Written by Michelle Kretzer
Circuses are running into more and more places where they can't force elephants and other exotic animals to perform, as localities ban the use of bullhooks—sharp metal weapons that resemble fireplace pokers—and other cruel devices. Trainers use them to beat, hook, and gouge elephants on the most sensitive parts of their bodies, like behind their ears and knees. In Florida alone, Pompano Beach, Clearwater, Hollywood, and Margate have already enacted bans, and now we can add Hallandale Beach to the list of dozens of compassionate communities across the country that are saying, "Not on our watch."
Thanks in part to the help and hard work of
local group Animal
Rights Foundation of Florida (ARFF), the
City Commission of Hallandale Beach, just north of Miami, voted to ban circuses
and rodeos from using bullhooks, whips, and other cruel devices to
beat animals. Since threatening elephants, tigers, and other animals by showing
them a bullhook or whip is the only way that circus trainers can make them
stand on their heads, jump through rings of fire, or perform other frightening,
confusing tricks, circuses
will have to leave exotic animals out of their acts if they want to entertain
in Hallandale Beach.
PETA is sending the Hallandale Beach city commissioners a box of vegan chocolates to thank them for being elefriends.
Los Angeles is also considering a bullhook ban. Let the City Council know that you (and elephants) would love to see Los Angeles become known as the City of Angels to Animals by passing the ban.
A Florida man came home to a shocking discovery. The bank had foreclosed on his home, taken possession of it, and left his cat, Milo, trapped inside. The man called his lender repeatedly, asking to be let inside the house to retrieve Milo, but the bank refused. The cat had some food and water, but it wouldn't be enough to sustain him for long. Fearing for the cat's life, the man's mother called PETA for help.
What’s wrong with this picture? This kitty isn’t wearing her must-have accessory—an ID tag.
When we called the bank, the president was still averse to letting the former homeowner into the house, so we convinced the president to go over himself and put out food and water for the cat. Then, when Milo's guardian made yet another trip to the house to check on the cat, he spotted Milo—outside. The cat had likely seen an opportunity to escape during the bank president's visit, but Milo was frightened and wouldn't go to his guardian.
PETA walked the man through how to set up a trap using strong-smelling bait, and it didn't take long to catch the hungry cat. Milo was finally reunited with his relieved guardian.
Despite our best efforts, cats can become lost. PETA offers tips for guardians on how to get lost cats safely back home:
year, PETA helped successfully defeat a series of "ag gag" bills, which would have made
it a crime to film cruelty
to animals on factory farms, in Florida, Minnesota,
and New York. Now, another round of these unconstitutional bills has begun—in Missouri, New York, and Utah—and it's up to us to
squelch these measures again.
and time again, PETA's undercover investigations of factory farms have produced
video evidence of cruelty to animals that has helped authorities prosecute the
offenders. Investigators have documented that workers slammed newborn piglets' heads into concrete
floors and left them to die in
agony, employees at a foie gras farm drowned female hatchlings, and workers at a turkey
farm jumped on turkeys'
stomachs to make them "pop."
let factory farms hide animal abuse behind shady laws. Here are three ways that
you can help animals on factory farms this week:
messaging and data rates apply. For full terms, please click here.
Written by Jennifer OConnor
has sent Compassionate Legislator Awards to members of the Margate, Florida, City Commission for unanimously voting to ban bullhooks, electric
and other cruel devices specifically designed to inflict pain on animals. The
move means that the Cole
Bros. Circus, which has visited Margate in the
past and whose handlers have been caught on tape beating elephants with bullhooks, should be barred from bringing elephants into the
sharp metal hook and tip on the end of a bullhook
can rip elephants' skin and leave bloody wounds and
abscesses. The tricks that animals in circuses and traveling shows are forced
to perform go against their natural instincts, which is why handlers must beat
them into submission. When not performing, animals in circuses spend most of
their lives caged or chained in trailers and railroad boxcars while traveling
from city to city.
Cities and counties all across the
country have enacted bans or restrictions against shows
that hurt and exploit animals. You can help by contacting your own local
officials to ask them to initiate proceedings to do the same. E-mail our Action Team for help getting started.
Written by PETA
Ding-dong, the wicked bill is dead—almost. A New York Senate bill—which, like similar bills in other states, aims to criminalize filming on farms—is dying on the vine because no one across the aisle on the Assembly side will cosponsor it.
The good news comes after PETA Senior Vice President Dan Mathews spoke at a news conference about the bill in Albany on Tuesday—just days after the bill was moved forward by the state's Ag committee. Joining him was New York Sen. Tony Avella, one of the lone members of the Ag committee to give the bill a thumbs-down. "Lawmakers and the public need to know how PETA works hand in hand with law enforcement on these cases," Avella said.
Making the case for the necessity of such investigations, Dan pointed out that a PETA investigation at a New York foie gras farm revealed horrors such as ill ducks who were unable to move being eaten alive by rats, female hatchlings being drowned in feed sacks, and one duck with a neck injury so severe that water poured out of the wound when he drank.
While an "Ag Gag" bill in Florida is already history, similar bills are unfortunately still alive in Iowa and Minnesota. You can help by e-mailing the governors of both states and expressing your disgust at any law that protects animal abusers.
Written by Michelle Sherrow
Update: The Collier County School District has officially agreed with PETA and the family of the harassed student, saying that Mary Ellen Alexander "acted insensitively and inappropriately." The school board reassigned her to another school, is requiring her to be retrained, and has placed a disciplinary letter in her district and state files.
