Written by PETA
Still looking for that perfect swimsuit but don't want your hard-earned bucks going to a company that hurts animals in the name of fashion? Meet Ashley Paige: bikini designer, animal rescuer, and founder of Ruff Houzen Rescue.
This down-to-Earth designer is taking the swimsuit world by storm with her creations. Her designs are highly sought after by celebrities and have graced the cover of the much coveted Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition. Ashley also has her own reality show, Bikini or Bust, which airs Saturdays at 11 a.m. Eastern Time on TLC and gives fashion fans an intoxicating glimpse into her world of design, business, family, and, you guessed it, her love for animals! To ensure that Bikini or Bust gets picked up for a second season, you can e-mail the network at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out their Web form here.
See for yourself just how fab Ashley is. Check out the interview that she just did with PETA. Here she is in her own words.
As a fur-free fashion designer, what do you think of designers who continue to work with fur—sometimes even on bikinis?They truly disgust me. What has been the best part about running Ruff Houzen, your animal rescue group? Has there been a particularly memorable rescue?When people who have adopted animals from me and bring them by to visit, it's so adorable that I can't help but think back to when I first rescued them. Sometimes it makes me cry. I'm "sensitive," I'm year of the dog. I have so many memorable stories, here's two:Memorable story 1One day my boyfriend was coming down hard on me for bringing too many strays home. Later that same day he called and said, "I just spent the last hour chasing a little 'mangy' mutt all over Sunset Blvd." I laughed and said, "Well, did you catch him?" and he said, "Yes, he's sitting in my lap!" Funny how passion persuades!!! Memorable story 2So I eventually got a new boyfriend, who was much more supportive of my love for rescuing animals. He also happens to be year of the dog, like me. One morning, a little stray dog decided to play chase with us in the center divider line during rush hour morning traffic. I was in a bikini and Alek was wearing only his underwear. After we managed to catch the little "wild" dog, we slowly let traffic continue and thanked everyone for stopping. One woman rolled her window down and commented, "How cute!" I couldn't help but wonder if she was talking about the dog or my new boyfriend.
You say your favorite breed of dog is the mutt. Why is that?I'm against breeding and selling animals, and puppy mills break my heart. People who showcase their purebreds to better their image are such sad, delusional people. The Mutt is humble, and I believe the world could use more humble people!
Your mom seems like such a sweet, caring woman. Did she influence your love for animals? Did your family have companion animals when you were growing up?When I was a little girl, my mom would always bring home strays, but we lived in an abusive home where she could never keep them for long. It angered me for many reasons, and I would always tell myself, when I grow up, I'm going to have a house full of animals that need a loving home. And I did!
What animals do you share your home with now?I have 8 dogs and 2 cats, but it fluctuates, between successful adoptions and "rescued newbies." My permanent guests include a Pit/Wiener dog mix named Petunia, a Senior Shepherd named Cali, a Wiener dog named "The Flying Peeing Weiner," and a feral cat that lives under my bed named Crazy Eyes!
What advice would you give to somebody who's looking to adopt a dog?Adopt two! Haha, no really, it's usually much easier for both you and your rescues. Remember, dogs like to be in a pack and they get lonely when you're not around. Just make sure you're the pack leader!
Do you frequent any of the vegetarian restaurants in L.A.? Have any favorites?There's a great little Thai vegan restaurant right by my shop named the Vegan House on Wilcox. They even make vegan sushi, one of my favorites. And my boyfriend likes Real Food Daily on La Cienega, which specializes in raw.
We love Bikini or Bust. Can you tell us what's coming up on the show? The final episode is me having to choose between a corporate apparel job or sticking it out at "my little company that could." I announce my decision during pet adoptions in my store. You guys probably could guess the answer … but make sure to tune in.
What are your ideas for next season?I am praying for a second season, but the new president has not given us a green light yet. I know how important it is to stay on the "boob tube" as long as possible, for the animals. If we do get it, you bet there will be a great anti-fur demonstration in NYC during Fashion Week, lots of dramatic animal rescue, and probably some friendly fashion thrown in there somewhere. Oh—and as for mom, she's planning a cross country road trip with Spring Louisee to pick up maw and paw paw to bring them out to California. So let's do the math, 5 people, 8-10 dogs, 2-5 cats, and hopefully a camera crew of about 30.
Ashley often uses the spotlight to draw attention to animal rescue. In fact, this Saturday's episode of Bikini or Bust is all about the canines! We'll definitely be tuning in for some puppy love—and you should too! Don't forget to catch the show and let TLC know that this compassionate show deserves a spot on television.
Written by Jennifer Cierlitsky
Staying up 'til the wee hours of the morning to catch your fave Olympians go for the gold in Beijing? That's cool. But what's even cooler is the fact that the best athletes in the world can be found in the animal kingdom, not the Olympic Village. If the Summer Olympics were open to all of the planet's species, humans probably wouldn't even have a shot at medaling—especially if they had to compete against these top five animal athletes:
5. Cows. Natural track and field stars, cows have been known to hurdle a 6-foot fence to escape from a slaughterhouse and trot 7 miles to reunite with calves sold at auction.
