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Activists discuss animal rights at CSULB

By Ron Bar-Zion
The Daily 49er
April 18, 2011

Animal rights activists met at Cal State Long Beach this weekend for a four-day conference promoting the ethical treatment of animals. Representatives from many animal rights groups gathered for lectures and exhibits to raise awareness about their cause. The Animal Liberation Forum included forums about veganism, the abuse of circus animals and the use of animals in science.
Nicoal Sheen is a CSULB alumna who now works for the North American Animal Liberation Press Office. Sheen said her job as a press officer is to justify the actions taken by organizations such as the Animal Liberation Front (ALF).
"We receive anonymous communications about underground actions that are happening for animals, whether it be animal liberation or economic sabotage," she said. "Anything ranging from arson to vandalism, and we contextualize these events historically as well as ideologically."

Sheen and her office also endorse the actions taken by ALF member Walter Bond, who was arrested on July 23, 2010, and pleaded guilty for setting fire to a sheepskin factory in Colorado. Top federal law enforcement officials have said that violent animal rights groups like the ALF pose one of the most serious terrorism threats to the nation, CNN reports.

Sheen went on to specify some of the actions taken by the ALF that have provoked some controversy. "[It can include] simple vandalism like spray paint or throwing buckets of paint on an exploiter or animal abusers business or maybe their home, or their car," Sheen said.

One guest speaker at the forum named Carol Glasser is currently finishing her Ph.D. in sociology at the University of California in Irvine. Glasser is also a research director for the Humane Research Council, where she conducts social and behavioral research.

In a statement, Glasser explained why she feels events like the forums at CSULB are important. "I think that in a social movement these events are people thinking about the topic speaking to each other about the topic, letting activist, intellectuals, and academics, researchers to all talk about the topic," she said.

Animal rights activist Dava Jean came from Portland to take part in the forum. The veterinary technician and event organizer for the Animal Defense League explained why animal rights is an important cause.

"I don't feel that it will ever be finished until there is a global animal rights movement to where there is no more suffering as far as animals go," Jean said.

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