Written by PETA
PETA members gathered outside Mike Tyson's home in Las Vegas yesterday to protest the former heavyweight boxing champ's new TV series on Animal Planet, Taking On Tyson, which showcases Tyson's interest in pigeon racing.
Tyson, who once claimed that his former "pet" tigers "liked" being punched in the testicles and face, has now added pigeon abuse to his résumé. Racing pigeons are forced to fly hundreds of miles in all weather extremes as they attempt to get home. The pigeons are vulnerable to both natural predators such as hawks and cruel humans who view them as "pests." In a recent ESPN interview, Tyson said, "I try not to get too attached. That's why I keep breeder pigeons—if a bird gets sick or dies, I can produce another one."
Pigeons raised in rooftop coops have few real-world survival skills. PETA caseworkers have fielded frantic calls from people who have found exhausted, injured, or starving birds. A pigeon-racing industry veterinarian admitted that most lost birds starve to death.
Wagers are often placed on the outcome of races, which not only violates many state gambling laws but also means a grim fate for "losers." Owners have little use for pigeons who can't or don't win, and they unapologetically kill slower birds by wringing their necks, gassing or drowning them, or selling the birds to live poultry markets.
Please let Animal Planet know that you won't be tuning in to Taking On Tyson.
Written by Jennifer O'Connor
Did you watch the big game yesterday? No, not the one with guys running around in yellow pants. I'm talking about Puppy Bowl VII, in which pups who are up for adoption at shelters and rescue groups battle it out on a minigridiron to score "puppy touchdowns" with a plush football. OK, so there may have been more sniffing than scoring going on at the Puppy Bowl, but no one can deny that these adoptable pups are all MVPs (most valuable puppies)!
Thanks, Animal Planet, for helping to get the word out that homeless animals are eager to be "drafted" into loving homes.
Written by Lindsay Pollard-Post
The Cove opened eyes and filled them with tears. Tonight, the sad saga continues with Blood Dolphins—a three-part miniseries based on the Oscar-winning documentary's exposé of Japan's gruesome dolphin trade and slaughter.
Blood Dolphins premieres tonight at 11 p.m. Eastern time on Animal Planet.
Also, if you haven't seen The Cove yet Animal Planet will be airing it this Sunday at 9 p.m. Eastern time. Please tell everyone you know to tune in to both. The official "killing season" will begin September 1 in Taiji, Japan ("The Cove"). Together we can change the tide. Please contact your local Japanese embassy and demand that Japan stop this bloody business.
Written by Amy Elizabeth
Is that a real fur vest being worn by dog rescuer Shelly Bookwalter on Last Chance Highway, Animal Planet's great new show about a trucking company that transports homeless dogs in the South to new homes in the North?
Inquiring minds need to know, and the word we received from an Animal Planet rep is that Shelly's furs are faux. Phew, we knew it had to be so. After all, if you wouldn't wear a dog, you wouldn't wear a fox, would you?
Written by Alisa Mullins
In case anyone needed another reason never to spend a cent at Petland or other stores that sell live animals, Animal Planet is airing a special report tonight showing how puppies suffer even before they end up in Petland stores. According to Animal Planet, an investigation of puppy mills that supply animals to Petland uncovered "more than 140 dogs housed in chicken-wire kennels, water bowls encrusted with mold and containing green water, … and one breeder's confession that she kills healthy dogs because of their less-than-stellar looks."
This appalling cruelty is business as usual at the hellholes that supply animals to Petland. At Sun Pet Ltd., a PETA undercover investigator recently found that animals were crammed en masse into tubs and that a worker bashed hamsters against a table in an attempt to kill them, among other horrors. At U.S. Global Exotics, another Petland supplier, PETA's investigator found that hundreds of thousands of animals were cruelly confined for days or weeks in pillowcases, shipping boxes, or soda bottles and that sick and injured animals were left in freezers to slowly die.
The only reason why animals continue to suffer for Petland and other stores is that people continue to buy them, so let's all get our friends and families to watch this important exposé with us on Animal Planet tonight at 10 p.m. EDT/PDT!
Written by Lindsay Pollard-Post
While we're still irked at Animal Planet for the upcoming series about Mike Tyson and pigeon racing, we have to give the network credit for having the good judgment to air the award-winning documentary The Tiger Next Door, which explores the seedy underworld of people who own, breed, and peddle exotic animals.
The movie features Dennis Hill, an Indiana man who once kept dozens of tigers, leopards, bears, and other wild animals confined to filthy, ramshackle cages and pens on his rural property outside Indianapolis.
After years of citations from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for violations of the Animal Welfare Act—including failing to provide animals with proper shelter, sanitation, feeding, and watering—the agency filed charges against Hill, and his federal license was revoked. The state of Indiana ordered him to relinquish all but three of the big cats. The Tiger Next Door chronicles Hill's years of buying, breeding, and selling big cats as well as "the curious, ethically murky world" of those who keep exotic pets.
"Ready …Set …Um, never mind …"
It seems quite possible that Animal Planet's upcoming reality series starring Mike Tyson might be knocked out of production. (Join us in our sorrow—not.) PETA has identified what might be a fatal flaw in the very premise of Taking on Tyson, which is scheduled to begin filming in Brooklyn next month. See, while pigeon racing is cruel to birds no matter where it takes place, in New York state it's also very likely illegal.
