In August, two People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals activists were arrested in Peoria, Illinois, after they stripped to their underwear and stepped in to over-sized displays designed to look like a supermarket meat package. A sign on the package read, “Only cannibals eat animals. Go vegetarian.”
Eric Deardorff, 24, and Melissa Sehgal, 28, were arrested and charged with disorderly conduct outside the headquarters of Caterpillar Inc.
PETA campaign coordinator Chris Link was also ticketed for obstructing the public right of way. Link told the Peoria Journal Star that the arrests came as a shock,
This was quite surprising. The officers didn’t give us any warning or say we were doing anything wrong. They just started throwing blankets [over the protesters].
Another PETA protester was arrested in 2001 in almost the same spot after disrobing to protest cruelty. Charges in that case were eventually dropped.
Peoria police Sgt. Henry Minton told the Peoria Star Journal,
They will be charged with disorderly conduct, obstructing the public right of way and maybe protesting without a permit.[Protesters will be arrested] if they come here and take their clothes off, obstruct the sidewalk when they disrobe in the city of Peoria.
Two anti-meat activists arrested. Elaine Hopkins, Peoria Journal Star, August 25, 2005.
Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich recently vetoed Illinois House Bill 1486 which would have legalized the use of snares in wildlife trapping.
The bill passed overwhelmingly in both the Illinois House of Representatives (87-27) and Senate (49-2). But Balgojevich transmitted the following message of veto,
August 12, 2005
To the Honorable Members of the
Illinois House of Representatives
94th General Assembly
Pursuant to Article IV, Section 9(b) of the Illinois Constitution of 1970, I hereby veto
House Bill 1486, entitled “AN ACT concerning wildlife.” House Bill 1486 allows hunters to use snares to trap animals such as raccoons, foxes and beavers on land. These traps have been banned in Illinois for over 50 years because the trapÂ’s wire hoop strangles the animal. Twenty-one states in the nation do not allow the use of snares.
Snares are inhumane and indiscriminate. Not only do they cruelly kill wild animals for their fur, they may also kill domestic pets and even endangered species. Even though the bill requires a mechanism on the snare to reduce the chance of strangulation, the safety provisions are still inadequate and animals would suffer unnecessarily. While I support the hunters and trappers of Illinois, I refuse to support this particularly gruesome hunting method thatÂ’s been banned in the state for years.
For this reason, I hereby veto and return House Bill 1486.
ROD R. BLAGOJEVICH
There is no word yet on whether the House and Senate will try to override the governor’s veto.
Animal rights groups commended the governor’s veto. In a press release, Camilla Fox of the Animal Protection Institute said,
We commend Governor Rod Blagojevich for saying ‘No’ to the fur industry’s attempts to further legalize a device that is known to cause immense pain and suffering to animals. With this action, the Governor has made a clear statement that snares have no place in a humane and civilized world.
The full text of the vetoed legislation can be read here.
Animal advocates commend Governor Blagojevich’s veto of bill that would expand use of cruel snares in Illinois. Press Release, Animal Protection Institute and Illinois Humane, August 16, 2005.
AN ACT concerning animals.
Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois,
represented in the General Assembly:
Section 1. Short title. This Act may be cited as the Force
Fed Birds Act.
Section 5. Prohibition; penalties.
(a) In this Section:
(1) A "bird" includes, but is not limited to, a duck
(2) "Force feeding a bird" means a process that causes
the bird to consume more food than a typical bird of the
same species would consume voluntarily. Force feeding
methods include, but are not limited to, delivering feed
through a tube or other device inserted into the bird's
(b) A person may not force feed a bird for the purpose of
enlarging the bird's liver beyond normal size or hire another
person to do so.
(c) A person who knowingly violates this Section is guilty
of a petty offense and shall be fined $1,000. Each day that a
violation occurs is a separate offense.
In April, the Illinois Senate passed a bill banning the force feeding of ducks and geese to produce foie gras in the state. The bill passed 53-0, with 1 Senator voting present.
According to the text of the bill,
A person may not force feed a bird for the purpose of enlarging the bird’s liver beyond normal size or hire another person to do so.
Anyone violating this proposed law could be fined $1,000 per day that the offense occurs.
When originally offered, the bill would have also banned the sale of foie gras produced outside of Illinois, but that provision was ultimately struck from the bill passed by the Senate.
The bill will now be taken up by the Illinois state House of Representatives.
The full text of Illinois’ proposed ban on foie gras production can be read here.
In March, Bob Barker announced he was donating $1 million to Northwestern University’s School of Law to endow a course devoted to animal rights law.
In the past, I have been accused by individuals from universities that Barker has donated money for implying that what Barker is buying is nothing more than indoctrination of their students in animal rights ideologies. I don’t believe that, and don’t think what I’ve written sustains such a view, but Bob Barker explicitly does believe that this is what he’s accomplishing with his donations. Barker explained to Chicago’s WABC,
Animals need all the protection we can give them. We intend to train a growing number of law students in this area of law in the hope that they will ultimately lead a national effort to make it illegal to brutalize and exploit these helpless creatures.”
And by brutalize and exploit, Barker means things like animal research. Barker had to do a bit of defending of his donation to Northwestern in light of ongoing federal investigations into alleged mistreatment of research animals at the university. Barker said he was unaware of the allegations or the specifics, but told the Chicago Sun Times that in general,
I’m well aware of the cruelties and the mistreatment of animals in animal research. But many good things will come of this [donation].
Over the past few years, Barker has donated $6 million to establish or enhance animal rights law curriculum at law schools at Northwestern, Yale, Columbia, Duke, Stanford, and the University of California Los Angeles.
Bob Barker donates money to university. WABC, March 22, 2005.
Barker has to bite his lip before giving NU $1 million. Chicago Sun-Times, March 23, 2005.
No word on whether or not People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has appeared at the school the young girl mentioned in the item below from Decatur Daily columnist Ken Retherford,
Although only 9, a Decatur girl is well on her way toward becoming an animal-rights activist.
While leaving a restaurant with her family, the child saw a lady with a rabbit-fur stole on her shoulders. The girl glared at the woman.
Outside she grumbled, “Dad, if I become president, I am going to make it a law that animals can wear stoles made out of people.”
Well, she’s learning about animal rights compassion young (assuming the anecdote is true).
You Don’t Say. Ken Retherford, The Decatur Daily, February 2, 2005.