Written by PETA
Oscar-nominated and Golden Globe– and Grammy-winning actor Joaquin Phoenix is talented, compassionate, and heart-achingly handsome. (I assure you, it's a harmless crush.)
Joaquin, who is vhegan—right down to his pleather gladiators—has narrated our exotic-skins video in the hope of inspiring both shoe aficionados and luxe footwear designers to shun exotic skins, à la Nike, Cole Haan, H&M, and Overstock.com.
He's also penned letters to Jimmy Choo and Christian Louboutin in which he points out that many snakes, alligators, lizards, and crocodiles are skinned alive by people who believe that the practice makes leather more supple. Snakes can remain alive for up to four days after they are skinned.
There are enough skin-free styles to inspire any shoe fanatic and handbag addict to give skins the boot. I personally can't get enough of the offerings at MooShoes. How do you satisfy your need for skin-free kicks?
Written by Karin Bennett
With the passing this week of Robert Culp, captive animals—and the people who care about them—have lost a true advocate and friend.
Although he appeared in dozens of films and television programs, Culp was best known to baby boomers for his work on the TV series I Spy and to the following generation for The Greatest American Hero. His fans may not have known that, off screen, Culp was a genuine hero for captive animals. In 2007, he filed a lawsuit to block construction of a new elephant exhibit at the Los Angeles Zoo, citing allegations that the zoo did not provide elephants sufficient veterinary care, confined them in an inadequate space, and used bullhooks and electric shocks on them. Last year, when a judge ruled against him, Culp filed an appeal.
Taken from their families in the wild, elephants in zoos suffer a life of chronic physical ailments, social deprivation, emotional starvation, and premature death. Lack of exercise and long hours standing on hard surfaces are major contributors to foot infections and arthritis, the leading causes of death among captive elephants. Two elephants who died at the Los Angeles Zoo in recent years, Tara and Gita, suffered from arthritis-related illnesses.
We can each pay tribute to this kind and talented man by carrying forward his efforts to help elephants in zoos.
Written by Jeff Mackey
You might already know that Spiderman's Tobey Maguire is vegan, as is Oscar nominee Woody Harrelson, Golden Globe–winner Joaquin Phoenix, and Ultraman Rich Roll. And you may remember that fitness trainer Bob Harper and the NBA's Amar'e Stoudemire both rely on animal-free cuisine to promote peak physical form.
Now The Boston Globe has introduced its readers to "hegans"—as in "he" plus "vegan" equals "hegan." Many hegans are middle-aged, and they all seem to be unassuming fellows who—in their individual pursuits of longevity, improved strength and energy, weight loss, or decreased risk of killer diseases such as cancer and heart disease—have all quietly embraced vegan lifestyles. They may also have read that vegan diets are the best for making sure that their kids have a planet to inherit, or they don't like the idea of eating Babe for breakfast. According to Rip Esselstyn, veteran firefighter, triathlete, and author of The Engine 2 Diet, "Real men eat plants.''
We absolutely agree—and so do the red-hot hunks in our 2010 Sexiest Vegetarian Next Door contest. After you've cast your vote, tell us: Will you use the term "hegan" to describe men who eat only animal-free foods—or are you inclined to stick with "vegan"?
I guess it shouldn't come as any surprise that "Octomom" Nadya Suleman has agreed to take us up on our offer to place this ad on her front lawn in exchange for a single payment of $5,000 and a month's supply of veggie burgers and dogs to feed her supersized litter family.
After all, faced with the prospect of foreclosure, the single mom of 14 can surely relate to the plight of millions of homeless animals across the country.
The benefits of PETA's offer to the struggling octobrood are obvious, but what's in it for animals? Already, the ad has been run (for free) by CNN, NBC, AOL News, E! Online, USA Today, the New York Post, and dozens of other media outlets and blogs. So far, we've reached millions of people with the lifesaving spay-and-neuter message for less than a penny a person. Not a bad deal.
Regardless of her motivations for accepting our ad, wouldn’t you agree that reaching millions with the spay-neuter message right as "kitten season" is starting is perfect timing? And with Nadya's entire family chowing down on veggie burgers and veggie dogs all month long, factory farmed animals' lives have been spared.
Written by Alisa Mullins
While we're still irked at Animal Planet for the upcoming series about Mike Tyson and pigeon racing, we have to give the network credit for having the good judgment to air the award-winning documentary The Tiger Next Door, which explores the seedy underworld of people who own, breed, and peddle exotic animals.
The movie features Dennis Hill, an Indiana man who once kept dozens of tigers, leopards, bears, and other wild animals confined to filthy, ramshackle cages and pens on his rural property outside Indianapolis.
After years of citations from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for violations of the Animal Welfare Act—including failing to provide animals with proper shelter, sanitation, feeding, and watering—the agency filed charges against Hill, and his federal license was revoked. The state of Indiana ordered him to relinquish all but three of the big cats. The Tiger Next Door chronicles Hill's years of buying, breeding, and selling big cats as well as "the curious, ethically murky world" of those who keep exotic pets.
