Written by PETA
Yesterday morning, walking to the D.C. Metro along the tenuous paths carved through the high banks of snow, the usual birdsong was missing. Then I heard a sparrow chirp and found a group of them sitting under a restaurant awning. I had cereal in a bag with me, so I scattered it under the awning, and out hobbled a pigeon who had been under a table, her legs clearly frozen. At each step, she stumbled and had to right herself. Because she ate, I didn't want to scare her by attempting to catch her and feared she would flutter off into the snow, so I watched her eat and then moved on. Last night, making my way home, I found her back under that table, frozen, snow all over her back. In D.C. and many other cities across the nation, there is no water for the birds and no grass for them to reach under the many feet of snow. At PETA's Washington office and around town, including in Lafayette Park and Union Station, we are doing our best to help them. This morning I had an idea: I picked up whole-grain bread and stuck slices of it in the saplings on the streets.
Birds and countless other animals around the city are struggling to survive. It is crucial that in these dire weather conditions, you take action in behalf of animals who would otherwise be left to succumb to the elements by providing them with something to eat and making sure that they have access to fresh water.
Written by Ingrid E. Newkirk
Grammar Nazis—(cough) PETA editors (cough)—listen up: It turns out that you might have more in common with monkeys than with your fellow humans.
New research suggests that nonhuman animals are capable of communicating not only among their own kind but also with members of other species. Klaus Zuberbühler, a psychologist at University of St. Andrews in Scotland, spent hundreds of hours listening to the calls of Campbell's monkeys and other species, gradually decoding their language, which is so grammatically sophisticated that it uses suffixes to change the meaning of calls based on the kinds of animals posing a threat. These intricate calls, which are used to pass on complex information about predators and their whereabouts, could be understood by other species of monkeys and even by birds such as hornbills.
We're constantly learning more about the countless ways in which animals of all kinds are brilliant, selfless, and complex. Meanwhile, with all our texts, tweets, and e-mails, we sometimes can't even talk to other humans—let alone other members of other species (um, TISNF, BBIAB, FUBAR—WTF?).
Written by Logan Scherer
Last year, PETA filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) against Motomco, the glue trap manufacturer that supplies Lowe's with its sticky death traps. Our complaint stated that Motomco was selling misleadingly labeled glue traps designed to make people believe that these traps were somehow acceptable. The label stated that the glue trap contained a naturally occurring anesthetic called eugenol, implying that animals caught in the trap did not suffer or feel pain. In reality, they do suffer and feel extreme pain.
We recently received a letter from the FTC letting us know that our complaint has officially been closed—because Motomco has removed the misleading claim about eugenol from its packaging and promotion materials!
Since Motomco's glue traps are the only brand that Lowe's sells—and Lowe's claims that it only sells glue traps that are "humane" because of eugenol—we hope that the change in Motomco's packaging will be the final push that Lowe's needs to pull glue traps from its shelves. Because it can no longer hide behind Motomco's misrepresentations, we've written to the home improvement company asking it to immediately rid its stores of the cruelest mouse traps on the market today.
Humane alternatives do exist and it's time for Lowe's to join other retailers, including Walgreens, CVS, Rite Aid, Safeway, Dollar Tree, and Albertsons, in banning the sale of glue traps. Click here to find out how you can help.
Written by Karin Bennett
One hot, humid afternoon in July, I was apartment hunting and checking out an old factory in Brooklyn that was undergoing renovation for loft rentals. As I entered the bathroom in one unlit, unfinished space, two pigeons flapped frantically in the darkness—apparently they were as startled by my presence as I was by theirs. The birds had found a way into the building but were unable to get out because the windows had been boarded up.
After tearing a board off a window, I managed to catch and release each of the frightened birds. Both of them paused on the scaffolding outside to allow their eyes to adjust to the bright sunshine and to take in fresh air before flying off into the distance. If I hadn't helped them out of that stifling, sawdust-filled space, they surely would have succumbed to the searing heat, as well as hunger and thirst.
