Written by PETA
When did you become a vegetarian/vegan and what exactly prompted you to make that decision?
In my book, Making Kind Choices, I talk about what a slow learner I was. How I first stopped eating escargot after watching some snails looking for an escape route out of a paper bag, shellfish after ordering a lobster on my birthday and realizing he was broiled alive for my fleeting taste, and finally, going vegetarian after rescuing a little pig abandoned on a farm to starve to death. It was hard 45 or more years ago, now it's easy as (tofu cream) pie.
I am only a kid but I saw your show and know all I want to do is help. But how?
Every one of us, no matter if under eight or over eighty, is powerful. We all influence the marketplace. You may send PETA $50 (and we are grateful) but you spend thousands a year on food, household products, shampoo, clothes, entertainment, gardening supplies, candles, I don't know what all. If those goods are tested on animals or made from the parts of animals who have suffered greatly in slaughterhouses, or come at the expense of animals being carted around in small cages (the circus, for instance), then we have a problem. But if you choose compassionately, then you are a powerful consumer. And your voice, the leaflets you leave everywhere, will educate others and get them to understand. Your advocacy makes a whole world of difference.
There are quite a few chain clothing stores that sell fur and fur trim. How does PETA choose which ones to target for a campaign?
I would love to know your stand on giving drugs to animals. Both my husband and I are vegans and have made the decision not to use drugs tested on animals but find it really hard when one of my animals need medication.
You are lovely people. If there is a non-tested (natural) remedy, great. If not, well, please do all you can to join us in pushing the FDA to change its outdated animal testing methods for 21st century tests. After all, we have whole human DNA on the web and super-computers we can program with the right data for the right species.
When people ask me, 'why do you care about animals?' I am starting to feel stuck with answers and was wondered if you have any really good comebacks when you are asked question's like that?
Would it be effective for all of us to gather in one place to flex our strength and end one or more of the horrible things happening to animals?
That might indeed be the case, but I'm afraid we human beings will never agree which ONE horror to unite about, so I think we must all do as much as we can to combat as many horrors as possible. The more activism we expend, the quicker we will have total animal liberation. And sometimes it takes only one person, not the whole lot of us, to bring about a change. One letter can sway a whole corporation to drop a product like sticky glue traps for mice, one phone call can get a mall to stop sponsoring one of those cheap traveling zoo shows.
Can you ever, in reality see an end to factory farming and animal experimentation?
I think I was born an activist. Injustice makes me see red. And I always cared about animals. I was living in India when I was eight and actually stopped a man from beating a bull who had collapsed with exhaustion from pulling a heavy cart in the sun. Whether or not we will ever have an end to all cruelty, even to factory farming (although I think the water shortages of the future will put paid to that), we can make a difference for so many animals by helping open people's hearts and minds and eyes to the alternatives to the suffering around them.
Where’s Alex Pacheco?
Alex and I, like any human beings, had our agreements and disagreements, but he worked hard at PETA for many years. He did some great undercover investigations, including the one that got Exxon and other gas companies to cap their stacks, down which went flying (and then frying) birds and small mammals who got caught and couldn't get out. It is hard for someone to do those investigations and Alex moved on about nine years ago now. He deserved a rest.
How do you maintain your strength, your energy, your being, after being present in slaughter houses and watching hours and hours and HOURS of undercover footage of animal abuse? How do you not get too depressed to function?
If you close your eyes, it does not go away. I feel pressure to work hard and try to change lots. I imagine myself in their place. BUT, I try not to watch more footage than I have to. I try to show it to those who need to see it in order to understand why bad habits must change! Please use our videos everywhere you can, at the bottom of your signature on your email, to show to visitors and schools and clubs and relatives. A video is worth a million words. When I am in danger of being overwhelmed by human supremacism's vicious consequences, I watch a funny movie, read something amusing, or go for a walk in the fresh air.
How do you respond to those that are unaware of what's really happening and refuse to believe it?
I'm more interested in the fence-sitters, although if you bang your head against a brick wall hard enough, the brick wall will eventually fall.
How do you convince them otherwise?
Dare them to watch those films—but don't be there in the end, so they don't have to be resistant and defensive. Just dare them to watch and then ignore them.
The mandatory spay/neuter ordinance, which I was talking up this week on the blog, passed today at the Van Nuys City Council meeting with a 10-1 vote! There is still one more vote to take place next week which will finalize it, but the decision will be made based on simple majority. According to my colleagues in LA who were at the meeting, there were hundreds of people in attendance, including Bob Barker who spoke on the importance of spaying and neutering. Boo-ya!
A huge thank you to everyone who has helped push this historic bill into law.
The Los Angeles City Council has just announced that a meeting will be held on Friday morning to discuss a historic ordinance that would require virtually all dogs and cats in Los Angeles to be spayed or neutered. If you happen to live in L.A. and have an urge to whisper sweet words of encouragement into your council member’s ear, you can find his or her phone number at http://www.lacity.org/council.htm. Just let 'em know that you support the spay-neuter ordinance, and you’re hoping they will too. Council members love that sort of thing. You can also attend the meeting to show your support.
If you don’t live in L.A., there’s probably not all that much you can do about this particular bill, but at least you don’t have to deal with the lousy traffic conditions they have in that city. That’s gotta be worth something, right? There’s also tons of information about how you can help cats and dogs in your community right here. And to continue with a theme started earlier this week, here’s a criminally adorable pro spay/neuter spot, starring animated kittens.
