Written by PETA
Apparently Joe Schreibvogel isn't.
He runs a place called the G.W. Exotic Animal Sanctuary. You may remember the name because we did an undercover investigation there a few months ago. The place is a total hole, with more than a thousand animals, including tigers, lions, cougars, bears, primates, wolves—you name it. The shady joint bills itself as a “sanctuary” for rescued animals, but in reality the principal reason it exists is to line the pockets of the owner Joe Schreibvogel. They drag baby animals to malls for photo ops, the animals are punched, kicked and starved to keep them in line, and unlike any real sanctuary, they are constantly breeding the animals to ensure a never-ending flow of “cute” babies.
Anyway, the place is a pit and should be shut down. But that’s not the point of this post. Really. The point is that on the joint’s website, they boast:
“The G.W. Exotic Animal Park Now has Sponsors From 54 States and 37 foreign countries.”
54 states, huh? I didn't know they even had that many! Must be a hell of a place. If these guys are anywhere near as good at animal care as they are at geography, maybe there's nothing to worry about after all.
Remember the animal abusing monks at Mepkin Abbey from a couple of weeks ago? Just wanted to give you a quick update on that case.
This morning, PETA filed formal complaints with the South Carolina Department of Agriculture, the state Attorney General’s Office, and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) alleging unfair trade practices—including false and misleading advertising. In the complaints, PETA alleges that the abbey, which operates a factory egg farm where more than 20,000 debeaked hens are packed four or five to a cage the size of file drawer, is misleading customers with its lofty claims of humane treatment and “happy” animals. PETA filed the complaints after the abbot and public relations director of Mepkin Abbey refused to discuss retracting the abbey’s false claims and changing its advertising.
Here’s a quote from the press release we sent out, “The way that these monks treat God’s creatures is a sacrilege,” says PETA Vice President Bruce Friedrich. “Not only have the monks hideously abused these poor birds and denied them everything that God intended, they’ve also broken the public’s trust by claiming that what Mepkin Abbey does is different from what is done in industrialized factory farms. The monks are accountable for breaking the law and deceiving people who bought these eggs believing that they came from birds who were well cared for.”
I’ll keep you updated as the case progresses—there was a great piece about the story in the LA Times today, which you can check out here.
Well, the first dog has died in this year’s Iditarod. Frankly, I’m surprised it took this long, and I’m sad to say it's extremely likely there’ll be more. Turns out that forcing dogs to run 125 miles a day through subzero temperatures may not be all that good for them. Shocker. Obviously, this is common sense to those of us who act like we’re living in the year 2007, but apparently the Iditarod folks like to pretend they’re paying homage to the original race, which was along a mail route to deliver an emergency supply of diphtheria serum (whatever that is) to Nome.
Anyway, Iditaroders, next time you guys need some diphtheria serum delivered, I’m sure FedEx will be glad to help you out with that. And let’s be real here, this race is about money, plain and simple—you’re not preserving heritage or paying homage to anyone by running a few hundred dogs into the frozen ground every year.
The upshot here is that there are countless alternatives to this cruel tradition. How about a ski race along the same route—the Iskidarod maybe? Or an eBay sponsored marathon auction—the Ibidarod? The world’s largest game of hide and seek—Ihidarod. A marathon film festival—Ividarod? There actually is an event in California called the Ikidarod, where kids pull sleds on a beach, and the reality is that there really are 1001 ways for the Iditarod folks to line their pockets without hurting dogs.
Anyway, here’s to hoping that no more dogs die this year . . . Oh, and if you’re so inclined you can let the Iditarod sponsors know you feel about this absurd race here.
I got home from work the other day and turned on the TV. 1 vs 100 was on, and some of you may not know this about me, but I just love me some Bob Saget. I mean really, who doesn’t love watching Full House reruns at 3 a.m. It reminds me of a more civilized time in our society, you know, before the Olsen twins became the rubberband wrist snapping fur hags that they are now.
Anyway, 1 vs 100. So, there was a question that was something like “What food served with a pita would PETA be upset about?" The multiple choice answers were falafel, hummus, or moussaka.
Talk about PETA weaving itself into the fabric of society. Very cool. Word on the street is that PETA also made it into Jay Leno's patter on Tuesday as well (to do with our letter to Al Gore), but I was probably too busy watching my box set of America's Funniest Home Videos to catch the show. Like I said, Bob Saget, you know? Can't get enough of that guy.
Has a nice ring to it, doesn't it? Really rolls off the tongue. I think it has something to do with alliteration. Anyway, apparently Mayor Sean Ford, who rules over the Denver suburb of Commerce City with a firm but benevolent hand, has pooh-poohed his citizens' attempt to expand the symbolic reach of their eager little town by changing its name to something with a little bit more punch. Well, since we here at PETA are always inspired by stories of communities working together to make their little corner of the world a better place—and, to be totally straight with you here, because we're deadly serious about letting as many people as possible know exactly what KFC does to the hundreds of millions of chickens it kills every year—we've taken up their cause and put together a little petition to ask Mayor Ford to change his mind and change his city's name … to KentuckyFriedCruelty.com, Colorado. It really does have a certain je ne sais quoi, doesn't it? You can read our letter to the mayor here and sign the petition here.
