Written by PETA
When the Obamas first announced that they would be bringing a dog into their family at the end of the election, we all hoped that they would choose to adopt a rescue dog—and whaddaya know, our hopes were realized when Michelle Obama confirmed that the family would go the mutt-friendly route. And hey, what's a better example for the rest of the nation than to have a rescue as the "first dog"?
Hmm … what about having another rescue as the "second dog"? See, Senator Biden's wife promised him that they could welcome a "big dog" into their family if he were elected. She even taped pictures of dogs to the seats in his campaign plane to inspire him! This means that now that Senator Biden is officially the vice president-elect, he and Jill will start looking for the right dog to join their family. May we, again, suggest a rescue dog? There are some pretty big mutts out there, senator!
That's what PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk has written in a letter to the Bidens—that the vice president-elect would be doing a great thing for animals by bringing another rescue dog to Washington. A home for a needy dog and another example for all Americans to follow? Sounds great to us. Click here to read Ingrid’s full letter.
Written by Amanda Schinke
So who besides me ran screaming to their local music store to pick up Pink's new album Funhouse, which dropped last week? OK, so maybe not screaming … but I know I'm not the only one who anxiously anticipated this album, because its first single, "So What," has been #1 on the music charts all over the globe. I'm thrilled to report that the album totally rocks, as does the rock star behind the tunes.
So what? Well, here at PETA, we love Pink because of her compassion for animals. She is a longtime PETA booster and a lifelong animal protector, and she kicks some serious derrière when it comes to shining the light on animal cruelty.
She's had a hand in so many of our campaigns—from that enormous billboard in protest of horse-drawn carriages that we erected in Times Square this year to the anti-fur ad that she shot for us a few years back. She called out Beyoncé for wearing fur, and she's written to both Prince William for his support of hunting and to Queen Elizabeth II for not ditching the bear fur for faux fur on her Guards' caps. But wait, there's more!
Pink narrated our Australian wool exposé, and called for a global boycott of Australian wool during a live concert in Paris! Then—not to leave our Kentucky Fried Cruelty campaign hanging—Pink reached out to her fans about the cruelty that goes into every KFC bucket and box by placing a link to our Web site on the front page of her official fan site! Oh, and did I mention that she did that to coincide with the release of her 2006 album I'm Not Dead? Brilliant!
And believe-you-me, she works behind the scenes, too, often penning letters to animal-exploiting companies and individuals, including KFC and Siegfried and Roy, just to name a couple. The singer was even gracious enough to open her home and host the kick-off party for PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk's book Let's Have A Dog Party! last year! OK, did I mention she rocks?
Pink is seriously hardcore when it comes to helping out the animals, and we at PETA adore her for everything that she does. We wish you the best success on your new album, Pink! And you—get off your derrière and go buy it!
Written by Jennifer Cierlitsky
Change was a hot topic this election, but we all need to remember the millions of animals whose lives will stay the same even though the election is over—unless we all do a lot of hard work. Breeders and pet shops will continue to contribute to the tragedy of dog and cat overpopulation—just to make a profit. We need to work hard to make spaying and neutering affordable and legally mandated in every community across the country. Although the election is over, let's remember to keep fighting the good fight! We must educate others about the importance of spaying and neutering their animal companions and adopting from shelters instead of buying from breeders and pet stores. If we all pitch in, then eventually the tragic but merciful euthanasia of animals for whom no suitable, loving homes exist will no longer be necessary.
To check out the archives of past strips, click here.
In what might very well be a canine first, an all-dog soup kitchen that caters exclusively to dogs of the homeless and unemployed has opened its doors in Berlin, Germany. Yep, that's right, if you don't walk on all fours, you aren't getting a measly morsel from the kind folks at Animal Board.
The soup kitchen receives much of its food through company sponsorships and has already proven vital to the Berlin community. Much like soup kitchens that are geared toward humans, Animal Board is reducing the number of hungry dogs one meal at time.
It's no surprise that when bills are high and the economy isn't exactly booming, money woes extend to all members of the family, including animal companions. The free services of the soup kitchen might just reduce the number of animals who are deserted, turned out, or given up by guardians for financial reasons. We'll have to wait and see. But for now, we're excited to see more compassionate individuals looking out for dogs. We give the kind folks at Animal Board two furry paws up.
