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The year 2013 was a busy one for animal liberation actions across the U.S., primarily at businesses that breed and/or sell fur. That September, Los Angeles animal activists Tyler Lang and Kevin Johnson
were arrested in rural Illinois, charged with felony "possession of burglary tools." Tyler served four months and was released. Kevin was sentenced to thirty months in jail and remains behind bars. In July 2014, both were charged with violating the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA), a 2006 law that reclassified a wide range of petty criminal activity as “terrorism” if done in the name of harming the profits of animal enterprises. In June and July of 2015, Kevin and then Tyler pled guilty and currently await sentencing. SupportKevinandTyler.com
On July 24, 2015, the FBI arrested two more animal rights activists for allegedly freeing mink and other animals from fur farms, and vandalizing the property of animal-abusing businesses. Joseph Buddenburg and Nicole Kissane of Oakland were charged under AETA. The government alleges that since the summer of 2013 the two caused hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage to corporations that they viewed as being cruel to animals. They are alleged to have freed 6,000 animals, including mink and bobcat, from fur farms in Idaho, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. They’re also alleged to have traveled the west coast of the U.S. and used super glue and glass etching fluid to vandalize the property of fur retailers in San Francisco, San Diego, and Minneapolis.
In 2009, Joseph Buddenburg was one of the first four people ever arrested under AETA, largely related to to free speech activism targeting animal research at the University of California. A year later, charges against the "AETA4" were dismissed.
A call-out for support for Joseph and Nicole went out for their court appearance on July 28 at the Oakland Federal Courthouse. At the hearing, Judge Ryu released Nicole from electronic monitoring and allowed her to travel but ordered that Joseph remain on home lockdown with continued monitoring. Their next scheduled court date is September 9 in San Diego.
Court Support for Nicole and Joseph |
Two Oakland Activists Accused of Freeing Animals Are Charged as Terrorists |
DOJ Press Release and Indictment |
Unlike the So-Called Left, Government and Industry Really Get Animal Rights |
San Francisco fur shop vandalized |
New list of 92 fox farm addresses released by the Fur Farm Intelligence Unit
Previous Related Indybay Features:
Over 10,000 Animals Released in Total Since July in Massive ALF Fur Farm Campaign
Interview with Joseph Buddenberg of the AETA 4
AETA 4 Case Dismissed, But Re-Indictment Possible
Rights Attorneys Argue Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act Is an Unconstitutionally Vague Law
Federal Authorities Arrest Four Bay Area Animal Protesters
The United States Social Forum 2015 was held June 24-28 in San José. A thousand activists from hundreds of organizations worked on strategies for necessary alternatives and system change. Food Sovereignty, Living on the Edge of Silicon Valley, Taking our Health Back, Crisis of the California Water Commons, No More Deaths: Resisting Border Militarization, Cooperative Economics, and Movements Making Media were just some of the more than a hundred topics discussed.
Conservation groups have reached an agreement with First Solar, Inc. to provide additional conservation protections to wild lands and wildlife as part of construction of the California Flats Solar Project, a proposed 280-megawatt solar energy project in Monterey and San Luis Obispo counties.
It will affect 2,720 acres of important habitat for a number of rare and sensitive plants and animals. The project site is currently part of the 72,000-acre “Jack Ranch,” which is owned by the Hearst Corporation and currently operated as a cattle ranch.
The California Rodeo Salinas is scheduled to start on July 16, yet the rodeo refuses to change its illegal practice of hiding injuries to animals. In December 2014, the national nonprofit Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) filed a lawsuit on behalf of the animal rights group Showing Animals Respect and Kindness (SHARK) against the rodeo for failing to report animal injuries to the state veterinary medical board, as required under California law.
The Winnemem Wintu Tribe and other tribal representatives and their allies rallied, chanted, sang and waved signs on the sidewalk in front of Westin Hotel on June 29 and 30 outside the Second California Water Summit in Sacramento. They were there to protest Governor Jerry Brown’s efforts to exclude California Tribes, environmentalists, fishermen and other key stakeholders in the public meeting about massive state water infrastructure projects proposed under Proposition 1, the $7.5 billion water bond.
Members of the Concow Maidu, Miwok, Hoopa Valley, Pomo, Wailaki and other tribes and Native Hawaiian groups joined with local activists as they shouted, “Water is sacred, water is life, protect the salmon, protect water rights.” Representatives of the Klamath Riverkeeper, Restore the Delta, United Native Americans and Occupy Sacramento also participated in the event. Around 40 people were there at the protest at any given time; over 100 people showed up at the event between the two days. Protesters also chanted, “Fight, Fight, Water Rights!” and “Corporate Graft, Corporate Greed, this is something we don’t need!,” as cars drove by on Riverside Boulevard in front of the hotel.
