Written by Alisa Mullins
The following was excerpted from an article that originally appeared on McClatchy.
As my mom and I were walking through a department store recently, she spied a colorful plaid quilted vest. "Ooh, that's pretty," she said and reached for the price tag.
Meanwhile, I was looking at the contents label. "Uh-oh, it contains down," I told her.
"Oh, no," she said, dropping the vest as if it had bitten her. "I guess I won't be buying that."
Like me, Mom loves animals. She's a vegan, and she refuses to wear anything made of leather, silk, or wool—or down.
Much of the down used in coats, comforters, vests, and blankets is "live-plucked"—ripped from the bodies of birds who are still alive. Plucking may begin when the birds are just 10 weeks old and be repeated every six to seven weeks until the birds are slaughtered at around age 4, far short of their natural lifespan of 10 to 20 years.
Workers are paid by the goose, rather than by the hour, so speed is of the essence, leading to rough handling and injuries. Undercover video footage shot on a Hungarian goose farm shows workers picking up and carrying geese by their necks or wings. The frightened birds are flipped upside down and pinned between workers' knees while they rip out fistfuls of feathers. One worker was photographed sitting on a goose's neck in order to prevent her from escaping.
The good news is that there are several alternatives to down, including Thinsulate, PrimaLoft, and Polarguard, that are less expensive, less bulky, easier to launder, and excellent insulators. They also perform well when wet, unlike down, which absorbs moisture, loses loft and insulating ability, and takes a long time to dry.
In fact, many brands sell quilted vests insulated with PrimaLoft. Don't tell my mom, but she just might be finding one under her Christmas tree this year.
Written by Jeff Mackey
After learning that the Food Bank of Lower Fairfield County in
Connecticut had put out an
urgent call for Thanksgiving food donations following Hurricane Sandy, PETA has sent the hunger-relief organization 20 delicious vegan Tofurky roasts.
Vegan Food: The Taste
PETA's donation should make the season brighter (and
healthier) for the region's hungry
as well as for animals. PETA also hopes the Tofurky will offer food for thought, showing that compassion
knows no species barriers.
More than 250 million turkeys are killed in the U.S. every year—45 million for Thanksgiving dinners alone. Yet turkeys
are sensitive, smart,
social, and resourceful birds, who deserve to be treated as living beings, not centerpieces.
Tofurky and other vegan faux turkey provide great alternatives, savory taste, and plentiful protein, with none of
the cruelty or cholesterol that comes from eating real birds.
What You Can Do
Delicious, healthy vegan foods offer both hungry humans and
exploited animals reason to give thanks. Enjoy fine vegan holiday dining with
PETA's free recipes.
Good news out of New York: Following September's flood in
which nearly 100 animals
died when they were left to drown, PETCO has announced that its
Johnson City store will
not sell any animals upon reopening this month. The announcement is music to the ears of Johnson City
residents, dozens of whom joined a PETA-led demonstration last September aimed
at keeping PETCO from
This decision will save many animals from being bred and warehoused to supply the store, which seems appropriate considering all those terrified
animals who perished in the dark, cold waters. But PETCO still doesn't deserve
our business until it does the right thing and stops selling animals in all its stores nationwide, given the neglect and cruelty that occur at those locations
and that are rife within
the chain's animal suppliers, in addition to the fact that the animal-homelessness crisis—which PETCO itself
cites at its dog and cat adoption events—affects the very species the chain sells, too.
Kudos to Johnson City for forging such progress for
animals in the pet trade from the devastation that struck there. And remember,
folks—there's still a criminal investigation pending concerning the events
leading up to those animals' horrible deaths …
How You Can Help
Animals in Pet Stores
Please buy supplies for your companions only from retailers
that do not sell animals.
Written by Michelle Kretzer
elderly woman who called PETA's national animal-emergency number thought that she
was doing the right thing. When she discovered a baby bird in her yard who was
unable to fly, she took him into her home and tried to feed him. Frustrated by
the bird's deteriorating condition, she called PETA to ask for advice.
that a bird who did not fly away from a person attempting to pick him or her up
was most likely severely injured or ill, we let the woman know that despite her
good intentions, the bird really needed to be assessed by a wildlife
caller couldn't drive, so a staffer from our Los Angeles office went out to
pick up the baby bird and got the animal into the hands of a wildlife
rehabilitator who determined that the baby was in fact severely injured and
suffering and should be euthanized.
people who try to help
wild animals by themselves have
wonderful intentions, they may inadvertently cause the animal more suffering by
providing improper care. If you encounter a wild animal who appears to be hurt
or in danger, stay near the animal, but call your local humane society or animal
control officials for help. If they can't provide assistance themselves, they
may have names of licensed wildlife rehabilitators in your area. Keep the names
and numbers in your address book for future reference.
Have your morning coffee with a side of
animal news every day on PETA’s
Bananas? We don't need no stinkin'
bananas. At least Kanzi
the bonobo doesn't. He taught himself how to make fire and
have their own emergency broadcast system. They use special sounds to warn
their unaware friends about danger, but they don't send out a warning when the
other chimpanzees already see it. This turns the belief that only humans
recognize that others are not informed on its head.
Shiny Things | cc by 2.0
pigeons are once again showing
why "birdbrain" is a compliment. The birds are proving that they can
count by putting groups of items in order by quantity.
We all read City Mouse, Country Mouse,
but what about city bird, country bird? When flirting, urban birds
adjust their voices to be heard over the din of the city, so they sing
differently from their country cousins.
and cows certainly
aren't cousins, but they can become best friends. When a cow named Wanda
escaped from a farm, she eluded capture for five months, living with a herd of
deer who would stomp on the ground to let Wanda know that their acute senses
detected people approaching. Wanda now has a home on a farm and is not in
danger of being slaughtered.
