Written by PETA
While Nike the shoe company is named after Nike the Greek goddess of victory, unfortunately, in dogfighting, there are only losers: Even the victors end up in the grinder at the end of the day. Nike seems to have forgotten that little fact, as the company is reportedly now supplying Michael Vick with "product," although it says it has not signed a promotional contract with the disgraced former dogfighter and current NFL QB.
This begs the question posed in a letter sent by PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk to Nike President and CEO Mark Parker: Why is Nike giving free swag to a guy who admitted laughing when he tossed "family pets" into the ring and watched them get ripped to shreds by trained fighting dogs? Is this a guy you want parading around Philly displaying the Nike swoosh? Unless Nike aspires to corner the bottom-feeding dogfighting market, this plan seems designed to have the company's competitors cheering.
We hope you'll contact Nike, too, and let the company know that if it aspires to alienate anybody and everybody who's ever loved a dog—and to encourage them to change their brand away from Nike—it is sure to be, er, Vick-torious.
Written by Alisa Mullins
Ever since notorious dog abuser Michael Vick got out of jail and was signed by the apparently desperate Philadelphia Eagles, there has been a lot of discussion in the press and at your local humane society and sports bar about the ethics of his return to the NFL—and all the other issues that go along with it.
Now, the Washington Post (along with media outlets everywhere) is reporting that Nike might again be teaming up with Vick for product endorsements.
Today in the Post's special online NFL feature, "The League," PETA's own Dan Shannon cuts through the noise with a guest post on the subject. Dan puts it bluntly when he writes, "If Nike and other companies know what's best for the bottom line, they won't touch Michael Vick with a 10-foot pole."
Read the whole post here.
Written by Jeff Mackey
At least one corporation that stood to profit from Michael Vick's NFL reinstatement has decided to put morals before money.
While the NFL rushed to reinstate Michael Vick the second his ankle bracelet hit the floor, sporting goods giant Dick's has made it clear that it cares more about animals then it does its bottom line by refusing to sell replicas of Vick's Philadelphia Eagles jersey in any of its stores nationwide.
We hope you'll join us in letting Dick's know that it made the right decision by calling 1-877-846-9997 (dial 3 to speak to the operator). And if your dialing digits still feel like dancing, you can also call and complain to the NFL.
Written by Karin Bennett
What does PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk think about Michael Vick’s return to the NFL? We’ll let her tell you:
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Written by Shawna Flavell
PETA and millions of decent football fans around the world are disappointed that the Philadelphia Eagles have chosen to sign a man who hanged dogs from trees, electrocuted them with jumper cables, held them underwater until they drowned in his swimming pool, and even threw his own family dogs into the fighting pit to be torn to shreds while he laughed. What sort of message does this send to young fans who care about animals and don't want to see them be harmed?
PETA certainly hopes that Vick has learned his lesson and feels truly remorseful for his crimes—but since he's given no public indication that that's the case, only time will tell. At this point, all Eagles fans can do is cross their fingers and hope that they won't ever have to explain to their sons and daughters what a "rape rack" is and why their favorite player was using one, as Falcons fans once had to.
Written by Dan Shannon
Update: Many people have asked us how to complain to the NFL. You can send an e-mail to the NFL through its official contact form here. You can call the main office of the Philadelphia Eagles at 215-463-2500, and you can find mailing addresses here.
Also, please click here to join PETA in asking the NFL to require all its players—some of whom have been involved in a series of cruelty-to-animals cases—to attend PETA's "Developing Empathy for Animals" course. You can also urge the NFL to take cases of animal abuse seriously in the future by updating its policy on personal conduct.
Thanks to Richard Cohen for his Washington Post piece in which he asks if some sports reporters have a special key on their typewriters for "He's served his time."
Michael Vick has indeed served his time, and that entitles him to walk free in our society. And as he walks, he can remember how lucky he is to have been able to afford an army of high-priced attorneys who got him a plea bargain so that he wouldn't be charged with all the many abuses and crimes that took place when he purposely built a major gambling operation and the grounds on which to house it. He can remember how lucky he is to have been charged only with maiming and killing some dogs, although his carefully designed fighting operation went back at least 8 years. Serving his time entitles him to live in one of his big houses, but it doesn't mean he's sorry.
Did you see this video of Vick's homecoming? Did you see any remorse in his eyes? As the champagne flows, does he look ashamed about the deeds he's done? Vick shows as much remorse for the dogs he abused as he did his first night out of prison, when he went to a strip club. Perhaps that's why the video, in which his eyes are blurred and his speech is slurred, has been pulled from YouTube by its poster, and the original version can no longer be found on the Web.