In the latest installment of "Yeah, What PETA Said," the Jockey Club has released the findings of a study that concluded that horses used for racing are dying on U.S. and Canadian tracks at twice the rate—at least—of any other country, probably for the very reasons that PETA has stated (over and over again): drugs and dirt tracks.
Horses forced to race in the U.S. and Canada, where they commonly race on dirt tracks and where the use of many drugs that mask the pain of injuries is still legal, die at the rate of 2.04 per 1,000 starts (or races). By contrast, in England—where horses are raced less frequently and mainly on turf and where the use of performance-enhancing drugs is much more strictly regulated—horses die at a rate of 0.8 to 0.9 per 1,000 starts. In Victoria, Australia, the risk of fatality drops even further to 0.44 per 1,000 starts.
Running on dirt tracks is rough on every joint in a horse's body. It causes their leg bones, knees, and ankles to sustain significant trauma, but regardless of their injuries, these animals are often still forced to race when they should be recovering. They are pumped full of drugs that are used to mask the pain, which can lead to tragic, and oftentimes deadly, breakdowns on race tracks.
In California, where dirt tracks have been replaced by synthetic surfaces, the number of horses suffering catastrophic injuries during races has plummeted 40 percent.
So our question to the Jockey Club and the National Thoroughbred Racing Association is: What are you waiting for? Let's get busy adopting PETA's recommendations to make tracks safer already, shall we?
We already know that vegetable consumption can help fight America's biggest health risks, including obesity, heart disease, and cancer, as well as horrific cruelty to factory-farmed animals. But could it be that artichokes and sweet potatoes have the ability to stop terrorist activities too?
We recently told you about Ghulam Rasool Khan, the suspected al-Qaida member jailed in India who refuses to eat his vegetables. Now we've learned that the Indian military is making grenades that release a gas similar to tear gas—except it's made out of chili peppers. The chili-pepper grenades are being used to immobilize terror suspects.
Seems like veggies might cramp terrorists' style. What's next—will U.S. troops stockpile asparagus spears? Will we walk softly and carry big carrot sticks?
Last night, late-night queen Chelsea Handler's monologue focused on housewives, chinchillas, and PETA. As a diehard Chelsea fan (Are You There, Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea is on my nightstand as we speak), I was thrilled when the quick-witted comic stuck up for animals on E!
It all started when Kelly Bensimon from Real Housewives of New York went shopping for a fur vest and claimed, "It's amazing to have an organization like PETA, but I've always been a great fur wearer." She continued, "Do I wear fur? Yes. Do I support the abuse of animals? Absolutely not." Umm … Say wha' …? While we're glad that she thinks PETA is "amazing," the whole thing was unsettling, to say the least.
Up steps Chelsea Handler. Firing back, she took a pro-animal stance and stated "Really? You don't abuse animals? I think the chinchilla who just had his hide ripped off might disagree. You think you're a great fur wearer? You know who wears it better? The innocent animal it came from. This is not a smart move. You just taunted PETA on national television while wearing an unattractive fur vest."
Bam! We knew that Chelsea was compassionate when she adopted a dog from an animal shelter. Now, with her anti-fur stance, all that's left is for Chelsea to follow in the footsteps of a compassionate housewife and star in our next "Rather Go Naked Than Wear Fur" ad. We might even let Chuy costar …
Written by Christine Doré
A new day, a slew of choices to be made: To be or not to be? Tempeh or tofu? Coffee cup or tumbler? That last one happens to involve this week's prizes:
Two winners will score PETA's ceramic coffee cup and two will walk away with a PETA reusable tumbler. How can you win? Just let us know what animal-friendly beverage you'll be filling your cup with. Personally, I'm an iced soy vanilla latte girl. Do you need coffee, black? Maybe you'll be filling your tumbler with orange soda. Whatever it is, let us know. We'll pick two winners for each cup, so please let us know if you want a tumbler or a mug. The people who leave the most thirst-inducing comments will win.
Written by Karin Bennett
Here's some monkey business that PETA applauds: BBDO's clever, cute, and completely animal-friendly new ad for GE, featuring snow monkeys who are undisturbed in their natural habitat. There's even an animatronic monkey "hand"—watch for it:
This isn't the only masterpiece from BBDO. Remember Monster.com's fiddle-playing animatronic beaver ad? That was by BBDO too. (Pop-culture mea culpa: I didn't watch the Super Bowl—I know, I know. But after watching the Monster.com ad, I'm wondering what other memorable moments I missed out on. C'est la vie.)
BBDO's innovative work and pledge never to use great apes in ads means that the agency has rejected industry exploitation of animals who are stolen from their mothers, locked in tiny cages, and subjected to daily intimidation and beatings before they are dumped at wretched roadside zoos when they grow too strong or old to perform.
For its commitment to using alternatives to animal "actors," BBDO is the newest recipient of our Humane Ad Agency Award. Of course, many other companies still abuse animals in order to sell their products. Won't you take a cue from BBDO and find out more about what you can do to help animals who are abused in the entertainment industry?
Written by Heather Drennan
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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.