Bob Linden and Jason Del Gandio
Listen at 4pm ET by going to PRN, The Progressive Radio Network.
Part I: Bob Linden, Go Vegan Radio
Vegan for 30 years, BOB LINDEN is the host and producer of the weekly 2-hour nationally-syndicated non-profit program GO VEGAN RADIO WITH BOB LINDEN (www.GoVeganRadio.com), previously broadcast on the Air America radio network and CBS and Clear Channel radio stations. His weekly vegan animal liberation commentary has been heard on KPFA, the San Francisco Bay Area Pacifica radio station. Bob emcees the World Veg Fest annually in Golden Gate Park in October and was the original organizer of WorldFest, a vegan festival in LA. He is currently organizing the World Vegan Summit and Expo in March in the Los Angeles area (www.WorldVeganSummit.com). Bob was Program Director and on-air host at various music radio stations around the country including CD-101 New York, Jazzy 100 Washington DC, KIFM San Diego, KNUA Seattle, LOVE 94 Miami, Z-92 Omaha, KXFM Santa Maria, and elsewhere. Bob’s peace activism, which continues to this day, began with protesting the Vietnam war when he was a student at Stuyvesant High School in NYC. He is a graduate of Queens College of the City University of New York.
Part II: Jason Del Gandio, The Terrorization of Dissent
Jason Del Gandio is a writer, speaker, thinker, and activist dedicated to social justice. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Rhetoric and Public Advocacy at Temple University in Philadelphia. His areas of scholarly expertise are in the philosophy of communication, social and political theory, rhetoric, and critical analysis with a focus on social movements and radical social change. Jason has appeared on television and radio, and regularly speaks on college campuses and at public venues. Jason has written on such topics as autonomy, immaterial labor, corporate control, the rhetoric of Barack Obama, performance art, the Occupy Movement, the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, and the relationship between neoliberalism and the university. His writings have appeared in CounterPunch, Truthout.org, Radical Philosophy Review, PhaenEx, Dissident Voice, and the Journal of Aesthetics and Protest.
TRANSCRIPTION PART I:
Caryn Hartglass: Hello everybody! I’m Caryn Hartglass, you’re listening to It’s All About Food, and here we are July 29, 2014. How are you today? Well, so much is going on. I was at the Head and Neck Cancer Congress on Sunday. Right, what was a lone vegan doing at the Head and Neck Cancer opening ceremony? It was kind of an incredible event. I have all kinds of good and bad feelings about it, and I wrote an article about it which you could read at my website, ResponsibleEatingAndLiving.com called A Visit to the Head and Neck Cancer Congress. I was invited. It was the 100th anniversary of the memorial [1:11] center, opening their Head and Neck Cancer center. I don’t know if you know anything about Head and Neck cancer, but some of them can be horrible and the treatments are horrible. I kept questioning myself as I saw this opulent parade of Nations during the opening ceremony. This lovely flute and harp concert, and all these wonderful thing going on. I kept asking myself, “What are we celebrating?” Of course, my favorite part was the reception when people went to get their little snacks and look at the exhibiting vendors and equipment sales people. You know what was served. No anti-cancer super foods. No, no, no, no, no. All those cancer promoting foods like processed white flour foods, bagels, cream cheese, all the doctor’s favorites. I’m going to talk more about this later, but I just wanted to direct you to that article that I wrote at my website. Let’s more onto my first guest who is going to be really fun! Bob Linden. The vegan for 30 years, he is the host and producer of The Weekly, 2 hour nationally syndicated non-profit program, Go Vegan Radio with Bob Linden, which you can find in GoVeganRadio.com. Previously broadcasted in the air, American Radio Network, CBS, and clear channel Radio station. Animal Liberation Commentary has been heard on KPFA the San Francisco area, Pacific radio station. Bob MC’s the world veg fest annually in Golden Gate Park in October. He was the original organizer of World Fest: A Vegan Festival in Los Angeles. He is currently organizing the world vegan summit and expo in March, in the Los Angeles area. You could find out more on WorldVeganSummit.com, and so much more. Bob, how are you doing?
Bob Linden: Thank you Caryn! I think I need a nap listening to how much I’m doing. Oh really!
Caryn Hartglass: Oh God!
Bob Linden: I don’t need a nap, I’m full of vegan energy!
Caryn Hartglass: I hear you! It doesn’t matter how good, how well we eat. We need to sleep. And there’s so much work to be done.
Bob Linden: Right. As a vegan, I can sleep at night, knowing that I’m not participating in the violence and killing of so many animals, so I sleep fine. I have the energy to do all that needs to be done now, really. I’m trying to help the world go vegan and I’m happy to represent the most responsible eating and living possible.
Caryn Hartglass: Woo-hoo! Amen to that. Well, you know some of us activist, don’t do as well sleeping at night because we think about all of the horrible things that are going on. It makes it tough.
Bob Linden: It does. It does. I mean that is true, but once we awaken to it we have our cause, and our mission. I think what we have to do to help the animals and help people with their health, there you are at Sloan Kettering. And the number one carcinogen that they are exposed to, are the dairy protein.
Caryn Hartglass: That’s right.
