Written by PETA
In the latest installment of "Yeah, What PETA Said," the Jockey Club has released the findings of a study that concluded that horses used for racing are dying on U.S. and Canadian tracks at twice the rate—at least—of any other country, probably for the very reasons that PETA has stated (over and over again): drugs and dirt tracks.
Horses forced to race in the U.S. and Canada, where they commonly race on dirt tracks and where the use of many drugs that mask the pain of injuries is still legal, die at the rate of 2.04 per 1,000 starts (or races). By contrast, in England—where horses are raced less frequently and mainly on turf and where the use of performance-enhancing drugs is much more strictly regulated—horses die at a rate of 0.8 to 0.9 per 1,000 starts. In Victoria, Australia, the risk of fatality drops even further to 0.44 per 1,000 starts.
Running on dirt tracks is rough on every joint in a horse's body. It causes their leg bones, knees, and ankles to sustain significant trauma, but regardless of their injuries, these animals are often still forced to race when they should be recovering. They are pumped full of drugs that are used to mask the pain, which can lead to tragic, and oftentimes deadly, breakdowns on race tracks.
In California, where dirt tracks have been replaced by synthetic surfaces, the number of horses suffering catastrophic injuries during races has plummeted 40 percent.
So our question to the Jockey Club and the National Thoroughbred Racing Association is: What are you waiting for? Let's get busy adopting PETA's recommendations to make tracks safer already, shall we?
Written by Alisa Mullins
PETA recently received a call about more than 20 rabbits who were crowded into a junk-filled outdoor enclosure at the back entrance of a barbecue joint in Oregon. The restaurant's excuse for the cruel captivity? For the kids to play with, they said. But there was nothing kid- or rabbit-friendly about the squalid setup or the rabbits' garbage-scrap diet.
A concerned passerby reported the rabbits' precarious condition to PETA, and we acted quickly. After several visits from local officials, the restaurant agreed to surrender all the rabbits to a reputable local humane society that will find them loving indoor homes.
Animal abuse isn't always hidden, so keep your eyes peeled for animals in need and always speak up when you see cruelty.
Written by Logan Scherer
Think back to 1998, when Titanic spoofs were still topical and The Simpsons was only in its 10th season. Remember the Simpsons episode in which Homer discovers that Springfield's milk is supplied by a mafia-run underground rat-milking operation? Yeah, it was pretty nasty.
Fast-forward to 2009: Pharming, a Netherlands-based biotech firm, seems to be using The Simpsons as misguided inspiration for pharmaceutical development. Pharming has been running its own rabbit-milking operation for years. And now, with the recent announcement that Pharming has extracted a protein from rabbit milk for use in an experimental drug, Dutch farmers are prepared to start milking rabbits on a large scale.
This news may seem like it's from an alternate cartoon universe, but animal-exploiting companies like Pharming are constantly finding new ways to abuse female animals and their reproductive systems, sentencing millions of animals to confinement, misery, and death in the process. These profit-hungry businesses are willing to do anything to animals for money—no matter how much suffering it causes. Many people know that dairy farms forcibly impregnate cows over and over and rip their babies from them a day after they're born so that humans can drink their mothers' milk and the male calves can be sold for veal. Less attention is paid to the biotech companies that milk mice in order to extract a protein for human baby formula or genetically engineer goats to produce spider silk in their milk for use in parachute cords and bulletproof vests.
The easiest, fastest way to save lives is simply not to support companies that profit from cruelty to animals. Go vegan and shun any products that were tested on animals or that contain any animal ingredients. Remember that there is always a humane alternative.
Elizabeth Carlisle—the former Petland employee who drowned two rabbits in the backroom of a store in Akron, Ohio, and then posted a now-infamous photo of the animals on Facebook—recently pleaded guilty to two counts of cruelty to animals.
Carlisle's case caused a media storm and drew attention to the epidemic of animal abuse at pet stores across the country. Time after time, undercover investigations have revealed that Carlisle's shocking behavior is par for the course at places where animals are bred and sold. Although the Akron store has been closed, Petland continues to sell animals at its stores across the country, meaning that many more animals just like Carlisle's victims are at risk. Take action now and urge Petland to stop selling rabbits forever.
Recently, members of PETA Asia-Pacific and Animosa stripped down to their daisies and took to their coffins outside the Giorgio Armani store in Taipei.
In 2007, Armani vowed to stop using fur, but several months later, his collection was full of rabbit fur.
PETA Asia-Pacific wanted to remind the designer that the pelts, ripped from the bodies of rabbits who kick and scream before they are hung upside down and decapitated, are indeed fur—and that fur is dead.
Written by Karin Bennett
PETA Files readers were outraged by yesterday's story about an Akron, Ohio, Petland employee who allegedly drowned two rabbits in the store's back room. Our readers are not alone, and thanks to the overwhelming public outcry, the store where Elizabeth Carlisle was photographed holding two sopping-wet, dead rabbits by the scruff of the neck has been permanently closed.
In other good news, Elizabeth Carlisle has been charged with cruelty to animals and is scheduled to appear in court later this month. We have written to the authorities and are urging them to throw the book at her—hard.
While it's great that this particular hellhole has been shut down, Petland still has a lot of cleaning up to do. PETA receives many complaints alleging abuse and neglect of animals in Petland's stores. Here are just a few examples:
One person claiming to be a former Petland employee writes, "[I] used to work at a Petland … and [I] can totally relate to this picture … The stores … have puppies dying all the time, due to not having water and food. [T]he kennel techs are untrained and underpaid and they get back at the company by not taking care of the animals! … [A]ll Petlands should be shut down or the animals should all be taken away. [A]ll they care about is money, money, money!"
