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Last two SHAC defendants sentenced; Rabbits released

Rabbit and rescuer

Rabbit and rescuer

The final two defendants in the SHAC 7 case were sentenced yesterday morning. Student organizer Darius Fulmer received a prison sentence of one year and one day. Andy Stepanian was sentenced to three years in prison. Like the other five defendants, the two activists will also have to pay into the $1 million “restitutions” due to animal abusers.

Bite Back magazine reports it received an anonymous communique that 23 rabbits were freed from Capralogics, a small animal testing facility in rural Massachussets. The communique reads:

This liberation is dedicated to the SHAC-7 and was done in direct response to the government’s assault on them. Not a single member of the judge, jury and prosecution have the compassion, the conviction, or the courage of any of those six individuals, and they never will.

8 Comments

  1. Comment by

    Moni Woweries

    on #

    Knowing Andy, it really hits home hearing that. I can’t even imagine what he, or any of them, is going through. I keep remembering what Coronado said in “Behind the Mask:” The chances of getting into a car accident are much higher than getting caught liberating animals. I don’t know if I ever had the courage to do anything like that, but I admire those who do, to say the least. My thoughts are with all of them.

  2. Comment by

    Noah

    on #

    In case anyone ever doubted that rescues like these are done to make humans feel feel better, this one proves that beyond a doubt — “I’m upset that my heros are going to prison, so I’m going to go rescue a handful of rabbits.”

    Like the communique said, “The endless anger we feel towards those who torture these creatures was replaced with the immediate joy of seeing them free, happy, and on their way to a new life.” A new life of being a pet — not actual freedom. The substituted one form of domination for another.

    Did they stop to consider the implications for the nonhuman animals? Whatever experiments were in progress on those rabbits will now have to be re-done on other rabbits, and not just on the rabbits rescued, but I’m sure all of the rabbits there will be killed since the data is tainted.

    Unless the actions are directed at eliminating the source of the problem, the cages are just going to be filled up again. This action did nothing to change people’s minds about animal rights or reduce the demand for animal testing. (And no, adding property destruction would not accomplish these things either.)

    I am disappointed that SuperVegan is promoting these actions.

  3. Comment by

    Olivia Lane

    on #

    Re: I am disappointed that SuperVegan is promoting these actions.

    Noah, I’m the author of the above piece. I thank you for taking the time to comment on my post. However, I would just like to point out that I neither endorsed nor condemmed the actions. I merely took the time to report the event since it is nows that would be of interest to the vegan community. It’s sort of my job. Anyway, I know you don’t know me well, but usually when I’m endorsing something the word “super(+ whatever adjective I’m feeling particularly fond of at the moment)” is stated. ;-) Hopefully you’ll keep reading and you’ll get to know me better soon!

  4. Comment by

    garyloewenthal

    on #

    I’d like to respond to one portion of Noah’s comments. He seems to equate a rabbit’s life in a testing animal and in a caring adoptive home. As a rabbit rescuer, I certainly hope he’s joking. Rabbits in labs are squashed into tiny, barren cages where they can barely hop, they’re subjected to painful, invasive experiments, and they’re killed. Rabbits in a supportive, accommodating home have plenty of space in which to run, two green salads every day, fresh timothy hay, toys, hiding places, boxes to explore, veterinary care, and lots of loving attention. They sometimes express their happiness by doing a “binky” – jumping for joy. They live ten years in this environment. Domesticated rabbits left outside to fend for themselves live two or three days.

  5. Comment by

    Noah

    on #

    Olivia, I don’t think reporting can ever be objective. The decision to report it all was the first choice. That was selective reporting. SuperVegan, thankfully, is not the like the self-appointed ALF press office website that reports on every action allegedly done in the name of the ALF. If people want to keep abreast of developments like these, they know were to look.

