Written by PETA
"The Prince of Wales has asked me to write and thank you for your letter about animal welfare issues surrounding the production of foie gras and your experience in Tetbury. I just wanted to reassure you that The Prince of Wales has a policy that his chefs should not buy foie gras. His Royal Highness was not aware that the House of Cheese sells foie gras and this will be addressed when their warrant is reviewed."
That’s about as big a boost to Britain’s growing movement to permanently ban the sale of foie gras as you could hope for: If the few remaining establishments that are still selling the stuff won’t take it from outraged consumers, they might want to think twice about ignoring a frickin’ royal mandate. PETA’s president sent a letter to the Prince today, thanking him for taking this compassionate stand, and we’re hoping that this positive example from overseas will influence cities like Chicago to stand by their decisions to ban this cruel delicacy forever. Thank you, Prince Charles.
One unaltered female cat and her offspring can produce an estimated 420,000 cats in only seven years, and a female dog and her offspring can produce 67,000 puppies in six years.
With that in mind, here are my personal favorites among the many videos we’ve produced over the past couple of years to raise awareness about this issue. Let me know which one you think is the most effective. And have a glorious Spay Day.
And just in case you need even more Spay Day inspiration, check out this great story about a Michigan group who are doing their part to end animal overpopulation.
Janez Drnovsek, the Slovenian president who led his country to independence in 1991, died this weekend at the age of 57. Mr. Drnovsek’s prodigious accomplishments included building a stable democracy in Slovenia and preparing the way for his country to join the European Union in 2004. He was also passionate about animal rights: An ethical vegan, Drnovsek urged Slovenians to be kind to animals with the same keen awareness of the suffering of others that gained him a reputation as a champion for oppressed people and a progressive leader who refused to stay silent in the face of injustice. Drnovsek became vegetarian after he was diagnosed with cancer in 1999, and he credited his diet with prolonging his life as he battled the disease over the next nine years. In a 2005 interview, he discussed the philosophy behind his decision to adopt a vegan diet:
“If we think for a moment how man manages animals and what impact he has on animal world, we could say he was not human at all. Just think of all slaughterhouses and production of beef or poultry where conditions for animals are impossible. … It is not that people are bad—they just don't think about it. When the final product is in front of them on the plate, they don't think what was has been before and how it got to this stage.”
Drnovsek was a man of principle, courage, and most of all, compassion, and his example inspired countless people to look with fresh eyes on the world around them and live their lives in a way that showed kindness to all beings. He will be greatly missed.
I’ve written about these Colonel Sanders effigy-burnings before, but this video really shows just how striking these demonstrations can be. This one’s from a protest in Pittsburgh earlier this month.
If you want to organize your own demonstration against KFC, (no need to get quite so fancy as this—a few friends and some simple signs is all it takes), we can walk you through the process.
Topshop is one of Britain’s largest clothing retailers, and for a long time now, they’ve been busy doing for animal-free fashion what the Body Shop has done for cruelty-free cosmetics. Not only do they refuse to sell fur or exotic skins, but they advertise their ethical choices with pride. In 2006, they filled the window of their flagship store in London with this beautiful anti-fur display, and this week, they’ve outdone themselves. Check out their latest display, which draws attention to the cruelty inherent in the exotic-skins trade. It’s a piece of art.
Twenty-one-year-old Flagstaff resident Rachel Feather knows about making sacrifices—not only does she (apparently voluntarily) live in Flagstaff, but she’s recently given up her own name to help PETA make a point. Heretofore, Ms. Feather will be known as FishingHurts to friends and family, having legally changed her name as a way of starting conversations about how fish experience stress and pain just like chickens, cows, pigs, cats, and dogs, and—conveniently for us—directing people to PETA’s pro-fish website FishingHurts.com.
FishingHurts, who has been vegetarian since she was 13, calls fish the "forgotten animal" and was adamant that her name-change be used to help her finned friends, who tend to get overlooked even by people who are good enough to recognize that land animals deserve our compassion. As FH puts it, "Fish should be respected, not mutilated on hooks or dragged up from the sea. I'll remind people of that every time they say or read my name."
A big thanks to FishingHurts for making what’s honestly a really big change in her life to help draw attention to the horrific practices inherent in the industrialized slaughter of fish. Amazing stuff.
Also, to make up for my gratuitous slander of Flagstaff, Arizona, for the sake of a cheap laugh, here are three fun facts about that fine city—which is already that much more beautiful for numbering compassionate souls like FishingHurts (née Rachel Feather) amongst its citizens:
1.) Flagstaff is the birthplace of singer Michelle Branch, actor Ted Danson, and astronomer Clyde Tombaugh—who discovered the (now ex-) planet Pluto in 1930.
2.) Flagstaff has an annual rainfall of 23 inches and an annual snowfall of 110 inches.
3.) Getting back to the animal-friendly theme here, Flagstaff is home to the confusingly named New Jersey Pizza Company, which serves a delicious assortment of soy cheese pizzas to Arizona’s vegans and soy-cheese enthusiasts.
So yay, Flagstaff. And yay, Rachel FishingHurts. Keep up the great work.
I’m back! I hope reading Amy’s posts wasn’t too much of a trial in my absence. If, for some reason, you find yourself missing her unique stylistic flair now that I’m back, you can still get a daily dose of Ms. Cook on PETA’s Veg Cooking blog. Fair warning, though: All of the posts are about cooking stuff, from what I can tell. The woman has an obsession with food.