Of course, for a best friend whose
loyalty is unmatched, one need look no further than a dog. A Russian dog
stood guard over the body of his deceased canine companion for two weeks in
temperatures of negative-58 degrees Fahrenheit. Animal advocates caught him and
took him to a local animal shelter, where he will stay while they search for a
For more amazing animal stories, check
out an article on the new
book Animal Tool Behavior.
pledged in 2005
that it would end the sale of large birds in its stores. Last month, a concerned
PETCO customer noticed that a PETCO store in his area had a white-capped pionus,
a kind of parrot, for sale. The bird had apparently spent 14 months in a cage at the store, waiting for someone to buy her.
PETCO's price tag for the bird was $799, but for some time, there was a "Manager's
Special—50% Off" sign on the cage she was in, as if this sensitive bird were
an out-of-style shirt to be placed on the clearance rack.
PETA reached out to its contact at PETCO's corporate office
and got the complainant in touch with the pet trade giant. For once, PETCO did
the right thing and allowed the person who contacted PETA to adopt the bird, since
named Tegan, for a donation to the PETCO Foundation, which provides funds for
animal welfare organizations and spay-and-neuter efforts, among other things.
Tegan now has the run (fly?) of
the house and the company of other birds. The kind man who took her in
says that Tegan is a very affectionate bird who enjoys taking showers and who spends
at least 4 to 5 hours a day riding around on his shoulder, where she seems
happiest. You can find tips on caring for birds on
our companion animals webpage.
Two important lessons emerge from this case. One:
Never hesitate to speak up
when you suspect an animal needs help.
And the other? Don't support the pet trade—shop only at pet-supply stores that don't sell live animals.
Written by Heather Faraid Drennan
We may never know how
more than a dozen pigeons, crows, seagulls, and other wild birds ended up
crammed into filthy cages in a hoarder's home, but when PETA heard about
the birds—who were spotted piled on the sidewalk after the hoarder was evicted—our
Cruelty Investigations Department
contacted animal control and alerted the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS)
to potential violations of the state cruelty statute and federal Migratory Bird
Treaty Act, all the birds—some of whom appeared to be sick and suffering from
heat exhaustion—were seized, and officers launched an investigation.
Not only is it
illegal to possess most wild birds without a permit issued by the USFWS, these animals were also victims
a mental illness in which the hoarder compulsively acquires more animals than
he or she can properly care for. Animals are often "warehoused" in
filthy cages and carriers and denied clean water, adequate food, and veterinary
care. Accumulated waste and filth often lead to infections and the spread of parasites
and contagious diseases.
If you ever suspect
someone may be an animal hoarder, immediately contact law-enforcement
officials—following up if necessary to make sure that action is taken. PETA's report on hoarding
contains more information about how to protect animals.
Written by PETA
Exciting news out of Chennai, where the Animal Welfare Board
of India has banned the use of glue traps
to snare and (miserably) kill mice and rats, declaring, "Available
evidence clearly suggests that the use of glue traps causes unnecessary pain
and suffering to the rodents and is against the spirit of the Prevention of
Cruelty to Animals Act ...."
PETA's cruelty caseworkers can offer plenty of evidence of
the "unnecessary pain and suffering" caused by glue traps—and not
just to rodents. For instance, a recent call concerned a bird who had become helplessly
mired in a restaurant's glue trap.
You'll be glad to know that things worked out OK for this
little guy, whom we arranged to be taken to a wildlife rehabilitator,
but for far too many animals, glue traps mean days of suffering before death by starvation, dehydration,
exhaustion, or shock. In addition to being cruel, glue traps also spread
diseases, which is why the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends
not using them.
The other good news to come out of this case is that the
restaurant has seen the light and will no longer use glue traps. Still, a lot
of folks could stand to follow the example of these restaurateurs (and India)
by detaching themselves from pans of pain.
If you see anyone using glue traps, or if you'd like to see
a glue-trap ban in your community, don't be shy—speak up!
And if you have rats or mice visiting your business or home, learn to live peacefully and kindly
with our smart and resourceful rodent neighbors.
After a dog was painfully caught in a steel-jaw trap and a cat was nearly killed by a Conibear (body-gripping and drowning) trap in Gibsons, British Columbia, the town did the right thing and banned all steel-jaw, body-clamping, and snare traps. Gibsons Mayor Barry Janyk said he was surprised to hear that his town was the first in Canada to have such a comprehensive law, because it just seemed to make so much sense.
Indeed, common sense would tell us that traps and snares used to catch animals killed for their fur are all cruel. Steel-jaw traps (for which trappers use the misleading, PR-friendly term "leghold") slam shut on an animal's limb, instantly ripping through flesh and muscle, sometimes even bone. The jaws often cut down to the bone as the animal struggles to free the mutilated limb, sometimes reduced to having to twist or chew the leg off to escape, much like Aron Ralston, the real-life mountain climber whose story of cutting off his own arm was told in the movie 127 Hours. The animal can struggle in excruciating pain for days before succumbing to exhaustion, exposure, dehydration, blood loss, or predation.
And it isn't only the animals trappers target who suffer―just as in Gibsons, dogs, cats, and "non-target wildlife," including birds, are often the victims of these indiscriminate torture devices, and because they aren't used for their fur, they are disparagingly labeled "trash catch."
Arizona, California, Colorado, and Washington have banned or restricted trapping. Contact PETA for information on how to convince your legislators to ban steel-jaw traps too.
Written by Michelle Sherrow
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.
Follow PETA on Twitter!
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.