Written by PETA
It's been 16 long weeks since we last had a Vivisector of the Week to vote on, but we're going to make up it for all in one go right here: You asked for it (OK, whatever, you didn't ask for it), so here it is … just in time for March Madness, 16 of the nation's most reprehensible, university-funded animal torturers going head-to-head in PETA's first-ever Vivisector of the Week tournament—ladies and gentlemen, meet the March Mad Scientists!!!
For the next four weeks, I'm going to be highlighting one of the biggest showdowns in the tournament, then opening up voting for the remaining contenders. If you want to do this scientifically, you can check out this handy cheat sheet to get an idea of which institutes of learning have the most sick, pointless, and barbaric animal-experimentation programs hidden away in their basements. Or you could just vote for your hometown school and pick a bunch of other ones at random (that's pretty much how I'm doing my NCAA brackets). So let's get this thing underway—here's the top bracket in this week's … Sick Sixteen!
Patrick Kochanek, Pittsburgh.
Down in Pittsburgh's secretive laboratories, a team of experimenters led by Dr. Patrick "Frankenstein" Kochanek are working deep into the night to reanimate the corpses of dogs, pigs, and mice. Seriously, I couldn't make this crap up if I wanted to: Under Kochanek's cold-hearted guidance, a group of "scientists" drain the blood from animals for up to three hours, pump an ice-cold salt solution into their veins until they're scientifically dead, then shock them back alive. The animals usually suffer massive physical and psychological trauma in the process, but that's a small price to pay for a zombie army, right? Right??
Arthur Weber, Michigan State.
Michigan State University’s Arthur Weber ain't afraid of no zombies. This guy has a signature move that would frighten even the undead. This cat torturer's got his technique down pat: First he injures their optic nerve, then he dissects the overlying tissues, inserts a surgical hook, and places a clamp on the nerve. Next on the agenda: Wait for seven days until it's time to remove the cats' eyes while they're still alive! Then it's killing time, and onto another batch of kitties—Weber's been at this game for more than 25 years. That's a whole lot of cats!
Only one of these contenders can advance to the next round, so choose carefully! Cast your vote for the vilest vivisector using the form below, and feel free to leave a comment explaining your selection.
The cheat sheet will help you decide which other universities deserve to advance, and we'll be back next week with the Evil Eight! Stay tuned!!!
Fans of FOX’s Back to You breathed a collective sigh of relief when the writers ended the show’s long drought with two brand-new episodes last week. You’re going to have to bear with me for a painful segue here, but legendary funnyman Fred Willard—who stars alongside Kelsey Grammer in Back to You—was good enough to co-host PETA’s 25th Anniversary Gala a couple of years ago, which I was fortunate enough to attend (they needed some people to help clean up afterwards). So, for any Fred Willard fans out there who are anxiously awaiting the next new episode of Back to You in April, here’s an exclusive video from that event to tide you over:
It shouldn’t surprise anyone that selectively breeding dogs for certain “aesthetic” traits like a shiny nose, or perky ears—or whatever the hell it is that breeders are looking for in the animals they use for self-gratification and profit—isn’t good for the animals, and in fact can cause extreme health problems. All of the animals who won awards at the AKC-sponsored Westminster Dog Show this week have something in common beyond having been deliberately bred into a world where millions of animals are dying on the streets for lack of a good home: They’re all genetically predisposed to be highly susceptible to a laundry list of debilitating diseases.
In first place, we have Uno, the first beagle ever to take home the “Best in Show” honors at Westminster. As a beagle, Uno has a significantly higher risk of hypothyroidism, demodectic mange (a condition that occurs when a dog’s immune system can’t regulate the number of mites living in the skin), umbilical hernia, epilepsy, eye and eyelid problems, cryptorchidism, hip dysplasia, intervertebral disk disease, and luxating patella. But I’m sure his Westminster crown will console him when one or more of these ailments set in.
The two poodle contestants, Vikki and Remy, who were just edged out by Uno in the competition, probably won’t live as long as he does either: Poodles are prone to cataracts, progressive retinal atrophy, allergies, severe skin disease, hip dysplasia, runny eyes, ear infections, Von Willebrand disease, bloat, and Addison's disease—an adrenal gland deficiency which requires lifelong medication and monitoring.
