Written by PETA
Last year, Renningers Farmers & Flea Market in Mount Dora, Florida, banned elephant rides after PETA provided evidence of Liebel Family Circus' long list of USDA violations, its history of animal neglect and abuse, and the unavoidable risks posed by elephant rides. Now we are hoping that Daytona Beach, Florida, will follow suit, thanks to footage taken during Liebel's March visit to the city.
In 2005, Liebel Family Circus entered into a settlement agreement with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and was assessed a civil penalty of $2,885 for multiple violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA), including failure to provide adequate space and veterinary care for animals, failure to have an experienced elephant handler, and failure to provide a safety barrier between the animals and the public. And it's easy to see why from this footage. Talk about a disturbing picture: An individual who was charged with controlling an elephant named Nosey holds a toddler by one hand and in the other holds a bullhook—a sharp, steel-tipped device that workers use to strike, stab, hook, prod, and intimidate elephants in order to make them obey. Not only that, but at one point Nosey was allowed to pick up a bucket while people were on her back. If she'd decided to throw the bucket, someone could have been seriously injured.
In light of this evidence of dangerous misconduct at Liebel's stop in Daytona Beach, PETA has sent the footage to the city's mayor along with a letter asking him to support legislation to prohibit elephant rides in the city.
In the wild, elephants travel in family groups, and female elephants stay with their mothers for their entire lives. Elephants who are trapped in circuses and forced to live in boxcars and endure years of abuse often become depressed and neurotic. Nosey, Liebel's only elephant, has been with the circus for decades and has already attacked at least one of Liebel's employees. In 2004, Nosey injured a worker, and after you read the worker's affidavit to the USDA, you can't really blame the elephant for her outrage. In the report, the worker recounts the frequent use of electric shock devices on the elephant and details an incident in which a trainer "used the bullhook handle, turned off the lights in the performance ring and beat the elephant. He at the time directed others to take part in that by using other objects such as [a] sledge hammer and shovel handles. At that time, the elephant was staked down by all four legs …." The employee also states that Nosey's attack "was not the first time the elephant had reached or struck out at people who worked at the circus."
Want to help shut down circuses that abuse and neglect animals? Refuse to go and tell your friends and family members to do the same.
Written by Logan Scherer
A judge has temporarily ruled that video footage and photographs of the violent killing of SeaWorld trainer Dawn Brancheau by Tilly the killer whale will not be made public. The fight over that will rage on, I'm sure. But the autopsy report has been released today, and it makes it very clear that Dawn Brancheau's last moments were filled with tremendous suffering. Despite massive public relations efforts on SeaWorld's part to smooth over the "incident"—i.e., death by killer whale—by characterizing it as "play" that went a bit wrong, the autopsy shows that Tilly was not in the mood for affection.
The six-page report reveals that Brancheau's left arm and part of her scalp were ripped off. She suffered spinal cord injuries, and her ribs as well as bones in her legs, arms, and face were broken. She had bruises and cuts all over her body. And she drowned.
As PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk states, "These were not love bites, but the vented fury of an angry and frustrated being who has been deprived of everything in life: family, friends, freedom—all for the sake of human profit and a few giggles."
The gory details of Dawn Brancheau's death are further evidence that animals who are deprived of everything that is natural and important to them throughout their entire miserable lives in sea parks, circuses, and zoos around the world will continue to attack and kill people whom they see as having a role in the denial of their freedom and family connections.
Whether by writing, tweeting, picketing, getting creative, or (ideally) doing all of the above and more, please help Tilly and the many other animals who are being held in captivity and deprived of everything that is natural to them. And the most important thing that anyone can do to help imprisoned animals is to refuse to patronize marine or other abusement parks.
Written by Karin Bennett
Sticking up for rats—who are sensitive, intelligent, and nurturing—has always been high on our agenda, although not everyone understands that these dear little mammals are worth caring about … yet.
There is hope, however. For the last 14 months, we've been funding two scientists at the French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA) who are formulating a hybrid species that will make rats less despised. You may remember when we lodged a complaint against the INRA for the glow-in-the-dark rabbit, but sometimes good things come from bad. The rabbit genome is nearly identical to that of the rat, and we have found a way to put this science and experience to good use. Using the same zygote microinjection process (to which we still object!) that was used to create the glow-in-the-dark rabbit, these geneticists can isolate the gene that's responsible for bunnies' cotton-ball tails and then insert it into fertilized rat egg cells. The results are truly phenomenal, producing a genetically engineered rat whom no one will want to harm:
"People are almost certain to be kinder to a tiny mammal with a powder-puff tail," says PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk. "Not only would this pay off in cities that kill these animals with gut-wrenching poisons, it would also make it harder for lab assistants to force-feed toxic chemicals to them or for homeowners to watch them struggle in cruel glue traps."
Rats with a dominant gene for bunny tails can easily be released to breed with wild rodents in New York and other major cities, creating a "rat pack" whose charms no one will be able to resist.
Adrian Grenier has a heart to back up those drive-me-crazy (yes, I did just allude to the 1999 Adrian Grenier–Melissa Joan Hart classic) good looks. While out for a run yesterday, the Entourage star stopped when he spotted an injured dog on the side of the road. Grenier checked the dog's vital signs and attempted to revive the animal, then contacted local authorities when he realized it was too late.
