Written by PETA
President-elect Barack Obama has promised Americans a "21st century government"—one that we at PETA feel needs to address animal welfare. The growing concern for how we as a nation treat our animals is evidenced by last month's majority support for California's Proposition 2, which will require animals on factory farms to be provided more space in their cages.
Now, PETA's brilliant minds are asking the Presidential Transition Team to consider the creation of two national councils—a National Food Policy Council and a National Toxicity Council—to work toward improving the government's pitiful record on food and toxicology policy.
Point OnePETA's recommends that the government put human health before the agriculture industry. Both the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program are currently in the hands of the USDA—an agency that appears to be more concerned with improving factory-farming profits though animal exploitation than it is with improving human health. Both of these programs offer an overwhelming amount of meat and dairy products, but little to no vegetables or fruits.
For the sake of human health, it is vital that the NSLP be transferred into the Department of Education, and the WIC program become a part of Health & Human Services—recommendations that we are sure our suggested National Food Policy Council would agree on.
Point TwoPETA wants the government to form a National Toxicity Council to improve the way our nation deals with risks from toxic chemicals. As we know from the number of drugs that are approved after they are tested on animals only to be determined later to be harmful to humans, it is clear that tests conducted on animals do not provide sufficient results.
The National Research Council Report states, "the vision takes full advantage of current and expected scientific advances to enhance our understanding of how environmental agents can affect human health. It has the potential to greatly reduce the cost and time of testing and to lead to much broader coverage of the universe of environmental agents. Moreover, the vision will lead to a marked reduction in animal use and focus on doses that are more relevant to those experienced by human populations." Our suggested National Toxicity Council would focus on attaining the National Research Council's vision within a reasonable amount of time.
We hope that President-elect Obama will take these issues to heart and implement our suggested interagency food and toxicity groups. By doing so, he will be able to achieve his goal to "leave our children with a better world," and his actions will reduce waste, protect human health and the environment, reduce animal suffering, and save money. Couldn't ask for much better, really … and you can help! Click here to find out how.
Written by Jennifer Cierlitsky
Sadly, I still remember the first time I heard Britney Spears' "Baby One More Time." I was in the eighth grade and TRL was still wildly cool. My skinny, stirrup-tights-wearing, headgear sportin' 13 year-old self just couldn't get enough of the song. I remember thinking we had found a true pop princess.
But man, how quickly America's sweetheart fell from grace. And it wasn't pretty.
Now, at the bottom of the barrel, she's sporting elephants dressed in circus attire for her new video titled—what else—"Circus."
As Britney is such a victim of the paparazzi and always complaining and crying about how she hates to be held up in her guarded house and can't feel free, she of all people should be able to relate to the horror that captive animals go through when they're used for entertainment. Except Britney chooses to perform, and the lifestyle just comes with it. Animals are ripped away from their mothers at a young age, kept in chains, and prodded with electric shock devices to make them perform. That doesn't sound so voluntary to me.
Britney is now just an "outrageous" and "toxic" mess. I certainly don't want her to "gimme more," and neither do the animals who have been abused so that she can feel "lucky."
Well, we're not takin' this sitting down. We've got a killer action alert ready for those of you who want to fight with us and tell Brit to stop using animals in her acts, once and for all. Click here to take action today.
I must confess that I still believe she can turn herself around.
Written by Christine Doré
Last week—just in time to give the turkeys who are still suffering at Aviagen something small to be thankful for—Aviagen Turkeys, Inc., announced that it had terminated all the employees who were found to have violated Aviagen's animal welfare standards. (I hope the guys who stomped on turkeys' heads were the first to go.)
This is a great, although small, step for the turkeys who are still tightly trapped in Aviagen's dark, dusty sheds—at the very least, they won't have to suffer at those individuals' hands or under their watch any longer. So far, however, Aviagen seems to have passed on the opportunity to press for a criminal investigation and prosecution of the dismissed workers. If the executives at Aviagen were really serious about cracking down on cruelty to animals, wouldn't they join us in asking officials to prosecute these individuals?
Also, Aviagen has announced that it has "outlined a series of actions" that will improve its "existing welfare guidelines" and "ensure [that] violations do not occur in [the] future." That sounds nice—but based on what the company's "existing welfare guidelines" failed to prevent, I think I'd feel a little more comfortable with some specifics, don't you? Gosh, it sure would be nice if somebody were to provide Aviagen with a list of specific steps to take to improve animal welfare—oh wait … we did.