Yes, there were wonderful milestones achieved for animals in California and Massachusetts in this election, but is our new President-elect, Barack Obama, fighting for change in the animal world as well? Here's PETA's official statement:
President-elect Barack Obama has said, "I think how we treat our animals reflects how we treat each other. And it's very important that we have a president who is mindful of the cruelty that is perpetrated on animals." Because PETA is devoted to fighting animal abuse and recognizes the link between cruelty to animals and violence directed against humans, the organization is very encouraged by this statement.
PETA is also pleased that Obama and his wife, Michelle, have announced that they will adopt a rescued dog for their daughters instead of patronizing a pet store or breeder. PETA opposes large-scale breeding facilities, known as "puppy mills," as well as private breeders who bring puppies and kittens into the world while nearly 4 millions cats and dogs must be euthanized at the nation's extremely crowded animal shelters every year. PETA supports animal shelters and encourages all prospective companion animal guardians to visit their local shelter.
PETA was also encouraged to see that unlike other Democratic and Republican presidential candidates in the past, Obama did not pander to the National Rifle Association and other pro-hunting organizations by heading into the woods and shooting defenseless animals.
PETA looks forward to working with President-elect Obama and the new administration to help create change for the millions of animals who suffer unnecessarily in this country. What's next? If his stance on other animal issues is any indication, perhaps the next president will put a tofu chicken in every pot.
Written by Christine Doré
Well, as we promised last week, Ingrid has responded to 10 lucky commenters' questions (see, it always pays to leave comments). Check out her responses below.
1. Question from Sasha: When will a movie about your life be made, and who will take your place in PETA when you retire?In a way, the HBO special, I Am an Animal was about my life, but beyond that I do not know. As for "succession," a few years ago, when my plane almost crashed, I had time to reflect on my legacy at PETA, and it was exciting to think about what good hands PETA is in. We each have our talents, and there are plenty of stunningly talented leaders at PETA and the PETA Foundation who each make a mark in their own areas, from marketing and youth outreach to IT and law, and from rounding up stars and making heartbreaking videos to going undercover—and, of course, raising and bringing in money so that we can hire more staff and help more animals. The multi-talented Tracy Reiman is my right-hand person, and I feel confident she would lead the team when I pop off.
2. Question from Aneliese: How supportive is your family on your views of animal rights and welfare? Do they agree with you on such matters?I don't have much of a family; my mother is the only one left, and she is wholly supportive. She has a "Proud PETA Member" bumper sticker on her car, puts copies of our "Vegetarian Starter Kit" in people's hands, and makes sure animal rights books are on the library shelves. She also makes great vegan cakes! In fact, her recipe for almond tarts is in the PETA cookbook.
3. Question from Ben: Was there a particular life-changing experience or event that led to you become an animal rights activist?I've told many of my personal stories in my books, such as Making Kind Choices and my latest book, One Can Make a Difference. I was a slow learner, and my late father and I basically ate our way through the animal kingdom before I met a pig who had been cruelly treated. That's when I stopped eating all animals. As I say, I was a slow learner, so before that I had stopped eating lobsters (one wiggled his antennae at me when I chose him from a platter to be broiled alive) and snails (I let a bag of them go at the bottom of my garden rather than cook them). It wasn't until I found a fox and a squirrel in steel traps that had been set for fun by some youngsters that I stopped wearing fur! Oddly enough, those were the very two types of animals whose furs had been used to make the first fur garments I owned: a suede coat with a collar made of silver-fox fur and an artsy coat made from the bodies of about 100 squirrels. I also inspected laboratories for the government, and what I saw inside them convinced me that animal experimentation is crude and cruel and can easily be replaced with sophisticated non-animal research.
4. Question from Mitch: What was the most exciting campaign or event—a specific demonstration, press conference, undercover investigation, arrest, etc.—that you have worked on with PETA?It's all exciting when you know that animals are being rescued and that people's minds and hearts and eyes are being opened. And stopping car-crash tests on animals, getting men who beat pigs on factory farms convicted on cruelty charges, seeing an elephant who has spent her entire life in chains be retired to sanctuary—it's all exciting. But if I have to pick one, I think the very first lab case, the Silver Spring monkeys case, in which PETA got the police to serve a search warrant—the first in U.S. history—to take those monkeys out of the hellhole in which they lived—that would be it.
