Written by PETA
As a Midwestern gal, I would like to take you on a quick, two-stop, cruelty-free tour of my section of the U.S. It's a little something I'm calling the Midwest Victory Tour. Sometimes I feel as though this part of the country gets a bum rap, so this tour is to give props to two forward-thinking Midwestern educational institutions, one in Wisconsin and one in Utah, that have recently stopped exploiting animals. If only all schools could be as progressive.
First stop on the Midwest Victory Tour is a school district in Wisconsin. A concerned citizen contacted us after learning that the district was offering a kids' summer science course that included six dissections as well as an activity in which students were given a live rat to "care for" throughout the duration of the course. We contacted the school immediately about cutting out the old-school classroom dissections and to inform school officials that rats need constant care and compassion, not a summer course's worth of "caretaking." After nearly a year of persistent follow-up, we are excited to let you know that this course is finally history!
Our next stop on the tour takes us to a Utah educational nonprofit that was recommending experiments in which live goldfish were put in ice baths in order to cause hypothermia. Since the experimenters probably wouldn't do this sort of thing to Fluffy, the family kitty, we sent the nonprofit a letter outlining why it's cruel to freeze any kitten—including sea kittens. After hearing our suggestion for cruelty-free coursework, the nonprofit has agreed to no longer suggest shocking the nervous systems of these adorable goldkittens for classroom experiments.
Well, that's the end of our Midwest Victory Tour. See, it's not all beef-expos and pus-farms in the Midwest. There's some compassion for animals too.
Written by Shawna Flavell
Sorry to break the news, but Disney was lying when it told you that crabs could sing and dance. However, it turns out that your childhood friend Sebastian definitely had reason to fear being hurt by Ursula, because … drum roll, please … crabs "sense and remember pain."
That's right, a recent study by Queen's University is making headlines by declaring (once and for all, we hope) that crabs and other crustaceans experience pain and react to it in a way that anyone can relate to. They quickly get away from what's causing the pain and then try to avoid it in the future. Makes sense. If you were to, say, touch a hot stove even though your mother told you not to, you probably wouldn't do it again. Same goes for the crab.
The only questions that remain are: How much did it pain Sebastian to be exploited by Disney for the awful (unfortunately I know this from firsthand experience) straight-to-DVD flicks The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea and The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Beginning, and how long will he remember it?
P.S. Not surprised by this news? Well maybe that's because you're already a hermit-crab expert. Take the PETA Kids Hermit Crab Quiz to test your crabtelligence.
Written by Shawna Flavell
Back in 2004, PETA launched our Holocaust on Your Plate (HOYP) traveling display, which juxtaposes images of animals in slaughterhouses and factory farms with images of humans in Nazi concentration camps. The display was inspired by a passage from Nobel-prize–winning Jewish author Isaac Bashevis Singer's book, The Letter Writer: "In relation to them, all people are Nazis; for the animals it is an eternal Treblinka." This struck a chord with one of our Jewish staffers, who proposed the idea of creating a display that he hoped would encourage people to consider that the same mindset that allows the routine and systematic murder of animals also allows the routine and systematic murder of human beings.
The HOYP display—which was also funded by a Jewish PETA member—traveled all over the U.S., where it sparked a tremendous amount of debate and discussion about both animal rights and human rights issues. Then across the pond, PETA Germany took the idea and ran with it. And that's where the trouble began. Yesterday, Germany's high court banned PETA Germany’s Holocaust display, stating that it would have made "the fate of the victims of the Holocaust appear banal and trivial."
This ruling left the staffers of our German affiliate scratching their heads, because the display only renders the humans' suffering "banal and trivial" if the animals' suffering is considered banal and trivial. Which is the whole point of the display …
Anyway, PETA Germany is, of course, appealing the ruling, and it is confident that free speech will win out in the end.
So what do you think, PETA Files readers? Did the campaign go too far? Was the German high court justified in banning it—or should free speech have reigned supreme?
Written by Amanda Schinke
You have to wonder why the seal slaughter is allowed to continue even though almost everyone is opposed to it, including most Canadians. Helpless baby seals are beaten to death. The babies are dragged across the ice with boat hooks, and some are even skinned alive.
So you see why we're doing all we can to stop the massacre, right? And we're definitely not alone in this fight. This week, U.S. Sens. Carl Levin and Susan Collins introduced a resolution asking the Canadian government to put an end to the seal slaughter. Hooray! We'll keep you updated on the resolution's progress. In the meantime, try sending a letter to Canadian officials urging them to stop the seal slaughter (and asking your friends to do the same), signing our petition (and asking your friends to do the same), and posting our alert on your Facebook page (and asking … well, I think you get the idea). We need the support of everyone we (and you) can possibly contact to stop this slaughter.
But before you get started calling, e-mailing, and IMing your friends, check out these pictures from PETA's protest in Toronto this week:
Written by Lianne Turner
Our McCruelty campaign has been raging on for about a month now, with no word from McDonald's about improving welfare standards for the animals killed for its restaurants. But since when has a little resistance stopped us? That said, we think it's the perfect time to kick the campaign up a notch, don't you agree?
Our latest efforts have us thinking big—as in billboard big. Check it out:
We plan to place the eye-opening billboard in select cities across the country. We're certain it will have motorists seeing red once they learn that the biggest seller of chicken meat in the country refuses to compel its suppliers to switch to a better slaughter method.
Contrary to what Ronald would like consumers to believe, it's not all Happy Meals and hamburger patches under the golden arches. Far from it.
Please take action now by urging McDonald's to support only suppliers that use controlled-atmosphere killing.
I know if I were a parent, I certainly wouldn't allow my child to visit the home of a scary giant-shoe–wearing clown with blood on his hands. But that's just me.