Please help by writing a polite letter to Aviagen asking the company to implement PETA's Seven-Point Animal Welfare Plan and to call on officials to prosecute any employees—past, present or future—who abuse or neglect animals. Aviagen has made some small progress already—let's hope it continues its much-needed reforms.
Written by Amanda Schinke
Did you see last night's episode of The Office? You may have guessed that my favorite part was at the end, when Michael, clad in his new fur coat, told us this valuable lesson: "You should know that some people think it's cool to throw buckets of fake blood on you as you are walking out of Burlington Coat Factory." Bwaha! That's true—although flour does seem to be more popular these days.
Original Office star Ricky Gervais spoke out against fur, too, when he teamed up with PETA Europe in the worldwide fight to stop Canadian bears from getting slaughtered for silly hats.
All of you Office fans can breathe a sigh of relief—the coat they used to film the episode was (hooray!) faux. However, if Michael Scott were a real person, he very well could have marched into his nearest Burlington Coat Factory and bought himself a hideous dead skin. That's right, for all of you who were wondering (and for all of you who called and e-mailed us to ask), "Burlington Death Factory" does, in fact, sell actual fur—a fact that we happily informed everyone who asked.
So, figuring that Burlington might notice a sudden drop in its sales right when all the conscientious consumers are gearing up for the holiday season, we were kind enough to send its execs an e-mail with an explanation: Hey Burlington, we told everyone who asked that you sell fur, and we suggested other (fur-free) places where they can take their money.
So, hey, Burlington, how about you follow other retailers like Zappos.com, Burton, and so many others and change your furry ways? We'll even accept your leftover fur stock as a taxable donation. Sweet of us, right?
The wonder crusaders over at PETA Asia-Pacific have been crossing country borders nonstop for the sake of animals. Their efforts as of late have reached crowds of people in China and Australia, and even more individuals are tuning in via news circuits and the Internet. We say, rock it, PETA A-P! Of course, we fancy our readers to be in the know about everything animal rights—so we've compiled a few photos of our affiliate's latest efforts below. Enjoy!
Now, don't those pics just make you want to get out there and do something? Well, get to it!
Here are the top four reasons why Fred Willard is the man:
4. This Is Spinal Tap: Seriously, put it on your bucket list.
3. Waiting for Guffman: A travel agent–slash–community theater star who's all tracksuit and no talent—nice.
2. ABC PSA (ad-libbed version): Known for his improv skills, Fred ad libs on the acronyms in this funny bit focused on our Animal Birth Control (ABC) campaign.
And the number one reason Fred Willard is the man? Well, you'll just have to see for yourself:
Written by Amy Elizabeth
There's been a lot of good news for doggie kind lately. First, our canine friends in the U.K. got a break when the (British) Kennel Club announced that it would be reviewing and revising breeding standards for its "recognized" breeds. The first step was to inform breeders of Pekinese dogs that it was no longer acceptable to breed dogs with such flat faces because (duh) it's difficult for them to breathe through their poor little squished-up noses.
Then, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) recently voted to revise its policy on tail-docking and ear-cropping to say that it definitely opposes these unnecessary cosmetic procedures—and that it encourages their elimination from breed standards! (Dear breeders: Please stop lopping off pieces of your dogs to make them "prettier." Love, the AVMA.)
With these precedents in mind, PETA has written a letter to the American Kennel Club (AKC) asking it to adopt some seriously long-overdue guidelines to reduce the discomfort, diseases, and disorders that plague inbred—sorry, purebred—dogs.
Crippling hip dysplasia, blindness, deafness, heart defects, skin problems, and epilepsy: These can all be results of the genetic manipulation and inbreeding that breeders rely on to achieve "desired" traits such as perky ears or short legs. If the folks at the AKC really cared about dogs, they'd want to prevent them from being ill or in pain, right? … right?
Of course, if the AKC really cared about dogs, they wouldn't be encouraging people to add to the dog and cat overpopulation crisis in the first place—but that's another story.
You can check out our letter to the AKC here—hopefully, there will be better times ahead for doggies here and abroad.
As if we didn't have enough to worry about during the holiday travel season, now there's a new road hazard: deadly bacteria. And it comes to you courtesy of your pals in the chicken industry.
In case you don't happen to be a regular reader of the Journal of Infection and Public Health, a recent study found that driving behind trucks taking chickens to slaughter could expose the car's occupants to the aforementioned deadly bacteria. And not just any bacteria. Antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
You see, chickens (like other animals raised and killed for food) spend their short lives living in filth. By which I mean they stand around in sh—um, sheds. Filled with their own feces. This makes a perfect breeding ground for bacteria. And to keep the chickens from dying horribly from infections before they can be killed horribly at the slaughterhouse, the poor birds are pumped full of antibiotics, giving rise to—you guessed it!—bacteria that can't be killed by antibiotics.
