Written by PETA
Ever wonder what
stops animal skins used for leather
shoes and handbags from decomposing into a stinky, slimy mess? The answer is chromium tanning,
which creates quite a mess of its own—including toxic wastewater and
contaminated soil. According to a new report that ranks tannery operations
fifth on a list of the world's worst toxic-pollution problems, chromium tanning
also puts millions of people at risk for serious health problems.
In addition to the
toxic tannery sludge, raising animals for food and leather
requires huge amounts of feed, land, water, and fossil fuels.
Because leather is a coproduct of the meat industry,
if you wear it, you're also supporting an industry that routinely crams animals
together in filthy conditions and sends them to slaughterhouses,
where their throats are cut while they're still conscious.
Many tanneries are
concentrated in South Asia, where cows are subjected to horrendous abuse.
PETA's investigation into the Indian leather
trade revealed that cows
are forced to walk for days without food or water on the way to slaughter. If
they collapse, drivers rub chili peppers into their eyes and break their tails
to get them up again.
To avoid contributing
to the cruelty and pollution of leather, clean the skeletons out of your closet
and check out PETA's shopping
to cruelty-free clothing.
by Heather Faraid Drennan
might make you blue, but red and white meat isn't green.
just as true halfway around the Earth as it is here. That's why these members
of PETA Asia-Pacific went earthy from head to
toe: to ask the folks in that part of the world to dump their Earth-wrecking
addictions to meat.
A leading contributor to climate change is the emission of greenhouse gasses such as carbon
dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide. Raising animals for food is one of the
largest sources of carbon-dioxide emissions and the single largest source of both methane and nitrous-oxide
emissions. We now use 30
percent of the Earth's land to raise animals for food. And the excrement-riddled
runoff from factory farms pollutes
our waterways more than all other industrial sources combined.
it's your turn. You know what I'm about to say: Go blue, go green, go vegan!
Written by Michelle Sherrow
The Pew Environment Group just released a report, "Big Chicken: Pollution and Industrial Poultry Production in America," explaining how manure from chicken farms in the "Broiler Belt"—the area extending from eastern Texas through the southeastern United States to Maryland and Delaware—is virtually choking the Chesapeake Bay. And I'll tell you, with these findings, it's the chicken industry that should be called "Pee-ew."
Chickens outnumber people by as much as 400 to one in the Broiler Belt, according to Pew. The more chickens you have, the more chicken manure you get. The 523 million chickens raised and killed each year in Maryland and Delaware alone generate enough waste to fill the dome of the U.S. Capitol about 50 times—or almost once a week.
Farmers typically spread chicken waste on open fields or cropland, but excess chicken poo—which contains excess like nitrogen and phosphorus—is flowing into the Chesapeake, polluting the water and killing aquatic life. A May 2010 Environmental Protection Agency report estimated that 19 percent of excess nitrogen and 26 percent of excess phosphorus were directly linked to animal manure. That's a lot of excess.
Pew suggests ways to regulate "big chicken" and other concentrated animal-feeding operations, and I won't argue. But the best way to protect the Chesapeake and chickens is to go vegan.
Written by Heather Moore
Major food service company Sodexo is joining the growing Meatless Monday campaign. The company plans to start delivering plant-based entrées to the 900 hospitals that it serves. And soon after that, it will begin offering meatless options at 2,000 corporations, 175 government offices, 650 college campuses, 500 school districts, and 150 private schools. If all of Sodexo's 10 million customers participate in Meatless Mondays, 520 million fewer meat-based meals will be eaten every year!
"This fits in so well with our Better Tomorrow Plan, which is all about promoting health and wellness, protecting and restoring the environment, and supporting local community development," says Nitu Gupta, vice president of brand management for Sodexo health care. "Meatless Monday is a simple thing we can all do …. Little changes in our behavior can have a profound effect."
Considering that runoff from factory farms pollutes our waterways more than all other industries combined, that half of all the water consumed in the U.S. is used to raise farmed animals, and that 16 pounds of grain are used to produce 1 pound of meat, the environmental impact of Sodexo's decision is profound indeed.
