Written by PETA
Last week, a former employee of a Pilgrim's Pride slaughterhouse in Alabama took his work home with him and went on a killing spree (you know, the kind involving humans—the kind that there are actually laws against). Is it so shocking that someone who kills for a living would be violent off-duty, as well? Statistics show that counties with slaughterhouses have higher violent-crime rates than other counties, which is why we sent a letter to Gov. Bob Riley of Alabama asking him to require that slaughterhouse workers receive empathy training and that cameras be installed in slaughterhouses.
Maybe it's just me, but it seems obvious that slaughterhouses would be linked to violent behavior. Pilgrim's Pride is infamous for employing cruel workers, some of whom were videotaped stomping on chickens' heads, ripping off their beaks, and slamming them against walls in an undercover PETA investigation. We hope that Gov. Riley will take our advice to help prevent future killings—of both humans and nonhumans.
Written by Lianne Turner
When animals receive the attention they deserve from TV networks, it's a grand occasion. HBO has once again stepped up to the plate—remember when the network aired I Am an Animal, which followed PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk in her daily work to save animals? Well, tonight, the network will be airing Death on a Factory Farm, so set your reminder now. It will also be available through On Demand.
This hard-hitting documentary follows a hog-farm investigation and gives viewers a rare glimpse at the process of trying to bring cruelty-to-animals charges against the meat industry.
As often happens, a tip was received from one of the farm's employees who claimed that workers were killing pigs by hanging them with chains. The bizarre part is that the investigator recorded the owner's son stating that the "euthanasia" guidelines followed by the farm are approved by and posted on PETA's Web site! Needless to say, it took about five minutes for our lawyers to put out a letter demanding an apology. If this investigation rings a bell, here's why: We featured it on the PETA Files in fall of 2007 when Iowa veterinarian Dr. Paul Armbrecht defended these hangings as acceptable and stated that kicking, dragging, and dropping sows off a 4-foot ledge—routine practice at this farm—are appropriate methods of transporting animals. And wife-beating is great discipline.
Tune in tonight and then come back tomorrow and leave us a comment letting us know what you thought.
Written by Jennifer Cierlitsky
As a lifelong Red Sox fan, I'll be the first to admit that baseball "curses" are a bit overblown. All that the infamous "Curse of the Bambino" ever did was sell a trillion copies of a certain curly-haired sportswriter's books. The Red Sox didn't lose all those years because Babe Ruth was putting a voodoo hex on them from beyond the grave—they lost because they didn't get big hits in big at-bats, field worth a damn, or pull Pedro after the seventh inning when he was serving up more meatballs than an IKEA food court. Not that I'm still hung up on that or anything.
But I digress. Perhaps you heard that a long-lost statue of our arch-nemesis Colonel Sanders was dredged out of the Dotonbori River in Japan earlier this week, supposedly ending a 24-year curse on the Hanshin Tigers, whose fans tossed the statue in the river in the first place. Can't say I blame them. Well, the folks over at KFC are now offering the statue to the Chicago Cubs as a way to break the team's own "Curse of the Billy Goat," stemming from an incident in 1945 when a fan and his companion goat (yep) were tossed out of Wrigley Field's bleachers because of the goat's unpleasant odor.
Today, PETA wrote to the Cubs recommending that they turn down KFC's offer. If Cubs fans believe that they haven't won a World Series in 60 years because the ghost of one goat has it in for them, think about the consequences of offending the nearly 1 billion chickens who are tortured and killed for KFC every year. Here's my prediction—if the Cubs accept this Colonel Sanders statue, there won't be a World Series game at the friendly confines until KFC's slaughterhouse suppliers stop scalding live chickens to death and the company adopts PETA's recommended animal welfare program.
You heard it here first.
Written by Dan Shannon
Longtime PETA supporter Judith Yeargin fought hard not only in her 30-year battle against breast cancer but also against the use of animals in experiments. That's why Judith, who died on March 2, left her body to the New York University Langone Medical Center (NYUMC) She hoped to spare some of the countless animals who are sickened and maimed during painful, deadly, and wasteful experiments.
