Written by PETA
We are so pleased to report that—thanks to your hard work—two important ballot initiatives passed yesterday, making history for animals. California voters approved Proposition 2 by a large majority, which will ban some of the worst cruelty to animals who are raised for food in that state: keeping egg-laying chickens in battery cages so small that they can't spread their wings, keeping veal calves in crates for their entire miserable short lives, and keeping pregnant pigs in crates that are so small that they can't take a step forward or backward or turn around. Animals on farms in California will be given these basic necessities by 2015, but we will continue to spread the message that the best thing that people can do to help animals is stop eating them altogether.
On the other side of the country, Question 3 passed, which will ban greyhound racing in the state of Massachusetts by 2010. Dogs who are used for racing typically spend 20 hours per day confined to cages measuring only 32 in. by 42 in. by 34 in. Many of the dogs can't even stand completely upright. The animals are also highly susceptible to injuries, including fractures, dislocations, lacerations, and amputations. And because they're no longer of use to the industry after they are injured, injured dogs are often simply killed.
The impact of both of these important initiatives is tremendous for the millions of animals whose lives will be affected by them. Our heartfelt thanks go out to each and every one of you who worked toward their passage. We really are making a difference.
Written by Joel Bartlett
You know how we always say that chickens are the most abused animals on the planet? Well, watch this horrific video and you'll see why. A new investigation by our friends at Mercy for Animals has once again exposed the cruelty behind the egg industry. Undercover footage taken at one of the largest egg farms in California documented that workers were swinging chickens around by their necks in a heartless attempt to kill them. Chickens were crammed into filthy wire battery cages so small that they could barely move. Left to suffer with untreated injuries, infections, and open wounds, the chickens were forced to live side-by-side with the decomposing bodies of their cagemates for weeks on end.
Every time animal advocates investigate egg factory farms, they expose horrific cruelty just like this. Fortunately, there are a couple of things that we can do about it. First of all, ditch the eggs from your diet (if you haven't done so already). If you don't buy eggs, no one has to suffer to make them, right? Secondly, you can help banish battery cages in California. This November, Californians will have the opportunity to pass Proposition 2, which would require that farmed animals be given enough room to stand up, turn around, lie down, and extend their limbs. If you live in California, please vote YES on Proposition 2 and encourage your friends and family members to do the same.
Even if you're not living in Cali, you can still help. Click here for more information about how you can support this historic ballot initiative.
Written by Amy Elizabeth
Well, life sentence, maybe. Richard Cooey, a 267-pound inmate on death row in Ohio, claims he's just too big to die, dang it. Cooey says he deserves a second stay of execution, this time arguing that his size and small veins will render the paralytic—part of the lethal-injection drug cocktail—only partially effective, causing him unnecessary suffering. Since Cooey is claiming that he's gained so much weight because of all the fattening prison food, we think the obvious move is to switch to a slimming, healthy vegetarian diet to avoid similar predicaments in the future. We went ahead and asked the prison to do just that.
Serving vegetarian meals would not only save money on inmate health costs, it would also prevent murderers and criminals from being involved in more senseless killing. There has even been evidence to suggest that serving inmates vegetarian meals helps reduce prison violence. Now this is just a win-win situation for everybody!
Whether you're pro– or anti–death penalty, don't we all agree that innocent creatures don't deserve to die at the hands of another? (Hmm … maybe we don't, but we should!) Now, I don't know if our pal Richard Cooey will opt for a vegetarian last meal, but I do know that we can help stay the execution of the millions of innocent animals who are currently on death row—condemned to dinner plates and hideous clothing.
Well, in the end, the courts have ruled that Cooey is full of hooey. He's next up to be executed by the state of Ohio on October 14, but you can help end unnecessary suffering just by making different meal choices!
You can read our letter to the warden here.
Written by Missy Lane
We're not the only ones who are severely frustrated about Giorgio Armani's failure to keep his word and remain fur-free! Sir Paul McCartney—pictured here with Giorgio at one of Stella McCartney's fashion shows—is the latest to respond to PETA's action alert.
Sir Paul is adding his voice to a chorus of celebrities who are upset over Armani's penchant for rabbit pelts—celebrities such as the Andersons (Gillian and Pamela, no relation). These lovely ladies kicked off PETA's "Get Armani off Fur" campaign—Pam hosted a PETA launch event during Fashion Week in Italy, and Gillian narrated PETA's horrific rabbit fur farm exposé.
