Written by PETA
On behalf of thoroughbreds everywhere, a congressional hearing was held today to discuss horseracing—just weeks after PETA and tens of thousands of our members and supporters called for it. You can get a pretty cool play-by-play of the meeting here, but basically, the primary message was that the drugs are the problem—not just steroids but all drugs. Person after person said in testimony that if you get rid of the drugs, you get rid of a lot of problems in racing because horses who don't have the strength to run won't run and then won't be bred. What we need is a zero-tolerance policy!
The hearing was full of moving testimony, including comments from a woman who runs CANTER, a thoroughbred rescue. She gets the horses who have been on all kinds of drugs their whole lives and said that when they go off drugs, they go through withdrawal periods that include hair loss, weight loss, and depression. One of my favorite quotes from the afternoon came from Rep. Jan Schakowsky, who said, "Greed has trumped the health of horses." One person who was not so surprisingly absent was Big Brown's trainer, Richard Dutrow. Given his rap sheet of drug infractions, I can't say I was terribly surprised.
There will be at least one more hearing, possibly looking to consider legislation to appoint a federal racing commissioner so that all laws pertaining to racing will be uniform. The congressional committee also voted to admit PETA's written testimony—which you can read here—into record.
You can respond to our latest horseracing action alert to let Congress know that you care about Eight Belles and all the less famous horses who face death on the track and get your voice heard! These hearings are a wonderful step in the right direction, and we need to continue pushing for progress.
Posted by Christine Dore
Says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk of the documentary, "From the stench inside the horses' minuscule stalls, where horses sleep standing up in piles of their own waste, to the hostile streets of Manhattan, where horses live a nose-to-tailpipe existence, Moss doesn't blink in documenting how horses live long after tourists' 30-minute rides are over."
Chrissie Hynde, Pink, and Lea Michele have all thrown their support behind a carriage-horse-free NYC; now it's your turn. Throw your blinders in the trash and jump on the bandwagon ... so to speak, of course.
An open letter to the citizens of Iowa:
It's too late to save the poor pigs who were killed after they escaped a flooded southeastern Iowa farm after being left to drown, swam several miles through raging floodwaters, and scrambled atop a sandbag levee, where sheriff's officials shot them for fear that they would weaken it, but as citizens of Iowa, you can all do something in solidarity to save other clever, charismatic pigs: Go vegetarian.
Millions of pigs are hung upside-down, scalded, and bled to death, often while they're still conscious, in slaughterhouses every year. Pigs feel pain every bit as much as we do, are horrified at the sight and smells of the slaughterhouse, and are afraid to die. Like us, they fight for their lives and struggle to avoid suffering.
There is no reason for any pigs to die such tragic, violent deaths—ever. Tasty, healthy, and humane mock meats—including Tofurky sweet Italian sausages, Morningstar Farms veggie dogs, Yves Veggie Cuisine's Canadian veggie bacon and deli slices, and other faux-pork products—are available in many supermarkets and health-food stores.
By choosing vegetarian foods instead of animal flesh, each one of us can save more than 100 animals every year. See GoVeg.com for more information, and click here to get a free "Vegetarian Starter Kit."
You know, very few things will bother vegetarians like assuming that we eat fish. Um, so, like, what plant is it exactly that you think fish grow on?
By saying "you," I don't mean you, of course. After all, you already understand that fishing hurts, and you're totally down with lobster liberation, right? And you've made it clear to your friends and family where you stand. But they still guilt you into going along to that seafood place they like, saying, "OK, you don't eat fish or lobster, but why can't you have the calamari?"
First of all, "calamari" is one of those nice-sounding words that restaurants use to sell something not so nice—in this case, chopped-up and baby squid. But it can be hard for people to feel a lot of affection for a squid. They live way down underwater, and even baby squid—unlike, say, chicks or piglets—aren't all that cute, to put it mildly. But what they lack in looks is more than compensated for in fascinating ways. If you don't believe me, check out this video:
Anyone who has ever tried to chat up someone in a bar has to stand in awe of the squid's smooth seduction technique, which simultaneously warns rivals to stay away. Not to mention the deep-sea light shows and color-changing camo effects of the jellyfish, octopuses, and cuttlefish that put Industrial Light & Magic to shame. In fact, this stuff is so amazing that you can easily get your friends and family to watch it just for its entertainment value—and then remind them of it the next time you join them for dinner as you explain why you'll all be going to your favorite restaurant instead.
