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Liberated LobsterSaturday was a great day for George the lobster. The 20-pound crustacean, estimated to be about 140 years old, was released from a New York City restaurant, thanks to a concerned patron and some negotiating from PETA.

 

The City Crab and Seafood Restaurant had purchased the lobster, caught off Newfoundland, Canada, and had been displaying him as a mascot for about 10 days before his release. But at least one diner became concerned about the old lobster being confided in a tank and alerted PETA.

 

“We applaud the folks at City Crab and Seafood for their compassionate decision to allow this noble old-timer to live out his days in freedom and peace,” said Ingrid Newkirk, president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. “We hope that their kind gesture serves as an example that these intriguing animals don’t deserve to be confined to tiny tanks or boiled alive.”

 

On Saturday, PETA members drove George to Maine, where he was released near Kennebunkport, in an area where lobster trapping is forbidden.

 

To learn how to help liberate lobsters in your area, click here.

The animal rights group Igualdad Animal (“Animal Equality”) has revealed details of their December rescue of 31 rabbits from a farm in central Spain.

Eight activists took part in the raid, jumping over a fence and gaining access to the farm, which was also raising pigs. The activists — Sun, Edgar, Ivan Yahira Jose, Esther, Sharon and Eu — put the rabbits into large plastic containers and drove the liberated animals to a rural location not frequented by humans. There the activists had prepared three burrows with a large network of tunnels, which Igualdad Animal says the rabbits took to right away, “feeling for the first time the fresh grass of their new and safe surroundings.”

 

31rabbitsfreed_2Active in Spain, Peru and Venezuela, Igualdad Animal has carried out a number of open rescues in recent years, including six baby pigs in August 2007, four minks from a fur farm in July 2008 and 10 hens from an egg farm in December 2008.

A statement released by the organization reads: “We want to dedicate this new open rescue to all the non-human animals that we could not rescue this year and who have been victims of human habits and prejudices. They are the reason that leads us to work every day with greater dedication…. We also want to dedicate this new open rescue to all those who strive every day to help other animals without expecting anything but the satisfaction of knowing they have helped others who needed them.”

 

According to Igualdad Animal spokesperson Sharon Núñez, the organization “believes that all sentient beings deserve equal consideration, this meaning that all animals’ interests should be considered equally no matter an individual’s gender, age, species, degree of intelligence, etc.”

Igualdad Animal has pledged to rescue at least one animal a day in 2009, calling open rescues “an inextricable part of our identity.” In that spirit, the group has adopted a new slogan that reflects better that work for non-human animals: “Educate, Investigate & Liberate. They are, in our view, three types of activism closely interrelated and complementary: Education as a way of freeing animals through the change of social consciousness. Investigating as a way of helping society discover the reality of animal exploitation. And finally, Liberating, which is to implement our wishes and words to help those individuals who are enslaved and suffering at the moment.”

 

31rabbitsfreedAlthough I would have preferred to see these newly liberated rabbits placed in permanent homes with human guardians, at least they’re better off now than they were. With no experience in the wild, they will have to learn to survive on their own — foraging for food, dealing with inclement weather, coping with predators and insects, etc. — but they certainly face a brighter future than they did at the farm, where they were destined for a terrifying death and someone’s dinner plate.

To view some excellent photos of the rescue, click here.

A court in New Zealand has found Mark Eden, an activist with the animal rights group New Zealand Open Rescue, guilty of burglary after he rescued hens from a battery-egg operation. Mark and about 10 other activists raided Turk’s Poultry Farm in Foxton in November 2006, removed 20 hens and then found homes for the birds.

 

Mark, who represented himself during the three-day trial, told the court that the open rescue mission was a last resort after years of failed lobbying to ban battery farming. He showed the court video footage taken during the raid and argued it was the operators of battery farms who were breaking the law. He never disputed entering the sheds and claimed he was preventing a crime against the hens.

 

It took the jury less than 15 minutes to return a guilty verdict. The judge told Mark that no matter how sincere his intentions, he could not take the law into his own hands. He was sentenced to 150 hours’ community work and ordered to pay $180 compensation to Turk’s Poultry. Each of the chickens taken was worth $9 on the market.

 

Mark Eden’s jury trial is the first of its kind in New Zealand. He maintains that by removing battery hens from Turk’s farm, he was mitigating suffering, not stealing property. As the trial closed, open rescue supporters held a non-violent protest outside the District Court highlighting the plight of battery hens. Mark is the only activist to be convicted following an open rescue, of which at least 20 had been carried out since the one at Turk’s Poultry. In 2005, he was convicted and discharged after chaining himself to a bacon truck to protest against battery farming.

 

“Everyone is entitled to justice,” said Mark outside the court. “I’m entitled to justice, and those hens are entitled to justice. Battery farmers don’t want to have these cases come up all the time because it highlights the issue. If ever those people come to trial, the law as it stands says that you should not put hens in cages … unfortunately, I was on trial, not the battery farmers.” He said that at least the hens he helped rescue are happy, safe and will live long lives.

 

In 1994, the New Zealand government introduced citizen-initiated referendums, where a petition of 200,000 signatures required a review of any law. But a battery farming petition that attracted 360,000 signatures was deemed not valid and the referendum was never passed.

 

About 3 million layer hens are still in cages in New Zealand, despite overwhelming public opposition to battery farming and over 20 years of legal campaigning by animal rights activists. Caged hens cannot run, walk, perch or dust bathe, and their skin is abraded from rubbing against the sides of the cage. Hens suffer from lack of space, stressful social crowding and skeletal weakness. According to New Zealand Open Rescue, Parliament’s Regulations Review Committee found in 2006 that battery farming breaches the Animal Welfare Act, and only a special intervention by Minister of Agriculture Jim Anderton allows this cruel practice to continue.

Recently released from prison, animal rights activist Peter Young has offered $2,500 in legal aid to anyone who is arrested after the release of 6,000 mink from a ranch in Kaysville, Utah, on September 21.

 

“Raiding fur farms in the middle of the night is one of the most effective tactics we have against the undeniably cruel fur industry,” says Peter. “I hope these activists remain free to carry out other liberations, but if it proves necessary, I pledge $2,500 towards the legal fees of anyone arrested.”

 

Peter Young served two years in federal prison after being arrested in 2005 for his role in the release of 8,000 mink from six fur farms in South Dakota, Iowa and Wisconsin. On the first leg of this campaign, he cased several farms in Utah.

 

Commenting on the media coverage in the wake of the Kaysville release, Peter refutes fur industry claims the animals do not survive in the wild, will die of heat exposure and don’t travel long distances when released.

 

“Ranch-raised mink have been shown to thrive in the wild,” he says. “The industry is lying to the public to distract them from the inherent cruelty of the fur trade.”

 

Peter is no longer carrying out fur farm raids due to law enforcement surveillance after his release from prison. He has shifted his focus to voicing support for groups like the Animal Liberation Front that still work outside the law to rescue animals.

 

“The activists behind the Kaysville mink rescue are compassionate freedom fighters who risked their freedom to give animals theirs. This $2,500 is my gesture of support for those working outside the law to make this world a better place.”

 

Peter adds, “I am intending to make further offers like this in the future when there is a significant ALF action to stimulate media interest and hopefully get to talk about the plight of animals to a large audience.”


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