Written by PETA
Listen up, ladies! You know how there's a never-ending list of female celebs willing to take it off to save animals, but sometimes men seem to be in short supply? Well, we're proposing that one more gentleman be added to the ranks of guys like Steve-O and David Cross, who have participated in our "Rather Go Naked Than Wear Fur" campaign: rapper and producer T.I.
Before T.I. reported to prison last week to serve his sentence for federal weapons charges, he sought some advice from PETA friend Martha Stewart on how to pass the time while incarcerated.
Well, if we don't just have the best idea ever.
Just after Martha was released from jail a few years ago, she narrated a public service announcement explaining the truth about the fur industry. So we've sent a letter to T.I. asking him to join Martha in the fight against the fur industry by posing for one of PETA's iconic ads after his release.
In the letter, we let T.I. know that we understand how he'll "[experience] firsthand what it is like for the millions of minks, rabbits, and other animals who are confined to filthy sheds on fur farms. But unlike inmates who are freed when they finish their sentences, these animals are beaten, have their necks broken, are electrocuted, and are often skinned alive for their fur."
Hopefully, T.I. will give it some thought and decide to show us his birthday suit after losing his orange jumpsuit.
Written by Lianne Turner
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
Getting shanked in the shower is definitely a worry, but biting into pus-filled poultry? That's cruel and unusual punishment. Just ask the three Vermont men who are seeking $100,000 in damages from ConAgra Foods after reportedly purchasing bad chicken from the prison store at Lee Adjustment Facility in Beattyville, Kentucky. The sickening saga began three years ago when the trio, who were serving their sentences in Kentucky because of overcrowding in Vermont jails, apparently bit into a batch of Banquet chicken filled with pus. Brown-bagging the rank, three-year-old meat to court to serve as exhibit A, one litigant described the diarrhea and weight loss (as well as the harassment by other inmates) that he says resulted from ingesting the foul fowl.
Pusitively gross, right? Well, take heed, because food poisoning caused by putrid poultry isn't confined to prison food. Animals raised for food are intensively confined on disease-ridden factory farms. By the time they reach the slaughterhouse, many are suffering from pneumonia and other chronic illnesses, and some have cancerous lesions or pus-filled wounds all over their bodies. Wait—it gets worse! Pus-coated bird bits often go into a mixture called a "binder," which is used in chicken nuggets, patties, and "buffalo" wings.
And while eating contaminated meat is downright disgusting and dangerous, the real victims here are the chickens who are being knocked off to make these noxious nuggets. I say prisons should pardon chickens and all animals from their menus.
Written by Amy Elizabeth
By now, you might have heard about Timothy Wayne Shepherd, the 28-year-old man who confessed last year to killing his ex-girlfriend and who is also charged with dismembering and barbecuing her—no, really.
While this story is shocking and terrible, it sounds awfully familiar. Oh, that's right! Last week on the PETA Files, we posted an entry all about barbecuing humans! It was a demonstration to get people to wake up and "meet their meat." In our demo, a woman had her body painted like charred flesh and lay on a mock grill while passersby gawked—forced to make the connection that those tightly wrapped, clean-looking meat packages in the grocery store once were living, breathing beings who felt pain when they were slaughtered.
In our case, the demo was thought-provoking and symbolic (flesh is flesh). In Timothy's case … it might have been a bit too real.
We're writing to the prison where Shepherd is being held. If he is convicted of the murder, he will receive a sentence presumably intended to prevent him from taking any more lives. Well, we certainly agree with this sentiment—and that's why we're asking Shepherd's jailers to stop the cycle of senseless killing by putting him on an all-vegetarian diet. We can never bring back the young woman who was the victim of Shepherd's crime, but we can try to prevent him from causing any more painful deaths.
Written by Amanda Schinke
"To see all those poor souls forced to live in confined living quarters, with little to no sunlight, and no hope of freedom, it's just so inhumane," San Diego housewife Carol Wurster said. "Those otters deserve better."
A little while back, we wrote to the county jail holding alleged cannibal Christopher Lee McCuin, asking that they put him on a flesh-free diet ASAP—since, apart from anything else, there really is something horribly perverse about feeding the guy body parts given the circumstances surrounding his arrest. We received a prompt response to our letter from one Sheriff J.B. Smith, who pointed out (very reasonably) that intentionally altering McCuin’s meals without changing all the other inmate’s meals might be viewed as prejudicial treatment, and asked if we could provide some documentation to support our statement that vegetarian meals promote nonviolence in correction facilities.
