Written by PETA
As we promised yesterday, we've got exclusive photos from the unveiling of Los Angeles Lakers forward Ron Artest's new spay-and-neuter billboard in L.A. The first 20 attendees at the unveiling scored big-time, receiving coupons for free spay or neuter surgeries:
With Spay Day less than a week away, the debut of Artest's ad couldn't have come at a better time. "These animals are literally dying for a good home," he said. "Spaying and neutering your companion animals is the way to bring an end to the overpopulation crisis."
Now that's a slam dunk!
Written by Logan Scherer
Question: Why are we obsessed with Turkish pop legend Tarkan? Answer: Deemed the "Prince of Pop" and the Turkish Elvis, the international musical phenomenon is also a friend to animals. He took time out of his hectic schedule to pose with Penny, a PETA staff member's rescued pooch, and to urge people to help control the animal overpopulation crisis by having their animal companions spayed or neutered. Check out his new ad and an interview he did with PETA Germany:
When did PETA first enter your life?During the promotional tour for my album Come Closer, PETA reached out to me to voice feelings about my wearing a fur coat on the album cover. Having been an animal lover since childhood, this instance when I was pictured wearing fur on the cover of my album was truly a regrettable one. On the day of my album's cover shoot, we tested many looks, one of which happened to include a coat with fur accents. The pictures ended up being used as the album's cover artwork. In hindsight, I wish I had never worn the coat—but I am also a believer that everything in life happens for a reason. Because of that mistake, PETA and I crossed paths, joined forces, and are now working together to protect animal rights worldwide. Once all the unimaginable circumstances being suffered by helpless animals were brought to my attention and I saw footage portraying the horrible pain that animals were enduring for the sake of fashion, I immediately swore off fur.
What do you think of PETA?I am happy to be supporting PETA—an organization that's fighting for animal rights worldwide. PETA's relentless efforts to protect the well-being of animals around the world is a cause that is very important to me.
How do you think we can make animals' lives better? Do you think that the existing campaigns are enough?I am fortunate enough to be able to use my celebrity to draw attention to PETA and to encourage my fans to join the animal rights movement. I feel it is up to all of us to take a stand as consumers and choose a cruelty-free lifestyle. Once we stop encouraging industries that are making a profit at the expense of animals, we will end the demand and make a change for animals worldwide.
Do you think that celebrities are doing enough to protect the rights of animals in Turkey?There have been many celebrities in Turkey who have spoken out for animal rights, including my dear friend, Sezen Aksu, who is both an animal lover and an activist. I hope that with this campaign, more of my colleagues, friends, and fans will be inspired to voice their support for animal rights.
How did you find your dogs?Over the last few years, I have rescued approximately a dozen dogs from the streets of Turkey. Some were brought to me by friends, and some have even shown up at my doorstep looking for a home. They have brought me endless joy, and I treasure their unconditional love.
How many dogs do you have, and where do they live?I currently have four dogs (all rescued), named Efe, Carmella, Johnita, and Jackie. They all live with me at my ranch just outside Istanbul.
Do you have a favorite among them? Why?I love all my dogs, as each has his or her own unique character. But Johnita is very special to me—she is the one who never leaves my side, no matter what.
Tell us a story about you and one of your dogs.I used to have a dog named Efe, who I loved—and who passed away. Just a week later, a stray dog who almost identically resembled Efe showed up at my doorstep. I immediately welcomed him into my family and named him Efe as well.
How is your life nowadays? What is the latest with you?I am currently in the studio working on my new album. In my free time, I like to work with many nonprofit organizations such as DoÄŸa DerneÄŸi (Nature Foundation), UNICEF, the Make-A-Wish Foundation, and more, to use my voice for change. But most of all, I am happy to be able to come home to my loving companions at the end of a long day at the studio.
Written by Logan Scherer
Ron Artest is the compassionate king of any court he steps on. Just in time for Spay Day on February 23, the NBA All-Star and Los Angeles Lakers forward will reveal his new spay-and-neuter billboard tomorrow in Los Angeles at 8238 Beverly Blvd. (near Sweetzer Avenue). The first 20 people to arrive will receive coupons for free spay or neuter surgeries provided by the Sam Simon Foundation—a Los Angeles–area organization that runs a mobile clinic providing free spay and neuter surgeries and low-cost veterinary services.
Check back tomorrow for exclusive photos from the event. See you then!
This is Precious.
PETA staffers and volunteers were out delivering doghouses and straw bedding to neglected dogs one bitterly cold February morning when they found her and the 11 puppies she had given birth to the night before. Three of the puppies were already dead, having frozen to death overnight. Precious was holding one of the dead puppies her mouth in a futile attempt to warm the cold little body. As excited as she was to see her rescuers, she refused to part with her dead baby.
