Written by PETA
During the hot summer months in South Korea, where dogs are bred to be killed and eaten, restaurants serving dog meat soup boast long lines of patrons who mistakenly believe it will help keep them cool.
But while many of us are quick to condemn killing dogs for food, shouldn't we also be bothered by the consumption of cows, chickens, and pigs? Who wouldn't be repulsed by how cows are crammed into filthy feedlots and are often butchered while conscious? Or how female pigs spend their lives confined to small metal crates and are repeatedly inseminated and forced to bear babies who will be torn away from them? And considering that chickens' cognitive abilities are comparable to those of dogs, why does it make sense that we call one "friend" and the other "dinner"?
Every animal wants to live, and every steak, drumstick, and ham sandwich is a life taken. We each have the power to make a lifesaving decision three times a day, every day.
Written by Michelle Sherrow
It took only 45 minutes for temperatures inside a crowded Johnston County, North Carolina, barn to skyrocket when the barn lost power, killing 50,000 chickens. On one Kansas farm, nearly 4,500 turkeys died in one weekend during a scorching 100-degree heat wave. Birds in barns that aren't air conditioned sometimes die when they crowd together at doorways in the vain hope of catching a breeze.
As heartbreaking as these animals' deaths are, the fates they faced otherwise were arguably worse. After being confined by the tens of thousands to filthy, windowless sheds, the birds would have been thrown into crates and loaded onto trucks bound for the slaughterhouse. There, they would have been hung upside down with their delicate legs forced into shackles (which often causes broken bones), their throats would have been slit, and if they had dodged the blade, they would have been scalded to death in a defeathering tank.
Neither being baked nor boiled to death is fair to these sensitive, intelligent animals. To help protect birds from suffering, encourage your friends and family to give a cruelty-free diet a try.
Say you're an edgy, rabble-rousing punk band and you want to make a statement against cruelty to animals. What would you do? One band that had a bone to pick with KFC took a musical approach to get its message across.
The toe-tapping tune was performed by the Phoenix, Arizona, "punkgrass" outfit Haymarket Squares—all of whose members are vegan or vegetarian—and written by bassist Marc Oxborrow. "He is a big animal lover and he wanted to express his disgust with factory farming practices and peoples' connection to those practices when they choose to work around, buy, and eat meat," says guitarist John Norris. "Our song about/against factory farming seemed like a great fit for a fast food restaurant."
The management didn't agree and attempted to eject the band mid-performance. But the customers were transfixed—look closely and you'll see a little girl clapping in time to the music.
If you live in Arizona, you can catch the band's next performance in Mesa on July 22. This time, they'll be performing at a more conventional venue, the Hollywood Alley—I just hope that it doesn't make the mistake of having fried chicken on the menu.
Written by Alisa Mullins
She was perhaps the only person to work with more saturated fat than Paula Deen. Norma "Duffy" Lyon, dubbed the "Queen of the Butter Sculpture," died of a stroke this week.
For more than four decades, Lyon sculpted cows and other figures from butter, often requiring 600 pounds of the fatty stuff for one sculpture. Like the cartoonish "Happy Cows" California dairy commercials, Lyon's cow sculptures looked placid and content. But the cows whose milk was used to create the sculptures were almost certainly anything but. Bearing that in mind, here are a few ideas for butter sculptures that Lyons should have made if she were aiming for a little more verismo:
We hope future lardists will consider a more animal-friendly medium.
Written by Michelle Sherrow
Do you like to listen to music, sing, and be affectionate? So do turkeys. Do you exercise, worry about your appearance, and sometimes play favorites with people? So do turkeys. If you have children, do you love them and fiercely protect them from danger? So do turkeys.
But unlike us, turkeys raised for food will never get to do any of these things. These sensitive birds, whom Ben Franklin deemed "true American originals," will be crammed inside crowded, windowless sheds and bred to grow so fat that many become crippled or die of heart attacks. Most will have parts of their beaks or toes cut off without pain relief. At five or six months old, they will be thrown into a truck and driven through all weather extremes to the slaughterhouse. There, they will be slammed upside down into shackles and dragged through a "stunning" bath to immobilize them (but not necessarily render them unconscious) before their throats are cut. Some birds are still conscious when they are dunked in hot defeathering tanks and are scalded to death.
