Written by PETA
Here's what Jeff says about this week's masterpiece: "The strip is based on the sad measures that officials have to take in order to protect rhinos from poachers. And a little depravity thrown in for good measure."
He also let me know that, in honor of Earth Week, he sprayed this strip with 50 percent less pesticides. Which was very noble of him, I thought. Anyway, this one's a zinger—enjoy!
To check out the archives of past strips, click here.
Just so I can complete the perfect trifecta of posts about quirky demonstrations today (see the shower girls and the DC dinosaur in case you missed them), here’s one that involves six businesspeople in one small cage. The purpose of this protest—which took place outside drugmaker Eli Lilly’s annual shareholder meeting yesterday—was to let the company’s shareholders know about its decision to outsource animal experiments to China and other countries where animal protection laws are virtually non-existent.
As a wise man once said, “A man’s crimes against nature aren’t any less disgusting when he pays the Chinese to do them for him.” OK, fine, a wise man didn’t once say that. But he should have. ’Cuz it’s true.
For reals. The thing is about 25 feet tall, all told, and he’s pretty tough to miss (I did a classic double take when I caught a glimpse of him peering through the window when they were setting up in our parking lot for a dry run last week). This big guy was outside the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services yesterday to remind U.S. government officials that testing on animals is about as progressive as the stone age. Yes, I know that dinos were extinct by the Stone Age, but I would hate to have to explain that to a 25-foot tyrannosaurus. He really does look pretty menacing.
For more info on the campaign that inspired these demonstrations, here’s a recent post about a Paleolithic government entity called ICCVAM, who have been making a royal mess of things for about a decade now.
Well, April is the cruelest month, so this is a perfect time to officially recognize 2008’s cruelest man in academia. Through four grueling rounds against some of the most barbaric men and women in the world, Arthur Weber of MSU has come home with the big prize. Despite a late run by the seasoned group of vivisectors from Duke led by longtime monkey abuser David Platt, Arthur’s team won the final contest with a commanding score of 20 votes to 11.
When asked for comment by the MSU campus newspaper, Weber—who was voted champion largely due to a series of experiments in which he removes cats’ eyes while they’re still alive—made the following statement through a representative:
“The animals are completely anesthetized, receive painkillers, and once the animals come out of the anesthesia, 10 minutes later you can’t tell the difference.”
Awwww, so modest. So self-effacing! But of course you can tell the difference, Arthur! THE CATS ARE MISSING THEIR EYES. And don’t forget the part where you keep them alive for a week after the operation and then kill them—I bet they notice that too!
Anyway, without further ado, please join me in recognizing Arthur Weber of MSU as the people’s choice for the cruelest vivisector in the world! You’ve earned this, Weber.
First of all, let me say that I’m a big fan of TMZ. They're a hell of a lot of fun to read, and (most importantly), they cover stories about PETA whenever we do something awesome—which is a lot. But a blog they posted today, entitled “PETA - hypocrisy, table for one,” is kind of begging for a response—especially since it raises an issue that causes some confusion even within the animal rights movement. Their theory, if I understand it correctly, is that ethical vegetarians are hypocrites if they even step inside a restaurant that sells meat. I get where the idea is coming from, but it’s so fundamentally opposite to the way we actually need to do things if we want to make progress with animal rights that I feel like I should spell it out here.
As much as we’d like it to, Progress ain’t gonna come if we just sit here and wish with all our hearts that all the steakhouses go out of business. When progress does come, it comes in the form of steakhouses adding a veggie option or two to their menus. And then a couple more. And then, when they see that they’re big sellers, keeping them there, and in the process showing some of their regular customers that there are actually a whole lot of really tasty alternatives to meat. But that’s not going to happen if all the vegetarians in the world turn up their noses and refuse to eat at any restaurants that also sell animal products. Same deal with grocery stores—no one’s doing anyone any favors by refusing to shop at supermarkets that aren’t 100 percent vegan. The smart thing to do is to vote with your dollars, because if businesses don’t even know that there’s a big market for vegetarian options, they’re not going to have a whole lot of incentive for providing them.
One last thing on this—I’ve talked about the positive-reinforcement technique, but for every carrot, there’s also a stick, and that’s why PETA and other animal groups apply pressure to specific companies that are the absolute worst of the worst in the way they treat the animals they use, by calling for an all-out boycott until certain improvements are made. It’s a tried-and-true technique, and we’re going to keep using it. But it doesn’t mean that you should avoid going to a fast-food restaurant with your family and ordering the veggie burger. Because that would just be dumb.
Update: This whole thing started when TMZ reported that Morrissey was seen inside a steakhouse. Turns out they actually misreported it after all. My point still stands though.
Here’s how this works: By neglecting to address the number one cause of global warming, Al Gore—as one of the world’s most prominent environmental advocates—is arguably doing a fair bit of damage to his cause. So if he’s not going to set an example by boycotting the industry that generates 40 percent more greenhouse-gas emissions than all the cars, trucks, ships, and planes in the world combined … well, somebody needs to pick up the slack.
Which is where OffsetAlGore.com comes in. Visitors to the site can learn the full extent of the meat industry’s role in causing global warming, and actually do something to help stem the tide by taking a pledge to go vegetarian for 30 days. That's enough time to prevent the release of more than 270 pounds of carbon dioxide into the Earth's atmosphere, and a more effective way of combating pollution than giving up driving every weekday for the same amount of time. As PETA VP Bruce Friedrich puts it:
"Visitors to OffsetAlGore.com can undo some of the damage that Al Gore is doing to the environment every time he sits down to a steak. Mr. Gore's own addiction to meat is adding to the very crisis he's devoting his life to stopping."
