Written by PETA
I'm going to come clean with you guys and admit that I didn't know what Uggs were until I heard about this. I try to be trendy and keep my ear to the ground about this sort of thing, but apparently the whole Ugg thing has completely eluded me for, like, 10 years. Anyway, I'm told by my colleagues that they were this huge fashion phenomenon that got off the ground in a big way when Pamela Anderson started wearing them in her Baywatch days. Well, Pamela isn't wearing them anymore, and the story has gone everywhere—starting with People magazine. Here's what she had to say on the topic.
"I feel so guilty for that craze being started around Baywatch days - I used to wear them with my red swimsuit to keep warm - never realizing that they were SKIN! Do NOT buy UGGs! Buy Stella McCartney or Juicy boots - I'm looking for alternatives myself for my boys and the men in my life! I'm designing some right now for my family and will try and have some available on my Web site soon."
I know I've said this before, but I love you very much, Pamela. On a related note, you should check out the new design for Pam's website. It's very, very animal friendly. Did I mention that I love her?
Nothing says "Stop the bloody seal hunt" like a pile of dead, naked seal people outside your front door. We're hoping that the Canadian Prime Minister got that message loud and clear last week when these brave souls stripped off, covered themselves in fake blood, and held a “die-in” outside his office to symbolize the bloody seal-killing that happens every year on the ice floes off Newfoundland. Canada, I really do love you guys: the hockey, the maple syrup, the kickass national anthem—all that great stuff—but WTF with the baby-seal bludgeoning? Seriously: worst idea for a national tradition ever.
The geniuses over at NoMoreStrays.com, a website designed to raise awareness about the animal-overpopulation epidemic that this country is facing, have come up with what may very well be my favorite Flash-animated castration game of all time. I defy anyone to find a better game than this in the testicle-removal category. Check out the game, and don't forget to spay and neuter your pets (though for God's sake, do it by taking them to the vet—yes, the carny with the cleavers is a metaphor for your friendly local veterinarian).
The internationally renowned Australian novelist and Nobel Laureate J.M. Coetzee gave a speech in Sydney last week, where he made a powerful case for animal rights—with a particular focus on the food industry, which, as he puts it, "dwarfs all others in the number of individual animal lives it affects." Two moments in his speech really stood out for me—in the first, he compares factory farms to death camps, concisely making the point that so many people miss when they encounter this controversial comparison for the first time: That the practice of degrading living beings to the status of production units should be rejected out of hand, regardless of the victims. Here's what he says:
"Of course we cried out in horror when we found out what they had been up to. We cried: What a terrible crime, to treat human beings like cattle! If we had only known beforehand! But our cry should more accurately have been: What a terrible crime, to treat human beings like units in an industrial process! And that cry should have had a postscript: What a terrible crime, come to think of it - a crime against nature - to treat any living being like a unit in an industrial process!"
Another comment Coetzee made that really struck me related to the way children perceive animals—his remarks hint at the disturbing fact that, as we grow up, the process of socialization itself can blind us to uncomfortable truths about the wrongs that our society inflicts on others. That children are much better equipped than we are to see the horror of factory farming for what it is, and that those of us who choose to ignore it, or attempt to excuse it, do so only because we have been duped and misled by our own greed and the complacence of others:
"Given half a chance, children see through the lies with which advertisers bombard them (the happy chooks that are transformed painlessly into succulent nuggets, the smiling moo-cow that donates to us the bounty of her milk). It takes but one glance into a slaughterhouse to turn a child into a lifelong vegetarian."
At their core, the main principles of the animal rights movement are simple and intuitive—easy enough for a child to understand. But it's inspiring to see them expressed with such thoughtfulness and eloquence by one of the world's greatest writers. You can read an edited extract of J.M. Coetzee's speech here.
Proving once again that the folks in our Factory-Farming Campaigns Department are just brimming with so much compassion it could make you sick, they've just extended an offer to help our archenemy, KFC, deal with its apparent rodent problem. After video footage of a KFC in Greenwich Village that was overrun by rats on Friday went just about everywhere on the Internet, PETA sent a letter to the eatery’s owner, offering to help him implement a humane rodent-control program at his restaurant. Here's what PETA VP Bruce Friedrich had to say about the incident:
“This store’s lethal attempt to deal with rodents has failed miserably. Although KFC refuses to work with us toward minimizing the suffering of the hundreds of millions of birds killed for its restaurants every year, we hope that this store owner will work with us on a safe, effective, and humane solution to the rat infestation.”
Honestly, all this turning the other cheek and being nice to our enemies has me reeling. I'd go over to the other side of the office right now and congratulate our Factory-Farming Campaigns Department, but I'm worried that I'd be bowled over by all the excess compassion floating around. Here's PETA's letter to the store.