The district is also considering replacing animal dissection with modern, humane alternatives, which PETA has offered to supply.
The following was originally posted on February 22, 2011.
School bullying usually involves a student making another student miserable. But in a new twist, a Florida teacher reportedly bullied and taunted a student simply for exercising her legal right to choose not to dissect a frog. Now the Florida State Board of Education, prompted by PETA's call for the termination of the teacher, has opened an investigation.
According to the seventh grader and her mother, the North Naples Middle School teacher snuck up behind the student, shoved a bag of dead frogs in her face, and then dropped the bag on her desk. When the student began to cry, the teacher laughed at her in front of her classmates. The teacher then allegedly told students in other classes that if they tried to opt out of dissection, they would be sent to the principal's office for disciplinary action.
Not only did this teacher apparently violate students' right under Florida law to opt out of dissection, her reported behavior also may have violated the School Board of Collier County's policy against bullying and harassment and the Florida Department of Education's Code of Ethics. North Naples Middle School's principal initially told the student's mother that she would not be taking any action—the school district and state board of education stepped in only after PETA and the media became involved.
We are calling on school district and state officials to remove this teacher from her post and revoke her state educator's certificate if the student's report is corroborated. We have also offered to buy the school modern, humane computer programs in order to allow the school to replace dissection entirely.
In this violent world, students' feelings of empathy for animals are a virtue that should be fostered, not belittled, by their educators and mentors.
If you were the governor of a state struggling in the economic downturn and you had $100,000 to spend, what would you do with it? Restore programs cut from schools? Aid homeless shelters? Or promote alligator-skin golf shoes? Florida's budget currently includes about $100,000 a year to market alligator skin, but Gov. Rick Scott wants to put the money to better use. "The state shouldn't be in that business," he said.
Agreed. Really, no one should be in that business. Alligator farmers raid marshes and steal the eggs. Trying to save their children, mother alligators risk their lives jumping into the farmers' boats. On farms, alligators are piled on concrete slabs in tiny stagnant pools and are often used in "petting zoos" and shows until they are large enough to kill for their skin.
A PETA undercover investigation of a Florida alligator farm documented gruesome slaughter methods. One person stood on the animal's mouth, and one stood on the tail, while a third attempted to chisel through the spinal column with a pointed instrument and hammer. It took many blows for the chisel to break through the vertebrae, and even then, the spinal cord wasn't completely severed. It can take around two hours for an animal slaughtered this way to die. Another common slaughter method is beating alligators to death with baseball bats.
Even if Florida fails to cut the industry's funding, you can cut its funding by refusing to buy exotic skins and complaining to the manager if you see exotic skins on store shelves.
In a unanimous vote on Tuesday night, Lake Worth, Florida, became the first city on the East Coast to ban the sale of dogs and cats in pet stores. (Two California cities—South Lake Tahoe and West Hollywood—have enacted similar laws.)
Lake Worth's new law only allows the sale of dogs and cats on the same property where they were bred, which effectively prohibits pet shops from selling animals, because such stores normally obtain puppies from brokers, who in turn obtain them from puppy mills, which are often located hundreds or even thousands of miles away.
"My goal is to stop the importation of these animals from puppy mills that are inhumane and cruel," said County Commissioner Shelley Vana.
Which brings us to our weekly reminder to never, ever purchase an animal from a pet store. I know, I know, they're so cute, pitiful, etc. But repeat after me: You are not "rescuing" them—you are paying puppy mills to breed another litter. Without paying customers, puppy mills would go out of business. It's that simple. Meanwhile, by adopting from your local animal shelter instead, you can help keep it in the business of rescuing, spaying, neutering, and placing homeless animals. The shelter may be a little farther out of the way than the local strip mall, but it's worth the trip.
Written by Alisa Mullins
More than a dozen PETA members in Tampa, Florida, recently got a jump-start on telling Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus exactly what they think of the cruelest show on Earth. The protesters showed their disapproval by gathering along the route that the circus's animal train took to the St. Pete Times Forum, where the circus will be performing.
Um, excuse me. Is parading 3-ton animals through the streets safe for anyone?
The protesters received many waves and honks of support from rush-hour drivers, and they plan to reunite for more demonstrations during Ringling's shows.
In other big-top news, two Lansing, Michigan, businesses dropped their sponsorship of the Caravan Circus after learning from PETA and a local student group that elephants in circuses are beaten with sharp bullhooks and spend most of their lives in chains. PETA is sending both companies a Compassionate Business Award to thank them for taking a stand against circus cruelty.
A camel who was being used in a Christmas pageant at First Baptist Church in West Palm Beach, Florida, fell into the audience after stumbling when her handler attempted to force her to lie down.
Thankfully, the camel, LulaBell, wasn't hurt (nor were the stunned folks she fell on), but other animals used in passion plays, live Nativity scenes, and holiday photo ops haven't fared so well. Animals have been savagely beaten, hit and killed by cars after bolting, sexually assaulted, suffocated, and stolen and slaughtered.
We understand that LulaBell was rented from a company called Animals in Motion. The company's owner, Tim Rivers, has a history involving illegal animal trafficking, cruelty to animals, and U.S. Department of Agriculture violations.
We've called on First Baptist Church to stop using animals in displays, events, and so on. If a church in your area uses live animals in holiday promotions, please politely urge it to end the practice and to give animals a reason to celebrate too.
Written by Jennifer O'Connor
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.
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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.