Written by Alisa Mullins
PETA's Norfolk, Virginia, headquarters
has a new moniker—the Sam Simon Center—in honor of entertainment giant Sam
Simon, the multiple Emmy
Award–winning co-creator of The Simpsons and the writing genius behind
hit shows like Taxi, Barney
Miller, Cheers, The Tracey Ullman Show, The Drew Carey
Show, and Charlie Sheen's new FX series, Anger Management. Accompanied by a
Dixieland jazz band, Simon arrived by boat to cut the ribbon at a dedication ceremony today, which was
also attended by New York Jets safety Bret Lockett and other luminaries, including the glamorous Jennifer Tilly, TV host and producer Mark Thompson, and World Series of
Poker champion Phil Laak.
Simon, who serves on PETA's
Executive Committee, has been a vegetarian since he was 19 and a vegan
since joining PETA years later. He is known for his
work with The Sam Simon
Foundation, which rescues dogs from shelters and trains them to help
soldiers who return from war with physical and mental trauma. He attacks
animal homelessness at its roots by sponsoring spay and neuter surgeries in
low-income areas of Los Angeles. He also helped PETA launch our newest mobile spay-and-neuter clinic
and hosts annual PETA fundraisers at his home in L.A.
Perhaps because he works in the entertainment industry, the
plight of animals in entertainment is especially close to Simon's heart. He is
an outspoken opponent of cruelty in circuses, roadside zoos, and marine
parks, and he recently attended a PETA news conference with Bob Barker to call
attention to the plight of
animals on TV and movie sets. "[I]f you can't afford the CGI [computer-generated imagery], either do a
rewrite," he said, "or do a cartoon show like I did."
Simon once donated his fee for an episode of The Drew
Carey Show to PETA because
the plot involved greyhound
racing, and he felt that he could not in good conscience keep the money. As if he's not
busy enough, Simon also hosts a weekly Friday Internet radio show on Radioio.com in which he always keeps animal issues in the spotlight.
"Sam Simon may be a big Hollywood figure, but it's his
big heart that makes him a PETA soulmate," said PETA President Ingrid E.
Written by Michelle Kretzer
It was a tough decision, but PETA has
chosen the winners of our TeachKind
Teacher Appreciation Contest! These two educators best exemplify the TeachKind goals of creatively inspiring students to help animals and encouraging students
to use that inspiration to positively impact their schools and communities.
Here are the
Molly Lile Taylor organizes "Critter Club," a group of students who
meet at the Barren River Animal Welfare Association (BRAWA) to learn about
humane treatment of animals, responsible animal guardianship, the animal-homelessness crisis, careers that involve working with animals, and many other important topics. The
children are a huge asset to the animal shelter, collecting donations, helping
with fundraisers, making toys for the animals, and helping to socialize them. Many
"Critter Clubbers" choose to have their birthday parties at the
shelter and collect items that the animals need instead of receiving gifts.
Critter Club was
so successful that Taylor extended it into the summer with Camp BRAWA. "As
educators, we enjoy watching this interaction and feel a sense of
accomplishment knowing we helped facilitate the relationships between the kids
and the animals," she says. "Our goal for 'Critter Club' is to foster
compassion in the children so that they can grow up to be responsible,
teaches Spanish with a side of animal rights. She has included humane-education
lessons in her curricula every year since beginning her career and says she has
seen a profound difference in the students' lives. This year's lessons centered
on vegetarianism and greyhound racing. The class sampled vegan foods and used PETA's vegetarian/vegan
starter kit to learn how to choose plant-based foods at the supermarket. And after the
class learned about the cruelty behind greyhound racing, which is part of the TeachKind lesson plans, it welcomed a rescued former racer to its classroom.
The kids left
Vigo's class determined to educate others about cruelty-free eating choices and
about why they should not patronize greyhound races. Other educators are
starting to notice the effects that the humane-education classes have had on
Vigo's students. She says, "As educators, it is our job to inspire young
people and to instill values and compassion in them. If we want a better world,
we must start by teaching kids about kindness, respect, and empathy for all."
Congratulations to Molly Lile Taylor and
Teachers, administrators, and parents
who home-school can join
the TeachKind Network to receive free resources to help them implement their own humane-education
As usual, the commercial lineup during Super Bowl XLVI featured some real dogs—and we're not just talking about CareerBuilder's tired old re-tread of the "immature chimpanzees" storyline. Yes, the chimpanzees are immature—that's because they're babies who should be with their mothers, not being forced to perform tricks for an ass-backwards company's cruel and unimaginative Super Bowl ad.
As for the dogs, I'm also referring to the actual dogs who appeared in many of this year's Super Bowl ads, including Bud Light's real-life rags-to-riches rescued mutt, Weego, who tirelessly fetches beers every time someone utters Bud's slogan, "Here we go!" "He's a rescue," proclaims Weego's proud guardian, and the ad ends with a plea to visit Bud Light's "Help Rescue Dogs" Facebook page.