Written by Jennifer Cierlitsky
Update: Michael Jackson has announced that he will not be using any live animals in his concert series at London's O2 arena. Click here for more info.
The King of Pop has a sordid past when it comes to the way he treats animals, but we were still shocked by Michael Jackson's reported plans to ride an African elephant and use other exotic animals during his upcoming 30-day stint at The O2 arena in London.
PETA Europe wrote a letter to The O2 to let officials there know about Michael's sketchy track record of animal neglect. The letter included some basic information about how exotic animals actually don't want to perform stupid tricks on a stage surrounded by screaming people, bright lights, and stage explosions.
So come on, Michael, pull a "Britney" and leave exotic animals out of your performances.
When we discussed the first dog to die during the 2009 Iditarod, I mentioned that more were likely to follow. Now, at the end of the race, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports that this year's death toll stands at six.
Six dogs. Dead.
And for what? A belt buckle. A long shot at some money, a pickup truck, and a few endorsement deals. I suppose they think that they're covering themselves in glory, too, but it looks more like blood to me.
Consider this: Two of the dogs may have frozen to death in the punishing weather. Two others died with fluid in their lungs. The most recently reported death apparently happened during a turbulent plane flight after the "musher" gave up. Even the generally Iditarod-supportive Anchorage Daily News called the number of deaths—only five, at the time—"troubling," but that misses the point: Even one dog dead is too many, and it is unacceptable that the dogs who survive are run to exhaustion or injury, only to be stuck back on a chain until the next race.
To paraphrase a classic cartoon, we say it's cruelty, and we say the hell with it. PETA has asked the Alaska State Troopers to open a criminal investigation into the deaths of these dogs in the Iditarod. We'll keep you posted on any major developments. In the meantime, even though this year's event has mercifully ended, it's not too late to tell the 2009 Iditarod sponsors to make this the last year that they contribute to dogs' deaths.
Written by Jeff Mackey
When a Time Warner Cable Store at the Independence Mall in Wilmington, N.C., planned to host Kelly's Paw Print Productions exotic-animal show, it apparently had no idea that Paw Prints is a chronic violator of the federal Animal Welfare Act. Time Warner Cable didn't hesitate to cancel the scheduled event with Paw Prints, however, after PETA informed the media giant about the exhibitor's lengthy history of animal abuse.
It's not surprising that Time Warner Cable would want nothing to do with a business that has been repeatedly cited by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for failure to provide animals with veterinary care or appropriate and sufficient food as well as failure to handle animals so that there is minimal risk of harm to the animals and the public. In announcing the cancellation of the event, Time Warner's Director of Media Relations Melissa Buscher stated, "The safety of our customers and the well-being of the animals are a top concern for Time Warner Cable." You'll find a lot of things in our factsheet on Kelly's Paw Print Productions, but customer safety and animal welfare are two things that are noticeably lacking.
Big props to Time Warner Cable for not wanting to associate itself with Kelly's Paw Print Productions, but the truth is that most animal exhibitors have similarly miserable records of animal care. Please thank the Time Warner Cable Store for its decision to cancel the Paw Prints event and ask Time Warner to take one more progressive step and enact a policy permanently prohibiting the display of wild animals at any of its locations.
Written by Liz Graffeo
… Wait a minute, what am I saying? We love to say "We told you so." And this time, what we've been telling you for years is finally making headlines. Here's the truth—drumroll, please—meat, as it turns out, is bad for you.
Specifically, meat increases your chances of dying prematurely.
That's right, we weren't just making it up. Research has, once again, linked the consumption of meat with heart disease and certain types of cancer—and this time, it's more conclusive than ever. As The Washington Post explains, a new case study has just been published—the first large examination of the relationship between eating meat and overall risk of early death—and guess what it found?
"The bottom line is we found an association between red meat and processed meat and an increased risk of mortality," concluded the leader of the study, Rashmi Sinha of the National Cancer Institute.
Women in the study who ate the most red meat were 36 percent more likely to prematurely die of any cause than those who ate less (or none), and they were 50 percent more likely to die of heart disease! Maybe it's just me, but those kinds of odds would definitely shock me into seriously reconsidering my meaty habits. Men who ate the most red meat didn't do much better—they were 31 percent more likely to die prematurely of any cause.
Amusingly, the only defense that the American Meat Institute could muster was that meat products "provide a sense of satisfaction and fullness that can help with weight control." So don't worry about the cancer and heart disease, say the meat guys, because filling your stomach with disease-linked animal flesh makes you full, and that keeps the weight off! Um, nice try, fellas.
Nope, I'm not buying the meat guys' argument—and something tells me a lot of other people won't be, either. This could end up as a real victory for our arteries—and for animals.
Written by Amanda Schinke
Thanks for all of your wonderful comments on this Win It Wednesday. The winners of the humane mousetrap are Christina Eckhart, Ipstenu, and Jennifer Short. Congratulations!
It's almost spring, the time when a young mouse's fancy turns to thoughts of love. Next thing you know, you may start hearing the pitter-patter of little mouse feet on your attic floorboards. Now, we know you would never want to hurt one of these cute little guys, but we can understand if some of you don't want them setting up a love nest in your box of old LPs. That's why we're offering up three of our popular humane mousetraps for "Win It" Wednesday.
PETA's mousetraps are great because mice can be caught alive and unharmed and released outdoors. The same can't be said of glue traps, which we've been begging Lowe's for months to stop selling. It's like they don't care that animals caught in these traps can suffer for days before finally succumbing to starvation, dehydration, or suffocation.
How do you win? Post a comment with your thoughts on why Lowe's should stop selling glue traps. The three people who post the most persuasive answers will each win a humane mousetrap.
Written by Lianne Turner
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
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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.