In Case You Can’t Attend the Grassroots Animal Rights Conference

Recently the Grassroots Animal Rights Conference, originally scheduled to take place in February at New York University, had to be pushed back to May and organizers are still looking for an alternative site.

In case you can’t make the May 2005 festivities, here are some of the sessions you’re going to miss out on,

Zines, Shows, Liner Notes: Communicating Animal Liberation Through Youth Culture and Music

Andy Stepanian, Long Island Animal Defense League

In the mid-late 1990s an entire new generation of activists joined the movement and created a massive groundswell of grassroots action. These young people were recruited not by an advertising campaign or outreach program of a national group, but through powerful pro-animal influences with the hardcore music subculture. Hardcore bands filled their albums, concerts, and liner notes with forceful cries for animal liberation. At the same time youth-based grassroots groups like the various Animal Defense League chapters became regular fixtures through their information tables at hardcore shows. While this particular trend has faded a bit, many new opportunities now exist to harness music and youth culture for animal liberation. Learn how your group can tap into this youthful energy from an activist who has had great success in keeping animal issues alive in the youth culture of Long Island, NY.

Coming Out Vegetarian/Coming Out Gay: Making Alliances

Marti Kheel, Feminists for Animal Rights
Pattrice Jones, Global Hunger Alliance

The lesbian and gay movements are logical allies of the animal rights movement. In this workshop, I underline their similarities and the potential for building alliances. Using an episode from the Simpson cartoon series I show how meat dominance and male dominance are intimately intertwined. This will be a participatory workshop and people will be encouraged to share personal stories and offer strategies for making links between the two movements. Since the animal advocacy movement is often viewed as lacking in humor, one of the intentions of this workshop is to show how humor and popular culture can be used to make serious points.

Commonality of Human and Non-Human Animal Oppression

Marjorie Spiegel, author, The Dreaded Comparison
Pattrice Jones, Eastern Shore Chicken Sanctuary
Merritt Clifton, Animal People
Adam Weissman, Activism Center at Wetlands Preserve
Charles Patterson, author, Eternal Treblinka

Explore the intersections between human and nonhuman exploitation. Marjorie Spiegel will address the disturbing similarities between human and animal slavery. Pattrice Jones will explore patriarchy and its link to animal abuse and all forms of exploitation. Pattrice will also frame the discussion, making the case for why looking at intersections of exploitation matters. Citing statistical data, Merritt Clifton will demonstrate a link between animal exploitation and domestic violence. Taking this one step further, Adam Weissman will explore the similarities between the property status of children and animals, exploring John Holt’s insight that our society frames children as “love slaves” and “super pets.” Charles Patterson will draw on years of experience as a Holocaust educator to draw the link between Nazi genocide and the institutional exploitation of nonhuman animals.

Ecofeminism and Animal Liberation

Marti Kheel, Feminists for Animal Rights
Helen Matthews, Boston Ecofeminist Action
Pattrice Jones, Global Hunger Alliance

Ecofeminists believe that speciesism and sexism are so closely linked that many theorists and activists believe them to be simply two aspects of the same underlying problem. Women and animals, along with land and children, have historically been seen as the property of male heads of households. Patriarchy and pastoralism cannot be separated, because they are justified and perpetuated by the same ideologies and practices. Learn about the ideas and action strategies of action strategies of ecofeminist activists.

Sounds like fun.


Grassroots Animal Rights Conference Agenda. Accessed: 02/02/2005.

Jeff Nelson Just Can't Stop Lying

Normally I don’t write about the few conflicts I have with animal rights activists here, but Jeff Nelson and VegSource.Com offer such a case study of animal rights group think that this time I’m making an exception.

Back on July 12 I posted an article about on ongoing debate over at an Animal Rights 2002 Memory board hosted by VegSource.Com (see for the details of that).

Anytime animal rights activists disagree in public, somebody chimes in that this is just helping their enemies, and at least one person pointed out my article. On July 14, Adam Weissman posted the entire text of the article in a post called “An Article About this Discussion Board by an Animal Rights Foe.”

Another activist responded to that by attacking my web site. In order to prove a point, I posted a reply noting that the main difference between AnimalRights.Net and VegSource.Com is I don’t spend most of my day banning people who disagree with me. In fact I give free reign to animal rights activists who want to come to the site and criticize me. I’ve always felt that allowing such unfettered communication, regardless of how uncomfortable or heated it may get, is the best way to ensure that my claims are as strong and accurate as possible.

Of course within an hour or two, Nelson deleted my post and banned the computer I was using from even accessing his site. This is what VegSource.Com’s tagline that “All Are Welcome” really means.

Nelson followed that up with “Note regarding banning and post removals from this board in which he writes,

VegSource provides this board to FARM for their use. VegSource moderators do not remove posts from this board and don’t have the password to do so, nor do I remove posts from this board (with one exception having to do with a disreputable anti-animal rights site attempting to get traffic from us, a site which is supposed to be blocked from our full site).

