Written by PETA
We've spoken out against BP, and suggested ways in which each one of us can help save the waterways and the environment. Now, by special request, we've created a new, fun, and in-your-face line of BP-related merchandise that will help fund PETA's work to save wildlife. Now we're giving away our BP T-shirt and coffee mug to two lucky winners (you can also buy the shirt for yourself and all your friends):
Written by Amy Skylark Elizabeth
*Here's a little something to get you in the mood to tell us all about your imaginary coffee date with BP.
As NASA public affairs specialist Stephanie Schierholz took to the stage at Monday's TWTRCON to weigh in on "customer service," animal defenders elsewhere took to their Twitter accounts and took over the #TWTRCON hashtag—specifically weighing in on NASA's plan to fund a misguided, cruel, and wasteful experiment in which dozens of squirrel monkeys would be blasted with harmful space radiation.
Tweets about NASA's radiation experiments started appearing on large projectors flanking the sides of the stage that the conference was using to display tweets about the event. One attendee reported that after the NASA representative responded to the surprise Twitter protest by shrugging her shoulders and rolling her eyes, curious audience members could be heard tapping on their keyboards for more information about NASA's plans to bankroll the torment of monkeys at the Brookhaven National Laboratory and Harvard's McLean Hospital.
Schierholz reportedly muttered, "[M]aybe we're experimenting on monkeys." No, NASA—if caring people have anything to say about it, you won't be. We'll keep tweeting and taking to the streets, the phone lines, and online petitions until your plans for these cruel, senseless experiments are canceled.
Written by Karin Bennett
On Sunday in Mexico City, bullfighter Cristian Hernández left the ring in the middle of a fight. After he was arrested and charged a fine for breach of contract, he announced his retirement from bullfighting, saying, "I didn't have the ability, I didn't have the balls, this is not my thing." Well, we don't think that's exactly right. I mean, any coward can bully an animal. But it takes courage to walk away despite the jeers of spectators. To send a message to those who deride him, PETA is reimbursing the cost of Hernández's fine and sending him a "Real Men Are Kind to Animals" certificate that he can wave in his detractors' faces.
Townspeople may paint Hernández as a coward or imply that he is somehow less of a man for refusing to torment and kill bulls who are physically harmed, driven into an arena with a roaring crowd, run around in dizzying circles, jabbed with knives, and finally stabbed to death at the point of complete exhaustion—but, as we know, bullies are the cowards.
So let's hope Hernández sees that he can have fans when he doesn't hurt animals for a living—and to all the "real men" out there who save animals rather than stab them, please join me in giving a big "Olé!"
Written by Jeff Mackey
Phew! PETA's "BOYCOTT PETCO" brick* survived the 5.7-magnitude earthquake that shook San Diego's PETCO Park on Monday—and here's a photo snapped by an activist last night to prove it:
Don't get me wrong—PETA loves the stadium's tasty, animal-friendly eats but hates the massive suffering that PETCO causes by buying animals from shady dealers and selling them to anyone who walks in, intentions be damned. Animals like the poor fellow below who are bred for and shipped to PETCO and other pet stores get their world shaken to pieces every single day by being mishandled, abused, or even thrown into the trash to die. They are crammed en masse into crowded, filthy containers at animal distributors such as U.S. Global Exotics and Sun Pet, and they're often denied basic necessities, including food, water, adequate air, and veterinary care.
Let's shake things up for PETCO (the store—not the stadium!) by telling it to stop selling animals immediately or we'll shop elsewhere for our dog beds, cat trees, toys, and treats.
Written by Lindsay Pollard-Post
*Line up the first letter of each word to find the brick's hidden message!
The following is a guest post from blogger and former Ringling clown André du Broc
I've spent much of my life in careers centered around making others happy. As an actor, I believed that my first responsibility was to the audience. They needed to be delighted and engaged by everything that I did on stage. This was particularly true of my time as a circus clown. If an audience's joy depended on my dropping my pants, I dropped my pants. If it meant taking a pie in the face three times a day, so be it. Many may have thought that these actions were undignified. I saw it as doing my job well. It brought me great satisfaction to see families sitting together in a crowded stadium and smiling from ear to ear.