Judith was a tireless crusader for animals. She attended countless protests and helped raise money to build a low-cost spay-and-neuter clinic. Everywhere she went, she always kept an eye out for animals in distress. She rescued several strays during her travels, including a cat in France who had been hit by a car. Judith rushed the cat to the vet for immediate care while Judith searched for her guardian. While on vacation in Italy, Judith rescued a dog and wouldn't rest until she found the animal a good home. In France, she rescued another dog named Lucky, who accompanied her back home to Manhattan and lived to a ripe old age. When her elderly dog, Daffodil, was ill, Judith even managed to drag herself out of her sick bed just two weeks before her death to take Daffy to the vet. Daffodil was another of Judith's many rescues, adopted as a puppy from a local shelter after Judith heard on the news that Daffodil had been thrown into a trash compactor.
By donating her body to NYUMC, Judith not only promoted awareness about the suffering endured by animals in laboratories but also contributed to legitimate scientific research into breast cancer. Experiments on animals are not an accurate reflection of the effects of cancer in humans. It's bad science, and cancer patients deserve the best that medicine can offer.
"Judith never turned her back on any animal in need," says her dear friend, Lia. "[S]he just felt it was unethical to use animals and better if the science community could learn something from her body rather than cause pain and suffering to animals."
A great way to honor Judith Yeargin and other cancer victims is by refusing to support cancer charities that fund animal experiments and by purchasing only from companies that refuse to test their products on animals.
Written by Liz Graffeo
Although technically spring has not yet sprung, we seem to be doing a kind of early spring cleaning here at the Files, with updates on some issues that we haven't discussed in a while. First, it was ONPRC and now, horse slaughter.
"Horse slaughter." Ugh. Just the phrase alone turns your stomach, doesn't it? Well, it's time to turn that nausea into action by supporting H.R. 503, The Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act of 2009, which is currently making its way through Congress.
Some background: In recent years, animal advocates have succeeded in ending horse slaughter in the U.S., but now, greedy folks determined to profit from their horses even in death have begun sending horses to Mexico and Canada, where slaughter is still legal. Horses suffer tremendously on the long trip to shoddy foreign slaughterhouses, often arriving with all kinds of injuries and illnesses, only to be shot or stabbed repeatedly in the neck and spine. Paralyzed but still conscious, they're shackled and hoisted up by one leg so that their throats can be cut. Then they hang there, bleeding to death.
That's where H.R. 503 comes in. If it becomes law, this legislation would prohibit the slaughter and/or export of horses for human consumption. It's a huge step in the right direction and could greatly reduce the number—and therefore the suffering—of the estimated 100,000 horses who are exported for slaughter every year.
Please contact your U.S. representative and politely ask him or her to cosponsor and vote for H.R. 503.
If you want to do even more to protect horses, additional measures are needed, including specifically making horse abandonment a crime (as Oregon is currently considering) with stiff penalties on a state-by-state level; requiring people who can no longer provide for their horses to find new homes for them or have them euthanized by injection; and funding enforcement to prevent the smuggling of horses across our nation's borders under false pretenses. To learn how to become a citizen lobbyist for horses and other animals, check this out.
Written by Jeff Mackey
Our cup runneth over with the latest season of Dancing With the Stars. As if last season, which featured spunky octo-vegetarian Cloris Leachman, weren't enough, this season we have two PETA supporters to root for.
How can we be expected to choose between Steve-O—star of "Rather Go Naked" and "Ink, Not Mink" ads as well as a video testimonial about the abuse of animals in circuses—and "girl next door" Holly Madison, whose naked ad and PSAs raised more temperatures than a flu outbreak?
We need your help with this one, dear PETA Files readers. Post a comment below letting us know which animal-friendly hoofer you think has earned the most PETA props.
Written by Alisa Mullins
This Sunday, March 15, is International Day of Action Against the Seal Slaughter. Why it's not on all the calendars between Purim and St. Patrick's Day, we'll never know, but, hey, we're doing our part to get the word out.
