Written by PETA
Those poor folks in the airline industry have been hit from all sides in recent years, from heightened security after 9/11 to ever-higher fuel prices. Now, there's more bad news for airlines from our neighbours to the north (for the geographically-challenged, that would be Canada—and did you notice how I spelled "neighbours" with a "u," like proud veggie Bryan Adams and other Canucks do?). The Canadian Supreme Court has just ruled that airlines have to provide an extra seat—free of charge—to morbidly obese passengers.
While the airlines may see this as a blow to their bottom lines, we hope they'll think of it as an opportunity instead. To wit: Bring back the veggie meals! And not just as an option, but for all passengers.
You see, adult vegans are, on average, 10 to 20 pounds lighter than adult meat-eaters. So by putting veggie food on those seatback trays, the airlines can help keep their frequent flyers slim and healthy—and free up more seats for paying customers, as we suggested to the powers that be. You can see our full letter to Air Canada here.
Of course, even if you're not traveling by air this holiday season, it's good to know that there's a way to keep from carrying extra pounds into the new year. To learn more, check this out.
Written by Jeff Mackey
Yesterday, we mentioned an advertisement that we wanted to run in a Canadian newspaper in the wake of a shocking stabbing murder and possible cannibalism in Manitoba. Countless people have contacted us with their concerns, so we'd like to explain why we wanted to run the ad that no newspaper will touch with a 10' pole.
Yes, of course we were horrified (who wouldn't be?) when we heard the details of this barbaric, incomprehensible killing. And obviously, everyone's good thoughts go out to anyone affected by this violent act. That's all a no-brainer. Now, remember, PETA is known for being provocative—that's our job. The animals don't benefit from our silence. So our thought is always: How can we get people to see that despite their feelings about this kind of violence, they are often paying someone to do exactly what was done to the man on the bus, and worse, just so that they can eat a sandwich? Voila, the ad!
We see parallels between acts of violence against humans and cruelty to animals, since both spring from a common root. We understand that such comparisons may be uncomfortable for many people, but they're not inaccurate.
Responding to violence with anger is also natural, but just being angry solves nothing, does it? Real change comes about when we channel anger or sadness into action. By juxtaposing the shocking details of the murder with the fate of animals whose bodies are casually hacked apart to end up between two slices of bread, some good will come. Already, thousands of people have visited our site not just to scream at us but also to read about slaughterhouses, and many have watched "Meat Your Meat." If you can sit through that and not see the truth in what we are saying, what can we say?
Like humans, animals are made of flesh, blood, and bone. Animals in slaughterhouses experience terror in the face of death. They fight for their lives and struggle to avoid pain. Birds love and grieve. In light of animals' suffering, we are urging people to embrace nonviolence in the face of senseless violence—against all beings—by going vegetarian. If someone doesn't like it, maybe it is because it makes them feel guilty for just saying, "Oh, how terrible," about the bus violence but not wanting to face the fact that they contribute to violence as well. To think otherwise is simply supremacist.
Quick—what reason do people usually give for continuing to eat meat even after you've told them about all the awesome health, environmental, and animal welfare benefits of going vegetarian? If you said taste (as in, people don't want to give up meat because they like the taste), you win $1 million! Not really (sorry!), but it does mean that you've been doing a great job trying to get your friends and family members to take the cool vegetarian plunge—go, you!
Now, people who've explored veggie cuisine know that you don't have to give up anything in the way of taste or texture to go vegetarian, but guess what massive corporation is going to help spread that message to new audiences? If you said most KFCs in Canada, you don't win $1 million, but you are right (go, you, again!).
Most KFCs in Canada have just added a vegetarian chicken sandwich to the menu, and by all reports, the faux chicken is crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside, and delectably flavorful inside and out. YUM! (YUM! is actually the name of the company that owns KFC in the U.S., but they aren't serving it, dammit).
The company that coordinates the purchase of all chickens for Canadian KFCs has also entered into an agreement with PETA, which includes landmark animal welfare reforms that will substantially improve the lives and deaths of chickens killed for Canadian KFCs. And we at PETA have been so happy about this that we sent our Lettuce Ladies on a Canadian tour to pass out KFC's faux-chicken sandwiches to anyone eager for a taste. How's that for winningly fabulous, eh?
Here are some photographs from Montréal!
Posted by Grace Friedan
As I'm sure many of you are aware, circuses that use elephants and big cats in their acts are not on PETA's approved list! Circuses—including Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, for instance—use aggression, violence, and confinement to "train" elephants to perform asinine tricks. This often results in pain, suffering, and trauma. Some elephants go mad, while others become infected with deadly diseases, like a human strain of tuberculosis (TB). Quite a few suffer early deaths. (If this is the first time you're hearing that all is not glitter and glamour for animals in circuses, I think I've got some sad news for you about Santa Claus as well.)
