Written by PETA
Shawn Matthew Lyons was the first individual ever convicted of abusing or neglecting factory-farmed pigs in Iowa, but he's no longer alone. Four other workers who were employed at the farm—a Hormel supplier at which our undercover investigation produced video footage documenting that workers beat pigs with metal rods and sexually abused them with canes—have now admitted to abusing pigs.
Of the defendants—Richard Michael Ralston, Alan Bruce Rettig, Greg William Hackler, and Jordan Michael Anderson—Ralston, Rettig, and Hackler have pleaded guilty, been convicted, and sentenced to two years in prison, which has been suspended. Anderson accepted a deferred entry of judgment allowing him to have the charges dismissed if he completes a period of good behavior. All four have all been ordered to pay fines and other fees, and they have been placed on probation for periods ranging from one to two years.
Most importantly, three of the men have been barred from working with animals for the duration of their probation. Only Anderson will be allowed to do so. Despite an assurance in October from Audubon-Manning Veterinary Clinic President Daryl Olsen, D.V.M., that Anderson “has been suspended from working with livestock pending the outcome of the charges,” a whistleblower told us that Anderson is currently employed at a hog-confinement facility that Dr. Olsen reportedly owns. Dr. Olsen has not answered our inquiry regarding Mr. Anderson. If you would like to ask him to confirm that his company does not pay admitted animal abusers like Anderson to work with live animals, please contact him here.
Pork magazine called our investigation footage a "wake-up call" for the pork industry. We hope that these convictions serve not only as another wake-up call but also as a lesson to anyone working in this innately cruel industry: Neither the courts nor the public have a stomach for such malicious cruelty to farmed animals.
Written by Shawna Flavell
No, no, not that kind of jacket. We're talking about the jacket of PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk's new book, The PETA Practical Guide to Animal Rights:
A few select copies of the book were outfitted with covers made from real fur—pieces of the more than 20,000 fur coats that have been donated to PETA by fur-wearers who have had a change of heart. It seemed like a fitting way to illustrate how far the animal rights movement has come in the past 25 years—and the kind of change that people can bring about by putting the advice in Ingrid's book into action.
And boy, did that fur jacket ever get the attention of TV and radio producers who received complimentary copies! Many of them were so intrigued that they decided to have Ingrid come on their shows to explain why a person would put a $7,500 fur coat in a box and mail it to PETA. (Hint: This video probably plays a part.)
Of course, most of the fur coats that are donated to PETA are used in "bloody" protests outside (and sometimes inside) designers' boutiques, spooky protests at fashion shows, and slightly silly "fur is a drag" parade entries. They are also torched in fur funeral pyres, donated to wildlife rehabilitators to use as bedding for orphaned and injured wildlife, and even given away to the only humans who have any reason to wear fur—homeless people and refugees of wars and natural disasters.
Have a musty old fur cluttering up your closet? Click here to find out more about PETA's fur donation program.
Written by Alisa Mullins
With all the post-Twilight buzz, movie critics are all over the news that Kristen Stewart (along with costar Dakota Fanning) has taken on a leading role in a new film, The Runaways, about iconic female rock star—and vegetarian extraordinaire—Joan Jett.
As the executive producer, Joan has been closely involved in the making of the movie. But we know that she never lets her busy schedule interrupt her dedication to animals. While recording her most recent album, she recorded a "veggie testimonial" for PETA, and now she's found time to visit some sanctuary friends.
We're sure that a movie about this trailblazing rocker will be a hit with both animal and music lovers alike. Now, turn up "I Love Rock 'n' Roll" on your stereo and leave a comment below to let us know which other animal rights icons' lives would make for an inspiring movie.
Written by Liz Graffeo
Thanks for all of your wonderful comments on this Win It Wednesday. The winners of the Kitty Castles are aMY, Heather, Nadine L., Karin, and Tara. Congratulations!
I've never quite understood it when people talk about the cats they "own." Anyone with a feline companion knows that we don't own cats—they own us. As soon as they enter our homes, they become our kings and queens and we their devoted subjects.
What could be a more appropriate abode for kitty royalty than a Kitty Castle? A Kitty Castle is a playhouse that Princess Fluffy can retire to after she's done taking over your house. It's the perfect size for playing or sleeping, and it's fun for the kids (or you) to decorate (with her majesty's permission, of course). This week, we've got five of them to give away!
How do you win? Tell us why your feline friend deserves to be pampered. The five most touching comments will take home a Kitty Castle and a few other treats.
Written by Lianne Turner
The following is a guest post from peta2's Marta.
I'm pretty excited about the release of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen tomorrow, since word on the street is that the movie has a positive animal rights message in it. There's even a scene set in a butcher shop, where Megan Fox's and Shia Labeouf's characters learn that every animal you eat had a story. We hear them on that.