Every Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey show begins with the ringmaster's announcement, "Ladies and gentlemen! Boys and girls! Children of all ages!"
I love that thought. From the beginning of the show, the audience is told to leave adulthood at the door. Be a kid again. Laugh. Smile. Enjoy!
The veneer of the circus was everything I desired in a career. It was a chance to make masses of people happy, a chance to travel all over, and an opportunity to take my silliness very seriously. What I found backstage, however, was very different. My goal is not to write an exposé of everything that happened backstage at Ringling. My former work as a circus clown has carried me far and opened a lot of doors for me over the years, and for that I am very grateful. But there was a world behind the curtain that I was not equipped to handle.
Audiences come to Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey's Greatest Show on Earth ("Big Bertha" to circus folks) primarily to see two things—clowns and elephants.
I spent most of my time with the elephants. In Tampa, I had a roommate who was an elephant trainer for a local zoo, so I had a deep fondness for these massive animals. If you look into the eyes of an elephant, you can't help but remark at their soulfulness. They are filled with expression. When an elephant is happy, you can tell at a glance. Back in Tampa, when the elephants were allowed to play in the water, their eyes would twinkle, their bodies would waddle, and their trunks would curl up, pulling their large mouths into an unmistakable smile. They looked like they were having fun. They were happy.
I never saw the elephants in the circus make that face. They looked tired, weary, frustrated, angry, and so very sad. I stopped one of the assistant elephant handlers to ask why a particular elephant had tears pouring down the sides of her face. He laughed, "'Cause she's a bitch and the bitch got what was coming to her." He then pointed to the welt on the side of his face from where she had slapped him with her trunk. He then showed me his bullhook, a 2-foot-long stick with a metal hook on the end that is used to train elephants. "I gave her about 10 good whacks across her skull. Bam! Bam! Bam!" he demonstrated. "Bitch'll think twice before she messes with me." This brutal assistant handler had never received any formal training in dealing with elephants. His job was simply to keep them fed, watered, and in line.
I remember that there was always a bullhook in the corner of the apartment back in Tampa. The metal hook had a blunt, rounded tip. My roommate had explained that it was used to hook the inside of where the mouth and trunk met. You give it a slight tug and the elephant will move in that direction. I witnessed many of the Ringling trainers sitting in circles, sharpening their bullhooks to dangerous points. They wanted the elephants to fear them, and the best way to do that was to inflict as much pain as possible.
Each of these great animals were looking at a lifetime of being chained to a wall, beaten, and marched out briefly to perform. Unlike those I left in Tampa, they would never roll in the grass or enjoy playing in the water.
The largest of the elephants, King Tusk, had a particularly sad story. When he first came to Ringling from another circus in 1986, he was the largest traveling land mammal alive. At 42 years old, weighing 14,762 pounds, standing 12 feet 6 inches tall, and sporting a length of 27 feet, King Tusk (Tommy) was a spectacular being. In the wild, elephants are constantly rubbing down their tusks to reduce the weight carried by their head. Tommy, however, had been prohibited from doing so for 42 years, and this had allowed his tusks to grow unacceptably long. In fact, where cracks would form along the tusk, metal bands were installed to keep them from breaking. His tusks were more than 7 feet long and put enormous weight and strain on his back. He had arthritis in his neck and back, and by the time I joined the circus in 1992, he could no longer perform any tricks.
Instead of retiring this great elephant with dignity and shaving down his tusks so that he could live out his remaining years in comfort, Ringling would have him simply stand in the center ring while two acrobats performed on his back.
Tommy was finally transferred to the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in 1998 after spending 51 years of his life performing in circuses. According to Two Tails Ranch's records, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium sent him to live out his remaining years at their elephant facility in Florida, where at 57 years of age he was finally euthanized just before Christmas in 2002.
I am grateful for the experiences that I had in the circus. I learned about who I am as a person, an entertainer, and a clown. I learned so much and had amazing, exciting, and terrific experiences. Most importantly, I learned what dignity means. I filled my steamer trunk with plenty of it as I rolled it out of Clown Alley and away from the Big Top forever.
I will not go to a Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey show or any other Feld Entertainment production ever again.
