Written by PETA
It’s being said that Alex’s advanced language and recognition skills revolutionized the understanding of the avian brain. Alex taught many people that yes, even birds have thoughts and feelings and preferences, and the ability to express them. And while that’s all well and good, the important thing to me is what we, as a society, do with that knowledge. We can’t acknowledge it when it’s convenient by ooohing and ahhhing because a bird can say “I love you,” without also accepting the responsibility that comes along with knowing that these animals each have a very real cognitive presence.
There are millions of birds suffering and dying for KFC and dying in Petsmart’s back rooms, all of whom are thinking and feeling and experiencing the world just like Alex did. They just don’t know how to express themselves in a way that we can understand. And if there’s one thing that we should have learned from Alex, it’s that we need to be open and “listen” to animals, even when they’re not speaking our language, because there’s a whole lot more going on inside their heads than we give them credit for.
Check out this great New York Times column from Verlyn Klinkenborg for his take on Alex.
The Mystery Meat photo series has been getting quite a bit of play online lately. The official name of the series is the “Meet Your Meat Photo Tour”, which is of course strikingly similar to our video Meet Your Meat. I’m sure it’s just a coincidence, and the photographer came up with his catchy handle on his own. Totally.
Anyway, the idea of this photo thing is to show super close-ups of meat, and man, some of them are beyond gross. Check out this one, for instance. The fat streaks look particularly appetizing, especially the slug looking protrusion on the left side. It reminds me of the bloody, gooey mess that gets sucked out during liposuction, except that this is a picture of someone’s food. Yum.
Also notice the brilliant KFC ad below the pic. They’ve really targeted their demographic well here, as anyone who would find these liposuction-soup-esque shots appealing probably wouldn’t mind eating at a joint that has reportedly served worms, human blood, cockroaches, and other disgusting things in its food.
PETA is ratcheting up our campaign against cat and dog breeders, and this beautiful billboard in New York is the first of a number of strong statements you can look for over the next few months designed to remind people that buying animals from breeders or pet stores when millions are dying in shelters is, simply put, irresponsible and cruel. Of course, the real villains here are the breeders themselves. Not only are these people directly contributing to the animal overpopulation epidemic in this country—they’re also making a tidy profit out of it (in case it’s not immediately clear, I don’t have an awful lot of sympathy for animal breeders). There’s some more information on this topic here, and I’ll keep you posted as this campaign progresses—we’ve got some great stuff on the way ...
The second lesson to take home from this sad story is as follows: If you have any other choice of transport—be it plane, car, rowboat, whatever—think very seriously about these options before you buy that Nepal Airlines ticket. I won't pretend that I'm up to date on the latest techniques that they're pushing in flight school nowadays, but I can tell you with confidence that when your pilot tells you the plane has been fixed via goat sacrifice, it's time to panic.
You Howard Stern fans out there will appreciate this pic. Our sexy Fashion Police caught up with Howard's lovely girlfriend Beth Ostrosky at Fashion Week in New York last week. Beth said she was really glad to see that they were out there giving fashionistas the animals' side of the story.
The sudden loss of Dame Anita Roddick, who pioneered the sale of cruelty-free beauty products in her Body Shop stores in the '70s—declaring in letters a foot high, 'against animal tests'—has left us a bit shaken at the PETA offices today.
From the opening of her first Body Shop store in Brighton in 1974 to her decision last year to enter into a partnership with L'Oreal in order to show that company how easy it is to run a successful business without supporting unethical practices like animal experimentation, Anita Roddick never once compromised her stated goal of "putting idealism back on the agenda" or stopped for one moment in her quest to show by example that kindness not only has a role in a successful business but that it can be its driving force.
It is not an overstatement to say that Anita Roddick ushered animal rights into the mainstream with her work to show the strong demand for products not tested on animals. She was a courageous, progressive pioneer, who risked her business to be the first corporation to announce her staunch support for a ban on cosmetics and toiletries tests on animals. She will take her place in history as a woman who helped to bring a sense of social justice and ethical practices into the business world, but we will always remember her as a deeply compassionate soul who was a true friend to animals.
She will be greatly missed, and not the least by our Senior VP, Dan Mathews, for whom she once cooked a vegan breakfast! We are all profoundly indebted to the great strides she took to make the world a better place for humans and animals alike.
PETA's Marketing Department (myself included) is in love with Blog ads. Advertising your site or your campaign on a good blog with a sympathetic audience is a fantastic tool for getting your message out there. So we're all very excited about the contest we have running for people to create their own blog ad about one of PETA's websites for a chance to win a $500 Apple gift card.
Well, this was all fun and games until Amy Cook, the upstart writer for PETA's Veg Cooking blog, posted this incendiary little entry on her blog. You want war, Amy? You got it. But let me tell you a couple of things first: For a start, just because your last name is Cook doesn't mean you know how to cook. And more importantly, your daddy apparently didn't tell you that you NEVER bring a knife to a gun fight. Steppin' to Jack'izzle is like steppin' to death row, straight up.
Amy is asking people to enter PETA's contest by creating an ad for The Veg Cooking Files, or whatever her blog is called, so let me be the first one to step up with an example:
And now that we've gotten that out of the way, onto the big guns. Here's my sample blog ad for The PETA Files. Try and keep this one in mind when you enter the contest.
At a weekend religious youth rally in Italy, Pope Benedict XVI told the more than 500,000 attendees that young Catholics should take the lead in the fight to save the earth. Check out what he said, “Before it's too late, we need to make courageous choices that will recreate a strong alliance between man and Earth … We need a decisive 'yes' to care for creation and a strong commitment to reverse those trends that risk making the situation of decay irreversible.” Amen to that.
Makes this ad even more apropos, eh?
"When Linda died I said I would support cancer charities. Animal rights groups wrote to me pointing out that many were heavily into vivisection - and it's true. A doctor we knew out in America just admitted it as a matter of fact, innocently, like 'Well, sure we do.' What he doesn't realise is that he won't get a donation out of me for that very fact. There are better alternatives but you're not allowed to challenge the status quo."
This sends a clear message to animal experimenters and the charities that fund them that it’s high time to pull their heads out of the sand and embrace modern effective non-animal research.
Couldn’t have said it better myself, Alistair.
For a list of charities that do and don’t fund animal experiments, check out this link.
Anyway, the gist of the article was that as brain science becomes more advanced, scientists are discovering more and more evidence of actual physical processes that relate to feelings like empathy, disgust, or joy:
"That is, they are discovering physical bases for the feelings from which moral sense emerges - not just in people but in other animals as well… As biologists turn up evidence that animals can exhibit emotions and patterns of cognition once thought of as strictly human, Descartes's dictum, ‘I think, therefore I am,’ loses its force."
The article centers around the argument that it's simply false reasoning to attempt to distinguish humans from animals based on who has a soul and who doesn't. I'm still trying to wrap my head round the whole concept, honestly, but it's definitely worth a read if you have time—or if, like me you have people giving you weird jive about souls when you try to talk to them about animals. You can read the full article here.
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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.