In honor of the release of the movie, we're transforming the classic Transformers tagline into "More Than Meats the Eye" for the title of our top-five list that takes a closer look at the meat industry. Most people never take an up-close look at the food they're eating. I mean, seriously, who wants to think about their food actually looking like this (even though it does)?
Want seconds of this fatty blob of nastiness? *Shudder!* Anyway, here are the top five foods that I think are "More Than Meats the Eye":
Do some of these sound a bit … unappetizing? Try vegan versions! Grab soy milk the next time you hit the grocery store or give a homemade snack cake a whirl. You can still enjoy all the flavors you love while cutting out the cruelty and crap!
Which foods do you think are "More Than Meats the Eye"?
Written by Marta Holmberg
Chick-fil-A founder and lifelong Southern Baptist S. Truett Cathy wrote the book Eat Mor Chikin: Inspire More People, but at the Southern Baptist Convention in Louisville, Kentucky, PETA's "Jesus" and a "Chicken" were there to inspire people to eat no chicken—or any other animal.
PETA immersed convention attendees in our pro-vegetarian message, which is based on biblical teachings of love and compassion. "Jesus" carried a sign reading, "For Christ's Sake, Go Vegetarian," while the "chicken" reminded people that "Jesus loves me too." They also offered conventiongoers free copies of our "Vegetarian Starter Kit" as well as leaflets relating vegetarian living to Christian teachings.
On a related note, our Sexiest Male Vegetarian of 2009, Monty, grew up eating meat in a Southern Baptist household—until he saw the light and announced to his family that he refused to eat abused animals.
I'm a believer—that many conference attendees will alter their diets to be more compassionate by going vegetarian.
Written by Karin Bennett
Hoop-heads like myself are very well aware that the NBA draft is coming up on Thursday, and it is shaping up to be one of the most unpredictable drafts in recent memory. One thing that seems pretty certain, though, is that the Los Angeles Clippers will take Blake Griffin as their number one pick. But here's a pre-draft revelation about the Oklahoma big man that not many people were expecting—dude's a vegetarian!
Over the course of two years in college ball, Griffin showed tenacity around the hoop and a willingness to bang down low—he even got himself a concussion to show for it. He simply dominated in the tournament this year, dropping 33 points and 17 rebounds on Michigan in the second round. He's energetic, a ferocious rebounder, and has unleashed some straight-up highlight-reel dunks that'll get you humming the SportsCenter theme song while you watch him on YouTube.
And all that? Powered by tofu, of course.
According to yesterday's SportsCenter, the Clips are as impressed with Griffin as everyone else is. In an attempt to make the Oklahoma boy feel "at home" during a pre-draft meeting with team brass, they took him out to a steakhouse in New York City. Looks like they should have done a bit more homework—they have vegetarians in Oklahoma too, y'all!
No word on what Blake ordered from the steakhouse menu, but as SportsCenter pointed out, he'll have no lack of great vegetarian restaurants to choose from in the city of angels as he attempts to become the latest savior of the NBA's most troubled franchise. Best of luck, Blake. You're gonna need it.
Written by Dan Shannon
What is the number-one thing that you need to know about hilarious hottie Bradley Cooper?
I'll give you a hint: His steely blues and that off-kilter smile don't have anything to do with it.
"I have two beautiful dogs … I cherish. Samson is a 14-year-old German short hair pointer and Charlotte is a 6 or 7 year-old Chow Retriever mix. They are both rescue dogs and they are the best … I'm sort of a hybrid of both my dogs. Samson is stoic and makes me earn it and Charlotte loves me undyingly. They're my kids."
There are four other "must know" items on People.com, but learning that the star of The Hangover is making room in his heart and his home for a few of the 8 million dogs and cats who are abandoned at animal shelters each year is more than enough to make this gal swoon.
Written by Shawna Flavell
We'll let you decide.
In March, we let you know that three lions and two tigers who had been held captive in Kansas in what was essentially a junkyard had been released and put into the care of authorities. In case you've repressed memories of what these animals were subjected to for years, here's a reminder:
PETA first learned of the big cats' plight in May 2008. After working on the case for nearly a year, we were finally able to secure their release from this decrepit prison. Because it would never be possible to release the animals into the wild, we immediately launched a search to find them suitable homes. The Detroit Zoo (a progressive zoo that accepts wildlife in need) stepped forward and offered to house all three lions, while the CPT Sanctuary in North Carolina gave the tigers a place to roam. The contrast with their former dilapidated cages is striking.
After Nitro was moved into the sanctuary, staffers discovered that he may be partially blind. In order to help him adapt, they will add various scents and substrates to his enclosure to help him locate the boundaries of his new home.
The lions now have space to roam around and a series of vertical rocks and ledges where they can hang out and survey the landscape. Even better, the Detroit Zoo recently announced plans to double the size of its enclosure, allowing the lions more expansive terrain and enabling the zoo to provide the animals with the psychological enrichment that they deserve.
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.
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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.