Written by PETA
Well, we tried—but our permit to set up a factory farm display on the steps of the U.S. Capitol has been denied. Apparently, the Capitol Police thought that such a display posed "significant public health concerns about the possible spread of the H1N1 virus."
Hmm. That just might have been our point.
So, it's not safe to allow members of congress and lobbyists to be exposed to factory farms, but it looks like tough luck for the millions of Americans in rural areas who have to live amidst the poisonous waste of factory farms. And although the president has declared swine flu a national emergency, the government continues to prop up the industry that caused the crisis (to the tune of $62.6 million in one year alone—with the possibility of $250 million more in the coming fiscal year).
What do you think?
Written by Amanda Schinke
With the passing of Sen. Edward Kennedy, animals—and the people who care about them—have lost an outstanding advocate and friend.
In his more than four decades in the Senate, Kennedy proved to be a strong voice for the protection of animals. Animal-friendly legislation championed by Sen. Kennedy included bills to curtail the overuse of antibiotics on farmed animals, end commercial whaling and the illegal trade in whale meat, prevent the slaughter of horses in North America, validate non-animal methods for testing products and chemicals, and raise the penalty for forcing dogs, roosters, and other animals to fight to the death from a misdemeanor to a felony.
In recent years, Sen. Kennedy's own dogs, Splash and Sunny, were constant presences to Capitol Hill, and Kennedy authored a children's book from Splash's viewpoint called My Senator and Me: A Dog's-Eye View of Washington, D.C. In the wake of evacuations following Hurricane Katrina, during which people were often forced to leave beloved companions behind, Sen. Kennedy co-sponsored the PETS Act, calling for disaster plans to include animals. "I wouldn't leave the house without Sunny and Splash," he said. "It's no surprise that so many people in New Orleans flat-out refused to be rescued if they couldn't take their pets with them."
As a tribute to this extraordinary man, let us keep his love of animals alive and carry on his legacy of helping them by practicing kindness and compassion toward all animals every day. For more information and ideas, please visit HelpingAnimals.com.
Written by Shawna Flavell
It's time once again for my favorite PETA Files feature: our Vivisector of the Month contest. Each and every month, I read up on two of our nation's most vile vivisectors and let you, our dear readers, decide who is the worst by voting.
Let me begin by recognizing Marina Picciotto, whose primate addiction studies and mouse torture won her the undesirable title of Most Vile Vivisector last month. Her competitor was much-derided Allyson Bennett. Congrats, Marina—I'm certain Yale and all of New Haven are glad to have you!
This month, we have another two truly bizarre candidates … just see for yourself.
David Gozal of the Kosair Children's Hospital Research Institute in Louisville has a bit of a problem. He is fascinated by erections—mouse erections, to be exact. He passes his days in the lab getting up close and very personal with little boy-mice, studying their erections and even severing their spinal cords so that they cannot move while experimenters observe their penises.
In his most recent study, "Erectile Dysfunction in a Murine [Mouse] Model of Sleep Apnea," which was funded in part by the federal government, Gozal measured the number of erections and ejaculations in dozens of mice after placing them in a chamber to deprive them of oxygen. Some mice were also given tadalafil, an erectile dysfunction drug. They were then killed by puncturing their hearts with a needle, and their testicles and penises were cut out of their bodies for examination. Gozal concluded that oxygen deprivation makes it more difficult to get an erection and that tadalafil, which is already prescribed (as “Cialis”) for humans with erectile dysfunction, works in mice.
Daniel Traber of the University of Texas Medical Branch Department of Anesthesiology has made a living for almost three decades by burning animals' skin off. In a recent experiment, he either torched mice with a Bunsen burner until more than 40 percent of their bodies was charred or forced them to inhale smoke. A few select mice got the full treatment—they were both burned and forced to inhale smoke. Some died during the experiment, and survivors were subsequently killed.
