Written by Jennifer OConnor
Nearly 10 years after she
was liberated from the sweltering hell of a Mexican circus, Alaska, the bear who was the
impetus for the eventual seizure of all seven bears held captive by the Suarez Bros. Circus, has died at the Maryland
Zoo in Baltimore. Estimated to be in her late 20s—old age for a polar
bear—Alaska was euthanized because of kidney failure.
It almost sounds like an Onion spoof—polar bears in a Mexican circus. But it was no joke.
The Suarez Bros. Circus—which, coincidentally, is in the news this week after a
handler was mauled to
death by a tiger—was hauling the dejected bears around Mexico and the
Caribbean in cramped cages without access to water for swimming, something that
polar bears desperately crave. A whistleblower leaked videotape showing the
overheated bears pacing in small cages and panting constantly. The bears where
struck and whipped in order to force them to perform ridiculous tricks.
PETA dug into the bears' backgrounds and
uncovered evidence indicating that Alaska may not have been born at Zoo Atlanta,
as the circus had claimed on her import application. After we reported our
suspicions to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), the service used DNA
testing to prove conclusively that Alaska's identity had been "stolen,"
a violation of federal law. The FWS fined the circus $120,000 and sent Alaska
to the Maryland Zoo, where she lived with fellow polar bears Magnet and Anoki.
When Alaska first arrived
at the zoo, she was sick, lethargic, filthy, and, her caretakers soon learned,
deaf. Free at last from the cramped cage, she explored her surroundings and
swam in a pool for the first time in years. Rancid scraps were
replaced with wholesome, healthy food. There were no more frightening and
confusing tricks. Alaska's battered body and broken spirit began to heal.
Alaska is an inspiring example
of how animals can recover from years of deprivation if given the opportunity.
Her courage and dignity should stand as testament to all the animals whose
health and sanity are sacrificed in the name of "entertainment" in circuses. May she rest in peace.
Written by Michelle Kretzer
Soon, Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race
mushers will begin driving dogs on a grueling 1,150-mile journey through frozen
being forced to run an average of 100 miles a day for two weeks, many dogs will
be suffering from conditions such as pneumonia, hypothermia, bruised and lacerated
paws, upper respiratory infections, frostbite, inflamed wrists, and shoulder
injuries. Nearly 150 dogs have died during the Iditarod
since records started being kept, and that doesn't include dogs who died after
the race was over. Some dogs die of "sled dog myopathy"—literally being
run to death.
dweekly | cc by 2.0
they won't call it what it is—cruel—even mushers admit that the dogs suffer.
During last year's race, top contender Hans Gatt reported that half his team
was "sick and eating poorly," likely because of upper respiratory
infections. Four-time champion Lance Mackey said that he didn't know what was
wrong with his dogs but that he had watched his "world-class dog team
falling apart before my very eyes." Paul Gebhardt had to forfeit the race
when his dogs couldn't continue because of dehydration, cramps, and injuries. And
Zoya DeNure had to perform mouth-to-snout resuscitation on one of her dogs, who
had collapsed in his
why do mushers continue to subject their dogs to the abuse of the Iditarod? Because
thousands of dollars in cash and prizes are at stake. But the good news is that
the purse is dwindling as corporations withdraw their sponsorship after
learning about the Iditarod's cruelty. Last year, thanks largely to PETA, the Transportation Security
pulled the plug on its $85,000 donation, and Chevron and Cabela's both called it quits
prior to 2010's race.
Please share this
with friends and family who may not realize how much dogs suffer for the
Written by PETA
TV viewers who enjoy keeping down their dinner can rejoice—Sarah Palin's Alaska will not be returning for a second season. Why? Yosemite Sarah isn't saying, but we have a few theories:
1) Bristol Palin wants to spend more time working on her spinoff, Real Housewives of Wasilla. 2) Sarah exhausted her repertoire of ways to kill animals. Even Angela Lansbury couldn't write that much murder into a show. 3) Clinton Kelly said she was so 2008. 4) Season one editors still aren't finished cutting out every scene in which she said "maverick."5) Alaskan animals have all fled to Russia, although Sarah reports, "I can still see them from my house."
Written by Michelle Sherrow
Not content with bludgeoning fish to death, Sarah Palin has now gone out and shot herself a caribou on her reality TV show Sarah Palin's Alaska. PETA V.P. Dan Mathews blasted the trigger-happy Alaskan: "Sarah seems to think that resorting to violence and blood and guts may lure people into watching her boring show," he said, "But the ratings remain as dead as the poor animals she shoots."