The Brown administration advertised the event as a conference to discuss the latest developments including project selection for the $7.5 billion water bond money that is now available after the passage of the Water Quality, Supply and Infrastructure Act of 2014, Brown’s controversial Proposition 1.
Read More with Photos
The farm worker movement mourns the passing on June 7, 2015, of Rev. Deacon Sal Alvarez, who played a key role with Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta in the farm worker movement and on behalf of many other worthy causes over seven decades. Sal was motivated by deep faith in a movement grounded in the Catholic Church’s social justice teachings and dedication to Our Lady of Guadalupe.
After earning a masters degree in social work from UC Berkeley and working with the U.S. Catholic Conference, Sal met Cesar Chavez in the late 1960s, while working with the Bishops Committee on Farm Labor. He became a United Farm Workers researcher in 1976, and was soon assigned as legislative aide to Dolores Huerta, with whom Sal forged a close working relationship for decades.
Sal spent years at the state Capitol in Sacramento, battling industry attempts to dismantle the historic Agricultural Labor Relations Act. He also worked on abolishing the short-handled hoe, winning workers compensation for farm workers and pushing UC to provide relief for agricultural workers displaced by its mechanization research.
Read More | United Farm Workers
Environmental groups petitioned the California Fish and Game Commission to protect the Humboldt marten under the California Endangered Species Act. The Humboldt marten is a cat-sized carnivore related to minks and otters that lives in old-growth forests in Northern California and southern Oregon. Most of the marten’s forest habitat has been destroyed by logging, and the remaining martens in California likely number fewer than 100 individuals.
The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence took the lead in organizing a protest held in front of Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, California on June 1. Sister Roma said that it's time Mark Zuckerberg realized that identity is fluid. She and about 100 others traveled from San Francisco and other parts of the Bay Area to Silicon Valley to demand that the social media company remove the fake-name reporting option and stop asking users for government IDs.
The outrage over the bottling of California water by Nestlé, Walmart and other big corporations during a record drought has become viral on social media and national and international media websites over the past couple of months. On May 20, people from across the state converged on two Nestlé bottling plants — one in Sacramento and the other in Los Angeles — demanding that the Swiss-based Nestlé corporation halt its bottling operations during the state’s record drought.
At the protests, activists delivered 515,000 signatures from people in California and around the nation who signed onto a series of petitions to Nestlé executives, Governor Brown, the California State Water Resources Control Board and the U.S. Forest Service urging an immediate shutdown of Nestlé’s bottling operations across the state.
Led by the California-based Courage Campaign, the protest was the third in Sacramento over the past year. The first two protests were "shut downs" this March and last October organized by the Crunch Nestlé Alliance.
Read More |
Photo essay of protest against Nestlé in Sacramento
Previous Related Indybay Feature:
Activists 'Shut Down' Nestlé Water Bottling Plant
On May 24, the 35th anniversary of Food Not Bombs was marked with a six hour party in Santa Cruz. Those needing nourishment were greeted with live music and an especially celebratory atmosphere, in addition to free food, a free market, and a variety of other free services. By combining social and environmental justice activism, nonviolent direct action, and a philosophy that emphasizes sharing over charity, Food Not Bombs has differentiated itself from other global organizations that distribute food to the hungry.
On May 23, families and loved ones of people in solitary confinement, and advocates from community organizations, held the third Statewide Coordinated Actions To End Solitary Confinement (SCATESC) throughout California. In Santa Cruz, about 25 people rallied at the entrance to the Municipal Wharf, where locals and tourists found two large banners, storyboards exposing the realities of solitary confinement, signs, and educational literature about solitary confinement in Santa Cruz and California.
The first successful Santa Cruz County referendum in 13 years has suspended an ordinance adopted by the County Board of Supervisors to ban all commercial cannabis cultivation. The ban was adopted on April 14, and was to go into effect on May 15. Responsible Cultivation Santa Cruz circulated the referendum and after only 21 days filed 11,210 signatures with the county. 7,248 valid signatures are required to qualify the referendum for the ballot.
On May 2, Native American community members and Interfaith supporters, including clergy leaders, demonstrated outside of Mission Dolores in San Francisco to oppose the impending canonization of Junipero Serra by the Catholic church. Pope Francis has reaffirmed his decision to name Junipero Serra a saint, despite strong opposition from Native Americans who say the man is responsible for the killing of hundreds of thousands of Indigenous people when he helped to establish and then presided over the California mission system in the 1700s.
