Written by PETA
A couple of months ago, we filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) urging it to make the California Milk Advisory Board (CMAB) stop misleading consumers about the way cows on dairy farms are treated. Now, John Robbins—son of the founder of the Baskin-Robbins ice cream empire and the Pulitzer Prize–nominated author of Food Revolution—has written a letter to the FTC in support of our complaint.
"As the only son of the founder of the Baskin-Robbins ice cream empire, I was groomed from an early age to take over the family business. However, once I became aware of the tremendous suffering of cows on dairy farms, the suffering of their calves, and the devastating impact that dairy production has on the environment, I instead committed myself to working for a more compassionate and environmentally responsible world," writes Robbins, whose decision to put his father's legacy to a compassionate cause has inspired many to ditch the pus for good.
Cows in the dairy industry do not typically wander along in green pastures like the Happy Cows ads would have consumers believe. The reality for cows who are forced to produce milk for human consumption is that most are crammed into huge sheds, where they wallow in mud and feces. They are forcefully impregnated again and again only to have their babies ripped away from them shortly after birth so that their milk—which is meant for their children—can be sold in supermarkets.
Tons of people have already taken action to help cows suffering on dairy farms—won't you do the same?
Thank you soy much!
Written by Logan Scherer
I love debunking tired, meaningless clichés, but here's one I've never been able to disprove: Everything is bigger in Texas. The state's latest colossus? The largest abortion clinic in the United States.
Planned Parenthood of Houston won't open its new facility—a 78,000-square-foot, renovated former bank—until April, but a coalition of pro-life advocates and religious leaders will gather in Houston on January 18 to protest the clinic. We'd like to bring some peace to all this debate by urging everyone to respect the sanctity of all life, so we're asking to erect our "Pro-Life? Go Vegan" billboard in the area.
A cruelty-free diet makes sense no matter where you stand on the abortion debate. Oh, and, yes, with all this obsession with breaking size records, my 5'4" of self-esteem is doing just fine, thanks.
Written by Logan Scherer
The aftershocks of Haiti's massive earthquake are still reverberating. The human death toll estimates are in the tens of thousands, but no one has a clue how many animals have been hurt or killed. We know that you are as worried as we are, so please know that we are monitoring the situation and looking for opportunities to help in case they arise. Of course, it is a terribly difficult situation: Criminal acts abound and can only increase, the likelihood of martial law looms, and there is a severe water shortage. The outbreak of disease from contaminated water and broken sewer systems is sure to follow. There are no commercial flights in and out of Haiti, and there is no functional SPCA or humane organization on the island. But we are receiving information from PETA members' families inside Haiti, and we will update you as to how you can help the island's animals if we find a way.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, PETA teams rescued more than 300 cats, dogs, birds, and other animals and helped care for thousands more at emergency animal shelters. Of course, every day is a bad day for animals who are not often on people's minds—like those in slaughterhouses and fur farms in the U.S. and overseas. Please, never forget them: They also need help. Meanwhile, please make sure that you and everyone you know is aware of how to protect your own animal companions by preparing for a natural disaster—before it strikes.
Thank you for thinking about animals in trouble.
I could go on and on about the reasons why animal testing is archaic and unnecessary, but instead of babbling like a brook, I'm just going to leave it at Exhibit A: the technological breakthrough at Hµrel. This company relies on its expertise in engineering and cell cultures to provide scientists with alternatives to animal testing. Hµrel has developed a three-dimensional surrogate human liver that scientists can use to study the breakdown of chemicals in the human body. This in vitro (test tube) human cell–based technology effectively mimics human organs and can be used to test cosmetics, drugs, and chemicals. By providing an accurate substitute for countless animals who are experimented on and killed each year, Hµrel's 3D liver not only marks a major advancement in the scientific community, it has also made Hµrel the recipient of our Proggy Award for the Best Scientific Innovation of 2010—the first Proggy of the new year!
We're not the only ones wowed by Hµrel's humane technology. The folks at L'Oréal are so impressed with the potential of this human surrogate that they're collaborating with Hµrel to develop a model to test chemicals for their potential to cause skin allergies. Allergic reactions in the skin involve the interaction of cells from two tissues—skin and lymph nodes—and this has complicated efforts to develop a non-animal model. Hµrel's technology is perfectly suited for this complex task, and an accurate, non-animal skin sensitivity test will ensure consumer safety without harming animals.
Fortunately for us, many companies out there have ditched animal testing for good. So tell us, what cruelty-free companies are you supporting?
Sorry, Internet, but even as a blogger, I have to say that there's no better way to start the morning than to get newsprint-smudged fingers as you flip through the Times. Actually, I stand corrected: The only thing more satisfying is opening up this morning's New York Times to see an ad that exposes Ringling's abuse of baby elephants.
