Written by PETA
Wow, it's been a wacky year. We've witnessed Barack Obama make history, cheered on the home team during the Summer Olympics, watched the economy take more surprise turns than a paternity test on Maury, and—oh yeah—achieved loads of important victories for animals. But I digress. Before we "Auld Lang Syne" our way out of 2008, let's stop and take a look-see at the trends we can expect in the coming year. And now (drum roll please), I give you PETA's list of what's in and what's out for 2009:
Written by Amy Elizabeth
You never can tell where PETA's bombshell BFF—and honorary director—Pamela Anderson might pop up. Could be Finland. Or France. Or Oz. Or even a Vegas homeless shelter. No wonder her show is called Girl on the Loose!
The latest dispatch comes from The Netherlands. The thing about Pam that's so awesome is that no matter where she goes, you know she's gonna be helping out animals. Kinda like a globetrotting superheroine for compassion.
In this case, Pam was in Amsterdam for the opening of a luxury-goods expo called the Millionaire Fair. And while she's totally down with luxury, she wanted to make it clear that that doesn't include animal fur—after all, what's so luxurious about draping yourself in torture and death? So she dropped a note to Queen Beatrix, asking her to go all the way. Um, that is, to back a current legislative bill that would ban all fur farms in the Netherlands (the Dutch have already banned several kinds of fur farming).
Well, like most things Pam does, hardly anyone noticed. Just kidding! More like "total media frenzy." Or, in the case of the Millionaire Fair, "widespread panic." It turns out that some of the heartless fur floggers at the expo don't much care for being called out on their cruelty (go figure). No matter, though, because the media (who love 'em some Pam) demanded more, so we put together a news conference to promote the fur-farm bill. This should lead to a lot of Dutch love for the ban, even if Her Maj doesn't get on board.
Go, Pam, Go!
Written by Jeff Mackey
Awesome news for animals today! For more than a year, commissioners of Bernalillo County, New Mexico, have been in debates over improvements to their animal control ordinance, and we are so very excited to announce that last Tuesday the animal-friendly bill was approved by a 4-0 vote. The county hereby bans cat and dog sales at pet stores (yay!) and goes one step further to give farm animals better living conditions (double yay!). Of course there are a few exceptions, but you can read about the specifics of the ordinance here.
This means that those awful pet stores won't be allowed to sell cats or dogs anymore, and breeders who try to make a profit off kittens and puppies won't have it so easy either. It's just too bad that Joe Biden didn't get the memo …
The new bill cuts the license fee in half for a spayed or neutered animal companion and bans the chaining of backyard dogs! But wait, there's more! Not only do the good people of Bernalillo County care about companion animals, but the legislation states that animals on farms must be given food, water, veterinary care, and shelter. Seems pretty basic, but now it's the law.
Possibly the coolest thing about this legislation is the fact that the changes were made because of regular people. Commission Chairman Alan Armijo said, "We've had tons and tons of input. The commissioners have tried to accommodate the different points of view," and an audience of about two dozen people cheered the amendment's passage. Know what that means? Anyone can do it! Seriously. You can contact your legislator right now and make a real difference in the lives of animals all over your district!
Well, what're you waiting for? Visit HelpingAnimals.com for more info. The animals (and PETA) thank you!
Written by Lianne Turner
I was extremely disappointed to read that Vice President-elect Joe Biden and his wife bought a dog from a breeder instead of adopting one from an animal shelter. Obviously he or his wife blanked on Ingrid's letter, which asked him to consider adopting and explained, "Every year, U.S. animal shelters are forced to euthanize millions of wonderful, deserving dogs and cats because of the lack of good homes."
Ugh. I'm sorely upset about this—not to mention worried that his supporters will now all run out and get purebred German shepherds. I mean, not only is it really out of touch with dog issues to buy a dog from a breeder—or plain cold-hearted—it's such a bad idea that one New Mexico county has just banned selling dogs from pet stores altogether. At least some Americans know what's up. So what's with our future vice president?
