Written by PETA
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.
As you probably know, PETA VP Dan Mathews has a book coming out next month: Committed: A Rabble Rouser’s Memoir. Both Dan and the book have been getting some great endorsements lately, and these are a few of my favorites:
P.S. For anyone who may have been offended by Chrissie Hynde's comment, which is technically a misuse of the subjunctive mood, there are some great resources here.
One of the recent perks of being a PETA employee is access to advance chapters of the new book by PETA's globe-trotting VP, Dan Mathews. The book, entitled Committed: A Rabble-Rouser's Memoir, doesn't come out until April, but I've been enjoying the hell out of the little bits and pieces I've been able to coerce Dan into sending me. Here's an excerpt from his account of the inaugural tour of our vegetarian mascot, Chris P. Carrot:
With my feet in his clunky, white shoes, Mr. Carrot stands over seven feet tall. ... He holds a poster that reads “Eat Your Veggies-Not Your Friends” (we thought of going with “Eat Me” but thought again). Completing the ensemble is a pair of fluorescent orange panty hose, which, sadly, wouldn’t stretch to the top of my lanky legs. As PETA's campaigns chief, I don’t ask anybody to do anything I wouldn’t do myself. Since I cooked up this junket, it was my duty to give the flame-colored mascot a test drive in order to work out the kinks for future carrots. My comrade was recently hired campaigner Tracy Reiman, a chipper gal from Georgia, who I was training. On her first business trip, she had to rise at dawn to help her new boss morph into a reject from the land of H.R. Pufnstuf. Tracy also became the carrot’s official spokesperson; the voice I had developed for Chris P. Carrot, a hybrid of John Wayne and Pee Wee Herman, triggered panic-stricken shrieks and projectile tears from second graders, so we decided on the spot that the carrot should be mute. …
Our initial goal was simply to score equal time to tax funded talks in which the U.S. Department of Agriculture beguiles a captive audience of kids about how meat and milk is produced, using carefree materials such as the “Peace & Plenty Farm" coloring book. ... Students are not informed that the animals are kept in such cramped conditions that factory farmers routinely cut off their horns, slice off their beaks, and grind down their teeth to keep them from mutilating each other. When schools refused our offer of a more realistic classroom presentation, we announced that we’d bring the news to kids just off campus, courtesy of PETA’s zany decoy, Chris P. Carrot, whose blazing orange leaflets contained all the grim facts that were omitted from meat trade handouts. The story exploded throughout Cattle Country. For many years I pushed campaigns which appealed to people’s intellect and compassion. But as cable TV and the Internet helped mold an escapist society hungrier for entertainment than education, serious topics began taking a backseat to scandal and sensation, and we at PETA had to dream up flashier ways to vie for people’s attention. … Although I lament the loss of serious public discourse, I’ve easily adjusted to the new rules because I am, at heart, a very silly person.As a chubby adolescent too bashful to undress in the locker room, I couldn’t have predicted that I’d spearhead a campaign called “We’d Rather Go Naked than Wear Fur,” be hauled to jail nude on three continents. Or that I’d conduct business at a skinny-dipping party at the Playboy Mansion. Or that I’d impersonate a priest to crash a fashion show in Milan, don a cow costume to storm a cattleman’s convention in Denver, and argue whether Jesus was a vegetarian in the solemn office of the Archbishop of Turin. I’ve picked up the phone to get an angry earful from Madonna when I spoke out against her bullfighting-themed music videos. I’ve also picked up the phone to hear Sir Paul McCartney insist we take the rest of the day off when we successfully pressured McDonald’s to stop buying meat from slaughterhouses that fail USDA inspection.
There's a pretty fun series of interviews with Dan that's been making the rounds, which you can check out here. For what it's worth, our Legal Department wants me to warn you that (in no particular order) you will explode, your eyes will pop out, and your brain will boil in your head if you watch this, since it may have been put up on YouTube without permission. Enjoy!
When I walked by my boss Ingrid’s office this morning and heard “My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys” blaring, I knew something fishy was going on . . .
Well, toss your cowboy hat in the air, crank up “On The Road Again” and holler yee haw! Willie Nelson (Yes, THE Willie Nelson) and his daughter have been trying to close horse slaughterhouses in Texas for many years, and today their efforts and the efforts of everyone who was fighting right alongside them won out! The US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has ruled that the old law on the Texas books prohibiting the operation of these hideous places is valid—meaning that the two remaining horse slaughterhouse in the state have to close! The only other option the horse butchers have is to try their luck in the Supreme Court, but I really don’t see that happening.
To celebrate, I’m throwing a huge party this weekend, and I just bought “Mama Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Cowboys” to start getting pumped up for the big event.
I just love that Willie and his family have worked so hard to help horses. Thank you, guys!
Or should I say “Wer Wird Millionar?” That’s, like, German, because last night on the German version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire, a contestant flew the PETA flag in a big way.
