Hundreds march for right of animals to live with ‘decency and kindness’
[Sept 26, 2021: Lola Proctor]
Hundreds of animal rights protesters marched in San Francisco Saturday afternoon. (CREDIT: Lola Proctor)
Hundreds of animal rights protesters marched in San Francisco Saturday afternoon to demand the end of factory farming, chanting, “Humane slaughter is a lie! Animals do not want to die!”
“We believe in a world where every animal, every human being is treated with decency and kindness,” Wayne Hsiung, founder of animal rights group Direct Action Everywhere, told a crowd in Dolores Park.
The protest aimed to raise awareness for animal rights, recruit more people to join the effort, and push for an animal bill of rights called Rose’s Law, which would grant animals the right to be free, to not be exploited, abused, or killed by humans, and to have their interests represented in court.
The march was part of the weeklong Animal Liberation Conference, which kicked off Friday in Richmond and will continue with workshops, lectures and trainings at the California Ballroom in Oakland. The conference is meant to inspire people to take action against the factory farming industry.
“Everything could stay the same, or we could leave our comfort zones behind and do everything we can to change it,” said 19-year-old Zoe Rosenberg, who rescued the hen that Rose’s Law is named after from a poultry farm in 2018. “The choice is yours, but I, for one, hope that we will all come together and fight until every animal is safe and happy and free.”
Oakland councilmember Carroll Fife addresses the Animal Liberation Conference at the California Ballroom in Oakland. (CREDIT: Lola Proctor)
A motorcycle group called Cage Free Vegans led the mile-and-a-half march, which started at Dolores Park with a “die-in” outside of Whole Foods and ended at San Francisco City Hall. As marchers filled the streets, cars honked either in support or in frustration.
“I wanted to be with people who also care about veganism for health, for the planet, for the animals, for whatever reason,” said Hannah Riddle, who was attending her first demonstration. She said she hoped the march would spur people to talk about animals’ rights.
Before the march, Chelsea Manning delivered the keynote speech remotely, in a livestream at the California Ballroom. Manning, who served seven years of a 35-year prison term for leaking classified information about the U.S. military, couldn’t appear in person because she recently was diagnosed with COVID-19. Oakland city councilmember Carroll Fife also addressed an audience in the ballroom. Both spoke generally of their experiences as activists.
Manning said her anti-secrecy activism started when she realized she could not let the truth be buried. “I have to do something,” she thought. “I cannot be a bystander.”
Fife noted that her activism has focused on clean air, clean water and fair and affordable housing. She said every living being “should have the right to live and to thrive and to be exactly what they were created to be.”
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