Written by PETA
We weren't surprised when we heard that SeaWorld hired animal pimp "entertainer" Jack Hanna to defend its abuse of marine mammals as well as SeaWorld's abysmal record of injuries and deaths of both trainers and animals. This is the same man who called Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey "the finest circus in the world," after all.
Hanna—who actually compared whale trainers to astronauts (?!)—has his own long and sordid history of exploiting animals at the expense of the safety of the animals and the humans around them. The baby animals Hanna regularly turns into unwilling performers are unweaned infants who were torn from their mothers shortly after birth. His traveling wildlife are subjected to the crippling stress of large crowds and are trapped in an unnatural, alien environment.
Hanna's antics perpetuate the misguided notion that dangerous and exotic animals are desirable "pets," yet even an "animal expert" such as himself can't take the wild nature out of the animals he carts around. His "pet" lion bit off the arm of a 3-year-old. A chimpanzee he brought to a church, bit off a 5-year-old girl's finger. A fox he displayed on Good Morning America severely bit the host's finger, and a baby cougar he brought to a conference bit a politician on the chin. By using animal suppliers and assistants with poor records of animal care, Hanna supports individuals and organizations who have been cited by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for violations of the Animal Welfare Act.
Hanna + SeaWorld = double the suffering for animals. Want to tell these abusers to "Hit the road, Jack!"? Urge SeaWorld to end its use of marine mammals immediately.
Written by Logan Scherer
An apparently agitated elephant reportedly charged into the arena during Ringling's afternoon pre-show in Columbia, South Carolina, on Saturday, endangering about 100 spectators. Most attendees hurried away from the scene, and luckily, no one was injured, but the potential exists for injury or death when elephants rampage. Since 1990, dangerous incidents involving captive elephants in the U.S. have resulted in 13 human deaths and more than 135 human injuries.
The frightened elephant may have been trying to escape from the bullhook abuse that commonly takes place backstage at Ringling's shows. As documented in a PETA video—which was taken over a period of several months and released last July—of the same Ringling unit that is performing in Columbia, elephants are struck repeatedly with bullhooks (a weapon that resembles a fireplace poker that trainers wield to strike, stab, hook, prod, and intimidate elephants in order to make them obey). We are asking the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to check this elephant for signs of bullhook abuse as well as to ensure that she is treated for any injuries sustained when she ran amok and that she is permanently removed from travel.
This is the second complaint with the USDA that we have filed against Ringling regarding its treatment of elephants—in less than a week. A few hours of "entertainment" at the expense of animals intimidated into performing dangerous and unnatural tricks is never worth the trauma inflicted on those animals or the danger to spectators and their children.
Written by Logan Scherer
George and Weezie Jefferson may have moved up, but I'm jonesing to move out. My destination: Switzerland, which just might become the most animal-friendly nation in the world.
Last year, Switzerland passed a law that guarantees rights for all animals. Next month, voters will weigh in on a referendum that, if passed, will require that lawyers be assigned to protect companion and farmed animals from abuse.
I can only imagine the relief if such legislation caught on in the U.S. (and how much Judge Judy I'd wind up watching). Goldfish could be rescued from their scum-caked tanks. Lonely, cold dogs banished to back yards could enjoy warmth and companionship inside. Pigs, chickens, cows, ducks—any and all factory-farmed animals—might never again have their body parts burned or chopped off, and they'd be freed from their filthy cages, crates, and pens. Those examples are just off the top of my head. Jot yours down in the comments section below.
Written by Karin Bennett
The Pretenders' Chrissie Hynde isn't just the lead singer of a rock band and a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer—she's an animal rights leader too. With that in mind, we're giving you a chance to win a copy of the band's highly anticipated new CD/DVD box set, Live in London. It includes all the major singles, from "I'll Stand by You" to "Brass in Pocket," and it hits store shelves tomorrow.
