London – Is it appropriate to compare perpetually chained performing bears to shackled human slaves? Or battery-caged hens to child sweatshop workers? Or painful procedures performed on unwilling human subjects to the experiments that torture and kill millions of animals in British laboratories? These are questions that PETA will pose as it launches its challenging new exhibit called the “Animal Liberation Project”. The launch of the Animal Liberation Project will coincide with the 200th anniversary of Parliament’s ban on the human slave trade and will take place in London on Thursday along the Thames, where more than 750,000 captured Africans were once traded on London vessels. Joining PETA at the launch will be celebrated novelist, playwright and actor Benjamin Zephaniah -the well-known social justice advocate:
Date: Thursday, 2 August
Time: 12 noon
Place: Lambeth Pier, Albert Embankment (opposite Lambeth Palace)
The exhibit illustrates that the “might makes right” mentality that was the foundation of human slavery, child labour and the denial of women’s equality is also responsible for factory farming, animal experimentation, cruelty to animals in circuses and other forms of abuse. The exhibit consists of eight large panels with photos showing the parallels between the oppression of humans and the exploitation of animals and focuses on how present and past societies strive to justify the abuse – regardless of the victims’ species. Africans captured and forced into slavery were often compared to animals in an effort to justify their treatment; they were even referred to as “beasts”.
“Because today’s victims of tyranny are unable to speak for themselves, it is up to people of principle to speak out for them,” says Zephaniah. “Animals’ lives are as important to them as ours are to us. We must stand up for them, as good people from other eras stood up and even risked their own lives in order to defend children from sweatshops and women’s right to vote and fought against massacres of entire groups of people and other acts of violence.”