Written by PETA
I totally understand that it must suck to be 25 years old and have the best years of your life well behind you, and I do realize she probably gets lonely at home between her stints in rehab, but somehow I just don’t think Britney Spears should be responsible for the care of another living thing. Seems to me she’s got enough on her plate just getting herself out of bed in the morning . . .
First of all, if you know Michael Moore, you know he can take it. Seriously. The guy is not going to cry himself to sleep because we offered him some diet advice. For anyone who has seen a Michael Moore documentary or read one of his books, you'll know that he doesn't pull punches when it comes to issues he's passionate about, or miss an opportunity to take a potshot at those he disagrees with. Compared with the letters Michael Moore writes (see, for instance, this letter he wrote to the president), Ingrid's letter was incredibly polite.
Secondly, I should probably provide a little context to our own relationship with Michael Moore—which goes back a long way. We've written to him several times over the years, starting back in the days of Roger & Me with ever-so-polite appeals to embrace animal rights. We don't hold it against him, but the only response we ever got from him was when his people showed up outside the PETA building with a donkey, two goats, two sheep, a rabbit, a chicken, three dogs, a fish in a bowl(!), a guinea pig, two gerbils, and a rat in a cage "wearing" offensive signs, like “You are wasting your lives.” He arranged to haul these animals out on a hot day to taunt hard-working people just to get a cheap laugh for his show. In addition to that little stunt, whose real victims didn’t even have the luxury of understanding what was happening to them, Michael Moore has made comments throughout his career glorifying meat-eating and hunting, and mocking people who care about animals. Now, neither I nor any of my colleagues take those comments personally—we dish it out, and we can take it. But, like I said, so can Michael Moore.
Michael Moore has never responded with anything but sneering to PETA's requests that he address animal protection issues in one of his documentaries, but we're not giving up hope. And, even if he ignores this particular attempt to reach him in his own style—playful and provocative at the same time—we hope that some of the people who hear about this story will get the message: A vegetarian diet is the compassionate choice, it's the healthy choice, and it's the right choice—for us and for animals. I'm glad that this letter has given us the opportunity to say that again.
P.S. Judging from some of the comments I read yesterday, I should probably also point out for a few people that “elephant in the room” is an expression that means “an important issue that people are avoiding.” Not, like, an actual pachyderm in someone’s living space. Like this one.
"Hunting. Beef, sheep farms. Piggeries. Millions, billions die. We can be so cruel to animals."
He went on to discuss vegetarianism—noting that he himself gave up meat, dairy, and eggs in 1965, though he has occasionally eaten meat since then. In my few years in the animal rights movement, I've learned from experience that animal issues like these can sometimes be tough for people to take on board. When you're asking a person, or an organization, to make a fundamental change in the way they've always done things, tensions are likely to flare, regardless of how compelling your argument is. Which is why moments like these are so important. If anyone's looking for advice on how to live a compassionate lifestyle, the Dalai Lama's a pretty solid choice for a consultation. We're so used to listening to experts when we make decisions about how to live our lives, and it follows that we should sit up and pay attention when an expert on something as essential as kindness makes a pronouncement. I hope a lot of people pay attention to this one.
But in addition to his amazing TV career, Barker has also been a long-time animal advocate. For years he has offered grants to spay and neuter clinics in all 50 states, he’s pushed all sorts of animal-friendly legislation including the current spay/neuter bill in California, since 2001
He was always busy working behind the scenes as well. While I was researching this entry, I ran across this Forbes article that explains how Barker was able to influence the show’s prizes and advertising over the years. Because he is a vegetarian, they don’t advertise meat products on the show, and at his request, they also stopped giving away fur coats as prizes. Snap!
Given the scope of his animal work over the years, I’m slightly ashamed to admit that being the sports junkie that I am, my fondest Bob Barker moment will always be him kicking Adam Sandler’s ass in the classic “The price is wrong, bitch” scene in Happy Gilmore.
Seriously though, I think this quote from MSNBC speaks volumes to what matters most to the man: “I think I would like to be remembered as a man who loved living things and did everything he could do to make it better for animals,” Barker said. “And when he had time, he did a lot of television shows, too.”
From all of us at PETA, cheers to you Bob Barker. Thank you for everything you’ve done throughout your career to help animals, and we can’t wait to see what’s next.
Just a quick bit of good news for you to start off your Tuesday: According to last week’s Taipei Times, a new amendment to Taiwan’s Wildlife Conservation Law means that animal circuses are on the way out in Taiwan. When interviewed about the progressive new law, legislator Tien Chiu-Chin said, "Circuses do not need animals to be fun and successful. … Most important, by exposing our children to wild animals through circus acts, we are setting an incorrect example of how humans should interact with animals." 'Nuff said, Tien Chiu-Chin. Here's hoping the U.S. wakes up and follows Taiwan's example. You can read the full story here.