Thanks, Sodexo, for celebrating Earth Day every week!
Written by Michelle Sherrow
Potty-training factory-farmed animals in an effort to curb pollution? That's what Taiwan's Environmental Protection Administration is proposing. Last week, the government agency said that it wants to train free-range pigs to urinate and defecate in certain areas in order to prevent them from relieving themselves in (and thereby polluting) rivers and streams.
The problem is, the tremendous amount of waste produced by the 6 million pigs raised and killed annually in Taiwan still must be disposed of somehow. And this measure doesn't even begin to address pigs' carbon emissions. According to the United Nations, raising animals for food is a leading contributor to climate change.
Maybe the Taiwanese government should take the lead globally and say, "Enough is enough." The best way to curb waste and pollution and slow climate change is to say bye-bye to factory farms.
Written by Joseph Mayton
I have good news and, well, not-so-good news. The good news is that as a result of a lawsuit filed by environmental groups, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has agreed to pay closer attention to all the factory-farm manure that often spills into our waterways.
The not-so-good news is that the EPA plans to rely on factory farms to provide the data that the agency needs—every five years. The farms will be expected to disclose, among other things, information about their manure-storage facilities and how the "excess manure" is disposed of. In other words, the EPA is letting the fox guard the henhouse.
It's good that the EPA is doing something. But I have more faith in people like Goldman Environmental Prize–winner Lynn Henning, who gathers water samples and uses aerial photography to help hold factory farms accountable for mucking up our rivers and streams. Her efforts can really make a difference—and so can you by reminding people that farms cater to consumers. If there were no demand for flesh, eggs, or milk, then there would be no problem. So here's to a different kind of report: our success in encouraging people to help preserve America's waterways by going vegan.
Try passing out a copy of our vegetarian/vegan starter kit at your nearest stream!
Litter isn't just ugly and dirty—it kills. Artist Chris Jordan took a series of photographs of albatross chicks, and the photos are so surreal that I thought they were part of some strange pop-art installation meant to shock and disturb the viewer. The genuine shock, though, came when I found out that these are unaltered images of real birds.
Taken at Midway Atoll, a remote stretch of sand and coral near the middle of the North Pacific, the photographs depict corpses of albatross chicks whose parents mistakenly picked up plastic in the ocean thinking it was food. With bellies full of plastic, the chicks died from starvation, toxicity, and choking.
This isn't the first time that this tragedy has been documented. Wildlife filmmaker Rebecca Hosking used her film documentary about the Midway Atoll to get the very first ban on plastic bags enacted in Modbury, England, and her essay about it was published in Ingrid E. Newkirk's book, One Can Make a Difference.
Every year, this lethal diet of trash kills tens of thousands of albatross chicks on Midway, which is 2,000 miles from the nearest continent—proof that the empty lighters and fishing line that people carelessly discard on roadsides and beachfronts suffocates and poisons animals who inadvertently consume it. It takes only seconds for us to throw away our trash instead of littering and putting the lives of countless animals in danger. If you spot litter, pick it up, and if you catch someone littering, say something—you may literally be saving a life. It really is that easy to be kind.
Written by Logan Scherer
Oops, they did it again. Tyson Fresh Meats, a subsidiary of Tyson Foods, has been fined $2 million for pumping untreated animal waste (to the tune of 5 million gallons a day) into the Missouri River. The reason for the fine is that they agreed in 2002 to knock it off and, well, they didn't.
It's a given that cows on factory farms are forced to live most of their lives in feces-filled holding pens, and it was so nice of Tyson to share that crap with everyone who relies on the Missouri river for drinking and bathing water.
And if you think this is an isolated case, think again. In 2002, a Cargill-owned hog farm was fined $1 million for illegally dumping animal waste, and Smithfield Foods, the world's largest hog producer, has been fined $12.6 million for polluting the Pagan River, just to name a couple of examples.
Of course, water pollution is just one of the many ways that factory farming wreaks havoc on the environment. Don't even get us started on greenhouse-gas emissions, deforestation, and wasted fossil fuels.
Written by Alisa Mullins
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
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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.