Written by PETA
1/26 Update: You can call me soothsayer. Avatar has sunk Titanic and is now the highest-grossing movie of all time!
Confession: While I was watching Avatar, I found myself mumbling, "I want to go to there," as I grabbed at the three-dimensional floating mountains in front of me. But the best films are those that entertain while also sparking important conversations, and Avatar is certainly one of those films. Through a mastery of CGI and an unparalleled script, Cameron beautifully shows that all nature is interconnected and that all beings—no matter their species or race—deserve to be treated with kindness, respect, and dignity.
For making a film with an overarching message of decency, understanding, and compassion—as well as breathtakingly beautiful CGI that heralds a new era in filmmaking (one that we hope marks the coming end of the use of live animals in entertainment)—we have awarded James Cameron our 2010 Proggy Award for Outstanding Feature Film.
Avatar has already become the second-highest-grossing film of all time worldwide (the number one blockbuster of all time is Titanic), truly making Cameron the "King of the World." My prediction: Cameron will beat his own global box-office record with Avatar (and pick up an Oscar or 10 on the way) long before I'm done learning to speak Na'vi.
Written by Logan Scherer
Nothing ruins a road trip more than seeing an 18-wheeler driving down the highway crammed tight with animals destined for slaughter. From state to state, regardless of weather, animals are carted from factory farms and feedlots—where they suffer short, miserable lives—to slaughterhouses, where their throats are cut or they are scalded alive in baths of hot water. In transit, they are forced to face the blazing summer heat or freezing winter winds while being deprived of food, water, or rest—and sometimes they become the victims of highway accidents.
Today, we're thrilled to report that at PETA's request, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has instructed its 8,000 inspectors in procedures to help enforce the 28-Hour Law—a federal statute requiring that cows, pigs, and other farmed animals be fed, watered, and allowed to rest after 28 hours on the road. As a result of this regulatory nudge, transport conditions will improve for the estimated 50 million farmed animals who are annually transported for long distances and denied their basic necessities.
The FSIS's notice to its inspectors helps address the deplorable treatment of animals in transit from factory farms to slaughterhouses. A former pig transporter told PETA that pigs are "packed in so tight, their guts actually pop out their butts—a little softball of guts actually comes out." In hot weather, many cows who are on their way to slaughter collapse in the heat, and in the cold, cows sometimes freeze to the sides of the truck until workers pry them off with crowbars. Like cows and pigs, chickens are usually given no food or water and are shipped through all weather conditions. People who spot chicken-transport trucks on the highway frequently report seeing the heads of dead and dying chickens protruding from the crates.
We applaud FSIS for informing its inspectors of how they can report suspected violations of the 28-Hour Law for investigation. Of course, the only true way to prevent the suffering of animals used for food is to go vegan, but with these landmark actions, what was once a nightmarish and often fatal trip will hopefully become a little more bearable.
Simon Cowell's Idol judgments come out in quick-witted doses, but he knows that the decision to adopt an animal companion is a weighty one that must be given long and meaningful thought. When Simon heard that X Factor winner Alexandra Burke wanted a dog, he apparently convinced her to slow down and reconsider, telling her that she wouldn't have time to care for a dog properly.
With more and more celebrities succumbing to a fad that means dogs get passed around like knickknacks or abandoned in animal shelters, Simon's useful and kind message is a life saver: The responsibility of living with animal companions—who require veterinary care, love, and tons of real attention—is one that everyone should take seriously.
Ricky Gervais' comedic gold at Sunday's Golden Globes was almost enough to help me get over Jane Lynch's loss. The news that prompted my speedy recovery? Hearing that every nominee got a copy of our new DVD, "Glass Walls," in their gift bags. Narrated by Paul McCartney, who presented the Best Animated Film Globe to Up, "Glass Walls" goes inside slaughterhouses to show people what really happens to animals before they end up on dinner plates:
The only celebrity with a voice as delightfully inimitable as Paul's? Alec Baldwin, whose narration of "Meat Your Meat" remains iconic for proud PETA supporters everywhere and who took home his third (!) Golden Globe for his brilliant work on 30 Rock. At this point, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association should really just call the category Best Performance by Alec Baldwin and nominate Jack Donaghy's five best episodes.
The situation in Haiti is obviously bleak for all living beings. PETA is asking rescue and relief agencies on the ground in Haiti—some with rescue dogs from the U.S. and Europe who are helping locate trapped people—to please spare a moment if they can to aid any suffering animal by offering scraps, drops of water, or any other emergency assistance possible. We are offering funding for any emergency services, including for euthanasia to put badly injured animals out of their misery. We are appealing to every kind member of earthquake specialist teams as well as EMS personnel, news reporters, and any other person who is in everyone's debt already for going about the vital task of searching for and rescuing human beings.
All living beings—no matter what their species—deserve the kindness of others. We also ask aid personnel who come across animals who are suffering without any hope of being saved to attempt to be strong and to quickly—and as humanely as possible—put them out of their misery.
Keep checking our blog for updates on the disaster in Haiti and for ways you can help the country's animals.
The following is a guest post from Joyce Poole, co-founder of Elephant Voices—an organization whose aim is to increase awareness of the intelligence and wonder of elephants. Joyce has a Ph.D. in elephant behavior from Cambridge University and has studied the social behavior and communication of elephants for more than 30 years. She was an expert witness in the recent trial against Ringling Bros. & Barnum and Bailey Circus. This post originally appeared on ElephantVoices' blog.