4. Ants. Known for their Herculean strength, ants can lift 20 times their own body weight. That's the equivalent of a 200-pound weightlifter bench pressing 4,000 pounds!
3. Cheetahs. The fastest land animal, cheetahs can reach speeds of up to 75 miles per hour. Able to accelerate faster than a Ferrari, cheetahs can go from 0 to 68 miles per hour in just 3 seconds.
2. Sharks. Frightfully fast, sharks are excellent swimmers thanks to scales covered with tiny teeth that enable water to flow smoothly over their bodies. Hoping to reduce drag and increase speed, many Olympic swimmers are now sporting swimsuits modeled after shark skin.
1. Chickens. Chickens know how to bend it like Beckham. Give a small round object to a group of chickens, and they'll happily pass it around, much like they're playing soccer.
Yep, chickens. Take that, all you live-animal markets! Speaking of China not exactly giving a cluck about animal protection (see also: fur farms), I say that we honor the true Olympic spirit of friendship and fair play by treating all animals like gold.
Written by Amy Elizabeth
With the opening ceremonies of the 29th Olympiad just days away, our friends at PETA Asia-Pacific decided to get into the spirit of the games by awarding gold, silver, and bronze honors to Beijing's top vegetarian restaurants.
I know what you're thinking: vegetarian restaurants in China?!? Yes, my friends, it's true, but we really shouldn't be so surprised. After all, the Chinese gave the world tofu, that wonderful high-protein, versatile ingredient that can be used in everything from chocolate mousse pie to faux-ricotta lasagne (if you're still wrestling with tofu, check out our guide to vegetarian cooking).
And now with a drum roll, here are the top vegetarian restaurants in Beijing, as determined by PETA Asia-Pacific:
Gold: Taking the gold is Godly Vegetarian Restaurant. Beijing's oldest Buddhist vegetarian restaurant specializes in Chinese traditional classics, including KingKong HuoFang (stewed mock pork), sweet and sour mock ribs and fish, mock meatballs, mock duck, and much more.
Silver: Pure Lotus Vegetarian Restaurant—run by Tibetan monks—netted the silver. Voted "Best Vegetarian Fare" in the 2007 Beijing Reader Restaurant Awards, this restaurant serves up creatively named dishes such as "hot tears fill the eyes glazed noodles" and "countenance of mercy, words of love stir-fry." Yummy food with a side of zen.
Bronze: Coming in with the bronze is Still Thoughts, a relaxing and intimate oasis of vegetarian calm amidst a bustling alley in the heart of the city. Favorites include the spicy mock-pork intestines dry pot (testament to the fact that for any cruel and weird thing that humans would consider eating, human ingenuity can create a cruelty-free option!), shredded veggie-duck pancakes, and the faux-chicken hot pot.
And on a kinda-sorta related note, here are gold, silver, and bronze naked ladies! They are drawing attention to cruel practices on Chinese fur farms just in time for the Olympic Games:
Amanda Beard, the incredibly gorgeous U.S. swimmer, has posed naked for a brand-new anti-fur ad, just as the Olympics are about to kick-off in Beijing.The Olympic gold medalist unveiled the stunning "Be Comfortable in Your Own Skin" ad just hours after Beijing officials stopped her from holding a news conference, reportedly for "safety" reasons. Hmm, what’s so dangerous about a naked lady?! So the swimmer simply moved her location and revealed the stunning ad to a swarm of reporters and TV cameras elsewhere. Given that Beijing is hosting the Summer Olympic Games this year and the horrific conditions that have been documented on Chinese fur farms, now is a great time to remind folks that animals grow fur to protect themselves from the elements, not to cover 100-lb. fashionistas from paparazzi camera flashes. The ad shows that she's comfortable in her own skin and doesn't need to steal anyone else's. During the shoot Amanda sat down with us and explained: "I'd much rather go naked than ever put a dead animal on my body." Well said, Amanda!You can get on board by signing our pledge to go fur-free pledge.Photos from Amanda's unveiling in Beijing:
There's a lot of buzz on the interwebs about Eva Mendes' Calvin Klein ad that showed so much skin, it's been banned from U.S. television.I just wanted to remind the world that before Eva revealed her smoldering body for CK (a designer who WON'T use fur, by the way), she bared it all for the animals. How hot is Eva?!?!Not only do PETA and CK share a friendship with Eva and a dislike of fur—PETA has also had one or two ads banned from TV in our day. Heck, who are we kidding—we’ve had dozens. View our favorite banned ads here!
An Excerpt From "Grooming Sounds Grand Until Bowser Gets Baked" (From KP's Dog Blog)
Many people saw the grooming exposé "Pet Grooming Dangers," on the Today show on August 1, which was prompted by the grooming death of Sushi, the 2-year-old Labrador retriever of one of the Today show's employees. Sushi had been left for a week at a boarding facility and was supposed to get a bath before being picked up. When her guardian, Amanda, arrived to pick her up, instead of the thrill of a joyful reunion, she experienced the horror of learning that Sushi was unconscious. Not long after that, Sushi died at the vet's. Later it was determined that Sushi had been put inside a "cage dryer" for 30 minutes with the temperature set at 100°F.
