This past Thursday, Friday and Saturday, I was one of over 100 activists from around the world who were in the Bay Area for an animal rights conference held by Direct Action Everywhere (DxE) and to protest against the abuse and killing of animals for food and clothing.
On Saturday May 23 we held three protests, the last of which was on Geary Street outside Macy’s.
Check out this excellent news coverage by Indymedia:
It was Mother’s Day, a day when the animal rights groups Berkeley Organization for Animal Advocacy (BOAA) and Direct Action Everywhere (DXE) try to remind the public of the millions and millions of forgotten mothers – the dairy cows who are forced to stand in one spot indoors and be milked and milked and milked for fucking months on end until their udders are bleeding, swollen to the point of dragging on the floor and infected with mastitis. Mothers who frantically search in vain for their newborns who are stolen by humans shortly after birth. Mothers who cry and moan for days and days for their lost babies….
A group of animal rights activists from DXE and UPC including myself marched to the San Francisco Ferry Building yesterday to protest the selling of so-called ‘humane meat’ at a market inside the building.
My wife Leslie wrote a great blog post about the action, which includes photos, a video that ends with security guards trying to shut us down and prevent people from photographing and videoing the protest, and more.
Here’s how her post begins:
ANIMAL RIGHTS ACTIVISTS DEFY SECURITY GUARDS IN SAN FRANCISCO
By Leslie Goldberg
When I heard “You’re all under arrest,” my heart jumped in my throat. I flashed on who-will-take-care-of-the-dog-what-about-babysitting-I’d-promised-I’d-do-tomorrow- and what-about-the-cat-and-what-about-all-the-work-due-for-my-class-this-week- what-if-I-can’t-get-to-my-class.
I’ve never really been in jail before.
It was an “International Respect for Chickens Day” protest. We were in the San Francisco Ferry Building which is a sort of foodie plaza where you can spend all sorts of money on “artisan” cheese, olive oil, nuts, fruit, pricey bread and “humanely-raised” meat.
In fact, it was in front of one of these “humanely raised and cruelly-killed” meat places where two animal rights groups, United Poultry Concerns (UPC) and Direct Action Everywhere (DXE), had joined to cause a disruption.
“HUMANELY RAISED,” shouted long-time activist Hope Bohanec of UPC.
What a scene. Nearly 40 of us standing in front of the meat counter in Whole Foods’ Market Street store (San Francisco) chanting “It’s not food, it’s violence!”
Yes it was a Direct Action Everywhere (DXE) animal rights protest. It took place this past Saturday.
I shot photos and video. My wife Leslie AKA The Vicious Vegan wrote an excellent report on what went down, and the philosophy behind the protest.
Here’s how her blog post begins:
ANIMAL RIGHTS PROTEST CALLS OUT WHOLE FOODS
By Leslie Goldberg
I’ve never yelled inside a Whole Foods Market or in a Safeway or in any grocery store. I’ve never even wanted to. When I’ve walked past (quickly) the neon-lit graveyards they have in the back of these stores, which showcase the dead animals or their chopped-up flesh, I’ve felt a grief and revulsion that makes me quiet.
Yet despite my despair at the obvious animal cruelty that’s taken place, I have to admit I’ve always kind of liked Whole Foods. I like that they have a gazillion different plant-based milks (that taste good); that they have a pretty good bulk section; that the employees are nice; that one of the store’s founders, John Mackey, was persuaded to become a vegan; and I always liked that the checkers would ask me, “Credit or donation?” when I brought in my own bag. I’d get a little warm feeling when I’d say, “donation.”
Yet there I was – pissed and yelling my head off with the other protestors in the meat department of Whole Foods on Sunday: “It’s Not Food, It’s Violence.”
I joined a group of Direct Action Everywhere (DXE) members to protest Whole Food’s truly bizarre, if not Orwellian, $20 million ad campaign: “Values Matter.” The ads feature such slogans as “Know What Kind of Life Your Dinner Lived” or “Choose a Fish, Cook a Fish, Save a Fish.”
Welcome to the house of mirrors world of “humane meat.” Or “sustainable agriculture.” Or “cage free.” Or “cruelty-free food.” Or “grass-fed.” It’s a wonderful dreamy world where the environment is pristine: no water pollution, no climate change, no destruction of wildlife. You can still kill and eat animals and/or consume their secretions and feel good about it. Hell, you can eat animals and save animals at the same time!
Today I joined a group of animal activists in protesting a grotesque annual event held at the Ferry Building in San Francisco called the Goat Festival.
You can read an excellent report about the event by my wife Leslie Goldberg at her Vicious Vegan blog.