Anyway, check out the site, take the pledge (if you haven’t already), and let me know what you think of the campaign. We’re big admirers of Al Gore’s work here, but it really seems like the guy is doing his own cause a serious disservice by avoiding the single most important issue facing the environment today.
The Washington Post has just released an investigation into the shocking lack of progress that exists in U.S. government policies on animal experimentation. The Washington Post began its own investigation after PETA presented evidence of government negligence. As the article points out, hundreds of millions of animals in this country are still being killed in gruesome ways to test substances like Botox, even though there are modern, non-animal methods available. Part of the problem is a categorical failure by the agency that’s charged with reducing the use of animals in toxicity testing—the folks over at ICCVAM (who I’ve talked about a bit before on this blog)—to actually do their jobs. As the Post article puts it:
"The controversy over the Botox test highlights the slow pace of government efforts to replace or reduce the large numbers of animals used by pharmaceutical companies, chemical manufacturers and consumer firms to ensure that their products are safe for people. A decade after Congress created a panel to spur the development of non-animal tests, only four such tests have been approved out of 185 reviews, according to the panel's records."
During the same period of time, ICCVAM’s European counterpart has recommended more than two dozen non-animal tests, and the U.S. continues to lag well behind Europe in adopting modern alternatives to animal testing, which—in addition to causing unnecessary suffering and death for countless animals—poses a significant threat to human health.
There is a bit of good news, though, in the form of a landmark report by the National Academy of Sciences, which indicates that the United States may finally be ready to start catching up to other nations by adopting modern testing methods. But this isn’t going to happen while groups like ICCVAM are allowed to stand in the way. We’re currently calling for a congressional investigation into ICCVAM's negligence, and asking that a new entity be created to oversee the implementation of the NAS recommendations. If you’d like to help out by contacting your members of Congress about this issue, you can do so through the webform here.
And definitely check out the Post article. This issue is monumentally important, but doesn’t get a lot of ink, so it’s great to see a publication like The Washington Post giving it its due.
We’re almost there, folks. If it’s any consolation, this is just as unpleasant for me as it is for you, but we’ve started this thing, so we need to finish it. Last night, Kansas won a stunner in overtime to take the NCAA basketball title, but our parallel tournament to find the college with the most horrific animal experimentation program has just one last round before we can recognize the winner and go home in disgust. They’ve been through a lot to get here, overcoming an unbelievably tough field of cat killers, monkey maimers, and bunny butchers to reach the finals of this notorious event, so hold your noses and steel yourself for one last dance with the March Mad Scientists … ladies and gentlemen, you voted to see them here; now let’s crown our champion:
Arthur Weber, Michigan State
Arthur Weber and the MSU team have been trouncing the competition so far, and last week’s blowout of Alan Schatzberg and the underperforming Stanford brain butchers (with a score of 12 votes to 0!) has effectively silenced the doubters. Weber’s spent 25 years torturing cats by removing their eyes while they’re still alive, and given MSU’s manhandling of the Stanford team last week, anyone going up against Weber and the Michigan state vivisectors should know that, like the cats who go under Weber’s knife, they're in for a world of pain. Leave a comment below to vote for Arthur Weber and MSU to win it all.
Michael Platt, Duke
Like MSU, Michael Platt’s Duke team held their opponents scoreless in last week’s semifinal, and their 4-0 victory was more than enough to earn them a place here on the big stage. Platt brings a one-two punch to the fray that’s going to be tough to defend against—his two-pronged approach to vivisecting involves drilling metal screws into monkeys’ skulls and implanting wire coils under their eyelids. Will Platt’s technical expertise with the brain screws be enough to get him past this final hurdle? Only you can decide. Leave a comment below to vote for Michael Platt and the Duke Devils to bring home the title.
Happy voting, and be sure to tune in next week when we crown the winner and take a nostalgic walk back through some of the tournament’s highlights and disappointments.
After Oprah aired a hard-hitting exposé of puppy mills last week, the folks at the American Kennel Club had the audacity to publicly praise the show, while they were presumably maneuvering frantically behind the scenes to make sure that the breeders they’ve been vigorously defending for decades don’t take a hit as a result. PETA President Ingrid Newkirk wrote to Oprah yesterday to thank her for doing the show and to point out that the AKC is no friend of dogs and never has been. You can read her letter here.
Hanna will take the stage for a fun-filled presentation highlighting his many adventures with a mix of DVD clips and inspirational stories about conservation, travel and wildlife. His program includes live animals such as panthers, snow leopards, porcupines, kangaroos and penguins. PSBR will present Jungle Jack Hanna with its “Community Service Award,” for his public support of humane animal based research and outspokenness regarding the positive nature of the field of biomedical research.
Seriously, you can’t make this stuff up: Jack Hanna, who’s made a career out of keeping animals confined and dragging them along with him on the talk-show circuit, is giving a “fun-filled” presentation about kangaroos and porcupines frolicking in the wild to a room full of people who professionally advocate for increased animal experimentation. Unbelievable.
Thanks to Genevieve H for the tip, and thanks to Jack Hanna for making my day that much more surreal.
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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.