Written by PETA
It's a hazy day here on the Right Coast. As I watch leaves fall and steam rise from my soy mocha, the mood is set for a lazy (yet highly skilled) meander through gossip rags for fun stuff. Here are my faves:
Thanks for stopping by! Catch you next time, and don't forget to hug all your vegetarian friends.
Written by Missy Lane
The 12th annual Accessories Council Excellence (ACE) Awards were held on Monday night—and guess what? Stella McCartney is just so awesome that they had to create a whole new category just for her: Green Designer of the Year.
Stella is the first recipient of this new ACE Award—and rightly so! As someone who abstains from fur and leather, which are toxic for the environment, she's light-years ahead of certain other designers who are around … cough, Donna, cough, Giorgio. Sorry, must've had a little phlegm in my throat!
When Stella began her leather-free accessories line in 2006, she told Women's Wear Daily, "I do want to show that accessories can be made from a more ethical viewpoint—and be sexy and cool. The myth of leather—that every bag and shoe needs to be made from it—needs to be broken down. It's a bit caveman." Amen, Stella! Stella is also featured in Ingrid's newest book, One Can Make a Difference.
So congratulations to Stella on her well-deserved ACE Award. Hopefully, it'll only be a matter of time before all designers realize that (a) skins aren't green, and (b) we aren't cavemen. Are you listening, Donna?
Whoopsie, I meant to disguise that with another fake cough. Oh well.
Written by Amanda Schinke
We're officially bananas about SEGA. In fact, we're sending them a thank-you card and little vegan chocolates in the shape of monkeys (closest we could get to apes) as I write this. Why is this gaming giant scoring such a sweet treat? After learning that SEGA used a real chimpanzee in an online video promoting Samba De Amigo (a new Wii game in which you use your primate prowess and a pair of maracas to make beautiful music), we contacted the company.
We explained how involuntary chimpanzee "actors" are taken away from their mothers when they are just a year or so old and forced to perform confusing and repetitious tricks. We also explained some of the horrible methods that chimpanzee "trainers" use, such as isolation, beatings with sawed-off pool cues and slapjacks, and food deprivation. Then, at the ripe old age of just 8, the chimpanzees reach puberty and their showbiz careers are over—and they end up being dumped at dismal roadside zoos or sold to laboratories for experimentation.
Faster than you can mangle a Metallica song on Guitar Hero, SEGA pulled the video from its site and promised to keep all great apes out of its ads!
Please join me in giving SEGA two opposable thumbs up for making the compassionate decision to keep great apes out of the act.
Written by Amy Elizabeth
So off we go to the polls today (I went this morning; shazam!)—and we've got a lot of important decisions to make. Not all of us will get the opportunity to take a big step forward for animals, but we can all support the candidate whose platform includes going vegetarian to fight climate change, taxing meat for the environment and health, and eating our way to a smaller ecological footprint.
OK, OK, I wasn't going to spoiler you on this, but I guess I can tell you—it's Chris P. Carrot! He's fantastic. I love him. I almost uploaded my "Chris P. Carrot Girl" music video to YouTube, but I got embarrassed.
I am particularly fond of Chris P. Carrot with hummus. Oh! Yeah, I went there.
So, you may wonder, how exactly does one vote for Chris P. Carrot? Why, by going vegetarian, of course!
Oh, and in case you didn't realize, we're talking about an anthropomorphic vegetable—not any of those candidates you'll see on the voting slips. We're a nonprofit, kids; we don't do that. Similarly, don't bother leaving comments regarding "real" candidates or any political parties—we just have to delete them, and it's super tedious. Leave comments with your favorite Chris P. Carrot accompaniments instead, if you wish. (Baba ghanoush is really good.)
We hope you all had a happy and safe Halloween! Yeah, we saw you rockin' those Trollsen and Colonel masks! We were knee-deep in mischief ourselves, but don't worry, it was all treat and no trick. PETA's "Spay and Neuter Immediately Please!" mobile clinic (aka the SNIP-mobile) spent the whole spooky day spaying and neutering dozens of black cats from the Hampton Roads area. So gosh darn cute! Yes, even witches know that cats need to be altered to live full and hauntingly happy lives.