We hope that Sir Paul, Gillian, and Pam won't be the only famous voices to speak up against Armani's fur fixation. PETA Vice President Dan Mathews has written to many Armani-wearing stars, including Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, Glenn Close, and Cate Blanchett, urging them to use their influence with the designer to get him to keep his fur-free pledge.
Oh yeah, and one other thing Dan did—remember that "Pinocchio Armani" ad? Well, Dan unveiled the new posters outside Armani's flagship store in Milan this week. Here he is with a local activist there—check out those giant rabbits!
Those big bunnies are just two blocks from Armani's store—I guess they'll be keeping an eye on him … and so will we! Stay tuned for more Armani news—and don't forget to take action!
Written by Amanda Schinke
With any luck, New Yorkers will soon be munching on vegan eats from VegiTerranean—the Akron, Ohio–based restaurant owned by Chrissie Hynde. As a ruthless advocate for animals and PETA's long-time pal, Chrissie has chosen Freedom Tower as the perfect location for her deliciously indulgent and 100 percent cruelty-free restaurant.
When this memorial tower is complete, it will serve as a monument to the thousands of innocent individuals who lost their lives, sustained serious injuries, or had their lives changed forever on September 11, 2001. We think that there would be no better place to host an eatery that is opposed to the unnecessary cruelty and violence that goes into every hamburger, fish stick, or chicken dinner.
Like the innocent people who were attacked on that horrific day, animals who are confined to to tiny crates, cages, and stalls have no control over their surroundings. They're terrified by the sights they see and the sounds they hear from other suffering animals. They're prodded and hung upside down, and their throats are cut—all while they remain conscious. They have no way out.
Actress Alyssa Milano instantly made the connection between burning human flesh and the flesh of animals who we season, roast, and feed to our families. She ultimately made the decision to kick meat from her diet after a friend told her the smell of burning flesh on 9/11 reminder her of a barbecue. In an interview with peta2, Alyssa said, "The world has so much suffering in it already—choosing to be vegetarian is one thing you can do to reduce the suffering on a daily basis."
If Freedom Tower becomes the new home-away-from-home for VegiTerranean, I'll definitely be making the drive up there. But even if you live across the country and can't make it to New York, there are dozens upon dozens of inexpensive, cruelty-free meals that can easily be prepared right in your own kitchen.
Written by Jennifer Cierlitsky
PETA France got extra lucky when they snagged hot singer Eve Angeli to pose for their newest anti-fur ad. However, this beauty really took it to the next level when she posed alongside a skinned fox and the tagline "This Is the Rest of Your Fur Coat." She really wants the world to see just how gruesome the fur trade can be, and for that we adore her.
Another reason we love Eve is that she's so dedicated. This is not the first time she has signed up to help animals on fur farms. She once stripped down to tell the world she'd "rather go naked than wear fur." She's even done a nude calendar to help animals on fur farms!
Eve became an avid supporter of this cause years ago after she saw pictures of animals on fur farms. In an interview with PETA France, she said, "I saw pictures that traumatized me—at least they shocked me for real. We become aware of the agony of those animals abused on fur farms in confined cages."
If you haven't yet, you should definitely pledge to be fur-free, or as Eve might say in French: Je m'engage à NE PAS PORTER DE FOURRURE.
Written by Christine Doré
She may have a funny name, but she's no classroom cut-up. Just in time for Cut Out Dissection Month (October), PETA intern Jennifer Thornburg has officially changed her name to CutOut Dissection.com. Latin for "compassionate frog lover" (I might have made that up), CutOut Dissection.com is on a mission to cut dissection out of school curriculums.
Why is Ms. Dissection.com hopping mad about dissection? Any way you slice it, dissection is cruelty in the classroom. Millions of frogs, cats, dogs, pigs, worms, mice, rats, rabbits, and fish are killed each year for student dissections. Breeding facilities that supply animals to schools rip animals from their natural homes, and some even use stolen or abandoned animal companions. PETA went undercover at one such supply house and caught employees embalming cats and rats while they were still alive!
