Written by Michelle Kretzer
PETA just filed formal complaints about horse abuse and neglect on the
set of the HBO show Luck, we've placed this
graphic ad in the Los Angeles Times:
Image:(c) iStockphoto.com/Eric Isselee
all other animals, horses don't want to be "actors," and they are often subjected to stressful and
dangerous situations during the production of films, ads, and TV
shows. The American Humane Association (AHA), the organization responsible for overseeing how animals
are cared for on the set, is funded by the Screen Actors Guild—part of the same
industry that it monitors. The AHA rarely, if ever, files formal complaints
when animals are abused.
We hope our ad encourages producers and directors to protect
horses by calling, "Cut!" on using them in films and television.
advocates' voices are being heard loud and clear today, as PETA and eight other
animal protection organizations have joined forces to keep Ringling Bros. and Barnum &
Bailey Circus from taking "The Cruelest Show on Earth" abroad—including to
Mexico, where animal protection laws are virtually never enforced.
applied to export and re-import endangered Asian elephants and tigers based on an
Endangered Species Act (ESA) exemption that permits transporting the animals
for the purpose of enhancing the species' survival. But animal rights groups
from the U.S. and Mexico are calling on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to
deny the application because the only thing Ringling wants to enhance is its
bank account. Not only does dragging endangered animals across the border and
beating them in order to force them to perform not qualify for this ESA exemption, it also flies in the face of
what the ESA was designed to do: protect animals.
Ringling just paid the highest penalty in circus history for its animal abuse—$270,000 for violations of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA). In the
last few years, Ringling has racked up more than 50 violations of the AWA involving the care of big
cats and Asian elephants. In fact, Ringling's own documents admit what PETA's investigation found: that its
handlers beat elephants bloody with bullhooks.
in the past, when the circus has gone to Mexico—where
Ringling is exempt from even the minimal oversight that it receives in the U.S.—animal abuse has gone unrestrained. A Ringling
handler was caught on video whipping a baby elephant in the face, causing the
baby to screech and recoil. Handlers forcefully jabbed elephants with bullhooks
all over their bodies, including inside their tender mouths and ears, and one
handler was seen shocking an elephant with an electric prod.
will continue to fight to keep Ringling's animals on American soil, where they
have at least some protection. Meanwhile, please urge the U.S. Department of Agriculture
to seize Ringling's ailing elephants and retire them to sanctuaries.
Written by Jennifer OConnor
© Zebra: deste / sxc.hu | Ribbon:
Elize / sxc.hu
Fading director Cameron Crowe is using wild animals as "actors."
In his new movie, We Bought a Zoo, he used lions, bears, and other
wild animals who are at great risk for abuse because of their strength and
reached out to Crowe and Fox Studios before and during production and warned them
about how wild animals used for films are often subjected to food deprivation,
beatings, and jolts with electric-shock devices during pre-production training and
urged them to use high-tech computer-generated imagery instead, like that used
in the blockbuster Rise of the Planet of the Apes.
Animals rented out
for use in movies aren't often abused on the set—that usually takes place when
no one is around to see it. PETA undercover investigations at wild-animal
training facilities documented that lions and tigers were repeatedly beaten and psychologically abused by
trainers intent on showing them "who's boss." When animals grow too
old or too large to be controlled, they often spend the rest of their lives at decrepit
roadside zoos or backyard menageries.
Please skip this
movie and tweet that animals belong in the wild, not on the big screen, @WeBoughtAZoo.
Written by PETA
Our sympathies go out to the family of Kalei Welch, who died in an Illinois hospital after falling ill with E. coli poisoning. Health officials believe that the 5-year-old girl contracted the deadly bacterial infection at a petting zoo at the Hendricks County Fair.
PETA has been warning parents for years about the dangers of petting zoos, which are hotbeds of E. coli. Hundreds of children have been infected after visiting petting zoos, and many have suffered kidney failure, requiring long-term dialysis and multiple blood transfusions.
Infection can spread through direct animal contact or simply by touching the surroundings near an animal exhibit. Hand sanitizer does nothing to prevent the spread of E. coli by inhalation or indirect contact. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as many state departments of health have issued warnings about the health risks of petting zoos.
These displays are bad for animals too. Case in point: North Carolina's Jambbas Ranch is notorious for keeping animals in substandard conditions, including a lone neurotic bear named Ben.
Please ask North Carolina officials to keep people and animals safe by refusing to reissue Jambbas owner James Bass' wildlife-captivity license and endangered-species permit.
Written by Jennifer O'Connor
UPDATE: After receiving a complaint from PETA about the incident below, the U.S. Department of Agriculture cited the exhibitor who provided the tiger to UniverSoul for handling the tiger in a manner that caused her stress and unnecessary discomfort. The exhibitor was also cited for failing to maintain the tiger's enclosure in a manner that would protect her from injury.
This is not the first time that this exhibitor has violated federal law. In 2008, he was ordered to pay a $6,000 penalty after two tigers escaped while touring with UniverSoul. In the past year, he has been cited for failing to provide big cats with a proper diet and feeding big cats unsafely handled meat.
Video footage of a tiger traveling with the UniverSoul Circus showing his foot trapped beneath the sliding door to his cage has prompted PETA to fire off a letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Indianapolis Animal Care & Control asking for an immediate investigation into the animal's condition. The video shows the tiger struggling to free his foot, panting, and in obvious distress.
UniverSoul rents its animal acts from exhibitors who have dismal records of animal care. The USDA has repeatedly cited UniverSoul's animal exhibitors for violations of the Animal Welfare Act, including failure to provide veterinary care, medical records, and adequate space. Undercover video footage shows one exhibitor UniverSoul has used—Tim Frisco of the Carson & Barnes Circus—viciously attacking elephants with a bullhook as they scream in pain. The circus has also had at least three tiger escapes.