In another study, Traber heated an aluminum bar to nearly 400 degrees with a Bunsen burner and roasted the skin of live pigs on it for 30 seconds, creating a series of deep burns that covered 15 percent of their bodies. In order to repair the deliberately injured animals, Traber and colleagues then removed skin from the pigs' legs to graft over the areas that had been burned off. After living through all this torture, the pigs were killed. Again, this is only his most recent work—Traber has been burning, mutilating, and killing sheep for years.
Who should win? The Children's Hospital Vivisector or the Bunsen Burninator? As always, let me help you decide by posing a question: Would you rather be molested, stabbed in the heart, and have your genitals torn out, or would you rather be roasted alive over a Bunsen burner, forced to inhale the smell of your burning flesh, and then killed?
It's a burning question, isn't it?
Written by Sean Conner
Like you, dear reader, PETA is concerned about the sad state of affairs in Washington. Never content to just sit around, though, we're doing our part to get the pork out of politics. And although congressional staffers are used to hearing from folks who have a beef, we arrived without any at all! OK, I'll stop with the puns ...
As those of you who frequent The PETA Files surely remember, every year, PETA heads to Capitol Hill to celebrate National Veggie Dog Day by giving away those meatless treats—along with copies of our "Vegetarian Starter Kit." And if that's not enough to get the attention of those who stalk the corridors of power, there was Playboy Playmate—and PETA member—Lauren Anderson in a lettuce-leaf bikini.
As one might expect, this attracted some attention. Not only did the line stretch around the block, the media showed up in full force as well. (In case anyone wonders why we use tactics like lettuce-leaf bikinis, that's why.)
It wasn't all just food and frivolity, though. We used the occasion to make these Beltway insiders aware of the connection between meat-eating and global warming. As Ms. Anderson put it, "If people thought about the environmental destruction, cruelty to animals, and unsavory-sounding body parts that go into meat hot dogs, they'd be switching to veggie hot dogs faster than you can say 'inconvenient truth.'" Amen! And pass the mustard.
And, yes, we have pictures:
Burberry representatives denied entry to Bruce Friedrich this morning, an action that we believe clearly violates the rules that govern publicly traded companies. Bruce, appearing as a proxy, had registered in time, confirmed his registration, and showed proper identification and a copy of his proxy voucher card to officials—but to no avail.
One might suspect that the problem here is that Friedrich is an outspoken opponent of the use of fur in Burberry’s clothing, and they don't want their shareholders to hear what he has to say.
Bruce was slated to speak and urge shareholders to end the company's use of fur, as stated in the shareholder statement that PETA Europe had sent directly to Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts as well as their chair and chief designer. Included with the statement was video footage showing fur-bearing animals caught in traps, animals chewing off their own limbs to escape, and animals on fur farms crammed in tiny, filthy cages until they were killed by gassing, anal or vaginal electrocution, or having their necks broken.
Since Burberry is based in the United Kingdom, where cruel fur farms are illegal, they have resorted to importing animal pelts from Finland. Says Friedrich, "Burberry might not want its shareholders to hear about the company's support for cruelty to animals so extreme that if the practices it supports were conducted in the United Kingdom, they would be illegal, but it has no right to shut out debate".
Posted by Sean Conner
Greetings, true believers! If you're like me, your batarang is all up in a bunch this summer with all the amazing comic-book movies coming out. Between Iron Man, The Hulk, and now The Dark Knight (which opens today), it's like we've died and gone to nerd heaven. So in the spirit of the superhero season, check out PETA's official list of the Top 10 Animal-Friendly Superheroes of all time!
9. 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.
8. 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.
6. 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!
5. Batman—Think of the Caped Crusader, and the first thing that comes to mind is his cape, of course. Animal lovers reveled when they learned that Batman's cape was made of cruelty-free pleather—not leather. This superhero batvocate made pleather cool again, and PETA loves him for it.
