Written by Michelle Kretzer
Comedian Fred Willard, star of Best in Show and the new show Trust Us With Your Life, is an expert at
using humor to get folks to care about serious animal issues. For some fun on a
Friday, here are two of Fred's greatest hits: trying to come up with the
perfect name for PETA's animal birth control campaign and pondering why on Earth
someone would buy instead of adopting.
Written by PETA
There has never been a shortage of animal rights supporters on ABC's hit show Dancing With the Stars, and season 11 will be no exception. Vegetarian singer Michael Bolton is as easy on animals as he is on the ears, and funny lady Margaret Cho told the audience at PETA's Millennium Gala in Hollywood, "[Fur] is really ridiculous. It's outrageous. We're not living in igloos. We don't need to trade pelts anymore." As for what The Hills' Audrina Patridge thinks about buying animals from pet shops, we'll let her tell you herself:
Which animal-friendly hoofer will get your vote?
Written by Alisa Mullins
To clarify PETA's position on pit bulls: We're for 'em.
By "for 'em," I mean that we are for pit bull protection, for their happiness, and for treating them like dogs instead of like cheap burglar alarms, punching bags, or gladiators in perverted death matches.
Some pit bull fanciers out there seem to think that PETA is "against" pit bulls because we don't oppose breed-specific measures to address what is obviously a breed-specific crisis. Au contraire. If someone proposed a ban on breeding Labrador retrievers or Chihuahuas or poodles (you get the picture - any dog), we'd be for those too. That's because we don't think any dogs should be brought into the world as long as millions are dying for lack of homes in animal shelters and on the streets every year.
Millions, people. Millions of dogs just like the ones you share your homes with have to be euthanized because too many people fail to spay and neuter their animals and choose to buy from breeders and pet stores instead of saving lives by adopting from animal shelters. Wouldn't we be derelict in our duty if we didn't support laws that would alleviate suffering and reduce those numbers? If those laws saved just one animal from suffering a miserable life or a painful death, wouldn't they be worth it?
Pit bulls are often singled out by legislators because they are involved in so many attacks on humans and other dogs—as well as horrific cruelty cases. Our fieldworkers know firsthand just how frequently and mercilessly pit bulls are abused. These dogs are hands-down the most common victims of heartbreaking abuse and severe neglect that our caseworkers encounter.
I'm going to warn you—the following pictures, which were taken by our caseworkers of pit bulls they have helped, are graphic and disturbing. But I hope you'll steel yourself to look at them and decide for yourself whether or not these suffering dogs would have been better off if they had never been born:
This is Rikus.
PETA fieldworkers found him cowering in his doghouse with a gaping wound on one of his legs, exposing muscle and bone. His face was swollen to the size of a melon because of infected wounds that he had suffered during a dogfight.
Music was nothing more than skin and bones when we found him, without food or water, and with nothing but a rusty pile of junk for shelter. He was shivering in freezing weather, trapped at the end of a heavy chain.
Music's ears were shredded and his body was covered with scabs and scars—an indication that he had been forced to fight with other dogs.
In December of last year, PETA staffers found Zoo—also skin and bones—chained and starving in Suffolk, Virginia.
Our vet determined that Zoo was 20 to 30 pounds underweight. Zoo tested negative for intestinal parasites—meaning that his emaciated body condition was because of starvation. He was also filthy, flea-ridden, and heartworm positive. We charged his callous owners with cruelty to animals. They pleaded not guilty in court, but the judge saw through their lies and convicted them. They were sentenced to 30 days in jail (suspended) and forced to pay fines of $250 each as well as restitution for Zoo's veterinary bill.
On New Year's Day, heartbroken PETA staffers discovered this angel, Hugo, dead inside his PETA-supplied doghouse. A necropsy report confirmed that Hugo had been starved to death—the only contents of his stomach were grass and orange peels. He had scars consistent with dogfighting and had a fractured rib that was the result of trauma. We worked with law enforcement officials to bring charges against the person who was responsible for Hugo's prolonged suffering and death. A judge sentenced the defendant to 120 days in jail and five years of probation during which time he is not allowed to inhabit a residence that has any animals in it.
Blackie was chained to an old carrier with no food or water. He was painfully thin, and his right rear leg had a compound fracture that had been left to rot for weeks.
For more information about PETA's position on pit bulls, check out our new pamphlet on the subject.
Thanks for all of your wonderful comments on this Win It Wednesday. The winners of the 'Fight Breedism' shirt are Emily, Kelli, and S. Phillips. Congratulations!
We all have our favorite celebrities, and Charlize Theron has topped my list since she narrated PETA's puppy mill investigation. When she was spotted wearing our new "Fight Breedism" shirt on the beach with her rescue pups, I was pretty much over the moon. She's beautiful, talented, and funny, and she jumps at every chance she can to speak up for animals. What more could you ask for?
Her awesome T-shirt, for starters.