In the final days of December, in the case against Ringling Bros. Circus for their abuse of elephants, Judge Sullivan ruled against animal welfare advocates on technical grounds. He did not address the merits of the case nor the expert opinions that we spent years preparing and weeks presenting in court.
This is a hollow victory for Ringling; It certainly isn't a vindication of their brutal training and management practices. The trial brought into the public domain the depth of abuse practiced by the circus. This particular battle has been lost, but although Ringling might think they have achieved a victory, they have in fact been significantly wounded. The war will yet be won as more and more people give their own verdict.
Ironically, the judgment was announced just days after additional abuse of baby elephants surfaced—this time one of Ringling Bros.' own employees blew the whistle, ashamed by his own treatment of baby elephants. You can read and see some of the horrific photos in the Washington Post's coverage here.
I reviewed reams of evidence against Ringling Bros. & Barnum and Bailey Circus as an expert witness, so I am well acquainted with their abusive treatment of elephants. Yet, the late Samuel Haddock's description of the babies' screaming and the harrowing images of their straining against the ropes and chains and being poked, prodded, and manhandled brought tears to my eyes.
The only reason why a bullhook has a steel point is to inflict pain. Deprivation, force, and pain form the basis of the training that baby elephants undergo to perform in the circus. Thereafter, restraint, deprivation, and attempts to avoid pain keep elephants in circuses under constant control.
Elephants in circuses are mere commodities for human entertainment: Prevented from behaving naturally and forced to perform behaviors never seen in nature, they are bought and sold, poked and prodded, separated from companions, confined, and chained on concrete and on trains. It is insincere to allow children to believe that elephants in circuses are living an acceptable life when the evidence for the opposite is overwhelming.
Ringling's treatment of elephants is outdated, ignorant, and inhumane. Progressive Norway intends to ban the use of elephants in circuses. India has already done so. Isn't it time for America and other so-called enlightened countries to follow suit?
Written by Joyce Poole
My husband choked back his laughter the one time I mentioned that I was a cheerleader way, way back in high school. I wasn't surprised or offended by his reaction—not only did I retire my miniskirts a long time ago, I've also always been a klutz. But back in those days, I could do the splits, no problemo.
Well, I couldn't stop myself from doing cartwheels after I watched PETA's End of Year 2009 video. Miraculously, I did so without knocking over any lamps, but you might consider clearing any breakables before you view.
From celebrity ads and PSAs to our Ringling Bros. undercover investigation and every single demonstration held by our supporters, PETA was a force to be reckoned with in 2009. If that video doesn't have you convinced, check out our first-ever map of accomplishments. Head over there, click around, and read all about the victories, protests, investigations, and other events that helped make a difference for animals last year.
Now that we've cheered PETA's efforts and accomplishments during 2009, let's look ahead: Tell us how you'll be helping animals in 2010.
Written by Karin Bennett
Some of my best friends r bitches... Its ALWAYS fake fur. I don't do the real shiz. My rekords called ANIMAL!I dont do fur!duhh—Tweet from Ke$ha
I wake up every morning feeling like Ke$ha (clearly, the radio station my alarm is set to has flawless taste). And now that she's blasted recent reports that the fur coat she wore on Wendy Williams' talk show was real, via Twitter, she and fellow fur-shunner Gaga will always be my go-to ladies when it comes to synth-pop.
With this Billboard music chart-topper speaking up for animals who are skinned alive for the fur industry, I'd love to see Ke$ha bare it all in one of our anti-fur ads. A Ke$ha-Gaga double feature, anyone?
This is my confession, Usher. When I read that you'd fallen victim to a robbery over the holiday season, I felt bad for you. Someone ripped off your unreleased music and you lost more than $1 million in jewelry! Tough blow. But I hope you realize that you weren't the only victim. Considering that the original owners of the fur coats stolen from your car—the animals—were probably skinned alive, I'd say you got off lucky.
Instead of stealing other animals' skins, I'd love to see you make a donation we can all benefit from. It's been three months since Glee's "Confessions"-"It's My Life" mash-up, and we're dying for more.
So, to sum: Glee donations = good, fur = bad. Robbery = hassle, being skinned alive = horrific. I hope that you will listen when we urge you not to replace the fur coats and to take our pledge to be fur-free.
After all, they call you U-S-H-E-R R-A-Y-M-O-N-D—it would be great if we could call you C-O-M-P-A-S-S-I-O-N-A-T-E.
There are plenty of movies about basketball that will make any true sports fan groan: BASEketball, Space Jam, The Air Up There … but I'd willingly sit through a marathon of those movies before setting foot into a gymnasium that allows "donkey basketball" to take place.
Donkey basketball is cruel and, just as the name suggests, more ludicrous than anything the movies could ever concoct. During this "sport," which some schools use as a fundraiser, high school students ride donkeys, and the animals are subsequently dragged, kicked, and punched by participants who have no animal-handling experience. The game sends the message to kids that it's OK to torment and humiliate those who are weaker than they are. And in order to keep the donkeys from having "accidents" on the court, the animals are often deprived of food and water for hours before the "games."
Beating, starvation, and thirst—sounds like a ball, right? Yet Streator High School in Illinois plans to hold one of these "games" as a fundraiser next Monday. We've already written to the school urging the superintendent to cancel the game and implement a policy against the use of live animals for entertainment. Now we are asking you to urge Streator High School to cancel this barbaric event. If you know of any schools or organizations in your area that intend to host a donkey basketball game, ask them for a permanent ban on the use of live animals for entertainment as well.
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
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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.