Animal rights activism in full force at Let Live Conference
June 27-29 marked the first Let Live Conference in Portland. Organized by local advocates for animal rights and environmental protection, the event featured renowned vegan activists from In Defense of Animals, Mercy for Animals, the Food Empowerment Project and PETA2.
Among the conference’s speakers were preeminent vegan cookbook author Isa Chandra Moskowitz, Green is the New Red blogger Will Potter, and former political prisoner Peter Young. Organizers of animal rights demonstrations, lawyers specializing in animal law and liberations cases, and student activists shared their experiences in the field.
Chad Miller, owner of Food Fight grocery with wife Emiko Badillo, and an organizer of the event, said the weekend conference drew about 200 advanced registrations and, as a lowball estimate, raised roughly $1,500-$2,000 that the organizers plan to donate to local grassroots and prisoner support groups.
Force-fed ducks, Ten-01 sucks: Foie gras protest report
On Friday, June 20, a group of about a dozen protesters headed to the restaurant Ten-01, at 1001 NW Couch. The owner of this restaurant (who ironically also owns the veg restaurant Nutshell) had previously told protesters in person that he would take foie gras off the menu and never serve it again — at which point an earlier protest was cancelled, and protesters with signs in hand walked away from the establishment. However, he has once again put it on the menu.
Activists had a lively and educational protest, passing out fliers, singing, drumming, and chanting. Many passers-by asked about foie gras and expressed their disgust at the process of producing foie gras.
To produce foie gras (fatty liver) ducks and geese are force-fed two to three times per day using metal pipes shoved down their throats. Their throats and esophagus’ are scratched and wounded with the insertion and removal of the pipes, sometimes causing mortal infections. If the throat is punctured they may bleed to death. The liver swells to up to 10 times its normal size, impairing its function. Swollen abdomens make it difficult for the birds to walk (although there is no place to walk - these water-loving birds are caged for their whole miserable lives). Some animals are too sick to even stand. The production of foie gras is banned in many places, including the UK, Italy, Norway, Switzerland, Israel, the Czech Republic, Poland, and Argentina, on grounds of animal cruelty. For more information and video, see goveg.com/feat/foie/
Managers and employees at Ten-01 taunted the protestors, saying they would never take foie gras off the menu, and that the demonstrations were only letting potential customers know that foie gras was served there, thus helping their business. However, a number of parties turned away and went elsewhere once they were shown that foie gras is served at Ten-01. The valet told demonstrators that business was slower than usual.
At one point an Elmer Fudd looking dude who identified himself as “block security” and was wearing an “official t-shirt” told the activists that they had to move on. They let him know he could call the police if he believed something illegal was going on. He glared from half a block away for the rest of the protest. The restaurant managers also told protestors that they could not protest there. Fortunately, what remains of the First Amendment dictates that it is legal to peacefully protest. Message to Ten-01: you do not in fact own the public sidewalk.
Foie gras is a very small part of Ten-01’s menu. It would not hurt them financially to remove it. This is the case with every restaurant that serves foie gras in Portland. It’s a specialty item, one that indicates to people with little imagination that they are enjoying the “finer things” in life. Perhaps the power of hurting a captive animal so terribly for this luxury is part of the thrill. One can believe that one is so powerful that others can be tortured at one’s command.
When you see the pictures of ducks so sick from force feeding that they’re choking on their own vomit, conscience requires that you take to the streets and exercise your voice. Those animals do speak — their struggle against the metal pipe going down their throats is clear protest — but their perpetrators do not listen. It may be easy to ignore the protest of a caged creature who weighs just a few pounds, however, the protestors (and hopefully you too!) will be back with resolute and unavoidable voices for these animals wherever foie gras is served in Portland.
Portland police bureau harasses houseless
The Portland Police Bureau has continued its criminalization of houselessness, by sweeping 50 folks from under and atop the Burnside Bridge on June 24, and sweeping almost 50 more folks from the Hawthorne and Morrison Bridges the following night. Their possessions were confiscated and thrown away.
The Portland Coalition Against Poverty is hosting a demonstration to demand an immediate end to police harassment of poor and houseless people. It is on Wednesday, July 9, at 5 p.m., in the North Park Blocks.
Convergence for Climate Action coming to Oregon
Activists and families, the young and old, experienced and bright-eyed are coming together for the 2nd West Coast Convergence for Climate Action event July 28 - August 4th in Coburg, Oregon.
Take a week to share skills, tactics, ideas and fun while building a social and political movement for climate action!
This year, we are joined by Climate Convergences around the world on four different continents. Come join the global movement for earth-centered and community-based solutions to climate change.
Workshops will include: sustainable living skills, lower-impact technologies, creative non-violent direct action, organizing skills, strategies to beat Liquefied Natural Gas, organic gardening, protecting small farms, building communities beyond cultural boundaries, and dozens more.
With massive fossil fuel development projects threatening our region, and concerns over food prices and accessibility growing, we can find strength in people power and work towards building the strong communities we need.
If you are interested in helping with a workshop, getting the word out, or anything else, please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit climateconvergence.org
—Local reporting and Portland Indymedia sources