Written by PETA
Hey, I had to use that subject line at some point. Cut me some slack here. The reference is to a fantastic piece by Bill Maher that appeared in yesterday’s Huffington Post, asking George Bush to pardon all the turkeys. Here’s an excerpt:
"I ask you to do what I'm going to do and pardon a turkey this Thanksgiving. It's not hard. Just eat something else (ideas here and here). Not someone else, because it doesn't seem fair to spare a turkey and roast a hunk of pig or cow instead. If we can bow our heads in gratitude for our families, our friends and our big screen TVs, and then carve into a creature who lived a miserable life and died a horrible death, then our ethics are about as sensible as Britney's parenting skills."
You can read the full post here, and be sure to leave a comment telling Bill Maher he’s a badass. Or something more eloquent. In making the case for a vegetarian Thanksgiving, Bill’s piece refers to our investigation into a Butterball factory farm that was a central theme of the recent HBO documentary about PETA, as well as a brand-new PETA investigation into a standard American turkey slaughterhouse, which is required viewing for anyone who is still thinking about cooking a turkey for dinner this Thanksgiving:
Our good friend Kevin Nealon shared his own unique recipe for a vegetarian Thanksgiving feast with us during a PETA Thanksgiving event at Jorja Fox’s house last year. I think Kevin’s brilliant Thanksgiving Wad idea has the potential to be a long-lasting tradition that will forever leave its mark on the holiday. So share it with your friends. And for less adventurous (or more practical) folks, we’ve got a ton of great Thanksgiving recipes here.
Oxfam is a wonderful organization and they do a lot of great things, but their recent attempts to make money by hurting animals need to stop ASAP. Unfortunately, Oxfam has recently begun exploiting people's compassion and generosity by sending them gift catalogs full of adorable looking animals who can be "donated" to impoverished people. Now, everybody likes cute animals, but there’s something particularly sordid about using their images in a fundraising scheme that involves shipping them off to countries with no animal welfare standards, where they will be neglected, starved, and killed in horrific ways. As effective as this little stunt may be for Oxfam’s Membership Department, there are much better ways to alleviate global poverty that don’t victimize animals—and they damn well know it.
Please take a moment to learn more about our efforts to encourage Oxfam to do the right thing, and send them an e-mail about this misguided campaign, by clicking here.
Yes, HBO’s I Am an Animal: The Story of Ingrid Newkirk and PETA was insightful, well-made, and powerful. I’ll admit that. But WTF, HBO? Didn’t you forget something kind of important? Did all those times I found an excuse to walk by the cameras when you were filming in the office mean nothing to you? Did that week we spent together camped out in a parking lot in New Orleans just completely slip your minds? Or is there something I missed?
As anyone who watched the documentary last night will know by now, this lowly PETA blogger does not appear anywhere in the final cut of the film. Like, there aren’t even any scenes where you can hear my voice off camera, or see me wandering by in the hallways. But with the exception of that massive, massive oversight on HBO’s part, the film, which aired for the first time yesterday at 8 p.m., was absolutely riveting. I won’t give away too much, since you can still catch it on HBO On Demand, but the film takes as its central theme the period leading up to the release of our Butterball investigation, and it provides a fascinating behind-the-scenes view of exactly how that campaign and a number of other PETA initiatives go from an idea in a meeting to a major media story that highlights the suffering of animals.
If you get a chance to watch the film, you’ll notice that not all the viewpoints expressed in the documentary are flattering about PETA, but as an organization, we’ve never been particularly concerned about flattery—our goal has always been to get people thinking seriously about animal rights, and whenever possible, getting them to sit down and actually confront the horrors that animals are subjected to in the meat, fur, animal-research, and other abusive industries that are so often kept hidden from the public. I Am an Animal accomplishes that in spades, and for that reason I would recommend it to anyone who wants to know more about why we do what we do. I just hope that when they make the sequel, they’ll give the people what they want and spend a little bit more time filming me.
Despite some of the morbid rituals that it’s often associated with, Thanksgiving has long been my very favorite holiday, because (unlike its overrated rival, Christmas) you don’t have to buy anybody presents for it. There are also not one, but two football games on Thanksgiving, which gives the day another powerful edge over the more popular December holiday (which is often embarrassingly devoid of sporting events), and its central theme—eating—is simple, but consistently satisfying. So, I put it to you that Thanksgiving is in fact the greatest holiday of all—or it would be, if they could only get over that whole unfortunate turkey thing. For more on that, check out this awesome ad we made a little while back to encourage people to give turkeys a break on Thanksgiving Day.
As we normally do at this time of year, we sent a letter to the President this morning asking him to take steps to ensure that the "pardoned" birds receive the care they will need to live out the year. You can read that letter here, and for more information about the conditions endured by the 50 million other turkeys who will be killed this Thanksgiving season, click here.
Should anyone even care? I don’t know the answers to these questions, but check out what PETA’s Director of Research, Kathy Guillermo, had to say about them in this fantastic op-ed about animal experimentation.