However, while we PETA activists have become well equipped for tackling Ringling's lies to the public about their practices, up from the slimy depths slinks Carson & Barnes Circus.
Let me back up by telling you about Joy. She's from a group of elephants that the Illinois-based Hawthorn Corporation was forced to relinquish because of chronic Animal Welfare Act violations. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the elephants at Hawthorn accounted for 21 percent of known cases of TB in elephants, and it's likely that these elephants are infected with drug-resistant, latent TB. In fact, half of Hawthorn's 22 animal handlers tested positive for TB exposure.
While most of the elephants at Hawthorn went to sanctuaries, we fought the USDA tooth and nail to prevent Joy from going to Carson & Barnes Circus. An overreaction on our part? Heck no! One of our incredible undercover investigators exposed cruelty so vicious that it brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it. Elephants shocked with electric prods and repeatedly hit with bullhooks become so frightened that they trumpet and recoil from the trainer's vicious attacks.
This is the routine nightmare of elephants in their "care." They're tortured. Yet somehow these depraved animal abusers are still in business and were allowed by the USDA to acquire Joy with the understanding that they'd never use her in their traveling show or for any sort of public contact because the USDA determined that the Hawthorn elephants posed a danger to the national elephant herd and public health.
Then! Less than a year after they got Joy, Carson & Barnes turned right around and submitted a request to the USDA to use her anyway for "educational demonstrations and possibly for elephant rides." Here's the USDA's rather irritated response:
As you might recall, you had several conversations with Dr. Elizabeth Goldentyer, Eastern Region Director, Animal Care, in March and April 2005 regarding EAF's [the circus's Endangered Ark Foundation, which is nothing more than a breeding facility to supply Carson & Barnes with more unwilling performers] willingness to be a donee for Joy. In each of those conversations, you, among other things, agreed on behalf of EAF not to allow Joy to travel or be in contact with the public. Therefore, EAF's plan to use Joy for "elephant rides" or any other exhibition that involves public contact or travel would not be acceptable to [the USDA].
Yeah, these carnies really care about the animals, eh? They will stoop so low as to risk the health of Joy, other elephants, and little kids just to make a buck off elephant rides.
Boo-yah! Little C&B thought they run with the big dogs in janky dirty dealings? But remember what we told you the five fingers said to the face? SMACK!
Posted by Missy Lane
Al Gore admitted to an audience at a political blogger conference that he may, indeed, be bad for the environment and guilty of contributing to global warming. Why? Because he just can't seem to stop eating meat, which is more harmful to the global warming crisis (which Gore is known for being a teeny bit fanatical about) than all of the world's cars, trucks, SUVs, and planes combined!
According to Ezra Klein at Prospect.org, Gore said, "It is true that it would be healthier for us as individuals and as a planet if we consumed less meat. I acknowledge that. … I myself am a meat eater and maybe that's had some effect" (emphasis mine). How did he go from acknowledging that vegetarianism is better for individuals and the planet to saying that maybe his choice to eat animals has some negative effect?
Without committing to any changes in the present, Al Gore explains that he "plead[s] guilty" and that we must "walk before we can run." Seriously? He doesn't know how to walk the walk on this issue? Have we not been clear enough with this guy? We'd love to love you, Al, but please stop clinging to the one thing that is so devastating for the world while asking everyone else to drop their bad habits.
What's next, M.A.D.D. beer cozies sized to fit in your car's cup holder? Ugh.
Posted by Sean Conner
Remember that advertisement for the U.S. Army that said that folks in the Army do more before 6 a.m. than most people do all day? I was reminded of that when I reviewed some of the successes scored by the phenomenal PETA Asia-Pacific team. Check out what these superheroes for animals accomplished during a recent three-week span:
Stay tuned for future victories!
Posted by Jennifer Cierlitsky
Like the rest of the entire world, I went and saw The Dark Knight this weekend, and also like the rest of the entire world, I was impressed with this darker take on the Batman mythos. I'm all for having Heath Ledger win the Oscar, and my superhero-comic-loving-nerd-patrol side could gush for hours about the intensity of this movie. But my animal-protector soul had a serious problem with a few scenes. Batman beats dogs—who knew?? P'shaw! And to think we gave him a spot on our coveted Top 10 Animal-Friendly Superhero list!
While I love that The Dark Knight lived up to its name by exploring the noiresque Frank Miller-inspired themes of Gotham's protector, they didn't need to make Batman into a dogphobic man! Batman is an icon, a superhero genius that beats up gun-toting thugs using only his iron fist of justice—KA-POW! He looks damn good in pleather while owning the streets, yet in The Dark Knight, he was punching out dogs left and right. Sure, it was self-defense, but doesn't the man with the James Bond gadgets know anything about peanut butter treats and deflecting devices?
