Written by PETA
You may have heard about the incident this weekend in which an Iraqi reporter took aim at President Bush … by throwing both his shoes at him. The footwear was flung during a news conference in Baghdad, where Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki were just about to sign a security pact. Bush called it "a way to gain attention," which is why we've got an attention-grabbing idea of our own (without the projectiles, of course).
PETA has decided to gain some attention for an important issue by collecting more footwear to send to President Bush to decry his recent gutting of important regulations in order to benefit factory farms. Yes, that's in addition to his recent attack on wildlife protection regulations. Bush's changes would let factory farms continue polluting the earth with the waste that the animals create while they are stuck in those vile, feces-filled, cramped sheds. The bill allows factory farms to burn the waste instead of sending it off to an incineration firm. The waste disposal can be better regulated in the hands of incineration firms instead of being left to the notoriously dirty factory farms. Burning factory farm waste creates yet more air and water pollution, which affects the habitats of any living beings near the farms.
PETA has a better idea: Reduce the number of animals who create the waste in the first place! If you recall our recent undercover investigation of an Iowa pig farm, you'll know that pigs and other animals raised for food live in awful conditions, often spending their entire lives in cramped cages where they are abused before being led to the slaughterhouse. If farmers would simply stop breeding more animals, all these things could be avoided.
Written by Lianne Turner
Elephant inmates, that is.
Two recent studies comparing the health of wild elephants to that of captive ones just concluded that—golly jeepers—free-roaming animals don't fare very well if they're kidnapped from their mothers and kept for life in cages—excuse me—"zoo exhibits." You see, 8,000-pound elephants physically require exercise, including being active for up to 18 hours per day (sometimes covering as much as 30 miles of open wilderness in a herd of closely-knit family members). It turns out that they frequently experience fatal side effects when they are reduced to pacing around enclosures that are typically just a fraction of an acre of unnatural habitat (or a couple of acres if they're really lucky). Imagine life in the circus, where elephants are kept in shackles almost every hour of their life, standing in feces and urine, swaying from one foot to the other.
Here are a few of the not-so-happy findings:
Strangely, Steve Feldman, spokesperson for the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) said something about these findings not applying to US zoos, as the studies were conducted in European zoos. Really? Try telling that to the 63 elephants who have died at AZA-accredited facilities since 2000—more than half never reached the age of 40. And with AZA's pathetic space recommendations for elephants, which are about the size of a 3-car garage, elephants in the U.S. commonly develop deadly foot problems and arthritis.
The point, to state the obvious, is that stealing animals and using them for exploitative entertainment is outdated, unnecessary, and—hello?—wrong, and these studies give scientific evidence of it. No matter how eloquently zoos attempt to justify keeping animals in captivity to make a profit, caging elephants (or any wild animals, for that matter) is just flat-out indefensible and should be abandoned.
Written by Missy Lane
The BBC has announced—in a momentous victory for dogs everywhere—that it will no longer broadcast coverage of the Kennel Club's Crufts dog show. Crufts is the British equivalent of the American Kennel Club's Westminster Dog Show with all the attendant hype and fuss and dogs in crates.
BBC officials have learned that "purebreds" entered into dog shows are genetically predisposed to debilitating diseases caused by generations of inbreeding. And it's all in an attempt to make sure that the dogs who are bred for money are the best "specimens" in town. Kudos to the BBC for taking a stand for dogs!
Apparently USA Network (which broadcasts Westminster Dog Show every February here in the states) hasn't yet gotten the memo that "breedism" is a thing of the past. Remember last year's winner, Uno? As a beagle, Uno has a significantly higher risk of hypothyroidism, demodectic mange, umbilical hernia, epilepsy, eye and eyelid problems, cryptorchidism, hip dysplasia, intervertebral disk disease, and luxating patella. Now what ribbon does that deserve?
Written by Liz Graffeo
Those boots may be made for walkin', but were they made from an animal's sensitive skin? That may be the big question in the minds of travelers shuffling through the Memphis International Airport in the coming months.
In lieu of the nation's financial crunch, the Transportation Security Administration has decided to allow advertising on the shoe/belt/bag bins at security checkpoints in order to bring in extra revenue. Well, you can bet we're already all over this one!
In PETA's letter to the CEO of Memphis International Airport, we are requesting the right to advertise an anti-leather ad (shown below) on the shoe bins. The ad features the photograph of a "missing" calf named Charlie, who was pulled away from his mother, most likely branded without any pain relief, and eventually slaughtered for his meat. And his skin was made into someone's shoes, belt, or jacket—the very same items that get tossed into the bins at security checkpoints.
