Written by PETA
We've just received word that Arlington (Texas) Municipal Judge Michael Smith has divested Jasen and Vanessa Shaw—owners and operators of animal warehouse U.S. Global Exotics, Inc. (USGE)—of the more than 26,000 mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and arachnids who were seized from USGE on December 15. U.S. Global Exotics, Inc., is a major player in the pet trade. For years, the company has imported and exported hundreds of thousands of animals every year for eventual sale at major pet stores and pet store chains all over the world, including at U.S.-based PETCO and PetSmart.
A PETA undercover investigator spent seven months working at U.S. Global Exotics and documented horrifically cruel conditions for animals. On December 15, Arlington officials and humane agents rescued more than 26,000 animals, including wallabies, sloths, ringtail lemurs, kinkajous, coatimundis, agoutis, hedgehogs, chinchillas, hamsters, gerbils, rats, mice, flying squirrels, guinea pigs, sugar gliders, prairie dogs, ferrets, snakes, lizards, turtles, frogs, spiders, crabs, and scorpions from this facility. This seizure is believed to be the largest animal confiscation in history.
Judge Smith's decision to award custody of the animals to the city of Arlington comes on the heels of a seven-day hearing during which lawyers for the exotic-animal dealer tried every trick in the book to downplay Jasen and Vanessa Shaw's failure to provide animals in their care with basic, minimal necessities such as food, water, and adequate housing. However, the evidence that our investigator meticulously documented while inside U.S. Global Exotics' facility—as well as the evidence gathered on the day of the seizure—could not be refuted. Here is some of what we found:
While the animals at U.S. Global Exotics, Inc., have been rescued, millions of other animals in similar facilities are still suffering, and they will continue to suffer as long as people support companies such as U.S. Global Exotics by buying animals from pet stores such as PetSmart, PETCO, Petland, and others. Please share this information with everyone that you know and urge them never to buy any animals from stores and to always adopt from animal shelters and rescue groups.
Written by Karin Bennett
Pamela Anderson's got to have more frequent flyer miles than George Clooney's character in Up in the Air. And wherever she goes, she makes sure the people and the media talk about her efforts to help animals. The latest destination of PETA's jet-setting BFF? Chile.
Chile recently ratified a national animal welfare law, which is good, but it could go further. And in July, Chile's neighboring country, Bolivia, took a strong stand against cruelty to animals by passing a law forbidding the use of animals in circuses. Now Pamela has asked the president of Chile to do the same.
Abuse of animals in circuses is standard practice, and it begins before babies are old enough to leave their mother's sides. PETA recently released images of employees of Ringling, one of the largest circus outfits in the world, as they use ropes, bullhooks, electric shock prods, maternal deprivation, and corporal punishment to force baby elephants into doing tricks that are never seen in the wild and are confusing for them.
We'll keep you updated on Pam's efforts to fight animal abuse worldwide—in the meantime, help save baby elephants by asking the USDA to revoke Ringling's license and pursue criminal prosecution of Ringling trainers right here at home.
Written by Logan Scherer
Before I tell you this story, please go check out our newest exposé on the abuse of baby elephants for Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. The exposé has been featured extensively in The Washington Post.
Keep those heartbreaking photos in mind as I tell you about Ringling's newest addition to its troupe of miserable, abused elephants. Barack is a baby Asian elephant who was born on January 19, the day before President Barack Obama was sworn into office—hence the name. TampaBayOnline reported that Baby Barack, who is not even 1 year old, just made his "debut" at a Ringling rehearsal at the Florida State Fairgrounds.
It's hard to believe that anyone would use an electric shock prod on an elephant like Baby Barack—or that someone would bind a baby elephant with rope and then slam that baby to the ground—but that's exactly the information presented to us by one of Ringling's own baby elephant trainers, the late Samuel Haddock Jr., who had a change of heart about his nearly 20-year career with Ringling.
In his statement about Ringling's treatment and training of baby elephants, Mr. Haddock noted, "Babies are typically pulled from their mothers around 18–24 months of age. Once they're pulled from their mothers, they've tasted their last bit of freedom and the relationship with their mother ends." He added, "Sometimes [the baby elephants] would start crying when they saw their mothers brought in from outside."
