Written by PETA
Classrooms are for students, not animals. This is the conclusion that Margaret Barthel, the head of the science department at Tampa, Florida's Freedom High School, has finally come to after an appearance in court this week resulted in Barthel's being punished for cruelty to the animals she kept in her classroom.
In Barthel's classroom at Freedom High, several class "pets" were abused and neglected: Nine gerbils died after they were deprived of food and water for more than two weeks, finches died of exposure, and a ball python froze to death. As a result of the cruelty citations, Barthel has relinquished her (still-living) ball python to Hillsborough County Animal Services, paid a $1,000 fine, donated $500 to animal services, and committed to keeping animals out of her classroom permanently.
We're hoping that in light of this incident, Freedom High School Principal Chris Farkas will heed our calls and prohibit the use of animals in all the school's classrooms. Please use this form to let him know that students can and do learn about responsibility, animal behavior, and hands-on science without keeping animals on display in classrooms.
Written by Liz Graffeo
You may have heard about the possible new "gay friendly" high school in Chicago. Harassment and violence are causing gay students to drop out at alarming rates—and the School for Social Justice Pride Campus would be a place for all students to be able to complete their education in a protected and welcoming environment.
I think this is wonderful news—but hey, we at PETA have always been against all forms of oppression. That's why our director of media relations, Michael McGraw, is writing Chad Weiden, the assistant principal of Social Justice High School (and likely principal of the new Pride Campus), with an important suggestion: Pride Campus should have an all-vegetarian cafeteria.
"It is only because of prejudice that animals killed for food on today's factory farms suffer miserable lives and nightmarish deaths," Michael writes—and it's true! Even though animals love, fear, mourn, and rejoice just like we do, their feelings are completely discounted. They are kept in cramped, filthy warehouses where they are beaten and abused, and at slaughter, their throats are cut or they are boiled alive—just because they don't happen to be exactly like us.
Michael's letter quotes Steven Simmons, a PETA staffer and gay rights activist who died of AIDS in the early '90s, who wrote, "It's time for us to end this hierarchy of who has the right to live, who deserves not to suffer, who should be respected, [the idea] that there's a limit to the amount of compassion that we can have for our fellow creatures." We're hoping that Assistant Principal Weiden will encourage his students to have compassion for today's most vulnerable population—the animals—by keeping Pride Campus meat-free.
You can read Michael's letter to Mr. Weiden here.
Written by Amanda Schinke
Forget Miley Cyrus' terrible 'tween "Sweet 16" bash at Disneyland; there's something much, much sweeter to celebrate at Disney World: No more foie gras! Just this month, Disney World dumped this disgusting Donald Duck–derived "delicacy of despair" (produced by force-feeding ducks until their livers become diseased and engorged) from its menus.
Disney World's compassionate decision is part of a growing trend among businesses to distance themselves from this cruel product. Just ask Target, Giant Eagle, and Harvey Nichols—three huge chains that recently caved in to pressure from PETA and its affiliates and pulled foie gras off their shelves. The production of foie gras has also already been banned in 15 nations—including the U.K., Germany, Israel, and Switzerland—as well as in the state of California.
While this is all a giant waddle in the right direction, we're not going to stop campaigning against foie gras until everyone stops forcing ducks to be organ donors. Today Disney World, tomorrow the rest of the world! For more info about this nasty stuff and to take a pledge to say "nah" to foie gras, click here.
Written by Amy Elizabeth
It's official: Just weeks before he was to race in the Breeders' Cup, Big Brown has officially been retired from horse racing because of a serious foot injury. The 3-year-old horse, who earlier this year won the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness and who outran Eight Belles before she collapsed and had to be euthanized on the track after the Kentucky Derby, has now himself succumbed to the dangers of horse-racing. Honestly, Big Brown's retirement isn't even remotely shocking, given that horses who race are often forced to run before their legs have fully matured.
Unfortunately, retirement from racing for a horse who has developed injuries or is no longer fast enough to complete usually means a lifetime of breeding or a one-way trip to the slaughterhouse.
PETA immediately sent a letter to officials to ask that Big Brown be gelded and fully retired, not held at stud to breed and pass along the traits of a horse who has sustained several injuries throughout his racing career. You can view our full letter here.
Horse racing has always been a greedy, money-hungry industry with little regard for the animals it puts in harms way, so long as the horses continue to bring in the big bucks. Fortunately though, laws are changing to help protect these horses. Side whipping as well as "Snapper" whips, which are used in harness racing, have both been banned. Anabolic steroids have been banned from racing, and Maryland recently banned the use of all steroids. But we still have a long way to go to shut down all horse-racing venues and to remove these animals from lives plagued by injury.
Written by Jennifer Cierlitsky
Okay, hold the phone—during a recent Philadelphia Phillies/Los Angeles Dodgers playoff game, commentator Joe Buck mentioned that Phillies player Shane Victorino's favorite food is Spam musubi. A few reactions here—one: gross; I can think of a hundred different fillings I'd like for my onigiri, and canned meat ain't one of them.
Two: Why? The Phillies' Citizens Bank Ballpark has been ranked the "Most Vegetarian Friendly Ballpark" two years in a row for its impressive vegetarian offerings, such as Philly faux-steak sandwiches, "crab-free crab cakes," mock-chicken sandwiches, and veggie dogs. With all of these delicious, cruelty-free options available, why would you choose to go cholesterol- and cruelty-heavy? (Okay, so Spam musubi is a popular food in Shane's native Hawaii—but as my mother would say, what's popular is not always right.)
And finally (and most importantly), three: SPAM is made by Hormel, and Hormel is supplied by factory farms like this one in Iowa. You remember—the factory farm where the pigs were beaten and vaginally and—according to one bragging supervisor—anally penetrated? Where their tails and testicles were cut off without anesthetic?
We're giving Shane the benefit of the doubt here: He probably didn't know about the torments faced by the piglets destined to be slaughtered for Hormel and possibly end up as SPAM. But hey, knowledge is power, right? So PETA Assistant Director (and major sports fan) Dan Shannon has written him a letter giving some background info on Hormel and the way its suppliers and that Iowa farm treat pigs. We suspect that the cruelty in every can of SPAM will make Shane madder than a high Hiroki Kuroda fastball—and that a change in snack foods might be in order.
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
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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.