Written by PETA
Really-old-but-still-totally-relevant history lesson (it's quick—I promise!): The Ancient Greeks were so awed by dolphins, whom they deemed friends to humans, that every time they spotted one swimming behind a ship, they considered him or her a good omen. Now, a new study suggests that in order to respect our marine friends and cognitive cousins, we must simply stay away from them. Findings from researchers at Newcastle University suggest that human interactions with dolphins—from following them in tourist boats to swimming with them to touching them—are harmful to these intelligent, sensitive mammals.
The report claims that when humans swim near bottlenose dolphins and touch them, they inflict severe stress on them, "preventing them from resting, feeding or nurturing their young." The study found that whenever tourist boats are present, dolphins become unsettled, and according to Newcastle University's Dr. Berggen, "[T]he dolphins are using more energy than they are taking in because they aren't resting or feeding as much but are swimming more as they try to avoid the tourist boats." This has a negative impact not only on individual animals but also on the population as a whole, and long term, it could be devastating.
Every dolphin is a self-aware individual with a unique personality, so it's no surprise that these animals are perceptive to their surroundings and susceptible to stress-related illnesses. If they're so intensely affected by the mere presence of humans, just imagine the kind of irreparable trauma they suffer when pulled from the ocean and placed in SeaWorld's chemically treated prisons. The only way that we can ensure that they'll live natural, happy, and peaceful lives? Leave them alone—no matter where they are.
Written by Logan Scherer
OK, so we didn't get to see a song-and-dance number featuring Steve Martin and vegetarian Alec Baldwin—who also narrated PETA's now-classic documentary Meet Your Meat—but we're still pretty happy about how the highly buzzed Food Inc./Cove face-off turned out.
The Oscar for Best Documentary went to frontrunner The Cove—the universally acclaimed examination of Japan's bloody dolphin trade and slaughter. And in one of the most inspiring moments of the night, Ric O'Barry proved that he'll stop at nothing to end the slaughter by displaying a sign encouraging people to get active for dolphins during his acceptance speech.
The win couldn't have come at a better time for captive marine wildlife, as Sea World and other parks come under increasing scrutiny for their abysmal record of injuries and deaths of both trainers and animals in the wake of last month's incident at SeaWorld.
On the red carpet, The Cove's director Louie Psihoyos put it best when he said, "One animal killing three people in one lifetime shows these animals are stressed, they don't belong in captivity. And when we capture them out of the wild and force them to do stupid tricks for our amusement, it says more about our intelligence than it does theirs."
Written by Logan Scherer
We already know that elephants in the wild lead rich emotional lives, but recent findings about elephant brainpower and a "secret" language of low-frequency sounds have me wondering what these clever animals gossip about in the wild, and I'm going to have nightmares tonight about what the elephants who are beaten by Ringling are trying to tell us.
Among the researchers' conclusions is that while baby elephants will shriek to signal distress, adult elephants shriek only from pain. If you've seen PETA's undercover footage and the photographs from a former Ringling trainer, you know there are a lot of shrieking elephants at Ringling: Mothers and babies shriek as they are dragged away from each other with chains and ropes, babies shriek during violent "training" sessions, and trainers induce plenty of agonized shrieks as they dig their metal-tipped bullhooks into the elephants' sensitive skin.
As one researcher in Kenya said about the elephants he studied, "They've proved to have abilities which have only been found elsewhere in the great apes and humans." If you don't think humans belong chained and beaten in the circus, please don't support circuses that use elephants. Maybe this is how elephants say "thank you."
Written by Heather Drennan
SeaWorld may have animal pimp "entertainer" Jack Hanna in its corner, but Tilly has Jean-Michel Cousteau on his side.
The world-renowned French explorer, environmentalist, film producer and, of course, son of Jacques-Yves Cousteau has issued a brief video statement addressing the cruelty and danger of keeping killer whales and dolphins imprisoned in marine amusement parks. Please don't miss this one, folks:
Jean-Michel Cousteau's video contains so many eloquent, logical statements that I had trouble picking just one favorite. Can you?
Written by Karin Bennett
Back in the 1950s, Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to move to the back of the bus in the segregated South. After learning of Parks' arrest, an African-American resident in Montgomery declared, "They've messed with the wrong one now."
Let's fast-forward to Virginia Beach, Virginia, 2009: Longtime PETA member and ardent animal defender Sheila Rybak was arrested outside a fur store where she'd been peacefully protesting. She was accused of causing an illegal ruckus by Maria Folch, who had "happened by" this off-road site in a full-length mink coat.
Unfortunately for Folch, Rybak doesn't take any injustice lying down. After Folch failed to show up at the first court hearing, Rybak sued for malicious prosecution. Makes sense right? Protests aren't illegal, and Rybak was only trying to spread the word about the hideously cruel fur industry.
Earlier this week, a jury found in Rybak's favor, and the court has ordered the defendant to pay $12,500 in damages. Here's the kicker: Rybak has declared that if Folch will hand over her full-length mink coat for use in PETA anti-fur displays and events, she'll call it even!
