Written by PETA
Our cup runneth over with the latest season of Dancing With the Stars. As if last season, which featured spunky octo-vegetarian Cloris Leachman, weren't enough, this season we have two PETA supporters to root for.
How can we be expected to choose between Steve-O—star of "Rather Go Naked" and "Ink, Not Mink" ads as well as a video testimonial about the abuse of animals in circuses—and "girl next door" Holly Madison, whose naked ad and PSAs raised more temperatures than a flu outbreak?
We need your help with this one, dear PETA Files readers. Post a comment below letting us know which animal-friendly hoofer you think has earned the most PETA props.
Written by Alisa Mullins
This Sunday, March 15, is International Day of Action Against the Seal Slaughter. Why it's not on all the calendars between Purim and St. Patrick's Day, we'll never know, but, hey, we're doing our part to get the word out.
OK, so this event is big—international, even, as the name suggests. Animal protection groups of all sizes from all around the world have lots of things planned for Sunday. But you don't need nonprofit status to get in on the action. In fact, all you need is your own dang self—or just a group of your like-minded BFFs. Here are some entirely do-able ways to become an action hero for seals:
And that's just for starters. For more ways to be an action hero for animals all year 'round, click the "Get Active" link at the top of this page and check out our Guide to Becoming an Activist—that is, if you're ready to become a superhero!
Written by Jeff Mackey
It's been awhile since we last mentioned the Oregon National Primate Research Center (ONPRC). But even though ONPRC hasn't been in our blog, it's been very much on our minds, and there are encouraging new developments to report.
For those of you who have hit-and-miss memories like mine, here's a quick recap: Our 2007 undercover investigation at ONPRC found that monkeys were tormented by laboratory staffers, forced to eat food out of waste-filled trays, denied medical care or pain relief, and driven mad by horrific laboratory conditions. Still, despite undeniable video evidence, the USDA somehow didn't see anything wrong at ONPRC.
At that point, ONPRC may have thought that it had won and that we would slink away. But, hey, this is PETA, after all, so think again, monkey abusers!
This past fall, we obtained new internal documents from ONPRC that detailed further abuse and neglect, so we submitted a new complaint to the USDA. In it, we outlined the following incidents:
Wow. Cold-hearted and inept—a deadly combination.
Based on our complaint, the USDA inspected ONPRC, and this time, it confirmed our allegations. So ONPRC was cited for three violations of the Animal Welfare Act, including causing monkeys trauma, stress, harm or discomfort and failing to adequately monitor and provide veterinary care to animals.
And the agency didn't stop there: In December, the USDA issued an "official warning" to ONPRC that it may face civil or criminal penalties if additional violations are found in the future.
It's a hopeful sign of progress, but we're hardly done with ONPRC. After all, these incidents are only a small part of the cruelty still being inflicted on the more than 4,000 primates there.
New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof usually writes about Darfur and other far-off lands, but this week, he ventured into America's heartland to talk about a plague that is afflicting a small town in Indiana that happens to be home to factory hog farms. The plague is MRSA—methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, aka "flesh-eating bacteria." You can read Kristof's fascinating column here.
There's no proof—yet—of any link between Camden, Indiana's MRSA outbreak and the surrounding hog farms, but Kristof notes that a strain of MRSA has been linked to hog farms in the Netherlands, and that same strain has been found in 45 percent of pig farmers and 49 percent of pigs tested by a researcher at the University of Iowa.
Of course, MRSA is just one of many scary life- and health-threatening bugs found lurking in pig flesh. Other, common pork-borne bacteria include listeria, salmonella, and E. coli. Pig flesh is also host to trichina and tape worms (one of the latter was recently removed from a woman's brain—blecch). And let's not forget the SARS epidemic that swept Asia a few years ago and may return—not to mention the loads of saturated fat and cholesterol in every slice of ham, bacon, and sausage.
Kristof cautions that MRSA is just the tip of the disease iceberg that can likely be traced to the overuse of antibiotics on factory farms. And with all that filth on factory farms, antibiotic use is rampant. Stay tuned, because Kristof plans to talk more about that issue in his Sunday column.
Meanwhile, you can check out previous columns that Nicholas Kristof has written about factory farming here and here.
With only three days left until the International Day of Action Against the Canadian Seal Slaughter (for the math-impaired, that's March 15), we're gearing up to show our snowy neighbors to the north that the world is watching as they prepare for their annual massacre of hundreds of thousands of baby seals. People are understandably outraged that baby seals are bludgeoned and skinned alive for their fur, and some people are directing that anger into creative ways to spread the message and get others involved. Check out this Claymation video that some folks with a rather wicked sense of humor put together:
We're not condoning violence in any way, but according to this video, even the Abominable Snowman is ticked off at Canada's seal killers.
Don't worry, even if you're not the creative type or can't make Claymation videos, you can still speak up for seals. Click here to write to the Olympic Organizing Committee and the Canadian Prime Minister to demand that they help bring an immediate end to the seal massacre.