Bob Linden: You have cream cheese being served.
Caryn Hartglass: Front and center, yeah.
Bob Linden: Yeah, so we’re helping the animals. We’re helping people, even the environment. If everybody, if climate change has its way, nothing will matter. We’ll all be extinct, you know? According to World Watch Institute Climate specialists, animal agriculture our appetite for meat, dairy, fish, and eggs, is causing at least 51% of all green house emissions.
Caryn Hartglass: You know, I’m glad you brought that up. Let’s talk about that shall we? I love the World Watch Institute. They have come out with some really great articles. They’re not as vegan promoting as I’d like them to be, but they did support Robert Goodland and Jeff Anhang’s articles, and the one that came out where they compared the data that was interpreted in the Food and Agriculture Organization’s report in 2006, which said 18% of reducing global warming was caused by animal agriculture.
Bob Linden: Which was amazing in itself because that represents a figure, more than all transportation combined, cars, boats, planes.
Caryn Hartglass: It was amazing and it put it on the map and people started to talk about it. That was great. I don’t always stick to numbers. I love numbers. I’m a total data person, but when I dug into global warming potential and understanding all of this stuff. There’s a lot of numbers that are estimates. They’re good estimates, but they’re estimates. So none of these numbers are really exact.
Bob Linden: Mmm-hmm. Right, of course. Nothing would be exact. Let’s look at the UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s report. First we must realize that the FAO is a pro-meat organization. If you look, people can Google, Life Stock and Climate Change for the Goodland and Anhang’s analysis of that. You’ll see how smog that UN report is. They are working off of estimates of numbers of animals being produced, that are really questionable. They leave out so much information. They quote figures from the 1960’s, they use Minnesota, as the great example of farming so that farming around the world looks more efficient. If you analyze, they left out respiration. They didn’t think about animals breathing.
Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, and they were also inconsistent. They would do certain numbers in one formula and then use different numbers from a different time period. A lot of inconsistency. You know, this is a mammoth problem and it’s very hard for us simple humans to really get hold of and to calculate numbers. It’s just crazy.
Bob Linden: Basically, if you look at it, everything that people do combined doesn’t equal the responsibility of animal agriculture’s role in climate change.
Caryn Hartglass: Pretty much.
Bob Linden: If climate specialists, and nobody at the UN was a climate specialist. I mean we have World Bank, climate specialist, we’re estimating at least 51 percent of all human countries having gas omissions on animal agriculture. I’m with them on that. They’ve given me some of the best environmental ammunition that I have in trying to convince people to go vegan, and that is my cause. I mean my show is called Go Vegan. So there’s no hidden agenda here, in the sense that, first and foremost there’s the moral aspect. People need to realize that they are participating in the greatest massacre ever. You’re paying someone to do something behind the windowless walls. if they were done on the street, you’d go running to protect the animals. Yet, you’re financing mass murder, killings, torture, and mutilation. I think we need to come to recognize it even those we’re indoctrinated in to it so well. I grew up in New York City, and you know at PS152 in Manhattan everyday that gave me my cow’s milk and cookies.
Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, I remember reading that in your bio that you’re a New Yorker and you went to Queen’s college in my neighborhood.
Bob Linden: Yeah I went to Queens College and you’re in Forest Hills.
Caryn Hartglass: I’m in Forest Hills.
Bob Linden: In Forest Hills. I lived in Bayside.
Caryn Hartglass: Ahh. My grandparents were there.
Bob Linden: I went to Skyview High School. I grew up not knowing the source of any food because I didn’t know schools could have grass hills. So growing up in New York, I thought beans and carrots grew in cans. Salami came from a salami tree. So I didn’t know. So there I was in Queen College, finally cooking on my own, and living on my own. I was preparing a chicken on night and I saw the body. I saw what I was preparing, or whom I was preparing. It was amazing to me because before that it was non-descript cutlets, I had chicken cutlets, I had veil cutlets so innocent to have a cutlet.
Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, that sounds almost cute.
Bob Linden: It sounds cute! A cutlet is cute. But then the first part of the head is cut! i kept saying that I don’t eat much meat, I only have a little portion. But then it was like if a whole animal head can suffer and die from your little portion. You don’t need the biopsy of animals. If people only eat a little meat, dairy, fish and eggs, then it’s easy for them to stop. To get rid of it, you know what I mean?
Caryn Hartglass: I do.
Bob Linden: Yeah.
Caryn Hartglass: I know what you mean. Yes.
Bob Linden: Yes, yes, yeah.
Caryn Hartglass: Now okay, this vegan movement is very wide. There are many different voices and many different opinions, and you don’t agree with some of them.
Bob Linden: Right.
Caryn Hartglass: And you’re pretty outspoken about it.
Bob Linden: Yes, well if you just look at reality, it’s easy to be outspoken about it. I actually don’t include myself in the same movement as many groups and organizations who might consider who’s in the vegan movement. You know, it’s not the main society of the United States, which is run by a vice president who is a pig farmer, who kills 50,000 pigs every year. He says he makes a $30 premium per pig.
Caryn Hartglass: Wayne Pacelle is a pig farmer?
