Los Angeles continues to be a battleground between animal extremists and longstanding traditions uniting history, culture, people, and livestock. Last Chance for Animals (LCA) is among the groups pushing hard in LA to ban rodeo as well as all forms of animal exhibitions from equestrian events to livestock shows. LCA, while not as well-known as other extremist organizations, has a track record of aggressive legislation and activism in the public sphere. Now they are striking hard to stamp out the region’s rodeo altogether plus other animal sports and events.
Protect The Harvest has been covering this issue since its infancy. Back in 2020, the Los Angeles City Council proposed a ban on what a few members deemed “inhumane implements” in rodeo events. The ban would be implemented and enforced via new ordinance language which would be voted on by the city council, not the citizens of the City of Los Angeles. This ban was introduced by a member of the council who is a known animal extremist with ties to many like-minded groups.
Los Angeles Provides the Best Opportunities to Advance Animal Extremist Ideology
In the whirlwind of this controversial ordinance and debate, animal extremist groups have decided to go further and strike while the iron is hot. The city of Los Angeles is the perfect backdrop for LCA to push its agenda since there are several city council members and celebrities affiliated with the extremist movement. Rampant disinformation pushed by animal extremist groups combined with the fact that many urban dwellers have a complete lack of experience with animals and livestock provides ample opportunity to manipulate public opinion and establish the city as a proving ground for agenda advancement.
The organization’s methods and motives come from its founder Chris DeRose who founded LCA in 1984. While DeRose considers himself a “leader” in the animal extremist space, he has virtually no experience with animals and livestock. The man has never even owned a pet. He does, however, have a Hollywood background and acting experience.
DeRose naturally follows the usual talking points of extremists in the media. In one instance he compared a stray dog being taken to an animal shelter to a child being dropped off at an orphanage. DeRose claims he wishes to fight animal cruelty non-violently. However, like so many others in this space, he considers himself above the law and has “proudly” served time in jail for a high-profile break-in at a University of California-Los Angeles research lab.
Last Chance for Animals is an organization that considers its work to be “investigating, exposing, and ending animal exploitation.” As such, LCA abides by the same general rules of the extremist movement. They believe that animals exist for their own reasons and should not be engaged in any service to humans and therefore oppose any usage of animals for food, clothing, entertainment, or scientific advancement.
In the political arena, LCA works to push legislation, ordinances, and campaigns which will further their agenda. They also actively support lawmakers whom they can influence with their agenda. According to their website, their philosophy is, “To enact humane laws, we need to elect humane lawmakers.”
Much of their political action is leveraged and centered around petitions, swaying politicians, and public protests. They rely heavily on the use of public petitions and misinformation spread through undercover footage and social media.
LCA maintains a list of movements they have publicly supported. Their website lists campaigns that include fighting laws that protect farmers and ranchers from ideologues who seek and gain employment with the sole purpose of discrediting animal agriculture. The group also promotes the banning of puppy breeding, lab animal transport, elephant sanctuaries, zoos, and more. Right in their own backyard, LCA has pushed their agenda on the LA Zoo’s elephant exhibit and supported other California bans.
On the national level, LCA was among the many groups that made false claims against Ringling Brothers Circus and worked to ban the circus from performing in Los Angeles and other cities. The group also aligned with fellow animal extremists Grey2K to end all Greyhound racing in the U.S. under the Greyhound Protection Act H.R. 3335.
With the goals accomplished of banning the circus and greyhound racing, the group has now set its sights on other forms of animal exhibitions. Rodeos are now in the top spot and center of their agenda.
In 2021, LCA first put out a petition calling for a ban on rodeo events in the city of Los Angeles. This comes right on the tail of the Los Angeles City Council passing a vote which asked the Los Angeles City Attorney to write ordinance language that will ban the use of equipment used in horseback riding, training, and handling of livestock and animals as well as rodeo events. As of January 2023, the ordinance language has passed through the city’s animal welfare committee (of which at least two of the members subscribe to animal extremist ideology) and is set to be voted on soon.
To date, LCA’s Change.org petition to ban rodeo in Los Angeles has over 24,000 signatures with a goal of hitting 25,000. On their petition website, they erroneously call rodeo events “exhibitions of animal cruelty” and cite the sport as using “tools of torment.” The petition also points to LA’s notorious fur sales ban as proof the city is “a national leader in protecting the rights and welfare of animals.” In addition to their support of Los Angeles’s anti-fur ordinance, LCA is also hard at work supporting legislation in the Massachusetts House and Senate that would enforce fur bans there as well.
While perhaps not as well-known as major players in the extremist space like HSUS, PETA, and ASPCA, Last Chance for Animals knows their craft very well and is unwavering in their mission to use public opinion to enforce their agenda.
According to Charity Navigator, nearly $1.5 million (60% of LCA’s total program expenses) was spent on “education and public outreach.” Like other groups, they also heavily use undercover, highly edited video footage and the internet to advance their mission. Nearly 40% of program expenses, totaling almost $1 million, was spent on their “investigations.” Dustin Brown, LCA’s propaganda video producer, is also no stranger to the animal extremist movement. From 2020-2021, he also produced films for HSUS.
While their Facebook presence is minimal, a quick search shows that LCA closely follows other extremist leaders such as ASPCA, HSUS, Best Friends Animal Society, PETA, and The Gentle Barn to name a few.
Fueled by their previous success stories, we can expect that LCA (and other extremist groups) won’t be content to stop with the rodeo device ban or even a flat-out rodeo ban in Los Angeles. They can be expected to move on to other cities and regions.
With the rodeo issue in Los Angeles being so crucial, Protect The Harvest will continue this coverage to expose the extremists behind the curtain as this story further develops.
PTH article about ordinance language HERE
PTH Rodeo Ban Language Action Alert HERE
PTH Los Angeles Rodeo Ban Update HERE
iHeart Radio interview HERE
Global Newswire article HERE
Los Angeles Times article HERE