After the terrified babies are torn away from their devastated mothers, they begin a life of bondage and are forced to learn "tricks" such as sitting on tubs and standing on their heads.
Once again: Barack was born in January of this year, meaning that he isn't even 12 months old.
Would President Obama disapprove of the treatment of his namesake? I believe he would. I've posted this information on my Facebook page to let others know that I don't approve of Ringling's elephant abuse. Won't you do the same?
Eva Mendes' performance in Bad Lieutenant has Hollywood talking. And today, with Fur-Free Friday fast approaching, the talk of tinsel-town debuted PETA's new fur exposé.
Eva says, "I didn't always know how animals were killed for their fur, and I even wore fur once myself." But then the compassionate (and smoldering-hot) actor learned that millions of animals are killed every year in the cruel fur industry. "I swore that I'd never wear it again," she says. Now, in PETA's new exposé (and just in time for the holiday shopping season), Eva is urging viewers to go for a look that kills without killing animals—by forgoing fur in favor of glamorous alternatives.
Why should you go-go-faux? Dogs, cats, foxes, minks, rabbits, and other animals often suffer the pain of having their skin ripped from their bodies while they are conscious and able to feel every agonizing minute. The only way to bring an end to the suffering is to follow Eva's lead and never wear any fur.
For more than eight months this year, a PETA investigator worked undercover inside University of Utah animal labs, where she documented the miserable conditions and daily suffering of dogs, cats, monkeys, rats, mice, rabbits, frogs, cows, pigs, and sheep. Today, The Salt Lake Tribune ran a story about the investigation, including the response from Tom Parks, the university's vice president for research. The response is (not so) stunningly callous: "None of the things she alleges are substantive. It's a remarkably banal list of ordinary events in an animal-care facility."
Here's a list of the things the university considers "banal"—part of an "ordinary" day in the "animal-care facility":
Brain injections, desperate thirst, tumors, and holes in skulls: just another banal day in the lab, right?
We have filed complaints against the university with the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and local law-enforcement officials, and you can take action to help animals at the University of Utah too.
Written by Logan Scherer
On Sunday, the U.K. newspaper The Sunday Times ran a great article about a recent undercover investigation conducted at a Hampshire laboratory that tests Dysport—a wrinkle-erasing drug similar to Botox—on mice. The investigation was conducted by our friends at the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection, and among the most disturbing findings of the investigation was the fact that technicians repeatedly broke the backs of mice while attempting to kill them with ball-point pens. Yes, you read that right. Staffers then used the same ball-point pens to fill out their victims' death records.
Laboratory workers were also videotaped botching injections and swearing at rabbits. One staffer calls a struggling rabbit "a little s**t" and "a disgrace."
As with Botox, both in the U.S. and the U.K., each batch of Dysport is tested on animals. More than 41,000 mice were killed in Dysport tests in a six-month period at just this one laboratory.
Horrors like these don't just take place across the pond either. In the U.S. alone, it is estimated that more than 100 million mice and rats are killed in experiments every year. And here in the U.S. these sensitive, intelligent animals are not protected by any federal laws, even though they are the animals who suffer most frequently at the hands of animal experimenters. Investigation after investigation shows that these highly social animals are handled like they are disposable laboratory equipment instead of living animals who deserve respect and kindness.
Written by Alisa Mullins
Yesterday was a big day for the dairy industry. People across the nation were getting their first peek into what dairy farming actually looks like as media outlets covered PETA's recent, revealing undercover investigation into the putrid living conditions and the abusive treatment of cows on one Land O'Lakes supplier's factory farm. At the same time, PETA was dropping in on the first day of the World Dairy Expo in Madison, Wisconsin.
A couple of passionate ladies were on hand at the Expo to let attendees and passersby know that the dairy industry is dreadful for cows and disgusting for humans. Our undercover investigation revealed that cows at milking stations were caked in feces and urine. It also showed that many of these gentle animals had untreated abscesses that sometimes burst and oozed pus as cows were being milked.
After hearing stories like these, people in Madison were quick to take home copies of our "Vegetarian Starter Kit." Why don't you do the same?
