Written by PETA
Thanks for all of your wonderful comments on this Win It Wednesday. The winner of the emergency kit is Zachary Locke. Congratulations!
My rescued beagle, Lulu, RIP, was determined to devour every piece of chocolate she laid her big baby browns on. I once foolishly thought that a huge dark chocolate bar I'd put in a file cabinet at the office was safe from discovery. Wrong. No opposable thumb? No problem. Somehow she still managed to push the small latch to the side while simultaneously opening the drawer.
After that incident—which involved a visit to the emergency vet—the chocolate went into the fridge, and the baster, hydrogen peroxide, and activated charcoal went into the bathroom cabinet, just in case.
The prize for this week's "Win It" Wednesday contest is sure to come in handy for emergency situations like Lulu's. It's this handy and stylish emergency kit for your pooch:
How do you win it? Post a comment to share the preventative action(s) you use to keep your dog safe. We've got one kit to give away, and the person who provides the most thorough plan of action wins.
Written by Karin Bennett
In case you forgot how smart, social, and absolutely adorable pigs are, meet Sherlock. Found wandering down a rural road in Suffolk, Virginia, this little guy was captured and taken to the local animal shelter:
When he was found, Sherlock was still a baby, but he was already castrated and his tail had obviously been docked. That means that this plucky little piglet likely fell off a truck headed to a growing/finishing barn—which is what the piggy flesh industry calls the factories that are used to fatten up little pigs like Sherlock for slaughter. On factory farms, piglets are taken away from their moms when they are less than 1 month old. Workers cut off their tails, clip their teeth with pliers, and castrate the males—all without painkillers. The animals spend their entire lives in extremely crowded pens on tiny slabs of filthy concrete. It gets even more heartbreaking when you factor in the abuse that these animals face: A recent undercover investigation of an Iowa pig factory farm, which supplies piglets to Hormel, documented that workers beat pigs with metal rods and sexually abused them with canes.
When one of our fieldworkers saw the headline about Sherlock in the Suffolk paper, she immediately went to work to find this guy a wonderful home. Click here to see how Sherlock's story ends!
Written by Amy Elizabeth
Several years ago, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) decided to tackle the issue of determining the safety of nanomaterials—teeny-tiny particles that measure less than one-tenth of a micrometer (even smaller than the brain of the average Michael Vick fan) As soon as we learned about this initiative, our staff scientists began communicating with the EPA, urging the agency to use the most modern and sophisticated testing methods instead of automatically relying on archaic animal tests, as government agencies historically have, basically for no better reason than "we've always done it that way."
Last week, our scientists' hard work paid off: The EPA issued its final "Nanomaterials Research Strategy," and it incorporates many of PETA's recommendations. While the original draft still relied heavily on animal tests, the final plan takes full advantage of non-animal test methods. This will greatly reduce the number of animals killed in tests assessing the toxicity of nanomaterials.
Just as important, the research strategy reiterates the principles outlined in the strategic plan the EPA released this spring, which calls for identifying and using non-animal testing methods that will ultimately replace all animal tests for nanomaterials.
This is a win-win for PETA, animals, and the EPA. Oh, and the public wins, too, because reducing the use of animals in assessing the toxicity of nanomaterials also improves the agency's ability to assess hazards to humans.
Written by Alisa Mullins
Starting with Tricky Dick, every president in office has issued proclamations supporting America's "sportsmen and women," i.e. wildlife killers. President Obama recently followed suit by naming September 26 "National Hunting and Fishing Day."
In response, PETA president Ingrid E. Newkirk has asked President Obama to declare a "National Wildlife Amnesty Day" in honor of the 95 percent of us who prefer to shoot wildlife with cameras, not guns. That's right: Only a puny 5 percent of Americans stalk, maim, and slaughter deer, bears, and other animals—and many former fishers have cast their rods aside after learning that fish sea kittens feel pain.
