Written by PETA
The U.S. banned "finning"—a practice in which fishers cut the fins off sharks and dump the still-living animals overboard to die a slow, agonizing death—back in 2000, but the ban only extended to the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. Now, a decade later, the Senate has finally voted to extend the ban to the Pacific.
Disappointingly, the bill does not ban the sale of shark fins in the U.S., which means that restaurants can still sell the deadly "delicacy" and thereby continue to fund the mutilation of sharks in less protected waters.
The bill now heads to the House, which has already passed similar legislation. Keep your fingers crossed that these "lame ducks" will rally to the rescue of maimed sharks in the waning days of their last session.
If pigs had fins, would the Senate throw them a lifeline too?
Written by Alisa Mullins
Well, it's not the law of our dreams, but we're happy to report that one part of a bill that has just been passed in New York City (and maybe just the one part) should improve living conditions for horses who are used to pull carriages. Under the new legislation, carriage operators are required to provide horses with larger stalls in which they can finally turn around and lie down (the current stalls couldn't be smaller unless you built them through the horses' flanks) as well as to allow the horses to come off the roads and spend five weeks out of every year at a stable with a paddock or a pasture.
A hike in fares has also been enacted. It probably won't make a difference, but it might decrease the number of misguided tourists who want to take horses for a ride. After all, it's the animals who pay the ultimate price in this money-hungry industry: Horses are forced to pull heavy loads in all weather extremes while walking on hard pavement, dodging loud traffic, and inhaling exhaust fumes that cause damage to their lungs comparable to that which heavy smokers experience. Does that sound even remotely romantic to you?
Anyone who has seen or thought about this wretched excuse for amusement knows that it's past time for the horse-drawn carriage industry to be put out to pasture permanently. Tel Aviv has done it, and now it's time for New York to do it. Please join us in asking New York City officials to ban horse-drawn carriages as a blight on the city. Thanks!
Written by Amy Skylark Elizabeth
Taxes on your mind with Tax Day approaching? Well, soon you may get a break if you help give a break to the millions of homeless dogs and cats who suffer as a result of the animal overpopulation crisis. We're asking Rep. Sandy Levin, D-Mich., Chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, to introduce a bill that would give a tax credit to citizens who spay or neuter their animal companions.
A recent survey reveals that one of the main obstacles to spaying and neutering is the cost. Providing a tax credit to reimburse Americans who fight the taxing reality of animal homelessness would take away that excuse, while stimulating the economy and helping cut cities' and counties' animal control expenses. Will Spay Day soon become Pay Day? We hope so. In the meantime, don't wait another minute to spay or neuter your animal companions if you haven't already—and urge everyone you know to do the same.
Written by Logan Scherer
Last week, your votes ensured that Pamela Anderson's wildly entertaining and uniquely activist run on Dancing With the Stars (DWTS) would continue. (Her anti-bullfighting paso doble was the first of its kind.) To say thanks, we're giving away two bottles of Pamela's new cruelty-free Malibu perfume.
Watch DWTS tonight and vote for Pamela by calling 1-800-868-3411, texting "vote" to 3411 from any AT&T phone, and visiting ABC's Web site. You can vote by texting and calling up to 30 minutes after the show ends, and you can vote online until 11 a.m. ET tomorrow.
A reportedly "startled" elephant kicked a circus trainer or groom so hard that he was thrown 20 feet and died of his injuries at the scene. The attack occurred backstage at a Shrine Circus performance Friday evening in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.
The elephant involved is believed to be an African elephant named Dumbo, who was captured in Africa in 1985 and belongs to Terry Frisco. PETA has previously caught Terry's brother, Tim Frisco, beating elephants behind the scenes.
No word yet on whether circus mouthpieces are attempting to claim that the elephant was "playing" with the trainer, but if a "startled" elephant can be this dangerous, imagine the damage that a really angry elephant can inflict. It makes the video that we told you about last week—in which a trainer with the Liebel Family Circus holds a toddler in one hand as she uses a bullhook in the other to jab an elephant—all the more harrowing.
This isn't the first time that an elephant has lethally lashed out at the guy wielding the bullhook, and it almost certainly won't be the last. Circuses rely on an abusive training regimen that starts with beatings and intimidation from the time that elephants are still babies and doesn't stop until they've performed their last headstand. Is it any wonder that some of these gentle giants eventually get fed up and fight back?
PETA has been trying to convince the Shriners to stop using animal circuses as fundraisers for years to no avail, despite the fact that their circuses are connected to a growing list of dangerous and deadly incidents involving wild animals. Last year, two elephants performing at the Murat Shrine Circus in Indianapolis, Indiana, knocked down a mobile staircase during elephant rides, resulting in a dozen children being treated by paramedics. In 2005, a trainer was stomped to death by an elephant used in a Shrine Circus in Fort Wayne, Indiana. In 2002 and again in 2003, elephants bolted from the Shrine Circus tents and went on rampages in Wisconsin and Michigan, respectively. It's sad to think that this tragic list of deaths and injuries has failed to make the Shriners come to their senses.
