Written by PETA
As hard as it is to believe, animal shelters in some states—including Georgia and North Carolina—continue to kill unwanted animals in gas chambers, with all the accompanying horror that such an image conjures. Fortunately, legislation has been introduced in both states to ban these horrendous contraptions for good.
It can take anywhere from 20 to 45 minutes for animals to die in gas chambers. Oftentimes, they bark, meow, howl, whine, gasp for breath, fight to claw their way out of the chamber, vomit, convulse, and/or urinate and defecate in terror. Animals sometimes have to be gassed repeatedly before they die. Some animals—like Davie, the North Carolina bill's namesake—have been known to "wake up" later after being put in a freezer or dumped at a landfill.
To get a better idea of the horror that these animals go through, just look at these pictures of some of the gas chambers that are currently being used:
Linda Cordry, an animal control officer in Liberty County, Ga., has written in support of Georgia's bill. "I know from firsthand experience that the gas chamber is a barbaric piece of equipment," she says. "I can say without qualification that being killed in a gas chamber is terrifying for the animals and heartbreaking for the humans involved. It is the ultimate nightmare, and no horror film could even come close to depicting the experience."
Both Georgia's and North Carolina's laws would require that animal shelters use only intravenous injections of sodium pentobarbital to euthanize animals. This is key because, in addition to using gas chambers, some animal shelters in rural areas still shoot unwanted animals. No, I'm not making that up. I wish I were.
If you live in North Carolina, click here to find your representative so that you can speak up about this legislation. Time is of the essence—the Georgia bill will be killed if a Senate version isn't introduced by March 12, so if you live there, click here to find your representative's contact info. If you don't live in North Carolina or Georgia, you can leave a comment below in support of these new bills.
Written by Alisa Mullins
OK, it's official—we're wild about Wilmer. Feztastic on That 70s Show, unforgettable in Fast Food Nation, and smooth as hell as the dude in charge of doling out disses on MTV's Yo Momma, Wilmer's latest television role is his most heartfelt yet. He recently took the time to crack the whip on the circus industry in a brand-spankin'-new PSA for PETA. But that's just the tip of the iceberg—Wilmer also granted us the following for-PETA-Files-eyes-only exclusive interview:
Written by Amy Elizabeth
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner has to have a lot on his mind right now. With the Super Bowl right around the corner, he's gotta be fully focused on taking the Cards to their first "Big Dance." And stress? Not only is he feeling pressure to bring home some more Super Bowl bling, but his wife and kids are also pressuring him to bring home a dog.
According to a recent article, good ol' Kurt allegedly promised his family that they could get a dog if the Cards win the Super Bowl. While Warner doesn't seem quite ready to bow to their request for a new bow-wow yet, wife Brenda isn't backing down. And neither are we. Recently, our sports aficionado Dan Shannon penned a missive to Warner asking him to consider adopting a dog from an animal shelter.
"The Cardinals have been called an underdog all season, so I think you'll easily sympathize with the 'underdogs' staring out from the shelter kennels, longing for someone to take them home and love them," writes Dan in the letter.
Our advice to Kurt? Watch out for the blitz, don't get on Anquan Boldin's bad side, and avoid getting tackled by or tangled up in Polamalu's hair. And if you do win, skip Disneyland and take the kiddies to your local animal shelter instead. If you don't win, head to the shelter anyways. Nothing mends a broken heart like the love of a good mutt.
People often hear about PETA's "big" victories for animals—such as how Donna Karan dropped fur from her collections—but that's just the tip of the iceberg. For instance, as a result of pressure from PETA, government officials in Ohio agreed to cancel plans to poison the pigeons who had made their homes near the county courthouse. The original plan was to serve up feeders full of poisoned birdseed to the unsuspecting pigeons. Messed up, right? Good thing we stepped in, because—thanks to our efforts—they'll be researching more humane methods.
The poison would have sent birds into convulsions, made them disoriented, and caused them to suffer for hours before dying. Poison is indiscriminate—any bird could ingest it. And the dead birds' bodies would also have posed a hazard to other animals, including cats, dogs, and birds of prey, who might consume them.
