Written by PETA
Here’s what Natalie Portman told The Sun last week when she was asked about her refusal to wear leather for a role:
“I'm an animal lover and I've been a vegetarian for 17 years. I won't wear leather in my own life and I won't wear it for a movie either. They have to make me clothes from fake leather.”
I’m still waiting for the right time to let Natalie Portman know the extent and depth of my feelings for her. I’ll let you know how that goes.
Our Cruelty Casework Division deals with reports of cruelty to animals every day, responding to literally thousands of instances of animal abuse in a year by writing to prosecutors, informing judges about the link between animal abuse and violence against humans, and sending out fieldworkers to respond to reports of animals in need. When I come across a case like this one, I honestly don’t know how they manage it.
Here’s the story that was reported to one of PETA’s caseworkers. We’re asking the District Attorney to prosecute this case to the fullest extent of the law, so if you’d like to help us out with that, please click here:
August 11 was Hunter's last day, and it was a terrible one. The beagle was the beloved companion of the Evans family in New Orleans. Hunter loved to lie in the sun for hours at a time, got a kick out of sitting by the family pool, and was well known throughout the neighborhood for his sweet disposition. In early August, the inquisitive 6-year-old dog snuck out of the yard while the Evans were painting their fence—Patricia Evans, Hunter's lawful guardian, was sick with worry, especially after several days passed and the family still hadn't seen a sign of Hunter. Patricia came home one day to find her father extremely distraught. He told her that they had found Hunter. It didn't sound good. Patricia's own account is as follows: "When I got home, [my friend] was in tears and my father had his head pressed against his desktop; I knew something was wrong. My father then told my brother and I that a man ... [named] Christopher D. Alessi had found our dog. We were told by a reliable source that he was trying to 'take care' of Hunter. On that Saturday, [Alessi] was spotted at a local Auto Zone with Hunter in the back of his truck. Witnesses saw Hunter try and escape, but [Alessi] hurried to him and began punching him in the face as someone would in a boxing match and threw him with force into the back of his truck. [Alessi] then continued to drive to his home, where the witness followed him. When he got out of the car, he [allegedly] grabbed Hunter by the throat and began choking him to death. The witnesses said he had his hands around his neck and Hunter tried to get his legs [on] the ground, but [Alessi] grew angrier and pulled him harder until he died. The police came almost immediately and arrested him."
Christopher Alessi will be answering to these charges in court this year. As always with these cases, if he’s convicted we need to make sure that he spends a long time in prison, and that he’s never allowed near animals again.
Ouch. Sophie Dahl is a British fashion model, known in the U.K. as a poster-girl for Yves Saint Laurent, and, unfortunately, a lover of expensive furs. These pictures, of Sophie looking just extremely uncomfortable as some concerned animal lovers express their disgust about her idea of “fashion,” made their way around the World Wide Web yesterday, and I thought I’d share them with you. Sucks to get singled out like that, Sophie, but it’s nowhere near as excruciating as what the animals go through.
No, not that Jack Black … The Jack Black line of skin care products for men that's taken the world by storm, with rave reviews and awards from Men’s Health and Esquire magazines. Now the company has teamed up with PETA to highlight its new cruelty-free Pure Performance Shave Brush with a contest over at CaringConsumer.com.
Until now, essentially all high-end barber shop quality shave brushes have been made with badger hair, so this is a real breakthrough. To be honest, I’m a little behind the uber-hip urban dude grooming curve. But even an emo guy like me can appreciate the fact that this brush helps guys get a nice clean shave, and more importantly, lets badgers carry on being badgers. It took years of development and commitment to make it happen, so PETA is presenting our Trail-Blazer Award to Jack Black cofounders Curran Dandurand and Emily Dalton for their commitment to developing products that are free from animal ingredients and never tested on animals.
The holidays are coming, so Mum and Dad, if you’re reading, I really like the looks of this stuff . . . I’m just saying is all. Oh yeah, here’s a direct link to the contest.
You heard me. We needed to know who was the cutest vegetarian child in the world, and thus began a painstaking, epic search throughout the land for the most adorable—but also compassionate re: animals—young lads and lasses that have been produced in the last 10 odd years of human procreation. Our quest for the World’s Cutest Vegetarian finally came to an end when we happened upon young Caitlin Rosendorn of Bloomington, Illinois, and her male counterpart, the undeniably adorable Ian Kaminski of North Syracuse, New York, both of whom beat out a very tough field of extremely lovable little kiddies. So without further ado, ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the winners of this year’s World’s Cutest Vegetarian Kids contest—you can learn more about them at PETAKids.com. Out of sheer laziness, I’ve copied these bios from the text written by my good friend Patricia Trostle who runs our PETA Kids department.
I seriously can’t get over the fact that this young lady is way into Rainer Maria. Not only is she precocious enough to have worked out the practical ethics of meat consumption for herself, but she already has the music taste of a disaffected Brooklyn scenester at the tender age of 6. I love it.
