Written by PETA
Update: PETA has filed a complaint with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission regarding Rocky's suffering, and the agency has confirmed that it has opened an investigation into the matter. We have not received word from the commission on their findings yet, but members of the boxing community are weighing in on the matter – UFC welterweight Thiago Alves is spreading the word on Twitter. Please join him in pushing for Rocky's rescue.
Please thank the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission for pursuing an investigation and let the commission know that you find the act cruel and objectionable. Call the commission at 1-888-404-3922 or submit a comment here.
It's hard to believe that anyone would haul around a diapered, distressed kangaroo and force him to box, but exhibitor Javier Martinez, who is currently traveling with the Piccadilly Circus, is doing just that. PETA has sent a complaint to the Florida State Boxing Commission (FSBC) and the Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation urging them to intervene to stop the illegal "Rocky Show Circus," which is traveling throughout Florida. Boxing matches must be licensed by the FSBC, and there is no evidence that Martinez has complied.
Martinez, who dresses up a kangaroo named Rocky and taunts him into fighting back, has been repeatedly cited by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for violations of the Animal Welfare Act, including failure to provide adequate veterinary care and safe animal enclosures. Rocky is clearly stressed and has charged people during photo shoots, chewed on his own arm, and attempted to flee the ring during the act.
At least two kangaroos used in Martinez's boxing act have died while touring with a circus, including one who died while traveling with UniverSoul Circus from complications of a deadly bacterial disease called "lumpy jaw," which can result from severe crowding, poor hygiene, poor diet, and stressful conditions.
Please only attend innovative, exciting circuses that don’t exploit animals, like Cirque du Soleil. Here’s a complete list.
Written by Jennifer O'Connor
After receiving whistleblower reports that at least two horses have died from heat stress at Fairmount Park Racetrack in Collinsville, Ill., PETA called on racetracks in the U.S. and Canada to suspend racing until the intense heat wave breaks. Six tracks—including New York's Finger Lakes Casino & Racetrack, Monmouth Park in New Jersey, Pennsylvania's Presque Isle Downs, Colonial Downs in Virginia, and Toronto's Woodbine Racetrack—all suspended races out of concern for animal welfare. Iowa's Prairie Meadows Racetrack had suspended races on Tuesday.
As if being goaded to run at breakneck speeds on a "regular" summer day isn't dangerous enough, horses are still being forced to run despite record-breaking high temperatures and debilitating humidity. Every summer horses suffer heat stroke, heart attacks, and exhaustion during the racing season.
While PETA is working toward the day when no horses will be run to death, raced too young, given performance-enhancing drugs, suffer broken legs, and more … for now, please join us in asking The Jockey Club to at least provide for a safe, comfortable retirement for broken-down and worn-out thoroughbreds.
In a protest called "massive" by a local television station, author and fitness guru Jillian Michaels led the charge alongside producer Sam Simon, Twilight's Christian Serratos, The Secret Life of the American Teenager's Renee Olstead, and hundreds of demonstrators outside the Los Angeles Staples Center to call attention to the abuse of elephants by the Ringling Bros. circus.
Numerous elephants used by Ringling Bros. suffer crippling arthritis—a leading cause of euthanasia of captive elephants—because they don't get the freedom of movement and exercise that they need.
"Their enslavement by the circus means [elephants] spend their lives in chains and stuffy train cars with no freedom to roam, and they suffer painful, fatal ailments that come from such a stressful existence," says Michaels.
Other compassionate celebrities who supported PETA's protest via Twitter include Sophia Bush, Kellan Lutz, Alicia Witt, and Sasha Grey, among others.
Please never attend any animal circus performance, and contact PETA's Action Team to help plan your own demonstration when the circus comes to your city.
Oooh, don't miss this: The deadly consequences of the marine mammal entertainment industry are on screen in the new film A Fall From Freedom, produced by San Francisco–based EarthViews Productions. In hardball interviews with marine scientists, whistleblowing former trainers, and theme park PR mouths, the scope and scale of the suffering of all the dolphins and whales who have died in parks like SeaWorld is made clear.
The movie comes on the heels of Outside magazine reporter Tim Zimmerman's scathing investigative report about this insanely cruel industry, called "Blood in the Water." Describing the behavior of orcas in an "aqua park" in Spain, the piece notes that the whales used "their teeth to peel away strips of [the pool's coating] from the pool walls like bored kids picking at loose paint." Notes of a trainer monitoring one female orca's "frequent unhappy vocalizations" describes her as "back to feeling insecure when separated, alone, both in shows & in sessions." This piece makes riveting reading.
