Written by PETA
This morning, PETA Vice President Dan Mathews appeared on the Today show to talk about the court case involving Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. Alert PETA Files readers will recall that Ringling has been sued by a coalition of animal protection groups over what they allege are violations of the Endangered Species Act. Namely, they're arguing that beating elephants with bullhooks and keeping them chained for hours or even days on end are no way to treat an endangered species.
Here's a little refresher: Over the course of the six-week trial, reams of evidence were trotted out to support reports that Ringling keeps elephants chained for an average of more than 26 hours at a time, sometimes for as many as 60 to 100 hours straight, and that elephants often suffer from bleeding wounds after being struck with bullhooks. Former Ringling employees testified about the horrors they witnessed while on Ringling's payroll, which included seeing an elephant who was violently beaten for a solid half hour.
The judge is still weighing his verdict, but in the meantime, Ringling is on trial in the court of public opinion. Kudos to Today for helping us expose Ringling for the sleazy animal-abusing con artist that it is.
Written by Alisa Mullins
Michael Vick was released from prison early this morning after less than two years behind bars and is headed back to Hampton, Virginia, where he'll serve the final two months of his sentence under house arrest.
In January, after a U.S. Department of Agriculture report on Vick's dogfighting activities revealed that Vick had enjoyed placing family pets in the ring with the pit bulls he'd bred, raised, and trained to fight, PETA called on NFL Commissioner Goodell to require that Vick undergo a full psychological evaluation before any decisions were made about the future of his football career.
Until Michael Vick undergoes the rigorous psychiatric tests now available to determine his ability to experience remorse, there's no way to establish whether he will reoffend. Someone who trained dogs to torture and kill one another for sport, who drowned and hanged dogs who wouldn't fight, and who laughed while watching his own family dogs fight for their lives as they were maimed and finally killed does not deserve to be rewarded with a multimillion-dollar contract or be given the privilege to serve as a role model to millions of children. PETA will not take anything off the table when it comes to any team or league that may sign Michael Vick.
In the meantime, PETA has increased our efforts to get other athletes on board to speak out against dogfighting. Houston Rockets forward Ron Artest, mixed martial arts fighter Tito Ortiz, and world welterweight champion "Sugar" Shane Mosley, who shot an anti-dogfighting ad for PETA this week, have all spoken out against this cruel and illegal blood sport.
Written by Shawna Flavell
Thanks for all of your wonderful comments on this Win It Wednesday. The winners of the vegan chocolate bars are Heather, Saucy, and Mary L. Congratulations!
Raise your hand if you're a junk-food junkie. Yeah, me too. Candy, chips, fried stuff—whatever your fix is, we're all in this together.
Luckily for those of us with a major sweet tooth, Go Max Go Foods has a brand-new line of chocolate bars that mimics some popular candies—but without all those unhealthy animal products, trans fats, and hydrogenated oils. But wait, it gets better: You could win a chance to taste-test them yourself!
How do you win? Leave us a comment about your favorite vegan junk food. Check out this list if you need help with ideas. Three winners will win a pack of all four candy bars from Go Max Go.
Written by Lianne Turner
Hunted and killed for entertainment, food, and even more absurd reasons, birds of all species don't have it easy. Well, it seems that, for one species at least, enough is enough, and they're out to level the playing field.
A new study has revealed that North American mockingbirds can distinguish one person from another and that they single out persistent intruders for retribution. Regular encroachment on their territory is met with screeching, dive-bombing, and sometimes even a swift graze across the heads of intruders.
All that just for getting a touch too close to their nests? Imagine what vengeance mockingbirds would cook up if we stuffed them into cramped, filthy cages and barns, like factory farmers do to chickens and turkeys.
Written by Shawna Flavell
The "duck man" is at it again. Last year, around this time, a news story about Washington banker Joel Armstrong, who caught ducklings as they leapt off an overhang, made the rounds on the Internet. This year, mama duck—dubbed "Amelia Duckheart" by bank staff—chose the same not-so-great place to hatch her brood, and Joel leapt into action again.
For a little over a month, Joel had been watching the nest, which is located on an overhang outside his office window.
Over the weekend, this year's brood hatched and found themselves in the same ugly situation as last year's—they were faced with having to jump from the dangerously high ledge down to the ground where their mother sat waiting.