Around that same time, a similar situation was unfolding in a small, rural town in Kansas. A distraught resident called PETA to report that countless birds were roasting to death in a dilapidated building that the city had recently boarded up. With summer temperatures climbing, we immediately contacted city officials and urged them to take action for the birds, but the person we spoke with told us that the city had bigger problems to deal with. Um, wrong answer.
We raced to place an action alert on our Web site, and we fired off a letter to city commissioners. Realizing that PETA and our caring members weren't going to back down, city officials acted. Less than 24 hours after our initial contact, the fire and police departments were sent to rescue the surviving birds. They provided them with water and tore holes in the roof to create escape routes and ventilation.
By not turning a blind eye to animal suffering, and by making a call to PETA, one "little bird" prompted the rescue of countless others from certain death.
Recent research shows that dogs are at least as clever as a 2-year-old human child—but dear Rex won't yell "No!" at everything, like a kid in the throes of the "terrible twos."
Dogs can learn, on average, between 250 and 165 words, depending on which study you read. They have basic math skills (and can even call us out when we add incorrectly), and they're skilled problem-solvers. Perhaps they are more like 20-year-olds.
Come to think of it, this might explain why Lassie always had to save Timmy from falling down wells.
If you really want to get inside another animal's head, allow me to direct you to New Orleans, where a virtual-reality exhibit allows humans to experience what it must be like to have the heightened senses of sight and hearing that other species enjoy naturally.
The exhibit allows visitors to see in ultraviolet light, as birds do, and hear the ultra-low frequencies that whales and other animals communicate in every day.
It looks as if Mark Twain was on the right track when he said, "It is just like man's vanity and impertinence to call an animal dumb because [he or she] is dumb to his dull perceptions."
Written by Jeff Mackey
Former "Hollywood Madam" Heidi Fleiss knows what it's like to be behind bars—and ever since she inherited dozens of exotic birds from an acquaintance who passed away, she's learned firsthand that humans aren't the only ones whose needs aren't met in captivity.
Heidi was fortunate enough to be able to turn part of her home into a huge aviary where her birds can fly free and are never caged, but as she points out, most people who buy birds have no idea how to care for these complex animals. Many people keep birds caged for their entire lives—some birds are kept in cages so small that they are prevented from even stretching their wings, let alone flying.
That's why Heidi is teaming up with PETA to pressure one major purveyor of imprisoned parrots: PetSmart. She'll be speaking on PETA's behalf at PetSmart's annual meeting this Wednesday. Pointing out how much birds suffer in captivity as well as the abysmal record of neglect and abuse by PetSmart's stores and animal suppliers, Heidi will ask the company to begin phasing out the sale of all birds.
Go get 'em, Heidi! We know you're an expert at turning heads—now let's see you change some minds.
Written by Amanda Schinke
Yes, you read that right. The manager of a Wal-Mart store in Hamilton Township, New Jersey, (along with an exterminator) was charged with cruelty to animals for setting traps for birds who fly into the store and allegedly failing to checking the traps for days on end, causing birds to die of dehydration. The apparently kick-ass Atlantic City SPCA filed the charges after three dead birds were found—along with 10 live ones—in a cage trap that apparently hadn't been checked for nearly a week. In a move that would be funny if it weren't so tragically stupid, the traps were equipped with water bottles—which wild birds don't know how to use.
As the Atlantic City SPCA pointed out, there are plenty of nonlethal ways to deal with birds who fly into big-box stores, including installing high-power fans over doors, installing "air doors"—which are energy-efficient and bird-friendly—and setting live traps and actually checking them from time to time. One of our local Home Depot stores here in Norfolk, Virginia, (at PETA's suggestion) plays a recording of frightened bird calls in the garden center as a warning to birds to stay away—and, for the most part, they do.
From time to time, PETA also gets reports of big-box stores that use glue traps to trap birds who wander in (in addition to selling the traps, as Lowe's does). If you ever see birds flying around inside a store, ask to speak to the manager and find out what methods the store uses to remove and deter birds. If you suspect cruelty, alert your local humane society or animal control, or call PETA.
