Written by PETA
Update: Since originally posting this, we were contacted by a representative of the family of two of the victims and asked to stop our campaign out of respect for the families. We are announcing that we are pulling the campaign out of deference to the family's wishes, although past victims of tragedies (and their families) have supported our educational campaigns. Our billboard was intended to turn a tragic and preventable occurrence into something positive by stopping further tragic and preventable heatstroke deaths. However, we understand the concerns of the family and will not be putting up our billboard in Sedona.
After a jury turned up the heat on self-help guru James Arthur Ray and convicted him of negligent homicide in connection with the deaths of three people who overheated in a Sedona, Arizona, sweat lodge, PETA hopes to erect a billboard in the sizzling Southwest town to remind people of the dangers dogs also face in the heat.
On a 90-degree day, the temperature inside a car can reach 160 degrees in 10 minutes. If you see a dog in a parked car on a warm day, call the police immediately. Don't leave until help arrives.
Written by Jared Misner
Last week, we told you about Tucson, Arizona, restaurant owner Bryan Mazon's plan to serve lion tacos as part of his "Exotic Taco Wednesdays" promotion. Apparently, thousands of people took to Facebook to ask Mazon to reconsider. And he did! Mazon announced that his restaurant will not be serving the king of the jungle after all.
Now that a lion has been saved from slaughter (or possibly from being shot on a cruel canned hunting ranch), you might want to take a moment to thank Mazon for making this lifesaving decision. Written by Michelle Sherrow
A Tucson, Arizona, restaurant owner has decided that the best way to drum up business for his taco stand is to serve lion meat. Hasn't he ever heard of coupons? About six months ago, Bryan Mazon, owner of Boca Tacos y Tequila, started featuring what he calls Exotic Taco Wednesdays, during which he serves up turtle, kangaroo, alligator, python, and other exotic animals. Now, in a move that we're pretty sure would make Mufasa toss him right off of Pride Rock, Mazon wants to serve tacos made with lion meat.
As appalling as this idea is, it gets worse: Those tacos may include someone's former "pet." Lion meat in the U.S. comes from lions who have spent their lives in backyard cages, zoos, pseudo-sanctuaries, roadside menageries, and circuses. When the novelty of keeping them wears off or when zoos need to make room for cute new babies, lions are sold at auction, where they may be purchased by slaughterhouses or canned hunting ranches.
Mazon says he has heard from protesters and people who want to know if serving meat from exotic animals is legal. (Unfortunately, it is, if the species in question isn't endangered.) "In all reality, what I want is just people to know that I'm here," he said. "That's the way to do it." Really? Funny, because I bet loads more people have heard of yummy and meat-free Boca burgers than have heard of you. Hmmm.
Written by Michelle Sherrow
OK, we confess. Our area of expertise is registration papers for dogs. And dogs shouldn't need documentation to have a place in our homes and communities. That's the point we're making by displaying our new billboards in the Copper State in the wake of the controversial anti-immigration measure there—though it could apply anywhere else in the good ol' USA.
You know the kind of papers we mean: The ones that the AKC gives out to prove that a dog has "pure bloodlines." Every year, breeders produce more and more purebreds even as millions of wonderful, healthy, loving animals must be euthanized in animal shelters because there aren't enough homes for but the tiniest fraction of them. We hope that you will join us in decrying registration papers for dogs!
Written by Jeff Mackey
Here's another reason not to visit zoos and circuses: The lions you gawk at today could end up on a restaurant menu tomorrow.
A restaurant in Mesa, Arizona, made headlines this week for serving lion-meat burgers as part of a promotion related to the World Cup in South Africa. CNN reports that the meat was supplied by an Illinois butcher who was sentenced to six months in prison in 2003 for selling meat from federally protected tigers and leopards.
