Written by PETA
So the Marketing Department just had our weekly meeting a couple of hours ago, and, as often happens, we got to reminiscing about some of PETA's old marketing initiatives. The conversation went a little like this:
Tracy: What ever happened to that "Say No to Pot (roast)" feature we used to have? That was so funny!Joel: Um, I made sure that was removed from all of our websites, never to see the light of day again.
I'm reserving judgment—but feel free to decide for yourselves: Was this a good idea?
I hope day 2 of Be Kind to Animals Week is treating you well. This one's a wee bit controversial, but I thought it would be a good time to address the issue of purebred animals, especially given some of the surprising comments I've been seeing from so-called "responsible" breeders on a recent entry about some landmark legislation that's being pushed through in California to help cats and dogs. PETA's position on "responsible" breeding is that there just ain't no such thing, because every animal that a breeder sells means an animal in a shelter who won’t find a home. The harsh reality of the situation is that, with 6 to 8 million animals handled by animal shelters in the United States every year—3 to 4 million of whom won't make it out alive—deliberately breeding cats and dogs is about as irresponsible (and frankly, cruel) as it gets.
Anyway, without getting too preachy here, one great way to celebrate Be Kind to Animals Week is, if you or anyone you know is thinking about getting a pet, be sure to adopt them from a shelter. And if you happen to be running a breeding operation, frickin' stop it.
Here's a link to some more info on the topic. And here's a link (this one kind of dates me) to the only good kind of Breeders. Kim Deal rocks.
My roommate is big into political documentaries at the moment, and this weekend he rented a '93 documentary about Bill Clinton's presidential campaign, called "War Room", which I found myself mesmerized by. Two things really struck me about the film: The first were the similarities between the unorthodox way that campaign was run and the way things work here at PETA—the "no bad ideas" brainstorming sessions, the behind-the-scenes maneuvering for positive media coverage, and the quirky stunts to draw attention to an important issue (Clinton supporters even had a guy in a chicken suit sneak into the republican convention with a sign reading "Poultry Workers for Bush" on one side to fool security and "Chicken Bush Won't Debate" on the other for the TV cameras).
The second thing that really stood out about the movie was the sheer force of personality of James Carville, who brilliantly engineered Clinton's landslide victory over George Bush Part 1 in '92. There's a PETA connection here, too, since James and his wife Mary Matalin—a force to be reckoned with on the other side of the aisle—who met PETA VP Dan Mathews at a recent event in Las Vegas, are going to be hosting a party for Dan's new book, Committed, at their home in Virginia this Thursday. When asked what inspired them to help promote the book, Mary Matalin answered, "Good man, good book, good cause. Let's party!" Couldn't have said it better myself.
You can read more about the story here.
This Sunday, at Churchill Downs racetrack, thousands of spectators gathered to watch the Kentucky Derby, brought to you by KFC parent company Yum! Brands—kind of like a little mini convention for animal abusers, where the horse people and the chicken people could get together and talk torture tactics. A cruelty conference, if you will. Or a suffering summit. OK, I'm done, I promise. But one bright spot in the event came in the form of PETA's Bear, who has been following the Queen everywhere she goes on her U.S. visit to draw attention to the fact that her Guards' regiment wear dead bears on their heads, despite the fact that it is now the 21st century. The bear, as usual, was a big hit, and the pictures from the protest are awesome. Ten points for anyone who can identify the Houston Texans lineman in the bottom pic. Also, check out the great news coverage of the bear's nationwide tour here.
P.S. Don't forget that this week is Be Kind to Animals week. To get things started, you might want to have a look at some of the tips on how to keep your companion animals happy here.
A little bit of star-spotting for you today, this one courtesy of People magazine. The lovely Sienna Miller was photographed this week wearing a stylin’ sweater with an animal rights message. Three of my favorite things in one picture: Seals, Sandwiches, and Sienna. Amazing.
I know, I know. But this comic strip made me laugh out loud. Enjoy!
Thanks to Snaggy and Nitrozac for letting me post the strip!
If you’re anything like me, you start getting psyched around Noon on Sunday just knowing that The Sopranos is going to be on later that night. Well last night, as Carmela and Tony had another one of their knock-down-drag-out fights (I’m with Carm on this one, the spec house was HER project, so the proceeds should be hers to do with as she pleases), it reminded me of the amazing PSA Edie Falco did for us, pointing out the link between violence to animals and domestic violence.
Even if you’re not a die-hard Sopranos fan, this PSA is powerful stuff. But really, the price of HBO is worth it for the Sopranos alone (I’d sell a kidney to pay the cable bill before I’d miss an episode), not to mention that it’s followed by Entourage. Sunday nights and the Sopranos, its just one of the little things that makes life worth living . . . especially with Edie absolutely killing it as Carmela every week.