On hand was our VIP 8-year-old PETA Kids representative, Skyler, who happily donned a black kitty costume and handed out treats to all.
A big nod goes out to the staff members aboard the mobile clinic who over the years have done an awesome job preventing the births of hundreds of thousands of unwanted kittens. It's a truly frightening statistic that one unspayed female cat can produce 36 cats in just one and a half years!
Thank you, thank you, SNIP crew! You're all wonderful!
Written by Jennifer Cierlitsky
Well, as we promised last week, Ingrid has responded to 10 lucky commenters' questions (see, it always pays to leave comments). Check out her responses below.
1. Question from Sasha: When will a movie about your life be made, and who will take your place in PETA when you retire?In a way, the HBO special, I Am an Animal was about my life, but beyond that I do not know. As for "succession," a few years ago, when my plane almost crashed, I had time to reflect on my legacy at PETA, and it was exciting to think about what good hands PETA is in. We each have our talents, and there are plenty of stunningly talented leaders at PETA and the PETA Foundation who each make a mark in their own areas, from marketing and youth outreach to IT and law, and from rounding up stars and making heartbreaking videos to going undercover—and, of course, raising and bringing in money so that we can hire more staff and help more animals. The multi-talented Tracy Reiman is my right-hand person, and I feel confident she would lead the team when I pop off.
2. Question from Aneliese: How supportive is your family on your views of animal rights and welfare? Do they agree with you on such matters?I don't have much of a family; my mother is the only one left, and she is wholly supportive. She has a "Proud PETA Member" bumper sticker on her car, puts copies of our "Vegetarian Starter Kit" in people's hands, and makes sure animal rights books are on the library shelves. She also makes great vegan cakes! In fact, her recipe for almond tarts is in the PETA cookbook.
3. Question from Ben: Was there a particular life-changing experience or event that led to you become an animal rights activist?I've told many of my personal stories in my books, such as Making Kind Choices and my latest book, One Can Make a Difference. I was a slow learner, and my late father and I basically ate our way through the animal kingdom before I met a pig who had been cruelly treated. That's when I stopped eating all animals. As I say, I was a slow learner, so before that I had stopped eating lobsters (one wiggled his antennae at me when I chose him from a platter to be broiled alive) and snails (I let a bag of them go at the bottom of my garden rather than cook them). It wasn't until I found a fox and a squirrel in steel traps that had been set for fun by some youngsters that I stopped wearing fur! Oddly enough, those were the very two types of animals whose furs had been used to make the first fur garments I owned: a suede coat with a collar made of silver-fox fur and an artsy coat made from the bodies of about 100 squirrels. I also inspected laboratories for the government, and what I saw inside them convinced me that animal experimentation is crude and cruel and can easily be replaced with sophisticated non-animal research.
4. Question from Mitch: What was the most exciting campaign or event—a specific demonstration, press conference, undercover investigation, arrest, etc.—that you have worked on with PETA?It's all exciting when you know that animals are being rescued and that people's minds and hearts and eyes are being opened. And stopping car-crash tests on animals, getting men who beat pigs on factory farms convicted on cruelty charges, seeing an elephant who has spent her entire life in chains be retired to sanctuary—it's all exciting. But if I have to pick one, I think the very first lab case, the Silver Spring monkeys case, in which PETA got the police to serve a search warrant—the first in U.S. history—to take those monkeys out of the hellhole in which they lived—that would be it.
5.Question from Brielle: If someone truly wants to make a difference for animals, how do they choose the cause that will have the most impact for animals and spreading awareness? What is the most crucial step now in the cause—promoting veganism? Saving animals? Fighting big KFC-like corporations?I believe in personal activism and that every single thing we do makes a difference—the more we do, the more difference we make and the more quickly animal liberation from exploitation and torment will come. Because everyone eats, washes their hair, puts on clothes, finds amusement in life, and buys stuff, it is vital to start setting an example and encouraging others to follow. Eat a vegan diet and shun animal skins in all their forms—they are all stolen and/or animals have been killed for them. Cook for friends and give vegan cookbooks and cruelty-free toiletries as gifts. Leave copies of Animal Times in the doctor's office and at the bus stop and put "Free Vegetarian Starter Kit" cards on every bulletin board. Hand people literature and engage in conversation to spread the word—and never, ever be silent in the face of abuse. When you speak up, others listen, and people who felt confident getting away with cruelty are shaken—perhaps not visibly, but shaken on the inside all the same. If you want to help with one particular campaign in addition to all this, then just jump in and do your best—it all counts.
