Written by PETA
Have you seen the stories about the child who died from salmonella he got from a pet turtle? It's so sad, and is yet another reminder of the dangers of keeping turtles in captivity. According to the FDA, there are more than 74,000 cases like this per year, so clearly more people need to hear about it.
And while it's awful that people get sick and all, let’s not forget that keeping turtles in aquariums or cages is certainly no fun for them either. Far from it. The best solution for everyone involved is to simply leave the turtles alone and let them live where they belong, in the wild.
So the next time you see someone selling little turtles in a souvenir shop or in a bodega in NYC (they are super popular in Chinatown), speak up. And remember that it’s actually illegal to sell turtles with shells less than 4” long, so if you spot that, report the place to the authorities.
I know I've said this before, and I don't want to sound fickle, but this time I really mean it: I am very much in love. Holly Madison stars in a reality TV show about the Playboy mansion called The Girls Next Door, which I intend to begin watching immediately. She is also a big animal lover, and—judging from the interview she recently did with PETA—she may be the sweetest person ever. In other, extremely important Holly Madison news, she is naked in this stunning new anti-fur ad. It's just all so overwhelming.
I know I just talked about Year of the Dog last week, but I wanted to mention it again because it looks like it’s really going to be great. It’s getting rave reviews all over the place.
For those of you in New York and L.A., you can see it tonight, but the rest of us will have to wait a while longer, since it’s rolling out everywhere else over the next few weeks. Oh well, the anticipation is half the fun, right? Anyway, the movie's star and director, Molly Shannon and Mike White, did some great interviews with PETA recently, so hopefully these will tide everyone over until the movie comes out. Check it:
Nobody can make you feel stupid quite like the French can. They have it down to an art. This picture, from a protest against the Canadian seal hunt in Paris this week, just says so much. I love the juxtaposition of disgust conveyed by the signs, and outright contempt conveyed by the dude wearing a silly beard to look like a sealer. That's how you do a demonstration. Nice work, the French.
You may remember Smithfield Foods' big January announcement that it is phasing out the use of gestation crates, followed shortly by Maple Leaf Foods' decision to follow suit, and Burger King's recent adoption of a new animal welfare plan that includes, among other things, reducing the amount of pig meat it purchases from suppliers that use crates. Well, we just got word from execs at another major pig meat producer (one of the world’s largest, in fact), Cargill Foods—which we had been encouraging to follow Smithfield’s lead—that it's going to come through in a big way: Cargill has stopped using gestation crates in 50 percent of its pig factory farms!
We’re not breaking out the champagne just yet, as the company hasn't agreed to a total phase-out of gestation crates, but this is a firm step in the right direction, and just another positive sign of big changes to come throughout the industry. Of course, PETA doesn't make a secret of the fact that we don’t want any pigs bred or slaughtered for food, but the pigs who are there right now don't have the luxury of hunkering down for a long campaign to win people's hearts and minds about the injustices of industrialized farming. While we keep pushing companies behind the scenes to stop torturing animals, like, at all, millions of animals right now will experience a significant improvement in the quality of their lives. Which is pretty good for a given work day. I'll let you know once they've gotten rid of gestation crates entirely. We're working on it.
The Onion struck a blow against the cruel confinement of animals in zoos this week by broadcasting a chilling interview with Yun Mei, a panda who has finally had enough. And yes, in case you're wondering, I do get all my news from The Onion. I find tragedy much more palatable when they funny it up. Thanks again, Onion!
It's officially Spring (Allie and Lis, who sit at the desks next to me, are informing me that it has, in fact, officially been Spring for, like, two weeks already — so, I dunno, sorry for the old news. I've been busy, so I only just noticed.) Anyway, for anyone who's rocking a little Spring cleaning this April, it's worth remembering that PETA accepts donations of those hideous fur coats from straight out of the '80s that seem to lurk in closets and attics everywhere, waiting for just the right time to pounce. We mark them up so they can't be resold, use them in street-theater-style demonstrations, and give them away to the homeless, making the point that only those in desperate need have any excuse to wear fur. Ain't that just philanthropic as hell? By way of an illustration, here's an image from a recent demonstration outside a Burberry store conducted by my current favorite PETA affiliate, PETA Germany.
