Written by PETA
A Christmas gift just isn't a Christmas gift if it's not sealed with a kiss, which is why our snuggly seal jumped aboard a float at Toronto's Santa Claus Parade:
Follow the lead of Santa's surprise helper and urge Prime Minister Harper to end the seal slaughter.
Written by Logan Scherer
Update: PETA India has just announced that it will give its 2009 Proggy Award for International Leadership in the Field of Animal Rights to India's Central Zoo Authority (CZA) in recognition of the government organization's decision to ban the use of elephants in zoos and circuses.
That's right. India, which is home to an estimated 23,900 to 32,900 wild elephants, will no longer allow its most prominent national symbol—the elephant—to be imprisoned in zoos or forced to perform in circuses. The move by India's Central Zoo Authority (CZA) comes after years of campaigning by PETA India to improve conditions for captive elephants (it has already succeeded in getting performing elephants banned from Mumbai and other cities). PETA India repeatedly expressed concerns to the CZA about the mental and physical suffering endured by elephants when they are forced to spend all their time standing on hard concrete surfaces while confined to cramped enclosures that severely restrict their movement. Now the government has announced that all the elephants currently living in Indian zoos will be transferred to elephant camps run by the Forest Department. The camps will be located near protected areas, national parks, and wildlife sanctuaries in India.
Back in 2005, PETA India embarked on an investigation of 14 major zoos throughout the country and found appalling neglect at every single facility. The group discovered hungry animals who were forced to forage among rotten food and garbage, animals who were confined to barren cages and enclosures without so much as a blade of grass, and animals who were deprived of shelter from monsoons and the blazing Indian sun.
At the Aurangabad Municipal Zoo in Maharashtra, a PETA India investigator found that the elephants were confined to a bleak concrete enclosure. All the elephants were chained, and one was tethered by both front legs with a spiked chain, effectively (and painfully) preventing him from moving more than a few shuffling steps in any direction.
After Rajkumar, an elephant at the Mumbai zoo, attacked his keeper, his intensive confinement prompted PETA India to file a lawsuit against the zoo. The court ruled in PETA India's favor, and Rajkumar was moved to another zoo in 2007.
Over the years, PETA India's campaign against the abysmal conditions for animals in captivity has garnered support from numerous celebrities, including UK Big Brother veteran Shilpa Shetty, Beatles guru Ravi Shankar, and Shankar's daughter Anoushka.
Congratulations to PETA India on this groundbreaking victory. Now, if only North American zoos and circuses would follow suit.
Written by Alisa Mullins
Yesterday, at Al Gore's book signing in Beverly Hills, it wasn't the former vice president who drew the most attention from the throngs of onlookers—it was our sexy Mother Earth who turned heads. The crowd showed Mother Earth all the love she's not getting from Gore, whose hypocritical addiction to meat is getting in the way of his call to go green.
Even Gore has admitted that going vegan helps save the environment. And the official handbook for Live Earth—the concert series that Gore himself helped organize—states that not eating meat is the "single most effective thing you can do" to curb climate change. So why hasn't he taken our effortless Pledge to Be Veg yet? Apparently, the simple, delicious truth is just too inconvenient.
A picture may be worth a thousand words, but when it comes to the picture of these horses, I'm still at a loss—this photo is worth a thousand chills:
When I was a child, I had a recurring nightmare that I was covered head-to-toe with needles that paralyzed me. I had no way of taking them out; I was helpless. But of course, I'd wake up, and it would all be over—it was only a twisted creation of my subconscious.
For the horses in the photo, however, my haunting nightmare was their reality. Covered in thick clusters of hard, prickly burrs, the horses endured constant discomfort, yet their neglectful owner continued to let the burrs accumulate in the horses' manes and tails for months.
After noticing the matted mess these horses had become, a concerned neighbor contacted PETA. We immediately got in touch with animal control, which had initially failed to respond to these concerns when our complainant first called for help. However, the agency was inspired by PETA caseworkers to force the owner to groom the horses immediately, and better yet, the horses were moved from the burr-infested property into a safer environment.
It is crucial that guardians have a comprehensive understanding of the care required to provide horses with a happy, healthy existence. Burrs, pebbles, and debris often cause debilitating bruises or thrush, a painful bacterial infection, which is why horses must be routinely cleaned and checked for markings. If you see or know of any animal who is not receiving proper care, please report it to your local law enforcement—the animal's life may depend on your speaking up.
When it comes to weekday talk-show fare, it's no surprise that I'm partial to Ellen and Oprah. Today, however, some props go out to Tyra Banks for following up on a feature that set off alarm bells here at PETA.
A few days ago, The Tyra Banks Show aired a segment about a woman who gushed about her "pet" capuchin monkey. Sure, capuchins are cute and smart, but the "Joe Blows" who buy baby monkeys soon realize that they cannot control the strong animals after they outgrow their diapers. Case in point: Oprah's recent interview with Charla Nash, who barely survived an attack by her friend's 15-year-old chimpanzee, Travis. And while capuchins are much smaller than chimpanzees, they are still very strong and very fast, and they have extremely sharp canines that can quickly do a great deal of damage to an unwitting person.