Written by Alisa Mullins
You might have noticed in your holiday travels that airlines have been cutting back on a lot in order to save money, which is bad news for people who depend on those dry-roasted peanuts and tiny packs of pretzels for mile-high sustenance. Some airlines, such as US Airways, are considering placing ads on their overhead bins to increase revenue. We think it's a fantastic idea and certainly much better than charging for luggage!
PETA has stepped up to the plate to offer an ad to US Airways and get this new option rolling. Here's a sneak peak at our new ad, featuring a cartoon by the wonderful Dan Piraro:
"Cages aren't for the birds. Let them fly free." Get it? Fly free? Airlines? Anyway, the cartoon may be funny, but the reality for caged birds is not.
We hope for the birds' sake that US Airways will accept our ad offer—and maybe no passenger will have to go without peanuts.
Written by Lianne Turner
Hayden Panettiere's alter-ego on Heroes may be indestructible, but in real life, the actor has a soft spot for animals.
You may remember that Hayden is a vegetarian who fought for dolphins in Japan a couple of years ago. Well, the pint-sized star once again proved that she has a huge heart for animals by intervening in behalf of birds on the Heroes set. When some birds in a nearby tree disrupted filming, a member of the crew reportedly attempted to disperse them by blasting them with a huge leaf blower. That didn't sit well with Hayden, who apparently sprang into action, shouting, "What are you doing? How would you like someone to blow that thing inside your house?" She made such a ruckus that the crew had no choice but to move the scene to a different location.
Kudos to you, Hayden, for always standing up for what's right (and for kicking butt and taking names on my fave show). Milo, you'd best be good to our lady!
Written by Christine Doré
OK, there are tons of perks when it comes to working for PETA. I'm talking cool coworkers, a kick-ass cause, a vegan vending machine, and a multi-office building with lots and lots of windows overlooking the Elizabeth River. But as is often the case, every perk comes with a price. And I'm not just talking about the small fortune I've invested in Twizzlers (I wish I could quit you, vending machine!). I'm talking about having HUGE windows. Honestly, we love birds, but we really, really don't want them to literally crash our meetings.
You see, we PETA folks like our views, but unlike a lot of other offices, we also care about how our feathered friends view us. Luckily, some of those cool coworkers I was bragging about earlier have come up with some pretty tight tactics to keep birds from colliding with windows, and we urge you to implement them not only at home (if there's a problem there) but also at work (if there's a problem there):
1. Play detective. Are there certain windows in your home or office that attract more collisions than others? A little detective work goes a long way in helping you determine which windows to focus on.
3. Decorate with decals. We highly recommend clear decals that reflect ultraviolet light, which is visible to birds and allows them to steer clear and stay safe. If you're more of a DIYer, bust out some "MacGyver" ingenuity and use tape, adhesive film, or other items on your windows to make them more visible.
4. Explore all your options! Look for ways to cover the maximum amount of surface area outside your window. We went with window tinting after putting interns on our balconies with glow sticks didn't pan out (they left work and went dancing instead).
5. Avoid a "dine and crash" situation. Place birdfeeders and nest boxes at least 30 feet away from windows or within 2 to 3 feet of them.
6. Help our feathered friends. If you find a bird who is dazed and confused (face it, we've all been there), put some gloves on and place the bird somewhere safe and quiet to recover for an hour or two. According to our wildlife expert extraordinaire Tori, they can normally be cleared for takeoff after a brief rest and quick eval.
7. Be prepared if the birdie doesn't bounce back. If your patient requires more medical attention, call animal control (have the number handy BEFORE something happens, and know what action to take for after-hours emergencies). If animal control can't help, they should be able to refer you to a wildlife center, rehabber, or veterinarian who can. And remember, it's illegal in most states to try to rehab a wild animal yourself, so you MUST take him or her to one of these places.
Posted by Amy Elizabeth
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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.