> AR Interviews
THE BITE BACK INTERVIEW
An Interview With Jennifer Pryor:
Letting You Know She F#cking Cares.
Jennifer and Richard Pryor have seen, done and heard it all. After decades of adventures, stories and history-making comedy, nothing is terribly shocking these days - except animal cruelty. The Queen of the 4-letter word takes some time to talk actors, anger and animal liberation.
Bite Back Magazine: You and Richard have taken a stand for animal rights - using your celebrity status and online empire to promote an ethic of compassion. What brought both of you to this position?
Jennifer Pryor: We both have always loved animals; I rescued my first dog, Livia who had been thrown out of a truck, in 1986 from the FDR Drive in NYC. In 1995 we both rescued Spirit, a sweet puppy Sheltie who was found in a box in front of Turner's Liquor store on Sunset Blvd. It has grown and continues to grow.
Bite Back: You authored an editorial in the Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty newsletter last year. It was unabashed in its support for abolitionist efforts, and sounded an alarm for this fight in the face of government repression. Has the SHAC7 indictment and current climate of conservatism dampened this fierce support?
Jennifer Pryor: Hell no! It has made it stronger. The indictment of the SHAC7 is an injustice. It is the labs who are breaking the laws. Cruelty to animals is against the law. Receipt of stolen property is a criminal offense; these labs receive stolen animals. It is insane and unconscionable what these labs do to animals and get away with it! Why? Money!
BB: Has the "Richard Pryor Fights for Animal Rights" slogan cost you either fans or favor within the industry?
Jennifer Pryor: Favor. But that's not why we support the Animal Rights Movement. We support the movement because it's right. We support the movement because we believe, just like the Civil Rights Movement, it took direct action to affect change. And what is being done to animals in labs is slavery, a profound injustice and unspeakably cruel.
Bite Back: You are currently working with Uncaged Films to produce Behind the Mask - in which you are also featured. What prompted this participation? What do you hope this mainstream movie succeeds in doing?
Jennifer Pryor: This is a powerful film and when people see it they will be changed. My belief is this film will help enlighten the public of what the truth is, what the fuck really goes on in the name of animal testing... this scientific obsolescence and lies. It is cruelty in its crudest, cruelest and most horrendous form. It is wrong and evil. It must be exposed! And then I hope that truth is successful in pissing a lot of people off!
Bite Back: Has it fazed you that the subject of this documentary, the Animal Liberation Front, has been called by the FBI the number one domestic terrorist threat in the country?
Jennifer Pryor: What a fucking joke. Richard and I, like many Americans and people all over the world, have lost faith in our leaders. We have been lied to. We continue to be lied to. After what happened in London a week and a half ago where 55 people died, how can anyone dare call the ALF a terrorist organization! They never target people; they destroy property and free enslaved animals.
Bite Back: As a couple that knows, lives by, and has survived controversy (personal and political) - what words of advice can you offer a movement that is stirring it up?
JP: Stay the course, be brave. Have faith. You will win. The truth and that which is right always triumphs. Remember MLK. It always took a handful of rowdy brave hearts to start a movement that would gather momentum and strength and ultimately affect serious change in the world. And always be willing to say... "fuck 'em!"
Bite Back: Who's your favorite Hollywood animal rights supporter of all time?
Jennifer Pryor: I admire anyone who stands up to be counted because there are always risks involved. We love Martin Sheen who is a great supporter of The Sea Shepherd and those brave souls. Mary Tyler Moore speaks about animals having emotions and souls. Whoopi Goldberg just signed on to save the Wild Mustangs and end Horse Slaughter. I could go on... there are many and there is a growing awareness in the Hollywood Community regarding Animal Rights. Paris Hilton isn't one! (with her puppy mill Chihuahua, she's a simple minded burger eating bitch!)
Bite Back: As a rescuer and someone who boldly and bravely opens her eyes daily to animal suffering and injustice - how do you cope with the frustration and keep yourself going?
Jennifer Pryor: I do that one thing I think I can't do... I go that extra mile... I stay engaged in the solution... I stay centered on the question mark - how can I help today? I keep rising to the occasion; it keeps me out of hell, for the most part. It is important to feel the hurt, to empathize... it is the first step in honoring the suffering animals endure... Ya know... my commitment grows and deepens everyday. It has a life of its own. When work takes me away from rescue, I can't wait to get back to it. I consider it the most important work I do. I have learned to embrace my meltdowns and use them as a time to gather my strength again. I am not afraid of the pain because I know it's not about me, it's about their pain and suffering - the animals. There is much work to do in order to give them the respect, dignity and love they all deserve.
Bite Back: The ALF is hardly cheered by the whole of the animal movement, let alone the mainstream public. How do you respond to this criticism from our allies for the animals?
JP: I really believe that if the mainstream public understood the correlation between slavery of people and slavery of animals, they would understand the undertaking of direct action. The shackles and chains and tools of confinement used during slavery are the same used on the animals... the comparison is real and to stand by do nothing is as shameful as being the enslaver! If talk worked, extreme measures wouldn't be needed.