Written by PETA
After finding out that Renninger's Farmers and Flea Market in Mount Dora, Florida, was offering rides on a female African elephant named Nosey, we immediately contacted the manager and alerted him to the dangers that elephant rides pose to both elephants and the public. After listening to our concerns and hearing from local citizens, Renninger's canceled the rides. Yay!
Most people don't realize that captive elephants are beaten, chained, and denied almost everything that is natural and important to them. This understandably causes aggression and poses a risk to humans—since 1990, rampaging elephants have killed 13 people and injured 120. Just a couple weeks ago, 12 children were injured by an elephant at the Shrine Circus, and in 2004, Nosey herself hit a Liebel Family Circus employee on the back of the head with her trunk, sending him to the hospital. I'm guessing that the parents who let their children take a ride on Nosey had no knowledge of this attack.
To be fair to Nosey—and all captive elephants—it's pretty clear what they're so mad about. After Nosey's outburst in 2004, the injured man described an incident in which a trainer "used the bullhook handle, turned off the lights in the performance ring, and beat the elephant." The trainer also encouraged others to take part in the abuse by striking her with objects such as a sledgehammer and shovel handles. When the USDA investigated the facility, they found that the Liebel Family Circus was not providing the animals in its care with adequate food, shelter, or veterinary care.
Don't you agree that it's time to put a permanent end to the abuse of elephants in circuses?
Written by Liz Graffeo
This certainly gives new meaning to the term "cat fight."
Project Runway finalist Kenley Collins has reportedly used her cat as a weapon by throwing the animal at her sleeping fiancé's head. Oh yeah, she also allegedly chucked a laptop and three apples and slammed a door on his head as he crawled across the floor. I guess her precious sewing machine was too valuable to throw. Police have charged Collins with assault and criminal possession of a deadly weapon (i.e., her cat). Thankfully this alleged assault is being investigated, but c'mon, what about the cat?
We are so disgusted that Collins has reportedly endangered her feline companion that we think, if Collins is found guilty, she should be barred from owning any animals in the future. Anyone who would throw a cat in a fit of rage should not be trusted with the care of another life.
Her fiancé might want to watch his back, as well. More than one killer got started by hurting animals. I'm no Doctor Phil, but I'd venture a guess that these two love birds won't be walking down the aisle anytime soon.
Written by Jennifer Cierlitsky
If you've been keeping up with your British celebrity chefs lately, you'll know that Naked Chef star Jamie Oliver has been pushing pork products on the public (try saying that three times fast). He's encouraging people to "save our bacon" by buying British pig meat instead of the cruel other kind.
Now, we know that Jamie is aware of the horrors behind factory farming in Europe (he even has a campaign against it), but we're hoping he'll realize the obvious: That the best way to stop cruelty to animals is to stop eating animals—including British ones. Good thing we've got friends in the U.K. who are only too happy to educate Mr. Oliver on the horrors of all factory farms.
Check out these pictures from PETA Europe's Mother's Day demo (yes, across the pond they honor their mums in March), in which two very sexy, very pregnant volunteers portrayed a typical day in the life of a mother sow in front of Jamie's flagship restaurant, Fifteen.
Written by Lianne Turner
Yesterday, attorneys working on behalf of PETA and two plaintiffs won a lawsuit to stop the Georgia Department of Agriculture (GDA) from granting licenses to animal shelters that use cruel gas chambers to kill cats and dogs.
Is that a victory cheer I hear?
You might remember our post a couple of years ago about the GDA's refusal to uphold Georgia's 1990 Humane Euthanasia Act, which banned the use of gas chambers by most animal shelters. Well, thanks to the hard work of attorneys with the law firm Schiff Hardin LLP, a permanent injunction was entered against the GDA's practice of approving and encouraging the illegal use of gas chambers. That's right—the very institution that was supposed to be upholding the law was breaking it. And it's been busted. Now, counties in Georgia with a population of 25,000 or more must provide animals with the best form of euthanasia available: intravenous injections of sodium pentobarbital.
We are still waiting with fingers crossed to see if Georgia's bill to ban all gas chambers permanently has made its way to the Senate. But for now, we are throwing a little victory celebration for all the shelter animals who will be spared a cruel death thanks to this courtroom victory.
Written by Shawna Flavell
Back in October, we told you about the geniuses (sarcasm alert) in Clay County, Florida, who decided that the best way to figure out whether a dog had died from heatstroke when an animal control officer left her in a sweltering truck was to—wait for it—put another dog in the sweltering truck and see if that dog would suffer horribly too. (Fortunately, he survived and was returned to the city animal shelter.)
Like I said: geniuses.
As you might expect, we filed a criminal complaint, but the prosecutor's office refused to take the case. So, because the Clay County brain trust had decided that they were qualified to conduct experiments on animals, we filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) because this impromptu experiment appeared to violate numerous Animal Welfare Act (AWA) regulations.