Not only is poisoning pigeons cruel, it doesn't even accomplish the long-term goal of getting rid of the population. Pigeons naturally maintain their numbers depending on the amount of food and space available. If 100 pigeons were poisoned, the surviving pigeons would breed more quickly to replace the dead members of their flock, which means that the population would actually increase over time. Case in point: These same officials had tried poisoning the flock in the past, only to find themselves with even more feathered friends in the long run.
Nonlethal methods of resolving conflicts with pigeons, such as Bird Barrier, are not only kinder but also more effective. Everybody wins!
Written by Lianne Turner
After years of breeding dogs that end up sick and short-lived (as was brought to light in a special BBC documentary), U.K. breeders are scrambling to change the very breeding standards that they touted a minute ago.
Following the BBC's decision to drop Crufts, the UK equivalent of the Westminster Dog Show, The Kennel Club in the UK has announced new breeding standards for 209 different breeds in an attempt to make the dogs healthier. For example, bulldogs will now be taller, leaner, and have smaller faces. But guess what? I think that I have a much more obvious solution:
Stop breeding dogs!
Mutts are usually far healthier than "purebreds," and millions of these angels are being euthanized every year because so many people search for the "perfect" bred dog. Breedism is sicker than the dogs it creates, and it is directly responsible for robbing shelter dogs of their chances to find happy homes!
The kennel clubs need to stop trying to sweep their abysmal code under the rug and drop the whole concept of breeding standards. Just pack 'em up and move 'em out already. The man who said, "[A] lot of shelter dogs are mutts like me," is being sworn in on January 20, and everyone needs to swear by mutts from now on.
Written by Christine Doré
We recently reported that Vice President-elect Joe Biden and his wife bought a dog from a breeder instead of adopting one from an animal shelter. Fortunately, the moaning was loud enough for the Bidens to get the message, and our VP-elect says that he's getting a second dog, this one from an animal shelter.
PETA is sending Biden and his pups praise and presents in honor of this good news. We're delivering a basket containing soy pig ears; spay certificates, including free transportation to PETA's own mobile spay-and-neuter clinic; plastic popsicle pull toys; coupons that he can give the pup that are good for tummy rubs and long walks; and maybe even doggie beer. PETA is also promising to send a $500 gift bag of supplies and treats to the animal shelter that helps the Bidens save a homeless pooch.
PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk said the following about this good news: "Thanks go out to VP-elect Biden for raising the issue of the companion animal overpopulation crisis in this country, which is as bleak as our economy. Animal homelessness also requires urgent attention by cutting animal breeders off at the pass and bailing out animal shelters."
Written by Joel Bartlett
Marley & Me is coming out soon, and—even though it is decidedly mutt-free—we are nuts about this film's message.
OK, in case you don't know, Marley is based on the bestselling book by John Grogan and stars Owen Wilson as Grogan and Jennifer Aniston as his wife, Jenny. When they adopt Marley, an adorable but rambunctious (and growing) puppy, all heck breaks loose.
Now, anyone who has raised a puppy knows that it can be, uh, challenging (can I get an amen?), but Marley is in the big leagues—knocking over tables, shredding furniture, eating … well, I won't give too much away. But the cool—and right—thing is that John and Jenny deal with all the frustrations and stick to their commitment to Marley by providing lots of walks, playtime, and more.
And here's one of the best things about this: Grogan and the director as well as Fox 2000, the studio that is distributing the film, proved that Hollywood has a heart. More than a year ago, our L.A. office wrote to the folks at Fox 2000 asking if they'd tweak the story so that Marley was rescued from a rescue group or shelter instead of being bought from a breeder—and guess what? Yep, they did it! So, hopefully, anyone inspired to add a four-legged friend to the family will become part of the solution, instead of part of the problem, and will understand that life with a puppy comes with difficulties as well as delights. (These tips might help if you're living with a Marley of your own.)
So, let's see. Adorable stars of various species? Comic mishaps and tugged heartstrings? A story about love, understanding, and family bonding, just in time for the holidays, plus a great message about saving dogs and staying committed to them for their lives? I'm so there!
