Written by Michelle Kretzer
The following was written by Kaitlynn Kelly, Media Coordinator.
I spend my days at PETA fielding calls from the media to answer questions about our news releases and explain our campaigns. I love my job, but I don't often get to see its impact on animals firsthand. So when the opportunity arose to deliver straw to cold "outdoor dogs," I jumped at the chance. I had no idea that I'd be coming home that day with my own Marley & Me story.
Our team discovered Marley because he was barking at a pit bull we were delivering straw to a couple of yards away. Marley and the pit bull could clearly see each other, and I thought how frustrating it must be for them to see each other, day in and day out, but not to be able to meet, sniff, or play.
As prisoner to a 10-foot-long chain 24/7, Marley's entire world consisted of a circle of mud at the far end of his owner's backyard. His doghouse was barren, his water bucket was so filthy that it was just another mud puddle, and his food bowl was at the farthest point that his chain would reach, presumably so that his owner could simply dump food into the bowl and walk away without having to touch him.
Marley was understandably guarded when I approached him, but when I held out the back of my hand, he licked it. Then, excited at the prospect of attention, he started to bounce up and down and run back and forth as much as his chain would allow. Marley's owner came out and grabbed the joyful dog by his head, loudly commanding, "Be still! Be still!" Marley, obviously uncomfortable, tried to move his face a little, and the old man smacked him on the head.
I wanted so badly to whisk him away from his abusive owner. But despite his seeming disdain for Marley, the man didn't want to surrender him. So we did what we could for the neglected dog: We covered his muddy patch of ground with straw, cleaned out the dirty water bucket, and gave him fresh food. We convinced the owner to let us replace Marley's chain with a lightweight tie-out. The tie-out added 5 feet to Marley's living space, and he immediately started exploring, feeling grass beneath his feet for what I am sure was the first time in months if not years. I offered Marley a bone, and he gratefully licked my hand before taking it.
My heart went out to every dog I met that day, but it's Marley I go to bed thinking about, and I am determined to help him. I might not be able to change the world, but I can change Marley's world, and that's just what I intend to do.
Written by PETA
Jennifer Aniston is proving that dogs may very well be the best dates. Much like her character in Marley and Me, Jen is a devoted guardian. Her four-legged love bugs, Norman and Dolly, are a constant presence on her movie sets and are often seen taking walks with her on the beach. Both rescues, Norman is a 15-year-old Welsh corgi-terrier mix, and Dolly is a creamy white 4-year-old German shepherd."Really, the most unconditional form of love that you can encounter is with a dog," the actor raves. "They're excited the minute you come home, and they show the same amount of excitement every day. They're loyal, and they're always, always faithful." We didn't interview Jennifer's dogs, but we're sure that the sweet sentiments are mutual. Written by Michelle Sherrow
Marley & Me is coming out soon, and—even though it is decidedly mutt-free—we are nuts about this film's message.
OK, in case you don't know, Marley is based on the bestselling book by John Grogan and stars Owen Wilson as Grogan and Jennifer Aniston as his wife, Jenny. When they adopt Marley, an adorable but rambunctious (and growing) puppy, all heck breaks loose.
Now, anyone who has raised a puppy knows that it can be, uh, challenging (can I get an amen?), but Marley is in the big leagues—knocking over tables, shredding furniture, eating … well, I won't give too much away. But the cool—and right—thing is that John and Jenny deal with all the frustrations and stick to their commitment to Marley by providing lots of walks, playtime, and more.
And here's one of the best things about this: Grogan and the director as well as Fox 2000, the studio that is distributing the film, proved that Hollywood has a heart. More than a year ago, our L.A. office wrote to the folks at Fox 2000 asking if they'd tweak the story so that Marley was rescued from a rescue group or shelter instead of being bought from a breeder—and guess what? Yep, they did it! So, hopefully, anyone inspired to add a four-legged friend to the family will become part of the solution, instead of part of the problem, and will understand that life with a puppy comes with difficulties as well as delights. (These tips might help if you're living with a Marley of your own.)
So, let's see. Adorable stars of various species? Comic mishaps and tugged heartstrings? A story about love, understanding, and family bonding, just in time for the holidays, plus a great message about saving dogs and staying committed to them for their lives? I'm so there!
Written by Jeff Mackey
The holidays are prime movie-watching time, so here is PETA's list of the good, the not-so-bad-but-could-be-better, and the downright ugly films for animals of 2008.
Marley and MeScheduled for release this Christmas, PETA got a sneak peek at this funny and touching movie in which the Grogans (played by Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston) love, care and stick with their dog, Marley, through tipped-over tables, shredded couches, eaten necklaces, and all of Marley's hilarious-but-naughty escapades. Why do we give this movie "two very enthusiastic paws up"? The Grogans' dedication to Marley reminds audiences that
adding an animal to the family means making a lifetime commitment to treating the animal like a family member—even when the going gets tough. We're also psyched that the Grogans adopt Marley from a rescue group instead of buying a puppy from a breeder or pet store.
BoltIn theaters now, this computer-animated movie follows the adventures of Bolt (voiced by John Travolta), the superhero canine co-star in a hit action TV series also featuring his loving guardian, Penny (voiced by Miley Cyrus). Here's the run-down (no spoilers, I promise): Bolt doesn't know that he's on a show, so when Penny's character gets kidnapped he thinks it's the real deal. He sets out to rescue her with the help of a cat named Mittens and a hamster named Rhino, and mayhem ensues—until the audience is treated to a warm and fuzzy animal-friendly ending.
