Written by PETA
Independence Day is a day to celebrate America's freedoms, so why would the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) swear in new citizens at SeaWorld—a place that exemplifies the lack of freedom? PETA has fired off a letter to the director of CIS pointing out the irony of holding this joyous occasion where orcas and dolphins are kept in holding tanks for life.
Confined and forced to spend their days swimming in continuous circles in barren concrete tanks and deprived of everything that is natural and important to them, animals at SeaWorld become depressed, listless, and prone to illness.
Please ask CIS to adopt a policy that prohibits holding agency events at SeaWorld or at any other venue that causes animals to suffer or that has a history of flagrant violations of federal law.
Written by Jennifer O'Connor
© Carla Wilson
PETA supporters in Orlando, Florida, spent the Fourth of July weekend declaring independence for whales and dolphins held captive at SeaWorld. Here are the top five reasons that freedom should include marine animals.
You can help by writing to SeaWorld and asking the company to let its prisoners go free—to transitional coastal and wildlife sanctuaries.
Written by Michelle Sherrow
A new attraction at the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta is being touted as a Broadway-style show, complete with costumed actors, animation projected on a huge screen, music recorded by a 61-piece orchestra, and, oh yeah, dolphins imprisoned for life in a chlorinated tank. Fun for the whole family—unless the family has a conscience.
The aquarium claims to pride itself on playing "a role in animal conservation," but in an opinion piece published in today's Atlanta Journal Constitution, PETA staffer Jen O'Connor points out that the aquarium spent $110 million on its splashy new dolphin exhibit—nearly 100 times the amount it spent on dolphin conservation. What's wrong with this Broadway-style picture?
"In the wild, dolphins swim together in family pods up to 100 miles a day," writes Jen. "They navigate by bouncing sonar waves off objects to determine location and distance. In captivity, their ocean worlds are reduced to claustrophobic swimming pools. Most aquariums keep antacids on hand to treat the animals' stress-related ulcers."
Dolphins are so intelligent that a neuroscientist at Emory University has recommended that they be given the same status as humans, and a professor of ethics at Loyola Marymount University backed her up by saying, "The scientific research suggests that dolphins are 'non-human persons' who qualify for moral understanding as individuals." Would we lock up humans for life, just so that they could entertain a crowd for 25 minutes? The human actors in the Georgia Aquarium show get to go home to the families at the end of the day—not so for the dolphin performers.
"Try to imagine living in the same cramped place for the rest of your life," writes Jen. "Animals who are genetically designed to swim the vast oceans are no more able to adjust to lifelong captivity than we are. That's why prison is considered society's harshest punishment."
Read Jen's entire essay here.
Written by Alisa Mullins
Animals find new ways to astonish us every day. Wouldn't it be great if we returned the favor by astonishing them with our compassion?
Written by Michelle Sherrow
Two ailing dolphins who have been languishing in a filthy, cramped tank in Turkey are on the road to recovery after PETA Germany and the marvelous charity Born Free took action. And after The Sun—the U.K.'s best-selling newspaper—ran an exposé about Tom and Misha's plight, PETA Germany staffers posted an action alert, wrote to the mayor, and coordinated action with Turkish animal protection groups.
Our colleagues at Born Free are moving Tom and Misha to a rehabilitation center, and the dolphins will be released into their rightful ocean home as soon as they've recovered.
Let's call for the rehabilitation and release of more captive dolphins, such as the orcas (the largest members of the dolphin family) at SeaWorld.
Written by Jennifer O'Connor
The Cove opened eyes and filled them with tears. Tonight, the sad saga continues with Blood Dolphins—a three-part miniseries based on the Oscar-winning documentary's exposé of Japan's gruesome dolphin trade and slaughter.
Blood Dolphins premieres tonight at 11 p.m. Eastern time on Animal Planet.
Also, if you haven't seen The Cove yet Animal Planet will be airing it this Sunday at 9 p.m. Eastern time. Please tell everyone you know to tune in to both. The official "killing season" will begin September 1 in Taiji, Japan ("The Cove"). Together we can change the tide. Please contact your local Japanese embassy and demand that Japan stop this bloody business.
Written by Amy Elizabeth
PETA India hopes that Jairam Ramesh—union minister of state for environment and forests—will heed the message of last month's disaster at SeaWorld and immediately halt plans to build a dolphinarium to house Gangetic dolphins at the National Zoological Park in New Delhi.