After successfully "taking" a caribou (it took her almost as many tries as it did for her to graduate from college), Palin proudly proclaimed that taking the life of another sentient being gave her "a great feeling of accomplishment."
We rather think that the accomplishment of these Alaskans, who reportedly saved four deer who were in danger of drowning, is a bit more impressive.
Written by Alisa Mullins
Former first lady Barbara Bush raised eyebrows recently when she told Larry King that she hopes Sarah Palin stays in Alaska. But considering what Sarah and her daughter Bristol do in Alaska, we're not sure that's such a great idea either.This gruesome scene of Bristol and Sarah clubbing a halibut to death took place during the second episode of Sarah Palin's Alaska, in which they visited the city of Homer for a mother-daughter day of commercial halibut fishing. "It felt awesome gettin' some aggression out," Bristol said about clubbing the fish.
Gee, is this how most mothers and daughters bond? My mom and I just made cookies …
Written by Paula Moore
Sometimes it breaks our hearts to say, "We told you so." It's less than a week into the 1,150-mile-long doggie death march known as the Iditarod, and abuser musher Justin Savidis has already reported one of his dogs, 3-year-old Whitey, missing.
Whitey has been loose since Wednesday, and although he's been spotted on a number of occasions, temperatures along the Iditarod course remain below zero, and there is no guarantee that Whitey will find shelter or food.
Even if Whitey survives his escape, when you consider the dark history of the bloody race, his future still looks pretty grim. On average, dogs in the Iditarod run at least 100 miles each day with very brief rests, and only half the dogs who begin the race ever make it to the finish line. Many are injured or killed as a result of the physical torment of the Iditarod—some of them fall through the ice or suffer from bloody diarrhea, dehydration, and viruses, while others are strangled by tow lines, trampled by moose, or hit by snowmobiles and sleds. Whitey's disappearance marks the beginning of this year's sub-zero suffering, but it's not too late to end it: Urge the Iditarod's sponsors to back out of the barbaric competition immediately.
Written by Logan Scherer
Well, we took a week off last week ’cuz, to be frank, researching these people can really ruin my Fridays sometimes—and if there was ever a man who could suck all the fun out of your weekend, it’s our latest winner (by a margin of 15-1!), Hagai Bergman, who enjoys romantic movies, long walks on the beach, and drilling holes into monkeys’ brains while they scream for mercy.
While Hagai shuffles into his rightful place as this week’s Vilest Vivisector, it’s time to turn our attention to the new blood. This week, we’ve got two researchers for you from the Yerkes Center at Emory University who are studying the psychology of despair the only way they know how … by inflicting it! So here it is—a PETA Files exclusive sneak peek into the very darkest reaches of two twisted human souls … it’s time to cast your vote for the next Vivisector of the Week!
Stuart Zola, Emory University.
Maria Sanchez, Emory University.
Will Mrs. Sanchez’s diabolical role as a parent who has devoted her life to wrenching infants from their mothers be enough to edge out the sadistic brain butcher Stuart Zola? Find out next week* when we crown the very latest Vivisector of the Week!
*The PETA Files cannot guarantee that they will remember to do this next week.
It's pretty much a no-brainer that elephants, who roam up to 30 miles a day, don't belong in zoos, and Anchorage, like most northern zoos, is far too cold for an elephant, meaning that she spends many months out of the year locked indoors.
You may remember that Maggie was in the news recently after a failed attempt by the zoo to provide her with a treadmill to give her exercise. Following this incident, and two subsequent collapses by Maggie due to failing health, attitudes from locals and the media changed, and more and more people began calling for her release to a sanctuary.
As PETA Director Debbie Leahy says,
“We applaud the Alaska Zoo for its compassionate decision to move Maggie to a warmer climate where she will be able to socialize with other elephants for the first time in 10 years. By taking action now, the zoo has ensured Maggie's future happiness and probably saved her life.”
The zoo plans to finalize the agreement with PAWS within two weeks, and hopefully she'll be headed to the sanctuary before winter. Congratulations to everyone who worked so hard to make this happen!
PETA has donated $10,000 dollars toward Maggie’s long-term care—we hope she gets well soon.
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.