Written by PETA
Murder is frightening business, but it is even more chilling perhaps when the crime is allegedly committed by a child who is not even old enough to grasp the consequences of the deed. Vincent Romero and Timothy Romans of Arizona were reportedly killed by Romero's 8-year-old son using a rifle much like the one that Romero had used to teach his son to hunt other living beings.
In a time like this, the community should take action. No child should be encouraged to be callous by being taught to kill, nor should children be instructed in the use of firearms, which enable them to wound, maim, and destroy. We have written to Gov. Janet Napolitano of Arizona asking her to ban children under the age of 18 from hunting. It makes them insensitive, damages the ecosystem, and causes the clear danger of familiarizing a child with gun use.
Though some firearms advocates protest that it is fine for a well-instructed child to wield a deadly weapon for the purpose of killing birds and deer, for instance, that is not the case. All school shooters had previously hunted and used guns. The FBI has found through interviews that 36 percent of murderers had tortured or killed animals before killing humans, and 46 percent had done so in adolescence.
We are asking Gov. Napolitano and the community to avoid "sticking to their guns," and to take this tragedy as a wake-up call. We can keep adults and children safe and healthy by not teaching kids to take "taking a life" lightly. You can read our letter to the Gov. Napolitano here.
Written by Sean Conner
When President-elect Barack Obama was born, numerous U.S. states would have prohibited his black Kenyan father from marrying his white Kansan mother. The Voting Rights Act was still a few years away, and the Supreme Court's order to desegregate schools was being fought tooth and nail. Look at how far we have come. Who alive then would have believed that just a few short decades later, Americans would elect their first black president?
We have broken through a significant barrier, but we cannot stop there. We must now break down the barrier that prevents us from caring about all the "others" who are "not like us," regardless of race, regardless of gender, and regardless of species.
Prejudice and oppression come about because of a belief that "we" are important and that "they" are not.
In the days of slavery, for example—not so long ago—some people honestly believed that African men did not feel pain as white men do, that African women did not experience maternal love as white women do. And so it was quite acceptable to brand men's faces with a hot iron and to auction off slaves' children and send them vast distances away from their mothers. All evidence was to the contrary, yet highly educated people defied their own eyes, ears, and common sense by denying the facts before them. Society accepted this horrible exploitation, and then, as now, it takes courage to break away from the norm, even when the norm is ugly and wrong.
Today, we have abolished human slavery, at least in theory. But we continue to enslave all the others who happen not to be exactly like us but who, if we are honest with ourselves, show us that they experience maternal love as we do, that if you burn them, they feel the same pain as we do, that they desire freedom from shackles as we do.
In their natural homes, elephants live in complex multigenerational social groups, mourn their dead, and remember friends and relatives from years past. Yet we tear them away from their families, confine them with chains to stinking and squalid boxcars, and beat them into performing ridiculous tricks for our amusement.
Rats are detested, yet even these tiny animals—who are mammals like us—have been found to giggle (in frequencies that can't be heard by the human ear) when they are tickled and will risk their own lives to save other rats, especially when the rats in peril are babies. Although no mouse or rat bankrupted our economy, invaded Iraq, or set poison out for us, we dismiss their feelings as inconsequential and somehow beneath our consideration.
Mother pigs sing to their young while nursing, and newborn piglets run joyfully toward their mothers' voices. On factory farms, a sow spends her entire life surrounded by the cold metal bars of a space so small that she can never turn around or take even two steps. Chickens who are raised for the table fare even worse. Their beaks are seared off with hot blades, and the birds will never enjoy the warmth of a nest or the affectionate nuzzle of a mate.
The time has come to stop thinking of animal rights as distracting or less deserving of our energy than other struggles for social justice. As Martin Luther King Jr. said, "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." All oppression, prejudice, violence, and cruelty are wrong and must be rejected no matter how novel the idea or how inconvenient the task.
And for those who think that we will never be able to achieve the dream of liberation from oppression, not just for human beings but for all beings, regardless of race or gender or species, I have just three words for you: Yes. We. Can.
Written by Ingrid E. Newkirk
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
Update: Here's a sweet quote from PETA campaigner Lindsay Rajt in the Amarillo Globe News: "We just thought Tex would be a huge help to us to expose the whores in the leather industry." Apparently Lindsay needs to work on her enunciation a bit. She swears she said, "horrors"!
I'm not going to repeat the cliché that "everything's bigger in Texas"—though I guess I just did—because, as a Texan, I know that some things are actually smaller in Texas. In the computer age alone, it was Texas-based companies that pioneered "small" technologies such as semiconductors and the portable PC.
Still, there's no denying that Texans have a thing about big stuff. Heck, some folks here haven't come to terms with the fact that a larger state (Alaska, natch) was admitted to the union—nearly 50 years ago. So think about how Lone Star residents would feel about a super-sized version of that most Texan of icons: the cowboy.
Now one such giant buckaroo might find himself homeless. "Tex Randall," a 47-foot-tall, 7-ton cowboy sculpture in Canyon, Texas, faced eviction when the owner of the property he stands on decided not to keep him there. Another business owner purchased Tex, but doesn't have enough money to move him.
So, despite our opposition to ranching, PETA is stepping in to see if we can find a permanent home. Why? 'Cause what could be a better symbol than a big ol' cowboy to help us make a huge statement about how cows are hurt by the leather "bidness"? All we have to do is add a little sign, like so:
Written by Jeff Mackey
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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.