Gangetic dolphins are a critically endangered species of freshwater dolphin. They were recently declared the National Aquatic Animal of India, but the way to save them is not by keeping them in chemically treated pools. Most captive dolphins die prematurely and live to only half the age of their wild brothers and sisters. Wild dolphins live with family pods, and capturing even one dolphin disrupts the entire group. To obtain a female dolphin of breeding age, for example, boats are used to chase the pod to shallow waters, where the animals are surrounded with nets that are gradually closed and lifted onto the boats. Unwanted dolphins are thrown back. Some animals die from shock or stress, and others slowly succumb to pneumonia when water enters their lungs through their blowholes. Pregnant females may spontaneously abort babies.
Instead of condemning dolphins to a grim fate in a tank, the Department of Environment and Forests would better serve these endangered animals by taking decisive measures to protect and conserve the beleaguered Gangetic dolphins in their natural habitat. Back in 2001, thanks to the help of many dedicated supporters, PETA successfully convinced the Virginia Marine Science Museum not to add a dolphin tank to its facilities. Instead, Virginia Beach, Virginia, visitors who want to see marine mammals visit the beachfront along the Atlantic Ocean and view the animals in their natural environments. With public sentiment against aquatic prisons at an all-time high, we're hopeful that the Indian government will make the humane decision to keep these sensitive, intelligent, and endangered animals where nature intended them to be.
Written by Logan Scherer
Faster than you can say Frau von Hammersmark, actor-director Eli Roth took to Twitter following last month's death of a SeaWorld trainer to speak out against keeping marine mammals in captivity.
The Inglourious Basterds star knows that if SeaWorld continues to exploit and abuse animals, then a sequel to the fatal horror show will inevitably surface. So Roth has written to Hamilton James—the CEO of Blackstone, SeaWorld's parent company—asking that the theme park immediately move its imprisoned animals to coastal sanctuaries and replace them with state-of-the-art virtual reality exhibits.
Having helmed groundbreaking horror films such as Cabin Fever and Hostel, Roth is an expert on humane alternatives to live animals in entertainment—from CGI technology to animatronics. In his letter, he suggests these technologies and lets James know that "showing visitors a more realistic version of what life is like for real marine mammals rather than displaying the captive animals' unnatural and repetitive behavior patterns—which are linked to their oppressive environment—is actually more educational, with no risk to human life."
Join Roth and the many other stars who have spoken out against SeaWorld by urging James to release these jailed animals to sanctuaries before another animal or human dies.
Written by Logan Scherer
Apparently, some people have gotten so impatient when it comes to satisfying their hunger that they can no longer wait for someone to kill their food for them. "Exotic eaters" are resorting to eating live octopi, and it has sparked a lively PETA HQ debate, which I need your help to win.
P.S. I have concluded (after minimal thought) that so-called "exotic eaters" and I have absolutely zilch in common. My definition of exotic tends to stray toward pyramids and belly dancers.
Despite overwhelmingly sad video and photographic evidence of lame, thin, and downed cows left to suffer and die and a cow whose teat was banded and left to decay and fall off—not to mention expert testimony that all this constituted cruelty—a judge whose courtroom was packed with dairy farmers today found the owners of Reitz Dairy, a filthy Land O'Lakes supplier in Pennsylvania that PETA investigated last year, not guilty.
PETA's investigator found cows on this factory dairy farm collapsed, lame, and struggling to hobble through a deep soup of feces and urine in the perpetually filthy conditions. Cows suffering from painful infections and severe lameness were deprived of even basic care; dying cows were not even put out of their misery. PETA's video shows injured cows as they are kicked, shocked with a high-voltage electric prod, and jabbed along the spine with the open blade of a pocket knife.
A little pat of butter? PETA has brought the abysmal conditions on this farm to Land O'Lakes' attention, but the company is doing nothing to prevent such abuse and neglect on its suppliers' farms and continues to buy from Reitz Dairy.
Cows are great mothers, loyal herd members, wise, and gentle. Studies show that they will sacrifice their own interests for the benefit of the group and that they communicate in subtle ways with facial expressions that we can't even register. When they figure out a puzzle, such as how to open a tricky gate, they have a "eureka moment" and jump for joy.
Because cows cannot rely on the law to protect them, it's up to every concerned person to take a stand—to vote against cruelty with our shopping cart. As this case has vividly demonstrated, milk, cheese, and butter do not come from "happy cows" who frolic in lush green pastures. They come from miserable cows confined to crowded, muck-filled barns—cows who are forcibly impregnated, only to have their newborns yanked away from them so that humans can drink the milk that nature intended for their calves.
That's why we must continue to pressure Land O'Lakes to, at the very least, implement the 12-point animal-welfare program that PETA has recommended. And each one of us needs to "file charges" against factory farms every time we shop by refusing to purchase their ill-gotten products.
Written by Alisa Mullins
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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.