Written by PETA
PETA's recent undercover investigation of the largest slaughterhouse in Uruguay exposed that the facility was using the primitive and cruel "shackle and hoist" method for kosher slaughter.
This slaughterhouse is the largest foreign supplier of kosher meat to the U.S. and a major kosher meat exporter to Israel. Thanks to the PETA investigation, the Chief Rabbinate of Israel has just announced that by 2011 it will no longer certify meat as kosher if it's from a slaughterhouse that use "shackle and hoist"—that's about 80 percent of the meat imported into Israel, so we're not talking small potatoes!
This is a great step. Of course, the only way to know for sure that you are not supporting slaughterhouse cruelty is to go vegan. Plant-based foods are naturally kosher, and a vegan diet is in keeping with Jewish laws mandating that animals be treated with compassion and respect.
Written by Heather Moore
PETA Files readers already know that few "retired" racehorses live out the remainder of their days frolicking in rolling green pastures. Now, Washington Post readers know it, too, thanks to a great article that was published over Memorial Day weekend.
The article describes one of the many ugly sides of the horse-racing industry—the fact that with approximately 35,000 thoroughbreds born in the U.S. every year, there are thousands of horses who don't have quite enough speed and stamina to be champions. What becomes of these also-rans? Most are eventually sold at auction, where many are bought by "killer buyers."
While no horse slaughterhouses are currently operating in the U.S., horses are still being shipped to slaughterhouses in Canada and Mexico. Some retired racehorses—even Derby champs like Ferdinand and Charismatic—also wind up in Japan, where they may initially be used for breeding. But when they stop being moneymakers, they, too, may be slaughtered, as a PETA investigation at a Japanese slaughterhouse last year revealed.
You can help by contacting your U.S. representatives and asking them to sponsor the Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act, which would make it illegal to slaughter horses for consumption in the U.S. or to export them for slaughter.
Written by Alisa Mullins
The recent theft of bleachers from Chicago's Orr High School has left students without seating and robbed them of their school spirit. "It felt good to be out there beating on the drum, rooting the team on. All the people from the community coming to support us and everything. And now you wake up and all the seats are gone," said one student.
Well, PETA has just the thing to raise morale at Orr High and the community's awareness of the suffering that's endured by chickens who are killed for McNuggets. We're offering the school $5,000 and a veggie-burger lunch in exchange for placing this McCruelty ad on its new bleachers:
If there's one thing rivaling teams and fans can agree on, it's that scalding chickens in defeathering tanks is a real fumble. By spreading the message that McDonald's needs to push its suppliers to adopt controlled-atmosphere killing (CAK)—a less cruel method of slaughtering chickens—Orr High could rally for chickens every day of the week.
Written by Logan Scherer
David Luciano—winner of the Toronto Film School's Best Director Award—turns the tables on humans in "Dirty Pig," a new short film that's sure to result in lots of forsaken bacon:
The scariest part of "Dirty Pig"? Considering that a pig is smarter than a 3-year-old child, Luciano's bloody role reversal isn't so far from the truth.
Sometimes all you need is a sign—and with our new McCruelty Sign Generator, you can create one for McDonald's McCruelty. Design your own slogan and expose the painful slaughter behind the "billions and billions" of chickens served. Check out a few signs that the bloggers have already generated:
We can't wait to see your signs!
This post originally appeared in the Sacramento Bee.
This month, HBO is premiering an original biopic starring Claire Danes about an extraordinary person, Dr. Temple Grandin. As a young woman, Grandin struggled with the isolating challenges of autism at a time when this disorder was almost a total mystery. Today she is one of the best-known advocates for autism education.
But I applaud Dr. Grandin for another reason, one that has angered some people who work in animal protection: I admire her work in the field of humane animal slaughter. PETA would prefer, of course, that no animals be killed for food, but we won't ignore the horrors of factory farms and slaughterhouses just because we wish that they didn't exist.
Throughout her career as an animal-science professor at Colorado State University and a consultant to the American Meat Institute, Grandin has worked to improve animal-handling systems at slaughterhouses—markedly decreasing, although never able to stop completely, the amount of fear and pain that animals experience.
In 2006, she described to National Public Radio her experience watching cattle get vaccinated at feedlots during the 1970s. Some of the animals would just walk into the holding chutes, she said, while others refused. So Grandin did what no one else had bothered to do before: She went into the chutes herself. As she wrote in an essay for my book One Can Make a Difference, "(I)t seemed obvious to me to get down into the chute and see what the cattle were seeing." She realized that visual details such as shadows, a reflection off a truck's bumper, or people standing up ahead were causing the animals to be fearful.
These insights led her to design cattle-restraining systems that are now used by half the meat plants in North America. "(P)eople just wanted to get out there and yell and scream and push and shove," Grandin told NPR, rather than "remove the things that the cattle were afraid of."
