Written by Jennifer OConnor
Nearly 10 years after she
was liberated from the sweltering hell of a Mexican circus, Alaska, the bear who was the
impetus for the eventual seizure of all seven bears held captive by the Suarez Bros. Circus, has died at the Maryland
Zoo in Baltimore. Estimated to be in her late 20s—old age for a polar
bear—Alaska was euthanized because of kidney failure.
It almost sounds like an Onion spoof—polar bears in a Mexican circus. But it was no joke.
The Suarez Bros. Circus—which, coincidentally, is in the news this week after a
handler was mauled to
death by a tiger—was hauling the dejected bears around Mexico and the
Caribbean in cramped cages without access to water for swimming, something that
polar bears desperately crave. A whistleblower leaked videotape showing the
overheated bears pacing in small cages and panting constantly. The bears where
struck and whipped in order to force them to perform ridiculous tricks.
PETA dug into the bears' backgrounds and
uncovered evidence indicating that Alaska may not have been born at Zoo Atlanta,
as the circus had claimed on her import application. After we reported our
suspicions to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), the service used DNA
testing to prove conclusively that Alaska's identity had been "stolen,"
a violation of federal law. The FWS fined the circus $120,000 and sent Alaska
to the Maryland Zoo, where she lived with fellow polar bears Magnet and Anoki.
When Alaska first arrived
at the zoo, she was sick, lethargic, filthy, and, her caretakers soon learned,
deaf. Free at last from the cramped cage, she explored her surroundings and
swam in a pool for the first time in years. Rancid scraps were
replaced with wholesome, healthy food. There were no more frightening and
confusing tricks. Alaska's battered body and broken spirit began to heal.
Alaska is an inspiring example
of how animals can recover from years of deprivation if given the opportunity.
Her courage and dignity should stand as testament to all the animals whose
health and sanity are sacrificed in the name of "entertainment" in circuses. May she rest in peace.
Written by Jeff Mackey
In advance of the Ringling Bros. circus' stop in Baltimore
later this month, Jada
a proud native of Charm
has written to Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake urging her to make sure that the
city's absolute ban on the use of any "mechanical, electrical, or manual
device that is likely to cause physical injury or suffering" to induce or
encourage an animal to perform is enforced, according to Baltimore City Health
Code § 10-407(a), to prohibit Ringling from using bullhooks
In her letter, Jada explains, "Unlike me and other actors, elephants
do not choose to perform. They are often violently coerced by Ringling's
trainers with bullhooks, which are jabbed into the sensitive areas of their bodies."
Using bullhooks on elephants in Baltimore would be against
the law—not that the violation would be a first for Ringling, which was slapped with a record $270,000
for abuse of animals in circuses, stemming from dozens of violations of the
Animal Welfare Act all the way back to 2007.
Join Jada Pinkett Smith, Cloris Leachman,
and many more kind people in demanding
action to protect the elephants abused by Ringling.
Written by PETA
As you may know, we have a little obesity epidemic here in the U.S. There's been some debate over how to handle the problem—parents are getting arrested, schools are issuing fat report cards, billboards are being erected, and even Spider-Man is getting involved.
Now, the Baltimore City Public School System has taken a page from Sir Paul McCartney's playbook in its efforts to fight childhood obesity: "Meatless Mondays." Instead of serving greasy, fat-laden hamburgers and "chicken fingers," school cafeterias in Baltimore will be dishing up fresh, organically grown fruits and veggies and eliminating meat completely every Monday.
For its dedication to providing healthy meals for students, PETA is awarding the school system our Proggy Award. Congratulations, Baltimore public schools!
Meatless Mondays not only provide healthier meals for students but also help protect the environment and save animals' lives. PETA's humane-education division, TeachKind, will be working to implement this program in schools across the country—but remember, you don't have to be in school to incorporate Meatless Mondays into your own life.
Written by Liz Graffeo
Just in time for the release of Saw V and the craziness of the Halloween horror-movie season, PETA will be running one of our creepy KFC ads in movie theaters in Baltimore and Denver for the next four weeks. This will really make horror-movie lovers think about the horror that chickens go through just to end up in a greasy KFC bucket.
While people cringe in their seats at the blood and guts on screen, hopefully they'll think back to the ad and realize that the same bloody butchering scene goes on in slaughterhouses every day.
Check out the ad here and tell us what you think:
Written by Christine Doré
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.
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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.