Written by PETA
The Montreal Canadiens' star enforcer, Georges Laraque, is brawny and brainy. He's vegetarian and steers clear of pigs, chickens, and other commonly consumed animals, a decision he made after seeing the animal-friendly feature film Earthlings. Not only that, but he teamed up with dozens of members of Concordia Animal Rights Association (CARA) this weekend to protest outside the North American Fur & Fashion Exposition of Montreal.
Written by Karin Bennett
Now that he's about to get out of jail, it looks like Michael Vick is trying to revamp his image, according to Advertising Age. But it won't be with any help from us.
PETA withdrew our offer to do a TV spot with Michael Vick last December when a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) report on Vick's dogfighting activities revealed that he enjoyed placing “family pets” in the ring with fighting pit bulls and that he laughed as dogs ripped each other apart. PETA believes that this revelation, along with other factors in the report, fit the established profile for anti-social personality disorder (APD), so in January we called on NFL Commissioner Goodell to require that Vick undergo a brain scan and a full psychological evaluation before any decisions are made about the future of his football career.
What can I say? You can't believe everything you read.
Written by Shawna Flavell
Bodies may not be buried at Churchill Downs, but with so many horses having drawn their last breath there after having been run to death, it might as well be a cemetery. And for two days it will be, because PETA has erected 265 headstones outside the racetrack this week.
Why 265, you ask? We included 263 headstones to represent the horses who have died on the track since last year's Kentucky Derby and whose names we know, one headstone for the approximately 832 other horses who have died but whose names are not known—because racetracks are so bad at reporting breakdowns and deaths—and one headstone for the approximately 12,000 thoroughbreds who are sent off to slaughter each year.
Churchill Downs is, of course, home to the Kentucky Derby and is where Eight Belles lost her life one year ago. Since the Eight Belles tragedy, Churchill Downs has made some reforms in the ways that horses are treated on its track, but banning the use of legal drugs to mask injuries hasn't been one of them. PETA is calling on the people who run the track to ban the use of all drugs in the week before a race. By bringing attention to the thousands of lost lives that don't make headline news, our display will hopefully inspire horse-racing officials to take action.
After all, by my calculations, the horse-racing industry has caused 13,095 horses to die this past year. That's enough to fill a cemetery plus some.
Update: Check out these pictures from the unveiling, then go browse more art by Dan Lacey, who painted the gorgeous picture of Eight Belles.
Curious about the names of the horses who have died on racetracks during the past year? Click here.
There are a lot of sexy individuals on People's Most Beautiful list (OK, to be precise, there are 100), but People's done us proud with it's number one: Christina Applegate.
We can tell you firsthand that Christina truly is beautiful inside and out. When she was 15, she learned about the horrors of the fur industry, and a few years later, she was caring enough to strip down for a PETA anti-fur e-card.
So congratulations, Christina! You deserve it. You are a beautiful person, with no lack of either passion or compassion.
Written by Amanda Schinke
F is for "fisherman":
noun 1 a person who catches fish for a living or for sport.
noun 1 a person ignorant of, oblivious to, or indifferent to the fact that he or she is inflicting pain by catching, suffocating, stabbing, and gutting fish; someone who is hooked on cruelty.
In light of a new study revealing that fish feel and remember pain, PETA Europe has sent a letter to the folks at Oxford English Dictionary asking that they change their definition of "fisherman" to the rather more accurate version above (that's the second one, in case you weren't sure).
Because a fish sea kitten has a nervous system just as humans do, struggles against death, and has lips that are sensitive to the tearing of flesh caused by hooks, PETA Europe considers the Oxford English Dictionary's current definition of "fisherman" a little--ahem--insensitive. Don't you agree?
Leave a comment below with your suggestion for a new, more accurate definition of "fisherman."
PETA V.P. Bruce Friedrich is an energetic and relentless campaigner with a persistently positive outlook on life. He's also coauthor of the brand new, hot-off-the-press The Animal Activist's Handbook: Maximizing Our Positive Impact in Today's World. In the book, Bruce and coauthor Matt Ball suggest a variety of ways to live a meaningful life through effective and efficient advocacy. In their activism journeys, both men made a few mistakes along the way, and they share their experiences with you so that you don't wind up making the same mistakes yourself!
Bruce was able take a minute away from his vital work for animals to answer a few questions for The PETA Files. I'm hoping that you find his responses as motivational as I did (be sure to check out the most memorable campaigning answer—it's my favorite).
Here Bruce is in his own words:
Your dedication to animal rights is inspiring. Where do you look for inspiration? To activists in the field, holding down full-time jobs and still finding time to leaflet, hold demonstrations, keep "Vegetarian Starter Kit" stands stocked, write letters to the editor, post links to videos online, and so much more.
What's one of your most memorable campaigning stories?My wife, Alka Chandna, and I used our Christmas vacation in 2003 to do a string of anti-KFC protests. On Christmas Day 2003, we dropped off big bags of coal at the homes of KFC's CEO, president, and senior VP for public affairs because they'd been naughty to animals. An over-zealous police officer arrested us for trespassing, even though we were just walking up to the door—like Girl Scouts. The guy was screaming at me about trespassing, and I kept saying, "There's no sign saying we can't be here, we're just knocking on his door to ask him to be nice, rather than naughty, this year." The entire thing was caught on the squad car's video system, and the officer was wearing a microphone, so I have a video of the arrest, and it's just too funny. This was trespass number one, so it's the equivalent of a minor speeding ticket. The guy was behaving like Rambo over the equivalent of going 56 in a 55 zone.
