Written by PETA
You may want to start preparing some celebratory (non-animal tested) tea and (vegan) biscuits. The United Kingdom has taken a significant step toward ending tests of household products on animals. As a member of the E.U., Britain has already made it illegal to test cosmetics or their ingredients on animals, and now the government has made a commitment to ending household-product tests after consulting with companies, trade bodies, and animal protection organizations to come up with a working plan for ending the cruelty of animal testing.
In household-product tests, experimenters feed or inject animals with high doses of toxic chemicals or rub irritants into their skin. New testing methods will include laboratory-grown cultures and computer modeling.
British Home Office Minister Lynne Featherstone said, "We believe it is possible to sell household products without inflicting pain and suffering on animals, and it is unacceptable that testing in this area continues."
While experiments of household products on animals might not be banned in other countries yet, they can be banned in your home. Choosing cruelty-free products gets animals one step closer to freedom from the laboratory.
Written by Michelle Sherrow
Dozens of animals were rescued from a ramshackle farm in Arnsberg-Hüsten, Germany, after a whistleblower alerted PETA Germany that the animals were being kept in filthy, dilapidated sheds or were enclosed in broken wire fences—exposed to the elements, predators, and the beer-bottle-littered ground.
Upon investigation, staffers found 59 chickens, 34 rabbits, 25 ducks, and six geese, as well as the skins and heads of two dead rabbits and the carcasses of three dead and decaying animals, which were being eaten by rats. The whistleblower stated that the owner of the farm slaughtered animals and sold them to his neighbors.
PETA Germany staffers shot video footage, which they used to file a complaint with authorities, who ordered the farmer to surrender most of the animals. The church that owned the property also ordered the man out, and the city bulldozed the shacks. The man subsequently surrendered the rest of the animals, who were taken by PETA Germany and two other rescue groups and placed in sanctuaries. Not a bad weekend's work, PETA Germany!
Three … two … one … happy New Year! Today marks the beginning of the traditional Chinese New Year, and 2011 is the Year of the Rabbit. There are a lot of great ways to make a difference for rabbits this year. You can e-mail the bunny butcher herself, Donna Karan, and urge her to switch to faux fur. You can make a donation in any amount to PETA's anti-fur campaign to help us put an end to rabbits being killed for their fur. You can also encourage friends and family members not to buy rabbits on a whim (for the Chinese New Year, Easter, or anytime).
To celebrate the Year of the Rabbit, many people often purchase rabbits from breeders or pet shops. Sadly, most of these rabbits end up neglected, dumped at an animal shelter, or turned loose in the wild, where they have little chance to survive. According to the House Rabbit Society, rabbits have fragile skeletons that are prone to fractures, and they do not like to be carried or cuddled. Rabbits also need considerable exercise, not confinement, and they do not like noise. Educate yourself on the needs of rabbits before adopting one and please do not give them as gifts or give to a child. Anyone considering welcoming a rabbit into his or her home as a companion should adopt one from an animal shelter or rescue group—rather than supporting greedy breeders—and plan on making a 10-year commitment.
PETA is known for moving mountains, and the mountain known as the U.S. Department of Transportation has finally moved. In response to pressure from PETA and thousands of our supporters, the Department of Transportation (DOT) has just issued a new rule promoting the use of non-animal testing methods to replace the use of rabbits in cruel skin corrosion tests.
Almost 20 years ago—also in response to PETA pressure—the DOT approved the use of the non-animal Corrositex® tests to replace the use of rabbits in painful skin corrosion tests. (The DOT requires companies to test chemicals for corrosivity before they are transported.) But rather than promote the kinder test, the DOT required companies to jump through hoops to avoid the animal test and actually told some companies to conduct both the rabbit and the non-animal test and to use whichever results they preferred! All this, even though the agency acknowledged that Corrositex® results are more precise than the results of the rabbit test!
Now, thanks to a PETA rulemaking petition and all of you who spoke out against this cruel practice, the DOT will promote and encourage Corrositex® and other non-animal testing methods, thus saving the lives of countless rabbits.
Skin corrosion tests are a one-way street to pain and suffering and are as ghastly as they sound: Experimenters apply corrosive chemicals to the shaved backs of rabbits for up to two weeks before the animals are killed. The chemicals often cause severe burns, and the animals are given no pain relief.
And because the non-animal methods that use human skin models are more reliable than the rabbit tests, the DOT's new regulation will improve protections for humans as well, thus proving once again that good science and humane science do go hand in hand (or paw in paw, as the case may be).
P.S. While we're thrilled with this victory, we still need to pressure the DOT to update its website, so please stay tuned in case we need your help again!
Written by Jessica Sandler
For some reason, Donna Karan seems to think that it's a good idea to highlight the fact that the rabbit-fur collar on this coat is from China:
Yes, indeed, China—the land of melamine-tainted baby formula and corrosive drywall. It's practically synonymous with quality! Not to mention cruelty.
We think a better selling point is the fact that the collar is detachable, which means you can stop people from pointing and frowning and wondering what on Earth that poor little bunny ever did to you. Of course, they'll still wonder what you have against North African lambs …
Written by Alisa Mullins
Right on the heels of our first anti-fur protest of the season, a PETA member took the stage at the Women's Conference's Night at the Village event in California to publicly take designer Donna Karan to task. Karan's latest collections are made with real rabbit fur from China, so the protester made sure that the audience—which included Michelle Obama, Dr. Jill Biden, Maria Shriver, Oprah Winfrey, Caroline Kennedy, and Diane Sawyer—learned about footage that was recently taken at a Chinese fur farm. The footage revealed that conscious rabbits had their throats cut and their heads and paws cut off with knives before their skin was peeled off their bodies like a sweater.