Animals deserve to be left in peace, not pieces. CutOut Dissection.com couldn't agree more. Read our interview with this dedicated activist to get the lowdown on her name change and much more.
PETA: What made you decide to change your name?
CutOut Dissection.com: I changed my name in order to raise awareness about the 6 million animals who are killed and processed for dissection each year. These animals suffer painful deaths and their bodies are then used in labs, when computer stimulations, diagrams, or 3D models could be used instead. Cutting up animals in school sends the message to students that an animal's life is worthless. I don't think that's a message teachers should be sending. With so many cheaper, more educational, and humane ways to learn, there is no reason for students to be dissecting in high schools today. I hope to raise awareness on this subject, and to cause teachers and students to say "No" to dissection and "Yes" to alternative ways to learn anatomy.
PETA: Did you dissect in high school?
CutOut Dissection.com: In middle school I dissected a chicken. I wasn't into the idea of dissecting an animal, but when I asked my teacher for an alternative, he said that I could only have it if I went vegetarian for the two weeks leading up to the dissection. I thought that was crazy at the time, so I went through with the project. Looking back, I can't remember much from the actual dissection; I know now that using an alternative would have been much more educational, and I also know that it's definitely not crazy to be a vegetarian too.
PETA: What do people call you now?
CutOutDissection.com: My fellow interns call me CutOut, but my family still calls me Jenny. My favorite thing to do is to introduce myself to people as CutOut Dissection.com, which always raises a few questions. This gives me a chance to explain a few facts about dissection—such as how cats are sometimes pumped with formaldehyde while they're still conscious.
PETA: What have people's reactions been to your name?
CutOut Dissection.com: CutOut is one of those names that you have to say three times, spell out, and use in a sentence before people process it. Once people get my name down, they normally want to know why I changed it. This gives me a chance to tell them about the estimated 6 million animals used in high school dissection labs throughout the United States every year. Once people learn how the animals are gassed, pumped with formaldehyde, drowned or otherwise inhumanely killed for dissection, they are shocked and want to know what they can do to help.
PETA: You're obviously very passionate about educating people about dissection. Why is that?
CutOut Dissection.com: Two years ago, I was an active peta2 Street Team member. I was trying to rake up some points to trade in for a shirt, and I got an e-mail saying that anything that I did relating to dissection during the month of October would be worth double the points. Because of this, I decided to work on getting a dissection-choice policy passed at my high school. When I started to research policies and why dissection is bad for the school, students, and animals, it became an obsession of mine. My senior exit project and my junior year were both dedicated to getting a dissection-choice policy passed at my high school. I was shocked when I read about how much more educational the alternatives to dissection can be, how much money they can save for the school, and how many lives could be spared. It's shocking to me that schools still use dissection as a part of their science lessons when there are so many humane and equally educational alternatives out there that will also save schools money.
PETA: I know you got the policy passed at your school. Congrats! How excited were you?
CutOut Dissection.com: I was super-excited, to say the very least!
PETA: I can imagine. What did the DMV say when you got your new license?
CutOut Dissection.com: It took me two tries to get my license. On the second try, the DMV worker looked very amused and confused, but also looked like she was afraid to ask for an explanation. When she finally did ask about it, I had a good conversation with her, explaining that CutOutDissection.com is a real Web site and then explaining why I'm against dissection. She seemed repulsed by the thought of animals being drowned, pumped full of formaldehyde, and gassed as a way of death. She also looked shocked when I told her that it affects 6 million animals per year. When she called over another worker to be a witness to my paperwork, the other worker grinned and said, "Oh, I remember her!" (It happened to be the worker I had talked to on my first attempt to get my license). Overall, it was a great opportunity to start a conversation about alternatives to dissection!
Whether you are a student, parent, teacher, or concerned taxpayer, you can act to end dissection in your town's school system. Visit CutOutDissection.com (the Web site, not the person) for tips on what to do and help getting started.
A distressed female becomes pregnant—but she's still a virgin! Grave danger ensues!
But no. I'm not talking about events in that Little Town of Bethlehem, circa 1 A.D. This happened just last year in Virginia Beach, practically next door to PETA's Norfolk HQ.
In a study reported today, DNA testing confirmed that the embryo carried by Tidbit, a blacktip shark held captive at the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center, contained no genetic material from a male. That's right—a virgin conception, in our day and age. Holy mother of God … er … I mean … Holy Tidbit!