Bob Linden: Wayne Pacelle hired the pig farmer. The Vice President Joe Maxwell. So the Humane Society of the United States does not promoting veganism. It promotes meat. Humane meat. As if there’s to be such a thing. People want to hear what they want to hear so they can go on doing their destructive habits. So if the humane society of the united states that there’s no need to go vegan and just eat humane meat, then people are then off the hook. The animals aren’t off the hook. So we have a movement that’s really, I can’t differentiate animals advocates from animal killers at this point. You have groups like the Humane Society of the United States, along with Mercy for Animals, Farm Sanctuary, Farm and Compassion Over Killing, and In Defence Of Animals who all partnered with the egg industry, in support of the egg bill. They were basically campaigning through this so called furnished and rich battery cages. But they all opposed previously before they partnered with the egg industry. Then supported these very cruel things you said that were unacceptable to all of these groups.
Caryn Hartglass: Let’s put the Humane Society aside because they were never really a vegan organization. There are more vegans working there now, but they were never a vegan organization. But these other organization, Farm Sanctuary is clearly a vegan organization. Mercy For Animals, a vegan organization, PETA. Why do you think that they are going what they are doing?
Bob Linden: Well, I know that they are doing research. Research says “we can get more donations if we use the word vegetarian instead of vegan.” Many groups run away from the word “vegan” now. Which really explains much more affectively what needs to be done, than the word vegetarian, which has been hijacked by the dairy and egg industry, who laugh all the way to the bank, “lacto-ovo” vegetarians. These groups engage in the largest sell out of animals ever. Their damage is done. They campaign Prop 2 in California. Nobody really understood what that meant. I was still talking to HSUS at the time because they wanted me to support this incentive, Proposition 2. So I was told it was suppose to mean that a bird who now has 8 in a half by 11 inches of space from a cage that would have 12 inches by 12 inches. I later learned that Wayne Pacelle was campaigning around saying that California would go cage-free if Prop 2 were passed. Prop 2, The Prevention of Farm Animals Cruelty Act. That was the name of this. All it supposedly did was to give more space to birds. That didn’t really prevent much farm animal cruelty. Collecting seven hundred thousand signatures for the initiative, HSUS told on the signatures gatherers not to mention anything about being vegan to people when collect signatures for the Prevention of Farm Animals Cruelty Act. The only way to prevent farm animal cruelty is to go vegan and not pay people to be cruel to animals so that people can eat them. So Prop 2 goes into effect. No body knows what it really means here in California. J.S. West, egg producer, says, “Well, all of the groups campaigned recently for the egg product inspection act. They give the animal the right seal of approval to these furnished battery cages. We’re going to build all these battery cages and now we’ll say we’re Prop 2 compliant. Prop 2 compliant with the egg product inspection act, the birds are given 67 square inches of space. Not even the 8 in a half by 11, or 12 by 12 that Paul Shapiro, the vice president of Farm Animal Protection of the Humane Society of the United States promised. He can’t even protect animals from his own co-workers like Joe Maxwell, the pig killer. And if people really want to know about the Humane Society of the United States, go to the Facebook page, its Farmer Outreach Facebook page. It’s all about putting a happy face on death.
Caryn Hartglass: Yeah.
Bob Linden: So all of these groups put a seal of approval on these so called enriched cages. Which actually, once you put the furnishing in there’s less room for the birds. The birds all huddling on the side anyway, panicked. We had all of these groups campaigning, saying, “Now, hens can engage in natural behavior”
Caryn Hartglass: Oh please.
Bob Linden: Yeah! Oh please. So I really don’t understand what happened. The damage is done. From now on, millions and millions of chickens will suffer because of the sell out of these groups. Mercy for Animals recently published something on their blog about Progress for Pigs Tyson Does a Turnaround. The groups are looking for victories so they can say, “Look we’ve done something, now donate to us.” From years ago, Smithfield, one of the biggest producers of pig products in the country said, “Okay we’re going to phase out gestation crates, everybody sees how awful they are, the mother pig can’t move around in the crate, so we’ll faze them out within 10 to 15 years.” So that shuts up everybody for 10 to 15 years. 9 years later, or maybe 14 years later, they’ll come along and say, “You know something, we can’t afford to do it! I don’t know what we were thinking back then, but it’s too expensive. Sorry we can’t get rid of the gestation crates.
Caryn Hartglass: Right.
Bob Linden: But 10 years ago when they were trying to sell this thing, Wayne Pacelle was saying “This is the greatest victory for animals, it’s revolutionary!” You know? The only victories are when people go vegan. There’s this myth now, that’s being sold to us about being humane or cage free, organic local, free range, you know.
Caryn Hartglass: I’m officially disappointed with Mercy for Animals because when they first came out with Nathan Runkel, they were pretty hot doing their undercover investigation and you thought they were going to be the edgy version of PETA and go where PETA wasn’t going any more. It looks like they’re looking more and more alike.
Bob Linden: They’re looking more and more alike.
Caryn Hartglass: Yeah.
