Written by PETA
Quick: Who wins the cheese, the mouse or the mob boss? Answer: No one wins. In this unusual game of cat and mouse, the cheese is clearly the villain. Just ask reputed Boston Mafia godfather Carmen "The Cheeseman" DiNunzio, who, according to the Boston Herald, has been locked in his home under house arrest since May for his part in an alleged bribe.
It's clear that this "big cheese"—who earned his name after his local cheese shop and who weighs in at a whopping 400 lbs.—has done his time gorging on gouda and snacking on Swiss. Following a request from his doctor, the court will now allow DiNunzio to leave his home for two hours each day so that he can hit the gym and lose the pounds that are putting extra strain on his already bad heart and diabetes.
His doctor recently told the court, "I need him to have at least 30 minutes a day of sustained aerobic exercise. The best exercise he can do is sustained walking allowing for both arm and leg exercise."
OK, I'm confused. Wouldn't a reputed Wise Guy who is under house arrest for allegedly receiving money most likely be able to afford a mail-order Bowflex?
Well, regardless, we say: Hey, Big D! Drop that cheese! And listen up to our little business proposition. Yes, we sent "The Cheeseman" his very own delicious nondairy cheese pizza from Boston's own T.J. Scallywaggle's—recently voted one of the top 10 vegan-friendly pizzerias in the U.S.! We'd tell him to go there, but you know, he's a shut-in.
We suggest that Mr. DiNunzio try stocking his cupboards full of nondairy treats that aren't full of artery-clogging fat and cholesterol, like their dairy counterparts, if he really wants to whack those unhealthy pounds. He certainly has the time to cook up some tomato sauce for that spaghetti, a side of broccoli with garlic, and some pure vegetable minestrone. He will be getting those recipes and a copy of our "Vegetarian Starter Kit." You know, for some leisurely reading?
Written by Jennifer Cierlitsky
When Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast three years ago, thousands of animals were left in death traps from which they couldn't escape. PETA's rescue teams saw them clinging to trees surrounded by toxic floodwaters, swimming madly toward rescuers who were not allowed to save them, and pacing, stranded, and left to die on rooftops and balconies. Some of the luckier animals were rescued by PETA and eventually reunited with their guardians. With Hurricane Gustav having made landfall (the extent of the flooding is not yet certain) near New Orleans, many area residents have vowed not to make the same mistake again and have learned that the only way to protect the entire family during a disaster is to evacuate with their animal companions.
Read the stories below of several families whose animals were rescued by and delivered back to New Orleans by PETA after Hurricane Katrina; these lucky ones have already evacuated to safety with their human families.
Sporty: Sporty's guardian refused to evacuate during Hurricane Katrina because he wouldn't leave his dog behind. As the tragedy unfolded and the levees broke, Sporty's guardian swam for two blocks in toxic waters with Sporty under his arm, only to realize that if he continued to fight the raging waters, neither of them would survive. He retreated, with Sporty, to the attic with food and water for both, and when rescue workers finally came, he was forbidden to take his dog with him. It took this kind, elderly man more than three months to track down his beloved dog, who was being fostered at PETA's Norfolk headquarters. Today, Sporty and his guardian are safe and sound; they have evacuated and are outside the storm's path.
Mary Lou: During Hurricane Katrina, the Estaveses stayed in their St. Bernard Parish home as long as they could before taking the last ferry out, but they were forbidden from taking their animals along. Afterward, they spent several weeks frantically searching for their lost dog before being reunited with Mary Lou, one of the 30+ dogs PETA had brought back to its Virginia office. The family has a plan this time around and has already evacuated to safety—with Mary Lou.
Licorice: Licorice's "mom" was in the hospital with her elderly mother at the time Hurricane Katrina hit, and despite her pleas with rescue workers and government agents, she wasn't allowed to enter her home to retrieve her toy poodle. The toxic floodwaters and the stress of being left to fend for herself had made Licorice quite ill and weak by the time rescue teams finally found her. Licorice was given vet care and fostered by PETA for months before we could track down her anxious human mom. Today, Licorice's guardian wouldn't dream of leaving her behind and has already evacuated the area with her family.
PETA was at work as soon as Gustav raised its first serious head above the clouds, trying to prevent another monumental tragedy for animals. More than a week before Hurricane Gustav's anticipated landfall, PETA sent Gulf Coast media markets our preparedness tips, reaching local residents with the lifesaving message that the calm before the storm is when they must safeguard their animals and offering instructions for evacuation. PETA's emergency team of volunteers is primed, and we await further developments. On Saturday, Louisiana Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain announced that more than 160 trucks have been outfitted with pet crates to handle the evacuation and that companion animal shelters for animal guardians with "critical transportation needs" are ready for service during the Hurricane Gustav evacuation, saying, "We are taking the necessary steps to ensure the safety of Louisiana's pets.