Just in case you weren't aware, you don't need to be a professional activist to make furriers in your neighborhood wish to God that they could just crawl into a hole somewhere, or maybe pick any other profession. All you need are some signs, a few good friends, and an hour or so of free time. Anyway, here are a few great pictures that some folks in Fort Lauderdale sent me from a protest they held outside AA Martin's Furs last week. Setting the animal issues aside for a moment, what the hell do you need a fur coat for in Florida?
According to Michael, who sent in these pics, the owners of the store asked them to call off the protest as they'd had a recent family crisis. Feel free to comment here, because I'll admit that there's the tiniest bit of a gray area: If your job involves paying people to raise animals in cages so small that many of them are insane by the time they're anally electrocuted, do you deserve a little bit of slack from the people who are telling you to stop it if you've had a rough week?
And in more good news for fur-bearing animals everywhere (this time from Portland), check this out.
My new favorite person in the entire world, Forest Whitaker. Forest won the Best Actor Oscar yesterday for his breathtaking portrayal of Idi Amin in The Last King of Scotland. I've written about Forest a couple of times before, but given what this guy has accomplished in the last year, I don't think a few more plaudits are out of place. After putting together an utterly riveting performance in Last King (which he prepared for by traveling to Uganda to meet Amin's friends and family, and learning a bit of Swahili for good measure), last night he became the fourth black performer to win the Best Actor Oscar, following in the footsteps of Sidney Poitier, Denzel Washington, and Jamie Foxx. And of course, he's particularly dear to our hearts here at PETA because both he and his daughter True are outspoken vegetarians and animal lovers. If you haven't seen the "veggie testimonial" Forest and True recorded for us recently, you should definitely check it out.
We've also got a little contest running at the moment, where you can win three of Forest's best-known films, so click the button below to check that out if you're itching to get caught up on the Forest oeuvre, now that he’s officially the best male performer in Hollywood. Anyway, congratulations, Forest—it's so great to see someone with such compassion and genuine kindness recognized for their achievements.
Awww, look at all the adorable rats! In other, extremely important news, KFC is really, really disgusting.
This video puts PETA in a bit of a difficult position, because we wouldn’t want to actively encourage other impressionable rats to eat at KFC—both for their own health and because of the ethical issues involved—but the restaurant does seem to be quite a favorite among rodents. Check it out:
I spent yesterday morning handing out leaflets outside the Ringling Bros. Circus, which is having its last desultory gasp in Norfolk this weekend before it bullies the elephants and other animals back into cramped boxcars and chains them up for the trip to whatever city it's going to inflict its weird, sadistic little show on next week. There are a lot of cities that give Ringling a really hard time when it comes to town, as activists all round the country rally round to get the word out about the circus's long history of animal abuse, safety violations, and the occasional child pornography scandal for good measure, but I'm fairly sure they dread the Norfolk shows more than any other stop on the tour, as the whole office takes a field trip to opening night, along with a bunch of local activists, to make sure that everyone attending the circus gets the elephants' side of the story as well. Apart from the inevitable middle finger or two, most people are really cool about it and grateful for the information—we always hear stories from people who have thrown away their tickets or vowed never to take their kids to an animal circus again. This year some prospective circusgoers even promised to come out leafleting with us on the weekend, which, well, you can't ask for more than that. Anyway, here's a video.
Jonathan Babineaux, defensive tackle for the Atlanta Falcons, is facing felony charges in Gwinnett County Court, stemming from his alleged February 18 fatal attack on a dog. Evidently, after arguing with his girlfriend, the 286 pound lineman inflicted blunt force trauma on her dog, Kilo. According to news sources, Kilo vomited blood en route to an emergency vet clinic, and was pronounced dead there.
We're calling on the Falcons to suspend Babineaux without pay until the courts can do their thing, and if he is found guilty we have asked the Falcons to release him from the team. But as if this case isn’t disturbing enough, there have been repeated instances of animal abuse by NFL players in the past. In December, six pit bulls belonging to the Chicago Bears' Tank Johnson were said to have been the subject of public and official concern in Illinois. Leshon Johnson, who played running back for three NFL teams, faced felony charges with 21 others in 2004 stemming from their alleged involvement in a massive dogfighting ring. Former Eagles' safety Damon Moore was accused in 2001 of abandoning his puppy in a soccer field in New Jersey, and former Eagles’ running back Thomas Hamner was twice convicted of beating his dog.
Given the seeming pattern of abuse here, we’ve also written to Roger Goodell, Commissioner of the NFL, asking him to implement a strict, clear no-tolerance policy on players' abuse of animals. Surely this issue deserves as much attention from the league as any other illegal or violent player activity, which he swore to crack down on in a recent press conference.
At least there are some NFL players who get it. Check out Giants lineman Michael Strahan’s ad here.
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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.