Written by PETA
When I hear "Christmas spectacular," I think snow, lights, and a tree—really, it doesn't take much to make me happy. For the twisted folks at Loro Parque in Spain, however, it's apparently not Christmas without some animal exploitation. Wholesome and heartwarming? Yeah, right.
There was nothing festive about the death of a captive orca's trainer during the rehearsal for the zoo's Christmas performance. The whale hit the trainer, who drowned after being underwater for several minutes.
Freedom must've been first on this orca's Christmas wish list. Orcas swim up to 100 miles a day in the open ocean, so confining them to tanks in theme parks is like confining a person to a bathtub. Captured from their ocean homes by boats that chase orca pods to shallow waters so that the animals can be surrounded with nets that are gradually closed and lifted onto the boats, some orcas die from shock or stress. Others slowly succumb to pneumonia when water enters their lungs through their blowholes. After they are torn away from their homes and families, these animals are then forced to learn circus-style tricks from trainers who withhold food and isolate animals who refuse to perform.
At the top of my New Year's wish list? A PETA theme park in which the only "animals" forced to perform are the animatronic kind.
Written by Logan Scherer
Between the Trollsen twits and cruel reality show "celetestants", I'm soooo ready to say, "Bye-bye, '09. Hello, 2010."
We at PETA are feeling optimistic about the New Year. But before we ring it in, let's have a look at 2009's low points and our predictions for 2010's animal-friendly hot topics and trends.
Now let's all raise our glasses to compassion for all!
Written by Karin Bennett
Word on the Internet has it that Kevin Jonas—the oldest of the Jonas Brothers—and Danielle Deleasa were married this weekend (that sound you hear is the collective weeping of the world's 16-year-old girls), and the newlyweds treated their lucky guests to a vegetarian smorgasbord: According to the chef, there were "stir-fried Asian vegetables, Italian rice, risotto, pasta, and a full vegetarian station." (And that other sound is the collective sigh of the world's vegetarians who were not invited.)
I get it—with 400 invitations, mine must've gotten lost in the mail. So where are Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn when you need them? Seriously, I've still got my Gaga wig from Halloween—I totally could've crashed joined in this feast!
The party may be over, but the celebration continues—and not just in endless repeats of "Burnin' Up" on my shuffle. We're sending the newlyweds a thank-you note for making sure that they didn't forget about their vegetarian friends and family on their big day. We're also sending a wedding gift (not belated, BTW—you have three months after the wedding)—a copy of PETA's Vegan College Cookbook—because, you know, it's perfect for couples just starting out, struggling to make ends meet (wink) or for that couple who is always on the go.
We know that the Boston Strangler did it. So did Ted Bundy and Jeffrey Dahmer. Like so many others, all these serial killers tortured animals before "graduating" to humans.
That link has raised suspicions about an Oklahoma teen, Nikolas Kerr, who is accused of torturing and killing a 2-month-old kitten. A witness claims that she saw Kerr set the kitten on fire, repeatedly slam the tiny animal into a piece of furniture, and swing the cat by the tail. When asked why he did it, Kerr allegedly said, "'Cause I'm a sociopath." Those actions and words have piqued the interest of prosecutors who are trying to determine the extent of Kerr's involvement in the death of a homeless man known as "Bicycle Bob."
The link between violence against animals and violence against humans is well-established: It's why PETA developed a special booklet for law enforcement officials and prosecutors. It's also why actor Julie Benz—who played the wife of a serial killer who killed animals before moving on to people on Showtime's hit show Dexter—spoke out in a PETA public service announcement. And it's why we always urge anyone who knows of a violent crime against an animal to report it to authorities, pronto.
In preparation for the World Day of Peace on January 1, 2010, Pope Benedict released a statement calling for a more "sober lifestyle" and a move "beyond a purely consumerist mentality." We've got two words for the pope to add to his call to save the environment: Go vegan.
Raising animals for food wastes resources and devastates our environment. Going vegan curbs climate change and promotes everything Jesus required of his followers: compassion and love toward all beings. We've written a letter to Pope Benedict asking that the Vatican become a global leader on the path to (green) peace by serving only vegan meals.
Even the pontiff himself has spoken out against the factory farming industry and its un-Biblical ways. "Certainly, a sort of industrial use of creatures, so that geese are fed in such a way as to produce as large a liver as possible, or hens live so packed together that they become just caricatures of birds, this degrading of living creatures to a commodity seems to me in fact to contradict the relationship of mutuality that comes across in the Bible," he said in an interview in 2002.
The bovine pope has been cruelty-free his entire life—we think it's time for his human counterpart to follow suit. So what do you say, Your Holiness? Won't you give peas a chance?
When morning's chill is frigid and frightful, my husband and I can get into some pretty intense debates about whose turn it is to walk Charlie and Lucy. OK, I'm exaggerating: We just play a few rounds of rock-paper-scissors—and usually wind up walking them together.
But in Spain's Catalonia region, a heated battle is growing over a proposed bill to ban bullfighting, initiated by a citizens' lobbying group that opposes the hideous "sport." Of course, other politicians want to keep the bloody "tradition" alive.