We have to throw a penalty flag on Skechers for promoting greyhound racing in its ad featuring a sneakers-clad French bulldog. The ad was trying to be cute, but greyhound racing, with its legions of abandoned, shot, and starved ex-racers, is about as ugly as it gets.
Hyundai fumbled when it used a real cheetah in its ad. Wild animals used for ads often spend most of their lives confined to cages or chains and may be routinely beaten in order to "show them who's boss." Hyundai should have taken a cue from fellow carmaker Kia, whose ad starred a lifelike computer-generated rhinoceros (not to mention a very animated—but not animatronic—Tommy Lee).
Animatronics and CGI technology are so good that it can be hard to tell the real animals from the robots, which is why there's no excuse for dragging real chimpanzees, cheetahs, or other wildlife onto a sound stage.
Written by PETA
Williams starved 34 greyhounds to death and will spend five
years behind bars—the maximum allowed—after pleading guilty to 39 felony counts
of cruelty to animals. Five other dogs in Williams' "care" at Florida's
Ebro Greyhound Park were found barely alive. PETA had pushed for the most stringent
penalty for Williams.
Racing greyhounds typically spend
their entire lives in cramped cages and are kept muzzled at all times. These
gentle dogs rarely know the comfort of a kind word or a gentle touch. When too
old, injured, or tired to continue racing, the dogs are often discarded like
you live in Arizona, Florida, Texas, Arkansas, Alabama, West Virginia, or Iowa—the
last seven states where greyhounds are still forced to race—click here to contact our Action Team to find out what you can do to
fight this cruel "sport."
Written by Jennifer O'Connor
Officials responding to a complaint about the smell of decaying animals at Florida's Ebro Greyhound Park found 33 dead and decomposing dogs who had apparently starved to death as well as four more dogs who were near death. Racer Ronald Williams was arrested and charged with 37 counts of felony cruelty to animals in connection with what the county sheriff says is one of the most disturbing cases of animal abuse his department has ever investigated. Williams had apparently abandoned the dogs to die when the racing season ended.
Greyhounds want nothing more than to snuggle on the couch and be part of a family, but those used in racing live in cramped cages and are muzzled most of the time. Illnesses and injuries—including broken legs, heatstroke, and heart attacks—claim the lives of many dogs. When they're too old or slow to continue, greyhounds are thrown away like garbage.
But thanks to the efforts of PETA and other animal rights groups, 25 tracks have closed in the U.S. alone since 2001, and Barbados, Guam, Haiti, and Indonesia have all shuttered their tracks. PETA Asia is fighting hard to keep greyhound racing out of the Philippines.
Please share this story on Facebook with all your friends, and help spread the word about this cruel industry.
On July 4, we celebrated Independence Day for greyhounds in New Hampshire when the state's two racetracks closed. Well, get ready to toast "New Life's Eve" for many racing greyhounds: Wisconsin's only dog-killing racing track, Dairyland Greyhound Park, will hold its last race on December 31.
Life in the fast lane is hard and cruel for racing greyhounds, who spend long hours in cramped kennels and sometimes suffer broken legs, heatstroke, and heart attacks. Once their racing days are over, many dogs are abandoned, starved, shot, or sold to laboratories. After such hard living, it's no wonder that dogs who are rescued from racetracks have a tendency to turn into couch potatoes.
One more down, eight more to go …
Written by Karin Bennett
Back in December, we spread some holiday cheer with news that a greyhound racetrack in Hinsdale, New Hampshire, had closed. Today we are celebrating Independence Day for all greyhounds used in racing in New Hampshire, because the last two dog tracks in the state have stopped racing greyhounds!
Greyhounds in the Granite State will now be spared routine racetrack horrors, which include long hours in cramped kennels, broken legs, heatstroke, and heart attacks, and being abandoned, starved, shot, or sold to laboratories when their racing days are through. Break out the bubbly and join us as we toast this victory.
One state down, nine to go …
We are so pleased to report that—thanks to your hard work—two important ballot initiatives passed yesterday, making history for animals. California voters approved Proposition 2 by a large majority, which will ban some of the worst cruelty to animals who are raised for food in that state: keeping egg-laying chickens in battery cages so small that they can't spread their wings, keeping veal calves in crates for their entire miserable short lives, and keeping pregnant pigs in crates that are so small that they can't take a step forward or backward or turn around. Animals on farms in California will be given these basic necessities by 2015, but we will continue to spread the message that the best thing that people can do to help animals is stop eating them altogether.
On the other side of the country, Question 3 passed, which will ban greyhound racing in the state of Massachusetts by 2010. Dogs who are used for racing typically spend 20 hours per day confined to cages measuring only 32 in. by 42 in. by 34 in. Many of the dogs can't even stand completely upright. The animals are also highly susceptible to injuries, including fractures, dislocations, lacerations, and amputations. And because they're no longer of use to the industry after they are injured, injured dogs are often simply killed.
The impact of both of these important initiatives is tremendous for the millions of animals whose lives will be affected by them. Our heartfelt thanks go out to each and every one of you who worked toward their passage. We really are making a difference.
Written by Joel Bartlett
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.