P4S Top Hits of 2015

P4S Top Hits of 2015

THE LONG GOODBYE The monkeys are still where they shouldn’t be: still far from the jungles, from the trees, the vines, the flowers, the birds, the butterflies; far from the evening breezes, the sun on their uplifted faces, the moonlight silvering their fur; still far far away from the mothers that gave them birth, from the aunties and uncles who took care of them, from the squawking sisters and brothers tumbling through the leaves, still far from homes they will never see again or, for those born in labs, homes they will never see at all. They are still in their cold neon-lit cages at the University of California but, at least, their head tormenter has flown the coop. The leaving town of drug-study vivisector David Jentsch, one of UCLA’s top money draws, was one of the big events that marked our year here at Progress for Science. It was a year of wins, of losses and of broadening horizons. Working in both Minnesota and Los Angeles we took on new campaigns and new focuses. We created new events and kept on keeping on as well. ATTACK OF THE 50 FOOT WOMAN On February 15 of last year, P4S staged one of our biggest protests ever as we orchestrated an answer to the demonstration of frothing hate that the vivisectors had backfire and bring shame upon themselves weeks before. On the one-year anniversary we returned to Edythe London’s neighborhood with our very own villain! Or rather a towering papier-mâché Edythe specially made for us by one of our talented supporters.  We have it on good authority that Ms. London was not...
Show Up and Shut Up: White Animal Activists and the Racial Justice Movement

Show Up and Shut Up: White Animal Activists and the Racial Justice Movement

By Kim Socha A Voice for the Voiced? There is a scene in Spike Lee’s 1992 docudrama Malcolm X in which Malcolm is approached by a young, blonde, white woman who lauds his work and asks what she can do to become part of the “cause.” He responds briefly by telling the eager-to-help woman that there is nothing she can do … and he stoically moves on, swatting her away as one would a fly buzzing in his ear. I always loved that scene, even back in 1992 when I wasn’t an activist of any kind. I still recall my friends and I laughing at that exchange with an attitude akin to “Take that, b*tch.” (I use the edited expletive because it honestly represents our attitudes at the time. We thought it was funny, but we certainly weren’t yet critical enough to understand why.) Over twenty years later, as an activist predominately in the animal rights/animal liberation (ARAL) movement, I have more than once found myself, as that white woman, asking people of color (POC) what I can do to help the “cause.” (Why is “cause” is quotation marks? Because one group’s “cause” is another’s daily life experiences. To me, that word has come to diminish the lived realities of the oppressed, so I prefer the terms “movement” or “struggle.”) As the questioning white woman, I have often failed as an ally within other movements, especially racial justice. I’ve put my foot in my mouth, among other figurative places, quite I few times. I’ve tried to help and wound up feeling like a fly buzzing in someone’s ear. In...
David Jentsch has LEFT TOWN!

David Jentsch has LEFT TOWN!

In Progress for Science’s three years of existence we can’t count the number of times we and others before us have stood outside David Jentsch’s gated property and yelled and yelled at him to leave town. His neighbors have all come to know that he has “blood on his hands”, that there is “no excuse for animal abuse”, that there is “no rest for animal abusers”, that “we will never back down” until he stops the killing and they probably also wonder how he sleeps at night. In this time period we’ve also sent letters to his boss, the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and the Regents of the University of California; we’ve organized call-ins, email and photo campaigns; we’ve drawn up reports; we’ve sent postcards, made petitions, shown videos, done outreach and knocked on neighbors’ doors; we’ve stood vigil, read poems, sang songs; we’ve held memorials and funeral marches; we’ve done street performances and banner drops and lit up freeway overpasses.  We’ve been SLAPP-suited, spittled on and lied about; we’ve made a bunch of videos, constructed giant puppets, given talks and handed out messaged bananas. Others, in the days before P4S, have allegedly taken more drastic steps. At Progress for Science, we know activism works. We looked at the history of antivivisection activism in LA and it was clear—the ruckus that activists have raised, our hue and cry, has led at least one UCLA vivisector, Dario Ringach, to give up his evil ways, and another to decrease her involvement in monkey killing. But then Progress for Science supporters in Los Angeles and around the world may have...