Written by PETA
Here's what Jeff says about this week's masterpiece: "The strip is based on the sad measures that officials have to take in order to protect rhinos from poachers. And a little depravity thrown in for good measure."
He also let me know that, in honor of Earth Week, he sprayed this strip with 50 percent less pesticides. Which was very noble of him, I thought. Anyway, this one's a zinger—enjoy!
To check out the archives of past strips, click here.
Call me a hopeless dreamer, but I really thought we were going to get a bit of a break from hearing news about professional athletes taking part in vicious blood sports. The latest is that New York Mets all-star Pedro Martinez was videotaped taking part in a cockfighting event in the Dominican Republic. Cockfighting is still legal in the Dominican Republic, so Pedro wasn’t actually breaking any laws, but there’s a reason that it’s illegal in this country: It’s a hideously cruel, barbaric practice that’s nothing short of torture for the animals involved. I know the guy has a reputation for being a headhunter, but this is taking it a bit far, don’t you think? The damage is done now, sadly, but we’re asking Pedro Martinez and Hall of Famer Juan Marichal (who was also present at the event) to take part in our ”Developing Empathy For Animals” training seminar, which Michael Vick voluntarily attended after being charged, so hopefully some good will come of it. We’re also calling on the league to offer animal-sensitivity training for MLB players.
You can read our letter to Pedro Martinez here, and there’s a great post on the story by Deadspin’s Rick Chandler here.
Earlier today, we launched the latest and (IMHO) greatest installment of the new video series for our Animal Birth Control Campaign. Just in time for the American Kennel Club-sponsored Westminster Dog Show, this one makes a few telling points about the folks who run the AKC—a group which discourages spay/neuter legislation and bills aimed at protecting pets from abuse as part of its agenda to cash in on the animal-breeding business, while millions of homeless animals die in shelters and on the streets. I love this video.
That’s right. It’s officially the Year of the Rat today, and in honor of the new year’s murine mascots, PETA is asking people to, um, be a bit nicer to them. For regular folk, doing that could be as simple as looking into humane options for dealing with rats who may end up in their home. And for people like the executives at Mars Candy, it would probably mean discontinuing those experiments where they torture and kill the little guys. This recent demonstration outside a Mars factory in Chicago helped to drive that point home (at the expense of some completely frozen protesters):
Meanwhile, the folks in PETA Asia Pacific have been busy as hell bringing in the New Year with demonstrations aimed at encouraging people to stop buying glue traps. You can see some pics from those demos here.
So, a very happy Year of the Rat to everyone! Hopefully it’ll be a good year for rats, too. It’s about time they caught a break.
Update: Click here to read PETA President Ingrid Newkirk’s Op-Ed in The Virginian Pilot about why PETA brought Vick into the office.
Contrary to recent news reports, there is absolutely no agreement with Michael Vick to appear in a PETA public service announcement. However, we are in discussion with his representatives to do a PSA that would take the issue of dogfighting head on, dogfighter to dogfighter. But it would be under the strictest of guidelines. The script we discussed was:
“Look at me. I have lost everything—my career, my income, respect, friends. I’ve hurt my family, and I am an object of scorn. My life is ruined. I have gone from being a star to the gutter, and now I’m going to jail. Don’t be a loser like me. If you fight dogs, stop. And if you don’t, don’t start.”
If Vick were to do this, we would be very pleased. Short of that, it’s not happening. But what do you think? Should Michael Vick do a PSA directed at potential dogfighters to send the message that if you fight dogs, you will lose everything?
In 2006, a whistleblower at Vanderbilt University tipped PETA off to reports that a Vanderbilt experimenter named Jeffrey D. Schall was performing brain surgery on unanesthetized macaque monkeys. The whistleblower also forwarded us an email that had been sent to the department that included what was essentially a friendly reminder to researchers not to forget about anesthesia before drilling into these terrified animals' heads.
Vanderbilt has been on our radar for a long time, and Schall has long been known in the animal protection community as one of the most vile torturers in the business. In 2005, Vanderbilt was cited for 13 violations of the Animal Welfare Act, and Schall was suspended for a month after performing an unauthorized surgery and withholding water from a monkey. One monkey, called Lil' Wayne, died after seven days without anything to drink. In a separate incident, Schall threatened an animal care technician for reporting to the university veterinarian that an animal's collar had become entangled with the bottom bars of the cage, where he had become trapped.
We have been working for some time now to expose Vanderbilt's abysmal animal welfare record, and I will keep you updated as this case progresses. In the meantime, please take a moment to contact Vanderbilt Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos at this e-mail address to request that Schall be be asked to resign. It won't solve all the problems at Vanderbilt, but it’d be a start.
Click here to read more about this case in Vanderbilt's paper.
Now we can say what we couldn’t mention before. PETA has been talking to Michael Vick’s personal representatives, legal team, and more insiders for weeks. We asked for two things over all others: We wanted Michael Vick to tell impressionable young people not to follow in his footsteps, and we wanted him to openly condemn dog fighting. Today, in his statement, he answered both those requests, calling dogfighting “terrible” and telling kids to pay attention and not go down the same road he did. Mr. Vick also said he has found Jesus. Christian or not, we can agree that if Mr. Vick now asks himself “WWJD?” he will not be led back to dogfighting.
To urge the NFL to speak out against dogfighting as well, please click here.
And you can read the comments that PETA President Ingrid Newkirk made last week on the importance of Vick speaking out against dogfighting here.
Welcome to Day 7 of the Michael Vick dogfighting indictment. PETA is still being inundated with calls and emails about the case, and we’re still working round the clock to make sure that the NFL and Vick’s sponsors send a real message to fans about the cruelty of dogfighting, rather than just sitting around to see what will happen next. I’ll have some more updates for you in a little while, but in the meantime, here are some great photos from today’s PETA demonstration outside Falcons HQ. You can be certain that there’s more where that came from.
Read PETA’s letter to the NFL Player’s Association
MSNBC covers the story
Falcons owner expected to take action (finally)
Tell the NFL to “Sack Vick”
I’m sure you heard the news that Tammy Faye Messner (formerly Bakker) passed away this weekend after a long battle with colon cancer.
Tammy Faye definitely had it rough, (check out the enjoyable documentary The Eyes of Tammy Faye if you’re interested in that part of her life), but she always managed to face the world with two very important things: her trademark chipper attitude and loads of mascara. And it was those two things that led us to get in touch with her back in 2003 to see if she’d be interested in helping with our Caring Consumer campaign. We found out that Tammy Faye loved animals and she was horrified to find out what happens to them in labs, so she jumped at the chance to help.
Tammy Faye clearly got the concept of true Christian compassion, and we’re proud to have had her grace the cover of our cruelty-free shopping guide.
RIP Tammy Faye.
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
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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.