So did y'all see the game last night? The one where my Boston Celtics took apart the Los Angeles Lakers like they were made out of Legos and won their first NBA title since 1986? If you did, you might have caught an interview where my man Kevin Garnett talked about how he transferred (he actually said "transcended," which was awesome) his tradition of eating a whole mess of PB&Js before every game over to his Celtic teammates when he was traded there in the offseason.
Professional athletes? Eating peanut butter & jelly sandwiches?
[Wait for it …]
WHERE DO THEY GET THEIR PROTEIN!?!?!?!?!?!?!?1/1/1
I found this fascinating. The reaction to the interview was pretty much: "Look at KG and his wholesome, nutritious pre-game snack. It's so wholesome! And nutritious!" But PB&J is as much of a vegetarian staple as the Boca burger—I think I ate it for lunch every day for my first eight years as a vegan. So why do I feel that if KG had said, "I eat a vegan meal before every big game," the reaction would have been … different? It's like everyone is cool with eating healthy, but for some reason, eating vegan has this whole different connotation for some people—even though it's exactly the same thing.
I read an article on ESPN.com yesterday (while I was, uh, totally working hard and not on the interwebs), where Prince Fielder, Tony Gonzalez, Mac Danzig, and a bunch of other vegetarian athletes were talking about how being vegetarian has affected their game. No surprises: Gonzalez talks about having more energy in the fourth quarter of games and being able to blow by tired, meat-eating defenders, and Danzig talks about recovering faster from workouts. You can't argue with results. I figure that if a vegetarian diet is good enough for some of the top athletes on the planet, it's good enough for everyone.
So, note to the Lakers: Maybe some PB&J will help next time. Although grabbing a few offensive boards wouldn't hurt either. Just sayin'.
Last week marked the one-year anniversary of baby elephant Hansa's death from herpes at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle. Activists braved the wind and rain to commemorate Hansa's brief life and demand an end to breeding at the zoo. The zoo, on the other hand, is preparing to artificially impregnate Chai, Hansa's mother, for about the 50th time.
Bruce Bohmke, the deputy director of the zoo, said, "She's fine. After a couple of days, from what I've read, they move on." Oh, really? Because from what I've read, an elephant never forgets.
Few things in life go together as perfectly as peanut butter and jelly or pigs and mud, but music and animal rights is definitely one of those perfect pairs.
It's been a sad few years since a little band by the name of Weezer—you may have heard of them—have had any new tunes. Well, the boys with those oh-so-catchy-lyrics are back with a brilliant self-titled album (a.k.a. The Red Album), which was just released on June 3. And here's the really terrific part: The bonus track, "Pig," contains a great animal rights message. Here's an excerpt:
But now, I've got to dieI've lived a good lifeI've got no complaintsI'd like to thank farmer keepFor bringin' me scraps of food that I could eatHe always had a smile on his faceHe didn't want to think of this dayIt's finally here It's finally here They called me pigThey called me pigWhen I was a baby, I was so happyI played with my friends in the mud
Now promise me you'll go out and buy a copy of The Red Album in support of Weezer's animal-friendly lyrics (and their two vegetarian band mates). Thanks, Weezer, for taking on the plight of animals through your songs.
Well, if you missed 30 Days on FX last night, don't say we didn't remind you. Fortunately for everyone, George Snedeker—the hunter (and incredibly good sport) who agreed to spend a month with a family of animal rights activists, including PETA's very own Melissa Karpel—has taken some time to answer a few questions about his experience. To watch this episode in its entirety, please click here. Check our the interview below ...
1. When you were first selected to participate in this show, what did you expect the experience to be like? I was pretty scared. I expected to be surrounded by people that just wanted to argue for a whole month. I'm not afraid of an argument, but I thought the numbers were stacked against me. All I was told was that I would be totally immersed in the animal rights movement. As far as the people I would meet, I expected a lot of angry people that yelled a lot. I figured girls and guys alike would be hairy-legged sandal-wearing hippies. For the most part, I was mistaken.
2. How did your opinion of animal rights activists change after your 30 days with the Karpels?I realized almost immediately that animal rights activists, PETA members specifically, were very normal folks. That being said, there are some out there—just as with the factory farms—that give everyone involved a bad name. I learned about several examples of the abuse, neglect, and suffering that occur in factory farming. It's not a pretty industry, and if people were able to experience what I did, you might see a major change.
