Written by PETA
Erysipelothrix rhusiopathiae is a bacterium that infects pigs—usually on crowded, inhumane factory farms, where infectious diseases such as swine flu spread like wildfire. Erysipelas causes fever, chronic arthritis, heart inflammation, painful skin lesions, and often death. Up until a few weeks ago, most of us at PETA had never heard of erysipelas either.
There is a vaccine for erysipelas, but each batch produced was tested by infecting pigs with the disease. The test caused the animals immense suffering, which was often followed by death. Enter PETA's scientists, whose heads are no doubt getting a little big right now, what with two big victories in one week.
In August, PETA's Regulatory Testing Division wrote to the USDA asking the agency to follow Europe's example and adopt a non-animal in vitro test for the erysipelas vaccine. We pointed out that the in vitro ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay—try saying that three times fast) test is more humane and is also much more reliable than simply administering the vaccine and seeing whether or not the pigs die. It also helps to ensure vaccine consistency.
Last week, we received a response from the USDA announcing that the test involving the use of pigs will no longer be used. The icing on the cake is that the USDA also said that it is moving away from a hideously cruel method that uses mice to produce antibodies and will instead use a cell culture–based system that is humane and reliable.
Not ones to rest on our laurels, we at PETA are also working to replace animal tests with in vitro tests for tetanus, hepatitis B, whooping cough, clostridium, and leptospirosis vaccines. Already, pharmaceutical giant Pfizer is on board when it comes to ending the use of hamsters in the manufacture of leptospirosis vaccines—a decision that will save the lives of about 40,000 hamsters a year. Hopefully, we'll be able to report back with another victory soon.
Written by Alisa Mullins
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
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
New clothes and a new crush may get many students excited about school, but the surest way to make someone dread biology class is to mention that cruel old standby, dissection.
Since Steve-O knows that only a "jackass" would force a kid to cut up an animal and call it "science," the Wildboyz star was on hand outside Fairfax High School in Los Angeles this afternoon to kick off Cut Out Dissection Month.
His new ad aims to empower kids to fight for their rights not to dissect on animals and to pressure educators to provide alternatives to dissection.
Every year, nearly 6 million animals, including frogs, rats, pigs, and cats, are cut open in cruel, outdated dissection exercises that teach students to dismiss concerns about animal suffering. It's no secret that many violent offenders, including serial killers get their start abusing animals.
Kinder, more effective alternatives to dissection exist and offer students the opportunity to focus on learning instead of cringing through animal cut-ups. In fact, I'm willing to bet that if all schools implemented only humane biology lessons, students would forever remember that this duodenum, not this one, is found in their small intestine.
Written by Karin Bennett
P.S. More pics of Steve-O's unveiling after the jump.
It's a hazy day here on the Right Coast. As I watch leaves fall and steam rise from my soy mocha, the mood is set for a lazy (yet highly skilled) meander through gossip rags for fun stuff. Here are my faves:
Thanks for stopping by! Catch you next time, and don't forget to hug all your vegetarian friends.
Written by Missy Lane
In July, thousands of pigs lost their lives when a factory farm in Alberta, Canada, was ravaged by fire. Our friends at Canadians for the Ethical Treatment of Food Animals (CETFA) obtained photos of the aftermath, which show that before succumbing to smoke inhalation, the panicked pigs frantically trampled each another in a futile attempt to escape.
Pregnant sows, trapped in gestation crates, tried desperately to jump out of their stalls or squeeze through the bars. Instead, they died in their cramped prisons. Many of them suffered from ruptured bellies, and their unborn piglets were killed.
On poorly regulated factory farms, where so many animals are crammed together in confined spaces, fires are all too common, and they cause the horrible deaths of thousands of animals.
Please head over to CETFA's Web site right now and support that organization's initiative to prevent the deaths of animals in factory farm fires.
Written by Jeff Mackey
Considering how factory farms (mis)treat pigs—cramming them into filthy pens and confining mothers to gestation crates—it's not hard to see farms as porcine prisons.