Remember this great video about teens going vegetarian from a month or so ago? Well, it gets better. My friend Jannette is PETA’s Director of Special Gifts and she leads a glamorous life wining and dining with various dignitaries and celebrities. The other day, her glitterati lifestyle landed her in the company of none other than former Grateful Dead and now Rat Dog guitarist Bob Weir and his family.
It turns out that Bob has an amazingly cool daughter named Monet, who has been veg all her life and LOVES Ingrid Newkirk’s new kids’ book. And Bob even donated one of his guitars to auction off for PETA last year. Could this family be any cooler?
As you know, I don’t lead nearly as glam a life as Jannette and unfortunately my family isn’t half as cool as the Weirs, but nonetheless Jannette’s e-mail inspired me. I'm keeping some copies of Ingrid's new book for all the young 'uns in my family. I can't wait to hear what they think.
Damn, these victories always seem to come in pairs. Right after New Mexico announces that it has banned cockfighting, Tommy Hilfiger permanently drops fur from their collections. Citing ethical reasons for their decision, Tommy released a statement today saying:
“Starting immediately, the company will cease development of any product containing fur, and any fur garment already in production will be phased out of sales channels by the delivery of the spring 2008 collection.”
Just so you don't get the impression that these things happen overnight, here's a little behind-the-scenes for you from PETA VP Dan Mathews. Dan first ran into Tommy Hilfiger at Pamela Anderson's wedding in San Tropez in July, where they began a discussion about the ethical issues surrounding the fur industry (you know, the kind of stuff that always comes up at weddings), and they met again more recently at the World Music Awards in London in October to talk some more. Dan and Tommy had been planning on meeting again in New York this week, but it looks like that's not going to be necessary anymore. Anyway, since Pamela Anderson was responsible for the meeting in the first place, I figured I'd let her have the last word. Here's what she said about the great news when asked for comment:
"Since Tommy mostly used fur on collars and cuffs, his decision to go fur-free really puts the spotlight on fur trim, which is one of my biggest pet peeves. People who think 'it’s just a little fur trim' need to know that animals suffer tremendously for every piece of fur, and it’s unacceptable to wear any of it. Thanks, Tommy, for sticking up for the animals!"
Having been on the receiving end of a few coolly worded e-mails from our Legal Department myself, I have a suspicion that JCPenney is in a world of pain after hearing from PETA's attorneys this week about the company's claim that it does not condone the “illegal or inhumane treatment of animals.” Given that this is pretty much the only response we get from JCPenney every time we try to talk to them about their refusal to stop selling fur, there's been a fair amount of head-scratching round here about what the hell the company thinks it's up to. Anyway, nobody likes to have to bring out the lawyers, but when your big-ass company is selling fur from places that have literally zero cruelty-to-animals laws and you have no publicly available standards of your own defining what you consider to be humane treatment, you just can't get away with telling consumers that you don't condone illegal or inhumane treatment of animals and expect people to let you go about your business as if nothing's wrong. So what's the deal, JCPenney? Does all your fur come from roadkill, maybe, or do you in fact pay people to rip it from the backs of defenseless, tortured animals just like everyone else who profits from the fur trade?
After literally decades of work by concerned citizens and celebrities like Rue McClanahan and Bill Maher and the relentless dedication of Senator Mary Jane Garcia, New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson has signed a bill to ban cockfighting in the state. This was Garcia's 20th year introducing the bill to ban the vicious bloodsport, so this is a massive victory for her, for everyone who worked to raise awareness about this issue, and of course for the countless birds who are forced to fight to the death for the amusement of onlookers every year.
I'd love to say that this means that cockfighting is illegal throughout the United States, but unfortunately there's still one holdout: Everybody's looking at you, Louisiana.
Needless to say, this is pretty huge, and a lot of people have been working really hard to make this happen. If you'd like to take a moment to thank Sen. Garcia for her dedication to helping birds in New Mexico and Gov. Richardson for his compassion in signing this bill into law, their contact info is below. And if you live in Louisiana, you can click here to contact your legislators and ask them (politely) what's the big holdup.
The Honorable Mary Jane M. GarciaNew Mexico SenateBox 22Dona Ana, NM firstname.lastname@example.orgThe Honorable Bill RichardsonOffice of the Governor490 Old Santa Fe Trl., Rm. 400Santa Fe, NM 87501E-mail
As a Mac user, I make every effort to be annoyingly and irrationally biased against everything that Microsoft does, regardless of how good it actually is. Unfortunately for my techie cred, my perfect run of peevish, knee-jerk reactions to Microsoft products has come to an abrupt end with their new device for testing to see whether you're actually a human (as opposed to one of them evil Internet-trawling spam robots). Most people have had the experience of signing up for an online community or another Internet service and coming up against what looks like an eye test from Hell, where you have to attempt to duplicate a series of barely recognizable letters and numbers.
Well, Microsoft's alternative, Asirra, looks a lot less like a torture device for dyslexics and a lot more like a bonafide public service, given that the company has teamed up with Petfinder.com to allow Asirra users—who are asked to pick the cats out of a series of pictures of cats and dogs—to apply to adopt the homeless animals in the pictures. Anyway, I thought that was a pretty innovative way of combating the cat and dog overpopulation problem we're facing, and I hope it catches on. Check it out:
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.