Because of this serious misstep for what's otherwise a masterpiece, we've decided to take all the write-in votes for Hellboy seriously, knock our batvocate pal off the list, and replace him with the kitten-cuddling man in red. Check out our NEW and improved list of the top 10 animal-friendly superheroes:
10. Hellboy—This superhero may be someone that would make you cross the street if he came your way (the red skin and horns might be a bit intimidating), but he's just a big teddy bear with a love for kittens (and many successful attempts to save them).
8. Black Panther—As the leader of the African nation of Wakanda, the Black Panther has banned the evil White Gorilla Cult from his country. Members of the cult seek to gain power by killing one of Wakanda's rare white gorillas, bathing in their blood, and eating their flesh (um, gross). The villain known as Man-Ape gained his superpowers by doing exactly that—incurring the wrath of the Black Panther and becoming one of his greatest foes.
7. Superman—In a one-shot "PSA comic" entitled "Superman: For the Animals," Supes rescues a kitten from being thrown off a bridge by a group of kids named (seriously) Ballser, Charlie, Donuts, and Eightball and, in the process, teaches everyone a valuable lesson about not picking on anyone weaker than you—including animals.
5. Thor—In the Ultimate Avengers animated movie, we find Thor out at sea with a group of activists protesting whale slaughter. If only his fellow Norwegians in the real world got the picture that whaling is a thing of the past!
4. Beast Boy—Everyone's favorite Teen Titan also happens to be vegan (and not just because he's been hanging out on peta2.com like pretty much every other teenager). You would be, too, if you had the metamorphic ability to turn into any animal and therefore had a little compassion for the ones that get eaten.
2. Wolverine and Jean Grey—In X-Men Unlimited #44, Wolverine catches three neighborhood boys in the act of torturing and killing animals for kicks—and offers to return the favor on behalf of his furry friends. Using her psychic powers, Jean Grey instead makes the boys experience in their minds the pain and suffering that they caused to their innocent victims. In the next issue … Colonel Sanders!
1. Wonder Man—In Civil War: Frontline #5, part of Marvel's epic Civil War story arc, Wonder Man is interrupted on his way to an important function by two S.H.I.E.L.D. agents looking for answers about a mysterious aquarium store bombing (read the book). The important function? A PETA banquet. 'Nuff said.
Posted by Christine Doré
If I were to list the most interesting experiences I've had in my 26 years of life, I'd say that eating a meal of vegan fried chicken with the president of the company that coordinates the purchasing of chickens for all Canadian KFCs at the PETA HQ—in the midst of our bitter five-year battle with the chicken chain—would make the top 10.
That was back in December. Six months later, I'm happy to report that our bread-breaking (along with negotiations, dozens of e-mails and phone calls, and a meeting in Toronto that preceded my "chicken" dinner) was successful: PETA has officially ended our Kentucky Fried Cruelty campaign in Canada. Our decision came with a new animal welfare plan that will affect all chickens killed for KFCs in Canada.
For one thing, 100 percent of the chickens killed for Canadian KFCs will be purchased—through a phase-in program—from suppliers that use "controlled-atmosphere killing" (CAK), the least cruel method of bird slaughter available. CAK works by replacing birds' oxygen with a mixture of nonpoisonous inert gasses to gently put them "to sleep." It may sound horrible—because killing animals for a fleeting taste sensation always is—but for animals killed for food, it's a 180° turnaround. Gone will be the days of broken bones, abuse by workers (because with CAK, workers never handle live birds), electric shocks, and live throat slitting and scalding.
The conditions for animals on farms will also be improved. In addition, the company that coordinates the purchasing of chickens for all Canadian KFCs will encourage the chicken companies supplying Canadian KFCs to move away from the cruelest breeding and farming practices and will also form an animal welfare advisory council.
But I haven't even gotten to the best news yet. That vegan fried-chicken meal that I ate with the head honcho in December might not be his last. Most KFCs in Canada will now be adding a vegan chicken item to their menus. That means that at least 65 percent of KFCs in Canada will now have a totally cruelty-free option (ask for the item, called the Classic Vegetarian Sandwich, in a wrap and with no mayo to make it vegan). Not too paltry, huh? (Get it?)
As for our campaign against KFC, it continues in full force everywhere else. In fact, I sent a letter to the CEO of KFC's parent company, Yum! Brands, today urging him to make the same changes that are being made in Canada.
Thank you to everyone who helped us win this historic victory by staging protests, writing letters, and forwarding videos (among other things).
To everyone who has yet to help: Lend a hand by logging on to KentuckyFriedCruelty.com and signing our petition urging KFC to improve animal welfare worldwide.
Posted by Matt Prescott, Assistant Director of Corporate Affairs
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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.