AnimaList No. 8

“All of you should be ashamed of the means you use. To compare animals and those torturers in death camps is completely unacceptable. You should all be locked away, you and those crazy Americans who created this perversity, and punished for insulting the torturers of World War II”.

We received this letter via e-mail on Wednesday, March 24, 9 hours and 50 minutes after the first real animal rights action in Croatia ended. Although we have information on the author of this letter, we don’t want to reveal it because we respect everyone’s freedom of speech, but we are also aware that not everyone understood what was the heart of this action because of the lack of information or lack of interest to get informed. We would like that the author of this letter shows same quantity of tolerance and understanding for the animals too, but looks like that he’ll have to give it some thought.

Holocaust on your plate in Zagreb!

It may seem unusual to you that in this issue of newsletter we’ll report on our actions in a retrograde way. We decided to do so because it fits in the current climate of opinion in our city for past few days, regarding PETA’s exhibit Holocaust on your plate held in Zagreb.

This controversial campaign which raised all kinds of reactions around the world (in our country as well, what we already mentioned in the preamble) is already well known to some of you. So we won’t describe panels that were set on the main Zagreb’s square for five hours and raised interest and mostly approvals of passers-by on that cold, rainy and windy Wednesday when our activists, together with their American colleagues, handed out 1,600 leaflets. However, you didn’t have the opportunity to hear from us, as co-organizor of the display, Animal Friends Croatia’s official reaction, called Ignoring the Reality, on the media reports that appeared when Matt Prescott, his colleague Olivia, and controversial display went on to Vienna. We would like to use this opportunity to make our voice heard and to present you reasons for accepting the organization of the mentioned display in Croatia. Ones who will still be skeptic after reading following shortened press release, we recommend to visit Maybe it’ll open their eyes.

Animal Friends Croatia organization is disappointed with the great number of accusations and assaults in Croatian media on the account of the project “Holocaust on your plate”. Last year the display toured the USA, and its projection in Zagreb is part of PETA’s European tour in 11 cities, up to April 8.

First who noticed the similarity between techniques of mass slaughter used on people during Holocaust and ones nowadays used on animals, were Jewish intellectuals, such as Nobel Prize winner Isaac Bashevis Singer (“In relation to them (animals), all people are Nazis; for the animals it is an eternal Treblinka.”) and philosopher Theodor Adorn (“Auschwitz begins whenever someone looks at a slaughterhouse and thinks: they’re only animals”).

The purpose of the project isn’t to disregard, trivialize or minimize the horrors Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals and other victims of Nazism have been through, but to point out the trivialization of animal slaughter. We want to stimulate people to realize that victimization of torturers of Nazism parallels the way that modern society abuses and justifies the slaughter of animals. The display wants to emphasize that industrialized mass killing of the innocent hadn’t stopped with Holocaust of people during World War II, but continues in systematic serial exploitation and slaughter of animals.

Animal Friends Croatia and similar organizations can’t stay uninterested and simply ignore suffering that the animals go through on factory farms. The intensity of the suffering, cruelty of treatment and methods applied during mechanized and routine procedures of raising and slaughter of animals, show undeniable analogy with Nazi death camps. Just as the Nazis tried to “dehumanize” Jews by forcing them to live in filthy, crowded conditions, tearing children away from their mothers, and killing them in assembly-line fashion, animals on today’s factory farms are stripped of all that is enjoyable and natural to them and treated as nothing more than meat-, egg-, and milk-making “machines.”

The display wants to show that killers have similar ways of thinking and use similar methods, regardless of human or non-human victims. Victims aren’t being equalized, but the same type of crime is being put in the spotlight. The display intends to teach us a lesson from Holocaust and make us widen the circle of compassion and apply moral principles on other species too. According to Matt Prescott, campaign coordinator, whose family members were killed by Nazis, the very same mindset that made the Holocaust possible – that we can do anything we want to those we decide are ‘different’ or ‘inferior’ – is what allows us to commit atrocities against animals every single day.

The goal of this display isn’t to emphasize the status of one kind of victims over others, but to demonstrate that all form of abuse must be abolished. What should really offend all who view the exhibit is the callous indifference to billions of animals’ torment and slaughter each year. Just like people, animals also yearn for freedom, want to live their lives in their own ways, they suffer, feel fear and the loss of dignity. The exhibit warns against ignoring of everyday animal suffering that can be stopped only by switching to vegan diet.

Meatout Day marked all over country

This year again, Croatia was on the list of countries that organized Meatout Day! Throughout the country, on Saturday, March 20 at 11 a.m., our activists simultaneously marked this important day. Meatout Day is being organized by American organization FARM USA since 1985. There were samples of vegan food that were literally snapped up, and we handed out thousands of leaflets to our fellow townsmen. Congratulations to all our chapters that managed to organize that amazing action in spite of bad weather.

With the book against the slaughter!

