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Stepping down from all roles at DxE
In January 2013, we launched DxE with the goal of building a mass movement for animal rights. And, in the last 10 years, we’ve succeeded far beyond what we originally imagined. Millions of people have learned about the horrors of factory farming as a result of the work DxE has done – including our vision of a world where every animal on this earth is safe, happy, and free. Thousands of people across the world have been mobilized to nonviolent direct action, speaking truth to power, even when our voices shake.
And, most important, hundreds of animals have been rescued from the brink. Their stories have not just inspired a movement. They are, in very real ways, changing the world.
It’s for that reason that, for quite some time, I’ve felt that I needed to shift my focus to open rescue. It is, as I have written, not just a tactic but a strategy and vision.
We rescue the animals, no matter what it takes.
Those words are an embodiment of everything the animal rights movement should stand for. They are what I have tried to stand for, in the last 20 years of my life. And yet, in many ways, the movement for rescue is facing obstacles. The momentum we built in 2017-2018, when hundreds of animals were rescued, and international headlines were generated in defense of the right to rescue, has slowed. Media attention around rescues has been harder to generate And, perhaps most ominously, even as we have won historic court victories, the number of open rescue activists and rescues has decreased dramatically.
Separately, my own role in DxE, which has been widely distorted and exaggerated since I left leadership in 2019, has led to significant conflict and heartache. I’ve written about one such episode in the last few months, but there are many others. This is a problem for the current leadership of DxE, whose brave work is too often attributed to me. It is a problem for me, as I’ve tried to shift my work towards a more professional tone, as I argue for animals in court. And it is a problem for the broader DxE movement, as confusion, misattribution, and even outright resentment weigh all of us down in our efforts for animals.
It is for these reasons that I am announcing today that I am leaving all roles at DxE. I have not been in leadership since 2019, but I have remained as an organizer and chapter member. That will no longer be the case. I remain immensely supportive and grateful to the incredible activists who have made DxE the force that it is. But the time has come for me to focus on a new project: building a movement for rescue.
But The Simple Heart, which will be the name of this new initiative, will be so much more than that. It will use the symbol of rescue to teach all of us how to be better people. To build better systems. To envision a better world. All of this, I believe, we can learn from animals, and specifically from the act of rescue. It’s something that I learned from the greatest love of my life.
I will still, of course, work in collaboration with DxE and other animal rights activists on important projects, including the upcoming right to rescue court cases. I hope I will see many of you, whether with DxE or otherwise, at trial. But on a forward going basis, when you see my work, you will see it as The Simple Heart. DxE is like a child, all grown up, and will move in directions that are beyond my control, influence, or even imagination. I’ll be happy to see how it grows and develops – and how we can all work together to make a world where every animal is safe, happy, and free.