Another writes, "I used to work for Petland … I ended up being let go, because I refused to … [p]ut dying hamsters, parakeets, … kittens, [and] small puppies in plastic bags and put them in the freezer, and let [animals] breed rampantly. I also got in trouble for … wasting company money by cleaning animal cages that were out of customer sight …"
And yet another writes, "I opened the freezer once and there were frozen snakes in there. I asked what they were … They said they weren't paying the vet to treat [the animals], so they put them to sleep in there. Rats and mice, hamsters and gerbils, and other small critters were always committing cannibalism, because of lack of food, and not having enough space."
Petland is unable to monitor all its employees all the time, which means that other animals are bound to suffer as a result. We would like Petland to stop selling animals in all its stores, but if the company isn't willing to make that leap immediately, what it can do right now is stop selling rabbits in order to ensure that these small, vulnerable animals are spared death at the hands of people like Carlisle.
Update: The Petland store has closed, and the employee has been charged with cruelty to animals. Click here for details.
Warning: disturbing image.
This photo was taken in the back room of a Petland store in Akron, Ohio, and posted on Facebook by Elizabeth Carlisle, who can be seen grinning as she holds two dead, soaking-wet rabbits by the scruff of the neck—rabbits she just drowned while on Petland's time clock. On Carlisle's Facebook page, she confirmed a friend's guess that she had drowned these two rabbits and wrote, "[T]he manager took the pic for me. [S]he reminded me that there were people outside as [I] was swearing at them to just hurry up and die but then she was so kind as to take this picture."
These horrific deaths followed what was apparently an equally horrifying life for these rabbits. Other comments Carlisle posted made it clear that the rabbits were drowned after sustaining agonizing injuries when they were allowed to "attack and eat each other." The rabbits suffered from "deep wounds all over," "an eye missing," what Petland staff "suspected was a broken jaw," and paralysis from the waist down—injuries that would not have occurred had these animals been provided with proper care and supervision.
Undercover investigations have revealed time and time again that companies that breed and sell animals are concerned about profits, not animals' well-being. We are urging Petland to think long and hard about what this incident makes clear: The company has no business selling any animals.
To prevent future incidents like this one, please, never buy from pet stores and urge Petland at the very least to stop selling rabbits.
Click here to take action against Petland.
Written by Liz Graffeo
Did you hear that? It was the collective sigh of relief from raccoons, foxes, and minks—as well as human fur foes everywhere. It turns out that France's first lady and international style icon Carla Bruni-Sarkozy refuses to wear fur.
PETA Vice President Dan Mathews contacted Bruni-Sarkozy after seeing photos that showed her wearing what appeared to be real fur. She wrote back, "I do not wear, buy, or own fur …. Every designer who kindly lends me clothes for public appearances can tell you that I do not accept … fur pieces, even when they're only a small part of the outfit."
The first lady—who admitted to wearing fur during her modeling heyday—also made it clear that if the photos are recent, the fur is fake.
"By officially rejecting fur in the fashion capital of the world, this political and style idol will make people everywhere think about how old-fashioned and cruel it is," said Dan in a statement issued to the media.
With some free shoes from Stella McCartney, courtesy of PETA, on the way to Carla's doorstep, we're hoping she will swear off leather for good too.
As all you fashionistas out there are probably aware (and everybody else probably isn't), Giorgio Armani opened a boutique in New York City this week. Paris Hilton and Kanye West (the man who has an employee whose sole—pun intended—job is wrangling the rapper's 400-and-some-odd shoes) were thrilled. Bunnies on fur farms? Not so much.
Of course, we couldn't let Armani's little shindig go off without a hitch, so we sent a veritable brigade of bunnies to fight for their liberté and egalité. As you'll note in the photos below, they were an oddly cheerful bunch, even though they had to stand outside in the cold for upwards of four hours—until the last scrap of red carpet was rolled up. At that point, they lined up in formation and marched down the street waving their signs, followed by a contingent of photographers who must have thought they'd died and gone to Easter Bunny heaven.
I wonder—if 16 giant white bunnies show up on a Manhattan sidewalk, does that mean that spring is only a couple of weeks away …?
Written by Alisa Mullins
Our awesome friends over at PETA Europe have some exciting news! With their help and funding, new skin irritation tests that do not use animals have been successfully validated to replace the use of rabbits completely! This will save thousands of rabbits.
This wonderful news means that animals will not be used in the overwhelming majority of such tests in the future in Europe. The MatTek Corporation announced yesterday that the European Centre for the Validation of Alternative Methods' Scientific Advisory Committee (ESAC) has formally endorsed the scientific validity of the company's Modified EpiDerm Skin Irritation Test as well as L'Oreal's SkinEthic test. I know those are an awful lot of big, impressive words, but it basically means that the big men and women on campus are totally down with these new processes, which do not involve animal testing.
This will allow manufacturers worldwide to use these exciting new non-animal methods. It will also help manufacturers test cosmetic ingredients humanely, which is especially important because animal testing for skin irritation and most other purposes will be banned in Europe as of March 2009. Tens of thousands of rabbits have been used for skin irritation tests each year in the past, but we say, "No more!"
The validation of these tests is an important step in adopting cruelty-free scientific methods that are effective and humane, and PETA Europe should be so proud to have played a part in that. You can read more about this whole situation here.
On another totally not surprising—but totally awful—note, the U.S. still does not accept these tests. We are, of course, writing the new Secretary of Health and Human Services, Tom Daschle, to tell him to get the U.S. to stop stalling!
Written by Christine Doré
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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.