If you're hitting the road this summer, heed the plea from PETA pal Bob Barker to drive right on by marine theme parks and let SeaWorld know that you won't be buying a ticket.
Actor and mom Constance Marie has fired off a letter to Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido to ask that he put an end to the elephant rides at the Santa Ana Zoo. Constance, who stars in ABC Family's new show Switched at Birth, was sickened after watching video footage of trainers with Have Trunk Will Travel—who provide the elephants for the rides—as they beat elephants with bullhooks and shocked them with electric prods.
Says Constance, "Every swing of the trainers' bullhooks and jab of the electric prods horrified me, and seeing a baby elephant scream in pain each time a sharp bullhook is jabbed into his mouth was simply heartbreaking."
Please add your voice to Constance Marie's by asking the mayor of Santa Ana to stop the rides once and for all.
Written by Jennifer O'Connor
"For over 100 years, the Shriners have sponsored this World Famous event with proceeds going to a great cause—helping less fortunate children in your community." That quote was lifted from the Shrine Circus website.
But a Shriner in Fort Worth, Texas, was determined to let Animal Connection Texas members who were protesting the Moslah Shrine Circus know that "we [Shriners] don't use one penny of this [circus revenue] for our kids." Watch as he makes this point over and over.
Surprised? We're not—after all, in addition to recounting numerous tiger and elephant attacks (both animal-on-trainer and vice versa), PETA's lengthy factsheet on the Shrine Circus notes that various articles from The New York Times, the Edmonton Sun, and other newspapers have raised concerns about Shriners' misrepresentations about funds coming in and going out.
So if, as the representative in the video insists, the Shriners don't use money from circus performances featuring beaten elephants and whipped tigers to help children, what is all that money being spent on?
Written by Christine Becknell
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
A big chicken exploiter, that is. While boxing fans debate whether undefeated welterweight Floyd Mayweather Jr. is too yellow to step into the ring with Manny "Pacman" Pacquiao, there's no question that PETA members are seeing red after a video surfaced of Mayweather cheering at a bloody cockfight in Puerto Rico. Cheering!
After watching this video, I'd love to see PETA's pal "Sugar" Shane Mosley knock some sense (and maybe even some compassion) into Mayweather in a rematch.
Cockfighting has been outlawed throughout the U.S., so if you suspect that this illegal activity is happening in your neighborhood, contact local law-enforcement authorities immediately.
A judge has temporarily ruled that video footage and photographs of the violent killing of SeaWorld trainer Dawn Brancheau by Tilly the killer whale will not be made public. The fight over that will rage on, I'm sure. But the autopsy report has been released today, and it makes it very clear that Dawn Brancheau's last moments were filled with tremendous suffering. Despite massive public relations efforts on SeaWorld's part to smooth over the "incident"—i.e., death by killer whale—by characterizing it as "play" that went a bit wrong, the autopsy shows that Tilly was not in the mood for affection.
The six-page report reveals that Brancheau's left arm and part of her scalp were ripped off. She suffered spinal cord injuries, and her ribs as well as bones in her legs, arms, and face were broken. She had bruises and cuts all over her body. And she drowned.
As PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk states, "These were not love bites, but the vented fury of an angry and frustrated being who has been deprived of everything in life: family, friends, freedom—all for the sake of human profit and a few giggles."
The gory details of Dawn Brancheau's death are further evidence that animals who are deprived of everything that is natural and important to them throughout their entire miserable lives in sea parks, circuses, and zoos around the world will continue to attack and kill people whom they see as having a role in the denial of their freedom and family connections.
Whether by writing, tweeting, picketing, getting creative, or (ideally) doing all of the above and more, please help Tilly and the many other animals who are being held in captivity and deprived of everything that is natural to them. And the most important thing that anyone can do to help imprisoned animals is to refuse to patronize marine or other abusement parks.
PETA Europe members were at The O2 arena in London yesterday to protest Ben Hur Live's use of real horses, camels, donkeys, chickens, falcons, and eagles forced to "perform" in the show's rock concert–like chaos of bright lights, loud noise, and commotion.
Animals forced to perform never find it entertaining. And for the more than 100 animals used in the European production of Ben Hur Live, "stage fright" has certainly taken on a very literal meaning.
We've all heard that animals used for circuses are beaten, chained for up to 100 hours at a time, and carted around the country in tiny boxcars without a semblance of a natural life, but being on stage is just as terrifying and unnatural, and as I'm sure you've probably learned, it often ends in tragedy for the animals and the audience.
Please tell everyone you know in Europe that Ben Hur Live is hell for animals before someone gets hurt, and urge your friends and family never to patronize shows that use live animals.
Written by Heather Drennan
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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.