I was, am, and probably will always be, the lone wolf type…which is often not a good thing when trying to make a difference in the world.
When I was rescuing chained dogs, even though I instinctively knew the more people I could get to stand together the more difference we could make, I struggled to bring that dream to fruition.
Yes, DDB had more success than had ever before been seen for chained dogs, but I dreamed of a day when a community would stand as one against a dog chainer, and INSIST, no, DEMAND, that the dog be given up to a better life. Where community pressure and love for the dogs would blow away any ridiculous notions of property rights as they applied to our animal friends.
Mostly, my stands for animals resulted in just me being arrested, and while that created a ripple, it didn’t create a wave.
But this week that wave was created on behalf of another animal: chickens caught in the brutality of factory farming, and—even though I had nothing to do with it—I couldn’t be prouder of the 500 people who took action on behalf of the animals.
THIS is how lasting change will be made…
By an entire community of people standing, in love, and for reasons of love, against those of ownership, hatred, disregard, and abuse.
The folks who participated in this action have my deepest respect, and my deepest thanks. Below, I highlight the words of Wayne Hsiung, leader of Direct Action Everywhere, as well as photos from his page.
Thank you, Wayne, and each and every one of the 500 people who stood by your side. You’ve done what so many of us have dreamed of.
From Wayne Hsiung:
“Just a small handful of the powerful photos from yesterday’s #MassOpenRescue. We walked into a vile factory farm with around 500 activists, and we walked out with 37 lives.
• When we first walked down into the facility, a huge group of activists with white flowers were tasked with supporting us, as we confronted hell on earth. (Another group stood outside on the public road, to be our public face for the media.) This image shows the buffering effect that our support team had on us. We could literally look up and see that we had allies to back us, and to bear witness, as employees or police assaulted us.
• The police arrived within 30 minutes. I discussed with them the “right to rescue” – our statutory and common law right to enter animal abusing facilities and take victims out. They mostly refused to listen, and just wanted us to get out. But the fact that we had a legal basis for our actions gave them pause. And our rescuers continued their life-saving work as I negotiated with the police and owners for most of the next hour.
• Despite being commanded by the owner to leave animals behind, and in the face of extremely intense negotiations with officers who were armed and prepared to use violence to stop us, we walked out with 10+ birds, almost 1.5 hours after we first arrived. We walked right past a police line, with flowers in our hands and love in our hearts. We showed the officers the rotting, cannibalized birds in our hands, and they declined to stop us. So the last 10 birds got home, allowing us to rescue 37 in total.
• We had been promised—by the owner and the police—the right to resume our inspection and rescue any dying birds. But the owner took that off the table, and refused to allow the media to join us in inspecting the facility. I suspect they just wanted to separate me and other leadership from the rest of the activists, arrest us, then hope that eventually the other activists would dissipate in the heat of the sun.
• But that didn’t happen. The activists on site felt strongly that we had the right to remove, at least, the injured animals — and yes, perhaps them all — so we walked back on the farm, nonviolently with red flowers in one hand, and rescue packages in the other. And 40 of us were arrested as we descended on that police line.
• There are so many other stories to tell, but here are 4 of the most important. Thanks to each and every one of you who was at #ALC2018. You are the ones who saved these 37 lives, and garnered media attention across the globe.”
Join Direct Action Everywhere to be part of history for animals.