Our follow-up letter, which was faxed to the sheriff’s office today, does exactly that. Complete with references to Pythagoras, Albert Einstein, and Tolstoy, along with some information about trial programs at correctional facilities that have given all the inmates vegetarian food, it makes for a pretty good read. Here it is in full.
Update: You can watch the Today Show segment about this investigation here.
As you may have noticed from the front page of our site, PETA released the details today of a major investigation into a PetSmart supplier in Texas. You can learn more about that investigation on our brand-new PetSmart Campaign website. The whole thing is pretty disturbing, but the footage depicting the treatment of a baby Goffin’s cockatoo named Angel is utterly devastating. From the beginning of Angel’s “life,” which was spent in solitary confinement, until an agonizing death after four months wasting away from an untreated disease, Angel’s experience was characterized solely by suffering. It’s difficult to watch, but this video should be mandatory viewing for anyone who has ever considered buying a bird from a pet store.
You can contact PetSmart and ask them to immediately end all animal sales through the web form here.
When we announced our top 10 vegetarian-friendly ballparks, part of the idea was to encourage more people to check out a game or two at those stadiums and sample their vegetarian fare. Same sort of deal with our top 10 colleges—one effect of publicizing their veg-friendly cafeterias was that more people would want to go there. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that if this latest top 10 list gets you all amped about the prospect of going to one of these prisons, you may want to set some slightly more ambitious goals for yourself … but for the people who—through bad luck or poor planning—are on their way there, this will come as some very good news.
We get calls all the time from inmates who want to make a positive change in their lives by going vegetarian, and in the course of responding to these individuals, we’ve assembled the following list of the top 10 vegetarian-friendly prisons in the United States as a tidbit for curious citizens, a resource for prisoners’ rights groups, and, well, a menu for future inmates. Whichever category you fall into, I hope you enjoy it.
Click here to read Newsweek’s coverage of the story, and check out the top 10 below:
Hundreds of PETA members and other concerned citizens gathered outside the Michael Vick hearing in Richmond today to ask that the court send a message to any dogfighters that this horrific blood sport will not be tolerated, and that its practitioners will be penalized to the fullest extent of the law. The latest news is that Michael Vick has been sentenced to 23 months in prison, which is almost twice the amount initially recommended by prosecutors. We’re still waiting to hear for certain whether he has received a ban on contact with animals, which is an essential provision in any cruelty case, given the high likelihood of repeat offenses where animal abuse is concerned.
Vick will be facing state charges following his federal sentencing, and we’re calling on State Prosecutor Gerald Poindexter to consider this case with the same seriousness that has been applied to his federal sentencing—i.e., to make sure this admitted animal torturer is made to answer in full for the crimes he has committed. I’ll post updates with any breaking news as this case develops, but in the meantime, you can write to Mr. Poindexter through this page to remind him that vigorous prosecution is essential in cruelty cases like this one in order to prevent repeat offenses and to deter others from committing similar crimes.
Given the high-profile nature of this case, the statement made today and at the state proceeding will have a far-reaching effect on prosecution of dogfighters for years to come, and we need to ensure that Mr. Poindexter follows in the footsteps of the federal authorities and demonstrates for the countless people following this case that Virginia will not tolerate cruelty to animals.
That’s right, it’s time for another arbitrary assortment of at least tangentially animal-related links that I’m too lazy to write a full post about. Actually, that doesn’t sound very appealing at all. Ladies and gentlemen, a very warm welcome to this week’s Internet Soup—a wild and wacky collection of the latest animal rights news, videos, and photos painstakingly researched by everybody’s favorite PETA blogger* and served up piping hot with a pithy little introduction that’s guaranteed to tantalize and amuse! Here we go:
Hopefully that’ll be enough to tide you over through the weekend, and if you’re in the mood for something a little more arcane, you can always check out my fictional blog—a little slice of the 17th century that my closest friends have described as “completely unreadable.”
And finally, we’re going to be doing a bit of maintenance on the ol’ blog this weekend, so the comments may be down for a little while, but everything will be up and running by Monday. Have a good weekend!
*That’s right, Amy and Karen. I said it.
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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.