Written by PETA
If the thought of sharks makes you envision a water skier meeting his end while the Jaws theme plays, think again. The reality is that there are only a handful of shark attacks around the world each year (only a few of which prove fatal), while humans kill about 73 million sharks a year. Hopefully that number will now take a dive, as the Bahamas has banned shark fishing and made 243,000 square miles of ocean into protected territory.
So why do we kill 73 million sharks every year? It certainly isn't in self-defense. One of the main reasons is to fulfill the demand for shark-fin soup. Since only the fin is desired, sharks are dragged to the surface, their fins are cut off, and they are thrown back into the ocean to slowly die from their injuries, stress, or suffocation.
The United States, Canada, the European Union, and several other countries also have laws against shark finning. Only if compassionate people continue to decry shark fishing and refuse to purchase any shark meat or shark products (including shark cartilage supplements) will sharks be protected from the truly dangerous predators: people.
Written by Michelle Sherrow
Just in time for the Discovery Channel's Shark Week comes news reminding us that sharks are not just predators but also often prey—for humans.
Brazil's Environmental Justice Institute has claimed that one seafood exporter has illegally killed nearly 300,000 sharks—just let that number sink in for a moment—in response to growing demand from an increasingly affluent middle class in China, where shark fin soup is considered a delicacy.
While sharks aren't particularly cuddly, that's beside the point. All animals feel fear and pain, and what kind of justification can there be for the hideous cruelty involved in pulling sharks from the water, cutting off their fins, and then throwing them back into the sea to spin to the bottom while they slowly bleed to death? While sharks' predatory nature may give nightmares to anyone who's watched Jaws, humans beat them by far when it comes to the number of victims each species kills for food. And killing sharks in huge numbers threatens the balance of the marine ecosystem.
To its credit, Discovery devotes resources during Shark Week to raising awareness of finning. In light of Hawaii's recent ban on the possession, sale, trade, and distribution of shark fins, perhaps the tide is turning (geddit?) in their favor, but sharks and other threatened aquatic animals still need help.
Written by Jeff Mackey
A report issued this week by Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Tom Coburn, R-Okla., blasts 100 "questionable," "mismanaged," and "poorly planned" stimulus-funded projects, including an especially cruel and wasteful experiment that the report aptly calls "Monkeys Getting High for Science." (No, it isn't another Onion story, unfortunately.) The study in question is being conducted at the Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, which nabbed $71,623 in stimulus funds (i.e., tax dollars) to feed cocaine to monkeys.
"I think all of [the projects] are waste," McCain told ABC News. "[S]ome are more egregious than others but all of them are terrible."
Hooking monkeys on coke definitely falls into the "more egregious" category. Unfortunately, the idiotic study is just a drop in the proverbial crack pipe. Other mind-bogglingly absurd addiction studies on animals include the following:
Please help prevent more money from being flushed down the laboratory drain by asking the National Institutes of Health to stop funding addiction experiments on animals.
Written by Alisa Mullins
American Idol season seven runner-up Kristy Lee Cook is doing anything she can to get her "15 Minutes of Shame." In her new television show on Versus (formerly the Outdoor Life Network), Kristy is traveling around the country shooting animals. It sounds like she must have had those tired old defenses of hunting hammered into her as a kid, because she isn't embarrassed to float the incredibly old saw that hunters somehow help animals … by killing them while they're in the woods with their families minding their own business.
We hope Kristy will realize that her quest for fame would be better served by following in the footsteps of two of her fellow Idol alums-turned-country-stars. Vegetarian and Idol winner Carrie Underwood, for instance, has won five Grammy Awards and had 13 straight number one singles, while Kellie Pickler—our 2009 Sexiest Vegetarian winner—sold more than 800,000 copies of her debut album. And sensational Simon Cowell condemns fur, promotes spaying and neutering, and shot a public service announcement urging people not to leave dogs in hot cars.
Now is the time for Kristy to use her powerful voice as a weapon and hang up her gun collection for good.
Written by Jennifer O'Connor
We are still receiving calls, e-mails, and blog comments about Anapka, the donkey who was recently hoisted up on a parasail and spent a terrifying 30 minutes in the air, braying for help, before crash landing in the ocean and being dragged across the beach in a promotional stunt. Great news: Anapka's days of flying are over after the British newspaper The Sun bought her in response to an onslaught of outraged reader demand.