Written by Jeff Mackey
I was extremely disappointed to read that Vice President-elect Joe Biden and his wife bought a dog from a breeder instead of adopting one from an animal shelter. Obviously he or his wife blanked on Ingrid's letter, which asked him to consider adopting and explained, "Every year, U.S. animal shelters are forced to euthanize millions of wonderful, deserving dogs and cats because of the lack of good homes."
Ugh. I'm sorely upset about this—not to mention worried that his supporters will now all run out and get purebred German shepherds. I mean, not only is it really out of touch with dog issues to buy a dog from a breeder—or plain cold-hearted—it's such a bad idea that one New Mexico county has just banned selling dogs from pet stores altogether. At least some Americans know what's up. So what's with our future vice president?
If it weren't bad enough that Biden chose to buy from a breeder, we are now trying to confirm the accuracy of a report that was sent to us alleging that he bought his dog from a known puppy mill operator! An anti–puppy mill activist who claims to have firsthand knowledge of this particular breeder's operation writes, "When I was there, she had dogs living outside in [I]gloos and a large side building wrapped in blue plastic … the barking was deafening … her inspection report states approximately 100 breeding dogs … she sold more than 275 dogs in 2006 … it was a stupid move on Biden's part … a puppy mill, for sure." Wow, Biden—if this is true, you've left us speechless.
Well, we decided to remind Mr. Biden and his home state of Delaware that every time someone buys a dog from a breeder, a dog in an animal shelter is killed. We will be running the following PSA on every station we can in Delaware:
Mr. Biden may have let us down, but we're still pinning our hopes on President-elect Obama, who said, "[a] lot of shelter dogs are mutts like me."
"We have two criteria that have to be reconciled," President-elect Obama said of a "major issue" at his first press conference earlier today. And no, he wasn't talking about the economy or the U.S.' endeavors overseas—he was talking about the much-discussed dog that will soon join the Obama family!
Here's the deal: Malia Obama has allergies and while the President-elect Obama has stated that their "preference is to get a shelter dog," the Obamas aren't sure if they'll find that "hypo-allergenic" dog in a shelter; as President-elect Obama said today, "[a] lot of shelter dogs are mutts like me."
It's great to hear the President-elect speak so highly of mutts! But we understand that the Obamas' concern for Malia might lead them to seek out a specific breed known for possible "hypo-allergenic" qualities.
Fortunately, there's no reason why the Obamas—or anyone, for that matter—can't get the best of both worlds. There are many purebred dogs out there in animal shelters across the country—many of whom even have their own rescue groups! There are also many online resources such as PetFinder that allow the user to search for homeless animals by specific criteria, like location, breed, and even age.
Purebred dogs fall victim to the dog and cat overpopulation crisis just as mutts do, so there's no reason to make the situation worse by buying a puppy from a breeder. Purebred dogs can be found in animal shelters almost everywhere—you just have to know how to look!
PS Mutts are awesome!
Written by Amanda Schinke
It's a good day for mice and rats in the Republic of China (aka Taiwan)! Thanks to a whistleblower, PETA's Laboratory Investigations Department got a tip that led us into high-level talks with National Yang-Ming University's president about her school's cruel pharmacology experiments. And what do you know—the university has decided to end not one but two of these outdated tests in less than nine days and instead use humane non-animal alternatives!
Part of the first experiment called for students to pump the chemical strychnine into the stomachs of approximately 150 mice through surgically-attached stomach tubes. That's right, strychnine—and then the students were required to observe and record the animals' convulsions. The second experiment required the students to inject pentylenetetrazol, a convulsion-causing chemical, into approximately 135 mice. The students then had to inject acetic acid into the animals, which caused their bodies to contort painfully.
Now, both experiments have been canceled—and nearly 300 mice will be spared these terrible procedures every semester. The university will still conduct experiments on animals—including one cruel blood-pressure manipulation experiment in which students slice open animals' windpipes and blood vessels—but the university has also agreed to dramatically reduce the number of rats who are used in that experiment—to just one.
These victories come after PETA successfully convinced National Taiwan University College of Medicine to end similar experiments on animals earlier this year.
This is a great start for National Yang-Ming University and National Taiwan University College of Medicine, where school officials are beginning to realize that animal experimentation is not just unnecessary—it's inaccurate and completely inhumane.
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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.