We rushed Precious and her puppies to the vet, but the surviving puppies were so hypothermic that their body temperatures did not even register on a thermometer. Precious herself, besides being severely malnourished, was feverish, anemic, and crawling with fleas and ticks. She also tested positive for hookworms and heartworms.
While Precious had shivered in the cold, watching her babies die one by one, her owners had been snug in their warm house, oblivious to her existence out there on her chain. They didn't even know that she had given birth until PETA staffers told them.
Precious and her puppies epitomize what happens when people do not spay or neuter their dogs and cats. So much suffering could have been prevented if her owners had availed themselves of PETA's "Spay and Neuter, Immediately, Please" (SNIP) mobile clinic, which spays and neuters pit bulls for free and even provides free transportation if necessary.
We wish we could say that Precious' case was an isolated event—that it isn't something we deal with often—but we hear every single day from dog and cat owners who don't think that it will matter if their dog or cat has "just one litter." In Precious' case, her owners had no idea that newborn puppies cannot survive freezing temperatures. They didn't know that pregnant and nursing animals require extra food to nourish their growing puppies or that they need medical care just like people do. They didn't realize that dogs need to be treated for fleas to prevent anemia, and that dogs living in mosquito-infested, swampy areas need heartworm prevention nearly year-round or they will almost certainly contract this deadly disease.
They didn't know any of this until it was too late for Precious and her puppies.
By taking a moment to ask your governor to sponsor mandatory sterilization legislation in 2010, you can be the voice that saves a dog like Precious.
Written by Alisa Mullins
The following is a guest post from PETA Prime's Scott VanValkenburg.
Did you know that February 23 is Spay Day? Leading up to this very important "holiday," PETA Files readers are going to be treated to a series of posts that are aimed at highlighting the importance of making sure that animal companions are spayed or neutered.
In my time at PETA headquarters, I can honestly say that nothing has changed the situation more for dogs and cats in the border region between North Carolina and Virginia than have PETA's mobile clinics. The original "Spay and Neuter Immediately, Please!" (SNIP) clinic has been joined by the Animal Birth Control DogDoc clinic. Last year was a banner year for the struggle to end companion animal overpopulation in the poor urban and rural communities served by PETA's clinics.
In 2009, our mobile clinics performed 8,677 spay or neuter surgeries, preventing the birth of as many as 62,472 kittens and 55,536 pups in the next year alone. That's easily equal to the local animal shelter intake for one year! The local shelters (where they exist in these areas) are bursting at the seams—so no adoption program can possibly solve the problem—and exporting pups and kittens to shelters in areas with a lower population also doesn't address the root of the issue.
PETA not only drives the clinics to towns where there are no veterinary services at all (let alone a low-cost clinic) but also uses creative grassroots work to reach people. Volunteers from PETA's Community Animal Project (CAP) march in the "Peanut Parade" (this is the South, after all) and go door to door trying to help "backyard" dogs. Many of the animals who receive free doghouses from PETA are also spayed or neutered by SNIP. PETA now has a full-time employee in North Carolina who drives a small van to remote residences (many on roads with no street signs) to pick up dogs and cats to take to the clinics. Last year, 562 animals got a free round-trip ride to the clinics. It was definitely the first ride that many of these animals had ever had!
PETA has also worked to have legislation passed that promotes spay and neuter surgeries.
PETA's clinics are among the few that provide "early" spaying and neutering, which not only prevents accidental litters and helps the shelters we serve with pre-adoption sterilization but also helps the individual animals avoid many health problems. Last year, 2,917 puppies and kittens were "snipped" so that they'll never have a litter! Our clinics also helped the most abused breed of dog by providing 210 low-cost or free surgeries to pit bulls. And feral cat caretakers brought in 735 felines, moving us closer to the day when there are no outdoor cats.
One local animal shelter reported that it received 100 fewer pups last year than it did in 2008, attributing the decrease almost entirely to PETA's mobile clinic services. The flood of dogs and cats needing homes continues, but PETA's local and national programs are helping to stem the tide. Have you waded into this issue?
Written by Scott VanValkenburg
Baby, it's cold outside,And—wow!—the snow's piled high,But these sexy celebrity ads Will make it very, very warm inside!
After you take a few moments to cool down, tell us which ad you think is the hottest.
Written by Karin Bennett
I know the photos are upsetting, believe me. But you have to understand a problem in order to fix it. And that's what we want you to do—to start understanding the real source of the problem. The killing of homeless and unwanted animals isn't going away, and it's not because animal shelters don't care (they do, and many workers pour their hearts into their work). The real reason—and here's the truly shocking part—is that many dog and cat lovers are the problem. That's right—the very people who should care the most are often the ones who create the problem.