For this week's "Win It" Wednesday, we're giving away three "Fight Breedism" shirts so that you can rock Charlize's style. They're super-stylish, soft, and a great way to spread the word about adoption.
How do you win? Help Charlize give a voice to the millions of animals abandoned at animal shelters every year and tell us about the shelter animal(s) you have rescued. Leave us a comment below, then take our quiz to find out how well you know your ABCs (as in "animal birth control").
Written by Lianne Turner
Just think—the next Best Cat in the Universe could be waiting for you at your local animal shelter. Kinda gives you goose bumps, doesn't it? If you have the energy, resources, and, most importantly, lap time to devote to a feline companion, you can't go wrong by adopting a cat from an animal shelter. But just in case you need some convincing, here are the top 10 reasons why shelter kitties rule:
P.S. After you've given a kitty a forever home, you should check out this book: 250 Things You Can Do to Make Your Cat Adore You.
Every Tuesday night, I grab a comfy couch, flip on American Idol, proceed to squeal and shout comments at the screen for the next hour, and then dial in incessantly to vote for my fave.
On the show, judge Simon Cowell is known for being a little harsh when he gives the contestants a dose of the hard truth, but in reality he is full of compassion, especially when it comes to animals. Not only has he lent his celebrity to important campaigns in the past (like when he recorded a video message to remind people not to leave dogs in hot cars or when he has spoken out about the importance of spaying and neutering (and against fur), but now he's taken the time to sit down and chat with us about everything from his thoughts on Michael Vick to Obama's new White House pup, and much more. Check it out below and let us know what you think!
Do you think it's important to adopt a dog or cat rather than buying one from a pet store? Well, I mean, if I was buying a dog, I wouldn't buy it from a pet shop, I'd go to a rescue shelter. Or I'd go to a friend who couldn't take care. … It's not where the dog came from, it's the dog. … I get really annoyed when people start telling me about the make and the model of their dog like [for] a car. … A dog is a dog, no matter what background they've got. … Often, the mutts, the strays have got more personality than a highly bred pedigree.
Why do you think some people are obsessed with buying purebred dogs? They are plagued with physical issues, and some breeds are so popular that folks can't tell their own dogs apart from their neighbors' dogs.Well, I think the fashion accessory thing has become quite the thing here. You've got the rap and pop stars carrying around the highly bred dogs …. They think it'd be embarrassing to be seen carrying a mutt … when actually it would be endearing—people would think they cared more about the dog than their image. The other thing which is a problem, as you know, is they'll make movies about, you know, Chihuahuas, and thousands of people will go out and buy Chihuahuas like in the movie.
Right. And we're concerned that the same thing might happen now with the first family. What do you think about their Portuguese water dog? I think we've got to be balanced on this. I think—on a positive note, I think it's nice that they have made an issue of buying a dog for the kids. What I think would be great would be if they also took in a shelter dog, just from anywhere, to balance it. I'll even pay for the dog food!
The Westminster and Crufts dog shows are always controversial because they promote purebred animals when so many mutts are dying in animal shelters. What do you think of these shows? Well, again, I have two thoughts about them, because I think the vast majority of people who go and watch something like Crufts or who are involved are animal lovers, not animal haters. The problem (in the U.K. at least) is that we have elitism in the dog world, which does bother me, for who's to say what makes the perfect dog? The fact that these judges are saying that a bulldog who can't breathe properly is the proper way to breed a dogâ€•that's just insane! Because, in their warped minds, that's what a dog should look like. I've got a show called Britain's Got Talent, where we have crazy dog acts, and I like those dog shows better. The dogs are having a blast, obviously having a great time.
We see a lot of dogs chained outside like bicycles, for life. What is your message to people who do that? That's disgraceful. The awful thing about what that person doesn't realize is that in the dog's mind, as he's being chained up … that dog has put his trust in the person who's chaining him. That dog would give up his life nine times out of 10 for the person who's chaining him up. … For a dog, under those circumstances, just to be left alone, starving to death, lonely and thirsty, is about as low as a person can go. You've got to have a really warped, disgusting personality to want to do something like that. That really disgusts me.
What makes you angriest when someone is cruel to an animal? I think the fact that they get an enjoyment out of it. I think the disrespect—a dog's sole purpose in life is to guard you, and it's your responsibility, and the dog will give up his life for you—would literally die for you—is unbelievable! It shows a really … like Michael Vick. He should never, ever be publicly supported again. Ever. If people really knew the gory details of what he was doing …. They think it was just a dogfight, but what do you do after the fights? The way they kill the maimed dogs ….
Right. And it came out last winter that Vick even threw his family pets into the fighting ring. That's not a human beingâ€•that's a sadist.
