Written by PETA
Elle Macpherson has told the Times online that she uses rhino horn to try to stop the aging process. Quackery aside, this has huge consequences for animals—and it's illegal. Here's the letter that PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk sent Macpherson today:
What was Elle's response to the outcry about her comment? Click here to find out.
July 6, 2010
Dear Ms. Macpherson,
We've read that you have confessed to a reporter for the Times online that you use an illegal substance: rhino horn. Considering that there is nothing beautiful about the slaughter of wildlife, will you please give up your use of rhino horn and tell the world why you did?
Like shark's fin, which is hacked off the shark, who is then thrown back into the water to spin helplessly to the bottom of the sea, rhino horn is hacked off, too, and the rhino is left to die with a machete hole in the face. It is not a quick death, as photographs and video footage attest.
Rhinos are interesting animals, not that it would matter if they were boring as hell. It isn't too long ago that human beings discovered what this species knew all along: that its members communicate by means of complex breathing noises. In my book The PETA Practical Guide to Animal Rights, I recount how Anna Mertz, the founder of a rhino sanctuary in Kenya, came to realize that these animals live in a completely different sphere from ours. They are the Mr. Magoos of the animal kingdom, barely able to see a thing, which unfortunately makes it convenient to poach them, and their world is dominated by their senses of smell and hearing.
To communicate, rhinos use a highly complicated method of regulating their breathing, a sort of Morse code, to talk to one another. Mertz says that rhinos are absolutely terrified of humans because people chase them, separate them from their calves, and slaughter them for their horns, which are cut off for use as aphrodisiacs and in cosmetics.
Mertz raised and released an orphaned bull she named Makara who had never witnessed an attack by hunters and had never learned to fear people. Over time, he came to regard Mertz as a friend.
On one occasion, Mertz was out with a tracker when the two of them saw a rhino moving very slowly toward them, looking very odd. When he got close, they saw that it was Makara and that he was completely entangled in barbed wire. Barbed wire is terrifying to animals, and most panic when they encounter it, but Makara had recognized the sound of his friend's Jeep engine and come for help. Although trembling all over, he gave the pair the greeting breathing. Mertz managed to get a handkerchief between Makara's eye and the jagged wire that was cutting into it, then took off her jacket and worked it under the wire that was cutting into his thigh. Without wire cutters, the tracker used a cutlass and a flat stone to cut the wire while Mertz, talking gently to the bull, disentangled him. The whole affair took about 40 minutes, and the whole time Makara stood stock-still except for the tremors that shook his body.
When the last of the wire fell away, he breathed goodbye and moved slowly back into the bush. Mertz says she knew that they had witnessed an act of outstanding intelligence, trust, and courage. That this bull had come to them for help and had exercised such control over his state of panic, standing still and allowing himself to be freed of the frightening barbed wire, must have been very difficult and painful to him—even more so, given the fact that although Makara knew Mertz's voice well, she had never before attempted to touch him.
I wrote in the book that perhaps if we could sit rhino hunters down and let them see that a rhino is not an inconsequential gray lump, not a trophy or a heap of body parts, but a living, thinking, feeling being—a son, a mother, a friend to others, a vulnerable individual—perhaps they would not blow these magnificent animals to kingdom come or cut off their horns via machete. Perhaps you might also sit down and look at the photos of the rhinos who are ground up for human vanity and complete quackery.
Jackie Chan, who works hard to combat the devastation to wildlife caused by Chinese medicine, from tiger penises to bear bile and claws, is appalled by this vile trade and has helped many groups, including PETA, work to combat such cruelty. He says, if you know anyone who is buying the stuff, "Ask them to think first. Do they really want to be responsible for the cruel killing of an individual animal and to contribute to the extinction of the species? Don't they know that there are herbal alternatives to endangered animals in traditional Chinese medicine? And do they really need that endangered species product? There is no excuse."
Elle, you are a role model in many ways, and I hope you will agree that wildlife should be left in peace. Will you please condemn the trade in rhino horn and other substances that are stolen from wild animals? I look forward to hearing back from you.