Shelter workers will tell you that dogs and cats come through their portals with embroidered blankets, painted toenails, or folders filled with "papers"—signs that the animals were once valued. Some were bought on a whim as Paris Hilton–style "arm candy," and others were surrendered because their guardians went off to college; went on vacation; moved north, south, east, or west; married someone who was allergic; got divorced; or couldn't be bothered to cope with the animal's barking, fur, size, or normal physical and psychological needs. (Surprise—animals actually need to be fed and walked, and their litterboxes need to be cleaned too.)
Many of the "dumped" are living, breathing testaments to the collapse of sub-prime mortgages and loans. We acquired beyond their means, so when times got hard, pink slips arrived, and bills mounted, thousands of Princesses and Peppers and Peaches ended up on the street, literally and figuratively. And they're still pouring through the doors of animal shelters—the ones, that is, who weren't left in abandoned houses, later to be found barricaded inside closets or on chains in backyards.
Some refugees from human failures and home foreclosures will languish in a shelter cage for life. You can see them, turning in ever tighter circles; barking frantically at every visitor, as if to recount their story; or sitting with their backs turned to the world, unresponsive to sweet talk, all hope gone. Every one of these anxious individuals must wonder how it is that this guardian or that family, their family, their person, who they believed would always be there to care for them, has vanished, leaving them confused and displaced in an unfamiliar and uncomfortable cell.
Unwanted dogs and cats are, in their own way, a bit like carbon emissions: They are invisible to most of us because they are kenneled in animal shelters that are often tucked away on the wrong side of the railroad tracks, in impoverished neighborhoods, or down country roads. They are hidden, unlike the animals in bright, shiny mall pet shops. Like carbon emissions, they are the product of careless and egocentric lifestyles and a reluctance to connect the dots.
This year, animal shelters will be forced to kill millions of wonderful dogs and cats for want of one thing: a good home. Why? Because many of the people in your local dog park or veterinary waiting room—people who truly love their dogs and cats—have behaved irresponsibly by obtaining an animal from a pet shop or breeder and failing to have him or her spayed or neutered.
These are the people who are responsible for taking the lives of homeless animals—not your local shelter workers. For, just as buying clothes that were made in sweatshops supports child labor, buying a dog or cat from a breeder or pet shop contributes to the death rate in shelters. Let me be clear: There is no such thing as a responsible breeder.
When people buy a dog or cat, perhaps they think that homeless animals don't factor into their purchase, or perhaps they are honestly oblivious to the hundreds of thousands of animals who are waiting on death row at that very moment. I'm sure that such people don't see themselves as signing some animal's death warrant when they sign their credit card receipt, but that's what they are doing. They have room in their home and heart that could be filled by rescuing one of those wonderful, loving dogs or cats who were booted out, got lost, or fell victim to a human's accident or death. They would have felt that animal's gratitude for years to come.
There is one more way in which people add to the crisis, and that is by fooling themselves into thinking that it doesn't count if they breed their dog or cat just one time. But it does matter very much. Please join PETA in calling on the governors of all 50 states to endorse mandatory spay-and-neuter laws that would require dogs and cats to be sterilized unless their owners purchase an annual breeding permit—the cost of which would fund low-cost spay-and-neuter services.
Everyone who breeds their dog or cat believes that their friends will flock to take home the new arrivals. After all, that animal is the prettiest and smartest in the world. But again, a pound pup or shelter Siamese could fill that space (to say nothing of the spaces that will later be taken up by the descendents of those new puppies and kittens if they aren't spayed or neutered before they're given away). And if homes can't be found for all those adorable pups and kittens, people find themselves handing them over the counter at the animal shelter accompanied by those six conveniently guilt-shifting words, "You won't kill them, will you?"
Written by Ingrid E. Newkirk
Warning: Graphic photos below.
This blog post may shock you with its bluntness, but it is the truth. It's also a call to action. This is your chance to weigh in and help the unloved, the unwanted, and the throwaways from our convenience-oriented society. I want to ask you to look at some photographs that may haunt you, but they may also prompt you to act.
PETA never turns away an animal for being "unadoptable." Ever. In fact, in our area, as is likely the case in yours, the "no-kill" facility is usually full—full of dogs and cats who have been sitting in cages for months and, in some cases, years. And that facility, while basking in the glory of its "no-kill" pledge, often refers animals to us and to the city pound. We receive calls from desperate people who cannot afford the "no-kill" shelter's admission fee or can't cope with its waiting list. We do not turn our back on these animals. Never have and never will. So we take in the animals no one wants, and we ease their pain so that they don't languish unaided or fall into the wrong hands—which often would mean going right back to where they came from. We will always be here for animals who need and deserve a kind hand, a loving word, and a peaceful exit from a world that has treated them like trash.