Read the Full Update for People With Animals in Hurricane Gustav's Path Below
Residents who don't have transportation must immediately call their local parish office of emergency preparedness to arrange transportation to the animal-friendly shelters. Animals can come, too, but they must be in a carrier, with at least a three-day supply of food and other supplies packed and ready to go. If an animal weighs less than 15 lbs., he or she will be allowed to ride on the human transport bus. If he or she weighs more than 15 lbs., separate animal transport trucks will take him or her to the animal shelter. Residents: You are still responsible for your animals' care during their stay at these shelters, so please be prepared with supplies, animal identification, and sturdy carriers or leashes. (Please read PETA's disaster preparedness checklist, and be sure to visit animals as often as possible to provide food, water, and comfort.) Shelter locations may change because of weather, so please have your local parish office of emergency preparedness telephone number with you at all times! Parish pick-up points for transportation to the CTN pet shelters are expected to close as storm conditions become unsafe. People who have transportation are encouraged to evacuate to pet-friendly hotels for the duration of the evacuation. Lists of these hotels can be found at www.petswelcome.com and www.tripswithpets.com. Many hotels will relax their usual animal policy in an emergency, so call ahead and ask if your animals can come along.Citizens who are evacuating on their own and who may need sheltering assistance are urged to stop at shelter-information points along the evacuation route to receive a reservation for the nearest shelter with openings. Those shelters will open as mass-scale evacuations begin. Shelter-information points are located at:
The Lamar-Dixon Expo Center in Gonzales and Parker Coliseum on LSU's Baton Rouge campus—which were used during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina—will not be used as shelters during the Gustav evacuation.
Evacuees with large animals should contact their local LSU AgCenter county agent for information on what accommodations can be made for horses and livestock. The Agriculture Department office is open 24 hours a day to advise residents on pet and livestock issues. The phone number is 225-922-1234 or 1-800-558-9741. Evacuation guides for residents can be downloaded here.
Mississippi residents: The Humane Society of Southern Mississippi is operating a pet shelter on the grounds of the Harrison Central High School (the school building itself will be a shelter for humans). Evacuees should follow signs leading to the pet shelter when they arrive at the school. The shelter will open at 6 p.m. on August 31.For Mississippi residents without transportation, Gulf Transit will provide rides on school buses that will take people to the Mississippi Coliseum in Jackson, where they will be fed and cared for by MEMA until it is safe to return to the coast. Each person will be allowed to take only two bags. Small pets will be allowed but must be in a pet carrier and will count as one of the two bags. Pets will be taken to the Pet Shelter in Jackson. Owners must accompany their pets and be responsible for them at all times. Eligible pets include dogs, cats, birds, and pocket pets, with the exception of lizards and snakes. There will be no exceptions to these rules. The buses will be picking up people at the following locations:
Looks like one of the funniest celebrities in the world is joining PETA Europe's worldwide fight to stop the slaughter of Canadian black bears for silly hats. And I'm particularly excited about this celebrity, who is probably one of my favorite entertainers of all time: Ricky Gervais.
Gervais, whom you probably know as the star of Extras and the original version of The Office, has written a letter to U.K. Prime Minister Gordon Brown asking him to replace the bear fur on the Queen's Guards' caps with a cruelty-free material. In his letter, he points out that it takes the entire hide of a bear to make one hat—and that’s nothing to “have a laugh” about!
Oh, maybe you should just read the lovely man's lovely letter, before I manage to work in "Freelove Freeway" or Sir Ian McKellen's "wizard, you shall not pass" bit.
Written by Amanda Schinke
Loyal readers of The PETA Files know that this is not the first time we have mentioned rapper DMX (whose real name is Earl Simmons). If we wrote about him anymore, we'd have to give him his own chapter filed under "Cruel Scum"—a title that is probably still too kind.
Well, we're sick of DMX … again—and all the other celebrities who think power, money, or fame will get them off the hook for mistreating animals.
We have written a letter to Andrew P. Thomas, the judge overseeing Simmons' charges stemming from a 2007 police raid of the rapper's property north of Phoenix, where 12 pit bulls were reportedly found neglected, malnourished, and messed up. We're asking that Thomas—if Simmons is convicted of these charges—impose a sentence that forbids Simmons from owning or harboring any animals for as long as possible, that imposes a truly meaningful period of incarceration, and that requires him to undergo a thorough psychological evaluation followed by mandatory counseling at his own expense.
In one particularly cruel situation, police apparently found puppies who had been left in their cages so long that they needed to be cut out of them.
DMX has an extensive criminal past—including a similar raid that took place at his home in New Jersey in 2002 (during which police found 13 pit bulls on his property) as well as an arrest for illegal drug possession. People who abuse animals often go on to abuse or even kill humans. Remember Jeffrey Dahmer and Dennis Rader (aka "BTK Killer"), who abused and killed animals for practice prior to killing humans?