Bob Linden: They’re looking more and more alike in the meat industry to tell you the truth. I mean, they’re cheerleading for Tyson. The thing is, without an undercover investigation, what’s the point? If you’re not telling people to go vegan, then an undercover investigation nearly allows the company, doing the abuse to say, “look, we’ve had a few workers who weren’t performing according to our policy. We’re putting in new programs, education for our workers. Look, we’re correcting everything. So go eat our ball turkeys now, eat our Tyson’s pigs, or whatever.”
Caryn Hartglass: Are there any organizations that get the Bob Linden seal of approval?
Bob Linden: Umm… hahah.
Caryn Hartglass: Hahaha.
Bob Linden: I would have to think about it. I think right now, I think Go Vegan Radio.
Caryn Hartglass: Oh there you go!
Bob Linden: And that’s part of the reason why we’re creating this world vegan summit, and expo in the Los Angeles area this coming March. You can go to WorldVeganSummit.Com. But we really need to refocus our activism, you know what I mean? Even along the years when I think about how many fur-free Fridays I go to and of course I am against fur, but really I don’t know that many people who wear fur. I know lots of people who wear leather, wool, and silk.
Caryn Hartglass: Right, exactly.
Bob Linden: So where have we been? We want to abolish the use of animals for food, clothing, entertainment, and experimentation. We really limited our activism. Who’s asking people to go vegan? Vegans are too shy to ask people to go vegan. I don’t know why that is. You shouldn’t derive people the information that could save them. I think that they may feel that they’re going to offend people because they’ll feel like we’re morally superior.
Caryn Hartglass: Well, you know Bob; you’ve been doing it a long time. I’ve been doing this a long time. I’ve been vegan for 26 years and vegetarian for longer. It’s a tough, tough road that we’re on. I know that when I was younger, I was more militant, more abrasive, and for the most part, people turned off. They didn’t want to hear what I had to say. I’ve come to find that when I’ve been more patient, when I’ve been more gentler, it’s kind of changed my tone of activism. More people listen, and it takes time for a lot of people. I hear from people that I use to lecture to a long time ago, and they let me know years later that they finally made the change. Sometimes it takes a long time for these seeds to sow and grow.
Bob Linden: Right. So we must sow as many seeds as possible. The message might change from tone from audience to audience. We need to recognize that everybody is a victim. The animals are a victim, the people that eat the animals are a victim, the people who work at a slaughterhouse is a victim, and how that must destroy their hearts also. But the thing is, we’re out of time. We need a sense of urgency about it because it is a matter of life and death. It’s rape, it’s torture, it’s murder. We have to have this sense of urgency. No parent wants to poison his or her child. My mother loved me very much. If she would have different information about what she was feeding me then she would have changed, you know? I don’t think my father’s parent’s want me to poison them; he died from a heart attack. Everybody thought that it was in our genes. Heart disease is in our family; it’s in our genes. No, it’s in our diet, it’s our plate, we need to recognize that. I just had Dr. Esselstyn a few weeks back, the foremost specialist in heart disease, who says that nobody has to have heart disease. It’s just a made up thing because we’re dairy and eggs. He is also opposed to the oils in our diet too. The thing is, nobody has to have this disease, but by age 5 and 6, children are showing signs of it. By age 17 just about everyone is showing signs of cardiac artery disease.
Caryn Hartglass: Wow. Unnecessarily.
Bob Linden: Unnecessarily, right! You know? All of this for animals to suffer and to destroy the environment. It would be good if vegetarians would recognize that they’re engaged in the same behavior. If you’re consuming dairy or eggs, you might as well be eating the hamburger; you might as well be eating the chicken. You’re doing no service for the family related to health. China studies show that dairy protein to be the number one carcinogen to which Americans are most exposed. So do we just go along with it and say, “Well, everybody is doing it. I’m going to keep giving my kids the McDonalds, the Happy Meal, the ice cream and all.” Or do we take the responsibility that the kids are depending on us. What kind of world are we going to give them if the climate change continues the way that it does? We’re out of time.
Caryn Hartglass: Speaking of being out of time, we only have a few more minutes.
Bob Linden: We’re out of time! If we’re out of time, the message is Go Vegan.
Caryn Hartglass: Go vegan, go vegan, go vegan. I agree with you. Now, let’s just talk a little bit about the world vegan summit because I always like to hear about positive thing that are going on. So what is this about? Why is this different from other vegan conferences?
Bob Linden: Well, I don’t really know that many vegan conferences. The most recent so called animal rights conference was organized by FARM which was a partner in the eggville. And FARM continues to have the Humane Society of the United States speak at its event. I think what we really wanted to do is gather together and say, “Look I think it’s important that we gather and point out veganism.” so we have wonderful speakers from around the world related to ethics and morality, health, and the environment. We’re just going to have to all come together and have workshops promoting veganism. I wish somebody would have told me at a younger age. I considered myself vegetarian for a long time.
Caryn Hartglass: Yeah me too.
Bob Linden: Thinking, who get hurt? The cow needs to be milk, the eggs are produced anyway they don’t get hurt.
Caryn Hartglass: DING!