Why do we dig this Disney doggy flick? As Bolt learns the joys of playing fetch, hanging his head out car windows and doing all the other dog behaviors he's been missing out on, the message is clear: Animals would never choose to become entertainers. Forced into the spotlight and deprived of everything that is natural and important to them, animals have no business in show business. Dogs would much rather play in the yard than perform tricks on a TV or film set. Just ask Bolt.
The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince CaspianNow available on DVD, this dazzling Disney fantasy sends the four Pevensie kids back to Narnia to help Prince Caspian fight for his throne. The talking lion and swashbuckling mice are extra nice thanks to the film's ingenious use of computer-generated imaging (CGI). We give Narnia "two animatronic paws up" for using cutting-edge technological advancements to replace live animals in front of the camera. With the impressive realism and precise results of CGI, puppetry, costumes, and animatronics, there is no longer any reason to subject animals to a lifetime of misery and abuse.
The Dark KnightGranted, Batman looks pretty "Ka-Pow!" in his pleather crime-fighting costume, but when did the Caped Crusader turn into a canine hater? We're not too happy that the movie portrays dogs as aggressive attack animals or that Batman beats them up during a fight. We do however give props to the film's creators for having awesome FX masters Animal Makers create ultra-realistic animatronic dogs for the scene. For that, we applaud The Dark Knight for creating movie magic without making real animals suffer.
After all, the showbiz life is anything but cushy for animal "actors." Whether by confining animals to small cages, forcing them to perform out of fear, transporting them long distances in cramped trailers, exposing them to extreme conditions, or separating families, the film industry causes animals to suffer. Whistleblowers on movie sets continue to report that terrified animals are kept in substandard conditions and are highly stressed by the noise and lights—and that animals are often injured or killed during filming.
Beverly Hills ChihuahuaWhat's our gripe with Beverly Hills Chihuahua? It's the whole "101 Dalmatians" effect, only this time it was Chihuahuas. After the release of the live-action version of "101 Dalmatians" and its sequel, the number of Dalmatians in U.S. animal shelters spiked. After seeing movies featuring specific breeds of dogs, impressionable viewers often decide to buy look-alike dogs on impulse—with no knowledge of the time, energy, and commitment involved in having an animal companion. Well of course, now shelters are bursting with Chihuahuas.
OK, here's our praise: Disney has included a disclaimer on its Web site and at the end of the film about the lifelong responsibility of having an animal companion. Quite impressively, they even encourage people to adopt rather than purchase an animal.
Madagascar: Escape 2 AfricaOur praise: This sequel shows how happy the members of the madcap menagerie of former zoo animals are to get back to their roots when they're stranded in Africa. Our gripe: They still keep trying to get back to their zoo! I know that it's animated, so you have to have some suspension of disbelief, but come on! No real animal ever wants to be held in captivity. Animals in zoos are confined to cramped, barren enclosures that are nothing like their natural habitats. They suffer from extremely crowded conditions, poor nutrition, and mind-numbing monotony. Does that sound like a place that you'd keep trying to get back to?
Speed RacerJust like pretty much everyone else in the world, we give this live-action movie adaptation of the classic animated television series Speed Racer "two opposable thumbs way down." When PETA learned that real chimpanzees were to play the part of Chim Chim, we immediately wrote to the producers and Warner Bros. urging them to use CGI or animatronics instead. It was a no-go. Choosing to take the low road, they went through with using real chimpanzees. What happened? In addition to an incident in which one of the chimpanzees bit a stand-in actor, we learned that a monitor with the American Humane Association witnessed animal trainer Greg Lille "in an uncontrolled impulse, hit [a] chimpanzee."
The events that occurred on the set of Speed Racer perfectly illustrate the entertainment industry's abusive treatment of exotic animals. To train great apes to perform, trainers forcibly remove them from their mothers when the animals are just infants, train them by beating, kicking, and punching them, and callously discard them to roadside zoos when they are too old and strong to handle (which occurs at age 8, and great apes live to be over 60 years old).
You Don't Mess With the ZohanWhen you mess with the animals, you mess with the PETA. We wrote to Adam Sandler after receiving numerous complaints about several troubling scenes in this film—including one in which Zohan uses a cat as a hacky sack and another scene in which a man uses a cow as a punching bag. The way this hair-brained movie uses animals in cruel jokes is anything but harmless and could encourage deadly "copycat" actions. Every day, our cruelty caseworkers deal with people who mimic scenes just like these from movies and television. It's imperative that young people develop empathy for all beings and learn that might doesn't make right.
Semi-ProWhen we heard that a bear was going to be part of the cast of this b-ball bomb, we wrote to Will Farrell to inform him of the cruelty involved in forcing animals to perform and to ask him to keep live animals out of his films. Perhaps he had his Old School "ear muffs" on, because our words fell on deaf ears. Not only did Semi-Pro feature a live bear (a bear named Rocky who attacked and killed his trainer only months later), it also encouraged stupid people to do stupid stunts with live animals. This just goes to show that the only hairy creature in Will Ferrell movies should be Will Ferrell.
Written by Amy Elizabeth
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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.