Progress for Science Charlottesville Statement

Progress for Science Charlottesville Statement

In the wake of the events at Charlottesville where hundreds of self-styled First Amendment advocates – Nazis, white supremacists and racists – marched, and where one person was killed, many injured and townspeople and counter-protesters showed up to defend bodies as well as promote messages of peace and tolerance, calls went out for groups of every nature to take a stand and denounce such far-right shows of bigotry, hatred and intolerance. Included in these calls was one by Dr. Breeze Harper of Sistah Vegan who asked “USA based animals rights and / pro-vegan organizations to release an official statement and action plan on how they do not support white supremacy/racism”. We responded with the following message on Facebook and reproduce it here. Progress for Science, both as a small grassroots group and as individual organizers, denounces the hate and intolerance, bigotry and ignorance fostered by 45 and the white supremacists that form his core base of support. We denounce the actions of the thugs with tiki torches who virtually goosestepped thru Charlottesville and their like across the country and the world. We salute those who resist them every step of the way. There are today (and have long been) many struggles plaguing our capitalist patriarchal society and the beings who live in it. We are actively committed to fighting these: to fighting racism and to learning how we ourselves unfortunately contribute to the racial hierarchies in our society and how some of us have benefitted from them. We are far far from being “post racist” in the US and everyone does and should “see color”. Refusing to face up...
NARS: The Artistry of Cruelty

NARS: The Artistry of Cruelty

HOW KIND IS YOUR BLUSH? The ethical stance of makeup and personal hygiene companies is a major selling point for people who look for the Leaping Bunny and other seals that certify “animal friendly” and “cruelty free” before they buy. NARS Cosmetics has long been known to be a company that rejects animal testing – they have used this as an effective marketing tool – and the founder, make-up artist and photographer François Nars, is rumored to be vegan. Though NARS’ parent company Shiseido is itself complicit in animal testing, NARS remained proudly unblemished. So we were all unpleasantly shocked and appalled when we caught the news spreading like wildfire through the interwebs: NARS Cosmetics has made the decision to ditch its ethics and go to the dark side. That doesn’t mean that they, in some boardroom meeting in Hell, suddenly decided they were gonna hire a bunch of evil scientists, get some bunnies from a breeder specializing in animals destined to die in laboratories, and start pouring undiluted chemicals in their eyes. No, it means they decided to start selling their products in China WHAT’S THE DEAL WITH CHINA ANYWAY? One of the biggest stumbling blocks to being an extra super profitable cruelty-free company these days, perhaps the only one given that the European Union and New Zealand have banned the practice of testing products on animals and the United States and Japan do not require it, is that when you enter the Chinese market, you are essentially agreeing to have your products go through testing on animals. Although China is making progress in recognizing and using alternative testing...
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...
Life after Labs and Jails: New Life Animal Sanctuary’s Gina Lynn

Life after Labs and Jails: New Life Animal Sanctuary’s Gina Lynn

Jake: Ask her about getting arrested with her mom. Me: So tell me about the time you got arrested with your mom. Gina: Which time? The sun is finally starting to set after a blistering near 100-degree day out in the semi-arid scrub country of the Elsinore Valley in the Inland Empire. In the lengthening shadow of the newly built barn, Gina beckons in the residents from wherever they have been poking about on the sprawling fenced-in property. They know what’s up and they’re pretty good at hustling to her call: It’s treat time! After they have all gathered around─and by “they” we mean 27 Göttingen mini pigs rescued from a Bay Area laboratory─Gina lifts up the first watermelon and smashes it to the ground. The rest of us humans all grab one as well and, before long, all the pink-skinned sweeties are blissfully─and you haven’t seen bliss until you’ve seen the watermelon+pig equation in action─munching away, eyes half closed. (Now that it is fall we see the same enthusiasm given over to pumpkin decimation.) These folks have suffered horrors we can’t ever really imagine and they have the scars to prove it, but now all that is over. They have finally found their forever home complete with mud pits, wading pools, fresh hay, shelter, toys, and the love that they probably never dreamed would happen. SO JUST WHAT IS THIS FOREVER HOME? It’s New Life Animal Sanctuary and as their website (a work in progress) explains, they are a haven exclusively devoted to the rescue and rehabilitation of animals saved from laboratories. This ground-breaking effort offers a permanent...
And We’re Back!

And We’re Back!

One thing you should know about Progress for Science by now is that we are always trying to be more strategic and we are open to trying new things if we think they might be successful. Recently, you may have noticed we have been doing a few less protests in California. It is not because we are getting lazy, it is because we were trying some new things out. But now it is time to get back to being active for animals. Below we will discuss what we have been up to for the past couple of months and why it is more important than ever for you to join us in the streets again. A few months ago, vivisector Edythe London’s husband, Abe Wagner, reached out to a P4S cofounder, Vida. Vida decided to talk with Wagner and reported that he seemed like he wanted to reconsider the use of animals in experiments. Of course we were dubious. First, Wagner is not the vivisector, London is. Second, Wagner and London are currently legally harassing another P4S cofounder. But if anyone has met Vida they know she would be the one person who could talk sense into someone. We withdrew protests for a short time to let Vida try to work her magic. We had hoped that London might do the right thing. Her career is a perfect example of how animal experiments are not useful or necessary for a career in science or to further scientific progress. London used to do experiments on monkeys for anything addiction related. Her research has regularly been funded by tax dollars. However,...
What’s in (Peter) Santi Claus’s Sack?: A Gag Order

What’s in (Peter) Santi Claus’s Sack?: A Gag Order

By Kim Socha, Ph.D. Marilyn Carroll, the Cruella de Vil of vivisectors, has been the focus of people opposed to animal experimentation since as early as 1986. Her work at the University of Minnesota includes such egregious abuses of nonhuman lives and tax-payer dollars that even the popular media—not only these “wacky” animal liberation activists—have made her work the focus of their critiques. By her side through the years is a lesser known but equally callous vivisector: Peter Santi of the University of Minnesota’s Department of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery. He is Marilyn Carroll’s husband, fellow animal abuser, and, with the assistance of the state, exploiter of the U.S. Constitution. (And as an aside, can you imagine their dinner conversations? “What did you do at work today, honey?” Yikes!) Activists with Progress for Science (P4S) are embroiled in legal issues with the Carroll/Santi vivisector duo, which you can read about here. Within these visits to the courthouse, a disturbing prohibition has been leveled against two activists in that they are not allowed to even mention the name “Peter Santi” in any public communications. This is, without doubt, a fully unconstitutional rejection of the supposed foundation of U.S. democratic society: freedom of speech. Those who profit from animal abuse want to do so in secret, lest the public becomes enraged by their actions. They want to make their livings tormenting monkeys and chinchillas without any accountability. For compassionate humans, it boggles the mind. They torture other species day in and day out but fight the inconvenience of anti-vivisection neighborhood outreach in their wealthy lakeside community. They are not bothered...