We're happy to report that the bill just passed a secret vote in the regional parliament (yay!). According to news reports, it was such a sensitive issue that some legislators actually used newspaper to cover their hands when they voted. Secret voting is rare in the Catalan legislature—so the cruelty behind bullfighting really hit home for the representatives who voted their conscience in defiance of tradition.
But the vote was close (67-59), and the bill still has a long way to go: Debates are sure to intensify before the final vote, which is several months away. If the bill passes, Catalonia will be the second region in Spain to outlaw bullfighting—the Canary Islands did it way back in 1991.
Of course, there's no question that my husband and I will call a truce long enough to sign this petition to end the Running of the Bulls. Won't you do the same?
Every year, PETA's offices are flooded with calls about dogs who are relegated to the backyard by guardians who refuse to let them inside. These dogs are left outside in freezing temperatures, often with nothing more than a plastic barrel or a wooden lean-to as shelter from the ice, sleet, and snow. For the last two years, a third-grade class at Samuel Staples Elementary School in Easton, Connecticut, has worked hard to raise funds for PETA's doghouse program, which provides warm homes for lonely backyard dogs. The students donate their leftover lunch money, parts of their allowance—even the quarters that they find in couch cushions. With all their combined change, the students were able to raise more than $800 for dogs last year!
It was such a great idea that TeachKind—PETA's humane-education program, which I coordinate—is launching a brand-new school fundraising program called Change for Chained Dogs.
This program makes it easy for schools to get students active and empower them to make a difference for animals. Every school that signs up gets an introductory letter, stickers, leaflets, and a sign to print out and tape to collection cans. So far, more than 500 schools—including Samuel Staples—have signed up for the fundraiser. It's a great opportunity for students, families, and communities to work together to help dogs in need.
We hope that even more schools will get involved in this exciting program, so if you have kids or know any educators, encourage them to sign up their school to host a Change for Chained Dogs fundraiser! And if you want to make a contribution yourself but don't know any kids, don't worry—you can always donate directly to PETA's doghouse program to help give lonely dogs a warm home this winter.
Written by Liz Graffeo
Joined by some fabulous Bollywood besties, PETA India celebrated its 10th birthday last week with a gala, at which vegan delights abounded and awesome melodies sounded. Hosted by superstars and longtime PETA supporters John Abraham, Hema Malini, Anoushka Shankar, Raveena Tandon, and Atul Kasbekar, the epic event featured performances by Ash Chandler and ishQ Bector, and lucky guests got the best goodie bags ever—cruelty-free chocolates and cosmetics included.
Happy birthday, PETA India!
Did you hear about the head-turning, headline-capturing, and climate-defying event that hit D.C. this weekend? No, not the record-breaking blizzard—we're talking about Saturday's opening of "Naked Ambition: 20 Years of PETA's Sexy Celebrity Ads" at the Govinda Gallery in Georgetown.
While many people in the D.C. area were bundled up inside, Twilight star Christian Serratos, who flew in from California to be at the event, was right when she said of the weather, "It will ruin everything but PETA's determination." In fact, the weather seemed to provide PETA campaigner Michelle Cho with some inspiration—to take PETA's campaign back out into the street, where it first started.
Cho, in nothing more than a G-string, was accompanied by an underwear-clad Jack Ryan and Serratos—who remained fully clothed on the insistence of her mother—for a bit of frolicking fun in the snowdrifts just outside the gallery. The three of them literally stopped traffic—monstrous snowplows, to be exact—and captured the attention of plenty of curious onlookers.
Fifty people braved the snowstorm to attend the show, which features photographs of Pamela Anderson, Tyra Banks, Dennis Rodman, Alicia Silverstone, and tons of other celebrities—including, of course, Serratos herself.
The blizzard came and went, but the "Naked Ambition" exhibition will be at the Govinda Gallery until January 9. Holiday road trip, anyone?
When rock deity Chrissie Hynde says "I'll Stand By You," she really means it.
When we told Hynde that we were resurrecting our McCruelty campaign, she pulled out all the stops, starting by unveiling her new "i'm hatin' it" ad in Salt Lake City, where throngs of people were thrilled to see the powerful image. But the folks at Cleveland Outdoor Advertising weren't so thrilled when we submitted the Ohio native's ad to them as a billboard. According to PETA's advertising agent, Cleveland Outdoor Advertising "didn't feel comfortable" with the ad.
Well, often the truth isn't comfortable, and in this case it's painful—scalding, actually. The chickens who are killed by McDonald's suppliers are dumped onto conveyer belts, shackled upside down, and then run through an electrically charged "stun bath" before their throats are cut and they are immersed in defeathering tanks full of scalding-hot water—often while they are still conscious and able to feel pain. Join Chrissie Hynde in urging McDonald's to make it suppliers adopt controlled-atmosphere killing, a less cruel method of slaughter. It would cost the corporation nothing to ask its suppliers to make the switch, which would spare millions of chickens from enduring extreme suffering.
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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.