Bring You Health, Wealth, and Wisdom?” There were a number of other speakers touching base on “facing our food”, “Climate Change and diet,” “Vegan food options,” incorporating more protein into your diet and many more. There were cooking demos and Flash Mob Yoga. Rescued pigs (one rockin’ sunglasses), and live music all day. This event went off perfectly.

Although it was dreary and rainy, almost everyone I saw had a smile on their face. I was proud and grateful to be there with like minded people whose love for animals and their rights to exist as they should, was overwhelming. I felt so much love and left confident knowing that big changes ARE happening and coming and to be apart of that is nothing short of amazing. Please check out the links to venders websites! Lots of amazing info.

Lehigh Valley Vegetarians

Vegan Treats

Catskill Animal Sanctuary

United Poultry Concerns

Mercy for Animals

American Vegan Society

Labor Day Weekend Pigeon Shooting Events and Sept. 15th Press Conference

As we had mentioned in a previous blog, SHARK and Animal ACTivists of Philly have organized a protest against the appointment of Adolph Antanavage as a Berks County judge on Friday, August 29th. In addition, several other related events are occurring Labor Day Weekend.

SHARK is also requesting assistance with public outreach at two Berks County recreational events. The first is at the Taste of Hamburg-er Festival in Hamburg on Saturday, August 30th, from 11:00am-2:00pm. This event draws crowds of 35,000 or more, so it will be a good place to reach the public. However, we must warn those that attend to watch for their own safety, as there may be many hunters and meat-lovers in attendance.

The second event is at the Reading Public Museum, on Sunday, August 31st at 11:00am. The museum is hosting an event memorializing the 100th anniversary of the death of the last passenger pigeon. This will be an ideal occasion to promote the safety of pigeons of today. I expect this crowd, although smaller, to be more receptive to our message.

In addition, SHARK is asking for assistance in both protesting and documenting a pigeon shoot at Wing Pointe in Hamburg on the same day, Sunday.

If you can help at any of these events, or are otherwise interested in assisting SHARK with the fight for pigeon lives, please click here for information, or email them.

Two weeks later, on Monday, September 15th, a group of animal welfare organizations are hosting a press conference in Harrisburg on House Bill 1750, which would prohibit both pigeon shoots and the slaughter of dogs and cats for human consumption. We will be blogging more on this later, but at the current time we are searching for animal rights advocates to attend.

We wish to make it clear that, although we want to protect cats and dogs, ALL species deserve the same treatment. Additionally, we would like to encourage the public to take more direct action against pigeon shooters than simply waiting for the laws to change. The pigeons need us NOW.

Please email us if you are interested in attending the conference in Harrisburg.

This Weekend in Philadelphia (Aug. 23rd & 24th)

One of the perks of living in the Reading area is the accessibility to several metropolitan areas that allow us to become more involved in the fight for animals. AAGR finds it important to network with larger (and smaller) groups in other areas to accomplish more.

Two important events are happening in Philadelphia this weekend, and we encourage all who are interested to attend.

Although it may not seem to be a directly related event, the First Annual Philadelphia Anarchist Book Fair on Saturday, August 23rd, will provide a unique venue to network with a variety of other activists. In addition, the speakers will cover topics related to our work, such as coalition building and protest tactics. Vendors, speakers, and location information can be found on the event’s website.

On Sunday, August 24th, Direct Action Everywhere‘s East Coast Tour will stop in Philadelphia for a day of education, followed by a direct action. The event, What if everything we know about social change… is wrong?, takes place at the A-Space Community Center in Philadelphia, and will be followed by an action against Chipotle.

Here is a summary from DXE’s website:

What if everything we think we know about social change… is wrong?

The growth of the Arab Spring, global LGBTQ rights, and the animal rights movement in notable countries around the world (which have, in some cases, seen up to 15% vegetarian surges in a single year) are powerful examples of sudden and systemic change. Can we achieve the same incredible mobilizations for progressive causes in the US?

Direct Action Everywhere (DxE) co-founders Wayne Hsiung (former behavioral law and economics scholar and long-time social justice activist) and Ronnie Rose (cinema expert and student of critical theory) are taking to the East Coast to answer that question.

Based on the pioneering work of the greatest thinkers in sociology, political science, economics, and psychology, their talk has already triggered incredible buzz out West, including at the national animal rights conference in LA. It just might upend your views on social change. Topics include:

  • the essential elements of successful social movements;
  • how the conventional wisdom in environmentalism, animal advocacy, and other progressive causes has fallen short (e.g. focus on individuals over systems, neglect of ideas, and fear of being unpopular);
  • what Justin Bieber can teach us about social change (seriously);

and

  • what DxE has learned from successful movements to create empowered activist networks… and push toward real and permanent change

Whether you are a leafleter, an admirer of the ELF, or both, there will be much to learn and discuss. Moreover, there will be insights useful for both seasoned activists and newcomers. Please join us in thinking hard about how to make a better world!