Consequently, many monkeys are discarded at pseudo-sanctuaries and shoddy roadside zoos because there simply aren't enough reputable sanctuaries to care for them all. Some species can live to be well into their 50s, and many primates who are abandoned by their "owners" face decades of misery in appalling conditions.
We wrote to Tyra Banks to express our concern that some viewers might be tempted to purchase a monkey of their own after seeing the segment on her show. We're heartened to learn that she's added a warning on her Web site stating, "Please note, PETA has contacted the show and does not recommend keeping monkeys as pets."
Folks, please let other people know that when it comes to capuchins and other exotic animals, the most humane action is always: "Monkey see, monkey do … not buy one!"
Written by Karin Bennett
Earlier this year, Travis, a 15-year-old "pet" chimpanzee, was stabbed repeatedly, pounded with a shovel, and finally shot to death after he attacked a Connecticut woman named Charla Nash. Yesterday, Ms. Nash, who has been in a hospital since the attack, appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show and spoke for the first time about her recovery. During the show, Nash declared her readiness to move on and said that she had an optimistic outlook on the future.
The images of Nash are shocking, her buoyant hopefulness is inspiring, and both of those points should prompt another look at Travis' trajectory from his days as a baby chimpanzee to his years as a confined adult "pet." Travis, who appeared in several commercials when he was an infant, was just one of many exotic animals who have been torn away from their mothers at a young age in order to be raised by people who don't fully understand their needs.
Once chimpanzees reach adolescence, they become too strong and aggressive for their guardians to handle. They are then often abandoned at roadside zoos or—as was the case with Travis—stay in the home of a person who remains unaware of their tremendous strength until it's too late.
Chimpanzees and other exotic animals were never meant to be confined to people's homes, and keeping them as "pets" can often be lethal to both the animals and those who live near them.
Rain from Hurricane Ida is bearing down hard on us here in Norfolk, Virginia. And while we have recently been alerted that the post office might not be delivering our mail, (whatever happened to "rain or shine," guys?) at PETA, we don't let a little inclement weather keep us from saving animals!
We hope that everyone is keeping their furry friends warm and safe inside today. Check out PETA's tips for safeguarding animals during a hurricane and always be sure that you're prepared when a bit of weather comes your way!
Written by Shawna Flavell
Underfed and tied to a shed 24/7, Rocky wasn't really living—just existing. Rocky was only a puppy, yet his owner never let him inside the home and allegedly beat him in an effort to try to turn him into a better "guard dog". After witnessing the abuse that Rocky was forced to endure, a concerned area resident set to work trying to find help for the adorable and resilient dog.
After placing phone call after phone call to various agencies and animal shelters in the area to no avail, the resident finally turned to PETA. We immediately coordinated with folks at the local SCPA, who persisted in Rocky's behalf and eventually convinced his owner to surrender him into the shelter's care.
Now, a few weeks later, we are delighted to see this picture of a blissful, thriving, recently adopted Rocky:
The story of the dog who is left outside to languish is one that our cruelty caseworkers hear all too often. Dogs are highly social and loyal companions. They crave lots of love, attention, and exercise, and they always want to be around their human family. Staking them out in lonely yards as cheap "alarm systems" is nothing short of a cruel betrayal of an animal's unlimited love and devotion to his or her guardian—it is simply not the way things are meant to be.
If you know people who aren't doing right by their dog, please talk to them and educate them about the animal's many needs. Offer to walk their dog. Bring toys! Show them how to do things right. And please, never let mistreated animals endure abuse or neglect. Always speak up and file a report with local law enforcement officials. Without you, these animals would have no voice.
On the heels of Ringling's recent cancellation of its tour in Germany comes another triumph in Europe. Following a campaign by PETA U.K. and other animal protection organizations against cruel Ringling Bros. shows across the pond, Ringling has called off its visit to Valencia, Spain.
PETA U.K. and AnimaNaturalis sent joint letters to Valencia officials informing them of Ringling's history of beating, chaining, and caging elephants, tigers, horses, and countless other animals. PETA U.K. and AnimaNaturalis also had plans to demonstrate outside the arena in Valencia at which Ringling was slated to perform.
With city after city taking a compassionate stance against animal abuse, Ringling's European tour is flailing—but it hasn't completely drowned yet. Ringling still has three stops scheduled on its Spanish tour. Our fingers are crossed that those will be cancelled too, but if they aren't, Ringling can bet its bullhooks that there will be protests at every stop.
Want to help end this transatlantic travesty? Urge the remaining venues in Spain to say "No" to suffering.
For more than eight months this year, a PETA investigator worked undercover inside University of Utah animal labs, where she documented the miserable conditions and daily suffering of dogs, cats, monkeys, rats, mice, rabbits, frogs, cows, pigs, and sheep. Today, The Salt Lake Tribune ran a story about the investigation, including the response from Tom Parks, the university's vice president for research. The response is (not so) stunningly callous: "None of the things she alleges are substantive. It's a remarkably banal list of ordinary events in an animal-care facility."
Here's a list of the things the university considers "banal"—part of an "ordinary" day in the "animal-care facility":
Brain injections, desperate thirst, tumors, and holes in skulls: just another banal day in the lab, right?
We have filed complaints against the university with the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and local law-enforcement officials, and you can take action to help animals at the University of Utah too.
Written by Logan Scherer
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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.