This may seem like a small victory—the cows are still going to be killed, after all—but until the day that we get animals off the dinner plate altogether, is it too much to ask that we do everything we can to reduce the fear and suffering that they experience in the slaughterhouse?
PETA's campaigns against the cruel practices of fast-food chains and against the use of intensive confinement systems that do not even allow animals enough room to stand up, turn around, or extend their limbs have improved the living and dying conditions for millions of animals. As the industries change and evolve, these improvements will apply to billions of animals every year.
The vast majority of people, if they care about animals—and consumer surveys show that they do—support such incremental changes, even if the increments are far from wholly satisfactory to the animals who would rather not be caged at all or hung upside down and killed. In November 2008, for example, California voters made history by approving a ballot measure to ban the use of veal crates, gestation crates, and battery cages on factory farms. Last year, Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm signed a landmark bill that will phase out these same cruel devices in her state as well.
I completely understand the appeal of battle cries such as "Not bigger cages—empty cages!" and I encourage every kind soul who shares this sentiment to make a difference by going vegan. But, as Dr. Grandin has shown us, giving a little comfort and relief to animals who will be in those cages their whole lives is worth fighting for, even as some of us are demanding that those cages be emptied.
Written by Ingrid E. Newkirk
In a landmark move, the jockeys at the Penn National Race Course voted last week to refuse to ride in any races in which horses owned by Michael Gill would be running. Jockeys only get paid when they win, place, or show in races, so giving up a job is a serious move. The vote came after a horse owned by Gill, one of the horse-racing industry's most prominent horse owners, collapsed 20 yards past the finish line at Penn National and had to be euthanized. Gill has a long history of animal fatalities, and this was the breaking point for the jockeys, who in the last 13 months alone saw 10 of Gill's horses be euthanized after suffering injuries during races. At long last, Penn National has finally asked the Pennsylvania State Horse Racing Commission to investigate the fatal breakdowns of Gill's horses. And just this week, Michael Gill announced that he is quitting the business because of the boycott and the investigation. Good riddance.
While Gill's case might seem extraordinary, the problems within the industry are systemic. Every year, more than 1,000 thoroughbreds die on tracks in the U.S., and this death toll does not include those injured horses who are euthanized away from the track or the 15,000 thoroughbreds who are sent to slaughter in Canada and Mexico every year.
Part of the problem is that injured and sore horses are pumped up with medications and painkillers to keep them running when they should be resting. Racing these horses just to squeeze out a paycheck leads to breakdowns and death. Because many veterinarians in the horse-racing industry are complicit in these practices, PETA is calling on the Pennsylvania State Board of Veterinary Medicine to investigate the vets at Penn National—especially those used by Gill.
It goes without saying that you should shun all horse races and urge the National Thoroughbred Racing Association to enforce breeding limits. As evidenced by the case of Michael Gill—who is only a single person in a huge industry—this is a matter of life and death.
Written by Logan Scherer
The filmmakers behind The Cove showed that taking brave action for animals can make a difference. The highly acclaimed documentary—about a group of extraordinary people who aim to shine a light on Japan's dark dolphin trade and slaughter—was just released on DVD and is the prize for this week's "Win It" Wednesday.
Acts of compassion and courage are everyday events. At this very moment, people everywhere are sticking up for animals. Someone is confronting a neighbor about a lonely dog tied in the backyard. Another person is finally telling her beloved aunt how she truly feels about that fur coat. A high school student is telling his biology teacher that he won't dissect a frog—no way, no how.
Now is your time to shine. Describe a courageous action that you took in behalf of animals. We've got three copies of The Cove to award the people who offer the most heartfelt responses. I have a feeling that the animals will win too—there's no doubt that people who read the entries will be inspired to take action.
Written by Karin Bennett
Here's an upside to the economic downturn: The Iditarod—the famous dogsled race for which dogs are tormented and killed every year—has reported a $1 million loss in funding, which will result in a $100,000 cut in prize money for the 2010 race. We're hoping that the decrease in possible winnings will encourage prospective dog abusers mushers not to compete and to look into more humane racing options that don't require them to run dogs to death.
Last year, at least eight dogs died during the Iditarod, succumbing to freezing, exhausting conditions. With its depleted endowment, it looks like the Iditarod may be on the road to dissolution—help continue the Iditarod's downward spiral by urging this year's sponsors to stop funding the cruel event.
It was literally a sticky situation for employees at one Lowe's store in Toledo, Ohio, yesterday, when a woman dressed as a mouse entered the store and "glued" herself to the floor. As the "mouse" screamed and writhed, customers surrounded her with caution signs reading, "Lowe's Tortures Animals."
The "mouse" was taken into police custody after half an hour of shrieking and struggling, and she was lucky. Being arrested is nothing compared to the days of starvation and dehydration that animals ensnared in glue traps suffer. The misery of glue traps is so painful that some animals even chew off their own legs in a desperate attempt to free themselves. No glue trap is humane—and there are effective alternatives. Urge Lowe's to end the torment and stop selling glue traps immediately.
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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.