Written by PETA
Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. —Martin Luther King Jr.
Countless prominent African Americans throughout history have used their influence to stand up for animals, and this month we celebrate their inspiring efforts. Civil rights leader Coretta Scott King extended her kindness toward humans to animals by going vegan. The late comedian Richard Pryor, who won our Humanitarian Award in 1999, tirelessly urged KFC and McDonald's to treat chickens humanely and spoke out on behalf of the elephants abused by Ringling and other circuses.
Today, fur-free First Lady Michelle Obama and awareness-raising media mogul (not to mention PETA's 2008 Person of the Year) Oprah Winfrey continue the historic trend of African Americans defending animals. Author and social thinker Cornel West, record producer Russell Simmons, and community leader Rev. Al Sharpton are among the many who have ensured that Richard Pryor's legacy lives on by asking KFC to stop abusing chickens. And many more—including Tyra Banks, Tony and October Gonzalez, John Salley, Nia Long, Gilbert Arenas and Amar'e Stoudamaire—have worked with PETA in campaigns to stop the exploitation of animals. Join us this month in honoring these generous and compassionate black men and women.
Written by Logan Scherer
Road trips remind me of a better decade, when poodle skirts and pompadours were in fashion. So when I'm on the open road, Elvis croons from my stereo and the iconic Sonic drive-thru diner is a must on the list of pit stops.
And now I have another reason to cruise on up to Sonic besides its seriously addictive limeade. The company just agreed to begin purchasing eggs and to double the amount of meat it purchases from suppliers that use less cruel production methods. Under its new animal welfare policy, Sonic will take the following actions:
With the new policy, Sonic adds its voice to those calling for less cruel slaughter methods that will prevent thousands of chickens from suffering broken bones and dying in scalding-hot defeathering tanks—and it will mean more humane living conditions for sows. The company has set an example that we hope other chains will follow. Of course, our offers to meet with execs from McDonald's and KFC still stand.
Written by Karin Bennett
Perez Hilton reported Monday that an Ohio woman got into a flap when she was told that McDonald's was out of McNuggets—and was apparently arrested after she punched out the drive-thru window. This altercrazion* is just the latest in a recent rash of fights, stabbings, and shootings that have taken place at various McDonald's restaurants across the country.
We know that a diet full of meat and dairy foods can make people limp, lumpy, and, er, well, dumb. And we know that McDonald's, aka McCruelty's, hideous treatment of animals makes caring people mad. But dare I say that a McDonald's-heavy diet may make people violent? Ladies and gentlemen, consider the following:
On the flip side, I don't recall ever having read about vegans duking it out for flesh-free Southern Fried Drumsticks at Brooklyn's Foodswings or getting into nunchuck battles over mock chicken fingers at Venice Beach's Good Karma (although I'll admit that my husband and I once thumb wrestled for the last bite of "meat loaf" at The Chicago Diner—I won, BTW).
McDonald's fast-food fights are so common that I'm thinking about suggesting that the PETA Files introduce a new semi-regular feature called "McDonald's Mayhem"—that is, unless you can think of a better title for it?
*"Altercation" + "crazy" = "altercrazion."
When rock deity Chrissie Hynde says "I'll Stand By You," she really means it.
When we told Hynde that we were resurrecting our McCruelty campaign, she pulled out all the stops, starting by unveiling her new "i'm hatin' it" ad in Salt Lake City, where throngs of people were thrilled to see the powerful image. But the folks at Cleveland Outdoor Advertising weren't so thrilled when we submitted the Ohio native's ad to them as a billboard. According to PETA's advertising agent, Cleveland Outdoor Advertising "didn't feel comfortable" with the ad.
Well, often the truth isn't comfortable, and in this case it's painful—scalding, actually. The chickens who are killed by McDonald's suppliers are dumped onto conveyer belts, shackled upside down, and then run through an electrically charged "stun bath" before their throats are cut and they are immersed in defeathering tanks full of scalding-hot water—often while they are still conscious and able to feel pain. Join Chrissie Hynde in urging McDonald's to make it suppliers adopt controlled-atmosphere killing, a less cruel method of slaughter. It would cost the corporation nothing to ask its suppliers to make the switch, which would spare millions of chickens from enduring extreme suffering.
Ana Ortiz—the award-winning actor of Ugly Betty fame—is just as awesome in person as she is in character as Hilda Suarez. Case in point? She's just written a letter to the National Council of La Raza (NCLR)—the largest national Latino civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States—urging the group not to partner with McDonald's for any future events.