6. Question from Sharon: What are your opinions on what happens to the "fighting dogs" who are rescued from dogfighting, and what is the proper way of evaluating a fighting dog to determine if rehabilitation would work for the animal? With so many homeless dogs being killed for lack of homes, I would rather the time, effort, money, and work that goes into trying to rehabilitate a fighting dog be used to help the ones who don't need such an evaluation. It just makes more sense. Also, if you find a home for a cocker spaniel or a Chihuahua or a mixed terrier, there is no likelihood that even if he or she goes nuts he or she will kill a child or a cat, but the same can't be said for the ex-fighter who is likely too strong to control and can have a fighting mindset. It isn't the dog's fault, but we have choices. The most sensible choice is to put our money and time into sterilization programs as well as combating fighting and making fighting breeds unpopular so that people do not breed more of them.
7. Question from Kathleen: I wanted to know—how do you keep a positive attitude after all the horrible things you have seen while working at PETA?I look back at how far we have come: SILK in the supermarkets, veggie burgers too. Faux "chicken" at most KFCs in Canada. Students able to say "no" to dissection. Medical schools having abandoned the use of animals in training. Pleather, faux fur, the great youth movement. Many circuses, such as Cirque du Soleil, getting out of the animal business. That means that our work pays off, so we must keep doing it!
8. Question from 4 The Animals: I read that you believe having "pets" is keeping them in captivity. Is this true?I prefer the term "companion" to pet, as that is more respectful, don't you think? Semantics can be important in how we view others. It drives me wild to see Britney Spears and Paris Hilton acquiring dogs as arm candy, which is why I wrote a book called Let's Have a Dog Party! I wanted to draw attention to the fact that these dogs are individuals with needs and wants. They aren't fashion accessories; cigarette smoke, loud music, and being left alone to stare at the apartment walls bothers them—it isn't a real life. I ask that people stay clear of pet shops and breeders, who exacerbate the overpopulation crisis. But if a person has enough love, patience, understanding, time, and money for veterinary care, I would ask him or her to go to the animal shelter and get two dogs or cats—so that the animals can keep each other company when their guardians are at work or play.
9. Question from Dan: I will be turning 70 years of age in a few years and my wife is in her 50s. We are guardians of two dogs—one of whom is a puppy. My wife and I have no immediate family. I don't mean to sound maudlin, but if anything were to happen to my wife and me, I would like to set aside some money in our will for the lifelong care of our dogs. Do you know of any organizations that have been "approved" by PETA that would be able to take in our dogs and treat them in a loving manner in the event of our demise? We reside in the southern California area (but we would be willing to send them anywhere if the organization is "top notch"). Please be very careful and always visit the place you might leave your animals to. You have to be very sure that they are right for your dogs. I have seen many "sanctuaries" where animals are miserable. Caged for life and patronized, they have lost the spark of joy that animals should have. Many of these places are warehouses, really—you can't call them much more. If you get stuck, please write to the PETA Foundation's Tim Enstice, and we'll see what we can do to help you find the right place.
10. Question from Liz: If you could make a magic wish to banish something immediately and forevermore, what would it be? The fur trade? Vivisection? Factory farming? What kind of abuse has the most pressing urgency above all others?If I had a magic wish, it would be that human beings would put themselves in the place of all "others," and then they'd really live by the Golden Rule, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." In other words, I would wish for empathy. And studies show that some people have a very poorly developed part of their brain—the mirror neuron. This means that they can't extend much beyond their own selfish interests. But, if I could influence only one area of animal abuse, that's a very hard call. It might be "pest control," as billions upon billions of mostly little animals—raccoons, beavers, mice, birds, insects, etc.—are poisoned with gut-wrenching chemicals or drowned in underwater snares, or their backs are broken in traps, or their faces get stuck in glue boards—and so on.
Thank you, Ingrid, for giving us a better insight into your life and the animal rights movement. To read more about Ingrid, check out her personal blog at IngridNewkirk.com.
