Written by PETA
In 2006, a whistleblower at Vanderbilt University tipped PETA off to reports that a Vanderbilt experimenter named Jeffrey D. Schall was performing brain surgery on unanesthetized macaque monkeys. The whistleblower also forwarded us an email that had been sent to the department that included what was essentially a friendly reminder to researchers not to forget about anesthesia before drilling into these terrified animals' heads.
Vanderbilt has been on our radar for a long time, and Schall has long been known in the animal protection community as one of the most vile torturers in the business. In 2005, Vanderbilt was cited for 13 violations of the Animal Welfare Act, and Schall was suspended for a month after performing an unauthorized surgery and withholding water from a monkey. One monkey, called Lil' Wayne, died after seven days without anything to drink. In a separate incident, Schall threatened an animal care technician for reporting to the university veterinarian that an animal's collar had become entangled with the bottom bars of the cage, where he had become trapped.
We have been working for some time now to expose Vanderbilt's abysmal animal welfare record, and I will keep you updated as this case progresses. In the meantime, please take a moment to contact Vanderbilt Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos at this e-mail address to request that Schall be be asked to resign. It won't solve all the problems at Vanderbilt, but it’d be a start.
Click here to read more about this case in Vanderbilt's paper.
Now we can say what we couldn’t mention before. PETA has been talking to Michael Vick’s personal representatives, legal team, and more insiders for weeks. We asked for two things over all others: We wanted Michael Vick to tell impressionable young people not to follow in his footsteps, and we wanted him to openly condemn dog fighting. Today, in his statement, he answered both those requests, calling dogfighting “terrible” and telling kids to pay attention and not go down the same road he did. Mr. Vick also said he has found Jesus. Christian or not, we can agree that if Mr. Vick now asks himself “WWJD?” he will not be led back to dogfighting.
To urge the NFL to speak out against dogfighting as well, please click here.
And you can read the comments that PETA President Ingrid Newkirk made last week on the importance of Vick speaking out against dogfighting here.
Yesterday in Los Angeles, Paris and Britney look-a-likes took to the streets to lead a hilarious protest against pet stores and breeders at the site of our new ABC (Animal Birth Control) billboard. Obviously, this protest was meant to be lighthearted and fun, but the issue is deadly serious for the animals involved. For every dog or cat purchased from a breeder or a pet store, another dog or cat on death row at an animal shelter must be killed. Here’s what PETA’s Director of Domestic Animal Issues had to say about it all, “Forget jail or rehab; these selfish stars should do a stint in an animal shelter, where they would witness the plight of dogs who end up there after being bought on an impulse."
Dear Paris and Britney, So, you have popped into a pet store to pick up some more doggie arm candy. Your impulse purchases of dogs encourage others to follow suit, no matter how ill-equipped they are to provide a decade or more of care for a little dog who has feelings and needs and who requires patience, veterinary care, and stimulation other than nightclub music and bar laughter. Also, for every pet store puppy purchased, a pound puppy dies (and a breeder -- probably somewhere in Arkansas or Missouri -- is rewarded for adding yet another litter to the pet overpopulation crisis). A California bill that would have required most dogs and cats to be spayed or neutered-and therefore would have helped reduce the taxpayer burden for disposing of (killing) homeless animals-was recently defeated by greedy breeders. Perhaps you and other vacuous stars need to tattoo "Don't buy while pound pups die" on your foreheads to remind each other of that home truth. Very truly yours,Ingrid E. Newkirk, PresidentPETA
Dear Paris and Britney,
So, you have popped into a pet store to pick up some more doggie arm candy. Your impulse purchases of dogs encourage others to follow suit, no matter how ill-equipped they are to provide a decade or more of care for a little dog who has feelings and needs and who requires patience, veterinary care, and stimulation other than nightclub music and bar laughter. Also, for every pet store puppy purchased, a pound puppy dies (and a breeder -- probably somewhere in Arkansas or Missouri -- is rewarded for adding yet another litter to the pet overpopulation crisis). A California bill that would have required most dogs and cats to be spayed or neutered-and therefore would have helped reduce the taxpayer burden for disposing of (killing) homeless animals-was recently defeated by greedy breeders. Perhaps you and other vacuous stars need to tattoo "Don't buy while pound pups die" on your foreheads to remind each other of that home truth.
Very truly yours,
Ingrid E. Newkirk, PresidentPETA
As regular readers of this blog will know, PETA President Ingrid Newkirk is a huge fan of Formula 1 racing. Which means that she is incredibly knowledgeable about things like who has the best pit crew or which motor oil is better. Well, with the nation focused on dogfighting right now following the Michael Vick indictment, a Castrol Motor Oil ad that has been running on SPEED TV which appears to glorify the blood sport has been rightly upsetting a lot of animal lovers. Here's what Ingrid wrote to the company:
"As you know, Michael Vick, NIKE, and the NFL are in the deserved hot seat now for not immediately resigning, pulling ads, and pulling Mr. Vick, respectively. Your ad is "a fight to the death" in a back alley. Everyone realizes that cars don't fight to the death, dogs are made to. It has a sign saying "FIGHT" on the makeshift fence and on your site it refers to it as the "sickest" contest. … I have used your product for decades, even loved smelling it in the old days at the racetrack before synthetics came along, and hate to see a furor over Castrol. Thank you. Ingrid Newkirk, President, PETA"
After Ingrid contacted Castrol about the ad, the company immediately responded by assuring us that that while their ad agency was thinking "boxing match," they recognized that the imagery associated with the text implied a dogfight, and they're already working to revise their commercial so that no one will get the impression that dogfighting is something to be anything other than horrified by. With the massive attention to this issue that Vick's case has created, I'm hoping that this will be just one in a long chain of events that will see the blood sport condemned, prosecuted, and ultimately wiped out for good. Thanks, Castrol, for doing the right thing—and thanks to everyone who contacted us about this.
