Opening the gates to animal liberation and putting an end to cruel experimentation is the focus of the Open The Cages Tour, stopping in Victoria July 31- Aug.1 at Camas Books and Infoshop.
This multimedia tour, featuring film, music, poetry, activism and workshops aims to connect seasoned and emerging activists under the banner of animal liberation.
“I was radicalized by the music I listened to growing up, but I know that a lot of people connect with struggles in many different ways,” says Mike XVX, tour organizer. “For that reason we’ve combined art, music, film, workshops and demonstrations to create a more unified and cohesive tour that is not only an effective series of events and demonstrations, but also something that gives us a platform to reach out to other social justice movements.”
The Victoria stop is the second last on a tour that has travelled to San Diego, Los Angeles, Oakland, Davis, Reno, Portland, Seattle and Vancouver.
“Each city was specifically chosen because they host an animal research facility or laboratory. Most people don’t know that these facilities exist and they’re sitting in their own backyard,” says XVX.
The two-day event kicks off Tuesday with a workshop related to animal testing at Camas (2590 Quadra) at 5pm before a screening of a new anti-vivisection documentary Maximum Tolerated Dose at 7pm. It will be followed by a question and answer session with the filmmakers, Decipher Film and Photo (Toronto, Ont.).
Maximum Tolerated Dose is “equal parts found-footage mash-up, verite investigation and artful meditation” on the practices inside animal testing labs. Complete with haunting testimonials from scientists and lab technicians who’ve left the industry and simultaneously heartbreaking and heartwarming stories of the many beagles, rats, rabbits, cats and primates who either died or were rescued from the labs, the film will open the audience’s eyes to the horrors of vivisection — the practice of performing experimental surgery on a living organism to see how the internal structure reacts.
“Vivisection is one of the most inhumane and unethical forms of animal exploitation in the world today. These animals are infected, gassed, burned, asphyxiated, all for consumer products and medical research,” says XVX.
Plans for the next afternoon’s demonstrations will be released at the film screening.
Following the demonstrations, Camas will host another workshop at 5pm (Aug.1) before local performance poet Comrade Black opens the music and more show at 7pm, which also features local acoustic punk musician Zac V, flash fiction author Austin Simpson, vegan folk punk by Mike XVX and vegan hip hop by Garbageface (Karol Orzechowski, director of Maximum Tolerated Dose).
“We want this to be as much of a community effort as possible. We want to reach people from all different walks of life, we want to hear a chorus of different voices to come out and share their stories, connect with us and help build a more unified and cohesive movement for animal liberation,” says XVX.
“This isn’t only a tour about animal liberation, it’s about total liberation. It’s about creating a better world for all of us and not leaving anyone behind. We don’t want to succeed in this world unless we all succeed.”
Everything is by donation on a sliding scale. No one will be turned away due to lack of funds. There is a safer space policy in place to eliminate any oppressive actions, behaviours and language. The events are all-ages, dog-friendly and Camas is wheelchair accessible (except for the washroom).
“We know what it takes to bring this industry to its knees,” says XVX. “We’re not going to back down, we’re not going to fold under police intimidation and government oppression. We’re going to stand up and fight back and we’re going to get the word out about what happens in your facilities, whether you like it or not.” M
Open The Cages Tour
Tues., July 31 and Wed., Aug. 1
Camas Books and Infoshop (2590 Quadra)
Full schedule at openthecagestour.com