Written by PETA
Today, PETA and Zoocheck Canada are officially initiating a lawsuit against the city of Edmonton, Alberta, over the cruel and apparently unlawful conditions under which Lucy, a solitary elephant at the Edmonton Valley Zoo, is forced to live.
Lucy's health issues—which include upper respiratory problems, arthritis, obesity, and chronic foot ailments—are the result of the substandard conditions at Edmonton Valley Zoo and are further aggravated by the region's frigid climate, which is inappropriate for an Asian elephant. Lucy has also been alone for the past two years, spends most of her time in a small barn, and exhibits behavior that indicates severe psychological distress. Even Dr. James Oosterhuis, the Valley Zoo's own consultant, acknowledged that the zoo's indoor facilities fail to meet the industry's minimum standards.
Consultations with experts prove that Lucy's life is at risk in Edmonton. Dr. William Keith Lindsay—a Canadian ecologist who has been actively involved in research on the ecology of elephants with the Amboseli Elephant Research Project in Kenya since 1977—is one of several experts who confirm that Lucy's living conditions are unacceptable. Dr. Lindsay states, "It is abundantly clear that Lucy would benefit greatly from the company of other elephants." Elephants live in close-knit families, and the females spend their entire lives in herds that include all their female relatives. The solitary life that Lucy lives prevents her from taking part in any of the social behaviors that are necessary for maintaining an elephant's health.
Dr. Joyce Poole, an elephant biologist and ethologist who has spent more than 30 years studying elephant social behavior and communication states, "Lucy has spent much of her life standing on concrete in a small barn and doing very little of what an elephant needs [to] do to maintain good physical health and mental well being. The consequence is that she is a young elephant in an old body. This causes her real privation and suffering."
We won't rest until we see Lucy moved to a sanctuary. As we take the city to court, we urge you to take action to help Lucy find the freedom she deserves and to share this information with everyone you know. Keep checking back here for more updates.
Written by Logan Scherer
Whenever people ask where my parents got my name, I never miss a beat before saying "The X-Men." Am I really named after Wolverine? Maybe, maybe not, but as a lifetime comic book fan I think it's a better story than "My great-great uncle three times removed was a Civil War hero …" and, well, you get the point.
After today, though, I just might start mixing my story up a little, considering that I now share my name with another hero for animals: Boston's Logan Airport has agreed to stop using glue traps and is the latest recipient of PETA's Compassionate Action Award. Massachusetts Port Authority CEO Thomas Kinton Jr. made the decision to pull glue traps after learning about the days of starvation and dehydration suffered by animals who become ensnared in the inhumane death pads. As a result, airport employees have agreed to implement a no-glue-trap policy and are working with PETA to implement more humane methods of catching animals.
Boston's Logan sticks it to glue traps, I have animal-tastic blogging skills, and Wolverine is on our list of the Top 10 Animal-Friendly Superheroes … I'm beginning to see a connection. Anybody else notice that Logan and vegan only differ by two letters?
I don't think anybody can blame Joe, Ray Romano's character on TNT's Men of a Certain Age, for making Patricia De León the woman of his fantasies. This former Miss Panama has jaw-dropping good looks and a soft spot for animals, and we're thrilled that she's joined our campaign to promote a vegetarian lifestyle.
After watching our slaughterhouse video footage, several Thanksgivings ago De León gave animals something to be thankful for by ditching meat for good. In our exclusive interview, she explains how eating cruelty-free saves animals and contributes to good health. And if you think she's the cutest thing you'll see in the video, think again. Her two adorable dogs make an appearance too.
When morning's chill is frigid and frightful, my husband and I can get into some pretty intense debates about whose turn it is to walk Charlie and Lucy. OK, I'm exaggerating: We just play a few rounds of rock-paper-scissors—and usually wind up walking them together.
But in Spain's Catalonia region, a heated battle is growing over a proposed bill to ban bullfighting, initiated by a citizens' lobbying group that opposes the hideous "sport." Of course, other politicians want to keep the bloody "tradition" alive.
We're happy to report that the bill just passed a secret vote in the regional parliament (yay!). According to news reports, it was such a sensitive issue that some legislators actually used newspaper to cover their hands when they voted. Secret voting is rare in the Catalan legislature—so the cruelty behind bullfighting really hit home for the representatives who voted their conscience in defiance of tradition.
