Written by PETA
Last night's crowning of the Best in Show at the Westminster Dog Show was bested by two protesters who informed the crowd that every time a dog is purchased from a breeder, another dog dies in an animal shelter:
The 15,000 audience members collectively gasped at the shock of the unexpected interruption, but the facts are much more startling: People who are deliberately breeding animals even when U.S. animal shelters must put 3 to 4 million dogs and cats to death every year are callous, profit-hungry, cruel shoo-ins for worst in show.
Written by Logan Scherer
It's a fact: the Westminster Dog Show aggravates the already dire animal overpopulation crisis and contributes to the deaths of homeless animals by encouraging people to buy purebred dogs from breeders and pet stores. That's why PETA's Grim Reaper showed up on Monday to usher in the dark event:
This year, dedicated PETA supporters gathered outside the dog show to tell passersby that Madison Square Garden should be the final resting place for Westminster—and that keeping shelter dogs out of early graves is as easy as choosing to adopt from a worthy rescue group rather than buying from a breeder.
In preparation for tonight's American premiere of the BBC documentary Pedigree Dogs Exposed, this morning's Today Show featured a segment on the horrors behind the rampant breeding of purebreds.
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Sylvia, a Cavalier King Charles spaniel, suffers from syringomyelia—a condition in which the dog's brain is too big for the skull, resulting in a nonstop, crippling headache that's been deemed by humans who endure it the worst kind of pain imaginable. And she's not alone—after years of inbreeding, at least one-third of all King Charles spaniels suffer from syringomyelia and other incurable genetic deformities, a common problem among purebred dogs.
Breeders around the globe are guilty of spreading these deadly defects, contributing to what Dr. James Serpell, associate professor of humane ethics and animal welfare at the University of Pennsylvania, deems "institutionalized animal cruelty," and they—along with the individuals who continue to buy purebred companion animals instead of adopting from animal shelters—are at fault for the animal overpopulation crisis and the deaths of millions of homeless animals each year.
Don't miss the sure-to-be-heart-wrenching Pedigree Dogs Exposed tonight on BBC America.
Written by Logan Scherer
Less than a year and a half after taking over as the University of Georgia's (UGA) mascot following the death of his predecessor, Uga VII died last week. With his passing comes a communal outpouring of grief and new discussions about the search for his successor.
It's no coincidence that Uga VII died of a heart ailment similar to the one that killed Uga VI. Puppy peddlers rely on inbreeding to preserve bloodlines, which creates genetic defects and makes dogs susceptible to congenital illnesses. After years of genetic manipulation, countless bulldogs suffer from constant skin and eye infections, hip dysplasia, and weak respiratory systems—which are worsened by the kind of poor ventilation and hot, humid weather that Uga VII was exposed to as a constantly traveling mascot. Bulldogs also can't give birth naturally because of their large heads and small hips, so breeders artificially inseminate the females then cut them open year after year for c-sections.
In addition to breeding deadly defects, breeders contribute to the companion animal overpopulation crisis. Every year, approximately 4 million animals in animal shelters are euthanized because there simply aren't enough good homes. To help end the crisis—and UGA's string of preventable mascot deaths—we're asking the University to honor Uga VII by replacing him with an animatronic or solely using their costumed mascot, Hairy Dawg.
We can't think of a more fitting legacy for Uga VII than to stop the breeding of animals, which causes so many lethal genetic problems like those that undoubtedly contributed to his untimely death.
It's always right to root for compassion.
Eva Mendes' performance in Bad Lieutenant has Hollywood talking. And today, with Fur-Free Friday fast approaching, the talk of tinsel-town debuted PETA's new fur exposé.
Eva says, "I didn't always know how animals were killed for their fur, and I even wore fur once myself." But then the compassionate (and smoldering-hot) actor learned that millions of animals are killed every year in the cruel fur industry. "I swore that I'd never wear it again," she says. Now, in PETA's new exposé (and just in time for the holiday shopping season), Eva is urging viewers to go for a look that kills without killing animals—by forgoing fur in favor of glamorous alternatives.
Why should you go-go-faux? Dogs, cats, foxes, minks, rabbits, and other animals often suffer the pain of having their skin ripped from their bodies while they are conscious and able to feel every agonizing minute. The only way to bring an end to the suffering is to follow Eva's lead and never wear any fur.
Oh, reality TV stars, will you never learn? Jon and Kate Gosselin—who don't exactly have a stellar record when it comes to animal companions—have allowed their marital disputes to affect their family, and I'm not talking about their eight kids.
Jon has packed up the family's dogs and is returning them to their breeder.
Returning them—like taking a sweater back to the mall.
Jon claims that Kate doesn't take care of Shoka and Nala when it's her turn to look after the family, saying, "It's not fair to the dogs to not be wanted in their own home."