That is as hilarious as it is pathetic. Apparently some VegSource.Com visitors actually fall for this lame explanation that I am “attempting to get traffic from” VegSource.Com. Yeah, that’s right, Adam Weissman and I are such buddies that he’s now doing my marketing for me by posting my articles to VegSource.Com.

The reality is that Jeff Nelson doesn’t want anyone linking to or discussing any of the articles I’ve written pointing out that he is just as factually challenged as his current nemesis Robert Cohen (see for a rundown). VegSource.Com promotes the worst sort of groupthink by not only banning its critics but even animal rights activists who disagree in some way with VegSource.Com’s agenda.

The funny thing is that I rarely visit VegSource.Com — there are too many ads and it is impossible to find anything there with the convoluted web design. Still, it’s gratifying to know that little old me is apparently public enemy number one in Nelson’s book.

And just a note to people who do post to VegSource.Com. Do you really think it is just a good idea to let Nelson publicly display your IP addresses? I have run across some boneheaded practices at web sites before, but this takes the cake. I’ve seen posts, for example, where people clearly posted from work or at universities where the IP address and the name would make it extremely easy to track down the people posting.

This sort of information is collected by every web server — only Nelson is stupid enough to make it publicly available to anyone who happens across his site.

When Do Animal Rights Activists Agree with Animal Experiments?

Although animal rights activists claim animal research is wrong and inaccurate, when it is self-serving to do so, they will cite such research. This short bit from the e-mail newsletter of Americans for Medical Progress illustrates something that I see happen a lot:

Activist Benefits (Rhetorically) From Animal Research

Always eager to make the case against eating meat, virulent animal rights activist Adam Weissman (who was arrested last week at a demonstration at Huntingdon Life Sciences in New Jersey) cited animal studies to prove a link between “mad cow disease” and a human brain wasting illness.

Today’s post on AR News was of an April 7 Reuters newswire article citing a study published last week in the U.S. journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, dealing with the behavior of prions — the distorted proteins blamed for causing BSE and its human equivalent, new variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD) — in monkeys.

That pesky animal research sure has a way of coming in handy when you want to make a case. 🙂

Protesters Arrested, Beagles Stolen from HLS Facility In New Jersey

The Animal Defense League organized a 100-person strong protest outside a Huntingdon Life Sciences facility in New Jersey just one day after 14 dogs were stolen from the lab. The Animal Liberation Front claimed responsibility for the theft.

Three people were arrested at the protest including Adam Weissman, 23; Nicholas Hensey, 22; Justin Kelley, 18; and an unidentified juvenile. Police said Darius Fullmer, 24, would be served with a summons after he was released from the hospital. Fullmer was one of about a dozen protesters who police sprayed with pepper spray to subdue.

Fullmer — one of the main organizers the protest — told an Associated Press reporter that the ADL fully supported the ALF action. “Fourteen innocent creatures have been rescued from a short life of pain and a brutal death.”

In a press release, Frankie Trull of the Foundation for Biomedical Research condemned the theft of the dogs,

This burglary and theft is the act of misguided, uninformed radicals who respect neither the law nor the vast body of medical and scientific knowledge that animal research has contributed to the field of human and animal health.

Unless the general public firmly rejects this criminal malfeasance and the hooligan perpetrators behind it, all medical and scientific progress is at risk. The anti-research cell of the animal rights movement would have you believe that pets are being subjected to painful experiments with no scientific validity but nothing could be further from the truth.

At the New Jersey protest, many of the activists joined in chanting, “We know where you live” to the occupants of the laboratory. Meanwhile in the United Kingdom, activists opposed to HLS are successfully using terrorist tactics to go after companies attempting to work with HLS.

Winterflood Securities, one of only two firms in Great Britain willing to deal in shares of the troubled company, recently dropped HLS after animal rights activists engaged in an intense campaign of abusive and threatening calls to Winterflood employees’ homes combined with picketing outside their homes.

The Daily Telegraph quoted an unidentified Winterflood executive describing the firm’s problems,

[The wife of the chairman of the company received threatening phone calls.] She had never heard such abusive language. They were phoning other employees as well. They said we know where you live. We know where your children live. We know where your friends live.

It became too difficult. one director returned to his home on Sunday with his seven-year-old and two-year-old and found 60 protesters there. His kids were in tears. His wife was terrified. The 80-year-old mother of one employee received threatening phone calls. It is all right for us to be brave, but different for our wives and kids.

Feeling it had no choice after the government refused its request for the level of police protection it felt it required, Winterflood Securities announced it would no longer trade HLS stock. Shortly afterward, the only other brokerage house dealing in the stock in the United Kingdom, Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein, also announced it would no longer handle trades of the stock.


Extremists terrorise animal lab brokers. Richard Alleyne, The Daily Telegraph (UK), March 30, 2001.

Four activists arrested. Lori Hinnant, Associated Press, April 3, 2001.

Foundation for Biomedical Research Condemns Theft Of 14 Dogs From The Huntingdon Life Sciences Facility. Foundation for Biomedical Research, Press Relesae, April 2, 2001.

Dogs taken from frequently protested lab. The Associated Press, April 1, 2001.