Last year, PETA did many things: We helped countless dogs and cats in "our own backyard." Our phenomenal mobile spay-and-neuter clinics sterilized 8,677 animals (562 of whom we picked up for surgery and then took back home in PETA's Animal Birth Control van). We built and delivered more than 300 sturdy doghouses and delivered about 5,000 bags of straw to warm up cold dogs who were chained or penned outside in all weather extremes. We provided free veterinary care for animals with infections, wounds, and illnesses. And we did something else that made a difference: Our shelter of last resort took in 2,352 injured, ill, elderly, and unwanted animals for euthanasia. Our Community Animal Project staffers showered each of them with love and affection in their final moments, gave them their very first soft caress, in many cases, and told them, "Good puppy!" often for the very first time.
No one feels anything other than crushed to euthanize animals; those who hate euthanasia the most are the truly kind people whose job it is to perform it—people on our staff and in other animal shelters. It's so easy for some people to turn away, to condemn, or to create the very problem that these brave souls deal with, but they are only cleaning up after the people who neglected those animals; who never showed them a shred of commitment or an ounce of compassion, who thought nothing of crating, penning, or chaining them up with a tractor-trailer chain because it was inconvenient to walk them or secure daycare for them; who didn't think twice about leaving them behind when their house was foreclosed on or dog food became expensive; or who left the door open and let the dog or cat get hit by a car. Our staff is grateful that people in our community know to call upon us when someone needs to do what's necessary.
The animals who come through PETA's doors are but a tiny fraction of the estimated 6 to 8 million homeless dogs and cats who are handed over the counter in animal shelters nationwide every year. These animals are abandoned, and many are left to languish in cages—waiting, looking up anxiously and hopefully at every person who enters, in the hope that he or she will save them and take them home. A whopping half of them will be "put to sleep" because that someone never showed up (the girl who stopped at the cage and giggled, the man who said, "Isn't he weird-looking?"—they moved on with their lives). The people who are kind enough to hold these animals and stroke their fur as they take their last breath are not to blame for any of it. The blame falls squarely on the shoulders of each person who refuses or "forgets" to have his or her cat or dog sterilized and everyone who has purchased an animal from a pet shop or a breeder instead of adopting from their local shelter.
PETA is calling on the governors of all 50 states to endorse mandatory spay-and-neuter laws that would require dogs and cats to be sterilized unless their owners purchase an annual breeding permit, the cost of which would fund low-cost spay-and-neuter services. You can help—you have a governor, and you may know a state senator or council member—or perhaps you could get to know one. Please join us in this effort, and please recruit everyone you know to do so as well. We will provide language for model legislation, but please, talk to everyone in the dog parks, at the vet's office, and on the street. Download our posters and fliers and hand them out and put them up; pick a low-income block and help the people there spay and neuter their animals; and please, go down to city hall or up to the statehouse and lobby so that next year the nation's homeless animal population will be lower. Individual dogs and cats would ask you to do this if they could.
The reproduction debate's heating up as TLC prepares to air the fourth season of its Duggar Family hit, 19 Kids and Counting. This season, the Duggars have upped their clan-size from 18 to 19, and it has some arguing yay or nay about the "Duggar-style" approach to reproduction. We say, as long as Jim Bob and Michelle are able to keep a roof over their family's head and modern-modest clothes on their backs, there's a far more important reproductive issue at hand. So, we're offering to run this billboard in the Duggar's hometown of Tontitown, Arkansas, as well as in nearby Springdale and Fayetteville:
Talk about mind-blowing: One unspayed female cat and her offspring can create a whopping 420,000 cats in just seven years, and one unneutered male dog can father nearly limitless litters. Roughly half of the estimated 6 to 8 million cats and dogs who enter U.S. animal shelters every year are euthanized because there aren't enough good homes for them. Many more are abandoned on the street, left to fend for themselves, and many are subjected to acts of cruelty, starvation, disease, or injuries.
The solution is simple: Spay and neuter companion animals.
Written by Karin Bennett
Adult film star Sasha Grey knows that when animals are involved, you should always say "No" to sex. That's why she's baring it all in PETA's newest ad, which the porn legend and star of Steven Soderbergh's critically acclaimed The Girlfriend Experience unveiled after delivering the keynote speech today at the Adult Entertainment Expo in Las Vegas.
Grey is urging everyone to help curb the companion animal overpopulation crisis by spaying and neutering their dogs and cats in order to prevent pregnancies. Each year, up to 8 million dogs and cats wind up in U.S. animal shelters, and about half of them must be euthanized because of a lack of suitable homes. "I think spaying and neutering is incredibly important," said Grey. "[I]t keeps the animals out of the shelters and there's too many unwanted animals out there already." Um, I know it's only been a week, but can I make a nomination for PETA's Woman of the Year for 2010?
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.