From all corners of the country, including Portland OR., dedicated activists traveled in to take a stand against animal cruelty. Donating their time, money, ideas, and passion each demonstrated a forceful zeal to see this campaign through till its liberating end. The weekend exhibited an evolutionary approach to this crusade against vivisection as it saw none of the usual riots in the streets, pepper-spray in the face, or glass-shattered floors - but rather good old fashioned organizing that focused the press attention on the animals while inspirationally medicating the hearts and minds of those committed few.
Through each day and each action the readily apparent theme that permeated through was a celebration the devastating success this campaign has already seen (90% of the lab's worth gone; saved from closure twice only the grace of the UK government) and the renewed vigor (partly borne out of the current absurd SHAC7 indictments) to drive that last nail in Huntingdon's corporate coffin.
The weekend of action reminded all those who participated that victory was so close - you could almost taste it.
>> OCTOBER 23
HLS RALLY and PHOTO-SHOOT:
When the clouds parted early on Saturday morning the sun shined down on to a human mass of compassion and ingenuity. An aerial photographer flew by several times capturing a clever and simple reminder to the world that we are assembled here and everyday across the world for those beagle dogs, and all the animals in HLS, and for one reason - to stop HLS from killing them.
Close to 200 activists converged in the park across from HLS and formed a 'human chain' image of a beagle and a slogan. The photograph is not only being beamed around the world to media and activists alike - but is serving as a launching point for a re-energized and revolutionary PR effort that is being mounted now against HLS and each and every company that gives it a second look. The image was also symbolically successful in that it could only have been achieved through mass participation, much like that of the SHAC campaign in general.
Following the photograph everyone got their chance to see the 'gates of hell' at Huntingdon Life Sciences. Just one glimpse of this compound of cruelty serves as that bitter pill causing indignation. Groups of 50 made their pilgrimage in the face of hundreds of heavily armed police officers to see the buildings where behind those walls were the animals that have filled so many hearts and so many nightmares.
NYC DECLARES W.A.R. ON ANDREW BAKER:
The newly formed Win Animal Rights (WAR) set their sights on Andrew Baker and introduced all of the posh upper West side to his dirty deeds. Joined by a hundred activists holding a string of 500 empty dog collars (symbolizing the 500 animals killed daily at HLS) all along Central Park West - no one in Baker's community could have missed the homage being paid to those murdered and the stinging vitriolic aimed right at HLS's CEO.
W.A.R has declared that it will continue this campaign against Andrew Baker until HLS closes or he resigns. Following the protest a launch party was held at a near-by community center were activists came to share food, drinks, and inspiration.
>> OCTOBER 24
A DIALOGUE ON DISSENT
ACPR (Animal Campaigns, Projects and Resources) proved that sometime words are just as loud actions with a line-up of historical and currently relevant speakers to share stories of peril, adversity, strength, and hope.
150 activists crowded into the Princeton venue to hear first from Kevin Jonas, known as the vocal front to SHAC USA, as he told personal stories of repression and what keeps his perspective in check. With great clarity he contextualized the current attack on the animal rights movement, dissected the appropriate response we take, and with touching sincerity shared what personally keeps him motivated and driven. His words conjured up images of beagles, mice, and monkeys - and the proud and righteous stand we take today.
Dr. Jerry Vlasak brought the audience through his personal journey from an animal researcher (who killed many dogs in such pointless medical pursuits) to his current position as trauma surgeon and champion of animal rights. Dr. Vlasak expounded on the myths of animal research and the vicious cycle that is vivisection and how it financially rewards those with a conscience. Because he is so outspoken in defense of animal rights and the attack on vivisection he was recently banned from the United Kingdom for simply his words and beliefs. Dr. Vlasak talked about how ridiculous such attacks are and to him, further showed justification for a militant and unabashed response to that power structure responsible for the social ills of animal cruelty.
David Hilliard provided an unprecedented historical look back at 60s activism and unconscionable state repression. As the 'chief of staff' of the Black Panther Party in the 60s and 70s he offered an unmatched inside look at the politics of radical activism and the devastation of FBI harassment. David gave words of advice, from hard lessons learned, on what the animal rights movement can do today to confront and conquer similar disruptive assaults being launched.
The seminar ended with Captain Paul Watson sharing his 'war stories' of high seas activism as his thirty year career ahead of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. The ramming, mining, and sinking of numerous whaling vessels, disrupting the Canadian seal hunt, and menacing of drift netters and marine life poachers has earned him his share of time behind bars. Paul preached, as only he can, about the deteriorating ecological system, absurdity of religion, and cancer that is the human population. He left few in attendance in little doubt about the importance of activism today and everyday.
It is also rumored several times over the day groups of individuals ventured out on home demonstrations against those employed by customers of Huntingdon Life Sciences;
More Pictures and Info Still To Come......
>> OCTOBER 25
SHAC7 SUPPORT RALLY
Locals and out-of-staters mixed with animal rights activists and social justice campaigners as this swelling group stood in denouncement of the SHAC7 federal indictments.
Seen as an attack on all those who dare speak out against corruption and in favor of progressive social values - the SHAC7 case has become a hallmark of an emerging modern-day Free Speech Movement. Indicted for speech and only speech - the case is heavily criticized for its constitutionally-flawed premise.
The crowd on Monday rallied, chanted, screamed, and spoke out breaking the silence surrounding the case. The demonstration proved that 'we' as the animal rights movement would not willingly let such an assault be felt without a response.
The New Jersey Animal Rights Alliance, a 20 year organization in the state, sponsored the rally and conducted several media interviews. The demonstration served as the first of many to come in challenging the poisoned politics surrounding the case. It also served as the perfect ending to the weekend, showing that energetically and proudly understand what is at stake and what our risks are - and will still march bravely forward to 'CLOSE DOWN HLS'!
More Pictures and Info Sill To Come............
New Jersey Corporate News Article: