Written by Alisa Mullins
Following PETA's and PETA U.K.'s work in the E.U. to hasten the replacement of an animal test that had been used for decades in deadly shellfish toxicity detection, PETA has now helped make it possible for an alternative testing method developed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to be used in the U.S. by helping to fund a critical license.
For decades, state fisheries throughout the U.S. have used a painful and deadly test on mice to determine whether shellfish caught for human consumption contain a lethal concentration of toxins. In these tests, a sample of shellfish is processed in a blender, and this slurry is injected into the abdomens of mice, causing them to have seizures, become paralyzed, and die painfully from suffocation.
After years of communicating with the FDA, PETA recently learned of a new, much more humane method for detecting these deadly toxins that was developed by an FDA scientist and uses tissue from one animal instead of more than 1,000 live animals. Not only does the new test have the potential to save tens of thousands of animals a year, it is also scientifically superior and far less expensive.
In addition to helping fund the licensing of the new method, PETA has also begun to fund yet another method that will further refine the new test. Our scientists are also contacting all U.S. fisheries to urge them to implement this scientifically superior and more efficient method. PETA's hard work will allow the U.S. to use 21st century testing methods and eliminate the use of live mice for shellfish monitoring—much as PETA and our affiliates accomplished in the E.U.
PETA and its affiliates have donated more than $1 million to the development of non-animal test methods.
Of course, to eliminate animal suffering completely, we recommend that people not consume shellfish but rather partake of a healthy plant-based diet.
Written by Michelle Kretzer
family is suing American Airlines after their loved one died on a flight,
reportedly after consuming
chicken contaminated with bacteria.
Not so much. The Food and Drug Administration reports that there are 48 million cases of foodborne
illness in the U.S. every year,
resulting in 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths. Consumer Reports found the leading bacterial causes of foodborne
illness—salmonella and campylobacter—in
two-thirds of the chickens that it purchased nationwide.
you don't enjoy your meals served with a side of vomiting, diarrhea, fever, and
abdominal cramps, not to mention cruelty,
maybe it's time to jettison chicken from your diet. Check out a wide variety of
chicken-free recipes at our Living page.
Written by PETA
Every year, hundreds of discarded cows bound for slaughterhouses from dairy farms are caught under the influence of drugs—illegal levels of antibiotics, that is.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is concerned that those antibiotics are making their way into the cows' milk. The agency had planned to start expanding its testing of milk for unsafe levels of antibiotics and other drugs this month, but—wait for it—the dairy industry threw a fit. Shocker.
Throwing out every cockamamie reason that it could think of, the industry managed to stall the FDA—but hopefully not for long. "The agency remains committed to gathering the information necessary to address … this important potential public health issue," the FDA said in a statement. "F.D.A. is concerned that the same poor management practices which led to the meat residues may also result in drug residues in milk."
Of course, the best way to avoid drinking a drugshake is to avoid cow's milk altogether.
Written by Michelle Sherrow
That's our number of the day, boys and girls. Which of the following adds up to 29 million?
If you chose "5," you may be watching too much of the Count (or maybe you just cheated and Googled "29 million"), but you would also be correct.
Of course, the notable fact for our purposes is that 29 million pounds of antibiotics are fed to animals on farms. Quick refresher for those of you who are new to the Files: Animals are routinely fed antibiotics in order to promote growth and keep them alive long enough in filthy, miserable factory-farm conditions to be poked and prodded to slaughter.
This is problematic for those of us who aren't making heaps of money off abused animals' backs, because the overuse of antibiotics leads to the development of antibiotic-resistant "superbugs," which then proceed to eat our flesh, ravage our lungs, poison our blood, and engage in other nasty, life-threatening behavior.
This is the first time that the government has even attempted to tabulate the staggering amounts of antibiotics fed to animals. One has to wonder what took it so long—although, as nutrition professor and author Marion Nestle points out, "[I]t is a sign that the FDA is taking steps to address this serious public health problem."
What do you say we check back at this time next year to see how much that number has gone up or down?
Citing research showing that feeding antibiotics to animals on factory farms in order to promote growth "is not in the interest of protecting or promoting public health," the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is recommending that farmers stop routinely mixing antibiotics into animal feed.
Unfortunately, just because the FDA—along with about a gazillion (give or take a zillion) other health experts who are alarmed by the proliferation of antibiotic-resistant "superbugs"—recommends this, it doesn't mean that factory farm operators are going to meekly flush their arsenal of magic bullets down the drain. After all, the reason why antibiotics are fed to animals on factory farms is to keep them from dying in the filthy, crowded conditions that farmers force these animals to call home. Factory farms are prime breeding grounds for potentially deadly bacteria such as E. coli, salmonella, and campylobacter, and the conditions are so putrid that millions of animals die within a matter of weeks before they are even sent to slaughter, despite being shot up with drugs. Imagine how few would survive without them.
So expect factory farm operators to fight tooth and nail to avoid giving up their pharmaceutical cocktails—because the only alternative is to improve conditions on factory farms or … gasp … to stop raising animals altogether.
While Big Ag continues to play Russian roulette with public health, you can get started kicking the drug habit today by ordering a copy of our free vegetarian/vegan starter kit.
Did you know that in a period of just 12 years, from 1996 to 2008, the market for soy milk grew more than eight times over? The folks in the dairy industry know—and it's got them scared. Never ones to play fair (subsidies, anyone?), the cow exploiters are now trying to get the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to stop companies that make soy milk and other nondairy beverages from using the word "milk" on their product labels.