NCLR's 2009 conference was sponsored by the dreaded McDonald's, and Ana's letter points out that slaughterhouse workers (many of whom are Hispanic immigrants) are poorly paid, usually receive no medical benefits, and face dismal working conditions. As Ana writes in the letter, "McDonald's has no regard for animals or for the people who are paid an unfair wage to kill them." To that end, she's asking NCLR to join PETA in urging McDonald's to switch to a less cruel slaughter method that would improve conditions for both chickens and workers.
Our thanks go out to Ana.
Written by Amanda Schinke
Last year's McDonald's Thanksgiving Parade in Chicago was chock-full of behemoth balloon characters and live entertainment (was that the cast of Jersey Boys I saw serenading their way down State Street?), but something was missing …
Wait, I know! Where was the killer clown? Considering that McDonald's refuses to adopt controlled-atmosphere killing (CAK)—the less cruel slaughter method that would spare birds from having their throats cut while they're still conscious and from being scalded alive—no parade sponsored by the fast-food fiend would be complete without a bloodstained float full of terrified birds being butchered by "Raging Ronnie," the grand marshal of gore. That's why we recently submitted a request to sponsor the following float in this year's parade:
This float idea? I'm totally lovin' it. No word yet on what the parade organizers think. While we're waiting for an answer, tell us about an animal rights–themed float that you would like to see in a major parade …
Written by Amy Elizabeth
Last Sunday, Tennessee Titans owner Bud Adams ecstatically extended his middle fingers as he rejoiced in his team's victory against the Buffalo Bills—and later paid a titanic fine of $250,000.
Who knew that giving the bird could be so expensive?!
Lucky for Adams, we've got a bird for him to give that costs nothing and saves lives. We're sending him one of our newest McCruelty T-shirts and asking him to flip it to an opponent who's much more offensive than any of his football rivals.
Did we mention that he doesn't even have to lift a finger?
McDonald's allows its suppliers to break the wings and legs of chickens, cut their throats while they're still conscious, and scald them to death in defeathering tanks. Chickens continue to suffer these abuses despite the fact that there is a less cruel method of slaughter available. Who wouldn't flip at the chance to give the one-finger salute on behalf of birds who can't do it themselves?
I thought that getting Tom Cruise to squirm uncomfortably during the premiere of The Jay Leno Show would be the program's most misguided attempt at "fun." Wrong.
Apparently, Jay Leno's stint as a teenage employee under the Golden Arches got execs at NBC and McDonald's thinking that the talk show host should feature a month-long promo for the fast-food giant on his new program.
With the news that McCruelty is slated for some prime-time exposure, out came PETA's "chickens." They greeted audiences lining up for yesterday's taping of The Jay Leno Show with news that McDonald's refuses to adopt an improved slaughter method called "controlled-atmosphere killing" (CAK). McDonald's American suppliers still use an archaic killing method that causes countless birds to suffer broken wings and broken legs, have their throats cut while they're still conscious, and be scalded to death. Even McDonald's own advisers agree that the company should eliminate the worst abuses by switching to CAK, which is already used by McDonald's European suppliers.
Ever the optimists, we're crossing our fingers in the hope that Mr. Leno will use his influence to convince McDonald's to help billions of birds.
Stay tuned for updates.
Thanks for all of your wonderful comments on this Win It Wednesday. The winners of the 'Tofu Never Screams' Tote and Tee are Mike Hoyt, Annie, and Kelly. Congratulations!
It's almost time for Halloween: my favorite holiday. Every year, I'm eager to gorge on vegan Swedish Fish Sea Kittens and decide on a costume.
This year, I've been thinking about going as Evil Ronald McDonald, with frizzed-out red hair, a hatchet, and a blood-splattered yellow jumpsuit—all topped off with PETA's Ronald mask.
Now PETA's quirky "Tofu Never Screams" tee and tote, which just happen to be this week's "Win It" Wednesday prize, have me thinking about a second costume idea. I may finally have a perfect use for that big, horrible block of Styrofoam in my hall closet.
How do you win one of this week's prize packages? Share your most creative, animal-friendly costume idea and the tote (perfect for carrying home that mountain of candy) and the T-shirt can be yours.
This weekend, an attempt by Ronald McDonald to con San Francisco youngsters into eating more greasy, artery-clogging burgers and McNuggets was interrupted by an anonymous "chicken," who apparently was not going to take McDonald's abuse of chickens lying down.
Here comes the wind-up …
Note the artful splatter of the vegan cream.
Mr. Chicken makes his getaway in his trusty "old school" Vans.
Here's hoping Ronald got the message that he needs to start treating chickens with a little more respect. Switching to CAK would be a good start.
Written by Alisa Mullins
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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.