Written by PETA
To celebrate Fish Empathy Week, PETA sent Sammy the Sea Kitten to Fair Haven School in New Haven, Connecticut, and as you can see from the photos, students (and many of their parents) couldn't get enough of him!
The youngsters embraced both Sammy and his lifesaving message that sea kittens (aka fish) are meant for lovin', not the oven. Have you?
Written by Karin Bennett
And, this week's 10% Wool "Tag and Release" winner is ... Beth Ann! Congratulations.
Don't forget to check out the archive of past 10% Wool comic strips here. Get more information on the series and the writer here, and learn how to get Jeff's other comic, DeFlocked, into your local paper here.
Gorgeous, voluptuous, and sexy: All of those words describe actor/singer Scarlett Johansson. And now that she's the newest luminary to show support for the Healthy School Meals Act, we can add "humanitarian" and "friend to animals" to the list.
If launched, this $4 million pilot program will ingrain (sorry, couldn't resist) vegetarian food and drinks into school districts' lunch programs over a two-year period. In her letter, Scarlett points out, "Millions of families in America rely on subsidized school lunches, and these meals are absolutely crucial to children's well-being." The Healthy School Meals Act will give kids a chance to develop healthy eating habits that center on nutritious plant-based fare, instead of body parts from stressed, mutilated, and exhausted animals.
By joining Spiderman's Tobey Maguire and health experts around the country in this effort, Scarlett has revealed her smarts and her 24-carrot heart of gold. (Oh, yes, I did.)
Written by Karin Bennett
"I have been in many lunchrooms during lunch period and can attest to the food that is frequently lacking from a nutritional perspective and very high in saturated fats. … What our bill will do is provide some lower-fat and lower-cholesterol ways for kids to get the nutrition that they need to be healthy." —U.S. Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) on the Healthy School Meals Act, which would start a $4 million pilot program to incorporate vegetarian food and drinks into school districts' lunch programs over a two-year period.
We'll cheer for that! Considering that vegetarian diets have been proven to curb childhood obesity, which remains a crisis in the U.S., Polis's proposed legislation would save kids and animals.
Many schools across the nation have already successfully adopted humane menus. Encourage your local schools to do the same.
Written by Logan Scherer
As if we needed another reminder that wild animals are not wind-up toys, a capuchin monkey reportedly being kept as a "service animal" by a man in Chesapeake, Virginia, bit the man so severely that he had to be hospitalized. A video that aired on a local news broadcast showed the monkey's cage and the floor surrounding it sprayed with the man's blood.
Dangerous attacks are just one of the many downsides to keeping primates as "pets" (remember Travis?) and/or using them for assistance or therapy. Monkeys who are trained for Helping Hands, an organization that provides monkeys to quadriplegics and other physically disabled people, are torn away from their mothers within days or weeks of birth—separations that are extremely traumatic for both mother and baby. Because monkeys are known to be prone to biting, some or all of the monkeys' teeth are usually pulled. (The Chesapeake man apparently did not obtain his monkey from Helping Hands, because the monkey's teeth appear to be intact.)
Capuchin monkeys are intelligent and highly social animals who naturally live in groups and spend most of their time in trees. In the jungles and forests where they belong, capuchins raise families and have intricate communication systems. They race through tree canopies with astonishing speed and accuracy. Because they are extremely active, messy, and destructive, captive capuchins often spend much of their time confined, alone, to cages—a far cry, both literally and figuratively, from their vibrant jungle homes.
No one can debate the tremendous challenges faced by disabled people, but forcing monkeys to bridge the gap is not the most humane—or the safest—answer. With so many people having lost their jobs during the economic downturn, it seems like it would make more sense to hire them as "helping hands" than to continue to force monkeys into a lifetime of servitude far from their families and natural habitats.
Written by Alisa Mullins
Really-old-but-still-totally-relevant history lesson (it's quick—I promise!): The Ancient Greeks were so awed by dolphins, whom they deemed friends to humans, that every time they spotted one swimming behind a ship, they considered him or her a good omen. Now, a new study suggests that in order to respect our marine friends and cognitive cousins, we must simply stay away from them. Findings from researchers at Newcastle University suggest that human interactions with dolphins—from following them in tourist boats to swimming with them to touching them—are harmful to these intelligent, sensitive mammals.
The report claims that when humans swim near bottlenose dolphins and touch them, they inflict severe stress on them, "preventing them from resting, feeding or nurturing their young." The study found that whenever tourist boats are present, dolphins become unsettled, and according to Newcastle University's Dr. Berggen, "[T]he dolphins are using more energy than they are taking in because they aren't resting or feeding as much but are swimming more as they try to avoid the tourist boats." This has a negative impact not only on individual animals but also on the population as a whole, and long term, it could be devastating.