On the addresses of Canadian Government and influential Canadian media, protest letters against the slaughter of 350,000 harp seal pups, which are supposed to be killed this spring for commercial purposes, are arriving. Animal Friends Croatia sent 11 protest letters to Canadian Embassy in Zagreb and to representatives of government and media in Canada, and gave a presentation of a book. It’s a bit unusual, but the coming out of a second edition of Bernard Jan’s short novel Look For Me Under the Rainbow took place on March 15, 2004. – International Day of Protest Against Canadian Seal Hunt! During the presentation, which took place in on of the most eminent libraries in Zagreb, the author himself condemned the slaughter that was about to happen in days to come. The second, expanded edition of the novel, is published by Genesis.

This beautiful and disturbing story takes place in pure and virgin landscape of Newfoundland. Bernard Jan uses an intelligent and professionally unusual angle of writing to present an everlasting theme of a conflict between man and nature. Look For Me Under the Rainbow, in a subtle way, raises awareness of an extremely worrying relationship between man and environment. Interesting story, important ecological message given through a work of Greenpeace and poetical narration present Bernard Jan as a perspective writer who doesn’t shun to strongly criticize the modern times when true values are rapidly fading away. Excerpts from the book can be found on the web site, but the whole book at the moment is available only in Croatian.

Even pigs starve, don’t they?

Last month, organization Zivot (Life), from Slavonia, reported on deliberate starving to death of 1,000 pigs on the farms of Milan Culibrk from Nasice. The witness who visited farm described horrid scenes of skinny pigs that were starved for weeks, dying of starvation and thirst. Ones who were still alive ate other that were dead or dying. Owner of the farm denied access to interested citizens and local reporters, so Animal Friends Croatia contacted the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and asked for immediate intervention of veterinary inspection. The report we received from the Ministry confirmed that veterinary inspection proved the fact that pigs were starving, but in the meantime the owner of the farm started to feed them again so his farms are going to be under close surveillance. The animal Holocaust is one more time minimized with bureaucratic vocabulary and locked behind the farm walls. Animal Friends Croatia asked the Criminal Court in Orahovica to inform us of the results of several cases against Milan Culibrk for breaking Veterinary Act and Animal Welfare Act, so we could inform the public and take further actions regarding this case.

A little bit of everything

πŸ™‚ Far from the public eye, Animal Friends Croatia in cooperation with PETA (UK) do “silent” campaign concerning a chain of stores Mango. Trend of Mango, that owns over 600 stores worldwide, is to stop the selling of fur garments, so AFC, on PETA’s suggestion, contacted three Mango stores in Croatia with some promising signs.

πŸ™‚ Our activist and artist, Robert Franciszty took part in International Festival of Live Arts, held in Glasgow (Scotland) between February 16 and March 21, with his performance “Laj/KA/O Lika: sky-earth.” Wordplay (Lajka kao Lika (Lajka like Lika) and Laj kao Lika (Bark like Lika), relates Lajka, victim of space, with Lika, dog that was dumped in a pit in Lika where he lived for a year when Animal Friends Croatia saved him and found him a home.

πŸ™‚ Our activists, in cooperation with a Liberal party, presented to public proposal of a new Animal Welfare Act for the first time. The proposal was made by Animal Friends Croatia organization and is modeled on existing laws of Western countries, especially the European Union, Sweden and Germany. It’s a modern bill that will show whether the Croatian politics is ready to join the EU political scene.

πŸ™ The life in the river Drava that runs through Croatia is under threat. The protection of the river Drava was WWF’s biggest campaign in March, so those who want to learn more about this ecological catastrophe can visit, where they can sign a petition for protection of this beautiful, pristine river.

πŸ™‚ The most of the news in this issue are the good ones, so we would like to add one more. We are thrilled to inform you that Neva, Croatian cosmetics company, doesn’t test its products on animals any more and it completely banned that practice! Therefore we welcome Neva on our “white list”!

πŸ™‚ A new website has been launched in the fight against live animal exports from Australia. Please visit the link and help Australian sheep!

Everything mentioned in this issue shows a growing awareness of animal suffering and shows that there still is hope for people and for animals we share good and bad with. To be more efficient in making changes, and believe us, there are changes going on, we would like you to help us. Our activities of educating public make costs that our organization often isn’t able to cover. This is why we are asking you for a donation according to your wishes and possibilities so that our fight for our fellow creatures wouldn’t end before it actually started.

For the animals – thank you!

We have been at war with the other creatures of this earth ever since the first human hunter set forth with spear into the primeval forest. Human imperialism has everywhere enslaved, oppressed, murdered, and mutilated the animal peoples. All around us lie the slave camps we have built for our fellow creatures, factory farms and vivisection laboratories, Dachaus and Buchenwalds for the conquered species. We slaughter animals for our food, force them to perform silly tricks for our delectation, gun them down and stick hooks in them in the name of sport. We have torn up the wild places where once they made their homes. Speciesism is more deeply entrenched within us even than sexism, and that is deep enough.Β – Ron Lee, founder of the Animal Liberation Front