Just a few more little tidbits for you from the recent party that the influential political odd couple Mary Matalin and James Carville hosted for the launch of PETA VP Dan Mathews' new book.
Evidently, Mary—who is certainly no stranger to hosting big events—has never in her life received so many calls about what to wear to a party. I absolutely love the idea that all those Capitol Hill bigwigs were calling up anxiously the day before to find out where they could buy vegan shoes. Mary herself ended up going barefoot, just to be on the safe side, and as for James, well, James opted for hemp—announcing to the assembled partygoers, "I'm all hemped out like Woody Harrelson!"
Dan gave a speech about the history of animal welfare legislation in this country, which has been consistently bipartisan, with strong advances for animals coming from staunch conservatives just as often as card-carrying liberals, and to drive home the point, Mary observed that it was incredibly rare that she and James could host a party together—normally when she throws a bash for her republican pals, James hightails it out of there to take the kids to a movie, and vice versa (I bet those kids get to see a lot of movies).
Mary also pointed out something else that she and Dan Mathews have in common—they've both had the experience of having bologna thrown at them in Iowa. For the full context of that joke, you should check out Dan's book. If it can reconcile a crowd of hardcore democrats and republicans in Washington, you can bet it's well worth the cover price.
Click here for the full text of Dan’s speech.
Here's another classic for you, from a few years back. I've often heard people make the point that no one would wear fur if they were able to see that draping yourself in dead babies is barbaric, regardless of the species. Of course, only at PETA can you make that point in a meeting and end up with a "baby" fur coat by the end of the day. Yup. The handsome model in luxury baby trim is my friend Pulin. And the expressions on those people's faces are priceless.
Embarrassing as it is to get scooped by the peta2 blog on a story, this news is way too exciting to pass up. After negotiations with PETA, PepsiCo (the multibillion-dollar parent company of the Pepsi-Cola, Frito-Lay, Tropicana, Quaker Oats, and Gatorade brands) has pledged to end all animal testing. The company's official statement on the topic is just about as progressive as it gets—both a powerful endorsement of alternatives to animal testing and a strong warning to other companies that they need to embrace these alternatives if they want to survive in the marketplace:
“PepsiCo does not do any animal testing and does not directly fund testing using animals. … Where testing on animals is not required, PepsiCo strongly endorses efficient and effective research that does not include the use of animals. We will encourage our partners to use alternatives to animal testing and share this statement with organizations we believe to be involved in projects potentially involving animal research done on behalf of PepsiCo or with PepsiCo or PepsiCo Foundation funding.”
It goes without saying that this is a big step forward. For some more detailed information on the topic, you can check out PETA's PepsiCo victory feature here. And if all this good news puts you in the mood for some witty banter about vegan cupcakes and dreamy rock stars, you should check out the peta2 blog.
First of all, Happy third day of Be Kind to Animals week! I hope your week has been as jam-packed with compassion for animals as mine has (mental note: don't ever say that again). In case you're casting about for some easy ways to help animals that will fit into your schedule, one great thing you can do is write to your legislators about pending bills that will affect animals in your area. The good news is that PETA keeps track of all these bills, and can keep you informed about what's going on and what it all means through our Activist Network, which you can sign up for here.
Conveniently enough, if you live in California, you can get started right away. The particular bill that's pending right now is a singularly unpleasant piece of legislation that seeks to undo an act that made it illegal in the state of California to sell kangaroo skin. As you might imagine, nobody bothered to ask the kangaroos how they felt about this bill, and various interests that stand to profit from their suffering—including the California Chamber of Commerce—are making an effort to push this one through. You can learn more by clicking here, and you can help out by using the form to write to the Chamber of Commerce about the bill, and the contact information provided to let the senator responsible for this bill know why it's such a lousy idea. For anyone who's not convinced that this bill needs to be firmly defeated, here's a short video (warning: this one's really graphic).
What do you do when you have more naked activists than life-size, cellophane-wrapped meat trays? Double up. At least that was how they handled it at Princeton University yesterday, to striking effect. The demonstration, which was a joint protest organized by PETA and the Princeton Animal Welfare Society to draw attention to the suffering of animals used by the meat industry, got two different front page stories in the Daily Princetonian, including this one, about a follow-up presentation given by Dan Mathews to explain in a bit more detail why PETA does these kinds of demonstration instead of just putting on a suit and tie and pointing out the various inadequacies in the Humane Methods of Livestock Slaughter Act. (The short answer, by the way, is that we do both, but people don't always show up for the latter presentation.) Anyway, here are some pics:
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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.