OK, so the poor chickens are crammed into open crates that are loaded onto a flatbed truck. The wind blows over them (half-freezing them in winter) and also carrying the germ-laden feces into the air. And if you're traveling behind the truck … well, you do the math.
Now, of course, the best way to prevent this health hazard would be to stop using chickens for food—something you can help along by going vegetarian. But, so long as people continue to eat birds, we think they should be aware of the risks. Since the study was done in the Delaware-Maryland-Virginia region, we're urging officials in those states to post signs on roads and trucks to warn motorists of the dangers.
Still, even if you live in the balmier parts of the world, you might want to drive with your windows up and no outside air flow until all this, uh … blows over.
Written by Jeff Mackey
Stop! Put down that doggy sweater. For all you folks out there wondering what to give your favorite four-legged family member this holiday season, look no further. The answer is a lot easier and cheaper than you might think.
This year, take a hint from country legend Dolly Parton, comedian Kathy Najimy and the ever-adorable doggums, Daisy! These three femmes star in PETA's awesome PSA, and they know what every pooch wants this year. And no, it's not a tennis ball in every color of the rainbow. Ready for the answer? Check out what the ladies had to say:
Dogs don't care if they aren't sportin' the latest sweater that costs 75 bucks! What they really want is your love and attention as well as the necessities to keep them warm, safe, and healthy. But you know that, right? Does your television set greet you at the door each evening and sleep at the foot of your bed each night? Neither do ours. So this holiday, plan play time and extra walks with your pup. And as an extra treat, a nice warm sweater or stuffed squeaky toy will guarantee you extra wet kisses. Love a dog, and he or she will love you endlessly and unconditionally. It's the perfect present for both of you.
Ugh. It's that time of year again. With the mercury dipping and the holidays just around the corner, flurries of cold-hearted fur hags are starting to be seen on the social scene (that famous footage of Bigfoot was actually an opera buffa walking off the effects of her Pomtini). It's also the time of year when people who care about animals must shift into high gear and take fur hags to task for parading about in pelts.
Here's how you can help. No matter who you are, no matter how shy or inhibited you are, always say something, anything to people who wear fur. The fact is that there are Cruellas in this world who simply don't have empathy for animals. They only care about themselves, and the only way to get them to stop wearing fur is to shame them. So, figure out what type of fur foe you are and proceed from there:
A. The Bashful Fur Basher. Love animals but hate conflict? After you politely ask if they're wearing the real deal, lay on the guilt trip by saying something like, "That's a shame that so many animals had to be killed for your coat," and hand them a fur card or leaflet. If you're really, really painfully shy, take a move from the passive-aggressive playbook and start up a conversation within hearing distance about the gruesome fur industry. Even a pretend conversation on your cell phone!
B. The Fierce Fur Foe. Have a hard time hiding your disgust when you see people draped in animal hides? Don't fight it, use it. First, initiate a conversation about fur by asking them if they're wearing a genuine dead animal or a fabulous faux. Or take my favorite approach and make a date with a friend to leaflet where fur wearers may be hanging out (fur salons, shopping malls, symphonies, ballets, operas, and other theatrical events) just to remind them how coldhearted they really are. E-mail ATeam@peta.org to get involved with leafleting events in your hometown.
C. The "Hell Hath No Fury" Fur Foe. Do you see red when you spy someone wearing fur? Go with it. Heck, don't even bother asking if it's real—what are they doing supporting a look that kills anyway?! Open up that can of "whoop-ass" you've been saving for a special occasion and take out your pent-up aggression on someone who deserves it. We're not recommending the "LiLo flour power" type of action here, but saying something like, "How did you get the blood out of your coat?" or even yelling, "Fur Shame!" won't hurt.
Need more encouragement? Remember: bros before fur hos. Think about the hungry foxes in a den crying for a mother who will never come home; the snow-covered minks shivering in cramped, exposed wire cages on fur farms; and the rabbits howling like human babies as their skin is ripped from their bodies. Being heartbroken is not enough, so get out there today and let fur-wearers know that they are supporting one of the most violent, bloody industries on the planet. And for the love of all that is furry—please make sure that your sign is facing the right way!
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
police department. If the police are unresponsive, please call PETA
immediately at 757-622-7382 and press 2.
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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.