We can agree with him on that. It's also not fair to buy dogs from breeders when millions are sitting in animal shelters waiting for homes. And it's not fair to dump your dogs when they've outgrown their puppy cuteness and are becoming a tad inconvenient. Dogs aren't disposable.
If you aren't going to be able to provide an animal with a home forever, you shouldn't get an animal in the first place.
Written by Amanda Schinke
It looks like Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus isn't anxious for PETA to capture any more footage of its goons employees whacking elephants with bullhooks. How else would you explain the ugly incident that happened this past Tuesday in which a burly, 200-something-pound Ringling worker apparently shoved and almost knocked down PETA staffer Amanda Fortino—who stands 5 feet, 4 inches tall and weighs 120 pounds soaking wet—while she was videotaping elephants who were being led from a Ringling train to the Rose Garden arena prior to the circus's performance in Portland, Oregon.
His friends must have been worried that Mr. "Tact and Diplomacy" was in danger of being overpowered by the deceptively slight Amanda (she does have super-vegan powers, you know), Amanda reports that several of the thug's cohorts bounded to his assistance and surrounded her, effectively blocking her view of the elephants.
Not the smartest move, because another activist was holding the aforementioned video camera and caught the whole thing on tape. We promptly turned the tape over to Portland police, who have opened an investigation into the incident.
Written by Alisa Mullins
Vice President Biden and his purebred German shepherd puppy, Champ, have been all over the news this evening in reports about how the breeder who sold him the puppy has fallen on hard times, saying that she would "never, never, never again" sell to someone with a high profile. But we have a better idea: How about not selling to … oh, I don't know … anyone? With shelter dogs dying every day for lack of a good home, it's completely irresponsible to breed dogs for profit. Period.
When we initially got the news that the Bidens had naïvely purchased Champ from a breeder, we ran one of our popular television ads in his home state of Delaware titled "Buy One, Kill One," which reminds viewers that every time you buy a dog from a breeder, a dog in an animal shelter dies. We think it gets the point across nicely. Check it out here:
This past December, though, Mr. Vice Prez himself made positive headlines in The PETA Files when he announced that his plans also included adopting a dog in the future from an animal shelter. We even sent Biden presents in honor of the good news, including a doggy gift bag, spay-neuter certificates, and promises of more goodies to come when the new pup arrived. We hope he'll stay true to his word and make some pup lucky!
The Biden's high profile could shower positive media attention on abandoned dogs and shed light on the overpopulation crisis. Fingers crossed!
Written by Christine Doré
Well, Michelle Obama has gone and done it: She 'fessed up to People magazine that the first family is leaning toward adopting a Portuguese water dog. To give her credit, she stresses that the family plans to adopt the dog from a shelter or rescue group, but we sure do wish that she'd quit fixating so much on the dog's breed.
Already, the mere mention a few months ago that the Obamas had narrowed their choice to a "Portie" or a Labradoodle has caused a flurry of Google searches for those breeds. I personally know a couple who bought not one but two goldendoodle puppies because anything "doodle" is oh-so-fashionable these days. (This same couple had previously visited an animal shelter and was poised to adopt two homeless mutts until they became wooed by the latest fad, proof of our assertion that breeders kill shelter dogs' chances of finding homes.)
Admittedly, it probably sets a slightly better example to adopt a Portuguese water dog than it would to pick a Labradoodle or a goldendoodle—those breeds are virtually guaranteed to come from puppy mills.
But Portie enthusiasts with a conscience are not terribly happy about getting a nod from the Obamas. As they and PETA's Daphna Nachminovitch point out in this Associated Press article, whenever a breed becomes fashionable, puppy mills jump into the game to satisfy the demand of uninformed people. Only later do these folks realize that, oops, Porties would willingly run several marathons and swim across the English Channel—all before breakfast.
I used to dog-sit for a Portie named Riley. He was a sweetie, just as breeders claim, but he was also hyper, to put it mildly. He had boundless energy and was obsessed with water—if he jumped into the river that runs alongside the PETA dog park, it was almost impossible to coax him out. In the car, he bounced Tigger-like from back seat to front, in between bouts of carsickness. He was the ideal dog for, say, Michael Phelps or a professional surfer—not so ideal for a busy family.
What the Obamas (and lots of other people) don't seem to understand is that you don't have to pre-select a certain breed and then set out to find a dog who meets that criterion. You can go to your local animal shelter, walk down the rows of cages, and pick out a dog of any old breed (or, better yet, mix of breeds), spend some time with him or her, and discover that, yes, this is the dog for you. It's kind of a crazy idea, but I'm hoping it just might catch on.
Want to incite a media circus that almost—but not quite—descends into fisticuffs? Just put on a white sheet outside the AKC's biggest dog show and let the dog biscuits fall where they may. Check out these photos from the protest at Madison Square Garden:
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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.