Written by Shawna Flavell
Today, PETA unveiled footage from our five-month undercover investigation of a filthy factory dairy farm in Pennsylvania that supplies milk to St. Paul–based Land O'Lakes, the largest seller of branded butter in the U.S.
Our investigator documented abuse and neglect of cows and calves at the facility, including that cows who were in terrible pain and resisted standing were electro-shocked and jabbed with the blade of a pocket knife in an effort to force them to move and that sick and injured cows were left to languish—often so weak that they couldn't even get out of their own waste—for days and even weeks without veterinary care. In one case, workers were told to wrap an elastic band around a cow's gangrenous, infected teat in order to "amputate" it. The cow's condition deteriorated for 11 days before she finally died.
It is a violation of Pennsylvania law to neglect animals, deprive sick and injured animals of veterinary care, and deny animals clean and sanitary shelter. Charges against the farm's owners have been approved and filed by a local magisterial district judge. The factory farmers are innocent until proven guilty, of course, but they would face up to 90 days in jail and $750 in fines if convicted.
We have also called on Land O'Lakes to buy milk only from farms that meet our 12-point animal welfare plan, which would prevent much of the suffering we documented at this farm.
For those of you who can't stomach the thought of eating butter after watching that video, take a minute to tell Land O'Lakes to implement our 12-point animal welfare plan. Then check out one of the many vegan butter alternatives that are widely available. My personal favorite is Earth Balance margarine. It's 100 percent vegan and free of trans fat (and pus), and it tastes even better than butter. Best of all, it's also 100 percent free of cruelty to cows and calves.
As a PETA blogger, I know that male chicks in the egg industry are simply discarded and killed—but knowing about it didn't make watching it any easier.
This new footage from an undercover investigation by Mercy for Animals shows workers at an Iowa hatchery killing 150,000 newborn male chicks every single day.
Chicks born at hatcheries are sent off to slaughter the very day they take their first breath. The only lives these babies know is one in which they are sorted and handled like pieces of garbage. Workers grab them by their wings, toss them onto conveyor belts, and throw them down a chute to spend their final moments in a grinding machine—in which they are ground up while they are still alive.
All this is standard procedure, widely accepted at commercial hatcheries and within the bounds of animal welfare laws. The egg industry considers male chicks to be useless because they don't lay eggs and can't be raised profitably for meat. Their sisters are not exactly lucky to remain alive.
For anyone who thinks that eating eggs doesn't kill animals, millions of male chicks each year are born in hatcheries and promptly thrown into the blades of giant garbage disposals.
Egg-free recipes, anyone?
Written by Heather Drennan
Today we released a new investigation inside Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus that shows workers on video as they beat and whipped elephants dozens of times in venues across the country. It's an investigation that I helped work on.
Once investigators capture video from an investigation, my job is to review all the footage and meticulously record the abuses and other notable findings. From that, I prepare condensed versions of the video for the public to view and draft complaints to officials, which in the new investigation into Ringling amounted to nine complaints to a total of 20 federal and state offices.
At times, reviewing so much footage can be tedious and extremely upsetting, but it's nothing compared to the relentless suffering that the animals who are used by Ringling are subjected to.
Most of the investigations that I work on involve farmed animals, in which the longest life span is about two years (for a pig used for breeding purposes). Her two years going from gestation crate to farrowing crate and back, over and over, are miserable, but her suffering comes to an end. For the elephants used and abused by Ringling, the suffering can go on for decades, and there's no end in sight—unless PETA and the public can convince the USDA to seize these majestic, elderly psychologically damaged animals.
Many of these elephants have not known anything close to a "natural" life since they were caught in Asia decades before I was born, but now the USDA has the chance to make things right by moving these animals to a sanctuary where they will be able to roam around the vast area that they need in order to be healthy and happy. Our brave investigator has armed the USDA with the information that it needs in order to make this happen and finally end these animals' decades of suffering.
It is an honor to work on all our investigations, which are the heart and soul of PETA, but it has been the highest compliment ever to be able to work with our investigator to document the heartbreaking plight of the gentle giants who are abused by Ringling and give them a chance to escape from their long years of torment and beatings.
Now that we have given the feds more than sufficient evidence to seize these animals, I hope we will finally be able to make history for elephants.
Written by Dan Paden, Senior Research Associate
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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.