Written by Michelle Kretzer
It's a happy new year for ducks and geese after Great Britain's House of Lords pulled foie gras from its restaurant menus. PETA U.K. had
appealed to the lords, pointing out that it was entirely inappropriate to be
serving a dish that is so cruel that it is illegal to produce in the U.K. Baroness Young
of Hornsey responded by saying, "Just as we do not tolerate cruelty to
dogs or cats, so we should reject inflicting pain and suffering on birds."
In the foie gras farm exposé that he narrated for PETA, Sir Roger Moore explains that workers ram hard metal pipes down ducks'
and geese's throats several times a day and force-feed them grain, causing
their livers to swell to up to 10 times their normal size. The pipes sometimes
puncture the birds' throats, and many animals suffer from ruptured internal
organs, fungal and bacterial infections, and liver failure. Those who survive
the traumatic force-feeding process are slaughtered, and their diseased livers
are sold as a "delicacy." This is obviously a highly traumatic,
recurring experience for the birds, who stop grooming and withdraw, shaking,
into the far reaches of their pens if they can.
The House of Lords
joins countless other high-profile British venues in banning foie gras from the
menu, including the House of Commons, the Royal Shakespeare Company, Wimbledon,
Lord's Cricket Ground, high-end retailer Harvey Nichols, and all the residences
of His Royal Highness Prince Charles.
Written by PETA
After a dog was painfully caught in a steel-jaw trap and a cat was nearly killed by a Conibear (body-gripping and drowning) trap in Gibsons, British Columbia, the town did the right thing and banned all steel-jaw, body-clamping, and snare traps. Gibsons Mayor Barry Janyk said he was surprised to hear that his town was the first in Canada to have such a comprehensive law, because it just seemed to make so much sense.
Indeed, common sense would tell us that traps and snares used to catch animals killed for their fur are all cruel. Steel-jaw traps (for which trappers use the misleading, PR-friendly term "leghold") slam shut on an animal's limb, instantly ripping through flesh and muscle, sometimes even bone. The jaws often cut down to the bone as the animal struggles to free the mutilated limb, sometimes reduced to having to twist or chew the leg off to escape, much like Aron Ralston, the real-life mountain climber whose story of cutting off his own arm was told in the movie 127 Hours. The animal can struggle in excruciating pain for days before succumbing to exhaustion, exposure, dehydration, blood loss, or predation.
And it isn't only the animals trappers target who suffer―just as in Gibsons, dogs, cats, and "non-target wildlife," including birds, are often the victims of these indiscriminate torture devices, and because they aren't used for their fur, they are disparagingly labeled "trash catch."
Arizona, California, Colorado, and Washington have banned or restricted trapping. Contact PETA for information on how to convince your legislators to ban steel-jaw traps too.
Written by Michelle Sherrow
Update: The British Columbia SPCA has issued a gut-wrenching report about finding the decomposing bodies of the approximately 100 dogs who were dumped in shallow graves after being stabbed and shot at a failing dog-sledding operation. Read more here.
A company that operates dogsled tours of Whistler, British Columbia, reportedly killed 100 dogs last year when business slowed after the Vancouver Olympics. The killings came to light after an employee of Outdoor Adventures Whistler filed a claim for compensation for post-traumatic stress disorder that he says he suffered as a result of being told to shoot dozens of dogs or cut their throats and then dump them in a mass grave. The British Columbia SPCA is investigating and calling for a criminal investigation.
Sadly, this is not an isolated incident. Mushers routinely abandon, shoot, bludgeon, or drown dogs when they become ill, don't run fast enough, or are simply unwanted. In 2005, it was revealed that the largest dogsled tour operation in the U.S., Krabloonik Kennel in Aspen, Colorado, was shooting and killing as many as 35 dogs every year. A Krabloonik employee defended the killings, saying, "This is part of the circle of life for the dog-sled dog."
The deaths of these dogs serve as a tragic reminder never to patronize dogsled tour operations. With the Iditarod coming up, be sure to tell everyone you know about the cruelty inherent in dogsledding.
Written by Michelle Sherrow
Just weeks after we told you about the slaughter of 100 dogs by a dogsled tour operator in British Columbia, 14 dogs used to pull sleds near Southend, Saskatchewan, have been killed after one of the dogs, who had been temporarily let off her tether, attacked a 4-year-old boy. The boy was hospitalized, and the dog was subsequently hit by a car and killed. The 13 other dogs were shot by their owner for reasons that remain unclear.
When they aren't pulling sleds, most dogs used to pull sleds are kept tethered on short ropes or chains or confined to small pens. They are deprived of everything that is natural and important to dogs, such as exercise, mental stimulation, and companionship. Not surprisingly, dogs kept in such conditions often develop psychological problems—knowing they have no means of escape, they become intensely fearful of anyone who approaches, even a small child, and resort to "fighting" (i.e., biting), since flight is not an option.
This tragedy serves as yet another reminder never to patronize any dogsled races or rides, and if you see a company promoting dogsled rides, explain that it will not get your business as long as it promotes cruelty to dogs.
A meat processing plant in British Columbia found itself in deep doo-doo after a whistleblower let it slip that the company had covered up test results that found dangerous E. coli in a product sample. E. coli resides in animals' intestinal tracts and ends up in meat when—and there's no nice way to put this—their guts are ripped open during slaughter and their feces spill out onto their flesh, contaminating it.
The company's response was, well, crappy. Instead of wiping up its mess, it decided instead to a) call the whistleblower a stoolie, b) make its consumers responsible for cooking the poop-tainted meat enough to kill the pathogens, and c) drop its federal license, since provincial regulations don't require it to test for E. coli.
I can't decide which new slogan the company should adopt, "Quality is job number two" or "Manure—it's what's for dinner!"
In the U.S., there's a movement afoot to bring food safety procedures flush with current needs, but anyone who tells you that meat is safe to eat is full of … well, you know. Or as PETA's Dan Mathews put it, "Chances are good that unless you choose vegetarian, you're eating the 'poo poo platter.'"
Written by Jeff Mackey
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.