Written by PETA
Following PETA protests outside Niketown stores and countless calls and emails to the company asking that they cut ties with Michael Vick in light of horrific allegations of his involvement with dogfighting rings, Nike has released the following statement:
"Nike has suspended Michael Vick's contract without pay, and will not sell any more Michael Vick product at Nike-owned retail at this time."
As a result, we have called off our planned protests outside Nike stores around the country. Thanks to everyone who wrote to the company about this issue or attended the demonstrations, and thanks to Nike for doing the right thing by ending its association with someone accused of torture.
Reebok has also made the decision to stop sales of Michael Vick apparel, stating:
"While we respect the legal process we find the allegations against Mr. Vick too disturbing to ignore, therefore, we have decided to immediately suspend selling Vick NFL product, both at retail and online through the Reebok website."
This is great news for anyone who is concerned about cruelty to animals, and we hope that it sends a strong message to the NFL that they need to do the same thing and suspend Michael Vick immediately, pending the outcome of this case. To send a message to the NFL asking them to get on with that, please click here.
The new reality show, “The Two Coreys,” premieres this Sunday at 10pm EST on A&E, and PETA Campaigner Nicole Matthews is on the show. There’s been a lot of office chatter about it and it sounds like it’s going to be off the hook. In more good news, we’ve got a sneak peek for you here. Check out the video below, and read on for our interview with Corey Feldman and his lovely wife Susie.
Oh, and here are the details of the show, from the producers:
After a long hiatus, the "Two Coreys" are finally reunited when Corey Haim comes to stay with his best friend, Corey Feldman, and his wife, Susie. But a lot has changed in the years they have been apart—Feldman is married, a devout vegetarian, animal activist, and a non-smoker. Haim, still single and a committed carnivore, finds himself at odds with Feldman's new lifestyle and struggles to adjust to the rules of the house. The tension peaks when Haim disrupts an important dinner meeting between the Feldmans and a PETA representative.
So how did you first get involved with PETA?
Corey: I’ve been a vegetarian for over 20 years now; I’ve been doing animal rights activist type stuff for that length of time. But the first project I did with PETA was about 6 years ago when I was doing The Surreal Life when I married Susie and did the Meet Your Meat Campaign.
What was it like working on that project?
Corey: It was cool—for me it’s really hard because as a major animal lover it’s hard for me to actually sit through that stuff. I believe those videos are made for people who don’t get it at all and need a wake up call. And if you’re already there, it's kind of disturbing and kind of superfluous. I couldn’t actually watch the video—I had to basically narrate it with my eyes closed.
What was it exactly that first made you go vegetarian?
Corey: When I was 8 years old, my parents wouldn’t let me do it, and I think I was about 12 or 13 when I made the final decision like, “I know what I’m doing and if you don’t like it, too bad.” And that actually came though the influence at the time of Michael Jackson and Stephen Spielberg, because I was working on the film The Goonies. I was eating a steak one day and he sat down next to me and was mooing and saying, “You realize you’re eating a cow right? Why are you doing that?” And then I became friends with Michael and he was vegetarian at the time but no longer is an advocate—but at the time he was very influential in that world. But he brought me to his house and had his chef prepare me my first vegetarian dinner which basically helped sell it. So between the two of them I was like, “OK that’s it forget it, all bets are off.”
And then you didn’t look back?
Corey: Never once.
So what would you say to someone who thinks it’s just too hard to be vegetarian?
Corey: Well it’s a list of cop outs for everybody. Everyone’s number one argument, especially people who are hardcore carnivores; their number one reason is always “Well if you go back to the Bible, the Bible said that animals were put on this Earth to eat and that’s what they’re there for.” And I’m like, “Look guys, the Bible was written 2,000 years ago. We didn’t have science, we didn’t have technology, we didn’t have education, we didn’t have supplements; we didn’t have all these things. You were either eating raw corn stalk or cook an animal, so I get it. But we’ve evolved and the world, the Earth, the human race, it's an evolutionary process and we must evolve as human beings. But I guess the big answer is there are so many options with meat substitutes where you can live a happy and healthy life and still get the taste requirements met.
In the episode that's about to air with Nicole Matthews from PETA, how does the whole dinner go over?
Corey: It’s kind of a train wreck but that’s kind of what makes the whole episode work so well and kind of what made the point go across so well. Because what happens in the episode is Nicole comes over and we’re having this great dinner and it’s really informative and the point of it is we’re trying to figure out a new campaign to do with PETA. What happened was Corey found her very attractive, so he starts like hitting on her. We had sort of set up a blind date and he was gonna go off with her as we did our business, but he ended up sending that girl home so that he could focus on Nicole. Nicole does as any great PETA representative would do, she sees that as a great open door to use that as a sales pitch. So she goes in of course and finds some videos and they’re talking about it and he acts really interested. And it ends up that he takes her to the Jacuzzi and tries to talk her into getting in the Jacuzzi with him. We’re not going to say how it was resolved because that would give away the first episode…
It’s great that you use your platform to get that message out there when so many people just don’t think about that kind of thing.
