Written by PETA
Well, I'm tickled pink as a pig's bottom—Kelly Clarkson has ditched her July 9th performance at the Calgary Stampede. The annual rodeo exhibition means 10 days of cruelty, including catastrophic and often fatal injuries for horses and bulls—not really the best venue for an animal-loving vegetarian like Kelly.
Our thanks to the pop star are on their way!
Written by Karin Bennett
Thoroughbred breeder Ernie Paragallo, whose horses were discovered emaciated and infested with parasites as they awaited slaughter in a pen, should be prosecuted for cruelty to animals. Paragallo said that he had given the horses up to a Florida-based breeder and that he did not know of their final destination (the slaughterhouse), but that certainly doesn't clear him of responsibility for the state of the mares when they were found. "There were a bunch of mares that someone didn't care about anymore," said Christy Sheidy, who rescued four of the horses.
Regardless of Paragallo's guilt or innocence on the charges of cruelty to animals, this case highlights an often-overlooked part of the world of thoroughbred racing—the fate of horses who can no longer race.
The industry would like us to believe that when horses leave the world of racing they go on to live out their "retirement plan" on green pastures. Let me tell you that what's in store for thoroughbreds is no pit stop in Palm Springs.
As this case shows, when horses are no longer useful to the racing industry, they are cast aside like trash—and more than 100,000 horses are exported from the U.S. for slaughter every year. Owners and trainers like to talk about "retirement plans," but, in reality, burned-out and used-up horses all too often meet bloody death and dismemberment on their way to someone's dinner plate.
The only way to make sure that the horses who can no longer "perform" well aren't treated like garbage is to stop making them "perform" in the first place.
Although technically spring has not yet sprung, we seem to be doing a kind of early spring cleaning here at the Files, with updates on some issues that we haven't discussed in a while. First, it was ONPRC and now, horse slaughter.
"Horse slaughter." Ugh. Just the phrase alone turns your stomach, doesn't it? Well, it's time to turn that nausea into action by supporting H.R. 503, The Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act of 2009, which is currently making its way through Congress.
Some background: In recent years, animal advocates have succeeded in ending horse slaughter in the U.S., but now, greedy folks determined to profit from their horses even in death have begun sending horses to Mexico and Canada, where slaughter is still legal. Horses suffer tremendously on the long trip to shoddy foreign slaughterhouses, often arriving with all kinds of injuries and illnesses, only to be shot or stabbed repeatedly in the neck and spine. Paralyzed but still conscious, they're shackled and hoisted up by one leg so that their throats can be cut. Then they hang there, bleeding to death.
That's where H.R. 503 comes in. If it becomes law, this legislation would prohibit the slaughter and/or export of horses for human consumption. It's a huge step in the right direction and could greatly reduce the number—and therefore the suffering—of the estimated 100,000 horses who are exported for slaughter every year.
Please contact your U.S. representative and politely ask him or her to cosponsor and vote for H.R. 503.
If you want to do even more to protect horses, additional measures are needed, including specifically making horse abandonment a crime (as Oregon is currently considering) with stiff penalties on a state-by-state level; requiring people who can no longer provide for their horses to find new homes for them or have them euthanized by injection; and funding enforcement to prevent the smuggling of horses across our nation's borders under false pretenses. To learn how to become a citizen lobbyist for horses and other animals, check this out.
Written by Jeff Mackey
If you aim a wind-up toy at a brick wall, logic would tell you that the toy is going to continue slamming into the wall unless the wall is removed, right?
Well, as long as the horse-racing industry exists, tragedy is going to follow. Case in point: Two more horses at the Aqueduct Race Track had to be euthanized last week after suffering broken legs on the track. One of the breakdowns was so catastrophic that five horses slammed to the ground. You can watch footage of the race below.
