Written by PETA
At the rate victories are rolling in, 2010 is set to be a great year for animals! In addition to a victory for greyhounds, yesterday, online mega-retailer Overstock.com announced that it will no longer sell products made from exotic skins.
Overstock.com Chair and CEO Patrick Byrne made the announcement that his company would remove all listings of items with alligator, lizard, ostrich, stingray, eel, shark, and kangaroo skin from Overstock after he viewed our newest exotic-skins footage and was prompted to make a change for his company, his customers, and animals. "I do not believe that animal skins should be treated as decorative objects," he said.
From decapitated lizards to clubbed alligators, millions of animals suffer each year in the global leather industry, even though there are tons of cruelty-free, chic alternatives to animal skins. You can send a powerful message to those who profit from this cruel industry—and convince other companies to follow in the footsteps of Overstock and H&M—by pledging to shed exotic skins from your wardrobe and by sharing our exposé on Facebook.
Written by Logan Scherer
After reading an article in the Duluth News Tribune about the goings-on at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, I took my dogs, Charlie and Lucy, for a long walk. My brain needed to mull over the angle I'd take in writing this blog—my soul needed to witness happy dogs doing dog things like sniffing tree trunks and greeting strangers, canine and human alike.
The article discussed a lengthy report compiled by government inspectors after a surprise visit last month revealed a filthy facility in which depressed dogs who underwent major invasive surgical procedures were vomiting in their cages and did not receive any veterinary treatment, university personnel did not notice or treat a gerbil who was severely emaciated and struggling to breathe, and staff were inadequately trained to handle primates. The Duluth News Tribune notes, "One major finding is that in five studies, UW-Madison researchers did not show that they tried to find an alternative to painful experiments on animals."
Unfortunately, this kind of treatment happens so frequently in university labs that it is almost routine—as awful as it is to call such horrors "routine." A recent PETA undercover investigation exposed similar cruelty suffered by cats, kittens, and dogs (purchased from local animal shelters), along with monkeys, mice, rats, and other victims of experiments at the University of Utah. At the U, what appears to be incompetence, indifference, and neglect forced many of the animals to endure severe trauma, prolonged suffering, and grisly deaths. Apparently, vivisectors at UW-Madison follow a similar modus operandi in the treatment of the victims of their experiments.
Our fingers are crossed that UW-Madison receives more than a slap on the wrist for these violations. While we keep an eye on the story, take the time to give our fight against laboratory atrocities some muscle by taking action today. Then go hug your own dog and give him or her an extra treat.
Written by Karin Bennett
We've just received word that Arlington (Texas) Municipal Judge Michael Smith has divested Jasen and Vanessa Shaw—owners and operators of animal warehouse U.S. Global Exotics, Inc. (USGE)—of the more than 26,000 mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and arachnids who were seized from USGE on December 15. U.S. Global Exotics, Inc., is a major player in the pet trade. For years, the company has imported and exported hundreds of thousands of animals every year for eventual sale at major pet stores and pet store chains all over the world, including at U.S.-based PETCO and PetSmart.
A PETA undercover investigator spent seven months working at U.S. Global Exotics and documented horrifically cruel conditions for animals. On December 15, Arlington officials and humane agents rescued more than 26,000 animals, including wallabies, sloths, ringtail lemurs, kinkajous, coatimundis, agoutis, hedgehogs, chinchillas, hamsters, gerbils, rats, mice, flying squirrels, guinea pigs, sugar gliders, prairie dogs, ferrets, snakes, lizards, turtles, frogs, spiders, crabs, and scorpions from this facility. This seizure is believed to be the largest animal confiscation in history.
Judge Smith's decision to award custody of the animals to the city of Arlington comes on the heels of a seven-day hearing during which lawyers for the exotic-animal dealer tried every trick in the book to downplay Jasen and Vanessa Shaw's failure to provide animals in their care with basic, minimal necessities such as food, water, and adequate housing. However, the evidence that our investigator meticulously documented while inside U.S. Global Exotics' facility—as well as the evidence gathered on the day of the seizure—could not be refuted. Here is some of what we found:
While the animals at U.S. Global Exotics, Inc., have been rescued, millions of other animals in similar facilities are still suffering, and they will continue to suffer as long as people support companies such as U.S. Global Exotics by buying animals from pet stores such as PetSmart, PETCO, Petland, and others. Please share this information with everyone that you know and urge them never to buy any animals from stores and to always adopt from animal shelters and rescue groups.
Pamela Anderson's got to have more frequent flyer miles than George Clooney's character in Up in the Air. And wherever she goes, she makes sure the people and the media talk about her efforts to help animals. The latest destination of PETA's jet-setting BFF? Chile.
Chile recently ratified a national animal welfare law, which is good, but it could go further. And in July, Chile's neighboring country, Bolivia, took a strong stand against cruelty to animals by passing a law forbidding the use of animals in circuses. Now Pamela has asked the president of Chile to do the same.