If it weren't bad enough that Biden chose to buy from a breeder, we are now trying to confirm the accuracy of a report that was sent to us alleging that he bought his dog from a known puppy mill operator! An anti–puppy mill activist who claims to have firsthand knowledge of this particular breeder's operation writes, "When I was there, she had dogs living outside in [I]gloos and a large side building wrapped in blue plastic … the barking was deafening … her inspection report states approximately 100 breeding dogs … she sold more than 275 dogs in 2006 … it was a stupid move on Biden's part … a puppy mill, for sure." Wow, Biden—if this is true, you've left us speechless.
Well, we decided to remind Mr. Biden and his home state of Delaware that every time someone buys a dog from a breeder, a dog in an animal shelter is killed. We will be running the following PSA on every station we can in Delaware:
Mr. Biden may have let us down, but we're still pinning our hopes on President-elect Obama, who said, "[a] lot of shelter dogs are mutts like me."
Written by Christine Doré
Picture this: You're cruising down the highway when you catch a glimpse of a truck in your rearview mirror. Your eyes focus on the white bits of feathers or maybe the pink skin visible through the openings in the side, and suddenly you're no longer in a good mood.
We've all seen those transport trucks whiz by us with little regard for the safety of the animals jostled about inside, often struggling to stay on their feet on the slippery floors. It's horrible enough that these animals are headed for the slaughterhouse, but many people don't realize that millions of animals each year die when they are trampled or succumb to untreated illnesses before they even reach that awful destination.
The Vancouver Sun deserves a hundred thousand well-deserved props for running an excellent front-page article about animal transport fatalities. According to the article, "up to three million farm animals are found dead each year" inside transport trucks when they arrive at Canadian slaughterhouses. And there's more: "more than 11 million farm animals are declared unfit for human consumption after arriving diseased or injured …." And that's just in Canada—the issue is just as serious in the U.S. These animals are just more senseless victims of animal agriculture, but to the industry, their purposeless deaths are simply another cost of doing business.
The numbers are heartbreaking, but they're no surprise when you factor in the abuse these animals face: Workers routinely poke pigs with electric prods and beat them—sometimes on the snout with baseball bats, breaking their noses. Birds are often thrown into the holding space, resulting in broken bones and wings. Animals are piled on top of each other with no room to turn around, and no food or water is given to them during transport. The sheer number of animals crammed into the cargo containers can cause some to suffocate, especially in the heat. During the summer months, temperatures inside the metal fixtures are sweltering, and during the winter months, the animals have almost no protection from the wind, ice, and snow. Many pigs actually freeze to the sides of the trucks in winter.
Truck drivers can be reckless and absentminded, putting both the animals and humans in danger. Transport truck accidents like this one are common. If an animal is lucky, he or she might escape injury and be able to flee and avoid the slaughterhouse forever, but most are not so fortunate. These accidents are horrifying for animals who are injured—often they are simply reloaded onto another truck to continue the journey to the slaughterhouse.
Written by Jennifer Cierlitsky
Every visit to New York City causes me to reflect upon the misery that befalls those poor old racetrack castoffs, Amish cart-pullers, and other worn-down horses who end up between the shafts of a heavy carriage, pulling loads of tourists—and some uncaring driver—through the dirty, noisy streets of New York City in all weather. Seeing them out there in the winter is particularly upsetting: A few weeks back, I saw one horse still lumbering along in traffic, head down, at 9:30 p.m.
Even when they aren't working, horses need lots of water, yet the "carriage" horses' water troughs are often bone dry. People report seeing the horses standing there, unbending in their traces and unseeing in their blinders, unable to take a drop of water. And, when, late at night, they finally end up at their "stables"—which are actually decrepit fire-trap walk-ups—they cannot even take their weight off their aching feet: The "stalls" are boxes or bars that fit just around their bodies, like sow stalls on factory farms.
Oh, there's so much more that stinks for these poor horses, including the traffic accidents that spook, hurt, and kill them. (I've seen a driver, obviously anxious to go home to his comfortable house, whip and race his horse, chariot-style, pounding along the road; this must have added to the horse's pain.) PETA and local concerned citizens are working hard to make this business go away. We want to see it switch to something humane—perhaps to a new, environmentally friendly tourist vehicle that doesn't bleed, ache, and die. It may take another year of hard work, but what can we do in the meantime, other than tell people never to ride in the carriages?