As a former editor, I've spent a whole lot of time poring through a little tome called The Associated Press Stylebook. Along with its rival, The Chicago Manual of Style, the book is a thing of beauty, gleaming with helpful tips about when and when not to put an apostrophe after an "s" and whether it's ever OK to split an infinitive (the answer is sometimes, if you're feeling subversive). But there's one important issue the AP Style gurus haven't properly addressed, which bears directly on our work here: Animals are still commonly referred to as if they were inanimate objects. And since nobody likes being called an "it," we dashed off a little letter to them yesterday, which has already been getting some good coverage. My own letters to the AP asking them to ban the word "utilize" and take a stronger stance on misuse of the subjunctive have thus far been ignored, but I haven't given up hope yet. You can check out our letter below. I love that we included our own style guidelines for them to peruse.
April 26, 2007Norm Goldstein, Editor The Associated Press450 W. 33rd St.New York, NY 10001Dear Mr. Goldstein:On behalf of PETA’s more than 1.6 million members and supporters worldwide, I am writing to request that you revise The Associated Press Stylebook so that its grammatical rules reflect the fact that animals are living beings rather than inanimate objects. In magazine articles, popular literature, and advertising, writers are using “he,” “she,” and “who” to refer to animals—instead of the outdated and inaccurate “it” and “which.” Won’t you consider making this transition as well? As “the essential global news network,” the Associated Press (AP) should take a progressive step and give animals the respect that they deserve by revising AP style guidelines to reflect the usage of personal pronouns for all animals.While the world accelerates through the 21st century, progressive ideas are challenging and changing conventional perspectives. Recently, the American legal system recognized that nonhuman animals deserve legal status beyond that of mere “property” and that abusive treatment of animals is more than simple vandalism. The public now recognizes that whales, who sing across oceans; great apes, who share more than 98 percent of our DNA; sheep, who can recognize as many as 50 faces after not having seen them for two years; and pigs and chickens, who can learn to operate switches in order to control heat and light in factory-farm sheds, are feeling, intelligent individuals—not objects. Our language should reflect this. I would greatly appreciate hearing your decision on this matter. Enclosed is a copy of “PETA Writing Style and Guidelines,” which explains how to avoid language that portrays animals in a negative light.Thank you very much for your time.Sincerely,Anna WestDirector of Written Communications
Burger King has announced a series of animal welfare improvements that put it right at the forefront of the fast-food industry in terms of holding its suppliers accountable for the way they treat their animals. As of today, the company will be requiring 2 percent of its eggs to come from hens who are not confined to battery cages, buying 10 percent of its pork from farms that don't use gestation crates, and rewarding suppliers that use "controlled atmosphere killing" (by far the most humane method available) instead of killing chickens by slitting their throats and dragging them through scalding tanks. These percentages, which amount to a huge number of animals, could be doubled by the end of the year.
These changes have been a long time coming. You may remember PETA's "Murder King" Campaign, which we called off in 2001 after the company agreed to make significant improvements in its standards, including conducting periodic animal welfare audits. Since then, PETA has been working behind the scenes with the company to improve conditions for the animals it uses for its restaurants. This new animal welfare plan makes Burger King an industry leader, and it sends a strong message to other fast-food companies (including one company which will remain nameless, but whose initials could stand for Killing Friendly Chickens) that are now going to have to play catch-up in a big way, which means good things for animals across the board.
For anyone whose reaction to this news is all, "WTF? That still means that 98 percent of BK's eggs come from battery cages and 90 percent of its pork comes from gestation crates," the short answer is that we're working on it, and that going vegetarian (and gently encouraging your friends to do the same) really is a fantastic way to opt out of all that unhappiness. But in the meantime, props up to Burger King for getting the ball rolling in a big way. Here are a few resources if you want some more info on this huge victory for animals:
P.S. Burger King also has a veggie burger.
I know I was just talking about how cool Simon Cowell is, but he is at it again.
This time he’s got some choice advice for American Idol hopefuls: Be kind to animals. Everyone knows Simon is notoriously harsh when Idol contestants deserve it, but he’s got a big soft spot for animal advocates. Simon opened up on the set of his new PETA ad, which is due out early this summer, saying:
“The people I work with … are all animal lovers. That’s part of the criteria for judging the show, you’ve got to like animals.”
And he applies the same standard to wannabe contestants as well:
“I once had an incident with a guy who auditioned who actually admitted that he likes killing animals. Didn’t go through.”
Considering that Cowell raked in a reported $36 million last year and has been ranked the second-highest-paid person on TV by OK! magazine, it might be wise to heed his suggestion . . .
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
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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.