Airport advertising has the potential to reach gazillions of people, and by placing our ad in such a highly visible location we can help high-flyers get the message that leather kills—and make them think twice about their next purchases. Gorgeous, durable, cruelty-free shoes await their feet. Besides, the production of leather is catastrophic to the environment; planting a carbon offset tree for flight miles won't cover that!
Written by Jennifer Cierlitsky
Wow, it's been a wacky year. We've witnessed Barack Obama make history, cheered on the home team during the Summer Olympics, watched the economy take more surprise turns than a paternity test on Maury, and—oh yeah—achieved loads of important victories for animals. But I digress. Before we "Auld Lang Syne" our way out of 2008, let's stop and take a look-see at the trends we can expect in the coming year. And now (drum roll please), I give you PETA's list of what's in and what's out for 2009:
Written by Amy Elizabeth
You never can tell where PETA's bombshell BFF—and honorary director—Pamela Anderson might pop up. Could be Finland. Or France. Or Oz. Or even a Vegas homeless shelter. No wonder her show is called Girl on the Loose!
The latest dispatch comes from The Netherlands. The thing about Pam that's so awesome is that no matter where she goes, you know she's gonna be helping out animals. Kinda like a globetrotting superheroine for compassion.
In this case, Pam was in Amsterdam for the opening of a luxury-goods expo called the Millionaire Fair. And while she's totally down with luxury, she wanted to make it clear that that doesn't include animal fur—after all, what's so luxurious about draping yourself in torture and death? So she dropped a note to Queen Beatrix, asking her to go all the way. Um, that is, to back a current legislative bill that would ban all fur farms in the Netherlands (the Dutch have already banned several kinds of fur farming).
Well, like most things Pam does, hardly anyone noticed. Just kidding! More like "total media frenzy." Or, in the case of the Millionaire Fair, "widespread panic." It turns out that some of the heartless fur floggers at the expo don't much care for being called out on their cruelty (go figure). No matter, though, because the media (who love 'em some Pam) demanded more, so we put together a news conference to promote the fur-farm bill. This should lead to a lot of Dutch love for the ban, even if Her Maj doesn't get on board.
Go, Pam, Go!
Written by Jeff Mackey
Awesome news for animals today! For more than a year, commissioners of Bernalillo County, New Mexico, have been in debates over improvements to their animal control ordinance, and we are so very excited to announce that last Tuesday the animal-friendly bill was approved by a 4-0 vote. The county hereby bans cat and dog sales at pet stores (yay!) and goes one step further to give farm animals better living conditions (double yay!). Of course there are a few exceptions, but you can read about the specifics of the ordinance here.
This means that those awful pet stores won't be allowed to sell cats or dogs anymore, and breeders who try to make a profit off kittens and puppies won't have it so easy either. It's just too bad that Joe Biden didn't get the memo …
The new bill cuts the license fee in half for a spayed or neutered animal companion and bans the chaining of backyard dogs! But wait, there's more! Not only do the good people of Bernalillo County care about companion animals, but the legislation states that animals on farms must be given food, water, veterinary care, and shelter. Seems pretty basic, but now it's the law.
Possibly the coolest thing about this legislation is the fact that the changes were made because of regular people. Commission Chairman Alan Armijo said, "We've had tons and tons of input. The commissioners have tried to accommodate the different points of view," and an audience of about two dozen people cheered the amendment's passage. Know what that means? Anyone can do it! Seriously. You can contact your legislator right now and make a real difference in the lives of animals all over your district!
Well, what're you waiting for? Visit HelpingAnimals.com for more info. The animals (and PETA) thank you!
I was extremely disappointed to read that Vice President-elect Joe Biden and his wife bought a dog from a breeder instead of adopting one from an animal shelter. Obviously he or his wife blanked on Ingrid's letter, which asked him to consider adopting and explained, "Every year, U.S. animal shelters are forced to euthanize millions of wonderful, deserving dogs and cats because of the lack of good homes."
Ugh. I'm sorely upset about this—not to mention worried that his supporters will now all run out and get purebred German shepherds. I mean, not only is it really out of touch with dog issues to buy a dog from a breeder—or plain cold-hearted—it's such a bad idea that one New Mexico county has just banned selling dogs from pet stores altogether. At least some Americans know what's up. So what's with our future vice president?