Stop Squandering Resources on Pointless Animal Experimentsby KATHY GUILLERMOAre worms gay? If they are, what does that mean for humans? Such questions may sound entirely irrelevant to anything in our lives, but some scientists, including Erik Jorgensen at the University of Utah, have apparently received money to study these questions. The worms—nematodes, really—are tiny, 1-millimeter-long creatures that live in soil. Most are hermaphrodites, which mean that each worm produces both sperm and eggs. The Times of London reported that Jorgensen activated a gene in the hermaphrodite worms' brains, which apparently convinced them to try to mate with other hermaphrodites rather than just with the male worms.The conclusion, according to Jorgensen's quote in the Times: "We cannot say what this means for human sexual orientation, but it raises the possibility that sexual preference is wired in the brain." Hey, there's something no one ever thought of before.This study serves as a reminder that there are only so many research dollars available, and most of it comes from your taxes. Do you want to foot the bill for experiments that don't have anything to do with preventing or curing illness? Or for studies that are obviously redundant or pointless? Or for experiments that are so cruel that whatever is learned from them simply isn't worth the cost? I'm opposed to using animals for experimentation on ethical grounds, and I believe—as science frequently shows—that most studies on animals aren't particularly relevant to humans. But even those who support research on animals should be careful about accepting the experimentation industry's claim that the use of animals in laboratories will help find cures for Alzheimer's, AIDS, Parkinson's, cancer and other diseases that are frightening just to contemplate. Consider first what some experimenters are paid big money to do.In July, Johns Hopkins University announced that it was attempting to create a "schizophrenic" mouse by inserting a gene from the DNA of a human family with schizophrenic members into a mouse. Yet a diagnosis of schizophrenia hinges on the patient hearing voices that aren't there and seeing things others don't see. How exactly does an experimenter know if this is true of mice, even if a gene has been inserted? At Oregon Health & Science University, experimenter Eliot Spindel injects the fetuses of pregnant monkeys with nicotine and then gives the mothers vitamin supplements to see if that makes it "safer" to smoke while pregnant. Yet we've known since 1972 that smoking is harmful to human fetuses. Spindel's money would have been better-spent convincing pregnant women not to smoke.Under the guise of studying fetal alcohol syndrome, David J. Earnest at Texas A&M Health Science Center examined sleep problems in baby rats that were force-fed alcohol. Perhaps Earnest is unaware that human infants don't binge-drink after birth.At universities and primate centers across the country, experimenters are still tearing infant monkeys from their mothers to observe the detachment and psychosis that result from this trauma. These are variations on the dreadful experiments conducted by Harry Harlow more than 40 years ago. How often do we need to prove that taking love and comfort from a baby monkey will destroy the animal's happiness and ability to cope with life?I could go on and on—monkeys who have the tops of their skulls removed, electrodes stuck in their brains and wire coils implanted in their eyes to look at the connection between eye movement and the brain; birds whose testicles are sucked out so that experimenters can examine what happens to their songs; cats who have their backs cut open and weights attached to their spinal tissue and are then killed, supposedly to study lower back problems in people. The list seems endless.These animals are caged for their entire lives, traumatized, physically and emotionally damaged, killed and cut up for experiments that don't even pretend to be about saving humans. Whether or not you agree with me that it's unethical to do this to animals for any reason, surely it's obvious that much experimentation on animals is a terrible waste of money and lives.
Earlier this year, we took our KFC Campaign up a notch by sending our fearless Kentucky Fried Cruelty campaigner, Lindsay Rajt, deep into the heart of darkness—Louisville, Kentucky, itself—to help make sure that employees at KFC’s headquarters had a constant, chilling reminder of the fact that we are not going to go away until they stop the worst abuses of the hundreds of millions of animals they kill every year for their restaurants.
(A couple of things I should note about that previous paragraph before I go on: 1) Lindsay has informed me that despite having one or two irredeemably evil residents, Louisville is in fact a very cool, vibrant, and progressive town. Not a heart of darkness. And 2) Lindsay has also registered an objection to being described as “chilling.” She is in fact a very lovely person in her free time, and only fills people’s hearts with fear in a strictly professional sense.)
Anyway, the point is that this weekend marked the grand opening of our “Kentucky Fried Cruelty” Campaign Headquarters directly across the street from a Louisville KFC. Here are some pictures:
Following another outbreak of bird flu in Suffolk, 22,000 turkeys in four different sites were killed last week as a precaution to try and prevent the spread of the disease. The spread of bird flu, which is proving to be a very serious threat to the poultry industry and to humans who eat birds, is the direct result of the stressful, filthy, cramped conditions that chickens and turkeys are raised in on factory farms, and when it causes a major scare as it is currently in the UK, the corporations that run these farms act like it’s the biggest surprise in the world.
Setting that aside for a moment, here’s PETA’s handy, pocket-sized guide to preventing bird flu. Be sure to share it with your friends and family!
And here are some pics from PETA UK’s demonstration in Ipswich yesterday. Good stuff.
Since Denny’s refuses to listen to us about their continued promotions of the Ringling Bros. Circus, we figured we’d take our message straight to their headquarters. Check out the pics from Wednesday’s demonstration outside Denny’s HQ in Spartanburg, South Carolina. Thanks to everyone who came out to the protest—and especially to my friend Jenna, who played the part of the baby elephant’s backside to perfection.
Nice work, everybody.
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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.