Bob Linden: Duh! Well, the cow needs to be milked because she’s raised and the baby is taken from her and she’s silted for wool, and she murdered later. Finally when I saw that information, I should have given up dairy and eggs before anything. That should have been first on the agenda. So I think it’s important. You know, it’s really not that difficult. It’s not that hard if people are present the information, and they rarely get the information. They’re not going to get it from the meat-i-a who is controlled by meat and pharmaceuticals. All of them control the meat-i-a. You don’t hear about what’s the best thing to do or the right thing to do. People love animals. If you love animals, you have to stop eating them. You’re eating somebody’s decomposing body. It’s gross. There are plagues and contamination. Foster Farm has this recall that goes on forever the salmonella. It’s all filth from a filthy environment. That’s appetizing, from death you expect life. WorldVeganSummit.com and we’re just going to come together and look at, I mean we’re rejecting what has been given to us as an animal rights movement because it’s not promoting veganism it’s partnering with our industry now.
Caryn Hartglass: Yes, with this phrase Animal Welfare, which is chilling.
Bob Linden: Right, right.
Caryn Hartglass: Well, we’ve come to the end Bob. It was very quick and very fun, but I want to remind you or just let you know, you own me vegan lasagna.
Bob Linden: I owe you vegan lasagna. You know, I would love to come to New York. I don’t know how to manage. Late September there’s going to be a demonstration for improving the shelter system. Then the next day there’s the Against the Climate Change. You never hear from the environmental groups that you need to go vegan. They’re a bunch of meat eaters. Okay kids, let’s all sing songs that we need to do something and then go and eat meat. It’s part of the problem.
Caryn Hartglass: Did you approve Cowspiracy film?
Bob Linden: I didn’t see it. I mean I’ve seen the trailer.
Caryn; I mean speaking of bringing up environmentalist who don’t talk about going vegan. That’s what this film is about. Kind of exposing all of the environmental organizations that don’t talk about going vegan primarily because of money! Because they know that their donations will go down. I just want to mention it because we got a New York City premier on August 21st at AMC village 7 for anybody who wants to check Cowspiracy out, and find out if it meets Bob Linden’s approval.
Bob Linden: Right! These environmental groups, I mean, it’s not just the issue of climate change, it’s everything. It’s resource depletion, I as a vegan need 10,000 gallons of water to grow my food in a year. A meat eater needs three hundred twenty thousand gallons. SO 32 of me can be fed for 1 meat eater. It’s deforestation, it’s habitat destruction. So how can you be a meat-eating environmentalist? A meat dairy fish and egg environmentalist. It’s really impossible and the groups tell you what you want to hear you know? It’s like the Atkins diet, it tell you what you want to hear. You want to lose weight, eat a lot of meat. Where is Dr. Atkins today? Where will the planet be tomorrow if we continue?
Caryn Hartglass: It’s going to be out of time like we are right now. So if you want to hear more from Bob who seems to be limitless.
Bob Linden: I’ve been talking about this for 13 years!
Caryn Hartglass: that’s right. You can go to GoVeganRadio.com and hear a whole lot more. Bob, thank you for joining us on It’s All About Food!
Bob Linden: Thank you so much Caryn, I really appreciate it.
Caryn Hartglass: Okay that was fun. Go vegan yay!! Bye!
Bob Linden: Yay! Go Vegan today now, bye!
Caryn Hartglass: Okay, shall we take a little break? I think so. Then we’ll be back in a moment with Jason Del Gandio talking about the terrorization of decent.
Transcribed by Jo Villanueva 8/16/2014
TRANSCRIPTION PART II:
Caryn Hartglass: Hello everybody, let’s get back to talking about food, shall we. It’s All About Food, right now on July 29th 2014. I want to bring on my next guest, Jason Del Gandio. He’s a writer, speaker, thinker and activist dedicated to social justice. He’s currently an assistant professor of rhetoric and public advocacy at Temple University in Philadelphia. His areas of scholarly expertise are in the philosophy of communication, social and political theory, rhetoric and critical analysis with a focus on social movements and radical social change. Jason has appeared on television and radio and regularly speaks on college campuses and public venues. He has written on such topics as autonomy and material labor, corporate control, the rhetoric of Barack Obama, performance art, The Occupy Movement, The Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act and the relationship between neo-liberalism and the university. Welcome Jason to It’s All About Food.
Jason Del Gandio: Hi Caryn, how are you doing?
Caryn Hartglass: Good, so we’re going to talk today about the terrorization, I can’t say this word, because it’s a horrible word the terrorization of descent. You co-edited this book with Anthony Nocella, who we’ve spoken to a few weeks back on this program. Very chilling subject.
Jason Del Gandio: Yes it is. It’s one of the reasons why I’m actually both excited and proud to have worked on this book. I see this book as a form of political intervention into a world that really needs to be exposed, critiqued, discussed and debates and so obviously we’re talking about the AETA, which is an acronym for The Animal Enterprise Terrorism Acts and that’s the focus of the book and we basically bring together a cross section of lawyers, scholars, and activists and the folks from Sociology, Anthropology, Political Science, Rhetoric, Philosophy, and also kind of expose and critique and intervene into the AETA.
Caryn Hartglass: This book really raises the bar on this subject because you have all of these people with phenomenal credentials and intelligence. This is not some groovy little group of people complaining about some legislation that happened a little while ago, this is very serious.