5.Question from Brielle: If someone truly wants to make a difference for animals, how do they choose the cause that will have the most impact for animals and spreading awareness? What is the most crucial step now in the cause—promoting veganism? Saving animals? Fighting big KFC-like corporations?I believe in personal activism and that every single thing we do makes a difference—the more we do, the more difference we make and the more quickly animal liberation from exploitation and torment will come. Because everyone eats, washes their hair, puts on clothes, finds amusement in life, and buys stuff, it is vital to start setting an example and encouraging others to follow. Eat a vegan diet and shun animal skins in all their forms—they are all stolen and/or animals have been killed for them. Cook for friends and give vegan cookbooks and cruelty-free toiletries as gifts. Leave copies of Animal Times in the doctor's office and at the bus stop and put "Free Vegetarian Starter Kit" cards on every bulletin board. Hand people literature and engage in conversation to spread the word—and never, ever be silent in the face of abuse. When you speak up, others listen, and people who felt confident getting away with cruelty are shaken—perhaps not visibly, but shaken on the inside all the same. If you want to help with one particular campaign in addition to all this, then just jump in and do your best—it all counts.
6. Question from Sharon: What are your opinions on what happens to the "fighting dogs" who are rescued from dogfighting, and what is the proper way of evaluating a fighting dog to determine if rehabilitation would work for the animal? With so many homeless dogs being killed for lack of homes, I would rather the time, effort, money, and work that goes into trying to rehabilitate a fighting dog be used to help the ones who don't need such an evaluation. It just makes more sense. Also, if you find a home for a cocker spaniel or a Chihuahua or a mixed terrier, there is no likelihood that even if he or she goes nuts he or she will kill a child or a cat, but the same can't be said for the ex-fighter who is likely too strong to control and can have a fighting mindset. It isn't the dog's fault, but we have choices. The most sensible choice is to put our money and time into sterilization programs as well as combating fighting and making fighting breeds unpopular so that people do not breed more of them.
7. Question from Kathleen: I wanted to know—how do you keep a positive attitude after all the horrible things you have seen while working at PETA?I look back at how far we have come: SILK in the supermarkets, veggie burgers too. Faux "chicken" at most KFCs in Canada. Students able to say "no" to dissection. Medical schools having abandoned the use of animals in training. Pleather, faux fur, the great youth movement. Many circuses, such as Cirque du Soleil, getting out of the animal business. That means that our work pays off, so we must keep doing it!
8. Question from 4 The Animals: I read that you believe having "pets" is keeping them in captivity. Is this true?I prefer the term "companion" to pet, as that is more respectful, don't you think? Semantics can be important in how we view others. It drives me wild to see Britney Spears and Paris Hilton acquiring dogs as arm candy, which is why I wrote a book called Let's Have a Dog Party! I wanted to draw attention to the fact that these dogs are individuals with needs and wants. They aren't fashion accessories; cigarette smoke, loud music, and being left alone to stare at the apartment walls bothers them—it isn't a real life. I ask that people stay clear of pet shops and breeders, who exacerbate the overpopulation crisis. But if a person has enough love, patience, understanding, time, and money for veterinary care, I would ask him or her to go to the animal shelter and get two dogs or cats—so that the animals can keep each other company when their guardians are at work or play.
9. Question from Dan: I will be turning 70 years of age in a few years and my wife is in her 50s. We are guardians of two dogs—one of whom is a puppy. My wife and I have no immediate family. I don't mean to sound maudlin, but if anything were to happen to my wife and me, I would like to set aside some money in our will for the lifelong care of our dogs. Do you know of any organizations that have been "approved" by PETA that would be able to take in our dogs and treat them in a loving manner in the event of our demise? We reside in the southern California area (but we would be willing to send them anywhere if the organization is "top notch"). Please be very careful and always visit the place you might leave your animals to. You have to be very sure that they are right for your dogs. I have seen many "sanctuaries" where animals are miserable. Caged for life and patronized, they have lost the spark of joy that animals should have. Many of these places are warehouses, really—you can't call them much more. If you get stuck, please write to the PETA Foundation's Tim Enstice, and we'll see what we can do to help you find the right place.
10. Question from Liz: If you could make a magic wish to banish something immediately and forevermore, what would it be? The fur trade? Vivisection? Factory farming? What kind of abuse has the most pressing urgency above all others?If I had a magic wish, it would be that human beings would put themselves in the place of all "others," and then they'd really live by the Golden Rule, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." In other words, I would wish for empathy. And studies show that some people have a very poorly developed part of their brain—the mirror neuron. This means that they can't extend much beyond their own selfish interests. But, if I could influence only one area of animal abuse, that's a very hard call. It might be "pest control," as billions upon billions of mostly little animals—raccoons, beavers, mice, birds, insects, etc.—are poisoned with gut-wrenching chemicals or drowned in underwater snares, or their backs are broken in traps, or their faces get stuck in glue boards—and so on.