My friend Harald, who sent me the pics of his television set, said the dude is still going and will be on the show again Friday. Hopefully he wins mad euros.
Good luck German PETA dude! If you need a lifeline, feel free to call . . .
If you get that subject line, then you’re old enough to remember Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch. I’m not ashamed to admit it, I used to kick it to Good Vibrations back in the nine one. And like the rest of the civilized world, I’ve followed Mark Wahlberg’s career over the years. Basketball Diaries, Boogie Nights, I Heart Huckabees, The Italian Job (with PETA pal Charlize Theron), and oh, let’s not forget the best picture of ’06, The Departed.
Anyway, as you can see, I’m a fan. So I was pretty bummed when The New York Times reported that my boy was spotted eating foie gras, which is so insanely cruel that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a bill banning it in California. PETA immediately wrote to Wahlberg asking him if he did in fact dine on the dish of fatty liver—that comes from force-fed geese who have pipes rammed down their throats for weeks before being slaughtered and served. His publicist replied right away saying, “Thanks, Mark did not eat fois gras, though it was on the menu as an appetizer,” which put the PETA posse at ease.
Thank God, because I really didn’t want to have to eBay my Entourage DVDs . . . or get rid of my Funky Bunch cassettes. Yes, cassettes. Give me a break, it was a long time ago.
I just read an article about how "scientists" at Shandong University in China have created the first ever remote-controlled pigeon. This is considerably less fun than it sounds, as it turns out that far from actually creating anything, these people have been torturing birds for God knows how many years by inserting electrodes into their brains to try and control their movements. Well, they've apparently succeeded, and now they have no idea what to do with their work. As the London Times puts it, "The report did not specify what purpose the pigeons may perform." Even if you haven't heard of the scientists responsible for this experiment, you should recognize them. Like most vivisectors, they're grown-up versions of those kids who used to pull the legs off spiders or throw stones at cats just to see what would happen. Here's what happened in this case:
Remember Steve-O’s anti-circus video? I thought it was about the coolest thing ever, on account of the fact that the dude can walk down stairs on his hands. (He also said some pretty good stuff against the circus, incidentally.) Anyway, I’ve been hearing all these rumors about a new ad he was going to shoot for us, and I just found out that it was shot this past weekend.
It won’t be released for a few months, so I can’t tell you too much about it, but what I can tell you is that in true Steve-O style, there will be PG, X, and XXX rated versions, and that Tommy Lee will most definitely be proud.
Here’s a pic from the shoot, with everyone’s favorite porn star Ron Jeremy, who just happened to stop by Steve-O’s place during the shoot. The little hottie with them is my pal Michelle, who works in PETA’s LA office. If Michelle’s parents are reading this, I just want you to know that Steve-O gave her a glowing review and reported that she is not only amazingly professional but also, totally smart and awesome and stuff.
And just because its so frickin' cool, here’s the spay/neuter ad Ron did a while back.
For all the good he's done for the environment—which, to be fair, is an awful lot—Al’s leaving out a huge piece of the puzzle by ignoring the fact that the devastation caused by the meat industry is among the worst environmental disasters ever to happen to the world. As we told him in our letter, sent earlier this week:
While the steps that you urge people to take in An Inconvenient Truth are inarguably important, the quickest and most effective way to fight climate change will come through diet change.
An inconvenient truth for him, maybe, but it’s the truth nonetheless. Since he might not have seen the recent U.N. reports on the subject, we pointed out to him that animals raised for food generate more greenhouse gases than all cars and trucks combined, and that (according to a recent University of Chicago study), switching to a vegan diet is more effective in countering global warming than switching from a standard American car to a Prius. We've also offered to cook him some faux "fried chicken" as an introduction to meat-free meals, since, however many documentaries you make, you just can't be a meat-eating environmentalist. I'll let you know if he gets back to us.
If you've never been implicated in a preposterous conspiracy theory, I can highly recommend the experience. It's a roller-coaster ride of emotions from shocked to flattered to downright amused. This is especially true when the person responsible for the conspiracy theory is a high-ranking government official, as we discovered last week when we were tipped off to an alleged claim by U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao that PETA's Kentucky Fried Cruelty Campaign is not what it seems—that it is (wait for it) a cleverly disguised initiative designed to help labor organizations pass bills that will assist in unionizing workers.
In response to Chao's statement, which she evidently made while speaking at one of Grover Norquist’s “Leave Us Alone” meetings, we've sent her a little letter to clear things up and to ask for her support in the campaign. Just so that this point is crystal clear—PETA's campaign against KFC is single-mindedly focused on that company's treatment of chickens (which, by the way, is appalling). On account of we're an animal rights organization. I.e., an organization that concerns itself with the treatment of animals. Like chickens, for instance. Which is why we have a campaign against a chicken chain. I do hope that makes sense to everyone. Anyway, here's the letter:
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.
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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.