Jason Del Gandio: No I agree and I’m glad that you recognize that. I mean, one of the things we try to focus on when we were compiling the contributors was bringing together people that really can bear witness to the problems of the AETA and speak and articulate about basically how it violates first amendment rights, how it has a chilling effect on free speech, the right to protest and given my background in terms of rhetoric and communication, I personally can understand how perception works. I mean, so if the larger audience or the readership or Americans at large see certain kinds of credentials attached to writer’s names, contributors, they’re more likely to pay attention and actually respect and take note of what’s being said in the book.
Caryn Hartglass: Now there’s a lot of things that are scary about the AETA. The Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act. First of all anyone who is against the exploitation and torture of animals for any reason, primarily for food but also for animal testing and all kinds of other things, this act makes many of the things that we do almost an act of terrorism.
Jason Del Gandio: Yeah that’s actually, I agree that’s probably the scariest part of this act, this bill, this piece of legislation is that basically if you inhibit a corporations ability to make a profit from the exploitation of animals, you could potentially be called a terrorist. Now if you think about that, that’s extremely scary.
Caryn Hartglass: I mean, I’m talking to people all the time saying, don’t eat meat, let’s shut down factory farms. Does that make me a terrorist?
Jason Del Gandio: Well exactly, so for instance, just a few weeks ago two activists were charged with releasing minks from a fur farm and they’re being charged under the AETA with terrorism. Now releasing minks is obviously an illegal activity. I’m sure, I’m going to assume that any activism engaging in that kind of activity, recognize the potential consequences, but then to jump from illegal activity of releasing minks from a fur farm to charging them with bonafide political terrorism just doesn’t make any sense. I would assume that any reasonable person looking at this case, I don’t see where the terrorism comes into play here. No human being was harmed, no animal was harmed, so how can we call that terrorism and it’s basically what the AETA does, it sets a context, it sets a pretense for really trying to stigmatize, demonize and many ways, quarantine animal rights activism. So at this point if you threaten the ability of a corporation to make a profit off animals, you could be legally tried as a terrorist.
Caryn Hartglass: And this law came about even though there were already laws on the books that would punish for these types of illegal activities. This particular law really wasn’t necessary to resolve what to do with those who have done things like you’ve just mentioned and some other acts that affected property.
Jason Del Gandio: Well I mean, let’s put this into perspective here, so the ATEA was passed in 2006 in the wake of Nine Eleven and of course this piece of legislation has the word terrorism in it. In the wake of Nine Eleven anything with the word terrorism in it is going to receive priority, of course though this wasn’t the first time this kind of law of passed. So back in 1992 a previous law was passed called the AEPA, so it was the Animal Enterprise Protection Act and basically the AEPEA, the AEPEA has all the same laws in it, the AETA simply has accomplished the ability to lead with the words terrorism, so many ways it’s a PR campaign and a smear campaign. Now even if we go further than that though, all these quote unquote illegal activities that we’re discussing are already outlawed by most states. So were talking about vandalism, trespassing, things like that. We all know that these are against the law, so the question then becomes why do we need this quote unquote mega law, this federal law to reinforce what’s already being reinforced and I think this really points to the heart of the matter here. By inserting the word terrorism into the title, it’s able to demonize and stigmatize animal rights activists as terrorists right and I would say that the AETA does at least two basic things here, one it protects and safeguards corporate profit before anything else and unfortunately that is then the mainstay of American society, we could point to all kinds of legislation, all kinds of laws and those that have been passed, that really it’s about corporate profit before anything else. But then two, like I said, also, it also demonizes animal rights movements and what happens when that occurs, it has a chilling effect on the freedom of speech and the right to protest and I think those are the two basic problems along with other things, but those two basic problems with this law.
Caryn Hartglass: Now we never hear about this accept on shows like this one. Mainstream media is not talking about the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act and some people might think that it just concerns animal rights activists but it really effects free speech, it affects democracy, it affects any compromised group because we’re setting precedent.
Jason Del Gandio: Oh I agree One hundred percent and I think that’s one of the biggest parts, one of the biggest issues with this piece of legislation and again like you said, I think some people hear just the title of the book or the title of the legislation and think it only applies to animal rights activists, that’s not true. I mean really, I think anyone who’s concerned with creating a better world is now being threatened by this piece of legislation, I mean and if we were to let’s say apply the principles of the AETA back through our history, we have a very different American history and I say that because almost every right, liberty and freedom that we hold dear has come by way of activism and by social movements and just about every social movement that has ever existed has used civil disobedience, direct action, things like that right.
Caryn Hartglass: I’m not a promoter of violence ever, but all of these movements that you’ve mentioned, have all kind of moved forward with a little bit of violence. We have the Boston Tea Party and there’s always been some destruction of property and some action to get people’s attention.
Jason Del Gandio: I mean, I agree with everything you’ve just said. I would maybe scream it slightly differently and say well hasn’t every social movement to one degree or another, interfered with corporate profit at some point and the answer’s yes. Boston Tea Partiers, Abolitionists, Woman’s Suffragists, Civil Rights Activists, Anti War Activists, LGBT Activists. By the very nature of the fact that we live in a capitalist society and corporations have so much control. At some point there will be a power play between activists and corporate profits and what the AETA does, the AETA does, is basically safeguards corporate profits saying it’s off limits, you cannot even think about or talk about interfering with that process, that’s problematic.
