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National Contact: Zach Groff, zach@directactioneverywhere.com, (703) 217-0000
Local Contact:
Eva Hamer, evachamer@gmail.com, (707) 832-8784

Animal Rights Activists Interrupt Clinton Rally, Unfurl “Get Big Ag Out of Politics” Banner, Criticize Ties to Ag


August 10, 2016, Des Moines, IA – For the second time this week, activists with the animal liberation network Direct Action Everywhere (DxE) interrupted a rally by Hillary Clinton with signs and chants calling for Clinton to end corporate welfare for animal agriculture. While Clinton rallied the crowd at Lincoln High School, activists emerged from the crowd and climbed over the barricades around the stage with signs declaring “Get Big Ag Out of Politics.” The DxE activists say Clinton, who recently held a $50,000 per ticket fundraiser with Costco founder Jeff Brotman, has supported billions of dollars in subsidies to farm conglomerates, including Costco suppliers such as Hormel. Activist Kelsey Atkinson was wrestled to the ground and arrested after climbing over a barrier as she chanted.

“Clinton claims to favor humane treatment of animals, yet she supports subsidies to corporations responsible for torturing billions of animals,” DxE activist Araceli Rodriguez said. “If she’s serious about protecting animals, she needs to stop protecting the companies who kill them.”

The activists cite a recent DxE investigation and rescue at a Costco supplier as evidence that humane welfare reforms -- which Costco has touted -- are insufficient. In protests challenging Bernie Sanders, Chris Christie, and Carly Fiorina, they have asked politicians to withdraw support for the Agricultural Act of 2014 and to fight government-industry promotional partnerships.

Activists participating in the protests released an open letter to Secretary Clinton last week followed by a policy memo this morning detailing their demands. The activists say Clinton, who recently announced an animal welfare platform, should immediately commit to ending corporate welfare for animal-abusing corporations.

“Hillary is taking a huge amount of money from companies like Costco, and when government money goes back to their suppliers, it raises serious questions about undue influence,” DxE activist Kelsey Atkinson said. “If we’re serious about animal protection, we need to stop funding animal torture and start the process of abolishing the systems that exploit them.”

Every year over 50 billion land and sea animals are killed for food in the U.S. alone. Animals who are killed for their flesh endure intense psychological and physical trauma, and undercover investigations have found that they are routinely eviscerated while still conscious.

Direct Action Everywhere (DxE) is a network of animal rights activists working to challenge speciesism throughout society.  We use creative protest to challenge the use of animals for food, clothing, experimentation, and entertainment. Visit Direct Action Everywhere on Facebook and at http://directactioneverywhere.com/.  Follow us on Twitter @DxEverywhere.


August 4, 2016

Open Letter to Secretary Clinton on Animal Rights

(Animal Rights Series)

Dear Secretary Clinton,

When your campaign released its animal rights platform in May — the first ever by a major presidential party — animal supporters rejoiced. It was a powerful sign of the times that a major party presidential candidate would publicly state her support for “animal rights.” Sadly, while your platform says that you support animal rights, what you support does not yet look like true “rights.”

Mei Hua was rescued from the manure pile in a Certified Humane Whole Foods farm.
Your platform calls for “encouraging farms to raise animals humanely.” What exactly does this mean? We can only think of the rise of efforts by many businesses — most notably Whole Foods — to market animal products they sell as humane, compassionate, or otherwise ethical. Given the degree of public concern over cruelty in animal agriculture and support for animal protection — 79% of Americans support the protection of animals from “all suffering and harm” — those raising animals for food have had to respond to the increasing sense that animals are suffering horrifically on farms.

Yet those who have looked into what happens even on supposedly higher-welfare farms have been disappointed. From a Whole Foods turkey farm to a model farm under one of the most notable animal welfare laws in the country, investigations of supposedly humane farms have found violence. This should be unsurprising, though: central to the idea of animal agriculture is killing the animals, an inherently violent act.

Against this backdrop, true support for animal rights starts with taking steps not to improve but to end their exploitation. The government currently subsidizes meat, dairy, and egg industries to a shocking degree through an elaborate set of economic props. Government agencies work with animal agribusiness to market the industry aggressively. And as government supports industry that uses animals right and left, animals are still regarded as legal things, unable to have cases heard on their behalf in court.

You are on the record promoting measures to support the raising and killing of animals for food. Your vice presidential candidate, Virginia Senator Tim Kaine, boasts about his home state’s status as a “leader in livestock and poultry production.” While your platform talks about rights, not a single part of it actually supports a legal right enforceable in court.

Your platform on animal rights, then, rests on a contradiction. You say you supports animal rights, but you support an industry whose existence is based on violating any rights — to life, to liberty, or to happiness — that animals might want. Today we are calling on you to fix this contradiction by calling for an end to government support for industry, including subsidies and government checkoff programs that are already subject of a bill recently introduced by U.S. Senators Cory Booker and Mike Lee, and affirmatively supporting legal personhood for nonhuman animals.

There are 50 billion animals killed every year in the United States. This is a scale of unfathomable proportions. As long as you refuse to face and resolve the contradiction, animal activists across the country — who have made our voices heard repeatedly in the past — will make our voices heard to your campaign.

The Activists of Direct Action Everywhere