Written by PETA
In case you didn’t catch the Wall Street Journal article this morning, I wanted to tell you about a new approach we’re taking in our KFC Campaign.
Most people don’t know this, but KFC’s top executives like to boast about being good Christians. They donate large sums of money to a prominent evangelical Christian church, which one of them ran before joining KFC in 2003. That’s all well and good of course, but actions speak much louder than words, and the reality here is that the way the 850 million chickens killed each year for KFC are abused is a complete mockery of basic Christian values. It is completely unfathomable to me for people who claim such virtue to turn a blind eye to the extreme suffering that they have the power to stop.
My question to them is this: What would Jesus think of the fact that you’re not willing to even lift a finger to help the 850 million chickens killed for your restaurants, even though it is entirely within your power to do so? I’m not trying to be some Biblical scholar here, but honestly, it is just plain evil to continue to cause massive suffering when there are simple changes that can be made, and have been made by other fast food joints.
Well, if they’re not willing to listen to their own animal welfare advisors and the thousands of outraged people all over the world, maybe they’ll listen to the most powerful and influential religious figure in the world, Pope Benedict XVI, the head of the Catholic church. In case you haven’t seen it, here is a famous quote from Pope Benedict, "Animals, too, are God's creatures. ... Degrading them to a commodity seems to me in fact to contradict the relationship of mutuality that comes across in the Bible." Sums it up pretty nicely I think.
Anyway, we’ve made leaflets with the Pope’s picture and quote, along with all the gory details of what KFC does to chickens, and we’ll be distributing them at KFCs worldwide. If you attend church, you can order a batch to share with your congregation.
Let’s hope this at least nudges KFC in the right direction . . .
There's a great interview in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution with Atlanta Hawks Guard Salim Stoudamire about why he went vegan. The interview's been doing the rounds of the basketball blogosphere, and I came across a nice little piece about it today in one of my favorite basketball blogs, True Hoop, which you can read here. In the interview, Salim talks about the health benefits he's experienced since switching to a vegan diet, but I was excited to see that he had a little shout out for the animals he's helping out with his diet too:
"I don't think you should eat something that had a mother. I don't think that's right."
It's always great to see professional athletes talking about veganism, because they're great examples to point to when people have questions about whether a vegan diet is healthy. As Salim says, "My endurance has gone up, and I haven't gotten tired at all during the whole season." Which is a pretty ringing endorsement if you ask me—as is this little move he puts on the Grizzlies' Mike Miller. That's what you get when you try to take a take a vegan to the hole, Grizzlies. Salim, you're a badass.
I’m sure everyone has seen our Sexiest Vegetarian contest by now, and hopefully you’ve voted for your favorite already. The number and quality of entries has been truly inspiring.
If we ever decide to have a Dumbest Vegetarian contest, however, there won’t even need to be any voting because this girl will definitely win. ... Not much to say about it, huh? Wow.
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper is really good at ignoring people. He"s ignored millions of outraged Canadians and concerned people around the world; he's ignored countless representatives of the animal protection community; and he even managed to ignore Sir Paul McCartney, when the former Beatle pleaded with him to put a stop to the seal hunt taking place in his country. So no one’s doubting Stephen Harper’s capacity to be ignorant. But, after a letter from PETA President Ingrid Newkirk to Mrs. Laureen Harper, Mr. H may have to add his wife to the list of people he gives the cold shoulder to. Here’s hoping she has a more compassionate response than her husband.
I love me some Disney—hell, it still brings a tear to my eye every time I watch that little redheaded mermaid thing turn into a real live human girl and walk onto the beach—so, as you can imagine, it pains me more than anyone to hear bad things about the company. But Disney’s latest project, Snow Buddies, which used a number of purebred dogs in the production, sends kind of a different message than the "save the animals" stuff you get from most Disney movies. In fact, the whole thing was such a mess that PETA is now calling on Disney to dump distribution plans for the movie after dozens of the puppies fell ill and several died from parvovirus during production.
Apparently, the puppies were imported for use in Snow Buddies from an unlicensed commercial breeder in New York, even after the dogs started getting really sick, and most of them have died or become badly ill at this stage. Our stance is that Disney is being a bit disingenuous by distributing cute little movies about adorable, cuddly puppies when they’ve been working behind the scenes with sketchy-ass breeders who evidently have no idea how to properly care for dogs in the first place. You can learn more about the whole business here.
