Written by PETA
Just weeks after Pepsi announced that it would stop testing on animals, Coca-Cola has sent a letter to PETA announcing that it will no longer fund or conduct animal experiments. Coke had something of a history of invasive animal experimentation—including cutting open chimpanzees’ faces in order to conduct taste tests and force-feeding chemicals to rodents to test “caramel color”—so this compassionate decision by the company is a huge step forward, and it sends a powerful message to all companies that still test on animals about how a responsible, progressive company does business. Here's what Coca-Cola's senior vice president, Danny Strickland, said in his letter to us announcing the company's decision:
“The Coca-Cola Company does not conduct animal tests and does not directly fund animal tests on its beverages. … We are sending letters to our partners and research organizations who may conduct safety evaluations on … ingredients insisting they use alternatives to animal testing ….”
Strickland also talked about a deadly physiology test on taste reception in rats that PETA had discovered Coca-Cola was funding through the year 2008, saying, “Recently senior management became aware that research involving rats was being conducted as part of a grant we had funded at Virginia Commonwealth University to study taste reception. We have contacted the University and have discontinued our funding.” This is a big victory for animals and an encouraging sign that animal experimentation is rapidly on its way to becoming another chapter in the history of severely messed-up stuff we wish we had never thought of in the first place.
This little stunt was, in my opinion, absolutely inspired. A couple of disclaimers before I embark on this, because I have a suspicion that it might create just a little bit of controversy: 1) The dog died of natural causes. 2) The artist is normally a vegetarian. OK, here we go: A British performance artist by the name of Mark McGowan was so outraged by the RSPCA’s failure to prosecute Prince Philip after he allegedly watched a member of his hunting party beat a fox to death with a flagpole, that he cooked and ate a Welsh Corgi dog in protest (the Royals are famous for their love of corgis). Here’s what Mark had to say:
"We love our animals in Britain. Why is it then that we then allow people - especially people who are supposed to be ambassadors for this country - to treat animals with such disrespect?"
McGowan, who said he waited five months to obtain a corgi who had died of natural causes at a breeding farm (well, as “natural” as you can get at a place that breeds dogs—but that’s an issue for another time), effectively made the point that there is a massive double standard when it comes to the way we perceive animals: Why would the Royal Family, who are so openly upset when one of their corgis dies, have absolutely no qualms whatsoever about hunting down foxes and, apparently, beating them with flagpoles? And, by extension, why do people who wouldn’t think twice about stuffing their faces with pork chops or fillet of fish get up in arms when they learn that someone has eaten a dog? I think these are really important questions, and I think that Mr. McGowan’s stunt is an incredibly compelling way of raising those questions. What do you think?
You can read the BBC’s coverage of the story here.
The argument goes like this: Hybrid car owners get a tax break for purchasing a vehicle with low carbon emissions. So if a group of people are taking active steps to make purchases that are even better for the environment than switching to a Toyota Prius, they should get a tax break too, right? Given that a recent University of Chicago report proved that switching to a vegetarian diet is more effective in countering global warming than switching from a standard car to a hybrid, it seems like we're on pretty solid ground with this one. Earlier this morning, PETA's president, Ingrid Newkirk, sent letters to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid making exactly that point. Not to say that choosing a hybrid vehicle isn't responsible, but if you're looking for a way to help the environment, ending your support for an industry that generates more greenhouse gases than all the world’s transportation systems combined is a pretty damn good one.
Have you seen the Tom Jones inspired cat memory game that’s making its way around the interweb this week? I hate to even blog about it, but what can I say, I’m obsessed. If you have a spare minute or two, see if you can beat me; I got to level 12. But I warn you, the game is beyond addictive and you'll never get the time back . . .
Click here, if you dare.
There was a fantastic feature article in The Chicago Tribune Magazine this weekend about the animal rights movement, with the premise that as times change, tactics change, but the message remains the same. It's always great to see animal rights get thoughtful mainstream coverage that's free of rhetoric, and this article will hopefully introduce a lot of people directly to the issues behind the bullhorns and the bunny costumes. You can check it out here.
What can I say, Alicia Silverstone is amazing. She never misses an opportunity to talk about veganism and animal rights. I think she might have just won my vote in our “World’s Sexiest Vegetarian” contest.
Check it out here.
This one's just so depressing, I don't even really know what to do with it. The story, so far, has gone a little bit like this:
ROBINSON CORRECTIONAL INSTITUTION: FYI, inmates—the woodchucks that frolic outside your cells will be exterminated this weekend.INMATES: But those woodchucks are the only things that bring us joy in our lives. ROBINSON CORRECTIONAL INSTITUTION: No need to worry—the animals will die within a few days once our steel jaw traps latch onto their limbs. Then you won't have anything to distract you from contemplating your joyless existence.
ROBINSON CORRECTIONAL INSTITUTION: FYI, inmates—the woodchucks that frolic outside your cells will be exterminated this weekend.
INMATES: But those woodchucks are the only things that bring us joy in our lives.
ROBINSON CORRECTIONAL INSTITUTION: No need to worry—the animals will die within a few days once our steel jaw traps latch onto their limbs. Then you won't have anything to distract you from contemplating your joyless existence.
Fortunately, this isn't over yet. Some correctional officers at Robinson contacted us to ask if there was anything we could do, and we're going to fight this one to the bitter end. We do need your help though—so if you could take a few moments to read more about the issue and contact the prison about their complete disregard for human and animal misery, some woodchucks in Connecticut would be very grateful indeed: You can click here to take action.
The story was covered in the Connecticut Journal-Inquirer, and you can read that here>.
This Michael Vick dogfighting scandal is just not going away, and now that Clinton Portis has decided to shove his oar in, things are starting to get really heated. In an effort to help the well-intentioned folks in the NFL's upper echelons deal with the PR fallout from the whole nasty business, we've sent them a letter offering free animal-sensitivity training to any football players who need it. You can read that letter here, and I'll leave you with a little picture that an ex-colleague of mine sent in of the jeep she drives around in near Vick's old hometown in Virginia. You're a brave girl, Misty.
Our Campaigns Department has an uncanny way of turning a wild idea into a reality. Someone said the magic words "Human Glue Trap" in a brainstorming meeting, and, lo and behold, we've got two or three of the suckers ready to go. A few brave activists helped to put pressure on Home Depot to stop selling glue traps—which can cause mice, birds, and other animals to suffer for days before they're killed—with this little demonstration yesterday. According to Ashley, who took part in the protest, one Home Depot employee was so shocked by the glue trap literature they had on hand that he had second thoughts about going into work that day. Awesome work, guys. I love it.
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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.