And where, exactly, did he get the lion meat? PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk gives her view—and reminds meat-eaters that lion burgers aren't really any worse than what's already on their plate (hint: factory farms are no walk in the park):
Lion meat served in restaurants could come from old lions who lived in roadside zoos or were forced to perform in circuses. They could be unwanted grown-up cubs from ever-prolific lions—ones the zoos love to breed, as any baby animal draws a crowd and boosts ticket sales. Or they could have been "hunted" in a fenced-in compound by cowards who want a trophy to hang on the wall—so that's what anyone who buys a lion burger is likely to be supporting. But the most manly meal is one that won't make you impotent by the time you reach 40—and that's one with no meat at all. So PETA's advice is to give a thought for the majestic old lions—not to mention the cows and chickens whose flesh is being served in the restaurant down the block: They went kicking and screaming to their deaths too.
Tell us what you think about this sordid story.
Written by Paula Moore
Many of you have been writing to and calling the University of California–Irvine to demand that it stop using animals in horrible classroom experiments, and your efforts have paid off. The university has just announced that it's ending deadly procedures using rats and replacing them with sophisticated computer simulations.
In the cruel neuroscience experiments conducted at the university, undergrads were drilling holes into rats' skulls, damaging their brains with chemicals, and forcing them to perform in behavioral experiments to assess the brain damage they inflicted. Then the rats were killed. Following a complaint filed by PETA that included suggestions for non-animal alternatives, as well as thousands of e-mails, letters, and phone calls from our supporters, UC–Irvine conducted a review of the experiment and decided that modern, effective non-animal methods will now be used instead of animals.
Because of this victory, as many as 200 rats will be saved from suffering each year.
This is great news, but animals are still suffering in other labs, so it's no time to rest on our laurels.
Case in point: At Arizona State University (ASU), baby rats are killed in classroom experiments in which students remove the animals' small intestines and uteruses. In other experiments, frogs' brains are destroyed when pins are stuck through their skulls, and rabbits have holes cut into their chests and are injected with various drugs before being killed.
Please take a moment to contact ASU and urge the school to follow the example of UC–Irvine by putting an end to the use of animals in classroom laboratories once and for all.
Written by Jeff Mackey
Yesterday, PETA's "Soy Cream" Ladies were willing to brave the 107-degree Arizona high-noon heat in order to bring delicious—and cruelty-free—frozen desserts to the citizens of Tucson. Not a single person who ventured past these lovely ladies was able to resist a free Tofutti Cutie or a sexy smile. The PETA gals gave away 200 of the frozen treats and even more leaflets explaining why dairy-free is always the way to go.
And remember: If it's iced coffee weather, it's absolutely Tofutti Cutie weather.
Written by Amanda Schinke
Murder is frightening business, but it is even more chilling perhaps when the crime is allegedly committed by a child who is not even old enough to grasp the consequences of the deed. Vincent Romero and Timothy Romans of Arizona were reportedly killed by Romero's 8-year-old son using a rifle much like the one that Romero had used to teach his son to hunt other living beings.
In a time like this, the community should take action. No child should be encouraged to be callous by being taught to kill, nor should children be instructed in the use of firearms, which enable them to wound, maim, and destroy. We have written to Gov. Janet Napolitano of Arizona asking her to ban children under the age of 18 from hunting. It makes them insensitive, damages the ecosystem, and causes the clear danger of familiarizing a child with gun use.
Though some firearms advocates protest that it is fine for a well-instructed child to wield a deadly weapon for the purpose of killing birds and deer, for instance, that is not the case. All school shooters had previously hunted and used guns. The FBI has found through interviews that 36 percent of murderers had tortured or killed animals before killing humans, and 46 percent had done so in adolescence.
We are asking Gov. Napolitano and the community to avoid "sticking to their guns," and to take this tragedy as a wake-up call. We can keep adults and children safe and healthy by not teaching kids to take "taking a life" lightly. You can read our letter to the Gov. Napolitano here.