Very truly yours,
Ingrid E. NewkirkPresidentPETA
Jenna Dewan-Tatum makes a ravishing reptile! The sultry star (and wife of smokin' hot actor Channing Tatum) recently shed her clothes and transformed into a snake for a new PETA ad exposing the cruelty of the exotic-skins industry. Find out why the alluring actor leaves wildlife out of her wardrobe in this exclusive behind-the-scenes interview:
While we're on the subject of fabulous fake snakes, we're giving away a pleather python bag from Melie Bianco and an Energy Muse bracelet—designed by Jenna herself specifically for this campaign and modeled by Jenna below.
After you enter to win this prize pack, tweet @jennaldewan and let Jenna know how this campaign has convinced you to show some love to snakes, lizards, alligators, crocodiles, and other reptiles by pledging to purge your closet of any exotic skins.
Written by Amy Skylark Elizabeth
Got plans this upcoming Monday night? Cancel them. Spend the evening with Jane Velez-Mitchell instead! If you've watched her show, Issues With Jane Velez-Mitchell on Headline News (HLN), you know that this longtime vegan and PETA supporter is a dedicated animal rights activist who never misses an opportunity to speak up for animals. Now, she's hosting an unprecedented hour-long special devoted entirely to animal rights!
An exciting opportunity to bring animal welfare issues to the masses, Jane's show will take on topics such as the impact that the oil spill is having on animals, factory farming, the government's round-up of wild horses, the breeding of monkeys in Puerto Rico, and so much more. The program will also include interviews with PETA Senior Vice President Lisa Lange, Bob Barker, and actors Pierce Brosnan, and Jorja Fox. So grab your friends (or set your DVR), and watch!
"Jane Fights for Animal Rights" will air on Monday, July 5, at 7 p.m. ET on Headline News (HLN).
It's important to show networks that people are interested in animal rights issues, so please watch the program and thank CNN for airing it. Head on over to Facebook to RSVP to this event, and we'll even remind you to tune in!
If you've been holding your breath waiting for the day when rats are no longer shoved into tiny containers and forced to breathe chemicals for six hours a day for up to 90 days in order to test chemicals and products such as cigarettes, asbestos, popcorn butter flavoring, jet fuel, and household stain removers, you are probably blue in the face by now. But you may be able to breathe a sigh of relief soon.
Scientists have developed a new apparatus called a lung-on-a-chip that can be used to replace these cruel chemical tests. This artificial lung can mimic the physiology of the organ and can even "breathe."According to a story in New Scientist, the device, which behaves like a real lung, is an "encouraging sign that ethically acceptable and cheaper alternatives to animal testing may be on the way."
PETA's regulatory testing experts (or, as I call them, "really smart staffers") are working hard to reform the government's chemical testing practices and are trying to get government officials to implement modern technology like the lung-on-a-chip. You can help by urging your senators to require the use of alternatives to animal tests in government testing programs. It is the 21st century, after all.
Written by Heather Moore
If you chose "B," you paid more attention in history class than I did.
Washington, D.C., is issuing a license plate commemorating the bicentennial of the War of 1812, in which parts of the city were burned—including the White House and the Capitol—and they're asking the public for design submissions.
Of course, PETA could not resist the challenge of finding an animal rights message in a 200-year-old war—but rather than focus on that unfortunate burning-of-D.C. thing, we thought it would be better to focus on the national anthem, which was written after a U.S. victory. How does this patriotic play on words strike you?
Written by Alisa Mullins
Animals in Jersey City can rest a lot easier this Fourth of July now that a planned fireworks display has been canceled because of a lack of funds. We're asking city officials to end all future fireworks displays and replace them with less costly, more entertaining laser light shows instead.
Fireworks sound like all-out war to dogs, cats, and wildlife and can have devastating consequences. Just ask J.J., the terrified dog Karin wrote about in her recent blog post. My dog, Henry, and I are planning to just chill at home this year and have our own little laser light show (which consists of him chasing a laser pointer). Good times.
