Written by PETA
As if overfishing, cruelty, and mercury poisoning weren't enough, here's yet another reason to leave fish off your plate: ciguatera poisoning. Apparently, one of the many unforeseen effects of climate change is the spread of ciguatera, a toxin produced by an organism that grows on coral reefs. Common in large, predatory fish such as snapper, grouper, and barracuda, ciguatera was once confined mostly to the Caribbean, but it has now spread to the waters off Florida, Texas, and the Carolinas and has become one of the most common causes of fish-related food poisoning in the U.S.
Along with the usual nasty symptoms of food poisoning—nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, fever, and diarrhea—ciguatera also causes bizarre neurological symptoms worthy of a House episode: numbness, tingling, needle-like pain in the hands and feet, a burning sensation in the mouth and throat, and sometimes an irregular heartbeat. Ciguatera probably won't kill you, but there is no effective treatment and the symptoms can persist for weeks, months, or even years. Call it "barrakarma."
Written by Alisa Mullins
What do you get when you cross a turtle with a swimming pool? Salmonella soup.
According to a recent news report, two Union County, North Carolina, teenagers contracted salmonella after taking a dip in a backyard pool with two "pet" turtles. Both suffered stomach cramps, bloody diarrhea, fever, and vomiting—one of the girls developed kidney failure and had to spend eight days in the hospital.
These girls are only two victims of the largest turtle-related salmonella outbreak in U.S history. More than 100 people in 34 states—most of them children—were sickened by the same strain of salmonella between 2007 and 2008.
Authorities believe that the outbreak may have occurred during the shipping process, when one infected turtle—who was probably being stored in an extremely crowded, cramped, and inadequate space before being mailed off to a pet shop or flea market—contaminated his buddies.
This outbreak isn't an isolated incident. The FDA reports that there are more than 74,000 "pet" turtle–related cases of human salmonella poisoning every year. And that's understandable when you consider how easily salmonella spreads. Simply by playing with turtles at school, kids can bring the germs home to family members.
Many of the parents of infected kids had no clue that turtles even carried salmonella. Um, hello—there's a reason why it's illegal to sell turtles with shells less than 4 inches long. After all, kids do the darndest things—like put baby turtles in their mouths …
So what have we learned? Let's see—don't buy turtles or other exotic animals, refrain from putting reptiles near or in your mouth, and never, ever invite turtles to your pool party.
Written by Amy Elizabeth
This week, PETA's cavorting cow has been urging people in cities across the U.S. to dump dairy from their diets with a not-so-subtle hint.
Why's this heifer in a huff?
Last week, PETA released undercover footage of cows who were kept on a Land O'Lakes supplier's factory farm in pens covered with feces. They were denied veterinary care and even kicked or stabbed with pocket knives when they were too weak to stand.
If dairy foods were deadly for your relatives, you'd want people to ditch it, too, right? Well, dairy foods have been linked to a slew of human health issues, including allergies, obesity, prostate cancer, heart disease, and autism.
Written by Heather Drennan
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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.