Written by PETA
Now that he's about to get out of jail, it looks like Michael Vick is trying to revamp his image, according to Advertising Age. But it won't be with any help from us.
PETA withdrew our offer to do a TV spot with Michael Vick last December when a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) report on Vick's dogfighting activities revealed that he enjoyed placing “family pets” in the ring with fighting pit bulls and that he laughed as dogs ripped each other apart. PETA believes that this revelation, along with other factors in the report, fit the established profile for anti-social personality disorder (APD), so in January we called on NFL Commissioner Goodell to require that Vick undergo a brain scan and a full psychological evaluation before any decisions are made about the future of his football career.
What can I say? You can't believe everything you read.
Written by Shawna Flavell
He's hard on his opponents, but he has a soft touch when it comes to animals. Yep, that's how mixed martial arts champ Tito Ortiz rolls. Recently, the tender-hearted tough guy and father of twins (with none other than PETA princess Jenna Jameson) took time out from clocking clowns in the cage to take on dogfighting. In a hard-hitting new ad for PETA, Tito encourages people to stand up to the cowards who make canines do their fighting for them. Did I mention that we're also giving away autographed gear from Tito's clothing line? And while we're on the subject of kick-ass things, here's another behind-the-scenes PETA Files exclusive interview. 'Cuz, you know, that's how we roll:
Written by Amy Elizabeth
On September 18, 2007, I spent eight hours with Michael Vick at PETA headquarters. He was there to participate in PETA's "Developing Empathy for Animals" course as part of an education process that PETA hoped would ultimately lead Michael to speak out publicly against dogfighting.
In one segment of the course, Michael watched a police training video about the link between violence against animals and violence against humans. It contains graphic footage shot at a dogfight. I watched Michael grimace while watching this footage, in the way that any normal person would. At another point, the video shows a young person hanging a live cat from the ceiling and stabbing the animal to death with a knife. At this point, Michael closed his eyes and turned his head from the screen, seemingly disturbed by what he saw.
Michael also watched a slide-show of photos taken of neglected dogs. He was asked to describe what each animal must have felt in their situation. He aced this part of the course, pointing out that starving dogs living in garbage with heavy, rusty chains around their necks must be "lonely," "sad," and "terrified," and pointed to such indicators as the dogs' tails curled between their legs and their heads bowed in submission. You can see Michael's hand-written responses to the empathy test questions here.
I came away from that meeting encouraged. Even though I felt uncomfortable to be in the same room with a man who had tortured and killed so many animals, Michael seemed like an intelligent and thoughtful person who had made horrible decisions in his life but who regretted the consequences, both for himself and others, and who was genuinely trying to change.
However, despite pledging to become an "ally" in the fight against dogfighting, Michael and his camp have done little more than mouth assurances that he's learned his lesson. Since this meeting, they have only surfaced when Michael has been scheduled for court appearances—until now, when he is asking to get his old job back.
And there is more. Despite the hopes I had for Michael during our meeting, we now know that not only did he lie to the NFL in direct questioning about his activity, he also lied in his lie detector tests after his arrest—something that the recently released USDA report revealed for the first time. We need to know if Michael's post-arrest contrition was part of a flawed human being's genuine growth and development or just part of the machinations of a man with a clinically diagnosable anti-social personality disorder.
Until Michael agrees to submit to a brain scan and psychological evaluation, we have no way of knowing. And until then, PETA will refuse to be a part of a public service announcement that may simply be a public relations ploy from a convicted felon trying to manipulate his way back into the NFL. We hope that the NFL will take the same approach.
Written by Dan Shannon
This morning, Michael Vick appeared in court to enter a plea of "guilty." Of course, PETA was represented as well. PETA members were on the scene with new posters reflecting Michael's embrace of Christianity. The posters displayed horrific and tragic images of injured dogs used in fighting along with the words "Dogfighters, Repent." The message was that anyone else who's involved in dogfighting needs to stop—now—before they, too, end up in jail, with no friends, no money, and no respect.
Photos from the demonstration are posted below. Let's hope that Michael Vick's fallen star will be a permanent lesson to all would-be dogfighters: just don't do it.