Tommy would have wanted it that way.
André du Broc graduated from Clown College in the fall of 1992 and went on the road with Ringling's blue unit in late October. He left the circus about a month later because he could no longer bear to witness the horrific treatment and living conditions of the animals. André maintains a blog at toomanycookies.wordpress.com.
Anyone who's ever wondered whether Christianity and compassion for animals are compatible should check out Oliver Thomas' USA Today column "What's the Godly Way to Treat Animals?" Thomas, a Baptist preacher, speaks out against chaining dogs and factory farming abuses, including "packing animals shoulder to shoulder in their own excrement" and "wiring them into cages where their personal space is smaller than a piece of printer paper." I especially like what Thomas has to say about people who dodge their duty to spay and neuter their animal companions: "With free and discounted spay/neuter opportunities galore, that's inexcusable." Amen to that!
Be sure to read the whole column, share it with your Christian friends and family, and leave a comment thanking Thomas and USA Today for this great piece. Then check out IslamicConcern.com and JewishVeg.com for information about how other religions believe that animals should be treated.
Written by Lindsay Pollard-Post
This one's scarier than that shower scene from Carrie: It's been shown before, but there's more news that researchers in the U.K. have found a link between high meat consumption and early periods in girls.
Using data from a group of children who were studied from birth, researchers determined that 7-year-olds who regularly chow down on meat face a 75 percent chance of prematurely getting their periods by age 12. The curse of earlier puberty for youngsters also sets the stage for their increased risk of breast cancer later on, thanks to extended exposure to higher levels of estrogen.
OTR tweens, IBD, UTI—it's easy to crack the code: Stop eating animals. Period.
From plane flyovers to 18-hour tub-ins, people are saying "enough" to SeaWorld's exploitation of orcas, bottlenose dolphins, and other animals. And now, even if you live nowhere near Orlando, San Antonio, or San Diego—where SeaWorld forces marine mammals to spend their entire lives in tiny tanks—you can still make a difference for animals if you RSVP to our virtual protest on Facebook and participate in it on June 18.
SeaWorld, which owns most of the captive orcas and bottlenose dolphins in the U.S., has a hideous history of animal exploitation. Marine mammals suffer for years in tanks that are only a few times larger than their bodies. They are never able to swim freely, feel the ocean current, or enjoy life in a closely knit pod, and they die far short of the life span that they would enjoy if they lived in the ocean where they belong. And the park's death toll is staggering, counting not only orcas such as Taima, her mother, and her stillborn calf but also humans, including the trainer who was killed by Tilly the orca in February.
If you RSVP for the Facebook event now and update your Facebook status with a comment about SeaWorld on Friday, you and all the friends you can muster can show park officials that their deadly attraction belongs in the history books.
Spread the word to your friends and family: Never buy a ticket to SeaWorld.
Written by Jennifer O'Connor
Good news: Canada's annual commercial seal slaughter ended last night—and more than 80 percent of the seals who had been marked for death were spared this year.
Thanks to a huge PETA push and the hard work of caring people like you, worldwide demand for seal fur is plummeting. We worked to get the European Union to ban the sale of seal products, and the U.S. Senate unanimously passed U.S. Senate Resolution 84, which calls for an end to the annual slaughter. There are few places left for sealers to sell these wretched pelts.
But we must keep up the fight until Canada stops the slaughter altogether, and that means year-round pressure! PETA has big plans to do just that. And you can help by staying active online and in your local community. Let's stop this barbaric massacre forever.
Written by Paula Moore
PETA's presence was felt by Australian wool producers who are attending a weeklong international trade meeting in San Francisco. Yesterday, 120 protesters made a striking appearance as they gathered outside the conference building and denounced industry executives for allowing wool producers to abandon their commitment to ending the bloody and painful practice of mulesing this year.
Leading designers and retailers around the world—including Gap Inc., Timberland, Abercrombie & Fitch, Limited Brands, Liz Claiborne, HUGO BOSS, and Perry Ellis—have pledged to move away from wool that comes from mulesed sheep or have instituted an outright ban on it.
Shoppers can make a difference by turning their backs on wool altogether.
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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.