Now, the USDA has cited Clay County Animal Control for no less than five—count 'em, five—violations of the AWA. From the USDA's memo:
Clay County Animal Control does not have an IACUC [Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee]. No protocol was prepared, and a veterinarian was not consulted for this project. There were no searches for alternatives, nor were there any attempts to demonstrate that this project did not unnecessarily duplicate previous experiments.
The animal control brainiacs said that they didn't think that this kind of atrocity experiment was regulated, but, as the USDA official dryly noted, "I explained to them that this was." Apparently, the explanation was slow enough and used one-syllable words, because the violators understood it well enough to assure the USDA that "they will not perform any research activity in the future." Phew!
Clay County's dogs (and other animals) should be able to rest easier—and so should the human residents, as it's now likely that county officials will think twice before deciding that they're qualified to, say, perform open-heart surgery.
Written by Jeff Mackey
Today, lawyers gave their closing arguments in the court case involving Ringling's use of steel-barbed bullhooks and shackles on the elephants it forces to perform. Over the course of the six-week trial, the following evidence was presented:
Check back with the PETA Files in the coming months for an update on the verdict. We hope that the elephants win, but regardless of the outcome, the trial has already generated lots of deservedly negative publicity for this miserable circus. And that's a good thing considering how hard Ringling works to put a misleading, positive spin on clamping elephants in irons, dominating and intimidating them with bullhooks, and confining them to boxcars and arena basements for much of their lives.
Written by Alisa Mullins
So, who watched The Colbert Report last night? I did, of course, but that's not unusual for me. Once again, Stephen's endless pursuit of hard-hitting news has led him to feature PETA's ideas—and Ingrid was on the show!
Colbert interviewed Ingrid on a subject that's either revolutionary or revolting, depending on your point of view: in vitro meat. As you may remember, PETA is offering 1 million dollars to the first team of scientists that can develop a method to produce viable, commercially available, lab-grown chicken meat by 2010. If the in vitro meat looks and tastes just like the "real thing" and can be sold at a competitive price, then even those who refuse to kick their meat addictions will have no justification for the continued slaughter of animals for food.
As you may have seen in last night's episode, scientists are already tackling this, ahem, meaty issue. And hey, who knows—maybe the "Colbert Bump" was exactly what this contest needed! We anticipate an absolute flood of entries in the very near future.
As for in vitro meat, what does the PETA Files nation think—revolutionary or revolting?
Written by Amanda Schinke
It's that time again—"Win It" Wednesday! What's the prize this week? It's our brand-spanking-new "Mean People Wear Fur" T-shirt, in honor of our equally brand-spanking-new "Stolen for Fashion" PSA.
"Stolen for Fashion" follows an alligator and a bunny (voiced by Pink and Ricky Gervais, respectively) as they confront the people who stole their skins. It's the first and only animal rights video using CGI (computer-generated imagery), so it's pretty special, just like these awesome T-shirts.
The tee comes in milky red and black amethyst, so if you win, you'll have to let us know which color you want, in addition to the size.
How do you win? Leave us a comment letting us know why you think people should only wear their own skin. The three people who post the most creative answers will each take home a "Mean People Wear Fur" T-shirt.
We predict a hit with ABC's new sitcom Better Off Ted, which premieres tonight (check local listings for times). I mean, with a story line that revolves around in vitro meat, as it does in the first episode, how could the show fail?
The premise of Ted, which sounds sort of like a cross between The Office and Big Bang Theory, is that smart and successful, if somewhat nerdy, employees are forced to use their powers for bizarre, if not downright unethical, endeavors by a soulless corporation. They are asked to weaponize pumpkins (which doesn't sound all bad, really) and to create uncomfortable, scratchy office chairs (some chairs do seem to have gone missing from the PETA office). They even cryogenically freeze a company scientist for a year as part of an experiment (now that's the kind of animal testing we can get behind—just kidding, c'mon).
But back to that in vitro meat. We can't help but think that the show's creators were inspired by PETA's call to scientists to develop a commercially viable lab-grown meat by 2012. As an incentive, we're dangling a big, juicy carrot in the form of a $1 million prize. Hey, we already have lab-grown candy—how big of a leap is from it Pop Rocks to test-tube T-bones?
Considering that Tiger Woods' life is essentially a media circus, we hope that the superstar golfer can relate to the plight of his namesakes in the circus. That's why we've written a letter to Tiger asking him to tee up for one of our ever-popular naked tiger demos. We're hoping that Mr. Woods will show his true stripes by stripping down to his skivvies and painting his body with orange and black stripes—something like the (awesome) photo illustration below:
Quite a change from the traditional polo shirt and Nike cap, but, hey, we can dream, can't we?
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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.