Written by PETA
As they say in showbiz, "It's a wrap." I'm referring to the efforts of PETA and Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest to convince Dodge officials to show that they care about animal "actors" like Suzie, a young chimpanzee who appears in the company's recent ad.
As soon as we learned about the ad, we contacted Dodge's president and CEO, Ralph Gilles, with details about troubling training methods that can include abuse delivered via fists, sticks, and clubs. We also shared information from chimpanzee expert Sarah Baeckler's undercover investigation of a Hollywood training facility. Dodge officials were quick to decide to edit Suzie out of the commercial. And just like that, Dodge joins Travelers Insurance, AT&T, and Europcar, companies that have pulled or altered ads with great apes in just the last month after being contacted by PETA.
There's still reason to be concerned about Suzie's safety: An anonymous whistleblower from the set of Lifetime's Drop Dead Diva contacted PETA after witnessing a trainer allegedly pulling on Suzie's hair and ears and yelling so loudly and threateningly that little Suzie cowered and tried to hide. The episode featuring Suzie aired on July 25.
Now we'd like to direct you to "Action!"—for animals, that is. First, please head over to Dodge's Facebook page to thank the company for being responsive and behaving responsibly in editing Suzie out of its campaign. Then urge Lifetime Television to promise not to exploit chimpanzees for any future television shows.
Written by Karin Bennett
If only I owned a car, I could steer clear of crowded subway platforms and, more importantly, rationalize spending so much time watching videos at CompareTheMeerkat.com, part of a genius ad campaign by U.K. auto insurance company BGL Group. I'm not alone in my adoration: The ads have garnered tons of fans since debuting in January, and PETA U.K. has just awarded BGL and the ads' creator, VCCP, the GOODY Award for Best Ad of 2009.
Rather than exploiting animals or risking harm to them, the hilarious ad campaign uses computer-generated imagery to portray Aleksandr Orlov, a debonair meerkat who has grown increasingly frustrated that people looking for BGL's Web site, CompareTheMarket.com, keep landing on his site, CompareTheMeerkat.com, by mistake.
PETA U.K. applauds BGL's ad campaign because it uses creative alternatives to live animals, who often suffer from confusion and fear and are put at risk of injury when they are exploited on film sets. Animals used by the entertainment industry are often subjected to rigorous and abusive handling and training methods—including electric shocks—to force them to perform tricks that are confusing and often frightening to them.
On the flip side (and coming soon): the naming of the recipient(s) of the BADDY Awards, which are given to companies that feature ads that disrespect or risk harm to animals. Which company would you nominate for a BADDY?
If you're a New Yorker, you've definitely heard about the fare hikes and service cuts that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) just approved in their 2009 budget. You may have also heard about the man arrested for attempting to mimic the Bush shoe-throwing incident with MTA chief Elliot Sander as a target. People aren't happy about the changes, and that's why PETA is ready to step in and offer our services—no shoes necessary! We propose that the MTA begin advertising over the loudspeakers between subway stops, and we'll even be the first customers. PETA's ads would feature the voices of pro-vegetarian advocates Casey Affleck, Kevin Nealon, and Forrest Whitaker.
Listen to the three PSA's now:
Forest WhitakerCasey AffleckKevin Nealon
Casey Affleck's testimonial on why he's a vegetarian would be the perfect way to increase revenue for the MTA! I know I'd like to hear the voice of a sexy vegetarian like Casey on my morning commute. And hey, it might even encourage them to do something about the speaker quality while they're at it. Can anyone actually understand what they're saying?
Side note: Research shows that vegetarians actually have stronger immune systems than meat eaters, which is always a plus when you're smushed into a little subway car with a hundred coughing strangers. Hopefully, the MTA will consider our offer, for the sake of animals, commuters, and the $2 MetroCard.
Written by Lianne Turner
Our awesome friends over at PETA Europe have some exciting news! With their help and funding, new skin irritation tests that do not use animals have been successfully validated to replace the use of rabbits completely! This will save thousands of rabbits.
This wonderful news means that animals will not be used in the overwhelming majority of such tests in the future in Europe. The MatTek Corporation announced yesterday that the European Centre for the Validation of Alternative Methods' Scientific Advisory Committee (ESAC) has formally endorsed the scientific validity of the company's Modified EpiDerm Skin Irritation Test as well as L'Oreal's SkinEthic test. I know those are an awful lot of big, impressive words, but it basically means that the big men and women on campus are totally down with these new processes, which do not involve animal testing.
This will allow manufacturers worldwide to use these exciting new non-animal methods. It will also help manufacturers test cosmetic ingredients humanely, which is especially important because animal testing for skin irritation and most other purposes will be banned in Europe as of March 2009. Tens of thousands of rabbits have been used for skin irritation tests each year in the past, but we say, "No more!"
The validation of these tests is an important step in adopting cruelty-free scientific methods that are effective and humane, and PETA Europe should be so proud to have played a part in that. You can read more about this whole situation here.
On another totally not surprising—but totally awful—note, the U.S. still does not accept these tests. We are, of course, writing the new Secretary of Health and Human Services, Tom Daschle, to tell him to get the U.S. to stop stalling!
Written by Christine Doré
The annual Glitterbox Awards are PETA’s way of recognizing companies that advertise their products in a way that promotes kindness to animals, and this year’s big winners are General Motors and Georgia-Pacific’s Brawny paper towels for commercials which, respectively, raise awareness about vegetarian diets and protecting the environment, and depict a “man’s man” as someone who humanely removes a spider from the house. You can watch GM’s veg-friendly Chevy ad here. I can’t find the Brawny ad on YouTube, but here’s one from last year where the Brawny man saves a baby bird. Seems like they’ve got a good thing going over at Brawny.
Lest we get overwhelmed by all this positivity, we’ve also handed out two Litterbox Awards to companies that advertise in ways that show a lack of respect for animals or handle animals irresponsibly. CDW hauled in the dubious honor this year for a series of commercials featuring a man and his chimpanzee sidekick. There’s some more info here about the lousy conditions that chimpanzees used by the ad industry have to endure. And the other Litterbox Prize goes to a Singapore Airlines print ad, which shows a man holding a bullhook as he forces an elephant to bow. I’m not going to link to either of these ads, because, well, they suck.
I don’t quite understand what it is that makes CBS want to promote animal abuse on the regular (though it may have a little something to do with a petty, small-minded man named Les Moonves who runs the network), but there’s no doubt that they have a pretty full schedule of it, beginning with the Survivor stunts where contestants are invited to torture animals for a chance at the immunity idol, followed recently by the unbelievable decision to encourage the children on Kid Nation to kill chickens, and capped off this month with an episode of The Amazing Race of Africa where contestants had to stuff chickens into bags and keep them there for a day, then tie baby goats into bike baskets and ride around a marketplace while the animals screamed in fear.
Since there’s no reasoning with CBS or Les Moonves himself, we’ve taken this one to the advertisers. We’re asking Kohl’s and Energizer, who both advertise heavily during Kid Nation and The Amazing Race, to immediately pull their sponsorship of the shows until CBS commits to stop being so damned cruel. And, if you’re feeling activisty today, you can do so too—just click here to write a polite letter to Energizer, and here to do the same for Kohl’s. For a bit of inspiration, you can read our own letter to Energizer on this topic—feel free to plagiarize it as much as you like.
P.S. Yes, I know that “activisty” isn’t a real word, and no, I will not attempt to use it again.
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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.