Written by PETA
"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.
Written by Karin Bennett
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!
Written by Logan Scherer
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!
Mario knows what it's like to be on top—his new album, D.N.A., has been climbing the charts—but his compassion keeps him grounded. That's why this Billboard Music Award–winning R&B crooner is baring his "Soul Truth" tattoo (and his chest) in a sexy new "Ink, Not Mink" ad. And in a PETA Files exclusive interview, the soulful singer opens up about his lifelong love of animals, explains how an animal is killed for every piece of fur that is produced, and even serenades us with an impromptu tune:
Follow Mario's melodious lead by pledging to be fur-free forever.
The elements were against our sexy bunnies, who were set to bare it all yesterday in Edmonton, Canada, where it was minus 9 degrees Fahrenheit. But our brave ladies defied meteorological logic and made it happen, spreading the message that only animals should wear fur:
Titillated by our bunnies, the Twitterverse was abuzz, tweeting (and retweeting) up-to-the-minute coverage. With the Twittersphere this excited about us, we might need a re-retweet button.
When I was 16 years old, I was invited to a picnic. When I arrived, I was shocked to realize that I'd actually been invited to a pig roast—big difference. The sight of a whole charred pig turning on a spit with an apple stuck in his mouth was all I needed to convince myself that I'd never eat pork, i.e. pig, again.
The pig was already dead, and I knew nothing about his journey from his mother's womb to the fire pit. I didn't need to—after all, I called myself an "animal lover," so it was a simple, logical decision. If I wouldn't eat my dog, I wasn't going to eat a pig.
Despite the overwhelming evidence that pigs and other animals on factory farms routinely endure horrific abuses, millions of people continue to happily chow down on hot dogs and ham. Today, Fox News offers food for thought—the Web site is featuring exclusive undercover video footage taken by Mercy for Animals at Country View Family Farms, one of Pennsylvania's largest pork producers and a Hatfield Quality Meat supplier.
The video shows a slew of horrors, including workers as they hurl baby pigs and slam them into transport carts, pick piglets up by their ears and tails, cut off the animals' tails with pliers, and rip off their testicles with their bare hands without any painkillers. (The sound of screaming piglets in the video made my skin crawl.) Their squealing mothers are shown scrambling to escape workers who slam spiked mallets into the animals' sides. Many pigs bear sores from their constant confinement—one mother pig suffered an excruciating prolapsed rectum for at least 13 days before she was killed.
Folks, this video is tough to view (I had to pause it three times), but as caring people, we owe it to ourselves and the animals it shows to watch it and then pass it on to others—along with a link to GoVeg.com. You can share the video and the link via e-mail, via a link on your Facebook page, and via "tweets." Anyone you know who still needs convincing that animals suffer on factory farms won't question it after they've watched this footage.
With winter rapidly approaching, it's time to get cozy, comfy, and cruelty-free. Forget about fur collars, trim, or accessories: 'Tis the season to go faux! Help save animals from becoming fashion victims with the click of a mouse! Just follow these five easy steps on Twitter:
Step 1: Burberry may be best known for its famous plaid frocks, but the company's use of fur is a great big faux pas.
How to Help: Post this twitition (that's right, I Twitter-fied it!) from your Twitter account:
@Burberry Stop supporting cruelty 2 animals & adopt a permanent fur-free policy NOW!
Step 2: More than half of the finished fur garments imported into the U.S. come from China. Animals who live on Chinese fur farms spend their entire lives in intensive confinement, only to be pulled from their cages, thrown to the ground, bludgeoned, beaten, and skinned alive.
How to Help: I'm sure by now you've probably seen our shocking undercover video from a Chinese fur farm. Please tell your followers about the horrors of the fur trade by posting the video on your Twitter page: http://ow.ly/zV9A
Step 3: Animals on fur farms around the world are often driven to cannibalism because of the extreme stress and frustration caused by intensive confinement.
How to Help: Because a picture speaks a thousand words, click here to retweet this Twitpic!
Step 4: By signing our fur-free pledge, you'll be sending a powerful message ("Hell no, we want faux!") not only to the fur industry but also to designers, retailers, and others who directly profit from the suffering caused by this cruel industry.
How to Help: Pledge to go fur-free and ask your Twitter followers to do so as well: http://ow.ly/zVf8
Step 5: Each year, the Canadian government allows sealers to beat and skin hundreds of thousands of seals. Baby seals—some of them only weeks old—have their skulls smashed in or are shot for their fur. If you haven't checked out our awesome "Save the Seals" celebrity ad series, take a peek: http://ow.ly/zVey
How to Help: Vote for your favorite "Save the Seals" celebrity using our twitter poll and ask your followers to vote too. Who will you vote for:@Jayde_Nicole@PamelaDAnderson@BrodyJenner@Perez@hollymadison123
So, tweeps, you gonna help the millions of animals who need you? Pretty please, we'll ♥ you faux-ever!
Written by Royale Ziegler, PETA's official twitterer
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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.