Corey: We feel it’s the only reason we’re given these opportunities. I don’t think that I would have the following that I do unless there’s a reason. It’s very important to me that I reach all these people, and it works. Because I feel that you can be an actor or a musician or a celebrity and it can all be about “bling” and it can all be about you. It can be all about this self indulgent morality that people walk around with these days. Or you can care on a higher level about what’s happening with the rest of the universe and the world and the people in it, and the animals in it.
You mentioned environmentalism a bit, do you see a tie in between being a vegetarian and helping the environment?
Susie: All of our cleaning products, lotions, shampoos, and toothpaste are organic and non-chemical, non-animal tested. You don’t have to be a vegetarian to be against animal testing, but it goes hand in hand. You know the rainforest that’s cut down or the land that’s cleared for cattle and factory farm animals, the destruction of the rain forest specifically for beef cattle is mind boggling to the both of us that they would destroy a very precious eco system just so cows have a place to eat grass. The people in South America don’t even really get to eat that beef but the land is being destroyed for it, and definitely the methane that’s produced from the cows and pigs. It’s definitely contributing to global warming. It’s hard for people to wrap their minds around the fact that their cheeseburger is making global warming worse. I think it’s an important message for people to get, but it’s hard for people to put the two together and make the connection.
If you have any advice for someone who wants to get involved with helping animals in any way possible, what would it be?
Corey: Anything and everything. You can do the smallest little thing by donating your time by working at an animal shelter. You can work with adopt a pet. There are so many things in any city and any state and most parts of the world that can be done. Going back to the problem in Australia with the sheep…it’s such a universal problem. You look at companies like Uggs, which is one that we’re targeting because they don’t tell you that they use sheep skin for the parts. They just say, “Look at these cool boots, we’re just using wool.” You don’t really find out that they’re actually killing the sheep to get the wool. PETA has a really informative list of the companies that are using animal free products and ones that aren’t. Although it seems minuscule, making that one little change of not buying those products and not supporting those companies will force their hand. So just keeping in touch with PETA, checking the website, getting put on the email list makes a difference.
Well great, thank you so much for taking time to talk to us!
Corey: Oh, one last thing. If you could also send people a link to my website which is www.coreyfeldman.net, I got The Positive Fame award from the Wildlife Way Station last year. Events like that, which is kind of subliminal advertisement for all things positive. The first step is about PETA and as soon as the stories come out we’ll automatically link to the PETA website. So there are always positive things to do where people can make a difference.
With that subject line you may be expecting a punch line here, but I’m under strict orders to play this one straight. Apparently, the “First Colon” is not to be joked about . . . So, no snickering.
Anyway, I’m sure you all heard that President Bush had five polyps removed from his colon during his colonoscopy at Camp David on Saturday. And although the growths were benign, PETA VP Bruce Friedrich fired off a letter pointing out that according to leading health and medical professionals, eating a diet based on meat and other animal products significantly raises a person’s risk for colon cancer. And since we’re so sure the president will be going vegetarian any day now, we also offered to dispatch a gourmet vegan chef to train the current White House cooking staff in preparing delicious and healthful vegan meals.
Surprisingly, we haven’t heard back from good 'ol Dubya yet. Must just be some rare White House mixup . . . Anyway, here’s the letter we sent.
Remember the University of Connecticut story from a couple of weeks ago? Long story short: the USDA fined the University of Connecticut Health Center (UCHC) for seven violations of the Animal Welfare Act, stemming from experiments in which a guy named David Waitzman bolted restraint devices to monkeys' heads, drilled holes in their skulls, attached electrodes to their brains, and fastened small wire coils directly to their eyeballs.
Well we just took it a step further and filed a formal complaint with state auditors Kevin P. Johnston and Robert G. Jaekle urging them to investigate possible violations of the University of Connecticut's Code of Conduct as well as the possible misuse of public funds and property by the UCHC, its institutional Animal Care Committee (ACC), and UCHC animal experimenter David Waitzman.
Based on UConn graduate student Justin Goodman's 2005 complaints, the USDA confirmed that Waitzman was consistently in violation of laws governing the care and use of animals in research. Waitzman had received more than $1.7 million in federal funds to conduct the experiments, and part of his salary, the entire salaries of his support staff, and his overhead expenses were funded by state taxpayers, who will also have to pick up the tab for the $5,532 fine. Also, UCHC officials made false public statements regarding Waitzman's experiments.
UConn's Code of Conduct requires that faculty and staff abide by all federal, state, and institutional laws and regulations regarding the use of animals. However, since March 2003, UCHC has been cited for more than 65 violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act related to the treatment of monkeys, cats, gerbils, guinea pigs, and rabbits at the facility. These violations include failure to employ personnel who were qualified to handle nonhuman primates, thus causing physical harm to the animals; failure to consider alternatives to painful procedures; failure to provide appropriate sedatives to animals; failure to painlessly euthanize a monkey who experienced severe tremors and seizures for more than six months; and conducting unauthorized experiments.
