WAN Covers The Official Animal Rights March In Los Angeles; Exclusive Interviews & Photos!
This year’s Official Animal Rights March kicked off on Saturday in numerous cities around the world, including London, where an estimated 10,000 people took to the streets to advocate and educate about the welfare of all animals.
“An estimated 10,000 of us. 10,000 vegans from just 2,500 two years ago,” UK animal rights organization Surge, which launched the Official Animal Rights March in London in 2016, posted on its Facebook page. “We hope you’re feeling inspired, optimistic and empowered, one of the main goals of this march is to inspire vegans to speak up every day against animal oppression and become active.”
WAN covered the Official Animal Rights March in Los Angeles where attendance grew from an estimated 500-800 participants last year, to more than 1,000 in a powerful show of support, comradery, and compassion.
“The purpose of the march is to bring awareness and compassion to all beings,” explained Mar Lene, one of the event organizers and a member of Liberation Los Angeles. “We believe all animals deserve rights and this event allows us to bring everyone together to spread this message in a loving way. We are the animals’ allies.”
Another goal of the event, as per Mar Lene, is to spread awareness about veganism, to urge other vegans to become active and to inspire non-vegans to transition to a plant-based lifestyle.
Those Annoying Vegans, an online YouTube show founded by Brian and Ana, told WAN that they were also on hand to help spread the tremendous benefits of veganism which they promote on their YouTube channel and social media platforms.
The crowd spread powerful messages of compassion; many holding an assortment of signs such as: “Justice Knows No Species,” “Captivity Kills,” “Cruelty Is Not Entertainment,” “There’s No Excuse For Animal Abuse,” “Plant Protein,” and “Peace Begins On Your Plate!”
While the focus was on farm animals, the need to protect all animals was prevalent. Ending the cruel practices of innocent animals being savagely murdered for the dog meat trade and hunting animals for “trophies”, as well as ending animal testing, were among the many important issues addressed by the participants.
“Though we are an organization devoted to Billy and his release from captivity at the Los Angeles Zoo, today, we are here to support all animal rights.” Said Kiersten Cluster, founder of Los Angeles Guardians of Elephants, who brought a Free Billy team of advocates to the peaceful demonstration.”
Sadly, the Los Angeles march was also a time for people to recognize and mourn the tragic passing last week of admired animal advocate and vegan, Matt Phelps.
“A part of the tragedy of being here is usually only the animals and how many billions are killed each day, but today, we lost one of our own,” Simone Reyes shared with WAN. “So many people from the animal rights community came out to pay respect. Matt was a visionary. He was from the future, like so many vegans.”
Reyes, who serves as Vice President of Social Compassion In Legislation, also explained that while she may focus on legislation and others are committed to rescuing animals, it is imperative that everyone, regardless of what they advocate for, unite at important events such as this.
“We have to hit the animal abusers on every single level. Gathering in public and marching is a part of every social justice movement,” continued Reyes. “It is important to march. People must be loud and proud about their beliefs. We are not alone, and we are here to let the animals know they are not alone either.”
While 19 of the 25 participating cities around the world held their marches this past weekend, five more are set to take place on September 1st in New York City; Portland, Oregon; San Diego, California; Columbus, Ohio; and Copenhagen, Denmark. An Official Animal Rights March is also planned for Athens, Greece, on October 6th.