Why Activist Alfredo Kubra Gets Butterflies

Knight Ridder recently reported on a protest by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Action for Animals, the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the Humane Society of the United States against California Rodeo Salinas.

The story included only one quote from an activist at the event, one Alfredo Kuba who had this to say of participating in an animal rights protest,

I always get butterflies before I do something like this. Any time you express opinions that are different from the status quo, you have a little bit of fear. You can’t help but be concerned how people might react.

Kuba’s “nervous little activist” routine seems a bit thin given the things he’s said over the years. Kuba has been active in the California animal rights scene for more than a decade, and shows up in dozens of articles on Google and Lexis-Nexis.

What sort of things does Kuba believe that are different from the status quo? In a December 31, 2004 letter to the editor of the Mountain View (California) Voice, Kuba offered his views of hunting,

. . . Hunters are animal terrorists. Hunters make absurd claims of why murdering other beings is their “right” as if animals have no right to exist.

Hunting is a human wrong, just like slavery or the concentration camps. In the slavery era, whites felt they had the right to have slaves and slaves had no rights. In Nazi Germany, white supremacists believed they were the superior race under “God” thus rationalizing the extermination of Jews and other races “inferior” to them.

Hunters likewise rationalize to persecute, stalk, terrorize, maim and murder other living beings under the guise of superiority and difference of species. Hunters invade other species’ homes with the sole purpose of ending their existence.

Hunting is cold-blooded murder. Who made hunters God and gave them the power to decide who lives and who dies? The sickening aspect of hunters is that they find pleasure in the destruction of “God’s creation.”

Kuba despises hunting enough that he forces a vegan diet on his feline companion — and Kuba’s own dietary choices might hint at another explanation for those “butterflies.” In a 2004 AlterNet story on vegan pet diets, Kuba was quoted as saying (emphasis added),

You’re saving animals by not feeding your cat meat. It makes you feel good to feed your kitty something this good. Sometimes I even try some myself when I’m cooking.

Kuba’s not so concerned about the possibility of other cats having meat-oriented snacks. In May 2004, a mountain lion was spotted near Palo Alto, California. The lion was sleeping in a tree about 20 feet above a police car. Police initially planned to tranquilize the animal, but it woke up first, and the decision was made to kill the animal. Police said that since the timing of the incident made killing the animal necessary,

Because of the environment that it was in, school is about to be let out, the only safe thing to do to protect the community was to dispatch the animal. One shot was fired, the animal was felled.

Kuba disagreed, telling CBS5,

I think it’s absolutely atrocious the way the police behaved. Obviously the animal was not posing a threat to anyone. It was in a tree.

Kuba is also an expert on circuses. At a 2003 protest against Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, Kuba told the San Mateo Daily Journal that,

Daily beatings are a part of everyday life for animals in circuses.

Kuba recently started petition to ask KPFA 94.1FM to add an animal rights-themed show to its lineup. The petition reads,

Please sign petition asking KPFA 94.1FM to include an animal rights program on a regular basis. Animal rights is a topic of interest, often demoniced [sic] by the corporate propagandist media and not given a voice. Animals are voiceless and KPFA can provide that much desperately needed voice.

Surely purely by coincidence Kuba would host this new animal rights show on KPFA.

Those must be some strange butterflies.

Sources:

Rodeo draws animal rights protesters. Dennis Taylor, Knight Ridder, July 26, 2005.

Hunters destroy ‘God’s creation’. Alfredo Kuba, Letter to the Editor, Mountain Valley Voice, December 31, 2004.

Mountain lion killed in Palo Alto. Len Ramirez, CBS 5, May 17, 2004.

Circus defends animal treatment. San Mateo Daily Journal, August 28, 2003.

Animal Rights Radio. Petition, 2005.

The Cat That Ate Tofu. Michael Rosen-Molina, Alternet, May 23, 2004.

PETA Protests Circus; Concedes It Does Not Know of Any Instances of Abuse

On July 19, four animal rights activists work with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals stood outside the Evergreen State Fairgrounds in Monroe, Washington, complaining about the abuse that animals face in circuses. Unfortunately, even PETA had to concede it didn’t know of a single instance of animal abuse by the Circus Gatti.

Protester Cari McCole, 19, told the Monroe Herald that,

I thought we should come out and let people know what’s going on and educate them about animal abuse.

Hmm But, the newspaper reported (emphasis added),

The protest was organized in cooperation with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA, an animal rights group based in Norfolk, Va., McCole said. They plan to continue the protest through Thursday, she [McCole] said.

Lisa Wathne, a PETA specialist in captive exotic animals, said the group opposes circuses in general, but isn’t aware of any specific animal abuse history involving Circus Gattie at the Monroe fairgrounds.