Written by Liz Graffeo
Over the past 16 months, PETA has waged a relentless campaign to end the military's archaic trauma-training exercises. In these exercises, thousands of live goats and pigs are shot, stabbed, cut apart, and burned, and monkeys are poisoned with nerve chemicals. We called on the Department of Defense (DoD) to investigate the military's methods immediately, and they appear to be taking our request seriously.
The DoD has chartered a Joint Analysis Team (JAT) to "examine the use of animals for medical education and training across the Services." The JAT will also submit a report containing "actionable recommendations" for the DoD to follow.
DoD regulations specifically state that non-animal methods must be used whenever scientifically valid and comparable alternatives are available. The DoD's use of live animals in trauma-training exercises is unnecessary. Various installations in the Air Force and Navy have been using alternatives, such as high-tech human patient simulators and rotations in trauma hospitals, for several years. Additionally, these second-rate training methods put our soldiers at risk.
We're hopeful that the JAT will come to the obvious conclusion that the DoD should end these cruel tests immediately and opt for more humane, educational alternatives. Check out the letter we sent to them about this issue here, and leave a comment to let us know what you think.
Most kids love animals, but not all kids are aware of the horrors that elephants and other animals in circuses face, so PETA and Ellie Elephant decided to tell local kids what goes on behind the big top. Ellie was a huge hit with children and parents, handing out activity books to show kids why circuses are no fun for animals. The kids were excited to get their hands on the fun workbooks, and the parents appreciated the educational message. Check out these photos of Ellie making friends and spreading the word about why elephants would rather be left at home in nature with their families than endure the chains and whips used by circus trainers.
If your kids missed out on Ellie's visit but still want to help animals in circuses, they can check out this fun comic and visit PETAKids.com to find out the facts and get active.
Written by Lianne Turner
We just received possibly one of our oddest donation offers to date: George Clooney's sweat, apparently soaked up by a towel taken from a Washington, D.C., gym. I'll give you a moment to take that in.
We must admit that George is a handsome man, so it was hard for me to overcome the temptation to just sit in a corner and fondle the towel until the end of time, but we learned that there is technology that can convert perspiration into a flavoring! Now, we're always looking out for new ways to spice up our tofu, so we decided we'd see about mixing up a little George Clooney–flavored tofu—"CloFu"—for supper. We wrote to Clooney to see if he finds this idea as amusing as I do.
How does this work? Well, it involves gas chromatography and mass spectrometry, but here's one easy way: Researchers have used a panel of trained individuals with sensitive noses to pinpoint unique components in any individual's odor. Once the odors have been identified, the right combination of flavors can be synthetically replicated, infused in bean curd, and voilà! CloFu.
Some people don't try tofu because they expect it to taste bland, but we know it can absorb any taste—so CloFu could make your taste buds and your heart melt. Of course, what's even better is that after everyone gets a piece of George and realizes how delicious tofu truly is, diets will be revolutionized.
Every year, we brace ourselves for this predictable—yet avoidable—catastrophe, but it's still upsetting. The first dog has been run to death in this year's edition of the cruel and pointless Iditarod dogsled race: His name was Victor, and he was just 6 years old. Ominously, a Fox Sports article refers to Victor's death as just "the first of this year's race," while an AP story reports that the unusually warm weather is taking a toll on the dogs. We already fear the worst for one dog who went missing after first-time Iditarod driver Nancy Yoshida crashed not one but two different sleds. (You can also click here to read a powerful op-ed ed by PETA staffer Jen O'Connor describing the unseen cruelty of the Iditarod.)
Can we finally put to rest the myth that dogsled racing is OK because the "dogs love to run"? Dogs don't love to run until they collapse from exhaustion, choke on their own vomit, or get killed by a snow machine (as happened last year). That's abuse, not "sport."
It's especially galling to me that I share a last name with the defending "champion," Lance Mackey. I'd certainly leap at the chance to give him a piece of my mind at the Mackey family reunion. While that might not be possible, fortunately, there's plenty that we can all do to help put an end to this annual nightmare for dogs.
For example, be on the lookout for any TV or radio programs that attempt to hide the cruelty that dogs endure during the Iditarod. A recent radio show with travel journalist Rick Steves failed to mention the suffering of the dogs, so perhaps you'd like to let Steves and his producers know what they missed?
No, you're not experiencing déjà vu. This is the second blog in two days in which we've reported that primates have taken aim at humans—literally. In the latest instance, a monkey in Thailand—fed up with performing the thankless task of climbing coconut trees to retrieve fruit for his owner to sell—apparently launched a coconut at the man's head, killing him instantly. Did we mention that payback is hell?
Like so many animals who are exploited for profit, the monkey, whose name is Brother Kwan, was frequently denied rest and beaten if he refused to climb.
This story comes on the heels of a report last week about a chimpanzee in a Swedish Zoo who collects stockpiles of rocks and then chucks them at zoo visitors.
How much more proof do we need that primates are intelligent animals with the ability to reason, get mad, and fight back? Better watch your back, Castrol.
Written by Jennifer Cierlitsky
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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.