Talk about inspiring. What do you think?
What do you call it when a KFC is "closed for cruelty"? A goreclosure!
For more than a year, dedicated animal advocates have been holding monthly demonstrations outside a KFC in North Carolina to spread the word about KFC's tormented chickens—and watching the restaurant's business dwindle. Now, so many people have washed their hands of KFC's blood that the location has recently shut down!
The only thing better than vegan party food? Knowing that no chicken will ever leave that building in a KFC bucket again. Inspired to instigate a goreclosure in your community? Start organizing your own KFC protest today!
David Angerer, owner of the New York City restaurant Klee Brasserie (which is just a stone's throw from the excellent all-vegan restaurant Blossom), is making headlines with his newest offering: "Mommy's Milk" cheese, made possible by his lactating wife.
(Let the punning commence.)
This certainly isn't the first squeeze push to promote human milk. If you've stayed abreast of the PETA Files for a while, you might remember that after a Swiss restaurant named Storchen introduced a menu featuring human breast-milk edibles, PETA was inspired to ask ice-cream giant Ben & Jerry's to switch from unhealthy bovine juice stolen from tormented calves (aka "cow milk") to healthier, humane human breast milk.
Dairy-lovin' naysayers, don't knock(er) it until you try it. In fact, David Angerer is inviting anyone who's interested to try his titillating creation. I'm thinking that this trend might finally catch on. What do you say? Would you care for some no-cowlone and crackers?
Who's putting the party into "Republican Party"? Vegans! Rich Karlgaard—publisher of Forbes magazine—recently explained his mostly vegan diet on The Huffington Post, attributing his healthy and lively existence to his compassionate food choices. Karlgaard is proof that kindness knows no party lines. Whether you're conservative or liberal, granola-crunching or pizza-munching, concrete-loving or tree-hugging, all vegans have something in common: concern for their own lives, the lives of animals, and the environment.
So now we're calling on you, Republican vegans. We want to hear your stories! Tell us what made you choose to eat humanely and how it's changed your life for the better.
Ingrid E. Newkirk's need for speed has just become street legal. That's right, for all of us environmentally conscious, animal-friendly speedsters, Fisker Automotive's top-of-the-line 2010 Karma sports car is what we've been waiting for. The Karma is the world's first luxury plug-in hybrid, and the available Eco-Chic option—which includes an interior made of bamboo-based fabric instead of leather as well as wood sourced from fallen trees, trees burned in forest fires, or trees brought up from lake bottoms—was obviously created with PETA supporters in mind.
And with the ability to go from zero to 60 in 6 seconds flat, whoever's lucky enough to ride in the passenger seat is going to have to make sure to wear a seat belt (and probably brace against the dash).
This year's Iditarod doesn't start until tomorrow, and one dog has already died. The death occurred during the Junior Iditarod, a 150-mile race that's open to teens aged 14–17. A necropsy found that the dog, a 5-year-old male named Lava, died of gastric ulcers, an all-too-common cause of death for dogs in the Iditarod.
According to a study published in the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine, more than half the dogs who finish the Iditarod have gastric ulcers, which the study's authors believe are caused by "sustained strenuous exercise." Dogs suffering from ulcers may bleed or choke to death after regurgitating and then inhaling their own vomit. Poor Lava didn't deserve that—no dog does.
Bear in mind that the Junior Iditarod is only about one-eighth the distance of the daddy Iditarod, which is a grueling 1,150 miles. That's roughly the same as the distance between New York City and St. Petersburg, Florida—and the fastest teams are forced to cover all that ground in less than two weeks. Dogs often run more than 100 miles a day—the equivalent of four marathons back to back—with little rest. (The official race rules require that dogs only be given a total of 40 hours' rest during the entire race, which can add up to less than 3 or 4 hours a day.)
We're not talking about a jog through Central Park, here. Dogs in the Iditarod have to battle blizzards, sub-zero temperatures, and falls through treacherous ice into frigid water. Their feet become bruised, bloodied, cut by ice and rocks, and just plain worn out because of the vast distances they cover. Many dogs pull muscles, tendons, and ligaments, rupture discs, incur stress fractures, and become sick with bloody diarrhea, dehydration, intestinal viruses, or the aforementioned bleeding stomach ulcers. Dogs have been strangled by tow lines, trampled by moose, and hit by snowmobiles and sleds. Two of the six dogs who died in last year's race are believed to have frozen to death.
Nearly 150 dogs have died in the Iditarod since records started being kept (a tally that doesn't include dogs who die in training or after the race ends). On average, more than half the dogs who start the race don't make it across the finish line, and 81 percent of those who do finish have lung damage, according to a report published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.
Is there a small light at the end of this dark Alaskan tunnel? To paraphrase Sarah Palin, former mayor of Wasilla—home of the Iditarod's headquarters—you betcha. The purse for the winners of this year's race is down roughly $52,000 from last year because several former sponsors, such as Chevron and Cabela's, have dropped their support. You can help by writing to ExxonMobil and the Iditarod's other remaining sponsors and asking them to stop paying mushers to run dogs to death.
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.