Abuse of animals in circuses is standard practice, and it begins before babies are old enough to leave their mother's sides. PETA recently released images of employees of Ringling, one of the largest circus outfits in the world, as they use ropes, bullhooks, electric shock prods, maternal deprivation, and corporal punishment to force baby elephants into doing tricks that are never seen in the wild and are confusing for them.
We'll keep you updated on Pam's efforts to fight animal abuse worldwide—in the meantime, help save baby elephants by asking the USDA to revoke Ringling's license and pursue criminal prosecution of Ringling trainers right here at home.
Can you say "bombshell" in an airport? Fans of Meet the Parents probably agree that it wouldn't be wise, and after the Christmas Day attempt to blow up a Detroit-bound airplane, I'm not sure. But I've no doubt that's what United Airways passengers were thinking as they feasted their eyes on PETA's Lettuce Lady yesterday. Our lavish lady was at LAX, sharing her lifesaving message, her charms, and Tofurky sandwiches with hungry fliers en route to Detroit.
While most Americans will never fall victim to a terrorist attack, those who consume pepperoni and provolone increase their risk of succumbing to other killers (heart attacks, cancer, or strokes) to one in four or less. The best security for airline travelers (and everyone else) is to jettison meat, eggs, and dairy products from their diets.
"Super Freak." Super Target. Superbad. I'd say the wedding reception classic, shopper's wonderland, and hit flick are all worth cheering. But "superbugs," a la swine flu, salmonella, and E. coli? Not so much.
These drug-resistant infections contaminate not only our air and waterways but also America's meat supply, which is also greatly responsible for creating them. The practice of feeding antibiotics to crowded factory farmed pigs, chickens, and cows started in the '90s and has since skyrocketed—70 percent of the antibiotics in the U.S. last year were used on factory farms. Old killers like malaria, tuberculosis, and staph are making comebacks, stronger than ever. And thanks to the overuse of antibiotics, more than 65,000 people died last year from drug-resistant infections.
Health and government officials everywhere, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to the White House to the World Health Organization, are worried. This alarming article by the Associate Press, which I urge you to read and forward, had so many mind-boggling stats and quotes that I was tempted to cut and paste it in its entirety. Instead, I lifted the following quotes:
"This is a living breathing problem, it's the big bad wolf and it's knocking at our door."—Dr. Vance Fowler, Infectious disease specialist, Duke University
"If we're not careful with antibiotics and the programs to administer them, we're going to be in a post antibiotic era." —Dr. Thomas Frieden, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
"If you mixed an antibiotic in your child's cereal, people would think you're crazy." —Rep. Louise M. Slaughter, Democrat from New York
How can you keep superbugs at bay? Start by going vegan. There's no doubt that you'll save animal lives—and better protect your own.
The following post originally appeared in Florida's Bradenton Herald.
Who would you save—your child or your dog? This is the phony choice lobbed at those of us who advocate for the replacement of animal tests with non-animal testing methods. Fortunately, you don't have to choose.
Under pressure from citizens concerned about exposure to hazardous chemicals, Congress and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are now considering overhauling toxic-chemical regulations. In more than a decade—and despite killing many millions of animals in chemical toxicity tests—the EPA has failed abysmally to safeguard the public by pulling dangerous substances off the market. The examples are legion and well documented.
For instance, the link between benzene—a gasoline component and solvent widely used in the preparation of drugs and plastics—and human leukemia was established as early as 1928, yet dozens of subsequent animal studies failed to replicate benzene's cancer-causing effects. Only during the late 1980s were researchers finally able to induce cancer in animals by overdosing them with benzene—and our government is still testing benzene on animals.
Exposure to arsenic has been implicated in increased cancer risk for nearly 150 years. Smelter workers exposed to arsenic in the air are at higher risk for developing lung cancer, and population studies show that arsenic in drinking water can also cause cancer. Yet regulation was delayed for decades while thousands of animals were killed in experiments that attempted to reproduce the effects already seen in humans. Reviews published as late as 1977 reported that animal experiments had failed to produce evidence supporting a link between arsenic exposure and increased cancer risk. It was not until the late 1980s that researchers finally succeeded in reproducing the cancer-causing effects of arsenic in animals.
Updating our chemical management laws is important for protecting human health and the environment. But in order to be effective, we must acknowledge that the current way of testing chemicals for toxic effects uses methods that are decades old, condemns thousands of animals per chemical and provides information that is not very useful for regulating chemicals. Much has happened in the fields of biology and toxicology in the past few decades, and it is imperative that we use all of our current understanding and technology to test chemicals. In addition to providing more relevant and useful information, the modern methods also use many fewer animals—perhaps even no animals.With tens of thousands of chemicals on the market and more entering it every day, it's now widely recognized, even by regulators, that "it is simply not possible with all the animals in the world to go through chemicals in the blind way we have at the present time, and reach credible conclusions about the hazards to human health" (Dr. Joshua Lederberg, Nobel laureate in medicine).
