Written by PETA
Fancy a bout of the runs, severe fever, septicemia, or perhaps meningitis? Then head on out and get yourself a snake or other reptile as a pet. According to a recent report, hundreds of people were exposed to salmonella bacteria from dead mice they were feeding to their reptiles—but that's just the tip of the iceberg. For years, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been sounding the alarm about contact with reptiles because every year tens of thousands of people in the U.S. contract salmonellosis—a serious bug that can land you in the hospital … or worse—as a result of direct or indirect contact with reptiles. In the last year, there have been two other reptile-related salmonella outbreaks, one tied to the sale of pet turtles and the other to the sale of African dwarf frogs.
Should pet stores give away a free hospital stay with each reptile they sell? You tell us. Meanwhile, please help stop the wobbly stomach blues (not to mention the blues that every snake and lizard who's stuck in an aquarium must experience) by adding your support to the proposal by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to ban the sale of nine species of snake.
Written by Jennifer O'Connor
Following the release of PETA Asia's undercover investigation into the exotic-skin industry, the "Grim Reapers" were out in full force in front of a Hermès store in Jakarta. The dark angels were there to draw attention to the millions of animals in Indonesia who suffer so that their skin can be stitched together to make pricey accessories for high-end retailers like Hermès.
After cringing through PETA Asia's gruesome video footage, which shows workers skinning reptiles alive and other snakes who are slowly and painfully suffocated to death, those Grim Reapers will seem more like woodland fairies.
Nike and its subsidiary, Cole Haan, have given exotic skins the boot—so have the international trendy frock shop H&M and online giant Overstock.com, thanks to PETA's efforts. Now we ask: Will you ssspeak up for snakes, lizards, and other animals by asking Hermès to follow suit?
Written by Karin Bennett
Who was most surprised to hear reports that Russell Brand was supposedly sporting snakeskin boots at the Vanity Fair Oscar party? Russell Brand himself.
No one who's familiar with the raucously clever comic—who is a longtime vegetarian and has spoken out for animals on numerous occasions—could believe that he would support the live skinning of snakes. So PETA U.K. went straight to the source and asked Russell whether or not his footwear was really snakeskin. He immediately changed our WTF to FTW by assuring everyone that his alleged faux pas was really fab faux: "They're fake. Specially made, don't panic. I also won 'sexiest smoker' this week in spite of not smoking."
Phew! Now we can trash that "Are your cigarettes cruelty-free?" letter (kidding).
Written by Logan Scherer
At the rate victories are rolling in, 2010 is set to be a great year for animals! In addition to a victory for greyhounds, yesterday, online mega-retailer Overstock.com announced that it will no longer sell products made from exotic skins.
Overstock.com Chair and CEO Patrick Byrne made the announcement that his company would remove all listings of items with alligator, lizard, ostrich, stingray, eel, shark, and kangaroo skin from Overstock after he viewed our newest exotic-skins footage and was prompted to make a change for his company, his customers, and animals. "I do not believe that animal skins should be treated as decorative objects," he said.
From decapitated lizards to clubbed alligators, millions of animals suffer each year in the global leather industry, even though there are tons of cruelty-free, chic alternatives to animal skins. You can send a powerful message to those who profit from this cruel industry—and convince other companies to follow in the footsteps of Overstock and H&M—by pledging to shed exotic skins from your wardrobe and by sharing our exposé on Facebook.
After reading an article in the Duluth News Tribune about the goings-on at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, I took my dogs, Charlie and Lucy, for a long walk. My brain needed to mull over the angle I'd take in writing this blog—my soul needed to witness happy dogs doing dog things like sniffing tree trunks and greeting strangers, canine and human alike.
The article discussed a lengthy report compiled by government inspectors after a surprise visit last month revealed a filthy facility in which depressed dogs who underwent major invasive surgical procedures were vomiting in their cages and did not receive any veterinary treatment, university personnel did not notice or treat a gerbil who was severely emaciated and struggling to breathe, and staff were inadequately trained to handle primates. The Duluth News Tribune notes, "One major finding is that in five studies, UW-Madison researchers did not show that they tried to find an alternative to painful experiments on animals."
Unfortunately, this kind of treatment happens so frequently in university labs that it is almost routine—as awful as it is to call such horrors "routine." A recent PETA undercover investigation exposed similar cruelty suffered by cats, kittens, and dogs (purchased from local animal shelters), along with monkeys, mice, rats, and other victims of experiments at the University of Utah. At the U, what appears to be incompetence, indifference, and neglect forced many of the animals to endure severe trauma, prolonged suffering, and grisly deaths. Apparently, vivisectors at UW-Madison follow a similar modus operandi in the treatment of the victims of their experiments.