Written by Christine Doré
If I hear that annoying "Viva Viagra" song one more freakin' time, I'm seriously going to stop watching football on TV. Judging by the number of Viagra commercials that are assaulting the airwaves during televised NFL games, quarterbacks aren't the only ones fumbling in the sack. That's why we're trying to erect our "Veggie Viagra" billboard in cities with NFL teams, starting with Kansas City.
Not to be a Monday morning quarterback, but if Chief fans want to score before, during, or after Sunday night football, all they have to do is bench the barbecue and burgers and load up on dee-lish vegetarian tailgating party picks instead. After all, what goes on in the kitchen has a lot to do with what goes on—or doesn't—in the bedroom.
Why can't carnivores keep up with the "Johnsons"? The cholesterol in meat, eggs, and dairy products causes hardening of the arteries, slowing the flow of blood to all vital organs—not just the heart. Vegetarians, on the other hand, save 100 animals every year and have sex about 100 times a month. I'm kidding about the sex part. It could be more.
OK, if you're like me, you cancel all your plans, shut off your cell phone, lock your door, and glue yourself to your couch every Thursday at 9 p.m. for none other than the greatest hour of television all week: Grey's Anatomy.
Well, last night was probably my favorite television night of all time, because the best show ever also brought in an important message about animal rights. (TV + AR = my life, so you can see why I was thrilled.)
If you missed it, let me catch you up. Dr. Hunt, the new head of trauma surgery, wanted to train the residents and interns on how to deal with trauma patients, and he said that dealing with live tissue was the best way to learn. So he tied down six sedated pigs and stabbed them with knives, and then he asked the doctors to perform surgery to keep the pigs alive. (Though I'm quite sure that in real life the pigs were fake, as the show had several notices that no animals were harmed in filming.)
Enter Dr. Izzy Stevens, played by Katherine Heigl. Izzy refused to do the assignment and explained how completely unnecessary it is to test on live animals when we have such advanced alternatives that don't require us to do that. She said that animals are sensitive, emotional creatures that feel pain and don't deserve to be tortured. We are so right there with you, Izzy!
When Dr. Hunt continued to berate Izzy about this issue, she stood up for herself and for animals everywhere and never backed down. She even explained that testing on animals is pointless and can sometimes even work against medical progress. Even though a test might be successful when the subjects are animals, people and animals are different species and therefore will show completely different results.
Even no-nonsense, steely Dr. Yang took a liking to the pigs and called them by name. When the surgeries finished, Hunt ordered Yang to euthanize the pigs and she refused.
What an excellent episode! I was so thrilled to step away from Meredith's whiny, self-obsessed life for a while to focus on the other characters—and such a positive message for animals.
Now, if only Ross University had seen this episode ….
Happy Halloween, animal lovers! I hope you all took our costume advice this year. I'm planning to see tons of Trollsens and Colonels wandering the streets tonight in search of fab vegan candy. Before your teeth begin to ache from too much sugar and your costume gets retired for another year, check out the best holiday e-card that Halloween has to offer. Enjoy!
You probably remember Maureen McCormick as Marcia from The Brady Bunch—as in, "Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!" These days, she's enjoying a renewed sense of celebrity as a result of her appearances on popular reality TV programs, such as Celebrity Fit Club, Gone Country, and its sequel, Outsider's Inn. She's also just released an autobiography, Here's the Story: Surviving Marcia Brady and Finding My True Voice, and it's already successful.
Maureen has long been known for her adorability—it's true, she's super cute!—but even after her (winning!) stint on Celebrity Fit Club, she's still been looking to shed a few more pounds. So, being the helpful people we are, we're sending her a copy of PETA's "Vegetarian Starter Kit" and a word of advice—that one of the best, healthiest ways to lose weight is to go vegan!
As we wrote in our letter to Maureen, vegan diets are a great change from the heart-damaging cholesterol that is found in dead flesh. Cutting out dairy also means cutting out a lot of fat—dairy foods are, after all, about as high-fat as you can get.
You can check out our letter to Maureen here. We hope that Maureen can turn over a new dieting leaf, and maybe she'll find her true voice—as a vegetarian!
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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.