Heaven forbid that the word "milk" should become associated with something that's actually humane and healthy, right? At any rate, it looks like the FDA is going to ignore this insulting and time-wasting request, and it's a good thing too—who knows what the dairy pushers would go after next? Would new mothers have to buy "mammary secretion pumps"? And who wants to treat digestive upset with nondairy fluid of magnesia?
Thanks to Laura Lewis for sending this story our way.
Written by Jeff Mackey
What do you get when you cross a turtle with a swimming pool? Salmonella soup.
According to a recent news report, two Union County, North Carolina, teenagers contracted salmonella after taking a dip in a backyard pool with two "pet" turtles. Both suffered stomach cramps, bloody diarrhea, fever, and vomiting—one of the girls developed kidney failure and had to spend eight days in the hospital.
These girls are only two victims of the largest turtle-related salmonella outbreak in U.S history. More than 100 people in 34 states—most of them children—were sickened by the same strain of salmonella between 2007 and 2008.
Authorities believe that the outbreak may have occurred during the shipping process, when one infected turtle—who was probably being stored in an extremely crowded, cramped, and inadequate space before being mailed off to a pet shop or flea market—contaminated his buddies.
This outbreak isn't an isolated incident. The FDA reports that there are more than 74,000 "pet" turtle–related cases of human salmonella poisoning every year. And that's understandable when you consider how easily salmonella spreads. Simply by playing with turtles at school, kids can bring the germs home to family members.
Many of the parents of infected kids had no clue that turtles even carried salmonella. Um, hello—there's a reason why it's illegal to sell turtles with shells less than 4 inches long. After all, kids do the darndest things—like put baby turtles in their mouths …
So what have we learned? Let's see—don't buy turtles or other exotic animals, refrain from putting reptiles near or in your mouth, and never, ever invite turtles to your pool party.
Written by Amy Elizabeth
This one goes out to any stonehearted, selfish so-and-so who still eats veal:
Baby cows are torn from their mothers hours after they're born and then kept weak and immobile in filthy pens for the entirety of their short lives. And if that fails to register your compassion or your disgust, let's try this tidbit: Your next veal meal just might be laced with poison.
That's right—federal charges have been issued against Select Veal Feeds Inc. for allegedly lacing feed with formaldehyde in order to lessen diarrhea and with potassium permanganate to ensure that the anemic calves' flesh appeared even lighter. Wayne Marcho and Select Veal Feeds are expected to plead guilty to misdemeanor charges of misbranding under the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. The company also faces a felony charge for lying to Food and Drug Administration inspectors.
The moral of this story? If you eat veal, not only do you contribute to the suffering of an infant, you also risk eating toxic chemicals that you'd find in a high school chemistry lab.
Written by Karin Bennett
This is an awesome year for many reasons (have you seen our slideshow?), and a great one has to be today's victory over cruel animal tests! Today, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) agreed with PETA and ruled that no further animal testing is needed to declare that a natural plant-based sweetener derived from stevia is safe for use in food and drinks. Why is that so great? Well, before today's decision, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) was pushing for more animal tests on the herbal extract, even though it's been widely recognized as safe. I mean, stevia has been used safely for more than 400 years! It's bad enough that it was tested on helpless rats in the first place, but they wanted to test it on even more animals? Come on!
Everyone knows how animals in laboratories suffer, so why would anyone knowingly choose to inflict pain on another creature for the sake of unreliable and cruel animal testing, especially when there are so many cruelty-free alternatives? CSPI tried to say that they needed to test on rats and mice because the rats they used before weren't good models for the substance's toxicity in humans. Hang on, what? That's right, they know that the tests on rats don't work, but they want to repeat the tests on rats and do even more tests on mice. Anyway, the FDA finally did something right and approved the substance without the additional animal tests. Score!
Unfortunately, there is still animal testing going on, and the CSPI is still pushing for more and longer animal tests. You can help by sending a polite letter to CSPI executive director Michael Jacobson asking him to focus CSPI's work on safe and effective non-animal testing methods.
Written by Lianne Turner
Yesterday, U.S. marshals paid the PETCO food-distribution center in Joliet, Illinois, a little visit—to confiscate a variety of pet food products that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) fears may have been contaminated by rodents and other animals. It does beg the question: If a company isn't even capable of keeping food clean and safe, how are they going to ensure the safety and well-being of the animals they sell in their stores?! Cans are simple inanimate objects ....
This seizure comes after two earlier inspections this spring at the major distribution center found "widespread and active rodent and bird infestation."
The FDA urges anyone who has purchased canned or glass containers at PETCO stores in the states served by this center to wash the outside thoroughly and to wash their hands with soap and water. Don't worry, though—only a few areas were affected … just Alabama, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, and Kansas. Oh, right, and also Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, and Minnesota. Oh, wait, sorry, I forgot to mention Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, and Wisconsin. OK, so it's a big freakin' deal! Way to set the bar, PETCO.
This certainly isn't the first time that PETCO has been called out for their disgusting business practices.
PETCO has a history of selling live animals and contributing to the demand of live-animal factories, including massive breeding mills like Rainbow World Exotics (RWE), which, like puppy mills, churn out animal after animal in filthy, hazardous conditions without giving much thought to their health or well-being. PETCO stood by RWE vigorously when PETA shared with PETCO executives its findings of terrible animal suffering at the mill—and it continues to buy animals from RWE! The company doesn't care about "its" animals or your animals; it cares about MONEY.
If you care about animals, don't shop at PETCO (or any store that sells live animals!).
Posted by Jennifer Cierlitsky
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an animal, please click
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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.