Spend time with the good people who come together for NYC Anarchist Black Cross‘s regular political prisoner letter-writing dinners:
WHAT: Political Prisoner Letter-Writing Dinner WHEN: 7pm sharp, Tuesday, September 17th, 2013 WHERE: CAGE – 83A Hester Street (UPSTAIRS) New York, New York 10002 (directions below) COST: Free
After a traffic stop in which they refused consent to a police search, Tyler Lang and Kevin Olliff‘s car was searched anyway. Inside, police allege they found bolt cutters, wire cutters, muriatic acid, ski masks, and camouflage clothing.
Police believed these items were “burglary tools” intended to be used in a crime, and arrested Kevin and Tyler. The two are held on felony charges which carry up to 3 years in prison. They have remained in jail since their arrest on August 14th.
There is no evidence linking them to any crime or intended crime, nor were they arrested on anyone’s property, and their history as animal advocates is the only basis for these serious felony charges. A recent call-in campaign on their behalf resulted in threats of further punishments.
Kapparot, an atonement ritual practiced by some Orthodox Jews in conjunction with Yom Kippur, involves “swinging either a live chicken or a bundle of coins over one’s head three times, symbolically transferring one’s sins to the chicken or coins. The chicken is then slaughtered.“ Kapporot is performed with chickens, in large numbers, right here in New York city, particularly in certain neighborhoods in Brooklyn.
There are activists working to get all Kapparot (also spelled Kaporos, Kaparos, Kaparot, etc.) practitioners to switch to coins, and they need your help! From The Alliance to End Chickens as Kapporot:
Please join our 4th annual street protest in Brooklyn, NY against the cruel and needless use of chickens in Kaporos rituals. This year we’re renting a “moving lit billboard” – a van with huge images illuminated on the sides and the back.
An activist Hasidic Rabbi has generously provided us with images, including one of himself tenderly holding a rooster, an audio file to BROADCAST FROM THE VAN URGING PRACTITIONERS TO USE MONEY, NOT CHICKENS, and translations of our messages into Hebrew along with English.
We know it is difficult to attend a demo where animals are suffering and dying in front of us, but as hard as it is for us, it is infinitely harder for the chickens, and we must be there for them and show that we care.
Please read A Wing and A Prayer for more information about the Kaporos (Kapparot) ritual. Please join us in Brooklyn to let the chickens know we’re there for them.
They’ve also produced this video featuring Bresov Hasidic rabbi Yonassan Gershom:
I know this can be a difficult issue for “outsiders” to get involved in. While the systemized abuse of chickens horrifying and immoral, it’s always delicate business criticizing other people’s religious beliefs and practices. But joining the existing efforts of the Alliance is something we can all do.
I’ll leave you with some quotes from chicken-abusing Kapparot practitioners:
NPR ”Weekend Edition”: Hecht says waving the chicken isn’t the point of this ritual. ”The main part of the service,” he says, “is handing the chicken to the slaughterer and watching the chicken being slaughtered. Because that is where you have an emotional moment, where you say, ‘Oops, you know what? That could have been me.’
NycFaith’s Blog: “Kaparot is absolutely the funniest custom we have, hands down,” said Rabbi Alevsky. “There’s plenty of giggling and laughing going around, and there’s a lot of shrieking, ‘I don’t want to touch it!’ ‘Get it away from me!’” He pauses, before adding, “And the chicken often poops on people. It chooses its targets very carefully.”
(As an aside, I also feel a dilemma regarding the “solution”; I mean, I don’t think swinging a bag of coins over your head does you any good either. I’m not even sure I believe that symbolic atonement is a positive thing at all, as opposed to specifically addressing the damage caused by bad things we’ve done. Of course I still support the Alliance’s mission, but especially if you are someone who–unlike me–believes in symbolic atonement and not abusing chickens, please join The Alliance in their efforts this year. I can only show up for the chickens; you can show up for the chickens and the spiritual mission.)
