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Farewell to an Animal Rights Legend

February 5th, 2014 by Anita Carswell

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The world’s animals and animal rights activists lost one of their most incredibly tenacious and dedicated defenders last week.

David Hayden was known and loved by many. He was one of those rare individuals who didn’t have many detractors. He was universally respected and considered an oasis of stability and strength in an often violent and unjust world. His gentle, quiet demeanor hid a resolve of steel.

Over the course of his life, David was present and often helped organize hundreds of demonstrations on the West Coast, as well as some nationwide. Not only did he demonstrate for abused animals of every species, but he was one of the most stalwart supporters of any jailed or harassed activist. David could often be found standing outside of a jail holding a sign in support of an unfairly detained animal activist, or working behind the scenes ensuring vegan meals were provided.

David was a volunteer activist who started doing activism for animals in the very early 90’s with Orange County People for Animals, and he was a central figure with Animal Rights Direct Action Coalition, as well as one of the founders of No Compromise, a grassroots activist magazine.

He will be fondly remembered by many, including me, for the impact he had on my life. His quiet resolve and strength helped a small group of us share our first non-violent civil disobedience arrest together at the fur department in Bullocks at Fashion Island in Newport Beach, CA. Many other civil disobedience protests followed and David was one of the core group of people among us always willfully putting his freedom on the line.

David went on to risk arrest many more times in defense of animals and was willing to speak out with conviction, and influence others with his strong moral compass. Animals everywhere have lost one of their biggest champions, and animal activists have lost a devoted fellow friend and source of strength.

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