To enter, tell us what you've done to lead friends, family members, community members, or anyone else to help animals. Rise above the "Middle of the Road" and tell us about something that no one else has ever done. We'll give a copy of Live in London to the 15 readers who share the stories that inspire us the most.
Last week, authorities from at least eight agencies, including the Marion County Humane Society, seized dozens of animals—including big cats, dogs, horses, reptiles, a monkey, and many others—from Barbara Hoffman, who was keeping the animals in several trailers on a property in Texas. Hoffman and her business partner were then apparently placed under arrest on charges of cruelty to animals.
According to the county sheriff, Hoffman never requested or applied for a permit and failed to register the animals with the city. They reportedly kept 10 exotic cats—six tigers, one cougar, two black panthers, and a spotted leopard, several of whom weigh around 700 pounds—in 18-square-foot transport cages inside three trailers that allegedly reeked of ammonia and urine.
Hoffman and her late husband have a long history of abusing and neglecting animals. The couple, who for years used exotic cats and other animals to perform in traveling circuses, regularly failed to comply with the minimum standards of the Animal Welfare Act and collected U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) citations for repeatedly not providing animals with sufficient space, regular veterinary care, or adequate nutrition. PETA filed numerous complaints against the Hoffmans with the USDA—including one in 2007 alleging that their tigers were abused and malnourished and one in 2005 when concerned observers saw exotic cats allegedly left in dark, poorly ventilated cages in scorching daytime and freezing nighttime temperatures. Back in 2004, while performing with a circus in Washington State, a bobcat and at least 10 domestic cats died in the Hoffman's travel trailer when a fire broke out in the arena that housed the trailer.
Hoffman's initial hearing is set for later this week, and we're hoping that the Marion County District Attorney will prosecute Hoffman aggressively, ensuring that she pays for the many animals who allegedly suffered at her hands. We'll keep you updated.
"[T]he USDA is making every effort to make sure that today's children are the first American generation to have a shorter life expectancy than their parents."—USDA Blog, January 15, 2010
Call the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) recent blunder whatever you want—a Freudian typo, a meaningful misprint, an epic blog fail—but we can all agree that the error was a telling one, accidentally revealing the truth about the USDA. We know that the USDA meant to write, "the USDA is making every effort to make sure that today's children are not the first American generation to have a shorter life expectancy than their parents" [emphasis added], but by promoting meat, eggs, and dairy products and allowing the National School Lunch Program to serve these fatty, cholesterol-laden foods to schoolchildren, the USDA is putting kids' lives at risk.
The typo has already been corrected on the USDA's blog, but the real, fatal error won't be corrected until the USDA starts urging children to eat cruelty-free.
Nothing ruins a road trip more than seeing an 18-wheeler driving down the highway crammed tight with animals destined for slaughter. From state to state, regardless of weather, animals are carted from factory farms and feedlots—where they suffer short, miserable lives—to slaughterhouses, where their throats are cut or they are scalded alive in baths of hot water. In transit, they are forced to face the blazing summer heat or freezing winter winds while being deprived of food, water, or rest—and sometimes they become the victims of highway accidents.
Today, we're thrilled to report that at PETA's request, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has instructed its 8,000 inspectors in procedures to help enforce the 28-Hour Law—a federal statute requiring that cows, pigs, and other farmed animals be fed, watered, and allowed to rest after 28 hours on the road. As a result of this regulatory nudge, transport conditions will improve for the estimated 50 million farmed animals who are annually transported for long distances and denied their basic necessities.
The FSIS's notice to its inspectors helps address the deplorable treatment of animals in transit from factory farms to slaughterhouses. A former pig transporter told PETA that pigs are "packed in so tight, their guts actually pop out their butts—a little softball of guts actually comes out." In hot weather, many cows who are on their way to slaughter collapse in the heat, and in the cold, cows sometimes freeze to the sides of the truck until workers pry them off with crowbars. Like cows and pigs, chickens are usually given no food or water and are shipped through all weather conditions. People who spot chicken-transport trucks on the highway frequently report seeing the heads of dead and dying chickens protruding from the crates.