OK, so this event is big—international, even, as the name suggests. Animal protection groups of all sizes from all around the world have lots of things planned for Sunday. But you don't need nonprofit status to get in on the action. In fact, all you need is your own dang self—or just a group of your like-minded BFFs. Here are some entirely do-able ways to become an action hero for seals:
And that's just for starters. For more ways to be an action hero for animals all year 'round, click the "Get Active" link at the top of this page and check out our Guide to Becoming an Activist—that is, if you're ready to become a superhero!
It's been awhile since we last mentioned the Oregon National Primate Research Center (ONPRC). But even though ONPRC hasn't been in our blog, it's been very much on our minds, and there are encouraging new developments to report.
For those of you who have hit-and-miss memories like mine, here's a quick recap: Our 2007 undercover investigation at ONPRC found that monkeys were tormented by laboratory staffers, forced to eat food out of waste-filled trays, denied medical care or pain relief, and driven mad by horrific laboratory conditions. Still, despite undeniable video evidence, the USDA somehow didn't see anything wrong at ONPRC.
At that point, ONPRC may have thought that it had won and that we would slink away. But, hey, this is PETA, after all, so think again, monkey abusers!
This past fall, we obtained new internal documents from ONPRC that detailed further abuse and neglect, so we submitted a new complaint to the USDA. In it, we outlined the following incidents:
Wow. Cold-hearted and inept—a deadly combination.
Based on our complaint, the USDA inspected ONPRC, and this time, it confirmed our allegations. So ONPRC was cited for three violations of the Animal Welfare Act, including causing monkeys trauma, stress, harm or discomfort and failing to adequately monitor and provide veterinary care to animals.
And the agency didn't stop there: In December, the USDA issued an "official warning" to ONPRC that it may face civil or criminal penalties if additional violations are found in the future.
It's a hopeful sign of progress, but we're hardly done with ONPRC. After all, these incidents are only a small part of the cruelty still being inflicted on the more than 4,000 primates there.
New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof usually writes about Darfur and other far-off lands, but this week, he ventured into America's heartland to talk about a plague that is afflicting a small town in Indiana that happens to be home to factory hog farms. The plague is MRSA—methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, aka "flesh-eating bacteria." You can read Kristof's fascinating column here.
There's no proof—yet—of any link between Camden, Indiana's MRSA outbreak and the surrounding hog farms, but Kristof notes that a strain of MRSA has been linked to hog farms in the Netherlands, and that same strain has been found in 45 percent of pig farmers and 49 percent of pigs tested by a researcher at the University of Iowa.
Of course, MRSA is just one of many scary life- and health-threatening bugs found lurking in pig flesh. Other, common pork-borne bacteria include listeria, salmonella, and E. coli. Pig flesh is also host to trichina and tape worms (one of the latter was recently removed from a woman's brain—blecch). And let's not forget the SARS epidemic that swept Asia a few years ago and may return—not to mention the loads of saturated fat and cholesterol in every slice of ham, bacon, and sausage.
Kristof cautions that MRSA is just the tip of the disease iceberg that can likely be traced to the overuse of antibiotics on factory farms. And with all that filth on factory farms, antibiotic use is rampant. Stay tuned, because Kristof plans to talk more about that issue in his Sunday column.
Meanwhile, you can check out previous columns that Nicholas Kristof has written about factory farming here and here.
With only three days left until the International Day of Action Against the Canadian Seal Slaughter (for the math-impaired, that's March 15), we're gearing up to show our snowy neighbors to the north that the world is watching as they prepare for their annual massacre of hundreds of thousands of baby seals. People are understandably outraged that baby seals are bludgeoned and skinned alive for their fur, and some people are directing that anger into creative ways to spread the message and get others involved. Check out this Claymation video that some folks with a rather wicked sense of humor put together:
We're not condoning violence in any way, but according to this video, even the Abominable Snowman is ticked off at Canada's seal killers.
Don't worry, even if you're not the creative type or can't make Claymation videos, you can still speak up for seals. Click here to write to the Olympic Organizing Committee and the Canadian Prime Minister to demand that they help bring an immediate end to the seal massacre.
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.