So, Vick can no longer just blame a lack of parental guidance or bad influences in his youth. And the last USDA report blew out of the water his protest that he has always loved his "pets," but didn't see that the "pits" were also deserving of respect. That report reveals that Vick enjoyed throwing those "pets" into the ring with the fighting dogs and laughed as they were torn apart.
We gave the man the benefit of the doubt, but he tested positive for marijuana on the day he was taking an empathy course. Then, weeks before he was set to go to jail, he went into a pet shop in Newport News, Virginia, and bought a bulldog. Frankly, nothing sat right. We worried that "I'm sorry" might just be words in the wind. We didn't want his empty words or his money (offered and rejected). We wanted him to take the latest neurological test that's now being given to violent offenders—a test that can tell if the part of one's brain that registers empathy is active. He wouldn't do it. That's when we said, "So long."
Michael Vick may deserve to walk free, but he doesn't deserve to be a football star or a hero to children, and no group has any business helping him do so. We thank Richard Cohen for remembering the dogs Vick personally electrocuted, held underwater in a swimming pool, strung up like hammocks, and slammed into the ground until their backs broke.
Written by Joel Bartlett
So, Michael Vick has been reinstated, although so far, there are no takers.
Vick has served the reduced sentence negotiated by his high-priced team of fancy lawyers, and the law says that he is entitled to walk free. But that doesn't mean it is acceptable to put him in the position in which children will look up to him as a role model and wear any new jersey that bears his number. For the sake of all the young football fans and all the dogs he electrocuted, drowned, slammed to the ground, and hanged, we will watch carefully to see if he is a newly contrite, kind man these days or still just a lout. Meanwhile, please add your voice to ours in our request to the NFL to add "cruelty to animals" to its personal-conduct policy as an offense that won't be tolerated. Doing that might reduce the likelihood that such lowlife violent crime will happen again.
Michael Vick was released from prison early this morning after less than two years behind bars and is headed back to Hampton, Virginia, where he'll serve the final two months of his sentence under house arrest.
In January, after a U.S. Department of Agriculture report on Vick's dogfighting activities revealed that Vick had enjoyed placing family pets in the ring with the pit bulls he'd bred, raised, and trained to fight, PETA called on NFL Commissioner Goodell to require that Vick undergo a full psychological evaluation before any decisions were made about the future of his football career.
Until Michael Vick undergoes the rigorous psychiatric tests now available to determine his ability to experience remorse, there's no way to establish whether he will reoffend. Someone who trained dogs to torture and kill one another for sport, who drowned and hanged dogs who wouldn't fight, and who laughed while watching his own family dogs fight for their lives as they were maimed and finally killed does not deserve to be rewarded with a multimillion-dollar contract or be given the privilege to serve as a role model to millions of children. PETA will not take anything off the table when it comes to any team or league that may sign Michael Vick.
In the meantime, PETA has increased our efforts to get other athletes on board to speak out against dogfighting. Houston Rockets forward Ron Artest, mixed martial arts fighter Tito Ortiz, and world welterweight champion "Sugar" Shane Mosley, who shot an anti-dogfighting ad for PETA this week, have all spoken out against this cruel and illegal blood sport.
Every Tuesday night, I grab a comfy couch, flip on American Idol, proceed to squeal and shout comments at the screen for the next hour, and then dial in incessantly to vote for my fave.
On the show, judge Simon Cowell is known for being a little harsh when he gives the contestants a dose of the hard truth, but in reality he is full of compassion, especially when it comes to animals. Not only has he lent his celebrity to important campaigns in the past (like when he recorded a video message to remind people not to leave dogs in hot cars or when he has spoken out about the importance of spaying and neutering (and against fur), but now he's taken the time to sit down and chat with us about everything from his thoughts on Michael Vick to Obama's new White House pup, and much more. Check it out below and let us know what you think!
Do you think it's important to adopt a dog or cat rather than buying one from a pet store? Well, I mean, if I was buying a dog, I wouldn't buy it from a pet shop, I'd go to a rescue shelter. Or I'd go to a friend who couldn't take care. … It's not where the dog came from, it's the dog. … I get really annoyed when people start telling me about the make and the model of their dog like [for] a car. … A dog is a dog, no matter what background they've got. … Often, the mutts, the strays have got more personality than a highly bred pedigree.