You may remember that the good people over at Schumacher Furs saw fit to sue PETA when their store in downtown Portland was closed following regular protests by local activists and concerned citizens. There were a number of good reasons why the Schumachers didn’t have a leg to stand on with their lawsuit, such as the fact that the protests against the furriers weren’t even PETA demonstrations (not to mention that whole first amendment thing).
Well, last week, the judge in the case ordered Schumacher Furs to pay PETA more than $40,000 as reimbursement for legal fees incurred fighting the lawsuit (which he called "an extraordinary abuse of the litigation process"), and his statement in the ruling just about says it all:
"I find that awarding fees in this case will properly serve to deter putative plaintiffs from filing multimillion-dollar suits against nonprofit groups and private citizens engaged in First Amendment activities ...."
So there you have it—a victory for animals and for free speech all in one go. The cash is a nice bonus, too.
I don’t know if they’re trying to put me out of business or what, but PETA Europe have just launched their very own blog, dedicated to all things animal rights, except, like, from a British perspective. So you can expect a lot of references to Eastenders and veggie bangers and mash. But they have brought in some real talent in the form of my friend Alexia Weeks to write the thing, and it’s off to a great start. So be sure to head over there and let Alexia know what you think.
Seems like there’s been quite a bit of naked going on lately, especially with all the work that went into putting together this year’s glorious State of the Union Undress, but these images—from a recent anti-fur demonstration in Barcelona—are way too good to pass up. Dozens of activists gathered to draw attention to the cruelty of the fur industry on Monday, and the results are just incredibly compelling.
Check out the photo gallery here.
Here’s what PetSmart spokesman Bruce Richardson had to say when he was asked about the shocking video footage revealed by our recent investigation into a PetSmart supplier in Texas:
“I don’t know what those images say. … Just because you see a dead pet, does that mean there was abuse? No. Pets die, particularly when you are dealing with volume.”
“When you’re dealing with volume,” Bruce? Does it not strike you as just a little bit callous to refer to the living, breathing beings that your company trades in as if they were lawn furniture? No, of course it doesn’t. Because that’s exactly the attitude that seems to be driving this business—despite being confronted by scenes of incredible suffering inflicted by a PetSmart supplier, Bruce and his colleagues appear to have seen nothing at all, beyond a few “acceptable losses” of their “product.”
Before I get too rhetorical here, let’s switch gears and watch something a bit more uplifting. It’s good to know, at least, that for every Bruce Richardson there’s also someone out there who’s taking time to make a positive difference for animals. Here’s a creative pro-spay and neuter spot by Alliance for Humane Action that I just came across. I like it because it has cats in it.
Yeah, I know. It’s not exactly the most exciting thing in the world. In fact, the exclamation point in the title may have been more wishful thinking on my part than actual exuberance. But for anyone who’s a) on Facebook, and b) in possession of a little bit of extra spending money, this really is an excellent opportunity to help give a big boost to PETA’s KFC Campaign. Here’s how it works, according to my friend Pulin Modi, who’s working on this project with Facebook (because he’s, like, all Web 2.0 and stuff):
“Facebook.com is hosting a “Giving Challenge” where PETA has an opportunity to win a pretty sizeable chunk of money as well as the attention of many of this site’s members. The goal is to have the most unique donors who contribute at least $10.The “Stop Kentucky Fried Cruelty” cause will generate money for PETA and already has taken in just over $3,000 and helped us make a lot of great connections by building buzz around our work and campaigns! You can check it out at http://apps.facebook.com/causes/view_cause/53026. It’s going well, but we still have a bit to go. If you are able to give $10 that would be great. We’re especially hoping to push for donations between now and 3pm EST tomorrow (January 28) to win an extra $1,000 as a daily award!Tell your friends and family who use Facebook, too. This is something that has to be done through Facebook and is a donation through a secure page, but only takes a minute to set up if you don’t have an account. As I mentioned, there are daily awards, plus the top cause gets $50,000 (with awards of $25,000 and $10,000 for the next dozen causes, too).”
If this sounds like it might be up your alley, you can check it out here. Hooray for philanthropy!
For the second year in a row, an extremely brave PETA member has bared all for our State of the Union Undress. The result is nothing short of stunning, and I can’t say enough about how amazing this young lady has been in helping us put the video together as a way of reaching a wide audience with a message of compassion for animals. I don’t know what to expect from Bush’s speech tonight, but I feel extremely confident in guaranteeing that our State of the Union is going to be a whole hell of a lot sexier.
I’ve written a fair amount about Sheriff J.B. Smith over the past couple of weeks, related to a back and forth he’s been having with us over a letter we wrote to him asking that he put an accused cannibal in his charge on a vegetarian diet. Well, the sheriff (who’s obviously doing a bang-up job over in Smith County, Texas) was in the news again this morning following a major drug bust in which he reportedly uncovered 242 pounds of marijuana hidden in a bin of lettuce inside a truck during a traffic stop. Anyway, the news report about the bust made me laugh out loud—the sheriff obviously has PETA on the brain:
“This was a great stop and it took a lot of drugs off the streets. … We are still working on this and are being assisted by the DEA, so there are still things we do not know.” Smith said his office is trying to contact the company that purchased the lettuce, but if the purchaser did not make immediate arrangements, it would be divided between the East Texas Food Bank and the Salvation Army. “We would also keep some of the lettuce and feed it to the (jail) population. This should make PETA happy, because we might be serving more salads in the next few days.”
Keep up the great work, sheriff, and thanks for keeping us in mind.
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.