Speaking of food, here’s a great little spoof on the cooking show format that was made for us by PETA member Eric Steinman. It’s called Cooking With Liz:
Fashion-forward blogger Perez Hilton is being named the queen of my "Best-Dressed" list because he has been spotted in a Fabulous Furs faux-fur coat. His look sure beats that of another well-known queen, Aretha Franklin, who just yesterday was announced as the "winner" of PETA's " Worst-Dressed" title for sporting the fur of dead animals.
PETA had this to say about Aretha: "How 'bout some R-E-S-P-E-C-T for animals? Aretha, when you waddled into the Grammys in yet another vulgar fur, you looked as if you were going to perform 'I Am the Walrus' by The Beatles. You may be a queen, but you don't know jack about compassion." Ouch.
Sure, Perez is only on a list of one, but I'd be happy to make it longer—that way, we can have a full-blown, knock-out, throw-down fight for the "Best-Dressed" title next year.
See Perez in his cruelty-free faux fur here, and check out all the hags who made our "Worst-Dressed" list here.
After lengthy discussions with PETA, PETCO has announced that it will reduce the number of animals for sale in its stores nationwide by 30% and revamp its live-animal vendor certification standards to improve conditions at all of its pet suppliers, starting with Rainbow World Exotics (RWE) in Hamilton, Texas.
At RWE—a hellish facility that breeds and brokers tens of thousands of animals who will be sold at pet stores, including PETCO and PetSmart—PETA found abuse and neglect of small animals and birds, including the following:
•Rabbits were neutered by an employee using a dull razor and Clorox wipes on the animals' open incisions. One improperly anesthetized rabbit kicked and struggled during the surgery.•Live hamsters, rats, and mice were dumped into trash cans, and animals were thrown against the floor in an attempt to kill them.•Many animals were denied veterinary care, including a baby Goffin's cockatoo named Angel, who Jack told you about in January; ferrets with rectal prolapses; and a guinea pig with a broken hip.
•Rabbits were neutered by an employee using a dull razor and Clorox wipes on the animals' open incisions. One improperly anesthetized rabbit kicked and struggled during the surgery.
•Live hamsters, rats, and mice were dumped into trash cans, and animals were thrown against the floor in an attempt to kill them.
•Many animals were denied veterinary care, including a baby Goffin's cockatoo named Angel, who Jack told you about in January; ferrets with rectal prolapses; and a guinea pig with a broken hip.
Watch the video posted below for more details on the horrors uncovered in the investigation, and check out the piece from the Today show, where the story broke nationally.
Change is good, but we wish that PETCO would have done even better and kissed its relationship with RWE goodbye. Says PETA Vice President Daphna Nachminovitch, "It is astounding that an abusive mill like RWE can still call the nation's two largest pet supply companies its customers." She continues, "The decisions by PETCO and PetSmart not to cut ties with RWE make it clear that to them, the bottom line is far more important than ensuring that tens of thousands of animals avoid pain and suffering. PETA wants consumers to know that animals do not generally fare well in the pet trade. Animal shelters and pounds are the place to go when you are ready to offer a loving, responsible home to an animal."
I couldn't agree more. If you care about animals, don't buy from stores that sell animals.
For what you can do to help, click here.
During my time in Norfolk, Virginia, where I worked at PETA's headquarters, I got to know my local Harris Teeter very well. I'm the kind of person who likes to visit the grocery store on an almost daily basis so that I can load up on the freshest produce or just stroll the aisles. This led to quite a close bond with the store, and I even affectionately called it The Teet.
As you can imagine, when the news of Harris Teeter's new animal welfare policies flew into my in-box minutes ago, I was thrilled to learn that their plan is going to surpass national rivals. Under the new plan, they will do the following:
•Increase its purchases of chickens killed by controlled-atmosphere systems—the least-cruel method of bird slaughter—from 11% to 26% over the next three years. The Teet will also start purchasing turkeys killed by controlled-atmosphere systems, starting with 2% this fall, and giving purchasing preference to controlled-atmosphere systems suppliers. •Increase its purchases of pig meat from suppliers phasing out gestation crates—restrictive metal enclosures that confine pregnant pigs—by 10, 15, and 20% over each of the next three years. Harris Teeter is also giving purchasing preference to suppliers that don't use cruel gestation crates.•Increase the total percentage of its egg sales that represent cage-free eggs from 6% to 9% by 2009, and will work to increase that number to 12% by 2010 (the national average is only 5%). The company's new line of Harris Teeter brand eggs will also be cage-free, and Harris Teeter is giving purchasing preference to cage-free egg producers.
•Increase its purchases of chickens killed by controlled-atmosphere systems—the least-cruel method of bird slaughter—from 11% to 26% over the next three years. The Teet will also start purchasing turkeys killed by controlled-atmosphere systems, starting with 2% this fall, and giving purchasing preference to controlled-atmosphere systems suppliers.
•Increase its purchases of pig meat from suppliers phasing out gestation crates—restrictive metal enclosures that confine pregnant pigs—by 10, 15, and 20% over each of the next three years. Harris Teeter is also giving purchasing preference to suppliers that don't use cruel gestation crates.
•Increase the total percentage of its egg sales that represent cage-free eggs from 6% to 9% by 2009, and will work to increase that number to 12% by 2010 (the national average is only 5%). The company's new line of Harris Teeter brand eggs will also be cage-free, and Harris Teeter is giving purchasing preference to cage-free egg producers.
I am in no way saying that these changes make eating animals, eggs, or dairy products OK in my book—they don't. I still believe the best thing anyone can do to end cruelty to animals is to go vegan, but this is a small step in the right direction. And now I don't have to feel as guilty about my little love affair with a grocery store anymore.
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.