We applaud FSIS for informing its inspectors of how they can report suspected violations of the 28-Hour Law for investigation. Of course, the only true way to prevent the suffering of animals used for food is to go vegan, but with these landmark actions, what was once a nightmarish and often fatal trip will hopefully become a little more bearable.
PETA recently learned that two of the giraffes the late Michael Jackson used to house at Neverland Ranch have died while living under the apparently neglectful eye of Tom and Freddie Hancock—owners of Banjoko Wildlife Preserve, a pseudo-sanctuary in Page, Arizona—and that at least one of the giraffes may have died as a result of improper feeding and/or exposure to cold temperatures.
Back in 2008, we wrote a letter to Michael Jackson urging him to take responsibility for four giraffes who once lived at Neverland Ranch after we received many complaints from citizens concerned about the giraffes' well-being at their new home at the preserve. At the time, a former volunteer caretaker for the animals contacted us claiming that the giraffes had been kept in 15-foot-by-15-foot "temporary" enclosures since the day they were purchased in 2007.
Shortly before his death, the King of Pop started to clean up his act by planning to leave animals out of his London tour. Now, we're asking the city of Page to confiscate the two remaining giraffes and relocate them to a facility that can provide them with appropriate care before it's too late. Oh yes, we wanna be startin' something.
If you had asked me last week to name my favorite Richard Gere moment, I would have taken a long pause before finally deciding on that scene in the 1980s movie American Gigolo when he shimmied in his boxers as he paired his ties to shirts. What can I say? I've always appreciated a man who cares about his appearance.
Much more so, I appreciate a man who speaks out in favor of compassionate actions for animals—so it makes perfect sense that my new favorite Richard Gere moments happened very recently and in real life. According to the New Zealand Herald, the actor, who is a Buddhist, marched with hundreds of monks and activists to support efforts by Tibetans for a Vegetarian Society to transform Bodhgaya, in the Indian state of Bihar, into a vegetarian zone. "Bodhgaya is a pious place and I want to come here again," Mr. Gere said, adding, "I am with the people who have launched this campaign."
It makes perfect sense that Bodhgaya, believed by Buddhists to be where Gautama Buddha attained enlightenment around 500 B.C., be "vegetized" in keeping with Buddhism's message of peace. After all, opposition to the taking of life is a core principle of Buddhism.
The founder of Tibetans for a Vegetarian Society, Tenzin Kunga Luding, notes that Gere's participation in and support of the march "has helped the cause a lot," and he adds, "This most sacred land will act as a model for other places to emulate and will impart more positive influence for the well-being of all humans, animals, and the environment."
Mali, an Asian elephant imprisoned at the Manila Zoo, was only 3 years old when she was torn away from her mother and shipped away to live in captivity.
For more than 30 years, Mali has spent her days alone in a barren enclosure with only a small pool for entertainment and relief from the heat. Mali paces her small area incessantly or stands in one spot with her trunk to the ground. Mali has reportedly walked to the edge of her enclosure, reached out her foot in the hope of going farther, and even after feeling empty space, stepped back and repeated this movement, evidence of her boredom, loneliness, and frustration. In their natural habitats, Asian elephants have homes ranges that are between 25,000 and 60,000 hectares, but the entire Manila Zoo measures only 5.5 hectares. Even if Mali's enclosure were doubled or tripled in size, it would still be completely inadequate.
PETA Asia-Pacific has just released a report that documents Mali's bleak existence. The report includes a letter from Carol Buckley, who has more than 35 years of professional experience in the care and management of Asian elephants and who operates The Elephant Sanctuary—the largest rehabilitation and living center for former captive elephants—where she has offered Mali a permanent home.
If swift action isn't taken to save Mali and the many other animals locked up at the Manila Zoo, they may meet the same fate as Sisi—the orangutan who died of cancer last year at the facility. Please sign PETA Asia Pacific's petition requesting relief for the animals at the Manila Zoo and urge everyone you know to do the same.
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.