One would think that the horse-racing industry would at least make some changes to protect these horses better, such as mandating turf track, which is softer than either dirt or synthetic tracks. Instead, as The New York Daily News reports, the industry simply tries to cover up fatal falls. When questioned about its decision not to show footage of the fall that brought down five horses, the New York Racing Association (NYRA) claimed that it didn't want the footage to get into the wrong hands, meaning animal rights groups. Oops! Looks like that didn't work out so well, did it?
My favorite quote about the decision not to air the footage comes from a NYRA spokesperson, who said: "It was a judgment call on a particularly scary-looking spill."
Exactly. Don't want to scare off those railbirds and their lucrative bets, do we? As if the tragic deaths of Eight Belles last year and Barbaro in 2006 haven't already given race fans enough to think about.
Written by Jennifer Cierlitsky
The good folks at the Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages (CBHDC) teamed up with PETA members to hold a protest outside New York City's Central Park on Valentine's Day. They witnessed several disturbing incidents that illustrate a culture of inaction by ASPCA officers charged with monitoring the carriage industry and enforcing regulations. Read and weep:
CBHDC President Elizabeth Forel reports that one of the roads coming out of the park had a large pothole and that the drivers repeatedly drove their carriages over it. Elizabeth believes that ASPCA officers were within their power to bar the carriages from using the road, but, after numerous complaints, the only action that was taken was to put an orange traffic cone in the pothole.
Carriage drivers were so busy hurling abuse at the protesters and trying to videotape them that they came perilously close to becoming involved in serious accidents. According to witnesses, one driver drove his horse right into the traffic cone, which nearly caused the frightened animal to bolt. Shockingly, when protesters brought this incident to the attention of an ASPCA officer, he blamed the horse and refused to cite the driver.
Another driver was talking on his cell phone and almost ran into the cone. At the last minute, one of the ASPCA officers touched the horse's face in an attempt to divert him from the pothole (the horses wear blinders and can only see what's directly in front of them). This startled the horse, who veered sharply into the path of a car, which some witnesses believe may have struck the animal.
A veterinarian who attended the protest reported seeing areas on horses' skin rubbed raw by their harnesses. One lame horse mysteriously "disappeared" after protesters brought the matter to officers' attention.
Drivers repeatedly—one might even say routinely—ran red lights, but, again, the ASPCA officers did nothing. In fact, Elizabeth reports that the officers seemed more concerned with whether or not she had a permit for her protest (she didn't need one and they knew it) than they were with doing their jobs.
"The drivers do not take the ASPCA officers seriously," says Elizabeth. "If they did, they would show more respect for the law and would do as told. … They act with impunity—like they know they will not get a ticket no matter what."
Please click here to read more about the cruelty of the horse-drawn carriage industry and what you can do to help.
Written by Alisa Mullins
I had occasion to ride my bike into downtown Houston one evening last week. While it was great to see a lot of nightlife happening in this once-dead part of our fair city, there was one sight that wasn't so welcome: carriages drawn by sad, exhausted horses.
Frequent PETA Files visitors know about our work to help horses in New York City, but the problem isn't limited to the Big Apple. Case in point: According to news reports, Chicago authorities recently impounded six horses from carriage ride operator JC Cutters. The animal control manager reportedly said that the animals' body weights and the condition of the outdoor tent in which the horses were living were factors in the decision.
Did you get that? The horses were reportedly living in a tent, which the Chicago Tribune described as a "tarp-covered plywood barn near the Chicago River." In the Windy City. In winter. Nice, huh? Maybe Liam Neeson should set up some new digs there.
Now, it's great that Chicago has addressed this immediate problem, but these situations will keep happening as long as we keep putting the horse before the cart, so to speak—and not just in New York and Chicago but everywhere this sad excuse for "entertainment" occurs.
Meanwhile, with Valentine's day coming up, it's worth remembering that horse-drawn carriage rides are anything but romantic (or, as Will said of them on Will & Grace, "It seems romantic at first, but eventually you realize you're cold and you're staring at an ass that craps right in front of you").
Fortunately, New York City Council Member Daniel Garodnick of Manhattan has taken up our suggestion to replace horse-drawn carriages there with environmentally-friendly electric replicas of the classic Ford Model T and is running with it. The current carriage drivers might even be able to make the transition to driving the new cars—you gotta love a win-win situation like that.