Written by Amanda Schinke
Loyal readers of The PETA Files know that this is not the first time we have mentioned rapper DMX (whose real name is Earl Simmons). If we wrote about him anymore, we'd have to give him his own chapter filed under "Cruel Scum"—a title that is probably still too kind.
Well, we're sick of DMX … again—and all the other celebrities who think power, money, or fame will get them off the hook for mistreating animals.
We have written a letter to Andrew P. Thomas, the judge overseeing Simmons' charges stemming from a 2007 police raid of the rapper's property north of Phoenix, where 12 pit bulls were reportedly found neglected, malnourished, and messed up. We're asking that Thomas—if Simmons is convicted of these charges—impose a sentence that forbids Simmons from owning or harboring any animals for as long as possible, that imposes a truly meaningful period of incarceration, and that requires him to undergo a thorough psychological evaluation followed by mandatory counseling at his own expense.
In one particularly cruel situation, police apparently found puppies who had been left in their cages so long that they needed to be cut out of them.
DMX has an extensive criminal past—including a similar raid that took place at his home in New Jersey in 2002 (during which police found 13 pit bulls on his property) as well as an arrest for illegal drug possession. People who abuse animals often go on to abuse or even kill humans. Remember Jeffrey Dahmer and Dennis Rader (aka "BTK Killer"), who abused and killed animals for practice prior to killing humans?
You can read our full letter here:
Written by Jennifer Cierlitsky
The indictment came after reports that dogs were being abused on his property in August led authorities to search his home, where they seized 12 pit bulls and found the bodies of three others buried on his property. I can't say that I'm all that shocked about this arrest, given that DMX has used his music to glorify dogfighting in songs like "Dog Match", where he talks about how his dogs "love to fight" (which is eerily reminiscent of all those folks who've been claiming that horses "love to race" in the wake of Eight Belles' death at the Kentucky Derby).
We've contacted the prosecutor in this case asking him to ensure that, if DMX is convicted, he's given the maximum jail sentence, a ban on owning animals, and mandatory psychiatric counseling. I'll keep you posted.
Well to be fair, this is more of a Part 1-revisited, so if you totally understood the story the first time, feel free to browse through the archives (maybe cast your vote for this week's Vivisector of the Week), but if you had some questions about the whole thing, here's a quick guide to PETA's reasoning behind providing Michael Vick with information about why animals deserve respect, and some key facts about how it all went down:
I hope that clears a few things up. Feel free to let me know if you have any questions at all.
It’s not like we need another reason to boycott the Australian wool industry, what with mulesing and live export and all that already. But as if those things aren’t bad enough, I just learned that to keep the wool very fine and soft, some Australian farmers actually keep their sheep inside giant warehouses in individual pens that are kind of a cross between veal crates and battery cages.
Here’s a story about it, if you’re interested reading more. And more importantly, here is a link to our campaign to clean up the Australian wool industry once and for all.
Please click here to contact Roger Goodell about this news and ask him to immediately take action. We're doing everything we can to ensure that the news of Vick's alleged involvement in this horrific cruelty is not swept under the rug. I can only hope that the high profile nature of Michael Vick's case helps to shed light on an epidemic that, too often, is not treated with enough gravity by law-enforcement officials, and that needs to be stamped out immediately.
Please click here for an update.
Michael Vick has just been indicted in the investigation of dog-fighting on his Virginia property. I’ll give you more information tomorrow, but in the meantime, this is PETA’s official statement on the topic:
PETA’s offices, located just over an hour away from Michael Vick’s rural mansion—where we now know dozens if not hundreds of dogs were forced to fight to the death in the pit—has been receiving vague allegations of Vick’s involvement in illegal animal fighting activity for years, sadly without much concrete evidence to back it up. While local authorities—who have historically mishandled dogfighting cases—sat on evidence in this case, the U.S. Attorney’s office was obviously determined to get the job done. The professional sports world is plagued with players who have been accused, charged, or convicted of cruelty to animals, abusing pit bulls, and dog fighting, and we hope that this indictment sends a loud and clear message to players and the NFL that celebrity is not a sufficient excuse for breaking the law, and that animal abuse should never be tolerated under any circumstances. -PETA Director Daphna Nachminovitch
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
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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.