Review and Highlights of the 2016 Animal Rights National Conference

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To start the show, we talk about a Fundrazr campaign by author Jon Hochschartner, who is writing a biography of Josh Harper, one of the SHAC 7 who served time in prison for his animal activism in the Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty campaign.

Then, Alison is back from her 11 day trip to Los Angeles, where she went to attend the 2016 Animal Rights National Conference, plus to spend some extra vegan vacation time with her sister. She shares some of her top vegan food finds this time around in Los Angeles, plus chats about her visit to Farm Sanctuary just outside of L.A.

Review of AR 2016, plus Los Angeles’ First Pig Save Vigil

Alison and Keegun Kuhn, filmmaker of "Cowspiracy", at the AR Conference.

Alison and Keegun Kuhn, filmmaker of “Cowspiracy”, at the AR Conference.

With guest co-host Denise, we share our impressions of this year’s Animal Rights National Conference, hosted by FARM (Farm Animal Rights Movement) from July 7th to 11th in Los Angeles, CA, and featuring a record-breaking 1700+ attendees and over 100 speakers representing almost every viewpoint of the animal rights movement. We share some of our personal highlights from this year’s event, and speak about the value and memories we took with us to add to our knowledge, networking contacts and activism in the future.

If you want to know more about the program format and events, you can also listen to a preview of AR 2016 that we did with FARM program organizer Michael Webermann last month on the show here.

There are often post-conference demonstrations held the day after the conference ends, and this year was no exception. In addition to a DxE disruption that was held on the afternoon after the conference, in the morning, the organization Toronto Pig Save held the very first vigil ever at the Farmer John pig slaughterhouse in Los Angeles (Vernon). About 100 activists (including Alison and her sister) came out to bear witness to the poor sentient souls who were to be transported by trucks into the facility to meet their gruesome deaths.

Strangely juxtaposed by happy-looking pigs on farms painted on murals on the walls of the slaughterhouse building, the stench of death lingered in the air as animal advocates gathered for the pigs. Inspired by this organized demonstration, activists in L.A. have now just started a Los Angeles Pig Save chapter, and plan to hold monthly pig vigils to bear witness.

Earthlings” and “Unity” filmmaker Shaun Monson was one of the activists in attendance, and here he talks about why he is attending the pig vigil, plus announces a 10-part documentary series based on “Earthlings” that he is planning to make:

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A Few Highlights at AR: Philosopher Lisa Kemmerer, and Beagle Freedom Project and SHAC 7 Kevin Kjonaas


Lisa Kemmerer & Kevin Kjonaas

Lisa Kemmerer & Kevin Kjonaas

With over 100 presenters at this year’s Animal Rights National Conference, there were too many memorable talks to speak of, but here we bring to you just a few audio highlights of the 4 day event!

To start, we play clip of animal rights philosopher Lisa Kemmerer’s talk at the Thursday evening plenary session, in which she makes an engaging Case for Animal Rights by telling a (fictional but very plausible) story of a conversation with a non-AR friend. In this clip, she speaks about utilitarian ethics (the famous quote “The question is not can they reason, can they talk, but can they suffer?”), the system of oppression that lies behind all oppressions, social contract theory, and the non-existence of “animal terrorists”.

Another incredibly inspiring talk was given by former SHAC 7 member and now Vice-President of the Beagle Freedom Project Kevin Kjonaas, entitled “A Call for Action”, and that’s exactly what it was. In the audio clip that we present, he speaks about how his 5 year imprisonment pales in comparison to the animal victims held captive at the hands of humans. He tells us about his beagle dog Junior who was rescued from a research laboratory, and he urges us to take action for what he calls “the greatest struggle in society” – to fight for the animals.

Check out this wonderful video from World of Vegan that gives a great visual picture of what the conference was about!

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