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Brave Birds and Turtles

BraveBirds Times Online
September 2006

Online newsletter of the Eastern Shore Sanctuary & Education Center

"A rat is a pig is a dog is a boy." So says PETA cofounder Ingrid Newkirk. Here at the Eastern Shore Sanctuary, we know that birds are turtles.

Chickens look so much like Archaeopteryx and Muscovy ducks look so much like reptiles that it's easy for us to see that birds, like turtles, are descended from dinosaurs. Meanwhile, turtles lay eggs and have beaks. As animals, birds and turtles share the capacity for feeling. Like everybody else, they hang onto life and pursue happiness. They maintain friendships and family ties within their own species and can even extend care and companionship to members of other species.

Unfortunately, they also share the same persecutors: People.

Earlier this week, sanctuary cofounder Miriam Jones was trying to save a turtle crossing a highway when a woman in an SUV swerved to deliberately run over the poor reptile, crushing the small animal under the huge tires of her gas-guzzling vehicle. The very next day, sanctuary cofounder pattrice jones found a freshly-killed turtle on a straight country road, blood still oozing through the cracks in her broken shell. Turtles walk slowly. They do not dart under the wheels of cars. Running over a turtle on that road could only have been an act of calculated cruelty.

A few years ago, we learned about a local annual turtle race to benefit a fire department. A news story about the race spoke jokingly of normally slow-moving turtles forced to move quickly by the burning sensation of being placed on hot asphalt. We immediately publicized the atrocity nationally while also demanding that local law official enforce the state laws that prohibit such deliberate infliction of pain on animals. In response to our request, people from all over the country wrote to local officials and the local newspaper, condemning the cruelty and vowing to withhold tourism from the region as long as it continued. Local law enforcement officers did contact the race organizers.

Unfortunately, the annual "Great American Turtle Race" continues. The organizers no longer capture large numbers of turtles to give to any person who shows up wanting to participate. They also instituted the practice of carpeting the track so that the turtles' feet would not be burned. Thus, fewer turtles are abused and they are not subjected to intense physical pain. But, still, the perverse and hurtful spectacle continues, as does the annual wild pony "round-up" to benefit another local fire department. Both are considered to be good, clean, family fun.

What does this have to do with chickens? Here on the Delmarva Peninsula, people kill and cut up more than a million birds every day. Even those who do not directly participate see the birds crowded into "chicken houses" and transport trucks every day. It's easy to see how they might become numb to animal suffering. But why would they go out of their way to hurt animals?

In his story "This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentleman," concentration camp survivor Tadeusz Borowski writes of prisoners who, assigned to shift incoming people from the transport trains to the trucks headed for the gas chambers, came to feel rage and scorn toward the people they were helping to kill. Perhaps this emotional dynamic helps to explain why chicken "growers," slaughterhouse workers, and others associated with the poultry industry seem to take pleasure in hurting turtles.

"The Turtle Talk" is Online

In response to several requests, we have posted the text of "The Turtle Talk" delivered by sanctuary cofounder pattrice jones at the Paths to Animal Liberation plenary session of AR2006 on our website.

The talk has nothing to do with turtles and everything to do with the most controversial tactics in our movement. Intrigued? Read it online or download the pdf:

While you're at it, have a look at our expanded archive of speeches and articles:

Also at AR2006, a groundbreaking meeting of gay/lesbian/bi/allied animal activists led to the creation of an online work group that probably will grow into an organization that will explore the connections between gay and animal liberation while also providing resources and support to LGBTQ activists who want to do vegan education or animal advocacy within their local LGBTQ communities. If you are interested in such projects but missed the meeting, reply to this message and pattrice will add you to the email work group.

Don't Hide in Your Shell!

Climate change is here. Already, animals are dying as the tides rise and the seasons shift. More and more human and nonhuman animals will suffer as the pollution created by people poisons and heats up the biosphere. What are you doing about it? If the answer is "no" or "I don't know," then visit our page on climate change and help us to turn down the heat!

Remember the Dancing Sea Turtles!

Do you remember the dancing sea turtles who helped to shut down the World Trade Organization meeting in Seattle in 1999? Okay, they were people in turtle costumes. But, still, they were there because trade globalization hurts animals by weakening environmental and animal welfare protections while also making it easier to buy, sell, and transport animals across borders.

Because of this, the Eastern Shore Sanctuary proudly participates in the Global Justice for Animals campaign. To learn more, visit:

Eastern Shore Sanctuary is also a partner in the Global Hunger Alliance coalition of organizations that oppose the globalization of factory farming while promoting plant-based solutions to the world hunger and water crises. To learn more, visit:

If your organization might like to become a partner in GHA, write to .

Sanctuary Update

We are busily getting ready for winter and also for the arrival of eight former roosters who were confiscated from cockfighters in Florida and are in need of rehabilitation. The birds have been tested and found free of disease, so they are cleared for travel to the sanctuary. But we still need to find drivers to bring them from Florida to Maryland. If you might be able to make part of that drive, write to us and we will forward your email to the person arranging the transportation.

Eastern Shore Sanctuary & Education Center
13981 Reading Ferry
Princess Anne, MD 21853 USA

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