Chris DeRose, the founder of Last Chance for Animals (LCA), has been a leader in the animal rights movement for more than three decades. During that time, he and his organization have made significant progress in ending cruelty to animals, not only in the United States but around the globe. From the moment we began our discussion about his activities, I was aware of his passionate devotion to animal rights. Last Chance for Animals is a non-profit animal advocacy organization dedicated to ending animal exploitation through investigations, education, legislation and public awareness campaigns.
One of the organization’s successful campaigns was shutting down all Class B animal dealers who “procured” animals to sell to research facilities by literally stealing them from their owners. DeRose has paid a price for his peaceful advocacy actions—he has served jail time. However, that is countered by the much longer jail sentences endured by individuals that he has identified as animal abusers. Many are aware that the Ringling Brothers Elephant Act was discontinued on humanitarian grounds. Last Chance for Animals contributed to that successful campaign; as a result, the elephants were retired 18 months ahead of schedule.
Many visitors to New York City, including my wife and myself, have taken a horse carriage ride, which on the surface, appears to be a quaint and pleasant step back in time. However, underlying that industry is blatant animal cruelty. An old-fashioned carriage ride does not blend well with noisy, polluting city traffic. De Rose and his organization exposed the abuse to the horses, which, in addition to working in a hazardous environment, includes lack of veterinary care and substandard stabling.
Animals raised for food are not uncommonly abused. A four-month undercover investigation at Christensen Farms pig breeding revealed systematic cruelty to the animals. Last Chance for Animals has exposed deplorable animal cruelty at America’s largest rabbit slaughterhouse, and staged a protest against local Los Angeles based grocery chains, Bristol Farms and Gelson’s, for selling rabbit meat from Pel-freez. Following the protest, Gelson’s pulled all rabbit meat from their shelves.
Last Chance for Animals is also involved in an ongoing undercover investigation that is documenting the appalling animal cruelty occurring at China dog meat slaughterhouses, where many stolen pets are beat with clubs, killed, burned, and boiled. DeRose notes that 1 million dogs have suffered this fate.
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