Folks, "wildlife management" and "conservation" are euphemisms used to describe programs that ensure inflated numbers of animals for hunters to harass, maim, and kill. If left alone, animal populations would regulate their own numbers. Those who truly care about wildlife donate money to save habitats—without expecting a dead body as a trophy in return.
Who needs a spa treatment when you can rejuvenate your soul by nuzzling 800-pound piggies at an animal sanctuary?
Well, a group of us kids from PETA and the PETA Foundation were lucky enough to do just that over the weekend. An hour north of D.C. lies a spectacular oasis called Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary. It consists of 400 acres devoted entirely to the rehabilitation of abused and/or neglected animals. This past Sunday, Poplar Spring hosted its annual Open House and Fundraiser. I don't think anyone could turn down yummy vegan nosh and cuddle time with the cuties pictured below, do you?
This is Bobby and yours truly. Before coming to the sanctuary, he and his friend Harry had lived their entire lives in cages and were used in insulin experiments. When they arrived at Poplar Spring, both of them were white as snow because they had never seen a single ray of sunshine. The first thing they did when they arrived at Poplar? They dove into a mud pool and stared up in amazement at the trees and stars. What a lucky guy, and such a looker too!
I'm telling you, folks, I highly recommend finding your nearest animal sanctuary and visiting. Or better yet, volunteer! With Thanksgiving coming up, most farm sanctuaries have special Thanksgiving celebrations that honor their turkeys. If my picture doesn't convince you, maybe these will.
Written by Missy Lane
When I was in elementary school, I had a friend named Katie. We slept over at each other's houses, hung out during recess, and wore the same clothes, pretending to be twins. I was so ready to give her the other half of my best-friend necklace—but then I heard her talking smack about me in the lunch room. Backstabber.
The CEO of Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, California, is a lot like Katie. While the aquarium's mission is supposedly "to instill a sense of wonder, respect, and stewardship for the Pacific Ocean, its inhabitants, and ecosystems," CEO Dr. Jerry Schubel has just launched a new program called "Seafood for the Future"—which encourages people to eat specific kinds of fish in order to qualify for a free ticket to the aquarium.
If Dr. Schubel really knew what was best for fish, he'd know that eating them isn't an option. Fish communicate and develop relationships with one another. They experience fear, show affection by gently rubbing against other fish, and even grieve when their companions die. When they are dragged from the ocean's depths, they undergo excruciating decompression, which often causes their internal organs to rupture.
Encouraging aquarium visitors to eat fish seems a little bit like serving poodle burgers at a dog show. Wouldn't you think the best way for visitors to safeguard and respect the ocean's sea life is to adopt a vegan diet? We've fired off a letter to Dr. Schubel asking him to cancel this program immediately.
Is it obvious yet that aquariums really don't care about the animals they're supposedly protecting?
Written by Liz Graffeo
If you've stopped by your local drug store lately, I bet you've noticed all the Christmas cards and candy starting to make their way onto the shelves. It's only October, but apparently, Christmas is just around the corner. Personally, I think we should get past Halloween and Thanksgiving before pulling out the lights and ornaments, but maybe I just don't think far enough in advance.
For those of you who are ready to get a jumpstart on your holiday shopping, we have another clothing outlet you can add to your online shopping list. Women's fashion retailer Boston Proper has announced that it has immediately stopped buying fur and will be completely fur-free as of January 1, 2010!
After receiving complaints from concerned PETA members and supporters who were outraged that Boston Proper was selling fur in its catalogs and online, we immediately contacted the company and urged it to go fur-free. Boston Proper listened to our concerns about the cruelty that animals on fur farms endure, including being bludgeoned, beaten, and then skinned alive.
Boston Proper has joined forward-thinking clothing retailers like Urban Outfitters, Zappos, Juicy Couture, Polo Ralph Lauren, Gap, Forever 21, and dozens of other companies and designers in no longer supporting fur-industry cruelty.
