I recently caught up with Tyler Lang at a fundraising event hosted by the Punk Rock Collective in Long Beach, CA. Lang is a collective member of “Empty Cages LA" (an animal right’s collective) based in Los Angeles, CA. ECLA works on animal rights campaigns both locally and globally to build a cohesive animal rights movement. The benefit was aimed at raising funds for ECLA's campaigns, which includes "Gateway to Hell" (a global anti-vivisection campaign) comprised of a global network of animal rights groups. The Punk Rock Collective (a new punk rock karaoke movement) assisted their efforts by providing punk rock karaoke. PRC is best described as a "DIY, Fund-raising event" that benefits different community groups through punk rock karaoke.
The event was held at the Cultural Alliance Long Beach (CALB) complete with tasty vegan treats that could be purchased for a small donation. The benefit was in support of ECLA’s top priority campaign Gateway to Hell. Lang discussed the ECLA and their grave efforts to stop corporate giants from harming animals. ECLA’s international campaign dubbed "Gateway to Hell" is an effort to stop airline companies from shipping purchased primates to laboratories around the world for lab testing. “If laboratories cannot ship the animals, then the animals cannot be tested,” said Lang, ECLA’s primary goal.
In efforts to eliminate the shipments of these animals ECLA and Gateway to Hell employ various tactics. They protest at airports showing their strength in numbers and shouting their message through megaphones. They also participate in "home demonstrations", "though it's certainly legal, home demonstrations are considered a bit more dangerous" according to Lang. It's a demonstration held at the homes of individuals who are involved with the shipping of primates. ECLA and Gateway to Hell have also performed "office takedowns" by disrupting and occupying offices and businesses that are profiting from the shipment of primates.
In 2005 the "Animal Right’s Movement" was classified as the number #1 domestic terrorist group, a claim that Lang doesn’t support, violence has never been used to attack said Lang. However, Lang does admit the ECLA, and their cohorts are indeed a resistance movement aimed at industries and corporations that the federal government favors. ECLA consists of a core group of 5 collective members who run and operate the collective and depending on the type of protest or event, they can usually draw in between 10-40 demonstrators, locally, a number that is significantly growing. ECLA’s global affair’s can reach upwards of 500+ demonstrators/protesters who assist in these campaigns worldwide achieving great success.
One of ECLA’s notable victories is with China East Airlines, the only carrier at the time, shipping primates from China in to North America. Lang stressed that it was an operation that desperately needed to be stopped. After a month of heavy campaigning, spearheaded by ECLA and Gateway to Hell the airline giant called it quits. Within a week, their heavy phone action continued and forced a massive disruption with several other airliner. ECLA and the Gateway to Hell now have their sites set on China Southern Airlines, an airliner that is currently in operation. On a good note, China Southern Airliners recently suspended their exportation of these primates due to heavy phone action lead by the ECLA and Gateway to Hell protesters. The airliner has yet to release any official statements regarding this move.
Lang describes primates, as non-human animal’s that are extremely intelligent and share the same basic necessities and rights that humans do, like eating, socializing and enjoying the wild habitat in which they’re from. The primate’s rights, as Lang asserts, are being denied daily by these airliners, the laboratories and anyone else who’s profiting off the exploitation of these animals. They’re helpless animals caged up and treated poorly; Many are being tested regularly with pharmaceutical and street drugs and most of these primates are addicted to nicotine.