Didn't get a copy of this morning's paper? Check out the full-page spread here:
Written by Logan Schrer
Here's a promising development in the midst of the recession: Charles River Laboratories—one of the world's largest suppliers of animals for experimentation—has announced that it is closing up shop in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts. We're hoping these cutbacks mean that the cruel, callous industry giant will continue to suffer.
With its long history of abusing animals, Charles River Laboratories should really be called Hell's Kitchen—its facilities have literally cooked live animals to death. News broke last week of a monkey at a Charles River lab in Reno who was "literally boiled alive" last year after he was left in a cage that was put through one of the facility's high-temperature cage washers (think industrial-sized dishwasher)—despite the fact that lab workers claim that the cage was checked three times (?!). This followed an incident in 2008 when 32 monkeys under Charles River's "care" were baked alive after a thermostat malfunction—even though the procedure in place to alert staff apparently had been followed. No one even discovered the deaths until the following morning. PETA filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Agriculture about that negligent oversight, and Charles River was eventually fined $10,000.
Charles River officials attributed all these horrific and easily preventable deaths to "human error." We agree. But the human error responsible is the conscious decision that experimenters and their suppliers make every day to go to work and torment animals. Judging from its desperate downsizing, we foresee a future in which the folks of Charles River will need to find a different path of employment.
Thanks to Joe Mohr for creating and sharing this (anti-) beef cartoon. What else do you think you might find in a hamburger patty?
I've always had a serious addiction to lip balm, lip gloss, and lipstick. When I was six, I stopped talking to my then-BFF, Sandy, for an entire week because I was convinced that she had stolen my peach-flavored Lip Smacker. The thief turned out to be Sue, not Sandy. It ended with my very first, very awkward formal apology (thanks, Mom). Many years later, I won a contest on a ValuJet flight for carrying the most tubes of lipstick in my bag. I had 15. I know what you're thinking: "Fifteen tubes of lipstick in one purse? That's bananas!"
Speaking of bananas, get your tutti fruttis all rooty for this week's "Win-It" Wednesday prize, the Super Glossy Sweets Set, courtesy of e.l.f. cosmetics:
It's a set of three shiny, cruelty-free flavored lip glosses in Tropical Breeze, Berry Bliss, and Passion Punch. If I could add one flavor and turn the trio into a quartet, I'd want guacamole. A swipe of Tropical Breeze, followed by a swipe of Guacamole—I'd go on a mini vacation every time I applied, which would be once an hour, on the hour.
Now tell us which fantastic flavor you would crave most in a lip gloss in the comments section below. Make it sweet or savory—just make sure it's of the vegan variety. The five people whose responses make our mouths water the most will each win a set.
Written by Karin Bennett
PETA recently learned that two of the giraffes the late Michael Jackson used to house at Neverland Ranch have died while living under the apparently neglectful eye of Tom and Freddie Hancock—owners of Banjoko Wildlife Preserve, a pseudo-sanctuary in Page, Arizona—and that at least one of the giraffes may have died as a result of improper feeding and/or exposure to cold temperatures.
Back in 2008, we wrote a letter to Michael Jackson urging him to take responsibility for four giraffes who once lived at Neverland Ranch after we received many complaints from citizens concerned about the giraffes' well-being at their new home at the preserve. At the time, a former volunteer caretaker for the animals contacted us claiming that the giraffes had been kept in 15-foot-by-15-foot "temporary" enclosures since the day they were purchased in 2007.
Shortly before his death, the King of Pop started to clean up his act by planning to leave animals out of his London tour. Now, we're asking the city of Page to confiscate the two remaining giraffes and relocate them to a facility that can provide them with appropriate care before it's too late. Oh yes, we wanna be startin' something.
If you had asked me last week to name my favorite Richard Gere moment, I would have taken a long pause before finally deciding on that scene in the 1980s movie American Gigolo when he shimmied in his boxers as he paired his ties to shirts. What can I say? I've always appreciated a man who cares about his appearance.
Much more so, I appreciate a man who speaks out in favor of compassionate actions for animals—so it makes perfect sense that my new favorite Richard Gere moments happened very recently and in real life. According to the New Zealand Herald, the actor, who is a Buddhist, marched with hundreds of monks and activists to support efforts by Tibetans for a Vegetarian Society to transform Bodhgaya, in the Indian state of Bihar, into a vegetarian zone. "Bodhgaya is a pious place and I want to come here again," Mr. Gere said, adding, "I am with the people who have launched this campaign."
It makes perfect sense that Bodhgaya, believed by Buddhists to be where Gautama Buddha attained enlightenment around 500 B.C., be "vegetized" in keeping with Buddhism's message of peace. After all, opposition to the taking of life is a core principle of Buddhism.
The founder of Tibetans for a Vegetarian Society, Tenzin Kunga Luding, notes that Gere's participation in and support of the march "has helped the cause a lot," and he adds, "This most sacred land will act as a model for other places to emulate and will impart more positive influence for the well-being of all humans, animals, and the environment."
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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.