Perhaps you'd like to contact the ASPCA—which is charged with enforcing the anti-cruelty code and regulations on horse-drawn carriages—with your thoughts and questions. Please share with us the answers you receive. The horses can't ask why someone doesn't order their owners to allow them to lie down at night, for example, but we can. And, in my opinion, local law enforcement can compel the owners to let them.
Written by Ingrid Newkirk
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
Update: Here's a sweet quote from PETA campaigner Lindsay Rajt in the Amarillo Globe News: "We just thought Tex would be a huge help to us to expose the whores in the leather industry." Apparently Lindsay needs to work on her enunciation a bit. She swears she said, "horrors"!
I'm not going to repeat the cliché that "everything's bigger in Texas"—though I guess I just did—because, as a Texan, I know that some things are actually smaller in Texas. In the computer age alone, it was Texas-based companies that pioneered "small" technologies such as semiconductors and the portable PC.
Still, there's no denying that Texans have a thing about big stuff. Heck, some folks here haven't come to terms with the fact that a larger state (Alaska, natch) was admitted to the union—nearly 50 years ago. So think about how Lone Star residents would feel about a super-sized version of that most Texan of icons: the cowboy.
Now one such giant buckaroo might find himself homeless. "Tex Randall," a 47-foot-tall, 7-ton cowboy sculpture in Canyon, Texas, faced eviction when the owner of the property he stands on decided not to keep him there. Another business owner purchased Tex, but doesn't have enough money to move him.
So, despite our opposition to ranching, PETA is stepping in to see if we can find a permanent home. Why? 'Cause what could be a better symbol than a big ol' cowboy to help us make a huge statement about how cows are hurt by the leather "bidness"? All we have to do is add a little sign, like so:
The 12th annual Accessories Council Excellence (ACE) Awards were held on Monday night—and guess what? Stella McCartney is just so awesome that they had to create a whole new category just for her: Green Designer of the Year.
Stella is the first recipient of this new ACE Award—and rightly so! As someone who abstains from fur and leather, which are toxic for the environment, she's light-years ahead of certain other designers who are around … cough, Donna, cough, Giorgio. Sorry, must've had a little phlegm in my throat!
When Stella began her leather-free accessories line in 2006, she told Women's Wear Daily, "I do want to show that accessories can be made from a more ethical viewpoint—and be sexy and cool. The myth of leather—that every bag and shoe needs to be made from it—needs to be broken down. It's a bit caveman." Amen, Stella! Stella is also featured in Ingrid's newest book, One Can Make a Difference.
So congratulations to Stella on her well-deserved ACE Award. Hopefully, it'll only be a matter of time before all designers realize that (a) skins aren't green, and (b) we aren't cavemen. Are you listening, Donna?
Whoopsie, I meant to disguise that with another fake cough. Oh well.
It's a classic story: Boys play with football, football goes over the fence, elderly neighbor refuses to return football, elderly neighbor is arrested ….
Wait, what? No, seriously—89-year-old Edna Jester of Ohio, in a move straight out of every kids' movie I ever watched growing up, declined to return the errant football that made its way onto her lawn. Here's where the story changes, though; Ms. Jester was then arrested and charged with petty theft for refusing to hand over the ball—and you know we just had to get involved. Fortunately (for Ms. Jester, anyway), the charges have since been dropped.
"But," our hearts cry, "what about the kids who lost their football? Will they ever get it back?"
Probably not—as of yesterday, one of the kids' fathers told news sources that his son just wanted the $15 football back. Well, we hear ya, Paul—and you know what? Being the charitable people that we are, we are more than happy to send your son a football (leather-free, of course) to replace the one he lost.
Heck, we'll even send two. Ya know, in case the first one ends up over the fence.
You can check out the letter we're sending to the boy's mother—or you can check out where you can get your very own leather-free football! (Defiant elderly neighbor not included.)
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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.