Our letter to Charles J. Hynes, Kings County district attorney, points out that gambling is generally prohibited in New York state—as are races using animals other than horses in which any bet, stake, or reward is involved. Translation: When it comes to racing pigeons in Brooklyn, all bets are off possibly illegal. What's more, trainers are prohibited from making money off such races, and this rule might very well apply to any compensation that Tyson is receiving from Animal Planet.
Considering its inherent cruelties, there's no question that pigeon racing should be illegal. Birds who are forced to race often struggle to survive extreme heat, hail, and thunderstorms, dodging both predators and cruel humans through grueling races that can be as long as 500 miles. Those who somehow do not succumb to exhaustion or injury and make their way home may still have their necks wrung by unsatisfied trainers.
Take a minute to write Animal Planet and politely let the network know that while you love shows like Whale Wars and Animal Cops—programs in which people go to bat for animals—a program in which people bet on cruelty is a bad hand for everyone.
Written by Shawna Flavell
In an effort to rebuild his image, Mike Tyson has a new Animal Planet series in the works, tentatively titled Taking on Tyson and slated to premiere in 2011. The former heavyweight fighter will use the program to showcase his passion for pigeons via his exploits in the pigeon-racing industry.
While we would never knock someone's love for these intelligent birds, Tyson's claim to care about pigeons is rather incredulous given that he chooses to tout using them in a "sport" that—like horseracing—exposes them to danger and death. In a typical race, the birds are taken great distances—sometimes as many as 500 miles—away from their homes and then released to see if they can find their way back. It can only be a traumatic experience, as evidenced by the fallen pigeons who succumb to storms, shotgun pellets, and collisions with high-tension wires and who are often found starving, exhausted, and a long way from home. Pigeons mate for life, and the likelihood that both partners will find each other again or that the bird who is released will be reunited with the one left in the coop is a crapshoot. For those banded birds who are found by concerned citizens or turned in to humane societies and have their bands traced, the voice on the other end of the phone is likely to say what we have been told directly, i.e., "Wring their necks, that's what we do with losers."
Mike Tyson likes to tell the story of the first time that he beat someone up, saying it was over someone wanting to hurt one of "his" pigeons. Well, in pigeon racing, he'll meet a lot of people he can beat up if that's the criteria, but if he really wants to rehabilitate his image, then the seedy underbelly of the pigeon-racing world isn't the ideal stage for him. If you'd like to contact Animal Planet to state your opinion on whether this show should air or if the network should stick to Whale Wars and Animal Cops, please send a polite message to Discovery Communications' viewer relations department.
Written by Logan Scherer
Are you as excited as we are about this?! Following up a string of victories for animals this week, a new TV series is coming to keep the party goin'! Whale Wars is the newest reality show from Animal Planet, and it features none other than our favorite sibling on the high seas, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. Do you know about these good folks who so deserve to have their own show? For 30 years they've successfully fought for the rights of sea animals the world over, using nonviolent methods of direct action. And starting this Friday at 9 p.m. E/P, we all get to join in on the adventure!
The Sea Shepherd site describes the show this way: "During Sea Shepherd's Antarctic Whale Defense Campaign: Operation Migaloo in 2007/08, Animal Planet had a camera crew on board a campaign that saved the lives of nearly 500 whales, leaving the Japanese fleet with less than half of their quota and costing them tens of millions of dollars." I literally "whooped" out loud the first time I read that.
Impressively, this was actually the third time the crew met its own quota of saving hundreds of whales. Mind you, this incredible work is being done in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. You read that right. Animals who should be protected are being slaughtered under the guise of "research." Since it seems that no government is willing to enforce the law, the crew members risk their lives by taking this responsibility upon themselves.
This show is both timely, in light of the great strides that have recently been made for animals, and heart warming, as it gives credit to unsung heroes. But just think of how many people the show will make aware of the plight of whales! I'm so looking forward to staying in on Friday nights!
You can read an exciting piece by Sea Shepherd warrior Pete Hammarstedt in Ingrid's new book One Can Make a Difference.
Written by Missy Lane
The following is a guest post from PETA Europe's Fish & Chimps blogger Alexia Weeks:
Avid Fish & Chimps fans were probably wondering why PETA didn't jump in with teeth bared after Kate Winslet posed naked on what looks like a real fur throw in the latest issue of Vanity Fair. But behind the scenes, we were busy at work contacting Kate—the beauty we've never, ever seen wearing animal fur.
So we sent a note to Kate pointing out how shocked we were to see photos of her posing with fur. And we were right to be shocked! We had a very prompt response from Kate's rep and we have been assured that Kate never wears fur (as we suspected!). She was actually told at the photo shoot that the very real fur was fake. And that's not the first time that this sort of thing has happened! PETA US has heard from countless celebs that sneaky stylists at photo shoots can be rather coy when it comes to fur and whether it's real or not. So it seems Kate was duped—and with so many convincing fakes out there nowadays, it is easy to mistake the dead animals for the fake ones.
So, who thinks Kate should get naked with a faux-fur throw for PETA?
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.
Follow PETA on Twitter!
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.