"My ancestors were directly enslaved at Mission Dolores here, and at Mission San Jose in Fremont, and I want to make sure that the Vatican knows that we, and Native people allies, do not agree with the canonization of Junipero Serra," said Corrina Gould, who is of Karkin and Chochenyo Ohlone ancestry. Individuals of Coastal Miwok and Chumash ancestry, two other Californian tribal groups gravely affected by the establishment of the mission system, also spoke at the demonstration. The event was part of an "International Day of Mourning" which was organized to coincide with the Catholic church's celebration to honor Juipero Serra in Rome and at the American seminary in Los Angeles on May 2.
"Today we stand together in solidarity to say: No sainthood for Junipero Serra. No sainthood for genocide. No sainthood for murderers and rapers. We are saying this in a loud and proud way," Corrina Gould said in her introductory remarks.
Read More with Photos | See Also: Petition: Urge Pope Francis to abandon his decision to canonize Junipero Serra
A coalition of environmentalists on April 20 blasted Beverly Hills billionaire Stewart Resnick and other corporate agribusiness interests for continuing to plant thousands of acres of new almond trees during the drought while Governor Jerry Brown is mandating that urban families slash water usage by 25 percent.
“While farmers make their own decisions on what to plant, the public is paying the price for poor decisions made by greedy mega-growers, who plant permanent crops where there is no water,” Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Executive Director of Restore the Delta, told reporters in a news conference about the “tunnels only” version of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) that Governor Jerry Brown is now pushing. “That is not sustainable and the tunnels would subsidize unsustainable agriculture.”
Barrigan-Parrilla said Resnick, the owner of Paramount Farms in Kern County, uses as much water for his almonds as the amount of water 38 million Californians are now required to conserve. At this year’s annual pistachio conference hosted by Paramount Farms, Resnick revealed his current efforts to expand pistachio, almond, and walnut acreage during a record drought.
Stewart Resnick expands almond acreage as cities forced to slash water use
Governor Brown's drought order lets agribusiness, oil companies off the hook
Drought legislation must target agribusiness and Big Oil
Drought Shows Folly of Jerry Brown's Delta Tunnels
Will drought relief money be used to support overpumping Delta water?
House Passes Salmon-Killing Drought Relief Bill
Feinstein delays controversial drought legislation until next year
Feinstein's fish-killing drought bill being negotiated in secrecy
Meet the Resnicks, the Koch Brothers of California Water
Brown fails to discuss wholesale draining of reservoirs in drought statement
Brown declares drought state of emergency as protesters urge halt to fracking
Previous Related Indybay Features:
Activists 'Shut Down' Nestlé Water Bottling Plant
Steelhead Suffer From Emptying of Northern California Reservoirs
"Sucked Dry: Drought and Privatization" Art Show Shut Down by GMO Dean at UC Berkeley
3 Billion Gallons of Oil Industry Wastewater Illegally Dumped into Central Valley Aquifers
Reducing Beef Intake by One Pound Saves More Water Than Not Showering for Six Months
Suppliers of Driscoll’s, which may be the U.S.’s most recognizable brand name on strawberry, raspberry, blueberry and blackberry cartons, are coming under fire for allegedly abusing workers, in the U.S. and Mexico. One Driscoll’s grower has spent weeks embroiled in a major farmworker protest, while a nearly two-year boycott against another grower recently intensified. Workers in both disputes have called for a boycott against the company.
In response to a 2012 petition by the Center for Biological Diversity and several renowned scientists and herpetologists, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced on April 9 that Endangered Species Act protection may be warranted for the western pond turtle. The agency will now conduct a one-year status review on the turtle, which faces declines of up to 99 percent in some areas.
Western pond turtles are declining in abundance rangewide, especially in the northernmost portion and the southern third of the range. The animals are listed as state endangered in Washington, sensitive/critical in Oregon, and a species of special concern in California. Although habitat destruction is one of the biggest threats to the turtle, none of these state laws provides effective habitat protection.
“Threats like habitat destruction from urbanization and agriculture are driving western pond turtles toward extinction,” said Collette Adkins, a Center biologist and lawyer. “Much-needed federal protection of these turtles would help ensure that rivers and wetlands across the West Coast are protected, both for the turtles and for people.”
Read More | Center for Biological Diversity | See Also: Western Pond Turtle More Critically Endangered Than Once Thought
| Endangered Species Act Protection Sought for 16 Rare Amphibians and Reptiles in California