Here’s a bucketload of stories from the past month or two that I’d like to share with you. Sorry to be dumping so many at once. I would have preferred to share these with you one at a time as they were published, but life got in the way. But it’s still win-win; I get to clean out my browser tabs, and you get some good stories to read.
Some of these are newsy, others are feature-y or opinion-y. Some of these stories are were breaking news, but others are notable for being traditionally under-reported animal-interest topics in mainstream venues. Some are short; some are very, very long. I have not read them all in their entireties yet, but I endorse you checking them out anyway. We may have shared a few of these on Twitter, but most of them have gone totally unnoted by SuperVegan until now. I tried to sort them into rough categories, but some certainly blur the lines.
“Can We See Our Hypocrisy to Animals?” Inspired by the juxtaposition of reviews of Act of Killing and Blackfish, Nick Kristof wonders “Some day, will our descendants be mystified by how good and decent people in the early 21st century — that’s us — could have been so oblivious to the unethical treatment of animals?” Kristof is one of the best New York Times columnists, and has a lot of journalistic experience with perpetrators of human-on-human violence; this coming from him is a rather big deal. (NYTimes, 7/28/13)
The AARP profiles Bill Clinton’s vegan diet. Definitions of ”being vegan” aside, this piece has great potential to influence older people worried about their health to eat a lot less animal products. (Sounds like Bill might be a little bit more strict than he used to be, if you enjoy keeping track of such things, but who knows anything for sure with that guy.) (AARP Magazine, August issue)
6,500+ transcribed words likely to incite frustration and despair in the caring reader
Last we heard, the USDA had trapped hundreds of wild geese in Jamaica Bay for slaughter. Now, they have their sights set of the wild turkeys of Staten Island. Beginning yesterday,the USDA has lured the turkeys to their death using pellets to attract them to large nets, capturing and crating them for removal. GooseWatchNYC and community leader John Mancuso are holding an emergency rally tomorrow at noon to protest the USDA’s cruel actions.
Where: Seaview Ave and Father Capodanno Blvd., Staten Island (See Map)
When: 12 PM Noon, Tomorrow, Wednesday, August 14, 2013
When I was 3, my mom tried to coax me into eating a hot dog by slicing it up and creating a circle of cruel, gross chemical-y death around a glob of ketchup in the middle of my plate. “They’re Indians around a campfire,” she told me. I threw the biggest tantrum a 3-year-old can manage (which is pretty darn big), and haven’t eaten a hot dog of the meat variety since. While veggie dogs are a different story, I still maintain that hot dogs are one of the most vile “foods” in existence, and can’t fathom why anyone would want to eat as many as they can in ten minutes, but I guess it’s the American way…or something.
So, if you’re feeling more in the mood for a protest than patriotic this 4th of July, consider joining Mercy For Animals in protesting the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog-Eating Contest in Coney Island. Signs, banners and leaflets will be provided and MFA’s inflatable hot dog puppy (pictured) will make an appearance. The group will meet on the corner of Stillwell Ave. and W. 16th Street at 10:30am. MFA requests that attendees dress “professionally” as there will be media coverage.
When it comes to being vegan in Coney Island, I don’t have to tell you that the dining options are limited to pretty much french fries. There’s no dining establishment in Coney Island’s amusement district that caters to vegans, and when I inquired about veggie dog options with a member of Luna Park‘s staff, I was told that anywhere in Luna Park that sells hot dogs sports a Nathan’s logo. However, when it comes to vegan products of the non-food variety in Coney, Lola Star is doing her part to minimize cruelty. The boutique owner recently switched the sunscreen her stores sell to a brand that doesn’t test on animals and will soon be offering cruelty-free nail polish. And if you’re joining MFA in their protest on Thursday, you just might need some sunscreen!
Do you have any vegan tips for visiting Coney Island? Feel free to share!