Uno also defeated a Weimaraner named Marge (elbow dysplasia, bloat) a Sealyham terrier named Charmin (bronchitis, early tooth decay, poor digestion, severe spine problems), and an Australian shepherd named Deuce (hip dysplasia, blood disorders, digestive problems, epilepsy, chronic eczema, gastric disorders, spinal paralysis).
So everyone’s a loser. Thanks, breeders, for contributing to the problem. Can’t wait to see you guys next year.
What was the most difficult thing about this investigation for you?
Being Jewish, I grew up believing that kosher food was better supervised and therefore cleaner, healthier and produced more humanely. Like the famous kosher slogan, I thought the kosher food industry always “answered to a higher authority.” It was disillusioning to see, yet again, such callous violations of the most fundamental Jewish principles, such as tsa’ar ba’alei chayim (kindness to animals) and to witness this horror face-to-face with the tortured animals.
Why did you agree to do this investigation?
As someone who keeps kosher, I feel ashamed and embarrassed that the kosher food industry has been complicit in some of the worst farmed animal abuses. PETA has been instrumental in bringing about humane improvements to kosher slaughter within the United States and much of that has been due to our undercover investigations. We have also tried for years behind the scenes to get the important companies to end this hideous “shackle and hoist” kosher slaughter method in South America but unfortunately these companies were more concerned with hiding what goes in their slaughterhouses. Undercover footage is the best way to expose the truth and ultimately hold people accountable to make conditions less cruel for the animals. I desperately want kosher food to live up to the highest standards and I know other kosher consumers demand the same.
You can watch the results of the investigation below, and if you’d like to take action, please click here to write to Jewish leaders asking them to enforce tougher standards on kosher slaughterhouses like this one to ensure that these horrors never happen again.
We sent this letter to the St. Kitts Attorney General yesterday urging him to immediately investigate the “teaching” procedures being performed on dogs, donkeys, and sheep at Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine, which is owned by Chicago-based DeVry, Inc. (of late-night TV commercial fame). We’re also calling for prosecution of any school officials who are found to have been violating the island’s cruelty-to-animals statutes.
All this got set into motion when we received numerous photographs documenting the mutilation of animals who are forced to undergo multiple surgeries before they are killed and cut apart. The key points to remember here are that a) there are numerous humane alternatives to the tests conducted at Ross, and b) it is illegal to cause "unnecessary suffering" to animals under St. Kitts law. As it should be. Here’s what PETA’s research director told the media today:
"Ross University is forcing its students—men and women who will devote their lives to healing animals—to maim and kill dogs and other animals in unnecessary, painful procedures. We're asking the attorney general to help students and animals by enforcing St. Kitts' anti-cruelty laws."
If you’d like write to the veterinary school about this issue, you can do so through the handy webform here.
I talked a bit yesterday about the ad we have running during the Westminster Dog Show, which is like a great big frat party for dog breeders, but what I didn’t mention was that we also had a team on the ground waiting to greet attendees, and inform passersby exactly what the breeding industry means for animals. The demonstration—which involved body bags to symbolize the millions of homeless animals who won’t be getting a mention at the dog show and signs reading “Breeders kill shelter dogs' chances”—was a big success, and the pics are really striking. Here’s what PETA VP Daphna Nachminovitch had to say about the protest:
"Breeders churn out puppies for a buck and go so far as to oppose spay/neuter laws that can save animals' lives. All dogs are created equal, but millions of wonderful mixed-breed dogs across the country are paying with their lives because of purebred mania."
Maybe you’ve noticed our new campaign targeting the companion animal overpopulation crisis called the ABC campaign. Because, you know, animal birth control is, like, as easy as ABC. We just launched the campaign with this public service announcement featuring Tour de France rider Levi Leipheimer, which is pretty wonderful, don’t you think?
And not quite as wonderful, but cool nonetheless, is our new line of products bearing the ABC logo. It comes on a bunch of different kinds of T-shirts, sweatshirts, hats, and the like, and if none of that stuff suits your fancy, you can even get your very own Animal Birth Control wall clock, perfect for, well . . . I’m not really sure where a birth control—animal or otherwise—wall clock is perfect for to be honest.
In all seriousness, check the stuff out and let us know what you think. Personally, I’m just wondering why we’re not adding ABC to our ultra-classy thong designs . . .
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
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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.