Written by PETA
Move over, Smart car: There's an even smarter car in town. Unlike some so-called "green" carmakers that offer leather seats and trim, Wheego Electric Cars will not use a stitch of cow (or any other) hide in any of its models. That's why we go for Wheego, and we're awarding it our Proggy Award for the Best Green Car Company of 2010.
Including real leather in a car that's touted as "eco-friendly" is pretty fake (yes, we're talking to you, Smart car). Most leather is chrome-tanned, even though the Environmental Protection Agency classifies chromium as a hazardous waste. Studies have also found that groundwater near tanneries is tainted with everything from arsenic and lead to cyanide and PCBs and that human cancer rates are higher in those areas.
If you want to green your ride this Earth Day, why not give leather-free Wheego a spin?
Written by Paula Moore
1/26 Update: You can call me soothsayer. Avatar has sunk Titanic and is now the highest-grossing movie of all time!
Confession: While I was watching Avatar, I found myself mumbling, "I want to go to there," as I grabbed at the three-dimensional floating mountains in front of me. But the best films are those that entertain while also sparking important conversations, and Avatar is certainly one of those films. Through a mastery of CGI and an unparalleled script, Cameron beautifully shows that all nature is interconnected and that all beings—no matter their species or race—deserve to be treated with kindness, respect, and dignity.
For making a film with an overarching message of decency, understanding, and compassion—as well as breathtakingly beautiful CGI that heralds a new era in filmmaking (one that we hope marks the coming end of the use of live animals in entertainment)—we have awarded James Cameron our 2010 Proggy Award for Outstanding Feature Film.
Avatar has already become the second-highest-grossing film of all time worldwide (the number one blockbuster of all time is Titanic), truly making Cameron the "King of the World." My prediction: Cameron will beat his own global box-office record with Avatar (and pick up an Oscar or 10 on the way) long before I'm done learning to speak Na'vi.
Written by Logan Scherer
I could go on and on about the reasons why animal testing is archaic and unnecessary, but instead of babbling like a brook, I'm just going to leave it at Exhibit A: the technological breakthrough at Hµrel. This company relies on its expertise in engineering and cell cultures to provide scientists with alternatives to animal testing. Hµrel has developed a three-dimensional surrogate human liver that scientists can use to study the breakdown of chemicals in the human body. This in vitro (test tube) human cell–based technology effectively mimics human organs and can be used to test cosmetics, drugs, and chemicals. By providing an accurate substitute for countless animals who are experimented on and killed each year, Hµrel's 3D liver not only marks a major advancement in the scientific community, it has also made Hµrel the recipient of our Proggy Award for the Best Scientific Innovation of 2010—the first Proggy of the new year!
We're not the only ones wowed by Hµrel's humane technology. The folks at L'Oréal are so impressed with the potential of this human surrogate that they're collaborating with Hµrel to develop a model to test chemicals for their potential to cause skin allergies. Allergic reactions in the skin involve the interaction of cells from two tissues—skin and lymph nodes—and this has complicated efforts to develop a non-animal model. Hµrel's technology is perfectly suited for this complex task, and an accurate, non-animal skin sensitivity test will ensure consumer safety without harming animals.
Fortunately for us, many companies out there have ditched animal testing for good. So tell us, what cruelty-free companies are you supporting?
The holidays are almost over, and after days of small talk with friends and family, there's nothing I want more than to go bleary-eyed from playing video games. With the announcement that The Sims 3 has just won PETA's Proggy Award for Most Animal-Friendly Game of 2009, it's obvious which digital world I'll be inhabiting well into the new year.
In the latest version of the biggest-selling gaming franchise ever, Electronic Arts allows players to choose a vegetarian lifestyle. According to game testers, vegetarian Sims, like their real-life counterparts, live longer, age more slowly, and feast on cruelty-free delights—from tofu dogs to ratatouille. And, like all great art, The Sims 3 imitates life—if your Sim eats meat, it will get sick.
EA's compassionate update to its perennial favorite shows commitment not only to animals but also to the game's players. In Sims 2, players who wanted vegetarian Sims had to manually create mods to meet their cruelty-free standards. Now, digital life—featuring an official vegetarian lifestyle—is a lot easier.
Last year, the Proggy went to Fable 2—the epic journey in which fruits and vegetables give you purity points and meat gives you corruption points. My holiday gift to myself? Purity points and digital tofu dogs galore. I'm about to hole up in room with these totally guilt-free pleasures for a very long time—no more actual socializing until 2010!
As you may know, we have a little obesity epidemic here in the U.S. There's been some debate over how to handle the problem—parents are getting arrested, schools are issuing fat report cards, billboards are being erected, and even Spider-Man is getting involved.
Now, the Baltimore City Public School System has taken a page from Sir Paul McCartney's playbook in its efforts to fight childhood obesity: "Meatless Mondays." Instead of serving greasy, fat-laden hamburgers and "chicken fingers," school cafeterias in Baltimore will be dishing up fresh, organically grown fruits and veggies and eliminating meat completely every Monday.
For its dedication to providing healthy meals for students, PETA is awarding the school system our Proggy Award. Congratulations, Baltimore public schools!
Meatless Mondays not only provide healthier meals for students but also help protect the environment and save animals' lives. PETA's humane-education division, TeachKind, will be working to implement this program in schools across the country—but remember, you don't have to be in school to incorporate Meatless Mondays into your own life.
Written by Liz Graffeo
If you have a flight scheduled into or out of Seattle-Tacoma airport, congratulations. You'll be in the good hands of the most progressive airport in the nation.
When thinking airplane safety, most airports don't do a whole lot to take into consideration all the birds who are forced to share their airspace with us—which results in 7,000 to 8,000 bird strikes (i.e., dead birds) reported to the Federal Aviation Administration every year. Seattle-Tacoma airport is doing its part to reduce those numbers. And, no, this isn't because of that famous splash-down on the Hudson.
Seattle-Tacoma uses several techniques in its fight to keep birds (and humans) safe. A staff wildlife biologist, who has been there for 30 years, uses radar to detect birds who may intercept flights. Once birds are detected, the airport uses lasers to try to scare them away, and if the lasers don't work, it uses "thunderclap" fireworks. With an animal-friendly lightshow like that, it's no wonder that we're awarding Sea-Tac our Most Progressive Airport Proggy.
This has me thinking about other ways that airports can save animals. Don't you think that they should take PETA up on some of our ideas?
Written by Shawna Flavell
Back in December, we announced the winners of our annual "Proggy" awards, which recognize animal-friendly people, companies, and products. One of those companies is CeeTox, a Michigan firm that develops humane alternatives to cruel and archaic animal tests. Well, the good folks at the Kalamazoo Gazette just did a nice story about CeeTox and the award. Check it out here.
What CeeTox does is so great because many chemical-testing methods still involve pumping substances into animals' stomachs and lungs and dripping chemicals into animals' eyes or onto their raw, shaved skin. CeeTox, by contrast, uses in-vitro (test tube) toxicity screening to test drugs, chemicals, cosmetics, and consumer products. This enables research and development organizations to assess the toxicity of chemicals using pioneering and humane cell-based technology.
Besides being kind to animals, these modern, non-animal tests are cheaper, faster, and more accurate. What's not to like? Well, unfortunately, the wheels of progress grind slowly at the EPA, which lags far behind European authorities in validating modern test methods. But thanks to the work of CeeTox and other companies like it, it's becoming obvious that animal testing is long overdue for the old heave-ho.
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.