If you had the power to change one person's stance on animal rights whose would it be and why? I'd change Bill Gates into a hardcore animal rights activist, so that he would dedicate most of his billions to promoting animal rights. Everyone agrees that causing animals to suffer needlessly is immoral. Of course, eating or wearing animals is absolutely needless. All we really need to do is get people to live according to their values—to be consistent. But we need to educate people so that they think about this reality, and if we had billions of dollars to dedicate to the cause, we could create a vegan U.S. in a very short period of time.
What's one campaigning moment that made you want to say FML? I have a selective memory that focuses on the positive and forgets the negative, so Ingrid calls me Bruce Poppins. Anyway, I can't think of anything other than glorious campaigning moments. Even when things go wrong (like when our Japanese intern who spoke almost no English ended up in the back of a squad car at a demonstration—she was subsequently released without charge), I tend to find that funny rather than dispiriting. I ran into a tree on my bike commute into work today and got a massive gash under my eye and on my shoulder, and all I could think was, "I sure am glad I still have my eye."
Is your family supportive of your animal rights activism? What would you say to someone who feels his or her family isn't supportive? My family is very supportive. I would say not to worry about your family. So many people spend inordinate amounts of time trying to change their family, even when it's clear that they are not going to change. Two things: 1) every action has an equal and opposite reaction. It's only natural that if you're pushing your family, they may push back, for a variety of reasons—they feel judged by you, they don't understand how you could make such a big change without them, whatever. Once you stop focusing on them, you may find that your family finds it easier to pay attention and come along, because once you stop pushing, they stop pushing back. 2) If you convert one person to vegetarianism, you save 100 animals per year, whether that is a family member or some stranger on the street. Take the energy you would have spent on your family and go convert 10 other people who aren't pushing back instead.
How hard is it to find vegan food on the road? What cities do you like or loathe because of their food options? I mostly eat from grocery stores, and I love peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, mixed nuts, bananas, and bags of pre-washed greens. I can find that stuff anywhere. The only place where I know the restaurants at all is D.C., where I've lived for most of the past 20 years, and I don't know too many here.
If you weren't working for animal rights, what would you be doing? Teaching disadvantaged kids in the inner city or running a homeless shelter (which I did for six years before I joined PETA) or working for Doctors Without Borders or some other global relief organization.
What is the most valuable piece of advice that you could give to someone who wants to start getting active? One person can make a massive difference, and that's deeply empowering—if you convince one person to adopt a vegetarian diet, you've just spared 100 animals per year from misery that is beyond our worst imaginings. A few hours spent leafleting, one letter to the editor, one good conversation, one vegetarian hotline bumper sticker on your car—there are so many things you can do, little and big, that will mean life or death for thousands of animals. Do it!
Looking for a bit more Bruce in your life (after that interview, aren't we all)? Head on over to our Action Center and listen to him on PETA's podcast. Oh, and then buy his book.
We can never resist a good birthday party … and neither can our friends over at PETA Europe! Yesterday, Selfridges—a European department store that continues selling foie gras despite public outcry—celebrated its 100th birthday, and PETA Europe, along with former Miss UK (and current vegetarian) Brooke Johnston, joined the party by unveiling Brooke's new "Selfridges: Force-Feeding Is Cruel" billboard.
Happy birthday, Selfridges! While your employees were inside gorging on birthday cake, somewhere ducks were being force-fed until their internal organs ruptured.
Sometimes, Mother Nature isn't entirely on our side when it comes to outdoor demonstrations. Luckily for us, caring citizens don't let a little rain stop them from getting the word out about animal abuse. Just check out all these pictures that were sent to us this week:
Thinking about getting active for animals? Well, don't let a gray day stop you! Check out PETA's Action Center and then hit the streets.
Written by Lianne Turner
Happy birthday to you!Happy birthday to you!Quit slaughtering the seals! Happy birthday to you!
Or at least that's what I like to think these caring people were singing when they stopped by Prime Minister Stephen Harper's home to deliver a few birthday balloons for his big 5-0.
Hold onto your hats, folks. The University of Michigan has been forced to pay back $1.4 million (yes, that's with seven digits) after it "accidentally" used federal grant money for experiments on animals that it continued long after its approval had lapsed.
The massive refund came to light after PETA filed a Freedom of Information Act request and uncovered documents indicating that U-M had violated federal regulations and guidelines on numerous occasions, including allowing animals to die from starvation and dehydration, performing unauthorized surgeries, and "inadvertently" throwing dozens of animals into a trash compactor.
One U-M experimenter injected a rabbit with an unauthorized anesthetic, which meant that the rabbit had to be euthanized after suffering necrosis of ear tissue and trauma to the eye. In another incident, half a dozen animals died when the chamber in which their cages had been placed caught fire. Some of the animals died of smoke inhalation, while others drowned as their cages filled with water from the sprinkler system.
Most importantly costly, as it turned out, U-M was charging the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for the care of animals who were no longer enrolled in approved experiments. In a March 2007 internal investigation ordered by NIH, U-M determined that over a period of six months, there were 33 incidents in which experimenters continued to test on animals even though the experiments did not have the required approval from the oversight committee.
Unfortunately, this is what happens when the folks who are supposed to implement universities' so-called "animal care and use programs" just … well … don't, and when big, bloated bureaucracies like NIH—which gave U-M $423.2 million in 2008 alone—throw money at guys in white lab coats without bothering to check and see what they're actually doing with it.
We're now calling on NIH revoke the University of Michigan's "assurance," which allows U-M to receive federal funding to perform experiments on animals. Hey, it never hurts to ask, right?
Written by Alisa Mullins
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.
Follow PETA on Twitter!
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.