I hope that you'll take a moment to contact Boston Proper and thank the company for its compassionate decision to go fur-free and maybe stay to browse the Web site for that perfect holiday sweater.
Written by Shawna Flavell
Tropical Storm Ondoy caused severe flooding in many areas of metropolitan Manila last weekend. While PETA Asia-Pacfic's Manila office survived Ondoy intact and local staffers and their animal companions are safe, the storm caused massive damage.
As many of us remember from Hurricane Katrina, animals are often left in desperate situations after disasters, and PETA Asia-Pacific staffers, along with members of the Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS), have been busy rescuing animals in distress.
PAWS—with which PETA Asia-Pacific works closely year-round on issues such as spaying and neutering and stopping the introduction of greyhound racing to the Philippines—has also opened its shelter as an evacuation center for companion animals affected by the storm.
Tropical Storm Ondoy provides a sobering reminder that we all need to plan ahead to ensure the safety of our animal companions during natural disasters. You can learn more about preparing your companions for storms and other disasters here.
Written by Jeff Mackey
Ground beef is not a completely safe product.—Dr. Jeffrey Bender, food safety expert
Ground beef is not a completely safe product.—Dr. Jeffrey Bender, food safety expert
In a chilling reminder to all meat-eaters, Saturday's New York Times recounted the tragic story of Stephanie Smith, whose meatborne illness almost killed her and left her paralyzed.
Two years ago, Smith was a dance instructor who ate a hamburger contaminated by E. coli bacteria, which happens when feces from cattle comes into contact with their flesh during the slaughter process—something that's hard to avoid when the animals are forced to lie in their own urine and feces in barren feedlots and when they are hacked apart in filthy slaughterhouses.
Stephanie experienced stomach cramping that turned into bloody diarrhea. Then her kidneys shut down. Seizures, which knocked her unconscious, were so frequent that doctors had to force her into a coma. Nine weeks later, she woke up. The virus had ravaged Stephanie's nervous system to the point that she can no longer walk, and doctors believe she will be bound to a wheelchair for the rest of her life.
The name "E. coli" comes from "colon," where E. coli is found. In other words, anything that comes into contact with feces can be contaminated. While raw vegetables can be cross-contaminated with meat or with waste runoff from factory farms, ground beef is the most common source of E. coli poisoning.
Ground beef is usually a mixture of the flesh of many cattle from several slaughterhouses. Stephanie Smith's deadly burger contained "trimmings" from one slaughterhouse in Nebraska that kills 2,600 cattle each day. Other bits of the burger came from a slaughterhouse in Texas that kills discarded dairy cows and old bulls.
According to the Times, there isn't any federal law requiring meat-grinding companies to test for E. coli. Many slaughterhouses put the fear of losing money in recalls before public safety and will only sell to grinders who agree not to do testing.
The company that made Stephanie Smith's burger continues to sell its cheap bits and pieces of dead cattle to supermarkets, fast-food restaurants, and the school lunch program, so if a dose of E. coli doesn't sound appealing, go vegan.
Written by Heather Drennan
While Nike the shoe company is named after Nike the Greek goddess of victory, unfortunately, in dogfighting, there are only losers: Even the victors end up in the grinder at the end of the day. Nike seems to have forgotten that little fact, as the company is reportedly now supplying Michael Vick with "product," although it says it has not signed a promotional contract with the disgraced former dogfighter and current NFL QB.
This begs the question posed in a letter sent by PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk to Nike President and CEO Mark Parker: Why is Nike giving free swag to a guy who admitted laughing when he tossed "family pets" into the ring and watched them get ripped to shreds by trained fighting dogs? Is this a guy you want parading around Philly displaying the Nike swoosh? Unless Nike aspires to corner the bottom-feeding dogfighting market, this plan seems designed to have the company's competitors cheering.
We hope you'll contact Nike, too, and let the company know that if it aspires to alienate anybody and everybody who's ever loved a dog—and to encourage them to change their brand away from Nike—it is sure to be, er, Vick-torious.
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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.