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 Dan Shannon
Chances are that if you live in Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, Georgia, or Mississippi, you've shopped at a Winn-Dixie. Well, you'll be glad to know that this top grocery chain, which operates 520 stores in the South, has just made some improvements in how some of the chickens and pigs killed for its products are treated.
Now before anyone jumps all over us, yes, we are vegans; yes, we spend buckets of money trying to get other people to go vegan; and yes, as long as one chicken is going to be killed because we aren't able to prevent people from buying and cooking birds, we want that death to be as painless as possible.
Following about five months of discussions with PETA (and there was that matter of the shareholder resolution we submitted to the company), Winn-Dixie has adopted an animal welfare plan. The company has agreed to do the following:
Winn-Dixie is following in the footsteps of other major grocery and restaurant companies that have recently made animal welfare improvements after working with PETA. Those companies include Safeway, Harris Teeter (another large Southern grocery chain), Burger King, Carl's Jr., and Hardee's.
While this certainly doesn't mean that the eggs and meat at Winn-Dixie (or any other chain) are produced without causing animals to suffer (check out Meat.org to see what I mean), it does mean that the worst abuses have been eliminated for some of the animals. And we welcome any improvements in animals' living and dying conditions!
If you'd like to thank Winn-Dixie, drop them a line through their online customer service form.
Posted by Christine Doré
The latest podcast on the PETA front is "Vegetarianism in a Nutshell," presented by PETA Vice President Bruce Friedrich. This talk is seriously fantastic and inspiring. If you're already veg, it'll empower you. And if you're not, well … hell, it'll probably convert you!
Bruce discusses the impact of vegetarianism on our lives and the environment, and the whole thing just makes me want to dig into my fave vegan dish and give KFC the bird!
Seriously, though, sit back … put your nonleather-shoed feet up … and take a gander (or a listen) at our newest podcast.
Our good friends over at PETA Asia-Pacific got some unexpected attention during a protest outside a KFC restaurant in Sydney, Australia, when the police showed up offering the protesters blankets and a free ride to the station.
The three ladies—who had crammed their bodies into a wire cage to protest the cruel methods KFC uses to raise and slaughter the billions of birds that fill its buckets each year—were wrapping up the peaceful demonstration when the swoop occurred (swoop, geddit?) and arrested the activists for ... indecent exposure. Of course, there had been no indecent anything, and the ladies were later released. An apology is in order.
The demonstration was a magnificent follow-up to Pamela Anderson's Australian rendezvous last week, when the actor hand-delivered a letter to the managing director of KFC Australia's parent company telling him exactly what she thinks of KFC suppliers' scalding birds to death.
All our Australian supporters are pushing for KFC restaurants to adopt the same animal welfare standards now applied to chickens killed for KFCs in Canada. The PETA Asia-Pacific crew reached even more blokes and sheilas! Well done!
Check out photos from the demonstration below!
Posted by Jennifer Cierlitsky
We at PETA like to say that cruelty is the secret ingredient in KFC's buckets (what, with chickens being tormented before they're killed and abused in other horrific ways). But it turns out that at one KFC, there was another secret ingredient: urine.
Yep, you read that right: Chicken was urinated on before being sold to a customer. Feeling peckish? (That's British for "hungry"—geddit?)
A Nebraska police officer and his family have won $40,000 from a KFC outlet that served them food tainted by an employee's spit and urine. The couple sued the offending company when their two sons, 4 and 7 at the time, became ill (one violently ill) after they ate the food. The younger boy vomited for hours and was hospitalized for gastroenteritis and dehydration.
The lawsuit also stated that "[e]mployees maintained 'special servings' of food reserved for ... officers. The 'special servings' had been urinated in or spit in by KFC/Taco Bell employees. In fact, defendant's employees maintained a particular serving pan for use in creating 'special servings' of food plus employee urine."
Finger licking good? I'll pass.
Posted by Grace Friedan
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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.