Follow Adrian's lead! If you ever see an injured animal—even if you think he or she may be dead—stop and check. Many animals go into shock after they are hit by cars and can end up paralyzed and in pain. If no one stops to help, they may be left to suffer, sometimes for days, before they eventually succumb to their injuries. It only takes a minute of your time to reduce animal suffering.
Two separate attacks on people by angry, frustrated, imprisoned animals over the weekend has this gal wondering: Are zoo prisoners launching a sort of global Attica-style revolt? Let's consider the evidence.
Exhibit A: At Roger Williams Park Zoo in Rhode Island, 20-year-old Griffy, a so-called "towering beast" of a giraffe, head-butted a zookeeper, who luckily managed to stagger out of the enclosure to safety. Zoo officials downplayed the attack, calling it a "playful" accident. Really?
And exhibit B: At the Byculla Zoo in Mumbai, a 55-year-old elephant named Laxmi attacked a man who entered the pen that she shares with another elephant, Anarkali, who is 46. Laxmi is old and ailing, and a month ago she was the subject of an urgent appeal by PETA India, which urged that she be removed from the zoo, where she has been chained and beaten. Anarkali, too, has been abused in this zoo, and PETA India wants the two of them moved to a sanctuary. The man was severely injured when he was removed from the enclosure and was declared dead shortly thereafter.
So tell us: Are animals like Griffy, Laxmi, and Tilly—who were meant to roam or swim for miles but are instead imprisoned in tiny pens or pools—simply being "playful" with zookeepers? Is this behavior uncharacteristic? Or are they revolting against their cruel confinement, their loss of freedom, and the fact that they are deprived of a real life?
I got teary again and again watching Jennie Garth's character, Kelly Taylor, grow up on Beverly Hills, 90210—and I got goose bumps when she mamboed on Dancing With the Stars. But when I learned that Jennie asked MomCentral.com to drop its partnership with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, I cheered so loudly that I woke Frank and Tom from their fifth nap of the day. (Sorry, fellas.)
The mother of three was moved to take action after learning about Ringling's abuse of baby elephants, who are snatched away from their wailing, distraught mothers by trainers who slam the babies to the ground, poke and prod them with bullhooks, and give them electric shocks. Asking the site to sever its ties with Ringling, Jennie wrote, "Because Mom Central is a resource that promotes support for all mothers, I implore you to consider the helpless animals who are forced to surrender their children to a lifetime of isolation and pain."
You don't need to have children to be concerned about the dangerous lesson Ringling teaches its audiences—that it's OK to abuse babies who've been stolen from their mothers. I'll be following Jennie's lead and politely asking MomCentral.com to drop Ringling. Will you join me?
To reference Idol judge Randy Jackson, seven-time Cy Young Award–winning pitcher Roger Clemens is a bit pitchy in the bedroom. According to his mistress, Mindy McCready, "The Rocket" (ironically) suffers from "a lot of problems" with erectile dysfunction. Now, PETA's got a pitch that may help him, his sexual partners, and animals: Go vegan! We even sent him a copy of our vegetarian/vegan starter kit to help get him started.
Doctors and nutritionists agree that the best way to prevent artery blockage as well as other conditions that cause impotence is to eat a diet high in fiber, including plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Nobody likes to rubber-arm in the bedroom, and these foods will scrub the plaque off Clemens' arterial walls to get him back on top of his game in no time.
Whether you call it veggie Viagra or a legal performance enhancer, going vegan won't just get you through the night—it will get you through life.
The two things at the top of my mile-long "Likes" list are handbags and catnaps—and after racking my brain trying to choose one favorite purse from Susan Nichole's online shop, I seriously think I need to lie down.
Hopefully, the winner of this week's "Win It" Wednesday giveaway will be more decisive in choosing one of Susan's stylish, all-vegan creations, because the winner of this week's contest gets to take home the bag of his or her choosing.
You want to win it? Simply come up with a funny caption for the photo below, which features my fellow handbag and catnap lover, Ginger (who, also like me, doesn't much like being disturbed during sleepy time):
Before you start, please note the following:
Our favorite Canadian and Dancing With the Stars contestant Pamela Anderson never stops (fox)trotting forward with her efforts to help animals.
Pamela is taking advantage of Canada's Access to Information Act, which lets Canadian citizens demand copies of government records. She's just e-mailed requests to government agencies Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, and Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada asking for any documents that contain information about tax dollars that Canada has spent in the past decade to keep the dying seal slaughter on life support.
In her letters, Pamela makes it clear that she will be sharing the information with PETA. We expect that the responses will provide a wealth of insight into our new initiative to show how far the Canadian government will go to push seal pelts and byproducts stolen from helpless victims.
Stay tuned …
With the draft of China's first animal protection law in the works, change is on the way for animals. Introduced last year, the groundbreaking law includes basic legal protection for wildlife, companion animals, animals in labs, animals who are transported, animals used for entertainment, and animals slaughtered for food, but the first draft was vague in many spots.
Enter PETA Asia. After reviewing the first draft of the bill and offering suggestions to ensure that animal welfare standards be raised significantly, PETA Asia Director Jason Baker and contractor Christine Li attended last week's International Forum on Chinese Legislation for the Protection and Management of Animals in Beijing, where they were able to look at the current version of the draft bill.
Among the changes made to the draft were the following:
The tireless folks at PETA Asia are already hard at work on a new set of comments for the bill's latest revision. We'll keep you updated on the progress.
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
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here. If you are reporting an animal in imminent danger and know where to find the
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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.