Written by Michelle Kretzer
It's easier for us to think that the
horrors of the fur trade—the
electrocution, poisoning, and live skinning—happen overseas
in faraway places like China and Norway, not in the States.
But one PETA supporter sent us these photos taken at a fur processor in Mount
Ayr, Iowa—gruesome evidence that the fur industry is still alive and kicking
here in America, even if its victims aren't.
If you needed a reminder of why not to
buy or wear fur—and to educate anyone you see wearing it about the cruelty
involved—here it is. You're welcome.
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
As if their lives on an Iowa factory farm weren't wretched enough, nearly 5,000 pigs perished when a fire broke out in what the media accurately calls a "confinement facility." Locked in gestation crates with no possibility of escape, these mothers and babies could only watch as the flames and smoke approached.
Iowa is the number one pig-flesh–producing state in the nation, and in 2008, prompted by a whistleblower's report, a PETA undercover investigation of an Iowa factory farm that supplied pigs for Hormel Foods revealed that workers were beating pigs with metal rods, sexually abusing them with canes, and more.
Hideous cruelty like this will occur out of sight if a bill pending in Iowa's legislature passes. The bill would subject whistleblowers to criminal prosecution for exposing animal abuse on factory farms. Please speak out right now! |
Written by Jennifer O'Connor
After seeing an exhausted and utterly dispirited elephant being forced to give rides all day long at the Indiana State Fair, one visitor wrote us, stating, "[T]his elephant's plight absolutely breaks my heart. … [H]e looks old, tired, thin, and completely miserable. … The sadness in this animal's eyes brought me to tears." Another said, "The pain [in the elephant's eyes] was evident. … [M]y … daughter was reduced to crying so hard at witnessing this that our day was pretty well ruined." Clearly haunted by what she saw, our first tipster added, "I think this elephant is not only a slave, but he's just plain lonely in his misery. He is clearly so terribly heartbroken."
Life on the road is miserable for elephants who are forced to perform at fairs, carnivals, festivals, and circuses. In contrast, for elephants in the wild, each day is filled with traveling, socializing, exploring, swimming, mud-bathing, playing, and foraging. Elephants experience joy, sadness, and fear. Their level of self-awareness continues to amaze researchers worldwide, and it's obvious that this poor elephant who is being dragged around the fair circuit knows exactly what she's missing.
By the way, last year in Indiana, at least 15 children and one adult were injured when an elephant who was being used for rides became startled and stumbled, knocking over the stairway leading to the ride. Several years ago, an elephant grabbed a woman as she was dismounting from a ride and threw her against a tree three times. The woman was in a body brace for three months. And while carrying children on her back at a state fair, an elephant panicked, knocking down and then stepping on the handler. A 3-year-old girl was also injured after falling off the elephant. The list goes on.
Please contact Indiana State Fair officials and ask them to permanently do away with elephant rides.
As a die-hard baseball fan (go Rockies!), I was bummed to hear that the iconic Field of Dreams has been put up for sale. But I broke out my foam finger when I heard about PETA's proposal to temporarily lease the Iowa landmark for "The Field of Nightmares: Pig Empathy Display."
Iowa is the number one pork-producing state and pigs raised for meat get more of a bum rap than Shoeless Joe Jackson. In addition to the everyday abuses that pigs suffer on factory farms, they are often harmed in other ways. For instance, an undercover investigation of a Hormel supplier in Iowa documented that workers beat pigs with rods and sexually abused them with canes.
PETA's Pig Empathy Display will teach visitors how they can stop the abuse of these smart, sweet, and adorable animals by leaving pork off their plates. Did I mention that there will also be faux-pork Riblets and stickers? Score!
We'll keep you posted. While you're waiting, please take a moment to contact Hormel and demand that the company follow PETA's nine-point policy to help stop cruelty at its suppliers' pig farms.
Written by Amy Skylark Elizabeth
The verdict inside the courtroom on Friday's People's Court was against a consignment shop that donated a fur-wearer's musty minks after they didn't sell, but outside, the show's host and legal analyst, Harvey Levin, announced his own judgment about wearing fur: "It's just cruel. … The skin ought to stay on the animals."
Caring people should always find in favor of animals by boycotting fur—or risk being found guilty of supporting an indefensible industry that profits from horrific animal suffering and slaughter. Thanks to all the warm, stylish alternatives to animal fur and skins, there's no excuse not to follow Levin's verdict: "Don't wear fur."