Dan Mathews' book, Committed: A Rabble Rouser's Memoir, is finally out, and it kicked off with a great piece in USA Today this morning. Our Dan has been working a very long time on this book, so it's really gratifying to see it get such a great reception all over the place. This thing is seriously gonna be huge. Plus, all the good reviews mean that the guy is just a pleasure to be around at the office—provided it's after 10 a.m. and you've had a cup of coffee or two to help you deal with all the optimism and general cheeriness emanating from his person. You can read Dan's USA Today interview here, but this was my favorite little bit:
Q: Your press material calls PETA "one of the most enduring, powerful and annoying pressure groups in the world." I suspect you like the world annoying.A: When you're a pressure group and you want to be popular, you're bound to fail. But we're taking on corporations, and our currency is being annoying.
It ain't easy annoying the hell out of nasty corporations, but someone's gotta do it, and Dan Mathews is a natural. If you want to hear him talk about his experiences in person, he's going on a book tour next week, and you can check his MySpace page for dates and locations. And if you do run into him at one of his booksignings, be sure to make him tell you the story about the priest costume.
Those too-hip-for-their-own-good trendsetters over at peta2 have just released a new ad with indie rock icon Ted Leo, which is almost too cool for me to even be talking about. Nonetheless, I figured I should at least attempt to do it some justice, as it's kind of a masterpiece. Ain’t it purty?
Ted Leo used to play DC all the time when I was in high school there, and I've been following his career for a while now, so I was really excited to see that he was working with peta2. If you haven't heard his music yet, you can listen to his new album here. And even if indie rock isn't really your bag, Ted is a fascinating person with a lot on his mind, so it's well worth checking out his interview...
There is a groundbreaking legal case happening in Austria right now, in which a judge is being asked to rule on the "humanness" of a chimp—specifically, over whether he deserves a legal guardian.
The animal in question is called Hiasl (pronounced Hazel). He was born in the Sierra Leone jungle in 1981, captured by animal traders, and illegally shipped to Austria, destined for a vivisection lab. Luckily, customs officials intercepted the crate and Hiasl was placed in an animal sanctuary. Now, 20-something years later, the sanctuary has gone belly up and Hiasl is slated to be sent to a zoo. There are European activists and lawyers trying to keep him out of the zoo, so the trial is on.
Obviously, there has been a whole lot of back-and-forth over this case in Europe, and you can google it if you want the full deal, but suffice to say that primatologists and legal experts have spoken up in support of Hiasl's having legal human status, which is amazing. Even more amazing is that Volker Sommer, a primatologist at London University, says chimps are not just one of the homo genus—he believes they should be considered as the same species as contemporary humans. In the end, however, a judge will decide. . . . This story is so powerful, and the fact that it’s even in court shows both how far the animal rights movement has come, and how far we have to go.
I just heard about it the other day, but my boss, PETA Prez Ingrid Newkirk, has been following the case closely for a while now, and weighing in where she can. There was a story in The New Scientist the other day, and some of the online comments—many from vivisectors—were absolutely appalling. But, as usual, Ingrid’s response to them was just perfect:
"The level of knowledge about this case as expressed on various blogs is bleak and seems to show that what humans have in common with chimpanzees is that they have learned to throw their faeces (we do it via the Internet) when threatened. There is no need to be threatened by a kind person's attempt to protect an ape from having his head opened up and electrodes put in it, and from spending his life banging his body against a steel cage. This reminds me of how insecure men reacted to the idea in the '60s that women might be entitled to the same wage as they were and perhaps shouldn't always be the ones bringing the coffee to everyone's desks. If you see the movie Amazing Grace (or read about the Abolitionist movement), the human slavers and those who benefited from slavery - and the ignorant defenders of the status quo, used variations on the same theme to defend themselves from the "threat" of any rights for African humans. Same song, different year. What we need is less defensiveness and more compassion in the world. As for the chest-beaters, another thing they have in common with chimpanzees, if only they could see beyond themselves and lament that their empathy gene is obviously deficient.”
True dat, Ingrid. I’ll keep everyone posted as the case progresses.
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.