You, too, can ensure that a good (and safe) time is had by everyone in your household by following these dog-and-cat-approved fireworks survival tips. And of course, Happy Fourth of July!
Written by Amy Skylark Elizabeth
The flaxen-haired superheroes of Michael Troy's high-larious new comic book, Blonde Squad, may not be the brightest bulbs on the tree, but their hearts are definitely in the right place. For instance, the team's sorta-psychic, Psight, is less offended by a telepathic death threat from the scheming brunette, Dark Swan, than she is by the fact that their nemesis is wearing fur. Then there's the fun fact that the whole Blonde Squad posed for a new PETA ad, proudly—if a bit nonsensically—proclaiming, "We'd Rather Be Blonde Than Wear Fur!"
You've got to love a comic that not only features a villain who disappears with a big "FABOOSH!"—and heroes who don't quite grasp that "BS" means more than the group's initials—but that can also manage to make a point about the cruelty of the fur industry (an ability shared by the bold heroines of Bluewater Comics). And even though I'm blonde (or blond), I think I got most of the jokes—as well as the point: You don't need superpowers to be a hero who stands up for animals who are killed for their fur.
You can order the first issue of Blonde Squad here, and you should also check out Michael's blog.
Written by Jeff Mackey
When it comes to animals, Jada Pinkett Smith has a heart as big as her incandescent smile. We recently learned that the HawthoRNe star came to the rescue of a hungry puppy who was fending for himself on the streets of Beijing during the shooting of the hit film The Karate Kid—produced by Jada and her husband, Will Smith, and starring their son, Jaden (who also recorded a song for the soundtrack with Justin Bieber and Jackie Chan.
The lucky dog, nicknamed "Beijing Black," has now made himself at home with the Smith brood, along with a number of other animals. After recognizing how unhappy snakes are in captivity, Jada vowed not to take home any more caged animals. Now, she says, "I like to rescue dogs."
For many Americans, Fourth of July celebrations represent copious amounts of barbecue, beer, and fireworks. But for animals, the holiday means terror, thanks to the thunderous explosions that typically start days before the official holiday and never seem to end. Desperate to escape the ear-shattering booms of fireworks displays, even the coolest cats will scatter and the most docile dogs will chew, dig, claw, and otherwise try to break free from their confines and run for the hills. After all, their hearing is much more sensitive than ours.
Such escapes take place all over the country, and one story made national headlines last year: Knowing that their dog, J.J., feared fireworks, Spokane police thought it would be a good idea to lock him in a kennel. Wrong answer.
J.J. was so terrified by the fireworks that he used his teeth to bend open the steel latch to his kennel in order to escape. J.J. was found the next day—but countless dogs who flee are lost for days—or forever. Any animal shelter employee will tell you that the number of lost dogs and cats skyrockets every year after Fourth of July fireworks celebrations.
PETA needs your help as we collect data to strengthen efforts to convince communities across the country to celebrate with spectacular laser light shows instead of noisy fireworks displays. Until my city cans the explosions, I'll celebrate Independence Day inside, practicing these helpful tips for calming my dogs and cats. My curtains will be drawn, and I'll be playing Beethoven to drown out the neighborhood noise. After all, it's no holiday for me if it's a helliday for my animal companions. Don't you agree?
Written by Karin Bennett
Just when you thought things couldn't get any fuglier for Lindsay Lohan, the pelt-wearing party girl is now being sued by Church Boutique in Hollywood for allegedly conning the store out of $16,000 worth of items made of fur and exotic skins.
Says PETA's Dan Mathews, "We don't know if Lindsay stole the clothes from the boutique, but we do know that the skins were stolen from their rightful owners—animals. The only victims here are the snakes and other exotic animals who are nailed to trees, bludgeoned with hammers, and skinned alive in the name of 'fashion.'"
Oh, Lindsay, why do you have to be so cold-blooded? It's all about going fur-free, not getting furs for free.
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.