3. What were your best, and worst, experiences during the 30 days? Living with Melissa and her family as a vegan for the month was by far the most fun. It just took a few days for us to find common ground, and then we worked from that point in a nonjudgmental way. The Karpels are a wonderful family that I was proud to be a part of throughout my adventure. I have made great friends with them, and I miss them. I am a lucky man. It's not hard to find the worst experiences—there were two. First was the initial time I spent at Animal Acres, and second was the time I spent at the UCLA protest. Without getting into specifics, I can just say that being the loudest is not always the best way to be heard. These people were deliberately offensive and were the most close-minded individuals I have ever met. On several occasions, I was verbally abused. I traveled 3,500 miles with an open mind to learn, not to be judged.
4. Are there any animal rights issues that are particularly important to you now that you hadn't thought about before staying with Melissa and her family?I am aware that there need to be changes in factory farming, but aside from veganism, I haven't heard about a practical alternative. I personally prefer to buy my meat and produce from grocers that support the smaller local farms. The Burberry demonstration was hard-hitting, but we don't have very many fur coats in North Carolina. The one subject that I find the most offensive is vivisection. I can't give away anything about the show, but I had no idea how unnecessary it was. Tissue samples are infinitely more effective. For the sake of money, it seems people are abusing animals just because they can. They should be ashamed of themselves and pray that they never have to answer for their actions.
5. What are your views on the tactics that PETA uses to draw attention to the suffering of animals? One area where I think PETA could use some P.R. work is separating themselves from some of the other animal rights groups out there. The term most people relate to animal rights is PETA. Anything that happens for the sake of animals, regardless of how offensive it is, gets hung on the neck of PETA. Consequently, most people think PETA people are nuts. I believe PETA does it the right way: education. ... They keep it fun and provide people with information.
6. If you had to do it all over again, what would you do differently?I can't imagine changing a thing. Our director, Jay Blumke, and producer, Matt Hobin, did their homework. It would take years for anyone else to get the entire experience that I had. I had total access. It is amazing what can happen if you walk into something with an open mind, even if it is against everything you know already. You might think you are 100 percent right on a particular subject. Here's a news flash: You don't know everything. Just watch, listen, and learn. I still can't get a hold of "bugs." Is it against the PETA tenet not to like them? I have about 1,000 red bugs (chiggers) that hate me. They're trying to eat my legs clean off. Is it OK to hate them back?
And here are some photos of George and Melissa delivering doghouses that didn't make the final cut of the episode:
Without letting even the tiniest opportunity to help nonhuman animals swim by, my inventive comrades have devised a delightful new stratagem to help free some of our sea-dwelling sisters and brothers.
The Pitch: To open the world's fist-ever Lobster Empathy Center in the lobster-execution capital of the world (Creative, yes?) The Setting: A prison (Bloody genius!)
The proposed attraction would include wrapping visitors' hands in giant rubber bands for the duration of their stay, serving faux-lobster treats, and giving kiddies free stuffed toy lobsters labeled "Lobsters Are Friends, Not Food."
Can't wait to go, right? I know, me neither! Sadly, our dreams will have to be put on hold for a bit, as the prison was just sold to the highest bidder. But do keep us in mind if you hear of any sweet oceanfront prison property up for grabs!
Now if all this talk has given you a hankering for some vegan lobster tail, here's a recipe to satisfy your urgings.
Killer birds from PetSmart. It sounds like a reimagined version of Hitchcock's The Birds or maybe Troma's follow-up film to Poultrygeist, but it's a true, tragic story. A bird-loving family from Corpus Christi, Texas, reportedly lost their beloved father—and the daughter almost lost her life—after they both contracted psittacosis from a cockatiel whom they had purchased at PetSmart and named Peachy. Check out the Associated Press Article here if you don't want to take my word for it.
Peachy, who also died, allegedly from this "parrot fever," was bred at Rainbow World Exotics, a breeding mill that PETA recently investigated, where we found rampant abuse and neglect of small animals and exotic birds. Bird-breeding facilities such as Rainbow World Exotics are no different than puppy mills—they're massive animal factories that crank out birds with no regard for their health, happiness, or individual best interests. It doesn't just hurt the birds when unsanitary, inhumane conditions are the norm.
The good news is that this heroic and forever scarred family is now standing up to PetSmart and demanding an end to the sale of all birds. And you can help them succeed!
And please read this important info about how to keep you and your bird safe.
Angel's Story: Another PetSmart Casualty
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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.