As you know, your image is posted on our mobile spay-and-neuter clinic, which rides around in low-income, rural areas of Virginia and North Carolina. People cheer when they see you on the van, and they bring their dogs out for their vaccinations. Thank you for that. Can you send some words to people who are having a hard time putting food on the table about why they shouldn't forget their dogs in these tough economic times? Well, I think that a life is a life, and I totally respect the fact that it's very easy for pampered celebrities like me to lecture, and sometimes I despise people like me because we don't do enough. But I can tell you that if you give an animal kindness, it will come back to you a thousand times over. … You get so much out of it, I cannot tell you. And for us, certainly, I am always willing to do—if I can help you financially, I will do that. If you need a donation anytime, we'll set it up straight away. Never hesitate calling me about that.
Did you know that several of your American Idol graduates have gone on to help animals? Carrie Underwood, Reuben Studdard, and Kellie Pickler are, for example, all vegetarians and are all on PETA's "sexiest vegetarian" list. If you know someone is good with animals, does that make you more inclined to be kind to them after they perform? Well, funny enough, there's normally something that connects me to them. Certainly with Carrie, the second she walked in, I sensed a real kindness about her, and I think it's part of her appeal. And to me, it just shows that you're a nicer person. So I'm not surprised to hear all of that, to be honest with you. I'll do more to encourage it. We'll put it on the questionnaire!
Written by Christine Doré
Unless you've been living under a rock, you've heard about Susan Boyle's knock-your-socks-off performance on Britain's Got Talent. Not only did Susan become an overnight singing sensation, she also spoke up about how much she loves her kitty, Pebbles.
Because they know that this down-to-earth international superstar won't forget the little guys, our lovely British friends at PETA Europe have asked her and Pebbles to consider starring together in a public service announcement with the tagline "Bring Harmony to a Cat's Life!" By raising her voice on behalf of cats, Susan would help homeless animals become winners as well. Yeah, yeah, it's cheesy—but it's true.
If Susan and her feline friend agree to the ad, they would be in good company too. Britain's Got Talent judges Simon Cowell and Amanda Holden have both starred in ads for PETA Europe.
By encouraging her fans to be responsible guardians by always adopting from animal shelters (never buying from pet stores or breeders) and making sure to spay or neuter their animal companions, Susan could help make a difference for the millions of homeless cats who end up in extremely crowded animal shelters around the world every year.
Written by Shawna Flavell
Lambert? Nope. Gokey? Sorry! We're all about Noop Dog here at PETA!
Devastated as I was when Anoop Desai got voted off American Idol this week, my day perked up when I discovered that our friends over at PETA India have approached Anoop to ask him to work with them. They sent a letter asking the R&B singer to join the Indian Animal Birth Control (ABC) campaign to "implement humane methods of controlling companion animal populations in slums" in India.
If Anoop agrees, he'll be joining Idol judge Simon Cowell in the effort to end the animal overpopulation crisis. Plus, America might see Anoop's compassion and finally forgive him for attempting that Usher song …
Written by Christine Doré
Lots of people are still hopping mad and flat-out disappointed that the first dog, Bo, came from a breeder—and who can blame them? After all, people working in animal shelters (the ones who are experts in the overpopulation crisis) know that buying from breeders spells certain death to an estimated 4 million dogs and cats each year—dogs and cats who didn't need competition from litters that were produced simply for a profit. These hardworking people are the ones who personally have to say goodbye to the dogs they come to know, love, and care for—because there aren't anywhere near enough decent homes for them all.
So, here's an idea that we and others such as Jana Kohl have proposed to the Obama family: Keep Bo company by adopting a second non-allergenic dog, this time from a breed rescue, a pound, an animal shelter, or from the lists of homeless animals on the Internet. There's no doubt that the Obamas mean well, or they wouldn't have given a donation to the humane society, got Bo fixed, or arranged that complicated "He's a reject from someone, no one bought him" deal. So, hopefully, they'll learn from their missteps.
Please, offer words of encouragement on this topic by writing very polite letters to President Obama. His family is just like yours: They just didn't "get" that a rescue means a rescue.
For the next five days, we are going to present you with fun stuff: environmentally friendly blog posts that we hope will leave compassion as your only dietary option.
As you may have heard, raising animals for food is the number one cause of climate change and its frightening side effects. And that's not just meat production—the waste from which contaminates land, air, and waterways. Egg and dairy farms (which often rely on feeding animals to other farmed animals—bleh!) also contribute to the destruction of our ecosystem. With deforestation, desertification, and loss of potable water—and with 800 million people affected by famine—I'd say that a little restructuring is in order. And the most powerful tool we have is our very own fork.
Want to know how your diet is affecting the planet? It's as easy as punching your information into our carbon calculator. Then, if you've heard all you needed to hear—or if you just want to get a jump on things—click here and take the Pledge to Be Veg for 30 Days.
Written by Missy Lane
you have a general question for PETA and would like a response, please e-mail Info@peta.org. If you need to report cruelty to
an animal, please click
here. If you are reporting an animal in imminent danger and know where to find the
animal and if the abuse is taking place right now, please call your local
police department. If the police are unresponsive, please call PETA
immediately at 757-622-7382 and press 2.
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Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights? Read more.