If it weren't bad enough that Biden chose to buy from a breeder, we are now trying to confirm the accuracy of a report that was sent to us alleging that he bought his dog from a known puppy mill operator! An anti–puppy mill activist who claims to have firsthand knowledge of this particular breeder's operation writes, "When I was there, she had dogs living outside in [I]gloos and a large side building wrapped in blue plastic … the barking was deafening … her inspection report states approximately 100 breeding dogs … she sold more than 275 dogs in 2006 … it was a stupid move on Biden's part … a puppy mill, for sure." Wow, Biden—if this is true, you've left us speechless.
Well, we decided to remind Mr. Biden and his home state of Delaware that every time someone buys a dog from a breeder, a dog in an animal shelter is killed. We will be running the following PSA on every station we can in Delaware:
Mr. Biden may have let us down, but we're still pinning our hopes on President-elect Obama, who said, "[a] lot of shelter dogs are mutts like me."
Written by Christine Doré
Picture this: You're cruising down the highway when you catch a glimpse of a truck in your rearview mirror. Your eyes focus on the white bits of feathers or maybe the pink skin visible through the openings in the side, and suddenly you're no longer in a good mood.
We've all seen those transport trucks whiz by us with little regard for the safety of the animals jostled about inside, often struggling to stay on their feet on the slippery floors. It's horrible enough that these animals are headed for the slaughterhouse, but many people don't realize that millions of animals each year die when they are trampled or succumb to untreated illnesses before they even reach that awful destination.
The Vancouver Sun deserves a hundred thousand well-deserved props for running an excellent front-page article about animal transport fatalities. According to the article, "up to three million farm animals are found dead each year" inside transport trucks when they arrive at Canadian slaughterhouses. And there's more: "more than 11 million farm animals are declared unfit for human consumption after arriving diseased or injured …." And that's just in Canada—the issue is just as serious in the U.S. These animals are just more senseless victims of animal agriculture, but to the industry, their purposeless deaths are simply another cost of doing business.
The numbers are heartbreaking, but they're no surprise when you factor in the abuse these animals face: Workers routinely poke pigs with electric prods and beat them—sometimes on the snout with baseball bats, breaking their noses. Birds are often thrown into the holding space, resulting in broken bones and wings. Animals are piled on top of each other with no room to turn around, and no food or water is given to them during transport. The sheer number of animals crammed into the cargo containers can cause some to suffocate, especially in the heat. During the summer months, temperatures inside the metal fixtures are sweltering, and during the winter months, the animals have almost no protection from the wind, ice, and snow. Many pigs actually freeze to the sides of the trucks in winter.
Truck drivers can be reckless and absentminded, putting both the animals and humans in danger. Transport truck accidents like this one are common. If an animal is lucky, he or she might escape injury and be able to flee and avoid the slaughterhouse forever, but most are not so fortunate. These accidents are horrifying for animals who are injured—often they are simply reloaded onto another truck to continue the journey to the slaughterhouse.
Every visit to New York City causes me to reflect upon the misery that befalls those poor old racetrack castoffs, Amish cart-pullers, and other worn-down horses who end up between the shafts of a heavy carriage, pulling loads of tourists—and some uncaring driver—through the dirty, noisy streets of New York City in all weather. Seeing them out there in the winter is particularly upsetting: A few weeks back, I saw one horse still lumbering along in traffic, head down, at 9:30 p.m.
Even when they aren't working, horses need lots of water, yet the "carriage" horses' water troughs are often bone dry. People report seeing the horses standing there, unbending in their traces and unseeing in their blinders, unable to take a drop of water. And, when, late at night, they finally end up at their "stables"—which are actually decrepit fire-trap walk-ups—they cannot even take their weight off their aching feet: The "stalls" are boxes or bars that fit just around their bodies, like sow stalls on factory farms.
Oh, there's so much more that stinks for these poor horses, including the traffic accidents that spook, hurt, and kill them. (I've seen a driver, obviously anxious to go home to his comfortable house, whip and race his horse, chariot-style, pounding along the road; this must have added to the horse's pain.) PETA and local concerned citizens are working hard to make this business go away. We want to see it switch to something humane—perhaps to a new, environmentally friendly tourist vehicle that doesn't bleed, ache, and die. It may take another year of hard work, but what can we do in the meantime, other than tell people never to ride in the carriages?
Perhaps you'd like to contact the ASPCA—which is charged with enforcing the anti-cruelty code and regulations on horse-drawn carriages—with your thoughts and questions. Please share with us the answers you receive. The horses can't ask why someone doesn't order their owners to allow them to lie down at night, for example, but we can. And, in my opinion, local law enforcement can compel the owners to let them.
Written by Ingrid Newkirk
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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.