Staff at Berkeley’s The Local Butcher Shop posted an unexpected 15x15 inch sign on their front window over the weekend, reading “Attention: Animals' lives are their right. Killing them is violent and unjust, no matter how it’s done.” The move was prompted by weekly demonstrations and negotiations with activists from the global grassroots animal rights network Direct Action Everywhere (DxE).For many, this might conjure images of shop owners in old Chicago paying "rent" to prevent their businesses from being busted up by Al Capone's mob -- or worse. But to the world's most rabid animal rights activists, it's Victory.
This is the first victory for DxE’s new Facing the Truth campaign, which targets the farm-to-table movement and labels such as “humanely-raised,” “grass-fed,” and “cage-free.”
“The idea behind the Facing the Truth campaign is to dispel the mythology behind meat,” DxE organizer Matt Johnson said. “There’s no way to produce meat without cruelty, and DxE’s investigations have repeatedly shown that even ‘humane’ farms are sickeningly violent.”
Animal rights activism has been increasingly visible with the Berkeley Animal Rights Center (ARC) opening last fall. Located at 2425 Channing Way, it’s the first community center for animal rights in the US. Activists say they want to fundamentally transform Berkeley, making it the most animal-friendly city in America and setting a model for the rest of the nation to follow. Their ultimate goal is "animal liberation"- an end to all animal use for food, clothing, entertainment, or any other reason.
"When Berkeley leads, the nation follows," says Paul Darwin Picklesimer, manager at the Berkeley ARC. "This is a special place with people who are committed to elevating the voices of the vulnerable. It's an ideal launching pad for bold, progressive, and compassionate ideas, including the idea that animals are not ours to use."
Butchers posting signs decrying the killing of animals. Only in the Bay Area. (And maybe Portland.)