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United Animal Advocates of LA Message Board › Reflections on the Protest at UCLA today

Reflections on the Protest at UCLA today

user 2653482
Group Organizer
Santa Monica, CA
Hello everyone,

Happy Valentine's Day to you all. :)

I wanted to provide a synopsis of today's protest because it contains important lessons for activists. Today I attended the protest at UCLA voicing opposition to the primate experimentation that goes on there. There were several people from this meetup group there, carrying signs with creative, clear messages to raise awareness about the plight of these primates. My sign read: "Take it from a veterinarian. Have a heart for primates at U.C.L.A. They want to be free just like you and me." The Barbi twins were also there with their signs and a group of more militant activists carried signs of their own and wore costumes with fake blood-stained lab coats, skull masks, and a loud bullhorn to broadcast their chants. Numerous media people were there taking pictures and interviewing some of us.

About 30 minutes into the protest, which started out peacefully, the militant ones in the crowd began marching towards the Chancellor's office chanting slogans like "Hey UCLA, how many animals did you kill today?" which then degenerated into a menacing, threatening-sounding "We know where you sleep at night" chant addressed to researchers involved in primate experimentation at UCLA. At this point, I stepped back, distancing myself from the crowd of unruly protesters, and chose to peacefully display my sign and politely offer passersby literature and engage them in civil discussion as appropriate. Several others from this meetup group chose to do the same, and found they were much more approachable from the public's perspective compared to their shouting, menacing counterparts. The shouting and angry slogans got out of control to the point that certain individuals started disruptively banging on things and even violently fist-fighting with police officers! Unfortunately, many people passing by at that point did not even understand the purpose of the protest but just saw a bunch of aggressive, unruly protesters perfectly fitting the standard stereotype of animal rights activists as crazy, judgemental, angry misanthropes. This stereotype is very damaging to the very animals we are professing to help, because it undermines our image as animal rights activists and alienates people, making it harder to get our message out to the masses.

While I feel sad and disappointed that many activists are not mindful enough of their behavior's impact on the way animals are treated in our society, I am also glad there are many activists out there who are mindful of the importance of how they conduct themselves with respect to successfully achieving animal liberation. During the protest, several activists walked up to me and voiced their displeasure at the raucous, aggressive rantings of fellow protestors and their dismay at the effects they were having on passersby. These individuals were relieved that I and a few others were displaying the message of compassion for primates in a more constructive fashion, thereby eliciting more positive responses. I am also glad that our group is cohesive in our collective intent to advocate for animals in the most constructive and positive way possible, which will in turn yield positive results. I am hopeful that we can set a positive example to help other activists in this journey.

There is an excellent article on "Anger, Humor, and Advocacy" written by Matt Ball of Vegan Outreach that is a useful read and very relevant to this discussion:


Also, if you have not already done so, please watch "The Secret," which informs of the powerful Law of Attraction. This law can be used to our advantage, and to the animals' advantage! But we must understand it first!!! You can order it online and watch the trailer from http://www.thesecret....­. You may also find it for free on You tube.

Please feel free to offer your thoughts and insightful suggestions pertaining to this matter, either by posting to the message board or at our next meetup (Sat. Feb. 17th). If you haven't yet RSVPed, please do so (see link below). Also, please let me know if you'll be joining me for the leafletting portion of the evening (~ 5 pm ish at Third and Broadway on the Santa Monica Third Street Promenade).


On a positive note, from speaking to Desiree of this group, the anti-fur demo on Tues. at the Chinese consulate went well and remained peaceful. Kudos to all in attendance and for keeping the peaceful vibe going!! :)

Best Regards,

David R.
user 3331702
Manhattan Beach, CA
Post #: 1
Thanks Armaiti for your message. I was at the full protest and did not see any fisticuffs with anyone, certainly not the police, so I think you were mistaken there (and with no one arrested, most definitely mistaken).

As for strategy and tactics, I think that it depends on the campaign, where it takes place, who is involved, and how far along the particular campaign is in its progress towards animal liberation. I offer the following counter argument merely to provide more thought on the subject, not to advocate for it.

Many say that because people who are involved in vivisection are going to dismiss any nicely delivered argument and keep right on going with their foul deeds, it is necessary to instead pummel them with verbal attacks in an effort to have them actually take notice. It comes down to being in the "attention getting" stage of a campaign and getting the attention of the vivisectors. This is best done, so the argument goes, by being loud, in your face, and ugly if necessary. People will not be changed, but instead of ignoring the protesters, will wonder if maybe, given the extent of the hatred of them and what they are doing, there is some truth to the protesters' words. They will come to possibly fear letting other people know what they do since they too could have such great animosity towards them. This will cause them to start to take notice of what is being said.

In later stages of campaigns, known as the "dialogue stage," we have the attention and now want to focus on delivering the message in a way that people will embrace it.

This is a short version of a better more full answer, but offers a glimpse of a counter view to Armaiti's view. As a legal observer and as this is a public message board, I do not necessarily ascribe to either view. I offer it only as a discussion.
user 2653482
Group Organizer
Santa Monica, CA
Post #: 27
Dear folks,

I just received an email saying one of the members of our
meetup group left the group. Here's the reason given:

I work at UCLA in the Chancellor's Office. And I can tell you
that today's demostration frightened the people in my office.
There's very little to be accomplished by targeting
individuals, threatening administrators, and posting
photographs of people on websites. I really think the animal
rights movement needs to rethink its tactics. After all, people
are also animals. If we can't treat each other with respect,
how can we ask other to treat animals with respect?


I believe the above speaks for itself. This is very unfortunate.
Please, let us learn a lesson from this. We can't afford to alienate
more people. More precisely, the animals cannot afford it!
I know no one from this group was guilty of the threatening
tactics used at the protest today, but we need to pay attention
to this and inform others. I strongly disagree that fear-driven tactics
are ultimately worthwhile. In fact, I believe they are counter-productive.

Thanks for reading.

David R.
user 3331702
Manhattan Beach, CA
Post #: 2
"Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will" Frederick Douglass
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