    The release was reported in conjunction with the SHAC sentencing. When you reported on that, you put the word “restitution” in quotes. Given that it is actually called restitution, you are expressing a political viewpoint here, namely, that the people harmed by SHAC’s actions do not deserve compensation because they somehow brought SHACs actions upon themselves. Then you called them animal “abusers”. This adopts the language and mindset presented by SHAC, namely that that “abuse” the problem — that people are punching puppies, and if only they would just be nicer to the animals, experimenting on them would be OK.

    You presented a positive account of SHAC followed by reporting on something done to honor SHAC. I am sorry if I misinterpreted how you meant the post, but the connection seemed pretty clear to me.

    So if this rabbit release thing is really news of interest to the vegan community, I urge you to make a new post following up with this news story.

    And here is a quote for the post: Friends of Animals’ legal director, Lee Hall, commented on the story saying,

    “Factually confusing so far, but regardless of the facts in the case, it follows the familiar rescue scenario of ALF, SHAC, and various militants. Activists claim horrible treatment (add gory photos); business asserts its interest in treating nonhuman property well; activists reply that the treatment is actually substandard and call for an investigation of compliance with the standards; nobody seriously questions the idea of human domination, if it?s questioned at all.

    And another thing: Rabbits or puppies are considered more photogenic and vulnerable (i.e. “cute”) than rats, so if possible, focus on them….”

    And Gary, I wasn’t equating the conditions. My point was, as I said, that one form of domination was substituted for another without the whole idea of domination ever being questioned. “Domesticated rabbits left outside to fend for themselves live two or three days.” That is an excellent reason to stop creating rabbits who can only exist under the control of humans, whether in labs or as pets.

  6. Comment by

    Olivia Lane

    on #

    I guess I have to work harder at seeming objective. Thanks for the follow-up Noah! Keep commenting on our posts. Thanks for posting too Gary!

  7. Comment by

    Olivia Lane

    on #

    Oh, Noah, the link didn’t work. Can you just email me the story or tell me what it is about and I’ll look up another article? olivia@supervegan.com. thanks.

  8. Comment by

    garyloewenthal

    on #

    Noah, I accept your clarification, as well as your bottom line. Don’t get me started on breeders.

    Having said that…

    The difference in quality of life for a rabbit dominated in a testing lab and a rabbit “dominated” in an adoptive loving home is so utterly huge in magnitude, I feel the two scenarios should not even share the same term. To say that we’re trading one form of domination for another does make it sound like the two options are morally and experientally equivalent. Not from the rabbit’s point of view I would argue. I truly don’t believe our house rabbit minds being “dominated.” I’m sure she doesn’t feel dominated. I may be biased, since I love this rabbit and would risk my life to save hers, but it seems absurd and a trifle insulting to call my wife’s and my relationship with her “dominating.” I’d prefer “caring,” since that is what we do, that is what we feel, and our actions are guided by compassion and respect. If anything, she dominates us. In fact, she actually does assume alpha behavior with my wife. Also, her expected ten-year lifespan is about eight more than that of a wild rabbit. Not too shabby.

    Now that that’s out of the way (I hope).

    Based on my incomplete knowledge of the liberation action in question, I would have to say that Lee Hall and you are correct that the central problem of domination was not addressed. Nonetheless, cruelty is in and of itself a transgression worth fighting and abolishing. I would argue that from the animal’s point of view, reducing suffering is the most urgent concern. As I pointed out previously, there are gradations of “domination” ranging from tyranny to a loving and respectful guardianship, and I doubt that animals who, from their point of view, have freedom to express all their normal behaviors, make decisions, and explore, and who enjoy companionship, exercise, mental stimulation, and satisfying food, are not too concerned with being “dominated.” Certainly nothing in our rabbit’s body language would indicate that she’s unhappy. I’m not saying the situation is perfect. I am saying that the problems with this form of so-called domination are trivial from the animals’ point of view compared with the awfulness and reprehensible wrongness of imposed suffering. So it makes sense to me that the latter transgression, which is most acute from the animals’ perspective, is the most urgent problem on which to focus, and to fix. If there were two product testing labs, and the first one tortured their animals and the second one didn’t, and we were going to liberate animals from one lab, all other things equal we would be compelled to liberate animals from the first lab.

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