But wait, that's not all. Tidbit's pregnancy was only discovered when she died after being sedated for her annual health checkup—so there was no virgin birth, only an immaculate conception. The scientists who confirmed the nature of the pregnancy say that Tidbit's pup would almost certainly have been eaten by bigger sharks in the same tank.
Now, those of you who frequent our site know that we're not fans of aquariums and marine mammal prisons … uh, parks. But the above story pretty much says it all. These facilities claim to be helping and preserving marine animals, but they can't even protect a newborn—or the adults, for that matter. In the end, perhaps Tidbit was the fortunate one. At least she no longer has to deal with the daily boredom and stress of her unnatural environment.
Ya know, when we first moved our headquarters to Norfolk, we ran a campaign against this particular aquarium because of its severely inadequate dolphin tanks (among other things). And it always just really frustrated me to know that there were these marine animals locked in a tank right across from the ocean.
Now the Jesus shark comes to this very aquarium and is dead before arrival. The irony is not lost on me!
Written by Jeff Mackey
So, last month we sent off a letter to Ben & Jerry's to urge the ice cream giant to drop cow's milk from its menu and start churning out recipes that use the only milk intended for human consumption—breast milk. It's a pretty simple concept to grasp. I mean, you don't see doctors taking newborn babes from their mothers' arms and suckling them up to a cow in a "drinking room" next to the infants ward. C'mon! That's absurd. Really.
Our letter to the company has garnered so much attention—and by that I mean impossible-to-walk-down-the-street-without-someone-asking-questions sort of attention—that stories about breast milk have been popping up everywhere! Not that we like to brag—OK, we love it!—but I do think our buxom beaut of an idea got the ball rolling.
Whether it's Angelina Jolie breast-feeding for a W magazine cover, the illegal duplication of breastfeeding pictures of Jamie Lynn Spears (which has prompted a federal pornography investigation), or—my personal favorite—the guy-next-door who sells his wife's breast milk for money (these are hard times, folks), stories about breast milk are spreading through the newspapers like a wildfire!
Of course, one of our favorite writings about breast milk appears in PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk's newest book, One Can Make a Difference. Check it out: An entire chapter in the book focuses on how human breast milk is better for babies than cow's milk is: A pediatrician in India in the 80s found that if she urged people to switch from formula and animal's milk to human breast milk (she even started a human-breast-milk bank!), she could reduce incidences of diarrhea—which were leading to deaths! Deadly diarrhea—do you really think that does a body good? Neither do we.
Written by Jennifer Cierlitsky
Aw, McDonald's—it's having a pretty rough week! First, a McDonald's in Liverpool decided to "acknowledge the outstanding contribution the Beatles made to both local and global culture" by using photographs of the band to decorate its walls. Our beloved Sir Paul McCartney, like me (great minds and all …), thought McDonald's might really just have wanted to use the Beatles to sell hamburgers, and he wasn't buying it. Having been an outspoken vegetarian for 30 years, he's calling for a worldwide boycott of McDonald's.
Then, while Sir Paul was urging everyone to avoid McDonald's all-flesh patties, Venezuela simply removed the option altogether. That's right—according to news reports, the nation shut down all 115 McDonald's branches for a full 48 hours as punishment for "alleged tax irregularities." Must've been pretty irregular (no jokes about what eating the McD diet will do to you, please)!
But then on Wednesday—and I almost can't believe this—a TMZ reporter went into an L.A. McDonald's and ordered a Happy Meal (why, oh why?)—and when she got her order, the box advertised an electronic "Michael Vick football" game. Nothing says "great for kids" quite like that, right?
As for the McDonald's folks, it was a big "whoops" from them—the Happy Meal box was from 2004, and, McDonald's says, "does not reflect any current partnership with Michael Vick."
But, as PETA Vice President Bruce Friedrich says, "Given that McDonald's lets its suppliers cram animals into metal cages and crates and boil chickens alive, it's sad, but it doesn't shock us. At this point, even Michael Vick himself would probably prefer this particular Happy Meal to be a happy memory."
So, too bad, so sad for McDonald's and the issues it's facing this week—although, considering what it does to animals, I'm not convinced that it deserves a break today.
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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.