Written by PETA
Not content with forcing just elephants, tigers, and other exotic animals to perform cheap tricks, Ringling's mobile animal hell has added dogs to its list of prisoners. During a recent appearance on The Early Show, goons from Ringling's new magic act, called "Zing Zang Zoom," dragged along a few sad-looking pups to perform ridiculous tricks in the frikken snow. One terrified pooch shivered as he was hoisted up on a small platform about 30 feet in the air and reluctantly jumped onto a small pillow. In the circus, whether you're an elephant, a dog, or a dove, it's perform or else.
While it's supposed to impress us that these dogs are rescues, the truth is that there's more ugliness to the illusions of "Zing Zang Zoom" than just garish costumes. PETA receives complaints from all over the country about dogs in circuses. Many are starved for attention, left in crates until show time. Others are starved, in the most literal of terms, and fed only when they perform properly. We've heard reports that dogs were forced to perform when injured and that pimps "trainers" made dogs walk on their hind legs, even when not performing, causing them to develop arthritis and other problems with their legs.
Congratulations, Ringling—you've managed to take a giant step backward for caninekind. No worries though. Soon, you'll be as washed up as this guy.
Written by Missy Lane
Phew! We have so many great protest pictures to share that we decided to hit you with them all at once. Brace yourselves:
Written by Alisa Mullins
A record-breaking 200,000 votes poured in for this year's Sexiest Vegetarian Next Door contest, and after four rounds of weeding out the hot from the super hot, we've finally selected the winners. As soon as we found out that Amber, the sexy photographer from Minnesota, and Monty, the globe-trotting filmmaker and artist from L.A., had won our contest, we just had to get their reactions. So here they are: The Sexiest Vegetarians of 2009, uncensored and off the hook.
So you've just been crowned Sexiest Vegetarian Boy Next Door. How does it feel?It feels GREAT! This campaign was such a wonderful experience for me because it created a unique way for me to engage my friends and family on animal rights/vegetarian issues. I am very grateful for the support, encouragement, and new vegetarians in the making!
Any big plans now that you have won this award? Yes, I plan to use this platform to reach out to people of color and help educate them on healthy eating, animal rights, and their personal roles in changing misconceptions within their communities.
Hufu, CloFu, or just plain tofu? I am going to stick with the tofu! It absorbs flavor very well and, though George Clooney's sweat may be desirable to some, I am fine with my tasty garlic-spinach-and-tofu dish that has my mouth salivating just thinking about it!
Fur-Hag of the Year versus Sexiest Vegetarian Next Door. Who wins and why? That is no contest! I do not have to wear fur to make myself look better or to feel better about myself. My hard work, dedication, and compassion drape me like a suit of armor and I cannot be touched by those who choose to wear fur.
What's the wildest thing you've ever done in the name of animal rights or vegetarianism?After being raised in a Southern Baptist home centered around the "soul food" tradition, one day, I stood up and announced to my family that I could no longer eat animals. I talked about the animal abuse, I explained the effects on the environment, I discussed the health benefits, and I played PETA's "Meet Your Meat" video. My culture is deeply rooted in meat consumption and to go against that is the wildest thing that I have done in the name of animal rights/vegetarianism. It was also the most rewarding.
Do you have a favorite cookbook or recipe?At the moment, my favorite recipe comes from my favorite restaurant here in Los Angeles—Cafe MUSE. Most of the menu is vegan options. Every meat-eater that I have taken there is in awe of how good and healthy their meal was. As a matter of fact, all of them have been back!
My favorite recipe is tofu grilled with garlic, soy sauce, and red onion, with fresh tomatoes, avocado, and mixed greens in a spinach wrap. YUM.
As a traveler, what's one place in the world you'd like to visit? Thailand. I was supposed to go last December, but my flight was cancelled for an extended period of time due to civil unrest. I am hoping to get there before the end of the year. I have plans to spend time at the Elephant Nature Park in Northern Thailand, where I will shoot and produce a multi-media piece on the plight of the Asian elephant. Ultimately, one of my goals is to be able to travel all around the world doing this type of work.
So you've just been crowned Sexiest Vegetarian Girl Next Door. How does it feel?It feels amazing to be crowned The Sexiest Vegetarian Next Door! I am so happy and honored to be able to represent the vegetarian ladies this year.
Your husband was also a finalist in the competition. What was his reaction when he found out you'd won? He was thrilled! He knows how much I love being a vegetarian and love to spread the word about vegetarianism and animal compassion.
If you designed a vegetarian starter kit, what would you put in it? I would start with putting everything in a reusable cloth grocery bag, including the Real Food Daily cookbook, since they have so many amazing vegan recipes. I would also include statistics pertaining to animals, factory farming, and health for people to educate themselves with and use when others ask why they are trying this diet. I would put in samples or coupons of fake meat products, as well as a list of all the brands that make meat-replica foods. I would put in a quote or statistic from the Sexiest Celebrity Vegetarian and the Sexiest Vegetarian Next Door, and perhaps a helpful tip, to show them we all started somewhere.
How have you gotten sexier since going vegetarian? My body is slimmer and more toned, thanks to not eating any animal fats. I feel sexier and show off my physique more now. I also feel sexier knowing there is no guilt on my conscience or on my plate.
What's the wildest thing you've ever done in the name of animal rights or vegetarianism?The wildest thing I have done so far is protest at a Petland. I also made a shirt to wear to a 5K run on Thanksgiving morning that read on the front, with a photo of a turkey, "No animals died for my meal," and on the back, "Nice girls fake it: Wearing leather and fur kills animals." I got many looks that day and was proud!
Have your vegetarian ways influenced your friends and family? Yes! I have helped educate three friends on the vegetarian lifestyle. My friends are always asking how I stay in such good shape, and I tell them to cut the meat and dairy out of their diet and the weight will start coming off fast!
Did you know that the male winner of the contest this year is also a photographer? Bizarre. Why do you think that is? How cool! I did not know the male winner was also a photographer. Perhaps since we both see things with a closer, more critical eye, and know that taking 100 animals' lives a year isn't necessary to live and look good. Perhaps we both know how beautiful and amazing animals are, by being able to capture them on film.
Written by Shawna Flavell
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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.