Thank you, Ingrid, for giving us a better insight into your life and the animal rights movement. To read more about Ingrid, check out her personal blog at IngridNewkirk.com.
Ever wanted to get answers directly from PETA Prez Ingrid E. Newkirk to some of your questions about PETA, animal activism, or our campaigns (or perhaps why the sky is blue)? Well, to celebrate the release of Ingrid's new book One Can Make a Difference, Time Magazine arranged for her to address questions directly from readers during a one-on-one recorded interview, which the magazine also published in transcript form on its Web site.
Read Time's "10 Questions for Ingrid Newkirk" now.
But why should it just be readers of Time that get to address Ingrid? We love our blog readers and know that just from keeping up with our many campaigns you must be among the most educated and inquisitive folks out there. So we figured we'd give you a chance to ask Ingrid a few questions about any and all things related to animals and PETA. To submit a question for Ingrid, please leave us a message letting us know what's on your mind. We'll post responses to 10 of your questions in a few days.
Written by Sean Conner
P.S. For the sake of keeping things orderly, please leave only one question or subject per comment and try not to submit a question that's already been posted.
PETA President Ingrid Newkirk's new book One Can Make a Difference is a collection of essays by some pretty awesome people—and one of my favorites is the wonderful Stella McCartney. You can't help but love Stella; she is not only a fabulous (and award-winning!) fashion designer but also a staunch opponent of fur and leather.
Even when asked to use animal skins in her clothing, Stella's always said no. In her essay, she writes, "I'm actually quite proud that I stuck to my decision never to touch the products of such outright cruelty." Right on, Stella! We're proud of you, too!
Another fantastic part of her essay is when she talks about this PETA fur exposé, which she narrated:
She sent copies to a bunch of designers who continue to use fur, but not all of them were willing to watch it. "Karl Lagerfeld, rather predictably, felt he needed to return the video to me!" Stella writes. "Dolce & Gabbana were disgracefully rude about it, too."
Why the lack of manners? Stella has one hypothesis: "I frankly don't think most designers have the balls to watch animals writhing and being slaughtered; they don't want to admit they're responsible for such suffering."
Well, Stella's got the cojones, so to speak—and for that, we adore her. And speaking of One Can Make a Difference, Ingrid launched the book last night in New York at an extremely successful book signing. Check out the fantastic turnout and click here to order your own copy:
Did you hear? Dave Freeman, the author of 100 Things to Do Before You Die, has died, just like that, at 47! He fell and hit his head. Honestly!
It just goes to show that you have NO idea how long you've got. And to keep the cheery theme alive, consider all the people who have become paralyzed by falling off their mountain bikes, etc.
You can't lock yourself in your room, and even if you did, you could be hit by a chunk of toilet ice falling out of a plane and through your roof, struck by lightening as you took a shower, or … well, you get it. Life is fleeting. In fact, that's been a theme of mine for a while. In Making Kind Choices, I wrote about how amazing it would be to have a wristwatch that would tell you not what time it is now but how much time you had left so that you could know what's important to cram in. You'd look at it and see "40 days, 3 hours, and 2 minutes," and you'd think, "OMG! Better get a move on!"
So ask yourself: Are you putting off asking that special person for a date, telling your friend you are sorry for some remark that ended your friendship, or, most importantly … buying vegan groceries? Wouldn't you rather die than have your last meal on Earth cause animals fear, pain, and death?
Oh, and Dave Freeman took this stuff seriously (yes, he didn't fully "get it," seeing as how he went to Pamplona and ran with—shouldn't that be "against"?—the bulls), so he had made a will. Now some of his leftovers, including some useful money, will go to a children's charity. Good for him! Please follow his lead and put a charity—may I suggest PETA?—in your will, too, or else the state rather than animals will benefit from your death (and you know they'll only use the money to buy something stupid).
Written by Ingrid Newkirk
So in an effort to find out if Sharon is cruel because of a brain glitch, PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk sent Stone a letter volunteering to "pay for a scan of the prefrontal region of [her] brain to determine if comments and actions that seem to demonstrate a lack of empathy are the result of a physical defect."
Will she respond to the offer? And if so, will we find out that Sharon's thoughtlessness is the result of being dropped as a baby or that she's cruel because the "empathy gene" skipped a generation? And most importantly, will she seek professional medical help if the results show that her cruel mindset is actually a medical problem? We'll keep you posted! ConnieTalk has more on this story and one really fantastic picture!
Posted by Jeff Mackey
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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.