I’m sure most everyone is already aware of Burger King’s recent animal welfare improvements, but I still wanted to share this little tidbit with you. The BK story was covered all over the media, but the Houston Chronicle took it a step further and published this amazing editorial on corporate responsibility and animal welfare.
It’s not every day that animal issues get the coverage they deserve, much less with phrases like “Though most consumers are vaguely aware of it, cruelty is the rule, not the exception, when it comes to producing the meat most of us buy” and “On factory farms, pigs exist packed into wire or wood pens; tails are hacked off so they won't gnaw each other from stress and boredom. Sows are entrapped in "farrowing crates" so tiny they cannot turn around” so I was pretty psyched to read this.
So anyway, yeah, there you have it. Props up to the Houston Chronicle for taking an uneqivocal stance on this issue.
First of all, Happy Easter from everyone at PETA!
Now, as a little food for thought for the Easter holidays, here's the transcript of the 2007 Easter Message by the Slovenian President (and my new personal hero) Dr. Janez Drnovsek. President Bush, I really hope you're paying attention:
"The Easter Holidays are near. Let’s spend them in peace and good company. You can also renounce the ham, chocolate-eggs should be sufficient for an Easter atmosphere. Would it not be more harmonious if we did not associate religious celebrations directly with ham and other non-spiritual symbols? Do really so many animals have to die when we celebrate higher consciousness and try to develop spiritually? The answer is clear: of course not. Feasts don’t have much to do with spirituality, just the opposite. Even considering that we can try to understand that in some eras, in which food was scarce, religious events were celebrated with banquets, we can now leave such material remnants behind us. True spirituality does not need them, just the opposite, because they show us that religions demanding such identifications got stuck at a relatively low level of consciousness. That’s why we’ll try to celebrate the occasion differently this time. We use the opportunity for a walk in nature, for a cleansing of the spirit, for the search for internal peace. We are friendly to our family, our neighbours and all those suffering in this world. Also to animals. We spare them this time from our lust for meat and we try to overcome historical behavior patterns. We will do something good for our spirit and our body."
In 2000, I was still busy trying to figure out how "electronic mail" worked, and PETA, for all its marketing brilliance, was still just kind of feeling its way in terms of having an Internet presence. But we did hit on a campaign that ended up having a real life of its own on the ol' World Wide Web—it was all over blogs and forums, and it's still talked about on religious websites—and, with Easter just around the corner, I thought I'd raise that burning question again:
Was Jesus a Vegetarian?
Here is the website that started the debate, and you can read some more of the controversy here. Have a great Holy Saturday, everyone!
We actually didn't say "I told you so" in this instance, just:
“We are sorry to hear about your injury. We tried to help you and the donkeys. Please tell us that you understand now.”
I thought that was pretty nice of us, under the circumstances. Here's the back story: Whiteford Agricultural Schools’ superintendent Craig Haugen is receiving a bouquet of flowers from PETA after breaking his arm in a donkey basketball game. PETA had contacted Haugen more than a week before the game, pointing out the cruelty and dangers that go along with these ridiculous events and citing incidents where people have seriously hurt themselves during games. But Mr. Haugen ignored the letter and actually went on TV to say that the game would go on and that he saw nothing wrong with it. Anyway, after we heard he broke his arm, there were just so many possibilities … but apparently my boss Ingrid has this whole big thing about "being compassionate," so he got flowers and a note and that was it. So there you have it. Enjoy your flowers, Craig, and at least read our letter this time—it'll do you good.
With hundreds of people standing in line waiting for tickets last week, the Lewis and Clark Old-fashioned Circus just folded up its tents and slinked off into the night. (OK, whatever—it was daytime, and circuses probably can't slink exactly, but I need a bit of creative license here.) The reason for all the drama was that York City Manager Trey Eubanks had decided at an emergency meeting with city leaders that the circus had failed to meet safety guidelines and that three caged tigers used by the circus posed a danger to York citizens. You can read our letter thanking the city here. While it admittedly may have sucked a little for everyone waiting in line to go see the circus, it's awesome to see a city recognizing the dangers—not to mention the brutality—of animal circuses and booting them out of town. Nice work, York!
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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.