Every dolphin is a self-aware individual with a unique personality, so it's no surprise that these animals are perceptive to their surroundings and susceptible to stress-related illnesses. If they're so intensely affected by the mere presence of humans, just imagine the kind of irreparable trauma they suffer when pulled from the ocean and placed in SeaWorld's chemically treated prisons. The only way that we can ensure that they'll live natural, happy, and peaceful lives? Leave them alone—no matter where they are.
I can't think of a better way to ring in spring than to make like a garden and go green—which is why I'm stoked for tomorrow's Meatout.
This year marks the 25th anniversary of the nationwide celebration of cruelty-free eating, and Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm has gone the extra mile by officially designating tomorrow Michigan Meatout Day and encouraging all the state's residents "to choose not to eat meat." Her humane declaration has members of the state's cattle, meat, and dairy industries up in arms, calling on the governor to end Michigan Meatout.
Not one to let bullies push her around, Granholm has stuck by her proclamation to promote a healthy, kind, and environmentally conscious diet. While Granholm puts the uber in "gubernatorial," tell us how you plan to bring tomorrow's festivities to your community.
Who was most surprised to hear reports that Russell Brand was supposedly sporting snakeskin boots at the Vanity Fair Oscar party? Russell Brand himself.
No one who's familiar with the raucously clever comic—who is a longtime vegetarian and has spoken out for animals on numerous occasions—could believe that he would support the live skinning of snakes. So PETA U.K. went straight to the source and asked Russell whether or not his footwear was really snakeskin. He immediately changed our WTF to FTW by assuring everyone that his alleged faux pas was really fab faux: "They're fake. Specially made, don't panic. I also won 'sexiest smoker' this week in spite of not smoking."
Phew! Now we can trash that "Are your cigarettes cruelty-free?" letter (kidding).
In July 2008, PETA received an anonymous letter reporting that "many monkeys" had died at Charles River Laboratory's (CRL) Sparks, Nevada, facility because of a heating system malfunction. We immediately filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which opened an investigation. After the incident, CRL was fined $10,000 for the death of 32 monkeys—and then went right back to selling and experimenting on millions of animals.
Jumping forward to earlier this year, another horror story broke from behind the walls of a CRL lab in Reno, Nevada. Employees at this facility carelessly ran a monkey through a high-temperature cage washer and boiled him alive. CRL was once again fined, this time for $4,000.
Now news outlets across the country are reporting on the combined $14,000 in fines for the deaths of these 33 monkeys—who were forced to endure the excruciating pain of being cooked alive because of employee ineptitude—and people everywhere are crying out for tighter regulations.
Compared to the usual slap on the wrist that abusive companies receive, these fines are hefty. But for a billion-dollar corporation with a long and sordid history of violating federal animal protection laws—and the iniquitous distinction of being the world's largest tester and supplier of animals for use in experimentation—they're like parking tickets. CRL is responsible for the imprisoning, poisoning, mutilating, and killing of literally tens of millions of animals—from mice to dogs to monkeys—in its own laboratories and those of its customers.
While the deaths of these monkeys have shined some light on the horrors that occur inside CRL, it is the everyday operations of this company and others like it that cause animals the most suffering and death.
Lets's hope that CRL's recent closing of a testing facility in Massachusetts is a sign of things to come for the entire nasty company.
"Ready …Set …Um, never mind …"
It seems quite possible that Animal Planet's upcoming reality series starring Mike Tyson might be knocked out of production. (Join us in our sorrow—not.) PETA has identified what might be a fatal flaw in the very premise of Taking on Tyson, which is scheduled to begin filming in Brooklyn next month. See, while pigeon racing is cruel to birds no matter where it takes place, in New York state it's also very likely illegal.
Our letter to Charles J. Hynes, Kings County district attorney, points out that gambling is generally prohibited in New York state—as are races using animals other than horses in which any bet, stake, or reward is involved. Translation: When it comes to racing pigeons in Brooklyn, all bets are off possibly illegal. What's more, trainers are prohibited from making money off such races, and this rule might very well apply to any compensation that Tyson is receiving from Animal Planet.
Considering its inherent cruelties, there's no question that pigeon racing should be illegal. Birds who are forced to race often struggle to survive extreme heat, hail, and thunderstorms, dodging both predators and cruel humans through grueling races that can be as long as 500 miles. Those who somehow do not succumb to exhaustion or injury and make their way home may still have their necks wrung by unsatisfied trainers.
Take a minute to write Animal Planet and politely let the network know that while you love shows like Whale Wars and Animal Cops—programs in which people go to bat for animals—a program in which people bet on cruelty is a bad hand for everyone.
Written by Shawna Flavell
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.