Please tell the USDA that you expect it to take immediate action to assess this tiger's condition.
The new documentary film Buck chronicles the life of real-life "horse whisperer" Buck Brannaman and his work to help, as he calls them, "horses with people problems." The film follows Brannaman as he tours the country, giving guardians a deeper understanding of their horses and, at the same time, insight into themselves.
Brannaman, whose own upbringing was marred by violent physical abuse, understands horses' fears and anxieties. Heartbreaking archival footage of horses being whipped and "broken" gives way to scenes of Brannaman gaining the respect and trust of a horse using no more than his voice, body language, and a gentle touch.
Although the film challenges the cruel methods used to "break" horses, it stops short of questioning the use of horses and other animals for entertainment. Brannaman obviously cares deeply about horses and is saving many of them from abusive training techniques, which makes one hope that someday soon he will pause to think about the ethics of buying, selling, breeding, using―and inevitably abusing―horses in the first place. Brannaman himself participates in rodeo events that are stressful and potentially dangerous to the animals involved.
To his credit, Brannaman himself admits that even after decades of working with horses, he still has a lot to learn. Perhaps someday he will fully take to heart the words of one of his students, who, when thinking back on the pain that she has inflicted, admits, "[Y]ou don't realize how unjust it is until someone shows you a different path." We all have some growing to do, but Buck has done more than most in his field of endeavor.
Should a wild animal be forced to sell car insurance, dance the Macarena, and smoke cigars to provoke a laugh? Not that it matters if there were millions of chimpanzees around to abuse, but a new study concludes that chimpanzees may be doomed as a species as long as the public continues to see them in commercials and movies.
Scientist Steve Ross, founder of Project ChimpCARE and assistant director of the Lester E. Fisher Center for the Study and Conservation of Apes at Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago, sums it up: "The inaccurate and frivolous portrayal of these complex and endangered primates should be of serious concern to anyone interested in animal care and safety. Whether intentional or not, these images are resulting in significant effects on perceptions of chimpanzees that may hinder critical conservation and welfare initiatives that much of the general public supports."
PETA has received pledges from 10 of the top 15 advertising agencies in the world not to use great apes in their ads. And watch for innovative high-tech alternatives in Rise of the Planet of the Apes, which opened last weekend. Not one live ape was used in this thriller—don't miss it!
Written by Jennifer O'Connor
Yesterday, PETA filed a federal lawsuit against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) for illegally issuing a permit to an animal exhibitor that would allow the exhibitor to harm, harass, and wound endangered species.
PETA has found several instances in which the FWS issued endangered species permits—which may be issued for "scientific purposes" or to enhance survival of an endangered species—to seedy roadside zoos while improperly keeping the application and the permit from the public. Roadside zoos breed animals in deplorable conditions solely to turn a profit.
We filed suit over one particularly miserable menagerie, Windy Oaks Farm in Hanover, Virginia, which is under formal investigation by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) after chimpanzees escaped from their enclosures three times, prompting PETA to call for an investigation.
Although captive chimpanzees are not currently listed as endangered, Windy Oaks' lack of experience with and knowledge of these complex and dangerous animals is indicative of its overall incompetence. The zoo has been cited by the USDA for failing to document when it acquired and disposed of animals and whether the animals had received veterinary care in more than a year. Windy Oaks also keeps endangered lemurs and gibbons, two species that have been known to attack humans.
Since PETA and the rest of the public were denied the right to view and comment on this application for a permit, we are taking the matter to court. We will keep you updated.
Written by Michelle Sherrow
I hope you're as stoked as I am to see Rise of the Planet of the Apes, which opens this Friday, August 5. The movie's message and CGI special effects are so animal-friendly that PETA has given director Rupert Wyatt a Proggy Award for recognizing that real great apes don't belong on production sets.
Given the impressive technology available now—and you'll see it in all its glory in this film—there's no need to hire wild-animal trainers who rip baby chimpanzees away from their mothers and physically abuse them to force them to perform on cue.
Run, walk, or swing through the trees—just don't wait to see this movie!
A PETA “chimpanzee” gives Rise of the Planet of the Apes two opposable thumbs up outside the premiere in Hollywood.
After aggressive campaigning by PETA India—including a lawsuit filed in the Supreme Court of India—the Ministry of Environment and Forests has added bulls to a directive that lists animals (bears, monkeys, tigers, lions and panthers) who are prohibited from being used in "performances." This means that bulls will no longer be tormented in a cruel spectacle called Jallikattu.
Jallikattu takes place in India's Tamil Nadu province, where residents chase and taunt bulls in an attempt to grab money tied to their horns. Bulls have chili peppers rubbed into their eyes and are force-fed alcohol, and their testicles are pinched—all in an effort to get them crazed and frantic. Villagers throw themselves on top of the terrified animals in an effort to "tame" them and claim the prize.
PETA India's Supreme Court case challenged the Tamil Nadu government's assertion that state law (which allows these cruel contests) supersedes a central (federal) law. PETA India believes that the new directive also outlaws other cruel events, including bullock cart races and bullfights, and the group will be taking action to make sure that they are stopped. Please thank the minister responsible for protecting bulls, Mr. Jairam Ramesh.
In another chapter in PETA India's fight for bullocks, a "public interest litigation" has been filed in Bombay High Court asking for a directive to enforce an existing ban against the use of bullocks to haul oversized kerosene carts for oil companies.
Please urge the ministry to continue treating animal issues with the seriousness that they deserve.
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
an animal, please click
here. If you are reporting an animal in imminent danger and know where to find the
animal and if the abuse is taking place right now, please call your local
police department. If the police are unresponsive, please call PETA
immediately at 757-622-7382 and press 2.
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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.