I've got some exciting news for you! Well, exciting in the sense that a hideous sport has made an improvement that makes it a bit less hideous: The National Western Stock Show has banned electric prods!
The group SHARK gets a shout-out as big as the wide-open plains for persuading National Western to put an end to the use of the painful shocking device, which is often used on broncos to cause them to bolt from the gate. As you can imagine, frequent exposure to these electric shocks causes the animals considerable physical and mental distress.
The National Western Stock Show has also announced heftier fines for "jerk-downs"—the act of violently jerking a calf backward and roping the calf simultaneously. Competing rodeos have followed suit: Cheyenne Frontier Days and the Greeley Stampede have also banned electric prods. Now, if they'd just replace the broncs with mechanical bulls, we'd be as happy as a hog let loose in the tater patch.
We all know about the horrific treatment of animals killed for human consumption, but a lot of us dog guardians haven't stopped to think about what we're feeding Fido for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Recently, a University of Florida student investigated Moses Dog Food company (based in Ocala, Florida) to find out what's in your dog's bowl. Check out the video below to see what the student discovered:
The majority of dog and cat food comes from factory farm–raised animals who failed to meet standards for human consumption, falling into one of the "Four D's" categories—dead, dying, diseased, or disabled. Does that sound like something you'd want to feed your dog?
Luckily, there are plenty of humane non-animal alternatives available, such as the legendary V-Dog vegan dog food available on our Web site. We've also got vegan pig ears and treats for you to stock up on—so get shopping!
For the rest of the investigator's photos and contact information for the company so that you can voice your concerns, please visit "The Meat They Eat."
Written by Liz Graffeo
What if you could help a truly worthy cause, which helps animals who have some of the worst lives on the planet? Well, snap, you can!
Forget Heifer International (I'll tell you why in a minute)—here's the wonderful Animal Rahat, which means "animal relief." Animal Rahat is based in Indian villages that produce bricks and sugar cane and was created (with PETA's help) to provide relief to the working bulls, donkeys, ponies, and horses the impoverished villagers rely on. Animal Rahat has greatly improved the lives of these animals by giving rest to the lame—something the owners could never afford by themselves in their hand-to-mouth existence. Animal Rahat also provides free medical relief to lame, sick, and injured animals. The owners of these animals are often too poor to afford even the most basic nutrients that the animals require to stay strong and healthy—let alone pay for veterinary services.
Animal Rahat has even created a retirement program in which owners are offered a small subsidy to "retire" older animals and allow them to live out the rest of their lives with their human families—rather than send them to hideously cruel slaughterhouses.
With the holidays upon us, kind folks are opening their checkbooks in the spirit of helping others. Please, let's not forget about those hard-pressed working animals who need a day's rest, a poultice for a wound, a bridle that doesn't eat into their faces, and more.
And let's not be fooled by organizations like Heifer International, which send animals to families abroad. This only perpetuates the cruelty to which animals raised for food are subjected—and they always end up slaughtered. And in addition to preventing daily cruelty, it's far more efficient to feed the hungry on a vegetarian diet, as the resources stretch a lot further. After all, it takes 6–16 pounds of grain to produce one pound of meat—and that's a lot of wasted food …
So, why not save a life this holiday season and help these working animals? You know you want to …
PETA's sexy "fashion police" are on patrol again. Last week, they took their beat to the street - in New Haven and Providence, handing out citations to leather-wearers for "violating common decency." For some reason, every "offender" loved being "detained." In fact, this is pretty much what happened every time:
Fashion Cop: No more leather, promise?Passerby, hanging head in shame: OK.
Of course, looking at photos of our cops, I have to say—they look like they mean business! I wouldn't want to argue with them, either.
And, if you're looking for some pleather boots as awesome as those (I know I am!), we have a few cruelty-free suggestions for your consideration.
Written by Amanda Schinke
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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.