Vets gave this personable animal a clean bill of health and offers to adopt her and get her into a safe, permanent home are pouring in.
Would you like to help other donkeys who have been abused and hurt? Oh, yes! Please check out the remarkable work of our friends at Animal Rahat.
Written by Jennifer O'Connor
OK, maybe that's a trick question. Who in the world would spend one plugged nickel on this gruesome "novelty"?
We realize that giving attention to things like these "piggy banks"—or those strange dead squirrel beer cozies—is like engaging with a radio shock jock, but these promotions are a bit more than we can overlook.
Doesn't it seem to you that it's long past time for taxidermy novelty items to go the way of the Jackalope? We have sent a letter to the folks at TheCheeky.com with some suggestions. If they are striving for "different," they should consider something like bras made from lettuce or in the shape of cow udders instead of products made from the bodies of dead, embalmed animals.
Cancel your afternoon appointments and plan on getting dinner delivered because we're going shopping at Cosmo's Vegan Shoppe, which has offered up this week's "Win It" Wednesday prize—a $25 gift certificate.
After more than two decades of vegan living, I know that it's a cinch to find an animal-friendly version of any edible or wearable item that I can imagine. But browsing through Cosmo's shop, I'm blown away to discover items that I didn't know existed—vegan meatloaf? Get in my belly!
So this week's challenge is to name and link to the unique item or items that you discover at Cosmo's and tell us how you plan to use them. The person who offers up the most amazing discovery and description will win the gift certificate.
Written by Karin Bennett
Earlier this week, President Obama affirmed that U.S. combat troops will leave Iraq by the end of August "as promised and on schedule." After reading this Associated Press story about a military dog who came home from Iraq "cowering and fearful," I can only hope that President Obama will commit to withdrawing canine troops right away as well. They didn't sign up, and no one can even explain to them why shells are going off and the ground is shaking.
When Gina, a 2-year-old German shepherd, was sent to Iraq to sniff out explosives, she was friendly and playful. But after months of explosions and door-to-door searches with tense soldiers, she returned home terrified of people and places. When her handlers took her into a new building, she slunk along the floor and tried to hide under furniture. Gina was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Unbelievably, Gina's handlers hope that she will recover enough to be able to resume "hazardous duty"! Sorry? What?
You can guess how many military dogs must be coming home traumatized. Humans picked this war—animals should be left out of it.
Written by Paula Moore
You've seen Hollywood's fugliest. Now, take a look at the Uggliest from Down Under: The proposed national costume for Miss Universe contestant Jesinta Campbell, aka Miss Australia, is making people wince.
PETA Australia has asked Campbell to abandon her plans to wear a ghastly get-up that includes a sheepskin shrug and last year's Ugg boots during the upcoming Miss Universe Pageant in Las Vegas. Unless she's lived in a cave, she has to know that most lambs in Australia are subjected to "mulesing"—a mutilation in which huge chunks of flesh are cut from lambs' backsides. And to help her out in case she sticks to her decision to wear this itchy, woolly outfit, PETA Australia is sending her what it believes is the perfect accessory for her costume: a pair of mulesing shears.
Personally, I'm optimistic that Campbell will come around to compassion. When I was her age, my most prized possession was a black leather motorcycle jacket—until I learned about how cows suffer in meat and milk factories. Just as I abandoned my leather vice to become pleather nice, Campbell can go from abominable to fauxnomenal.
Conservative MP Ann Widdecombe has earned kudos from the Mozfather himself for an opinion piece in the UK's Times that blasted the killing of Canadian bears for the Queen's Guards' hats.
In a letter that ran in yesterday's Times, Morrissey wrote, "I welcome Ann Widdecombe's views on the depravity of bear-baiting in order to serve the vanities of the British Army Guards. … [T]here is no sanity in making life difficult on purpose for the Canadian brown bear, especially for Guards' hats that look absurd in the first place, and which can easily be replaced by faux versions (thanks to the visionary Stella McCartney) with no death involved."
Morrissey has made clear in no uncertain terms that he wants the Guards to switch to faux fur right away. Please, please, please help him get what he wants.
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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.