Written by Karin Bennett
The title of an LA Times blog says it all: "You Win, PETA. Iowa State Fair Won't Have Michael Jackson Butter Sculpture."
You may remember that we recently wrote to the Iowa State Fair asking it to refrain from making a Michael Jackson statue out of butter and instead to use Earth Balance, a delicious nondairy spread. We reminded the fair that the King of Pop himself—a vocal supporter of children's health charities—would not appreciate his image being carved out of an unhealthy, fatty spread (not to mention one so detrimental to animals).
Well, the fair officials put it to a vote, and after more than 100,000 votes were counted, about 65 percent of fairgoers had voted against erecting the statue. Looks like we weren't the only ones who thought this was a "bad" idea.
Written by Christine Doré
While people around the globe are trying to find appropriate ways to honor the late "King of Pop," the state of Iowa has come up with one of the lamest ways we've seen so far.
Believe it or not, the organizers of this year's Iowa State Fair are considering erecting a statue of M.J. made out of butter. While we can definitely appreciate the creativity of their suggestion, we think that they are going about it all wrong. Michael devoted much of his life and fortune to children's health charities, and the notion of promoting artery-clogging butter to young passersby is quite the opposite of "healing the world"—and enough to make Mike roll over in his golden casket.
We do respect Iowans' right to honor the late icon, so we've come up with a solution—one that's good for children, cows, and Michael's legacy. We're suggesting that the fair make the statue out of Earth Balance, a dairy-free natural "buttery" spread, instead. By keeping their tribute to Mr. Jackson dairy-free, they'd be honoring his memory in a (cholesterol-free) way that's fit for a king.
Shawn Matthew Lyons was the first individual ever convicted of abusing or neglecting factory-farmed pigs in Iowa, but he's no longer alone. Four other workers who were employed at the farm—a Hormel supplier at which our undercover investigation produced video footage documenting that workers beat pigs with metal rods and sexually abused them with canes—have now admitted to abusing pigs.
Of the defendants—Richard Michael Ralston, Alan Bruce Rettig, Greg William Hackler, and Jordan Michael Anderson—Ralston, Rettig, and Hackler have pleaded guilty, been convicted, and sentenced to two years in prison, which has been suspended. Anderson accepted a deferred entry of judgment allowing him to have the charges dismissed if he completes a period of good behavior. All four have all been ordered to pay fines and other fees, and they have been placed on probation for periods ranging from one to two years.
Most importantly, three of the men have been barred from working with animals for the duration of their probation. Only Anderson will be allowed to do so. Despite an assurance in October from Audubon-Manning Veterinary Clinic President Daryl Olsen, D.V.M., that Anderson “has been suspended from working with livestock pending the outcome of the charges,” a whistleblower told us that Anderson is currently employed at a hog-confinement facility that Dr. Olsen reportedly owns. Dr. Olsen has not answered our inquiry regarding Mr. Anderson. If you would like to ask him to confirm that his company does not pay admitted animal abusers like Anderson to work with live animals, please contact him here.
Pork magazine called our investigation footage a "wake-up call" for the pork industry. We hope that these convictions serve not only as another wake-up call but also as a lesson to anyone working in this innately cruel industry: Neither the courts nor the public have a stomach for such malicious cruelty to farmed animals.
Written by Shawna Flavell
We have just learned that Shawn Matthew Lyons, one of the men caught abusing pigs during our investigation of an Iowa pig farm, pleaded guilty to one count of livestock neglect. This charge was filed after authorities reviewed our investigators' video, which showed Lyons beating a pig on the back at least 10 times with a metal gate rod.
According to court records posted today, Lyons has been ordered to pay a fine of $625—the maximum permitted by law—and an additional $250 in court costs and surcharges. Lyons has been placed on probation for six months, during which time he is prohibited from working with any animals. All convicted animal abusers should be barred from contact with animals, and we commend prosecutor Nic Martino for securing this vital sentencing condition.
To our knowledge, Lyons is the first individual ever convicted of abusing or neglecting a factory-farmed pig in Iowa, the nation's top pork-producing state. His conviction sends yet another wake-up call to the pork industry: Cruelty to pigs will not be tolerated by the public or the criminal justice system. And you never know where our undercover investigators will turn up next …
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.