But the vote was close (67-59), and the bill still has a long way to go: Debates are sure to intensify before the final vote, which is several months away. If the bill passes, Catalonia will be the second region in Spain to outlaw bullfighting—the Canary Islands did it way back in 1991.
Of course, there's no question that my husband and I will call a truce long enough to sign this petition to end the Running of the Bulls. Won't you do the same?
Written by Karin Bennett
Shark finning is one of the most disgusting practices of the already disgusting fishing industry. Sharks are caught, their fins are cut off, and they are either left to suffocate or are thrown back into the water to slowly bleed to death or be eaten by other marine animals. All this suffering is inflicted in order to produce horrid "delicacies" such as shark-fin soup.
Worldwide, there is (happily) a movement toward stopping shark finning, but fishing interests in Virginia and North Carolina are, well, swimming against the tide by putting pressure on legislators to exclude some sharks from a proposed federal law banning shark finning.
If you live in North Carolina or Virginia, please contact your senators and ask them to support the Shark Conservation Act of 2009 with no exemptions. To learn about more ways to help sharks and other endangered marine animals, read this and this.
Written by Jeff Mackey
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
As hard as it is to believe, animal shelters in some states—including Georgia and North Carolina—continue to kill unwanted animals in gas chambers, with all the accompanying horror that such an image conjures. Fortunately, legislation has been introduced in both states to ban these horrendous contraptions for good.
It can take anywhere from 20 to 45 minutes for animals to die in gas chambers. Oftentimes, they bark, meow, howl, whine, gasp for breath, fight to claw their way out of the chamber, vomit, convulse, and/or urinate and defecate in terror. Animals sometimes have to be gassed repeatedly before they die. Some animals—like Davie, the North Carolina bill's namesake—have been known to "wake up" later after being put in a freezer or dumped at a landfill.
To get a better idea of the horror that these animals go through, just look at these pictures of some of the gas chambers that are currently being used:
Linda Cordry, an animal control officer in Liberty County, Ga., has written in support of Georgia's bill. "I know from firsthand experience that the gas chamber is a barbaric piece of equipment," she says. "I can say without qualification that being killed in a gas chamber is terrifying for the animals and heartbreaking for the humans involved. It is the ultimate nightmare, and no horror film could even come close to depicting the experience."
Both Georgia's and North Carolina's laws would require that animal shelters use only intravenous injections of sodium pentobarbital to euthanize animals. This is key because, in addition to using gas chambers, some animal shelters in rural areas still shoot unwanted animals. No, I'm not making that up. I wish I were.
If you live in North Carolina, click here to find your representative so that you can speak up about this legislation. Time is of the essence—the Georgia bill will be killed if a Senate version isn't introduced by March 12, so if you live there, click here to find your representative's contact info. If you don't live in North Carolina or Georgia, you can leave a comment below in support of these new bills.
Written by Alisa Mullins
OK, it's official—we're wild about Wilmer. Feztastic on That 70s Show, unforgettable in Fast Food Nation, and smooth as hell as the dude in charge of doling out disses on MTV's Yo Momma, Wilmer's latest television role is his most heartfelt yet. He recently took the time to crack the whip on the circus industry in a brand-spankin'-new PSA for PETA. But that's just the tip of the iceberg—Wilmer also granted us the following for-PETA-Files-eyes-only exclusive interview:
Written by Amy Elizabeth
As one of his first orders of business, President Barack Obama has suspended a plan to remove several gray wolf populations from the Endangered Species List. Originally, the Interior Department wanted to remove the wolves from the list, thereby exposing them to harm and slaughter.
By taking this action, President Obama has saved some lives. It's estimated that as many as two-thirds of the gray wolf population would have been affected by the plan—meaning that 1,000 out of almost 1,500 wolves would have been in deep trouble.
Bravo, Mr. President!
Written by Lianne Turner
Lantos has said that his traumatizing experience in the Holocaust, during which his family was killed and he spent time in a forced labor camp, gave him and his wife Annette an understanding of what it means to be victimized for no other reason than being different from others, and inspired them both to devote their lives to working on behalf of the oppressed and the downtrodden. At PETA, we are profoundly indebted to Tom Lantos for his insistence that oppression should be fought wherever it exists, not just where it’s convenient, and we will always remember the important work that he did to help animals with gratitude and admiration.
Tom Lantos will be deeply missed here at PETA, both by those of us who knew him personally, and by those of us, like me, who have been inspired by his example. Even as we mourn his loss, we celebrate his amazing work for all beings.
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
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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.