Written by Sean Conner
When President-elect Barack Obama was born, numerous U.S. states would have prohibited his black Kenyan father from marrying his white Kansan mother. The Voting Rights Act was still a few years away, and the Supreme Court's order to desegregate schools was being fought tooth and nail. Look at how far we have come. Who alive then would have believed that just a few short decades later, Americans would elect their first black president?
We have broken through a significant barrier, but we cannot stop there. We must now break down the barrier that prevents us from caring about all the "others" who are "not like us," regardless of race, regardless of gender, and regardless of species.
Prejudice and oppression come about because of a belief that "we" are important and that "they" are not.
In the days of slavery, for example—not so long ago—some people honestly believed that African men did not feel pain as white men do, that African women did not experience maternal love as white women do. And so it was quite acceptable to brand men's faces with a hot iron and to auction off slaves' children and send them vast distances away from their mothers. All evidence was to the contrary, yet highly educated people defied their own eyes, ears, and common sense by denying the facts before them. Society accepted this horrible exploitation, and then, as now, it takes courage to break away from the norm, even when the norm is ugly and wrong.
Today, we have abolished human slavery, at least in theory. But we continue to enslave all the others who happen not to be exactly like us but who, if we are honest with ourselves, show us that they experience maternal love as we do, that if you burn them, they feel the same pain as we do, that they desire freedom from shackles as we do.
In their natural homes, elephants live in complex multigenerational social groups, mourn their dead, and remember friends and relatives from years past. Yet we tear them away from their families, confine them with chains to stinking and squalid boxcars, and beat them into performing ridiculous tricks for our amusement.
Rats are detested, yet even these tiny animals—who are mammals like us—have been found to giggle (in frequencies that can't be heard by the human ear) when they are tickled and will risk their own lives to save other rats, especially when the rats in peril are babies. Although no mouse or rat bankrupted our economy, invaded Iraq, or set poison out for us, we dismiss their feelings as inconsequential and somehow beneath our consideration.
Mother pigs sing to their young while nursing, and newborn piglets run joyfully toward their mothers' voices. On factory farms, a sow spends her entire life surrounded by the cold metal bars of a space so small that she can never turn around or take even two steps. Chickens who are raised for the table fare even worse. Their beaks are seared off with hot blades, and the birds will never enjoy the warmth of a nest or the affectionate nuzzle of a mate.
The time has come to stop thinking of animal rights as distracting or less deserving of our energy than other struggles for social justice. As Martin Luther King Jr. said, "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." All oppression, prejudice, violence, and cruelty are wrong and must be rejected no matter how novel the idea or how inconvenient the task.
And for those who think that we will never be able to achieve the dream of liberation from oppression, not just for human beings but for all beings, regardless of race or gender or species, I have just three words for you: Yes. We. Can.
Written by Ingrid E. Newkirk
I'm never entirely sure whether one should say "a historic day" or "an historic day," but either way, yesterday was effin' historic, thanks in large part to the good people of Arizona, who in the past have brought us Alice Cooper, the 1 and 7 Arizona Cardinals, and cactuses (that's all that I could come up with that Arizona's famous for on short notice—I'm sure they've got more stuff). But the point is that yesterday, by 61 percent of the vote, gestation crates and veal crates were banned in the state! The measure will protect countless pigs and calves from excruciating confinement in these torture devices. This was despite the morally bereft but well-funded ass-hats in the agribusiness industry spending $2.5 million to defeat the proposition.
In the meantime, the consistently popular and well-liked state of Michigan, which is historically responsible for Lake Michigan and Three Men and a Baby's Tom Selleck (OK, sorry, I suck at this), voted overwhelmingly to support the 100-year tradition of protecting mourning doves from target shooting. This is a huge victory for birds and a nice little slap in the face for people who think it's a good idea to frickin' shoot at doves.
So if you know anyone from Arizona or Michigan, be sure to thank them for making such huge strides on behalf of animals, and if you are from AZ or MI yourself, great work! Now see what you can't do about getting some proper celebrities from your states.
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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.