Animal rights activists march in downtown L.A. Favorite 



Aug 24 2013


Los Angeles CA

Animal rights activists march in downtown L.A.

By Kelly Goff

Ann Bradley is a passionate vegan. The 60-year-old Silver Lake resident said she wasn’t always, though. “I ate it, I wore it, I sat on it, I went to circuses, the whole thing,” she said.

Twenty-four years ago she became a vegetarian, and six years ago, she abandoned all meat products after deciding that she couldn’t support the use of animals for testing, food or entertainment.

“I’ve spent my whole life fighting against racism, sexism, homophobia, but I was supporting animals being treated horribly,” she said. “Frankly, once I realized what was going on, I was embarrassed that I’d not done something sooner.”

Bradley was one of several dozen animal rights activists who marched through downtown Los Angeles on Saturday, from Pershing Square to Grand Park, in an effort to raise awareness of animal rights issues. Some of the group wore blindfolds, taking them off at several staging areas to symbolically demonstrate having their eyes opened to the pain they say animals endure in food production, entertainment and scientific testing.

A crowd eating at the Grand Central Market on Broadway was one staging area and some protesters talked directly to customers of the market’s food stalls, telling them from the sidewalk that they didn’t need to eat meat.

The event was planned to coincide with others in more than 33 cities, including San Diego and San Francisco, as part of an International March for Liberation.

At Grand Park, the group heard speeches from organizers, and later signed the Declaration of Animal Rights, a more than 50-foot-long scroll of paper created in 2011 by the Our Planet, Theirs Too Foundation. The New York-based group has sent the scroll around the country to events like Saturday’s gathering signatures at the bottom with the goal to eventually send it to the White House to demand legislation to protect animal rights.

Many of the group said they weren’t always vegan or interested in animal rights, but came to support the cause after learning about industrial farming practices, which often include animals in tightly confined spaces and poor conditions.

For Missy Freeland, it was the Joaquin Phoenix-narrated 2005 documentary “Earthlings” on animal production practices that spurred her to give up meat and animal products.

“I think if people knew what was going on, they wouldn’t eat meat either,” she said. “After I saw that, I went vegan. If it’s something you feel strongly about, it’s easy to do.”

Organizer Vida Jafari is a co-founder of Progress for Science, a group that protests the use of animals in laboratories at University of California, Los Angeles. She said there wasn’t any one group that put the Saturday event together, but instead activists from several organizations.

They promoted the protest through social media, and saw a good response, she said, adding that the animal rights efforts are growing.

“Once your eyes and your heart are open and you educate yourself, you can’t go back,” she said.

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