Using that sort of logic, one might argue that some animal rights activists engage in terrorism. I can’t think of a single instance of Wathne committing such an act, but she should be banned on principle from public appearances.

Gotta love that animal rights logic.

Source:

Activists protest circus in Monroe. Yoshiaki Nohara, Monroe Herald, July 20, 2005.

PETA vs. Ringling Bros.

The Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star published a story in March on the ongoing debate between Ringling Bros. and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

In the profile, Ringling Bros. accuses People for the Ethical Treatment of animals of putting forth a fictional representation of the circus, while PETA accuses Ringling Bros. of being one of the cruelest circuses and of being “Baby Killers” after a young elephant at the circus died in July 2004.

PETA’s Brandi Valladolid told the Daily Free Lance-Star,

We’ve been protesting Ringling Bros. for a very long time. Ringling Bros. is the bottom of the barrel when it comes to animal welfare and animal care.

. . .

[Parents should not bring their children to a Ringling Bros. circus because] Kids pick up on things we don’t think they see. They see the animals getting whipped. They see the ringmaster hitting them. It teaches a very dangerous lesson — that it’s OK to abuse animals; OK to exploit them for entertainment.

Meanwhile Ringling Bros. spokesman Darin Johnson told the newspaper that PETA’s web site attacking the circus is filled with misinformation. For example, Johnson says video footage there distorts the events surrounding the birth of an elephant at the circus. According to the Daly Free Lance-Star,

He [Johnson] said the online video of the birth only shows the calf being pulled away from the mother for its own protection and doesn’t show it being returned to her when she calmed down.

Johnson said the calf was taken away, checked and returned, just as human babies are examined by doctors then returned to their mothers.

Johnson also told the Daily Free Lance-Star that online video at PETA’s site purports to showing elephants being whipped by Ringling Bros. employees, but that the video is in fact not of Ringling Bros. elephants or employees. The Daily Free Lance-Star quoted Johnson as saying,

They took footage from every zoo and animal park in the world and spliced it together.

Source:

PETA decries circus’s ethics. Michael Zitz, March 25, 2005.

Circuses — Cruel By Definition?

Ran across a story from the Corvallis Gazette-Times from April about a group of local activists protesting the Circus Gatti’s appearance in Corvallis, Oregon.

Eight protesters from Citizens Against Circus Cruelty showed up, at least one dressed up like a clown.

Now usually, activists protesting circuses tend to distribute leaflets outlining alleged abuses by this circus or that, often accompanied by photos alleged to be abused circus animals. But Citizens Against Circus Cruelty has no need for evidence of any sort. According to organizer Nettie Schwager (emphasis added),

The public needs to be made aware of the animal cruelty in circuses. All circuses that use animals by definition mistreat animals.

There you have it — Schwager’s right by definition. Of course, that’s a pretty twisted dictionary she’s using.

Source:

Activists protest circus. Mary Ann Albright, Corvallis Gazette-Times, April 2, 2005.

Tel-Aviv Bans Circuses With Animal Acts

In March, Israeli animal rights group Anonymous for Animal Rights succeeded in persuading Tel-Aviv to ban animal circus acts within the city.

According to a press release from the group,

We are happy to announce that we successfully completed our campaign against animal circus acts, as the Municipality of Tel-Aviv banned animal circus acts.

The Mayor of Tel-Aviv, Ron Huldai, instructed the municipality to avoid any future contracts with circuses that use animals of any sort in their shows.

Its unclear, however, how permanent such a ban is if it depends on the whims of a single individual.

Source:

Tel-Aviv bans circus animal acts. Press Release, Anonymous for Animal Rights, March 13, 2005.

API Goes Mobile With Anti-Circus Billboard

Unable to find an outdoor billboard company willing to display its latest anti-circus billboard, the Animal Protection Institute has created a mobile 22-foot mobile billboard, presumably attached to the side of a truck, to drive around areas where circuses appear.

The mobile billboard made its debut in January protesting a Jacksonville, Florida, appearance of Ringling Bros. Circus. The billboard shows a chained elephant with the text, “Would you chain your dog for most of her life? Why Pay a Circus to do it to Elephants?”

In a press release announcing the mobile billboard, API’s Michelle Thew said,

If the depiction of life for these animals is too graphic to be shown on a billboard, the reality is too graphic for them to endure in the circus. Protestors will be outside the arena on Wednesday with a clear message — the catalog of misery that circus animals endure must come to an end. This is not family entertainment.

Source:

Opening Night of Ringling Bros. Circus to Attract Protest. Press Release, Animal Protection Institute, January 26, 2005.