Update: Recent news reports are claiming that Dumbo was trying to protect the groomer whom she stomped to death. But this happens every time someone is bludgeoned or stomped to death by an elephant or an orca: Those who profit from keeping the animals miserably bound in chains or confined to small pools always say that the animal was playing or trying to protect the person. The public should stand up and say, "Enough! We are not that gullible!" These animals are extremely intelligent. They know when to be gentle, and they know that you don't protect or play with human beings by smashing them into the ground or the bottom of the pool. After a lifetime of being told, "Do this, do that," being hurt with electric prods and bullhooks, and having their food withheld unless they stand on their head or tail, they crack.
There may be a crazy number of flavors at West Hollywood's Millions of Milkshakes, but this afternoon, everyone was lined up for the one-and-only "Pamela Anderson":
The Dancing With the Stars (DWTS) cha-cha-challenger ducked out of her busy rehearsal schedule today to personally introduce a heavenly vegan vanilla, pineapple, and coconut creation named in her honor. Pamela, who never turns down an opportunity to shake things up for animals, insisted that the concoction be completely dairy-free in order "to prove that one can create a truly delicious treat without having to rely on any animal products in the process."
Since I couldn't make it to Millions of Milkshakes in person, I know what I'll be doing Monday. I'll get some Tofutti and blend my own "Pamela Anderson," and then I'll lean back and toast DWTS' most compassionate contestant as she wows millions of viewers again. Sound good?
Written by Karin Bennett
Last night, high school students, parents, and PETA supporters gathered en masse outside Snohomish High School in Snohomish, Washington, to inform people who were attending a donkey basketball fundraiser that exploiting animals for a cheap thrill is both cruel and far from educational.
During donkey basketball "games," participants often drag, kick, and punch the animals in order to get them to "play." Full-grown adults ride on the backs of animals who are only able to bear a little more than 100 lbs., and this is dangerous for both the donkey and the rider. The only thing that spectators and participants learn from events like these is that it's OK to dominate, torment, and humiliate those who are weaker than they are.
Dunk tanks and bake sales are just two of the many fundraising opportunities available in which all participants are willing participants. If you are a student or a parent at a school that wants to host a donkey basketball game, don't let event organizers resort to cruelty in order to cash in—take action by contacting your school district's superintendent and asking for a policy that bans the use of live animals in fundraisers forever.
If you've ever felt frustrated when you've read that an animal abuser was slapped with a puny penalty or that an authority pooh-poohed a plea for compassion, you're sure to exclaim "Bravo, Bulgaria!" by the end of this post.
A week ago, Bulgarian agriculture minister Miroslav Naydenov was asked by animal defenders to strengthen penalties that animal abusers must face after an unidentified person tortured a dog named Mima by hacking off her legs—yes, all of them—and leaving her for dead. Lawmakers, lawyers, and others got right down to business, and one week later, Naydenov is ready to present an amendment in the National Assembly, and it is expected to pass easily.
Under the amended law, anyone found guilty of causing permanent injury or death to an animal will face one to three years in jail and fines that may exceed US$10,000 (thanks, currency converter). Repeat offenders or those who torture and/or kill animals in front of children will face up to five years imprisonment and doubled fines.
While the law did not come in time to make Mima's torturer pause and consider the consequences of his or her stomach-turning cruelty, it does send a message to would-be animal abusers that they'll face more than a slap on the wrist if they are caught and convicted.
The moral of this story is always to ask decisionmakers to take action on behalf of animals. Who knows? Their response just might surprise you.
With the draft of China's first animal protection law in the works, change is on the way for animals. Introduced last year, the groundbreaking law includes basic legal protection for wildlife, companion animals, animals in labs, animals who are transported, animals used for entertainment, and animals slaughtered for food, but the first draft was vague in many spots.
Enter PETA Asia. After reviewing the first draft of the bill and offering suggestions to ensure that animal welfare standards be raised significantly, PETA Asia Director Jason Baker and contractor Christine Li attended last week's International Forum on Chinese Legislation for the Protection and Management of Animals in Beijing, where they were able to look at the current version of the draft bill.
Among the changes made to the draft were the following:
The tireless folks at PETA Asia are already hard at work on a new set of comments for the bill's latest revision. We'll keep you updated on the progress.
Folks, I have to tell you that I am freaking out about a recent government bill.
No, no—I don't mean that one. I'm talking about this one, which would allow barbershops in Tennessee to display live animals in bird cages and fish tanks for "decorative purposes."
Before Gov. Phil Bredesen puts his John Hancock on the legislation, PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman is weighing in and asking him to veto the bill. Why? Because stealing fish and birds from their native homes is cruel: Animals who are kept in tanks and cages are sentenced to a life of boredom, depression, and frustration, and many are subjected to neglect and mistreatment by owners who fail to understand their prisoners' complex needs.
There's no doubt that barbershop customers and spa patrons will breathe a sigh of relief if the current law banning such displays remains in effect—after all, as Jasmine the cockatoo will tell you, not only are caged birds quick to complain about their confines (loudly and repeatedly), some can also pass along diseases such as psittacosis to humans.
PETA is even ready to offer decorating tips. I think that this animal-friendly alternative is a cut above the tanks and cages. Don't you?
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
immediately at 757-622-7382 and press 2.
Follow PETA on Twitter!
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.