Written by PETA
You'd think that after a Connecticut woman's face was ripped off by her friend's "pet" chimpanzee—or after a toddler was strangled to death by her family's python and a 9-year-old girl was mauled to death by her stepfather's pet tiger—that lawmakers would step in and put an end to the carnage.
Well, they're about to, at least in Oregon: Starting in January, the state will no longer issue new permits for exotic animals—including big cats, nonhuman primates, crocodiles, and most bears—and existing permits will expire if the animal dies or is sold.
This is a good first step, but more needs to be done. Keeping tigers, reptiles, and bears in cages is like lighting a fuse and pretending that it won't go off. It's time for federal lawmakers to put a stop to it once and for all. Please contact our Action Team to request materials that can help you start a campaign to ban the keeping of exotic animals as "pets" in your area.
Written by Paula Moore
Say "Satan" and we immediately think of lunch, not lions. Oh, wait, that's "seitan." But Pastor Troy Gramling of the Flamingo Road Church recently used a big cat crammed in a tiny cage as a prop—and a weird metaphor for the devil—during a recent sermon.
During the past month, Gramling has also used a capuchin monkey to symbolize the financial "monkey on your back" and a 13-foot python as a metaphor for sinners. Wild animals don't belong on stages—or Gramling's shoulders (Hello?) One shudders to imagine what their lives are like off stage. They likely endure constant confinement and live in confusion and fear as a result of the sights, sounds, and smells of their unfamiliar and unnatural surroundings.
Gramling's use of wild animals to (somehow) symbolize human frailty is cruel and dangerous—and it undermines the steadfast belief held by caring Christians that all living beings deserve to be treated with compassion and respect. Urge Flamingo Road Church to can its "Wild" sermon series and enact a policy prohibiting any and all future uses of exotic animals.
Written by Karin Bennett
Classrooms are for students, not animals. This is the conclusion that Margaret Barthel, the head of the science department at Tampa, Florida's Freedom High School, has finally come to after an appearance in court this week resulted in Barthel's being punished for cruelty to the animals she kept in her classroom.
In Barthel's classroom at Freedom High, several class "pets" were abused and neglected: Nine gerbils died after they were deprived of food and water for more than two weeks, finches died of exposure, and a ball python froze to death. As a result of the cruelty citations, Barthel has relinquished her (still-living) ball python to Hillsborough County Animal Services, paid a $1,000 fine, donated $500 to animal services, and committed to keeping animals out of her classroom permanently.
We're hoping that in light of this incident, Freedom High School Principal Chris Farkas will heed our calls and prohibit the use of animals in all the school's classrooms. Please use this form to let him know that students can and do learn about responsibility, animal behavior, and hands-on science without keeping animals on display in classrooms.
Written by Liz Graffeo
From the category of "When Animals Fight Back!" comes a news story from Venezuela: A 29-year-old student zookeeper was strangled by a 10-foot python. It seems that the intern was working the nightshift and decided to mess around with the snake, who then bit him, suffocated him, and tried to eat him—a sensible interaction if you are a python.
Now, I'm certainly not saying that this guy deserved to be digested by a giant snake (although some might argue that taking a dangerous snake out without permission or supervision might earn him a nomination for a Darwin Award). What I am saying is that the killing of one human being by one snake in an isolated incident is instant news (just Google it for proof), but the killing of snakes by humans every day—to make Eva Longoria's gauche python handbag or Jessica Simpson's hideous tote—goes unnoticed.
And what's more, the python was just doing what pythons do, on instinct. He saw prey, so he went into his strangle-and-swallow routine. You can't possibly tell me that humans have a slaughter-and-make-into-purses instinct, can you? The python got beaten by the way, unlike Jessica Simpson, whom we just make fun of.
Let me hypothesize here. Maybe, just maybe, people are so fascinated by this kind of news story because they feel guilty for all the human-on-animal atrocities, and when something like this happens … well, maybe it's a sign that sometimes the tables are turned, and it scares us.
Do you get what we mean now when we say that "payback is hell"?
Written by Amanda Schinke
It's time for your WTF of the day, this one courtesy of Trinity Christian Academy in Jacksonville. Evidently, a biology teacher at the school invited students to attend an after-school session in which he fed a live rabbit to a student’s pet python. The teacher dangled the helpless animal in front of the snake and moved her from side to side to encourage the snake to attack. A video of the vicious little act was posted on YouTube, presumably so that other students around the country can be desensitized to animal suffering as well. You can check out some of the press coverage here, and we've written a letter to the school asking them to make humane education a priority at Trinity Christian Academy and enclosing a "Kindness Kit" (look, I didn't come up with the name, OK?) with some handy tips, educational videos, and information on how to teach kids to interact with animals—like not killing bunnies in the frickin' classroom, for a start. You can read that letter here.
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.
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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.