Congratulations, Caitlin and Ian! It’s not always easy to make a compassionate choice like going vegetarian when a lot of your classmates are doing something else, but it’s impressive as hell, and it’s something that you’ll never regret.
Ah, MySpace. It can be so tacky, so infuriating, so unutterably ugly. But there’s no denying that it’s also completely addictive. And the good news is that it’s turned out to be a really powerful tool for activism—helping to encourage a sense of community among activists, and keeping people up to date on breaking news and campaigns. Which is why we’re very excited to announce the launch of the official PETA MySpace page. (Yeah, I know—those trendsetting hipsters over at peta2 have had their MySpace page since it was in Beta. We just took our time with this one.)
So for my fellow MySpace junkies out there, you don’t have to admit that you sometimes spend your Friday nights sending out bulletins about, like, what you ate for dinner, but please do take a moment to check out PETA’s MySpace page, and maybe even add us as your friend. Kthxbye.
I have a feeling that a lot of people would have been pretty surprised if they'd seen Michael Vick walking into PETA's offices recently—not once but three times. You'd think that would be the very last place on Earth he would consider spending time. But it happened, and here's how it came about: After Vick pleaded guilty to dogfighting charges, PETA President Ingrid Newkirk—a great believer in hammering away at the seemingly impossible—contacted him to ask him to hear about animals’ feelings, needs, and desires, and to hear firsthand why people are so outraged by the suffering of the dogs fought and killed in Bad Newz Kennels dogfighting pits. Vick confirmed our belief that he had never before been exposed to this kind of information, and, after a formal preliminary meeting at PETA HQ—during which we reiterated that we're still seeking a strong jail sentence and a lifetime ban on contact with animals—he left with study materials. He returned on September 18 to take an 8-hour course in empathy and animal protection. No cell phones allowed, no going out for lunch, just learning.
The full course that Vick took, which includes homework, workshop outlines, videos, and supplemental course materials, as well as the exam questions Michael Vick returned to answer under his tutor’s watchful eye, is available here. The class included scientific evidence that animals are thinking, feeling beings, capable of a range of behavior and emotions; presentations on the specific needs of dogs; and information about the well-documented link between acts of violence against animals and crimes against humans, which PETA shares with law enforcement officers every week.
I know people can see red when it comes to any mention of Vick, so I do want to be extremely clear about our position here: While we’re pleased to have been able to show Vick facts about animals—many things he’d certainly never heard before in his life—we are in no way going to bat for him. He may have passed our empathy course, but we have asked the judge to send him to jail and bar him from ever possessing or having contact with animals. We believe anyone who might consider abusing animals should see exactly how much a known animal abuser stands to lose.
We've also sent a letter to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell urging him to make our “Developing Empathy for Animals” course a requirement for all NFL players. To help persuade Goodell to make humane education a part of the NFL's basic training for players, please click here.
Talking about the cosmetics company here. e.l.f. Stands for "Eyes, Lips, Face," and these guys are pretty rad. In addition to selling 100 percent cruelty-free cosmetics, e.l.f. have teamed up with PETA for a promotion to help draw attention to our fur campaign. They made these handy little tweezers with a faux-leather case so that their customers can be "fur-free" too, and they also released the following statement:
"Millions of fur-bearing animals including foxes, raccoons, minks, coyotes, bobcats, beavers, muskrats, otters, and others are killed in the wild by excruciating beatings, strangling, and electrocutions. e.l.f. does not test on animals and supports PETA in the Fur Free campaign."
We've been working on a new-and-improved PETA.org for quite awhile. If you haven’t checked it out yet, you might want to have a look. It's beautiful. Like, Grand Canyon beautiful. The Great Redwood Forest. Frickin’ Niagara Falls. Seriously, have a look. Don't be a stranger!
Not too many years ago, the only way PETA VP Dan Mathews could get a designer's attention was by storming their office and painting slogans on the wall, or disrupting a runway show or two in his underwear (hey, I'm pulling this stuff straight from his memoirs). But now Dan seems to have a foot firmly in the door. After reading his new book, Liz Claiborne big wigs Tim Gunn (of Project Runway fame) and Anne Cashill invited Dan to be the featured speaker at the company's monthly designer roundtable last week, which was attended by several of the company’s designers—many of whom work with leather, wool and even fur—as well as the company’s CEO, William McComb.
In honor of PETA’s visit, the company treated attendees to delicious homemade cookies in the shapes of foxes, beavers, and bunnies, with the words “Save Me” written in icing across the bottom. The fashionistas also received a copy of Committed and were aghast at the cruelty involved in creating animal-based “fabrics” as they watched PETA's fur industry exposé hosted by former fur wearer Martha Stewart, our undercover Indian leather investigation hosted by Pam Anderson, and our Australian wool exposé narrated by Pink. One handbag designer at the event promised never to use leather again! He's quite a charmer, our Dan.
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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.