Here’s the beginning of her post:
BOAA, DXE PROTEST GOAT FESTIVAL IN SAN FRANCISCO
By Leslie Goldberg
We were at the annual Goat Festival in San Francisco to cause a disruption Saturday. Yup, this morning I wasn’t pecking at my keyboard spouting off about animal rights or about the environment disaster caused by animal food consumption, but rather I took it to the streets with the animal rights groups DXE (Direct Action Everywhere) and BOAA (Berkeley Organization for Animal Advocacy).
The disruption was successful: By chanting (loudly) and holding up signs we managed to make it almost impossible to give a cooking goat sausage demonstration.
A small group of foodies had gathered under a tent in front of the Ferry Building to watch John Stewart-Streit show how to fry up the flesh of a goat and to also have some samples. Stewart-Streit owns a restaurant in Oakland that serves “house-butchered porcine delights.” The onlookers sat on folding chairs apparently unaware they were about to experience an animal rights protest up close and personal.
Security, on the other hand, was aware there was to be a disruption. There were about eight San Francisco police officers and private security guards standing around. The cops kept talking into their radios. The security officers seemed annoyed.
As the goat cooking demo got started and the chef started talking about the “pleasures” of goat consumption, one activist who had been sitting in the audience stood up, and holding a poster of a dog kissing a goat, faced the audience and explained (loudly) about how goats feel, suffer, experience joy and love their families just like us.
It’s not exactly a media blackout, but the true cause of California’s water shortage is not getting much play in the media.
Today my wife wrote another excellent post on California’s drought at her equally excellent blog, Vicious Vegan.
Here’s how it begins:
WORSE THAN BEING IN HOT WATER, IS HAVING NO WATER
By Leslie Goldberg
Since Gov. Jerry Brown has announced that the little people now should cut back their water consumption by 25 percent, the folks in the animal food industry must be popping the champagne corks. Not only has Brown declined to ask agriculture, including animal agriculture, to cut back, it looks to me like none of the major American media outlets are focusing on livestock and calling it out for the mega-sponge it is.
Instead, the press recently has managed to suggest the idea it’s fruits and vegetables that are the culprits and if we want to do right we should not only turn off the sprinklers but ditch the almond milk and maybe skip the salad. Ok, ok, we should definitely turn off the sprinklers and phase out those oversized spa bathtubs, I agree. But there has been scarcely a hiccup about animal ag with a few exceptions and that’s a serious bummer.
Animal agriculture deserves more than a hiccup! And hamburgers are costing us way more than $1 a piece. Forty-seven percent of California’s water is used for meat and dairy products, according to a study by the Pacific Institute.
California’s biggest crop happens to be not almonds, tomatoes or lettuce. It’s alfalfa. Michael Pollan said during an interview with phys.org, that about 25 percent of our water is going to raise alfalfa, which is primarily for animal feed – not avocado sandwiches. …
Note: Although this blog is primarily about art (music, film, literature, etc.), I have been concerned about the environment since I was a kid, and given that we have reached a point where climate change is seriously impacting the lives of humans and other animals (and fish and birds and insects)– in other words, it’s the biggest problem the world faces today and we can’t ignore it — I will be including articles related to climate change in the mix of my posts going forward.
My wife writes a great blog called “Vicious Vegan” that includes her humerous/serious essays along with her drawings.
Yesterday she posted an important piece about the true cause of California’s drought.
Here’s the first few graphs. (You can read the whole thing here.):
YUP, IT’S VEGANS WHO HAVE CAUSED THE CALIFORNIA DROUGHT
By Leslie Goldberg
Wouldn’t you know it? It’s the health food freaks, the almond milk guzzlers who are fueling California’s water shortage. Did you know that it takes a whole gallon of water to raise one almond?
A whole gallon.
Those self-righteous vegans who think they know something!
Since I happened to have a pound of almonds in the refrigerator I decided to count up those little water suckers and see how much water it takes to produce a pound of almonds. It was bad. Four hundred and thirty-three gallons of water.
Four hundred and thirty-three? Wait a minute. How about a pound of beef? (I dare say it’s a lot easier to eat a pound of beef than it is to eat a pound of almonds.) According to the folks at waterfootprint.org it takes between 3,000 and 5,000 gallons of water to produce one pound of beef.
“More than half the entire US water supply goes to livestock,” says the Center for Science in the Public Interest.
“It takes a lot of water to grow grain, forage, and roughage to feed a cow, as well as water to drink and to service the cow,” says the US Geological Survey Water Science School.
“Meat processing, especially chicken, also uses large amounts of water,” says the Environmental Working Group…