So, naturally, when we heard that a prison in McLeansville, North Carolina, was slated for closure, we quickly dispatched a letter to Governor Bev Purdue to ask for her help in turning the soon-to-be-mothballed slammer into the world's first pig empathy museum.
The new museum would be a win-win: It would provide much-needed jobs, plus it would help people better understand pigs and the suffering that factory farms cause them. Visitors could then put what they've learned into practice by enjoying meatless "riblets" or other vegetarian fare, and the kids would take home one of our "Animals Are My Friends" T-shirts.
We think that once people get to know pigs—when people see that pigs are smart, sensitive, and generally adorable—they won't stand idly by when innocent oinkers are treated like hardened criminals.
Y'all know how we feel about killing animals for "trauma training" by now, right? (Hint: It sucks—to put it mildly.)
Well, after learning that live pigs are reportedly being shot and stabbed in a California avocado grove owned by police officer David Bishop—all as part of trauma training exercises conducted by Washington-based Deployment Medicine International (DMI)—we were outraged. Not only is it unnecessary to mutilate and kill pigs—or any other animals—for trauma training, but to do so in an avocado grove may be illegal.
That's because Bishop's land isn't zoned for trauma or medical training exercises under the County of San Diego's zoning ordinances. Since San Diego County allows the director of its Department of Planning and Land Use to penalize zoning violators, we've fired off a letter to the current director, Eric Gibson, asking him to investigate Bishop and DMI for illegal activity.
Stabbing and shooting pigs to train medical personnel how to treat human injuries is positively medieval. With all the non-animal methods that are readily available, there are better models of human anatomy and physiology than pigs. Don't animals—and trauma victims—deserve better?
PETA is always determined and serious in our efforts to raise awareness about—and to stop—animal suffering. Sometimes, our methods are loud, boisterous, and even a little silly, but they are never naïve. That said, we admit that we're floored by the discrepancy in media coverage surrounding two recent events.
After President Obama killed a fly with one swat, media all over the world swarmed PETA for a response. But when landmark cruelty convictions against pig abusers were issued as a result of our undercover investigation, there was barely a buzz.
We know that countless people turn away from upsetting details about how pigs are beaten and sexually abused by pig farmers, raccoons and foxes gnaw their paws off to escape steel-jaw traps set by furriers, and immobilized rabbits writhe when wrinkle creams are smeared into their eyes. And so do many media outlets, lest they anger advertisers and lose money.
So, headlines everywhere mock PETA for suggesting that people consider employing kind methods of dealing with tiny unwanted visitors. Meanwhile, the pigs get zilch. Please help us change that by writing letters to editors to draw attention to this historic victory against animal abusers and spreading the word to your friends and family.
Smithfield execs, who live high off the hog—actually, it's more like about 27 million hogs—have just decided that they cannot keep their promise to phase out gestation crates over the next 10 years.
Smithfield states, "Due to recent significant operating losses incurred by our Hog Production segment, we have delayed capital expenditures for the program such that we no longer expect to complete the phase-out within ten years of the original announcement."
These gestation crates that Smithfield is dragging its feet on phasing out are called "iron maidens" after medieval torture devices, and for good reason—sows kept in them cannot turn around, and their muscles atrophy. Over time, pigs kept in these horrid conditions develop sores from lying on filthy concrete and go insane from the confinement.
Consider that just three years' compensation for Smithfield's directors would more than cover the cost of a complete crate phase-out. Smithfield's claim that it can't spare pennies a pig to improve these animals' living conditions makes Ebenezer Scrooge look like a philanthropist and erodes any trust the company hopes to build with its consumers or with PETA.
Once again, animal welfare has taken a backseat to corporate profit. Smithfield can rest assured that we'll be at its annual meeting this August, making sure that pigs are heard.
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
an animal, please click
here. If you are reporting an animal in imminent danger and know where to find the
animal and if the abuse is taking place right now, please call your local
police department. If the police are unresponsive, please call PETA
immediately at 757-622-7382 and press 2.
Follow PETA on Twitter!
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.