Why do you think some people are obsessed with buying purebred dogs? They are plagued with physical issues, and some breeds are so popular that folks can't tell their own dogs apart from their neighbors' dogs.Well, I think the fashion accessory thing has become quite the thing here. You've got the rap and pop stars carrying around the highly bred dogs …. They think it'd be embarrassing to be seen carrying a mutt … when actually it would be endearing—people would think they cared more about the dog than their image. The other thing which is a problem, as you know, is they'll make movies about, you know, Chihuahuas, and thousands of people will go out and buy Chihuahuas like in the movie.
Right. And we're concerned that the same thing might happen now with the first family. What do you think about their Portuguese water dog? I think we've got to be balanced on this. I think—on a positive note, I think it's nice that they have made an issue of buying a dog for the kids. What I think would be great would be if they also took in a shelter dog, just from anywhere, to balance it. I'll even pay for the dog food!
The Westminster and Crufts dog shows are always controversial because they promote purebred animals when so many mutts are dying in animal shelters. What do you think of these shows? Well, again, I have two thoughts about them, because I think the vast majority of people who go and watch something like Crufts or who are involved are animal lovers, not animal haters. The problem (in the U.K. at least) is that we have elitism in the dog world, which does bother me, for who's to say what makes the perfect dog? The fact that these judges are saying that a bulldog who can't breathe properly is the proper way to breed a dogâ€•that's just insane! Because, in their warped minds, that's what a dog should look like. I've got a show called Britain's Got Talent, where we have crazy dog acts, and I like those dog shows better. The dogs are having a blast, obviously having a great time.
We see a lot of dogs chained outside like bicycles, for life. What is your message to people who do that? That's disgraceful. The awful thing about what that person doesn't realize is that in the dog's mind, as he's being chained up … that dog has put his trust in the person who's chaining him. That dog would give up his life nine times out of 10 for the person who's chaining him up. … For a dog, under those circumstances, just to be left alone, starving to death, lonely and thirsty, is about as low as a person can go. You've got to have a really warped, disgusting personality to want to do something like that. That really disgusts me.
What makes you angriest when someone is cruel to an animal? I think the fact that they get an enjoyment out of it. I think the disrespect—a dog's sole purpose in life is to guard you, and it's your responsibility, and the dog will give up his life for you—would literally die for you—is unbelievable! It shows a really … like Michael Vick. He should never, ever be publicly supported again. Ever. If people really knew the gory details of what he was doing …. They think it was just a dogfight, but what do you do after the fights? The way they kill the maimed dogs ….
Right. And it came out last winter that Vick even threw his family pets into the fighting ring. That's not a human beingâ€•that's a sadist.
As you know, your image is posted on our mobile spay-and-neuter clinic, which rides around in low-income, rural areas of Virginia and North Carolina. People cheer when they see you on the van, and they bring their dogs out for their vaccinations. Thank you for that. Can you send some words to people who are having a hard time putting food on the table about why they shouldn't forget their dogs in these tough economic times? Well, I think that a life is a life, and I totally respect the fact that it's very easy for pampered celebrities like me to lecture, and sometimes I despise people like me because we don't do enough. But I can tell you that if you give an animal kindness, it will come back to you a thousand times over. … You get so much out of it, I cannot tell you. And for us, certainly, I am always willing to do—if I can help you financially, I will do that. If you need a donation anytime, we'll set it up straight away. Never hesitate calling me about that.
Did you know that several of your American Idol graduates have gone on to help animals? Carrie Underwood, Reuben Studdard, and Kellie Pickler are, for example, all vegetarians and are all on PETA's "sexiest vegetarian" list. If you know someone is good with animals, does that make you more inclined to be kind to them after they perform? Well, funny enough, there's normally something that connects me to them. Certainly with Carrie, the second she walked in, I sensed a real kindness about her, and I think it's part of her appeal. And to me, it just shows that you're a nicer person. So I'm not surprised to hear all of that, to be honest with you. I'll do more to encourage it. We'll put it on the questionnaire!
Written by Christine Doré
Now that he's about to get out of jail, it looks like Michael Vick is trying to revamp his image, according to Advertising Age. But it won't be with any help from us.
PETA withdrew our offer to do a TV spot with Michael Vick last December when a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) report on Vick's dogfighting activities revealed that he enjoyed placing “family pets” in the ring with fighting pit bulls and that he laughed as dogs ripped each other apart. PETA believes that this revelation, along with other factors in the report, fit the established profile for anti-social personality disorder (APD), so in January we called on NFL Commissioner Goodell to require that Vick undergo a brain scan and a full psychological evaluation before any decisions are made about the future of his football career.
What can I say? You can't believe everything you read.
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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.