Caryn Hartglass: Yes, now this book, a lot of it, talks about the history of the AETA, how it came about, what it is, how it’s impacted people and you have many different voices who give their spin on this issue, from many different angles and the part that I actually like the best was part four, which was the interviews and personal reflections. I always loved the individual voice on certain things because we can relate the best when we hear an individual voice rather than getting buried in all the legal terms and he said, she said and whatever, all of that’s important of course but we’re moved by an individual story and each one of these is really quite profound.
Jason Del Gandio: Oh I agree, when I was working on the book, co editing it, things like that and I came across these interviews and these personal reflections, I pretty much had the same experience you did, where to me, this is the most moving part of the book, you’re talking about individual lives that were utterly disrupted by this piece of legislation and so in this part of book we have interviews or personal reflections by people who have or haven’t been charged with and served time in prison or the charges were dismissed, either way, imagine the FBI busting down your door at 6am and arresting you and your housemates, things like that and then not only that, but then being stigmatized by the label of terrorist for the rest of your life. Even if the charges are dropped, how does that look in public spotlights, when you apply for a job interview, I mean, you assume the stories that I told in part four, I think are very moving, very troubling and it really invokes, kind of the urgency and the problematic nature of the AETA.
Caryn Hartglass: And the law does in some ways what it intended to do, if you read between the lines, it scares people, it puts fear into them as far as being activists.
Jason Del Gandio: Oh sure 100% and I agree, I really do think that is the purpose of the law. I mean, sure the law does now have federal standing, it can be used to prosecute people, to indite people, to arrest people, but I think overall though, it’s a larger communication campaign to kind of have activists internalize this fear and thereby not act upon their ethical concerns about animals, the environment and things like that and I really think that is the purpose of the law.
Caryn Hartglass: Okay, so how are we going to, how are we going to get this law off the books, how do we go back to real democracy with freedom of speech and not be afraid to speak out.
Jason Del Gandio: Well, I think the first thing is trying to raise awareness about this law. Like you mentioned a little while ago, almost no one, has heard about this law, so the book’s came out a few weeks ago, I talked to some friends and family members about it, and everyone’s, how come I haven’t heard about this law before and I said that’s exactly the problem. So I think the first step is really raising awareness, having open discussions, public panels, have experts come and talk about it, have reading groups, whatever the case may be, but I think more people need to be informed about the problematic nature of this piece of legislation, and then from there we have to find a way to pressure our law makers to repeal this law and I definitely think this law should be repealed immediately because it’s unconstitutional and a violation of first amendment rights.
Caryn Hartglass: Now, there is one group that’s trying to do that and I think that’s one of the last sections in your book, let’s see, where is that, do you know what I’m talking about? The foie gras people, the People that were fighting foie gras and…
Jason Del Gandio: Yes, okay, sorry, it’s been a while since I’ve read the book myself, yes, so there are groups of people that are trying to basically take the fight to the legislation. They want to go to court and try to demonstrate that the ATEA is actually unconstitutional and a violation of basic rights, constitutional rights.
Caryn Hartglass: So, New York City-based Center for Constitutional Rights, yes.
Jason Del Gandio: Well, that’s a type of organisation that by its very nature would be concerned with this kind of act and I would say something like ACLU National Lawyers Guild, all these types of organisations have a serious investment in understanding and overturning this kind of law because basically it violates basic things that we as American take for granted.
Caryn Hartglass: So far this particular suit Blumb vs Holder was dismissed and now their appealing the dismissal.
Jason Del Gandio: Yes, correct.
Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, so that’s… where do you think that’s going to go, do you have any idea?
Jason Del Gandio: That’s hard to say, I mean, I’m not a legal scholar by any means and hoping it gains more traction, again when one of the things is trying to expose the problematic nature of this law, actually the first weekend of September, I think it’s the fifth, sixth and seventh, so folks are organising a national weekend of action against the AETA and so a weekend like that is supposed to expose what’s going on here, give organisations like the Centre for Constitutional Rights a platform to voice their concerns, get their message out and so hopefully that kind of weekend and other days of action in upcoming months and years will give more organisations a better chance to educate the public on what’s going on and in doing so there’s kind of an inherent symbiotic relationship where also the lawmakers are now on the defensive. So if lawmakers support this law in the past and also, they’re getting public backlash now they’re forced to defend their stance and maybe rethink their stance and that’s kind of the whole purpose here.
Caryn Hartglass: Okay, that’s good. One of the chilling things, the whole book was chilling, but one of the chilling things was reading about the FBI and how it’s like they’re keeping an eye out on animal activists, just looking all the time, just to see if they can find us doing something wrong, to catch us in the act and spending a lot of money doing this. Where if you know anything about an animal activist we’re compassionate people, we don’t believe in the exploitation of anything, we don’t believe in violence of anything, I don’t believe in killing anything. So I agree.
Jason Del Gandio: If you think about all the problems that are going on in this country, around the world.