The National Academy of Sciences, the government's own scientific arm, released a report in 2007 confirming that scientific advances can "transform toxicity testing from a system based on whole-animal testing to one founded primarily on in vitro (non-animal) methods." Such an approach will improve efficiency, speed and prediction for humans while cutting costs and reducing animal suffering. Indeed, high-tech methods are the only way thousands of chemicals can be tested.
Any update of the laws regulating toxic chemicals must include measures to ensure that the most modern testing methods are used. It is critical that the science underlying chemical safety assessments be updated from the crude animal tests developed around the time of World War I to the 21st century technology that is now available. Without this shift in science, chemical management reform of the kind being proposed by the EPA and others is logistically impossible.
So, your child or your dog? We now can—and should—save both.
Written by Jessica Sandler, director of regulatory testing
This year is coming to a close, but we're not done yet: The victories keep pouring, or should I say, roaring in! We recently reported the end of cruel cat labs at Texas Tech and Robert's "retirement" from experiments at the University of Utah. Today, we're thrilled to announce yet another huge victory—this time, for thousands of monkeys.
For months, PETA has been working with an international coalition of animal protection groups to stop the construction of a massive monkey-breeding facility in Guayama, Puerto Rico. Bioculture, a company that sells primates to laboratories, had plans to capture thousands of monkeys from Mauritius and ship them to Puerto Rico so that their offspring could be sold for use in frightening, painful, and deadly experiments in the U.S. and elsewhere.
We have just learned that in response to a lawsuit filed by local citizens and PETA, a Superior Court judge in Puerto Rico has ruled in activists' favor and halted all further construction of the Bioculture facility.
Turns out there are serious problems with Bioculture's applications and permits, including that the construction of the primate facility on the land it currently occupies would be against the law. An investigation by Puerto Rico's Senate Environmental Committee also discovered that Bioculture did not properly address the detrimental impact the project could have on local citizens and their water supplies and land and stated that it "is not sensible" for Puerto Rico to support the project.
Despite this great news, I imagine Bioculture execs trying to regroup, telling themselves, "Where there's a will [for us to cash in on cruelty], there's a way." Help us nix that notion by urging officials to permanently put a stop to this monkey-breeding facility and others in the future.
It wasn't easy to choose two people out of the slew of celebrities who have taken action for animals this year—heck, just during the past two months, Joanna Krupa bared her true feelings about purebred pups, Ana Ortiz blasted McDonald's, and a blinding number of stars all agreed that protesting the Canadian seal slaughter fit their caring personalities to a T.
But we had to make a decision, so this year, PETA's Man of the Year is Tim Gunn and PETA's Woman of the Year is Ellen DeGeneres. I must say, we're over the moon about it!
Let's start with Ellen—ever since she and her wife, Portia De Rossi, decided to ditch all animal products in 2008, Ellen has made sure that her wildly popular talk show includes features to raise people's awareness of animal issues. She made vegan pizza with Chef Wolfgang Puck, spoke with Dr. Neal Barnard about the health benefits of a vegan diet, and just in time for Thanksgiving, "talked turkey" about the everyday abuse of animals on factory farms with Jonathan Safran Foer, author of Eating Animals. Ellen also created pages on her Web site that feature insight, info, and tips about cruelty-free living. Visitors can find recipes, read about why Ellen went vegan, learn where to shop, and more.
Now on to Tim Gunn: The connoisseur of class, the guru of good taste, the titan of tact (I could go on all afternoon with these) narrated our video exposing skin-crawling atrocities suffered by animals who are slaughtered for their pelts, and the media have been buzzing ever since. Tim recently told the L.A. Times, "Wearing fur is like wearing a big sign reading, 'I'm in favor of inflicting cruelty and pain on animals as a fashion statement.' Unspeakable torture is inflicted on dogs, cats, bunnies, raccoons, foxes, minks, and myriad trapped, helpless creatures in the name of fashion—yes, dogs and cats."
And thanks to Tim, fur challenges are noticeably absent from Project Runway—and there's zero fur at Liz Claiborne, where he is chief creative officer.
So, to Ellen DeGeneres for her exuberant embrace of cruelty-free living and to Tim Gunn for his thoughtful and thought-provoking messages of compassion for animals, we at PETA are dancing in the halls. Thank you, thank you! And conga-rats!
I don't know about you, but I've already accomplished my first goal of the new decade—to spice up my bedtime. I'll admit it: Before I got myself a pair of PETA's plaid pajama bottoms, I was just a gray-sweatpants kind of guy. I mean, don't get me wrong—I love myself a good pair of sweatpants, but plaid is the Stella McCartney of nighttime couture.
With 2010 just days away, I know we've all got the future on our mind, but all this talk about PJs gets me thinking back to the days when I was sporting onesies and sleeping with Piggy, my favorite stuffed animal. By the time I was 5, he had one-and-a-half ears and had turned from piglet pink to who-knows-what brown. To win a pair of our plaid pajama bottoms, tell us about the plush animal you used to (or for all you young-at-hearts, still) bring to bed with you. (Come on, we all had one!) We'll give a pair to the three readers with the most original slumberland memories—make us laugh, cry, and wish we were 5 again!
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.