We've been getting a lot of calls from people asking what we're going to do about some new websites that are being passed around, called KittyBeef.com and PuppyBeef.com, which are purporting to sell prime cuts from kittens and puppies at discount prices. Well, the simple answer is … we're not really going to do all that much about it at all. In fact, I kind of wish we'd thought of the idea ourselves. For anyone who's horrified by the concept of having puppy chops or kitten nuggets for dinner, I hope they'll go just one tiny step further in their outrage and ask themselves how that's any different from chowing down on pork chops or chicken.
At the risk of getting a little rhetorical here, animals killed for our kitchens are just as capable of suffering as the animals we keep in our homes. They're just as smart, just as loving, and the prospect of the horrors that are inflicted on them by the meat industry keeps me up at night and fills me with the same anguish as reports of people who chain their dogs or torture their cats.
Welcome to Day 7 of the Michael Vick dogfighting indictment. PETA is still being inundated with calls and emails about the case, and we’re still working round the clock to make sure that the NFL and Vick’s sponsors send a real message to fans about the cruelty of dogfighting, rather than just sitting around to see what will happen next. I’ll have some more updates for you in a little while, but in the meantime, here are some great photos from today’s PETA demonstration outside Falcons HQ. You can be certain that there’s more where that came from.
Read PETA’s letter to the NFL Player’s Association
MSNBC covers the story
Falcons owner expected to take action (finally)
Tell the NFL to “Sack Vick”
About an hour ago, PETA campaigners and activists converged on NFL HQ in New York to urge Commissioner Roger Goodell and the NFL to suspend Michael Vick in light of his recent indictment for alleged involvement in the horrific cruelty associated with dogfighting—including allegations that he was killing dogs by hanging, slamming them to the ground, drowning, and electrocuting them. Surrounded by reporters and TV news crews, more than 75 activists lined the streets in front of the NFL building, holding signs reading “NFL: Sack Vick,” handing out stickers and leaflets to passersby, and making it abundantly clear—just in case Goodell hasn’t figured it out yet—that the NFL’s weak response to Vick’s case is unacceptable.
The massive turnout at this demonstration should be indication enough to Goodell that his decision to allow Vick to play in spite of these disturbing charges is going to be a major PR headache for the NFL, to say the least. Here’s what PETA President Ingrid Newkirk had to say about the NFL’s “wait and see” attitude in a statement to the media yesterday:
“Forget that unless space aliens were on Vick's property putting up an invisibility shield, it is impossible that Vick didn't know (let alone sponsor a fighting dog), that the house he built included designs for dog training facilities and that his relatives were fighting, kenneling, training, housing training equipment, and killing dogs there. There was a time when people under fire for corruption let alone criminal cruelty, resigned. That honorable moment has passed because of the Almighty Dollar. If he won't do the right thing by stepping down until this is resolved (and I'll put a sporting bet on his conviction), the NFL should suspend him. Is the new America only about money or do we still cling to some values? In the courts he may be innocent until proven guilty, and that's fair and fine, but in professional or political life, we have to have a higher standard than "hey, keep raking it in until we see if he gets off.”
The protest was covered on ESPN, and you can watch an interview with PETA’s own Dan Shannon that took place during the demonstration here.
I’ll let you know as soon as there’s more news, but in the meantime, you may want to get your very own “Sack Vick” T-shirt. Love it.
While the rest of us were working our fingers to the bone responding to the Michael Vick indictment yesterday, PETA Campaigner Mike Brazell got to traipse off to DC to live out my greatest fantasy—eating veggie dogs with a pair of Playboy Playmates (hey, I'm a man of simple desires.) I will keep you up to date throughout the week as the Vick case develops, but I think something a bit more lighthearted is in order for this morning's entry. Besides, these pictures, from yesterday's "Congressional Veggie Dog Lunch" are just too good to pass up.
And now, with those pictures to bolster you up against the trials of the day, back to Michael Vick …
Sign Russell Simmons and Al Sharpton's pledge to stamp out dogfighting
Sun Times Columnist says Vick must go
Court date is set for next week
ESPN talks animal rights
And finally, despite leading The Girls of Norfolk High to the Fantasy Super Bowl last year (we lost), Michael Vick will definitely not be making my fantasy roster when the draft begins in August. I can only hope the Falcons management makes the same smart decision to suspend him from their team.
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.