Our fingers are crossed that UW-Madison receives more than a slap on the wrist for these violations. While we keep an eye on the story, take the time to give our fight against laboratory atrocities some muscle by taking action today. Then go hug your own dog and give him or her an extra treat.
H&M is an industry leader in all things stylish and cruelty-free—which is why we were thrilled to announce that, because of its recent decision to implement a permanent policy against selling any exotic skins, including those of snakes, alligators, crocodiles, lizards, ostriches, and other animals, H&M is the recipient of our Company of the Year Proggy Award. H&M's announcement to no longer sell exotic skins came after we sent a copy of our new exposé to the universally loved retailer. (Seriously, H&M is like apparel candy: affordable and deliciously fashionable, and I don't know anyone who doesn't love them.)
Many animals who are stripped of their skin for fashion are skinned alive and then tossed onto a pile where they writhe in pain until they succumb to shock or dehydration. Some animals live in agony for up to four days after they lose their flesh. H&M's new policy sends the message that kindness is always chic. Follow this company's lead: Take our pledge and declare that the only skin you'll ever wear is your own.
Written by Logan Scherer
We all know that Stella McCartney's designs put the "hot" in haute couture. Unlike some designers who paradoxically try to revive lackluster collections by tossing in the skins of dead animals, Stella creates stunning designs without so much as a scrap of hideous hides.
In the November 2009 edition of InStyle magazine, Stella takes the gloves off when talking about the colossal fashion faux pas of wearing animal skins:
"Just say no to leather, fur and python. Everyone knows this about me, but even if I liked leather, I just couldn't wear leather pants. It's so soft-rock trashy."
Now I realize why seeing snakeskin on the runway turns my stomach—it's the Muzak of the fashion world! Well, that and because snakes are skinned alive to collect steal it. Now, someone please make sure Marilyn Manson reads this month's InStyle …
Written by Heather Drennan
PETA's naked "snakes" have been spotted recently on both coasts, drawing attention to the cruelty inflicted on scaly species who are killed for their skins. Not since Rebecca Romijn slinked around in painted-on scales as Mystique for the X-Men trilogy have people found reptiles so alluring.
While the Western cottonmouth usually preys on small warm-blooded animals, this spring, during mating season, these venomous snakes may be going after a different type of quarry: small-minded, cold-blooded Missouri duck hunters.
Rumor has it that water blinds (duck hunters' huts that are camouflaged to look like the water) in Oregon, Howell, Carter, Pulaski, Phelps, Wayne, Pemiscot, Mississippi, Scott, and Stoddard counties have been sprayed with the pheromones of female cottonmouths. The pheromones, taken from excrement evacuated from the cottonmouth's cloacal chamber, are guaranteed to attract aggressive males looking for some tail. I'm not a herpetologist, but I'm guessing that these randy reptiles are going to be pretty ticked-off when their booty call turns out to be a couple of dudes dressed like bushes.
So how can duck hunters avoid being bitten or, God forbid, part of a coital coil? We suggest that they hang up hunting and consider taking up golf or baseball instead. If they don't, then I agree with my friend and PETA's waterfowl specialist Hans Offdemall when he says, "PETA opposes gun violence, so when a 250-pound man hides on the water so that he can blow to pieces one of a bonded pair of 1-pound birds, we think that he should get a taste of his own medicine."
Written by Amy Elizabeth
Jada Pinkett-Smith, who currently stars in the number one film in the country, Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, and is married to megastar Will Smith, recently made a compassionate pledge. The longtime animal defender recently told reporters that she just can't go on keeping her beloved animal friends in tiny cage prisons. Apparently, the rock-star frontwoman of Wicked Wisdom was moved to action by the family snake, Beauty.
"I think I'll never get an animal like a snake again where I have to keep her in an aquarium," Jada said, according to Contactmusic (via OneIndia). "We have this whole thing for Beauty outside for her to be in a natural habitat. But at the end of the day, she knows she's caged into her aquarium. We can't set her into the wild now, but I told [our daughter] Willow we won't do this again and won't have any animals that need to stay like that."
Good for you, Jada! Then she added this bit, which makes our campaigning hearts flutter: "Maybe when I get older, that'll become one of my activist endeavors."
Of course, we couldn't be more delighted to hear this! Jada and Will are one of Hollywood's hottest power couples, with considerable influence—and if Jada turns over a new leaf, that should have serious repercussions with her fans.
Written by Missy Lane
you have a general question for PETA and would like a response, please e-mail Info@peta.org. If you need to report cruelty to
an animal, please click
here. If you are reporting an animal in imminent danger and know where to find the
animal and if the abuse is taking place right now, please call your local
police department. If the police are unresponsive, please call PETA
immediately at 757-622-7382 and press 2.
Follow PETA on Twitter!
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.