The PETA member pleaded, "Donna, please dump fur!" before being escorted from the stage.
You, too, can help prevent animals from being killed for their skins. Fur-Free Friday demonstrations are being planned right now, so sign up to hold one in your area! And please contact Donna now and get everyone you know to do the same.
Written by Jennifer O'Connor
Every day, Emily, Amanda, Christina, Kelly, and Misty of PETA's Community Animal Project (CAP) respond to pleas to help abused and neglected animals in impoverished areas of southern Virginia and North Carolina. They're often a caller's last hope. Here are just three recent cases to give you an idea of their work:
By a fluke, PETA's CAP staffers happened upon Ridge while checking on other neglected, chained dogs in his neighborhood. The elderly dog was suffering from a severe skin condition, multiple tumors, arthritis, and seizures. Winter would have been pure hell for him. His guardian said that she was praying he would just die in his sleep. Ridge would almost certainly have frozen to death if one of his other illnesses didn't claim him first. Our staff convinced her that it was cruel not to take action, and she agreed to let the poor old fellow be put out of his misery after a wonderful meal and a lot of attention.
We learned about the plight of this little bunny, Ms. Bunkins, when her guardian called PETA to ask for assistance with neutering her cat (assistance that we readily provided). The bunny was kept confined to a tiny wire cage with another rabbit who was suffering from a severely deformed leg (and who was later euthanized). Neither rabbit had been spayed or neutered—their guardian didn't even know their sexes! Perhaps most dangerous of all, she was feeding the rabbits cat food.
PETA supplied Ms. Bunkins with fresh greens, hay, and a larger new enclosure, and we gave her guardian some important information about proper rabbit care. We also scheduled spay surgery.
Our relationship with Lady goes all the way back to when she was a puppy, chained up with her mother in a backyard. PETA's CAP staffers managed to get both mother and daughter spayed, and they recently returned to euthanize Lady's elderly mother after she had a stroke. Soon afterward, Lady's guardians called to say that they were worried Lady was lonely after the death of her mother. Thrilled that our efforts to educate the family were at last bearing fruit, we encouraged them to bring Lady inside and arranged for her to be bathed, groomed, and treated for fleas. Upon her return, Lady was taken inside the house for likely the very first time in her life.
Donna Karan is thumbing her nose at compassion by launching a clothing line that's dripping with dead rabbits. And so PETA's finest, armed with protest signs and toy bunnies, held a demonstration outside a political fundraiser that was being held in New York City yesterday. The fundraiser had been organized by both Karan and "fur-free and fabulous" first lady Michelle Obama. The animal defenders made sure that everyone within earshot learned that Donna Karan is a "Bunny Butcher."
There was a tremendous amount of interest in this anti-fur demonstration—the first of its kind in New York this fall. The protest was covered by Gothamist and NBC, and follow-up stories continue to emerge.
Written by Karin Bennett
After more than a decade of scientific research, negotiations, and lobbying by PETA, PETA U.K., and other groups, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has approved new, non-animal testing methods for measuring skin irritation. Now, across the world, rabbits will be spared as the standard way of testing for skin irritation is switched over to high-tech modern methods. This really is a global deal: The OECD produces binding safety testing guidelines for its more than 30 member nations—including the U.S.—and represents almost all of the world's largest economies. Many countries that aren't members also follow the OECD's guidelines.
Animal-friendly methods employ in vitro toxicity screening, "skin" grown in laboratories, and computer models. While non-animal methods have been recognized for some time as valid for testing corrosivity (whether something will permanently damage the skin), these are the first methods to be recognized as effective in measuring skin irritation, thus allowing for a complete assessment of skin effects without the use of animals.
The methods that have just been adopted by the OECD use reconstructed human skin models that successfully reproduce the effect of chemicals on human skin and allow reliable, accurate measurements of damage in a way that applying chemicals to the shaved, raw skin of rabbits can not. Besides the pain and distress caused to the rabbits who are used in such tests, evidence considered by the OECD also included the fact that animal tests do not accurately measure whether a substance is likely to be an irritant to human skin—in other words, these methods will be better at protecting us too.
We're particularly proud that PETA U.K. played an integral role in this process. Our affiliate financially supported the rigorous scientific testing of one of the non-animal methods that were just approved, and this helped to produce the scientific evidence that led the OECD to green-light the method. And on the U.S. side of things, PETA has given more than $850,000 over the past 10 years to the development and implementation of non-animal testing methods.
Thanks to this news, tens of thousands of rabbits a year will no longer suffer in these tests. And that should make us all feel pretty good.
Written by Shawna Flavell
Last Thursday, four rabbits in a Warwick Mall photo studio reportedly drowned in the floods that have been ravaging Rhode Island. Although the mall had been evacuated two days earlier, the bunnies—whom Portrait Simple studios was using as props for in-store Easter photos—were left behind in their cage on a "high shelf" in the studio. When employees returned to the studio two days later, they discovered that the cage had apparently fallen from its perch and that all the rabbits had drowned.
When PETA first heard about Portrait Simple's use of live rabbits for photos a few weeks ago, we contacted the studio and the store's director of operations told us that the rabbits were "well cared for, played with, coddled, and loved by our team members." Now, in the aftermath of these preventable deaths, we're asking the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to investigate and if appropriate revoke Portrait Simple's exhibitor license in order to ensure that a tragedy like this never happens at the studio again. You can help by contacting Portrait Simple and asking it to implement a "no animals" policy at its stores.
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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.