Caryn Hartglass: That’s where they want to focus their attention, yeah.
Jason Del Gandio: Why do they want to focus their attention on animal rights activists? And I would say okay, well two things, what are your rights, to think about it in the context of you have basically pacifists of one kind or another, having, organizing meetings, having speaking gigs, things like that and all of a sudden FBI agents will show up to make sure that you’re not breaking the law and out of all the things they could focus on they’re focused on animal rights activists, but then two, implied on what you were saying earlier, think about how much money it costs the FBI to do that, so basically talking about tax payer money, so is that the most sensible way to spend tax payer money and I would say no. There are a lot more pressing issues in this world other than animal rights activists protesting a company or corporation or a certain kind of farming tactic.
Caryn Hartglass: And then the other part is how they have paid people to work under cover to infiltrate some animal rights organizations and in some ways kind of encouraged them to do the wrong thing and then get caught in the act.
Jason Del Gandio: Yes unfortunately that is the reality we live with now, now of course this is not entirely new, we can go through our history and talk about how different law enforcement agencies have infiltrated certain social movements, activist groups, most famously Cointelpro from the nineteen fifties and sixties. Now some Americans think well that was just in the past, that doesn’t happen anymore, but that’s not true though, it does happen and like you’re saying it’s happening with animal rights activists, which really makes no sense whatsoever in my mind.
Caryn Hartglass: Oh goodness, well that’s where our tax dollars are going, but you know that the tax dollars are just being spent in order for a few to be protected, so that they can keep making a lot of money.
Jason Del Gandio: Oh exactly.
Caryn Hartglass: That’s what it’s all about.
Jason Del Gandio: Well it goes back to the subtitle of the book, the subtitle of the book is Corporate Repression Legal Corruption and the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Acts and the first two parts of that subtitle, Corporate Repression and Legal Corruption, at least we’re talking about what we’re discussing here in a sense that corporations have so much ability, so much power to influence and basically corrupt the political system and the legal system, alright and so certain laws and policies are being passed not for the good of the public but for the good of corporate profit and that’s a serious issue in this country and with this particular piece of legislation.
Caryn Hartglass: Okay so let’s wrap this up and I asked before what can we do about it, but let’s just highlight a few things that all of us can do right now.
Jason Del Gandio: Well I would say first and foremost is to become more educated about this law and I would actually encourage all of our listeners to just Google the AETA or the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act and you can actually find the actual bill online, it’s only two pages long, so I would encourage readers to go out and look it up and read it for themselves and really decide on their own account why this is problematic and as you read it, it’s really not complicated, it’s very broad, it’s very vague, as you read between the lines you can see how it’s intending to demonize and stigmatize animal rights activists, then from there though, I would encourage everyone to get more politically involved, contact your lawmakers, contact your local radio or news stations, encourage more outlets to cover this story, encourage lawmakers to explain why this is on the books and if they can’t explain it then put their feet to the fire and ask them to repeal the law, that’s how it basically is, so one, become more educated and two ask lawmakers to repeal this law as soon as possible.
Caryn Hartglass: Okay that’s everyone’s assignment, you have to Google “Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act” and read it and then if you have any questions or comments you can send them to me at info@RealMeals.org and then I’ll send them off to Jason and he’ll respond.
Jason Del Gandio: Yes, definitely.
Caryn Hartglass: And is there a way to find you, is there a website or something.
Jason Del Gandio: Yes, my website’s just my name so its www.jasondelgandio.net
Caryn Hartglass: Okay Jasondelgandio.net, well I am, I think this should be a book in every law school, right?
Jason Del Gandio: Without a doubt, yeah I agree that every law student should have to read this book.
Caryn Hartglass: Law students have to read this book, good, thank you for joining me on It’s All About Food and thank you for being a part of this expose.
Jason Del Gandio: Well thankyou for having me on, I find it always a great privilege to speak about such important issues.
Caryn Hartglass: Yes it is an important one. All right have a great day Jason.
Jason Del Gandio: You to, thanks a lot.
Caryn Hartglass: Okay well, bye bye. What do we have, about a minute, a minute left? And we’re listening together to It’s All About Food, I’m listening, I’m talking and as I mentioned before, realmeals.org, I really want to hear from you, not just about The Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act but about anything related to this program or food. If you just have a question, shoot it off please, I want to hear from you and back to my website responsibleeatingandliving.com I hope you will look at the article that I just put up, My Visit to the Head and Neck Cancer Congress, where I talk about all of the opulence and hypocrisy and how people are talking about all this great research to prevent these horrible cancers and at the same time they’re serving cancer-promoting foods to all of the practitioners at the conference. It just didn’t make any sense at all, especially after I talked to a few people who acknowledged that that their treatments work better when their patients are healthier. Now when someone has cancer you don’t think that they’re healthy, but there are healthy patients or healthier people that do come down with these illnesses. I’m one of them. I had ovarian cancer and I thought I was pretty healthy going through all of that and I survived my treatment and am thriving now because of the foods that I was eating then and now, very important. All right, thank you for joining me today. This has been another It’s All About Food, I’m Caryn Hartglass and please have a very delicious week.
Transcribed by Lara Allan 10/3/2014