Justice for Dogs Shot by Police – Lancaster, PA – Tomorrow – August 16th

Last week, a tragic death occurred just south of us, in Lancaster, PA. On Wednesday, August 6th, a dog hopped out of the back of a truck in a parking lot to say hello to a man and his dog. His friendliness ultimately led to his death due to violent actions taken by the Lancaster Police Department, particularly Officer Hagen.

The following are accounts by two separate witnesses:

The dog’s owner unfortunately left him and another dog unattended in the back of a partially covered truck, which is not condoned, but this does not justify the police shooting him. After approximately 30 minutes, the dog jumped from the truck and ran towards a man, a local resident, and his dog who had just gotten out of a nearby SUV, but did not attack him or his dog. When the man put his dog back in his vehicle, the pit bull jumped in the back of the SUV as well.

Witnesses state the dog went back and forth between his owner’s truck, looking as though he was trying to get back into the truck, and the white SUV, before jumping back into the SUV. The owner of the SUV and other bystanders were using treats to try to coax the dog out of the vehicle when police arrived, and subsequently threatened to shoot the dog.

The resident refused to move to allow the officers to open fire until the police placed him in handcuffs. Rather than acting calmly, these officers were screaming and created more chaos, scaring the dog further, and attempted to put a snare pole around his neck before tazing him, twice. The innocent dog, still not charging or attempting to attack anyone, jumped out of the SUV and an officer shot him twice with a shotgun, killing him.

 

Second account:

I was at work, Aussie and the Fox, and the dog was across the road in the Central Market parking lot. We have big windows so when I saw police and a crowd gathering it caught everyone in the restaurants eye. I saw a beautiful white pit bull jumping from one truck to another SUV. The truck that he jumped out of was too high for him to get into so he jumped into the back of an SUV to be safe. He was obviously trying to go back where he belonged.

The dog was smiling with his tongue out and tail wagging. There was no aggressive behavior. One policeman had a large pole with a hoop on it to try to catch the dog, but he did not even try to use it. There was no attempt to peacefully capture the dog. After the dog walked around the lot a few times we see a police officer point a large gun at the dog. We all figured it was a tranquilizer. I was so upset that they were going to tranquilize the dog. He shot the dog twice because the dog was in a lot of pain jumping around after the first shot.

It was across an open parking lot, if it had ricocheted or if he missed who knows what he would have hit. After the dog was down nobody went anywhere near the dog, they just let him lay there in the middle of the lot. That’s when I knew it wasn’t a tranquilizer, the dog was killed. The whole time the owner with the SUV was handcuffed for trying to stop the policeman from shooting the dog, they were trying to shoot the dog while he was in the gentleman a SUV with his dog. The man was obviously worried about his dog getting shot as well. This policeman was ready to shoot anywhere not caring what or who was hit.

Several articles on Lancaster Online share similar accounts, and report on a small rally that already occurred last week:

Witnesses: Dog didn’t appear aggressive before officer shot it
Rally held over pit bull shot and killed by Lancaster police officer
Social media helped spread the word about city rally

I have not found confirmation, but some individuals have mentioned that Officer Hagen, who pulled the trigger, was also responsible for shooting a German Shepherd Dog named Rocky previously.

Please meet at the Lancaster City Police Station 39 W. Chestnut St., Lancaster, PA 17603, by 10:00am tomorrow, August 16th, to take part in the rally. The location is near the corner of Prince and Chestnut.

Alternately, meet at Penn Square at 9:30am, and march to join with the other rally at 10:00am.

CANCELLED: Faux or go! Join us at Pollack Furs on Friday.

Due to a medical emergency, this event has been CANCELLED! We apologize for any inconvenience this has caused. You are, of course, welcome to protest without us, but all of our signs are at a member’s house who is not able to attend.

Pollack “Fashion Outwear” in West Reading continues to sell the skins of other animals for fashion, despite there being many beautiful and utilitarian vegan replacements. The owners lack the compassion, and apparently the financial incentive, to change to more humane options.

This Friday, August 15th, we will again make it clear to them and their remaining customer base that such cruel industries are not welcome in Berks County. AAGR will meet outside their doors at 634 Penn Ave., West Reading, from 3:00-5:00pm. Signs will be available, or bring your own.

If you cannot attend, please feel free to contact the company at another time to express dissatisfaction with their product selection.

Email:
info@pollackfurs.com

Phone:

800-635-4417
 
Address:
643 Penn Avenue
West Reading, PA 19611
 
Hours:
Monday: CLOSED
Tues thru Fri: 10:30 am – 5 pm
Sat: CLOSED
Sun: CLOSED
evenings by appointment
 
To learn more about the cruel fur industry, please visit the following links: