Written by PETA
Update: Amusing as it is, it looks like this story may not have been entirely factual. Makes me feel a bit sheepish. Thanks to Amy and Canaduck for pointing that out!
Apparently, thousands of rich Japanese women were conned into buying lambs as pets, believing them to be super valuable miniature poodles. No, I’m not kidding. This insane scam was brought to light when Japanese movie star Maiko Kawakami complained on a talk show that her new poodle refused to bark or eat dog food. Another couple found out the truth when their groomer told them that she couldn’t cut the “poodle’s” nails, umm, because they were hooves! As funny as these people’s clueless-ness is, the sad part is that the aftermath of this scam is that hundreds or thousands of sheep have been left to God only knows what fate.
It reminds me of the way people in this country jump on the bandwagon and buy purebred puppies because they match the drapes in their new house, because they’re trying to make their lives look like a picture from an LL Bean catalog or because the latest Disney movie makes the kids beg for one. Then, a few months later after the novelty has worn off, the dogs wind up in shelters, or worse, on the street. This whole poodle thing is really no less absurd than the dalmatian craze that swept the US after the 101 Dalmatians sequel came out a few years ago and the clown fish craze after Finding Nemo.
It’s funny that this story came up now, as next week is national Be Kind to Animals Week, and to celebrate we’ll be highlighting one simple thing per day we can all do to make the lives of our own companion animals better and to help animals nationwide. But I want to start a little early. Let’s all agree not to buy sheep as house pets. If we can all agree to do that, I think we’re on the right track . . . OK, yes, now I’m kidding.
It's time for one of those "OMFGWTF?" moments—this one brought to you exclusively by the fine folks over at Sony. Apparently, as part of a promotion for a new game (which I'm not even going to mention here because I have absolutely no desire to help them promote it), they threw a party which featured a freshly slaughtered goat as the centerpiece. According to the Daily Mail, "guests at the event were even invited to reach inside the goat’s still-warm carcass to eat offal from its stomach." Setting aside the obvious question about whether this qualifies as the single lousiest party in history, how did this vicious little idea ever get past the concept stages? I've always sided with the video game industry against the Jack Thompsons of this world who are out to make a name for themselves by blaming gamers for all of society's problems, but when a company of Sony's stature goes out of its way to commit an act of senseless violence for a promotion, you have to start questioning whether they have any concern at all about the message they're sending to fans. Sony is evidently recalling the entire 80,000 print run of the PlayStation magazine in which this story featured, though it's frankly a bit late for the victim of the stunt at this stage.
Two Australian Lettuce Ladies made the BBC's "Day in Pictures" today, which means that a massive number of people are going to come across this photo and, unless they are completely blind, immediately go vegetarian. Stunning.
It's not going to bankrupt Covance—torturing animals in experiments is big business—but this is a big black eye for them, and it's a vindication of PETA Europe's work to expose the callous disregard for suffering that helps Covance's execs sleep at night. But today, the New Jersey-based animal-testing company paid PETA Europe $290,000 following a British court’s dismissal of a lawsuit brought by the company to stop them from publicizing undercover video footage from a Covance lab here in Virginia. As PETA President Ingrid Newkirk puts it,
“Instead of spending a small fortune to try to cover up its abuses, Covance could have used the money to improve the hideous conditions for animals in its U.S. prisons. This company is a monkey’s Guantanamo Bay.”
How d'ya like them apples, Covance? To mark PETA Europe's big victory for free speech, here's the video that Covance really, really doesn't want people to see. It should come as no surprise that the footage is extremely disturbing, but—as the British courts have just demonstrated—it's vitally important that companies like Covance not be allowed to get away with trying to keep their dirty little secrets from the public.
If you’re anything like me, you start getting psyched around Noon on Sunday just knowing that The Sopranos is going to be on later that night. Well last night, as Carmela and Tony had another one of their knock-down-drag-out fights (I’m with Carm on this one, the spec house was HER project, so the proceeds should be hers to do with as she pleases), it reminded me of the amazing PSA Edie Falco did for us, pointing out the link between violence to animals and domestic violence.
Even if you’re not a die-hard Sopranos fan, this PSA is powerful stuff. But really, the price of HBO is worth it for the Sopranos alone (I’d sell a kidney to pay the cable bill before I’d miss an episode), not to mention that it’s followed by Entourage. Sunday nights and the Sopranos, its just one of the little things that makes life worth living . . . especially with Edie absolutely killing it as Carmela every week.
Ever hear of the town of Totnes, England? It’s a small town in southwest England known for being a pretty progressive place to live. How progressive, you ask? Well, yes, it has the art shops, coffee houses, used bookstores, street markets, musicians and other tell-tale signs typically associated with places like Boulder, CO, and Eugene, OR, but check this out: the city government is actually considering re-covering its furniture in pleather instead of leather to keep from “offending vegetarians.” Even in a place like Totnes, this is amazing and is hopefully a sign of things to come. Boulder and Eugene, you listening?
As a former editor, I've spent a whole lot of time poring through a little tome called The Associated Press Stylebook. Along with its rival, The Chicago Manual of Style, the book is a thing of beauty, gleaming with helpful tips about when and when not to put an apostrophe after an "s" and whether it's ever OK to split an infinitive (the answer is sometimes, if you're feeling subversive). But there's one important issue the AP Style gurus haven't properly addressed, which bears directly on our work here: Animals are still commonly referred to as if they were inanimate objects. And since nobody likes being called an "it," we dashed off a little letter to them yesterday, which has already been getting some good coverage. My own letters to the AP asking them to ban the word "utilize" and take a stronger stance on misuse of the subjunctive have thus far been ignored, but I haven't given up hope yet. You can check out our letter below. I love that we included our own style guidelines for them to peruse.
April 26, 2007Norm Goldstein, Editor The Associated Press450 W. 33rd St.New York, NY 10001Dear Mr. Goldstein:On behalf of PETA’s more than 1.6 million members and supporters worldwide, I am writing to request that you revise The Associated Press Stylebook so that its grammatical rules reflect the fact that animals are living beings rather than inanimate objects. In magazine articles, popular literature, and advertising, writers are using “he,” “she,” and “who” to refer to animals—instead of the outdated and inaccurate “it” and “which.” Won’t you consider making this transition as well? As “the essential global news network,” the Associated Press (AP) should take a progressive step and give animals the respect that they deserve by revising AP style guidelines to reflect the usage of personal pronouns for all animals.While the world accelerates through the 21st century, progressive ideas are challenging and changing conventional perspectives. Recently, the American legal system recognized that nonhuman animals deserve legal status beyond that of mere “property” and that abusive treatment of animals is more than simple vandalism. The public now recognizes that whales, who sing across oceans; great apes, who share more than 98 percent of our DNA; sheep, who can recognize as many as 50 faces after not having seen them for two years; and pigs and chickens, who can learn to operate switches in order to control heat and light in factory-farm sheds, are feeling, intelligent individuals—not objects. Our language should reflect this. I would greatly appreciate hearing your decision on this matter. Enclosed is a copy of “PETA Writing Style and Guidelines,” which explains how to avoid language that portrays animals in a negative light.Thank you very much for your time.Sincerely,Anna WestDirector of Written Communications
I just got back from the “Doo Dah parade” in Norfolk, where local businesses and charities march up and down the street in the silliest outfits they can think of for the benefit of an adoring public. And nothing looks quite so foolish as a fur coat—which is where we come in. I’m not entirely sure what terrible thing I did to incur this punishment from PETA’s upper management, but I hope at least that I have now paid my debt in full. Actually, the truth is that the parade was a blast, and I would be doing the world a real disservice by not sharing the pictures. I’m the one looking fabulous in pink. P.S. You can check out video from last year’s Doo-Dah parade here.
you have a general question for PETA and would like a response, please e-mail Info@peta.org. If you need to report cruelty to
an animal, please click
here. If you are reporting an animal in imminent danger and know where to find the
animal and if the abuse is taking place right now, please call your local
police department. If the police are unresponsive, please call PETA
immediately at 757-622-7382 and press 2.
Follow PETA on Twitter!
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.