Do you wish this wasn't the case? So do turkeys. Let World Week for the Abolition of Meat inspire you to make every day "Turkey Day" by leaving these birds off your plate.
If you wouldn't brand a cat or cut off a dog's legs, you should also think about putting down the hamburger for World Week for Abolition of Meat.
Cows have personalities as distinct as those of cats, dogs, and humans. They develop social circles, form friendships, and even hold grudges. They grieve the loss of loved ones and shed tears, especially mother cows whose calves are taken away within hours or days of birth.
Like all living beings, cows value their lives and don't want to die. Cows have been known to go to extraordinary measures to escape slaughter, including jumping off of a ship and swimming to shore and leaping a 5-foot-tall gate. At the slaughterhouse, they hear their friends bellow as they are jabbed with electric prods and hear them cry out as their throats are cut. A slaughterhouse worker told The Washington Post that cows are often still conscious when their legs are cut off. "They blink. They make noises. The head moves, the eyes are wide and looking around. … They die piece by piece."
Please take a moment to think about what your money pays for when you purchase animal flesh.
Do you know one of those people who says, "I'm a vegetarian, but I still eat chicken"? Considering that chickens are arguably the most abused animals on the planet, they should be one of the first animals we remove from our plates—and there's no better time to do that than World Week for Abolition of Meat.
Chickens' cognitive skills rival those of cats, dogs, and, in some cases, primates. They are adept communicators who develop complex social structures. Chickens show deep love for their family members and care for others in their group. A mother chicken starts teaching her chicks to "talk" before they have even hatched, clucking softly to them, and they cluck back to her and each other from inside their shells. Human babies cannot replicate their mothers' sounds until they are several months old.
But the billions of chickens who are slaughtered for food or crammed into cages and used for eggs suffer horribly throughout their short lives.
If you know someone who still eats chickens, please share this information with them and ask them to become a champion for chickens.
The current issue of The New Yorker explores an idea whose time has come: test-tube meat. An international network of stem-cell biologists and tissue engineers, cheered on by animal-rights advocates and environmentalists, are working on growing muscle tissue in vitro just as it is now grown inside the bodies of animals, but without all the filth, environmental devastation, and cruelty associated with factory farms and slaughterhouses.
The author notes that one drawback to test-tube meat is its cost, but it's important to bear in mind that meat production is currently heavily subsidized. It is estimated that, without subsidies, the average cost of hamburger would be around $35 a pound. And that doesn't even take into account the huge medical costs associated with heart disease, strokes, diabetes, and other diseases linked with meat consumption.
Quick to see the tremendous lifesaving potential of lab-grown meat, PETA has sponsored biological engineer Nicholas Genovese's research into it. Says PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk, "If people are unwilling to stop eating animals by the billions, then what a joy to be able to give them animal flesh that comes without the horror of the slaughterhouse, the transport truck, and the mutilations, pain, and suffering of factory farming."
While you wait for test-tube T-bones to show up in your local Winn-Dixie, you can get started saving lives (your own and animals') today by ordering a free vegetarian/vegan starter kit.
Happy Earth Day 2011! If you rode your bike to work today or planted a tree, that's fantastic. But if you're passing on meat and dairy products today to help the planet, that's even better.
For damage to the environment, meat takes the icky, Earth-destroying first-place prize. Consider the following:
Celebrate Earth Day today by opting for delicious, meat-free dishes and sharing this with your eco-conscious Facebook friends.
Meat's not green, and it's not Greensboro either. In light of Greensboro, North Carolina's "Greensboro Goes Green" initiative, PETA is asking the town to really go green by helping residents dump meat. We're asking Greensboro to change its moniker to "Meat's Not Greensboro" for Earth Day, and we've already designed the perfect sticker for their signs.
Greensboro drivers will be reminded that it takes 10 times as much fossil fuel to produce one calorie of animal protein as it does to produce a calorie of plant protein and that producing a single pound of meat emits the same amount of greenhouse gasses as driving 40 miles in an SUV. And factory farming wastes immense amounts of water and crops, which are filtered through the animals to produce a tiny portion of meat, milk, or eggs.
It's easy to see that meat is making Greensboro and the rest of the country blue. But Meat's Not Greensboro might be the inspirational green relief we need. Get your Vegetarian Starter Kit and really go green this year.
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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.