People for Animal Rights (PAR)

By: Samantha Leader

People for Animal Rights (PAR) started in fall 1982 when Linda DeStephano and two friends had success teaching people the negative outcomes from teaching young boys how to trap animals. This one scenario showed the women what could come from spreading their knowledge on animal rights. “I did a lot to support farm workers at first, after reading the book Speciesism it opened my eyes to the abuse of animals leading me to start supporting animal rights,” DeStephano said.

There are many events held by People for Animal Rights that can self-educate the people of CNY who may not notice the effects of their actions. According to DeStephano, the group brings in speakers on a variety of topics. These people will speak on the different topics such as nuclear energy harming animals, experiments, foods, and more.

Other types of events held are demonstrations, Vegan socials, and movie nights. “People for Animal Rights have held demonstrations in front of Skaneateles Furs, circuses that use animals, and the state fairgrounds,” DeStephano said. Any business or event that shows animal cruelty is usually a place that People for Animal Rights try to target for demonstrations, according to DeStephano. One other thing that People for Animal Rights will do to help keep people in the loop of upcoming events or things happening in Syracuse, N.Y. is providing a physical newsletter twice a year, she said.

People for Animal Rights cannot do a lot of lobbying but can meet with the city, state and county legislatures to discuss certain laws that will help animal rights occasionally.

“A young Pit bull that froze to death outside in his un-insulated dog house brought on Adrian’s law that was voted on March 6, 2018. It will state that in extreme weather conditions dogs can’t be left outside longer than 30 minutes,” DeStephano said. Dogs are left outside on leashes, in cars, in cages, etc. more than people notice. In the Syracuse area, especially, with frigid weather in the winters, this can lead to unfortunate circumstances, she said.

People for Animal Rights as a group agree with the International Group PETA when they say, “animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, use in cruel entertainment or exploit, in anyway,” DeStephano said. As a group, they urge people not to wear fur, leather, use down comforters, and eat vegan/vegetarian.

“Vegan is a big step; I started as a Vegetarian and then how they got milk made me transition to a Vegan,” she said.

The main way people in society can prevent abuse of animals would be to self-educate and be self-aware. “People grow up, even I did, not thinking about what goes on in the labs and behind closed doors. We do not think about isolation, psychological experiments, shootings, and tubes being injected into animals,” DeStephano said. The way to “see something, say something” is to know what is going on around you and then try to make a different, she said.

There are many new ways of finding out how to treat human disease by research, People of Animal Rights follow CARE (Committee on Animal Research and Ethics) to learn new research tactics; other people can keep up with them to stay in the know, she said.

According to DeStephano, People of Animal Rights is $10 a year for an individual, $15 a year for a family that is two people or more, and $100 for a life membership. There are two ways to sign up for the membership, enter their website and use pay pal or send a check to P.O. Box 15358, Syracuse NY 13215-0358.

Come get involved and learn more about Animal Rights at 7 P.M. on Wednesday, May 9th while PAR and Syracuse Vegans Meetup Group co-sponsor a lecture located at Onondaga Free Library. Dr. Barnett, founder and Medical Director of Rochester Lifestyle Medicine, will be lecturing about the benefits of exercise and plant-based eating for health.