Written by PETA
A new experiment has once again shown that rats in laboratories have empathy for one another. In the experiment, one rat was placed in a cage with another rat who was stuffed into a tiny tube from which he or she was unable to escape. The "free" rat worked frantically to get his or her distressed friend out, even when a tempting chocolate treat was offered as a distraction.
This is far from the first time that altruism has been seen in animals used for experimentation. In one notoriously cruel experiment, macaque monkeys were given food only if they pulled a chain that electrically shocked another monkey. Nearly all the monkeys preferred to go hungry, and one macaque starved himself for 12 days. Monkeys who had previously been shocked were even more reluctant to pull the chain and subject another individual to such punishment. In PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk's book The PETA Practical Guide to Animal Rights, she quotes astronomer Carl Sagan, who asks, "If the circumstances were reversed, and captive humans were offered the same deal by macaque scientists, would we do as well?"
Millions of kind, intelligent rats and other animals are poisoned, blinded, and killed every year in cruel experiments. You can show your empathy by clicking here to urge members of Congress to amend the Animal Welfare Act to include the protection of both rats and mice. Also, please only support companies and charities that don't test on animals.
Written by Monica Alexander
We're not ones to say "I told you so," but …
A new study has confirmed what we've known all along: Vegans and vegetarians have more empathy—for both animals and people—than meat-eaters do.
Researchers in Europe recruited vegan, vegetarian, and meat-eating volunteers and placed them into an MRI machine while showing them a series of random pictures. The MRI scans revealed that when observing animal or human suffering, the "empathy-related" areas of the brain are more active among vegetarians and vegans. The researchers also found that there are certain brain areas that only vegans and vegetarians seem to activate when witnessing suffering.
We've always thought that people who lack empathy may have something wrong with their brains. That's why we urged the NFL to give Michael Vick an MRI scan to look for evidence of clinical psychopathy, and it's why we sent U.S. Vogue editor and fur pusher Anna Wintour a certificate entitling her to a brain scan as well.
So, to sum up: Vegans are smarter, sexier, and healthier than meat-eaters, and they're more empathic too. If you haven't yet made the switch, what are you waiting for?
Written by Paula Moore
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.
I have a feeling that a lot of people would have been pretty surprised if they'd seen Michael Vick walking into PETA's offices recently—not once but three times. You'd think that would be the very last place on Earth he would consider spending time. But it happened, and here's how it came about: After Vick pleaded guilty to dogfighting charges, PETA President Ingrid Newkirk—a great believer in hammering away at the seemingly impossible—contacted him to ask him to hear about animals’ feelings, needs, and desires, and to hear firsthand why people are so outraged by the suffering of the dogs fought and killed in Bad Newz Kennels dogfighting pits. Vick confirmed our belief that he had never before been exposed to this kind of information, and, after a formal preliminary meeting at PETA HQ—during which we reiterated that we're still seeking a strong jail sentence and a lifetime ban on contact with animals—he left with study materials. He returned on September 18 to take an 8-hour course in empathy and animal protection. No cell phones allowed, no going out for lunch, just learning.
The full course that Vick took, which includes homework, workshop outlines, videos, and supplemental course materials, as well as the exam questions Michael Vick returned to answer under his tutor’s watchful eye, is available here. The class included scientific evidence that animals are thinking, feeling beings, capable of a range of behavior and emotions; presentations on the specific needs of dogs; and information about the well-documented link between acts of violence against animals and crimes against humans, which PETA shares with law enforcement officers every week.
I know people can see red when it comes to any mention of Vick, so I do want to be extremely clear about our position here: While we’re pleased to have been able to show Vick facts about animals—many things he’d certainly never heard before in his life—we are in no way going to bat for him. He may have passed our empathy course, but we have asked the judge to send him to jail and bar him from ever possessing or having contact with animals. We believe anyone who might consider abusing animals should see exactly how much a known animal abuser stands to lose.
We've also sent a letter to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell urging him to make our “Developing Empathy for Animals” course a requirement for all NFL players. To help persuade Goodell to make humane education a part of the NFL's basic training for players, please click here.
OK, I had to admit that I had my doubts when I heard the first rumblings about a giant “fish quilt” we were making to raise awareness about the fact that fish are intelligent, intriguing animals who feel pain just as all other animals do and that they don’t deserve to be violently killed for food, painfully hooked for “sport,” or cruelly confined in aquariums. But now that I see the finished product, I have to admit that it’s pretty cool.
Each square was handmade for the quilt by PETA members and supporters across the country. Some people also submitted stories about why they no longer support cruelty to fish, including the following:
The giant fish quilt is now on a nationwide tour a la the aids quilt, so keep your eye out for it. Click here to see the full quilt. Here’s a shot from its opening display in Manhattan last week.
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.