I took one look at those dryers in the Today piece and shuddered. I couldn't believe my ears as I watched person after person, including someone from The Humane Society of the United States repeat some version of the mantra, "These cage dryers are safe if used properly."
Excuse me? First of all, the cage dryer has a setting that goes up to 100°F, so it has a built-in setting for death. Secondly, machines malfunction. A groomer might think that the dryer was set at 80°F, but in reality, it might go haywire and shoot up to 100°F or even 135°F. Thirdly, there are many dogs who, for various reasons, are automatically going to be at high risk inside one of these contraptions. These include dogs with flat muzzles, older dogs, dogs with heart problems, dogs with respiratory problems, etc. Finally, the dryers are run by mere mortals, who work for a largely unregulated industry. On any given day, a person can be distracted, tired, hung over, ill, depressed, or just plain stupid—any of which could cause a careless mistake, leading to tragedy…
Read the full entry on KP's Dog Blog.
Snake charmers, fairies, and leprechauns…if you thought all three only existed in the pages of fairytales, here's a surprise. Snake charmers have been and still are entrancing villagers into believing the myth that the sounds from their instrument can hypnotize a snake, who will "dance"—for money, of course.
Sound a little slippery? That's because it is. There is no magic involved, only cruelty. Here's how:
Snakes are trapped and taken from their natural habitats. Their teeth are yanked out without any painkillers, their mouths are often sewn shut (leaving a little gap to pour water or milk down), and their venom ducts are often pierced with a hot needle, causing the glands to burst and incapacitating this animals' most effective defense mechanism. None of the snakes lives very long, and death comes slowly and painfully.
The "dance" these snakes perform is actually a terrified reactive sway to the snake charmer's movements—as a means of self-defense from "attack" by the pipe. Snake charming is so violent, in fact, that the Indian Wildlife Act of 1972 actually banned it. But snake charmers show their disregard for the law and these animals by continuing their cruel ways.
With the upcoming holiday of Naga Panchami, which is held in honor of the Serpent God, PETA India decided to do a little charming of their own by releasing a brand-new ad urging people to boycott snake shows. The ad tells the story of a snake and a snake charmer, played by supermodel Jesse Randhawa and Hollywood/Bollywood dance instructor Sandip Soparrkar, and features the tagline "Snakes Are Not Natural Performers—We Are."
The ad sends out a great message to people in India. It points out that a country that has worshipped snakes throughout its history can't "honor" the reptiles with acts of cruelty. Check out PETA India's new mesmerizing ad here!
If you are not an Olympic athlete, you can still head on over to Beijing to take in the full glory of human athleticism. And while there, you can stop by Guolizhuang and get yourself some ox, donkey, and sheep penises (as well as deer penises, of course—I didn't mean to leave those out).
And if you feel like dropping a cool $500, you can also get some Canadian seal penises. You mean we can bash their heads in, skin them for their fur, AND pay $500 to eat their penises?!?! Penis: It's what's for dinner.
Let's face it, China may be on top of its game in terms of technological innovations, but when it comes to animal protection, the country is dead last at the bottom of the dog pile.
China severely lacks any form of animal welfare. Our investigations into Chinese fur farms and live markets have shown some of the most horrendous acts of cruelty and conditions for animals raised for human use.
We're pleased that Beijing has opted out of the dog-slaughtering business—at least for a few weeks and if only for Olympic restaurants. But I have a suspicion it's not because someone up top realized that dogs feel pain.
A better idea would be to ban all meat from the restaurants. Cows, chickens, pigs, and fish value their lives and don't want to suffer, and they certainly die as wretchedly as dogs do, even if most people never get to know one in the way that they get to know a dog. Kind of a double standard, don't you think?
Besides, the Olympic athletes certainly don't need all the fat and cholesterol loaded in each bite of meat. It would suck to be one lap away from winning gold and suffer a heart attack. Take a bit of advice from Carl Lewis, a legendary Olympian, a vegetarian, and the man who's broken more records than humanly possible.
The only real breakfast of champions is one that's meat-free. And you can take that to the winner's podium.
Posted by Jennifer Cierlitsky
From the "turnabout is fair play" department—and from an Israeli Web site called PetKaput.com—comes a video that dares to imagine what would happen if some role reversal were to happen in the notorious Chinese fur trade. The result is somehow creepier than all the Saw and Hostel films put together—and yet weirdly funny too. Not David Cross or Amy Sedaris funny, but—well, I can't really explain it; you just have to watch:
Ouch! Admittedly, it's a little disturbing, but keep in mind that it's only animation, so no one was actually hurt in the making of it (unfortunately, the same can't be said for the video that inspired it).
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.