You can read our full letter here:
So today's a fairly slow news day (ya know, Labor Day weekend and all), but we wanted to be absolutely sure you all were fully prepped for your long weekends of not being at work! To give yourself one of those warm, fuzzy feelings, we thought we'd take a new direction with our videos and show you some cute videos for a change (instead of our typical videos that, ya know, make you think).
Written by Christine Doré
We've all heard the old saying "A picture is worth 1,000 words." But a picture of a zany, street-theater style demonstration is worth a zillion words (don't worry, I verified that figure on Wikipedia). PETA members, staff, interns, and activists have been hard at work as always, and I've collected a few snapshots of our peeps "takin' it to the streets." Seeing as how I'm pressed for time, I can't crank out the zillion words each of these photos deserves, but hopefully you'll be happy with the next 100 or so. Enjoy!
Written by Sean Conner
Whoever said having just one hamburger can't kill you obviously never considered the danger of microscopic spores—you know, those barely visible foreign pollutants that are all over animal products, even when cooked.
The latest attack of the killer meat has already killed at least six people in Ontario and has been blamed for two more illnesses. The culprit? Listeria bacteria, which apparently originated in meat products from a plant in Toronto … which just happens to be Canada's largest meatpacker.
With the total number of known cases at 29—for now—and investigators looking into another nine deaths possibly caused by contraction of listeriosis, it's understandable that eating meat is scary business. But recalling more than 220 meat products will not protect meat-eaters from contracting illnesses related to animal products.
That's where we come in. Intending to roll out our brand-new "Eat Meat and Die" ad in Toronto, we want Canadians to know that you can go veg and live! The choice is simple—really. It's senseless to put your body at risk over a hamburger or a bite of chicken thigh when you can have a veggie burger or a vegetarian "chicken" sandwich (sold in most KFCs in Canada) and avoid spending the night in the bathroom with stomach cramps—or worse, death. Check out our killer ad:
Repeat after me: Listeria, E. coli, campylobacter … if you can't pronounce it, it's probably not good for you. If you have meat in your fridge, the safest way to avoid contamination is to throw the whole fridge away with the meat still in it. We deserve a Nobel Prize or something. Really.
It's called "adding insult to injury."
A few weeks ago, we told you about an awful thing that happened on a new TV show called Greatest American Dog. It featured a sweet border collie named Leroy who was tormented by his trainer during a photo shoot so that he would look "angry." 'Cuz, you know, that's what quality entertainment is all about, right?
Well, unlike dogs, some people never learn. Wednesday night's episode featured a live elephant. Why elephants on a show called Greatest American Dog, you ask? They used the elephants to try to terrify the dogs. Since, apparently, the only thing more fun than getting dogs angry is to scare the hell out of them. Ugh!
Of course, it's not exactly a party for the elephants either. They're smart and dignified, and they don't like to perform stupid tricks for our amusement. So instead of using treats to train elephants, trainers strike and gouge them with bullhooks—long, heavy rods with a steel point and a sharp hook at one end that resembles a fireplace poker—or shock them with electric prods. To see for yourself how elephants are trained, watch this.
Most elephants who are forced to perform were snatched away from their families and natural habitat in the wild, after which their lives are mostly made up of chains and intimidation. Baby elephants born on breeding farms are torn from their mothers, tied with ropes, and kept in isolation until they learn to fear their trainers.
Clearly the producers of Greatest American Dog know as little about elephants as they do about canines.
If you want to send an e-mail to the show's producer, R.J. Cutler, about this issue, please click here.
Written by Jeff Mackey
From the category of "When Animals Fight Back!" comes a news story from Venezuela: A 29-year-old student zookeeper was strangled by a 10-foot python. It seems that the intern was working the nightshift and decided to mess around with the snake, who then bit him, suffocated him, and tried to eat him—a sensible interaction if you are a python.
Now, I'm certainly not saying that this guy deserved to be digested by a giant snake (although some might argue that taking a dangerous snake out without permission or supervision might earn him a nomination for a Darwin Award). What I am saying is that the killing of one human being by one snake in an isolated incident is instant news (just Google it for proof), but the killing of snakes by humans every day—to make Eva Longoria's gauche python handbag or Jessica Simpson's hideous tote—goes unnoticed.
And what's more, the python was just doing what pythons do, on instinct. He saw prey, so he went into his strangle-and-swallow routine. You can't possibly tell me that humans have a slaughter-and-make-into-purses instinct, can you? The python got beaten by the way, unlike Jessica Simpson, whom we just make fun of.
Let me hypothesize here. Maybe, just maybe, people are so fascinated by this kind of news story because they feel guilty for all the human-on-animal atrocities, and when something like this happens … well, maybe it's a sign that sometimes the tables are turned, and it scares us.
Do you get what we mean now when we say that "payback is hell"?
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.