Here’s what PETA VP Bruce Friedrich had to say on the issue, "UConn has been torturing animals, making a mockery of its Code of Conduct, and squandering taxpayers' money in the process, UCHC's negligence and lack of oversight led directly to the prolonged suffering and deaths of animals, and we're calling on the state to impose all appropriate disciplinary measures."
I’ll keep you posted as things progress . . .
All day today, PETA protesters and hundreds of members of the public stood outside the U.S. District Court in Richmond, Virginia, to call for vigorous prosecution of Michael Vick and the three other men charged in this horrific dogfighting case. Although this story is the first glimpse for many people of exactly what dogfighting is all about, the real tragedy here is that the kind of abuse detailed in Vick's indictment is as widespread as it is horrific. In the last year alone, PETA has responded to more than 14,000 calls and e-mails regarding other dogfighting and individual cruelty-to-animals cases. It's great that there has been so much outrage over this case, and we're certainly going to keep pushing to make sure that it is treated with the utmost seriousness by the courts—as well as by Vick's sponsors and the NFL—but the next step is going to be getting policymakers and law enforcement officers to treat all cases of dogfighting and animal cruelty the same way that they have been prosecuting this case, which happens to be under scrutiny from the media.
The good news is that this is already beginning to happen on the federal level. According to a press release from Senator John Kerry's office today, the senator has announced that he is "introducing legislation to finally eliminate dogfighting, which has been targeted by federal and state laws but by all accounts is more popular than ever." A copy of the proposed bill can be found here, and you can read our thank you letter to Senator Kerry and expression of support for the bill here.
As regular readers of this blog will know, PETA President Ingrid Newkirk is a huge fan of Formula 1 racing. Which means that she is incredibly knowledgeable about things like who has the best pit crew or which motor oil is better. Well, with the nation focused on dogfighting right now following the Michael Vick indictment, a Castrol Motor Oil ad that has been running on SPEED TV which appears to glorify the blood sport has been rightly upsetting a lot of animal lovers. Here's what Ingrid wrote to the company:
"As you know, Michael Vick, NIKE, and the NFL are in the deserved hot seat now for not immediately resigning, pulling ads, and pulling Mr. Vick, respectively. Your ad is "a fight to the death" in a back alley. Everyone realizes that cars don't fight to the death, dogs are made to. It has a sign saying "FIGHT" on the makeshift fence and on your site it refers to it as the "sickest" contest. … I have used your product for decades, even loved smelling it in the old days at the racetrack before synthetics came along, and hate to see a furor over Castrol. Thank you. Ingrid Newkirk, President, PETA"
After Ingrid contacted Castrol about the ad, the company immediately responded by assuring us that that while their ad agency was thinking "boxing match," they recognized that the imagery associated with the text implied a dogfight, and they're already working to revise their commercial so that no one will get the impression that dogfighting is something to be anything other than horrified by. With the massive attention to this issue that Vick's case has created, I'm hoping that this will be just one in a long chain of events that will see the blood sport condemned, prosecuted, and ultimately wiped out for good. Thanks, Castrol, for doing the right thing—and thanks to everyone who contacted us about this.
We've been getting a lot of calls from people asking what we're going to do about some new websites that are being passed around, called KittyBeef.com and PuppyBeef.com, which are purporting to sell prime cuts from kittens and puppies at discount prices. Well, the simple answer is … we're not really going to do all that much about it at all. In fact, I kind of wish we'd thought of the idea ourselves. For anyone who's horrified by the concept of having puppy chops or kitten nuggets for dinner, I hope they'll go just one tiny step further in their outrage and ask themselves how that's any different from chowing down on pork chops or chicken.
At the risk of getting a little rhetorical here, animals killed for our kitchens are just as capable of suffering as the animals we keep in our homes. They're just as smart, just as loving, and the prospect of the horrors that are inflicted on them by the meat industry keeps me up at night and fills me with the same anguish as reports of people who chain their dogs or torture their cats.
PETA Files reader Dave Cortright passed this hilarious Onion video on to me and I just had to share.
The sad thing is that animal experiments just as absurd as this fictional one still take place. Take smoking/nicotine experiments, for example. We know that smoking is harmful to human health; we don’t need to shove animals into inhalation chambers or dose pregnant rats with huge amounts of nicotine to confirm it. There are countless examples like this, but this was supposed to be a lighthearted entry, so I’ll stop now . . .
Anyway, if you haven’t seen Testing 1, 2, 3 yet, give it a look and let me know what you think.
I got a real kick out of this Bizarro comic someone scanned from their newspaper and sent in the other day, and the wonderful Dan Piraro, the longtime PETA supporter and animal rights advocate who writes the strip, was gracious enough to send me a high-quality version to put on the blog. Thanks, Dan!
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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.