Being an old hand at this, Joel was able to catch each duckling in mid-leap. He then escorted Amelia and her babies to the nearby Spokane River as a crowd of admiring bystanders cheered them on.
Talk about lucky ducks!
Written by Jennifer Cerlitsky
The bigwigs in Washington didn't approve our permit to set up a hog farm on the steps of the Capitol, but you'll still be seeing PETA in D.C. this summer. Starting yesterday, our Animal Liberation Project display is going to be a fixture on the National Mall all season long.
With the recent leak of alleged torture photos to media outlets, our Animal Liberation Project display—which makes the connection between the injustices that people have suffered throughout history and the abuse and exploitation that animals suffer every day—couldn't be more relevant. These newest images of abuse include those of a man covered in feces and another man hung upside-down.
The parallels definitely don't stop there. Check out these images from yesterday's unveiling of the display:
We're set up right across from the Natural History Museum, so if you'll be in D.C. this summer, be sure to stop by.
Interested in volunteering for the Animal Liberation Project in D.C.? Just leave a comment below and we'll be sure to get back to you.
Last night, J.T. Thomas, a 24-year-old cattle rancher from Mobile, Alabama, was unanimously voted the winner of reality show Survivor.
J.T.'s good looks, southern drawl, and sickeningly friendly disposition pegged him as the token "nice guy" this season—but it was always hard for me to figure out how much of his charm was real and how much was a sneaky trick to win $1 million.
After all, cattle ranching is directly connected to cruelty to animals, life-threatening diseases, and the destruction of the environment, so it's pretty obvious that any real "nice guy" would never make ends meet by exploiting cows.
J.T., now that you've got a chance at early retirement, how about letting the cows on your ranch retire as well? If you ditch the cattle farm and opt for a humane lifestyle, you'll prove that you truly are a nice guy. Plus, you'd definitely get my vote for PETA's 2010 Sexiest Vegetarian Next Door competition.
Written by Liz Graffeo
She had always dreamed of going on an African safari, but now that the time is here, Lily Allen feels like she could never take pictures of the animals because of the stalked feeling that she gets from the paparazzi in her own life. In two recent tweets, she wrote, "Safari is something I've always wanted to do. Don't think I'll sleep tonight," and then, "I already feel guilty about exploiting the animals with my camera, I've got a big long lenz, reminds me of some c***s I know."
Expletives aside, Lily's concerns show her sweet nature (her pooch is a rescue), and we're impressed with her sensitivity to animals. She did decide to go on a safari instead of to a zoo, after all. We're sure that Lily knows that zoos are nothing more than concrete jungles, where animals are held prisoner in tiny enclosures day in and day out, and that the animals resort to abnormal, repetitive behavior to alleviate the mind-numbing boredom of confinement. The animals are also stalked constantly by hordes of families, flashing cameras at the ready, all wanting to get a glimpse of the action. No wonder Lily empathizes with them.
PETA's naked "snakes" have been spotted recently on both coasts, drawing attention to the cruelty inflicted on scaly species who are killed for their skins. Not since Rebecca Romijn slinked around in painted-on scales as Mystique for the X-Men trilogy have people found reptiles so alluring.
Written by Karin Bennett
Yep, rats and mice are finally having their day. Saturday's Wall Street Journal (the second-largest paper in the country and the most respected) features a front-page article about the work of PETA and others to gain protection for rats and mice in laboratories.
Shockingly, even though rats and mice comprise more than 95 percent of the animals used in experiments, they are specifically excluded from the Animal Welfare Act (AWA), the only federal law that protects animals in laboratories. According to the U.S. government, in its infinite wisdom, rats and mice (as well as birds and "cold-blooded" animals) are not "animals." (It's nonsensical, we know.)
That's why PETA has been doing end-runs around the worthless AWA by going straight to the companies that are required to test their products and pointing out the benefits of using effective and humane alternatives. We also monitor the various government agencies' testing programs and object every time we learn about a proposed test on animals that is redundant or for which non-animal alternatives are available. By doing this, we have been able to get dozens of tests on animals stopped (or the number of animals used greatly reduced), which has saved tens of thousands of animals' lives.
We think it's about time that our elected officials thought about rats and mice, don't you? Send a message to your members of Congress demanding that rats and mice be treated like the sensitive animals (not vegetables or minerals) they are.
Written by Alisa Mullins
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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.