Written by PETA
But everybody had a good time in the end. Ben Franklin himself—who once suggested that the turkey should be America’s national bird instead of the bald eagle—tried some of the delicious faux turkey sandwiches distributed by PETA’s lettuce ladies at his birthday bash in Philadelphia, and commented that he was the person who first brought tofu to the U.S. Thanks for that, Ben. Seriously. Here are some pics:
PETA President Ingrid Newkirk has been in India for the past couple of weeks on a tour for the Indian version of her book “50 Awesome Ways Kids Can Help Animals.” We’ve been getting daily updates about the demonstrations, rallies, and educational events she’s been attending to fight animal abuse in India, and it’s all been pretty amazing stuff. But this morning’s news was the most interesting yet:
According to India’s national newspaper, The Hindu, Ingrid was arrested last night in Coimbatore for blindfolding the statue of Mahatma Gandhi at Gandhi Park to protest the Indian Supreme Court’s decision to legalize a stupid macho ritual called jalikkattu, in which a crowd of men take turns taunting and abusing a terrified bull, who is forced to drink alcohol and deliberately agitated by having chili peppers rubbed in his eyes before being released into the crowd.
According to the news reports, Ingrid urged children to speak out against jallikattu, arguing that the cruel blood sport was a direct violation of Gandhi’s principles of non-violence. Ingrid described the protest as a symbolic action to close Gandhi’s eyes “towards the horror meted out to animals in the name of jallikattu.”
After detaining her for some hours, Indian police eventually allowed Ingrid to leave the city, and her Indian visit is going ahead as scheduled. I’ll keep you posted …
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After receiving a frantic e-mail that was being circulated by a Purdue student who was desperate to find a home for one of the dogs used in her class, we dug up some extremely disturbing information about Purdue University’s Veterinary Technology Program. As part of this program, catheters are inserted into perfectly healthy dogs, who are killed following the experiment if students are unable to find homes for them.
According to the information we received, the students themselves are burdened with the task of finding homes for the animals used in these unnecessary procedures—and the penalty for failure is death for the dogs. "It became our responsibility to find all 10 of these dogs homes by the end of the semester or else they would be euthanized," wrote the student in her e-mail.
There’s so much wrong with this whole hideous program that it’s difficult to know where to begin, but the most obvious starting point is this: Vet-tech students can easily learn this stuff without hurting healthy animals—so how about making that the new SOP? We contacted Purdue this morning to make exactly that point, and ask the school to perform the procedures only on animals who are living in homes and who will receive a direct medical benefit from them, and to begin working with veterinarians in a clinical setting and with mannequins.
Or, as PETA’s Director of Research puts it,
"Purdue is exploiting these dogs and its students. Dogs aren't test tubes with tails. Holding the threat of death over students' heads is traumatic for the students, and it also means that the dogs could end up in unsuitable homes where they may face even more abuse and neglect."
You can read PETA’s letter to Purdue here.
That’s right, it’s time for another arbitrary assortment of at least tangentially animal-related links that I’m too lazy to write a full post about. Actually, that doesn’t sound very appealing at all. Ladies and gentlemen, a very warm welcome to this week’s Internet Soup—a wild and wacky collection of the latest animal rights news, videos, and photos painstakingly researched by everybody’s favorite PETA blogger* and served up piping hot with a pithy little introduction that’s guaranteed to tantalize and amuse! Here we go:
Hopefully that’ll be enough to tide you over through the weekend, and if you’re in the mood for something a little more arcane, you can always check out my fictional blog—a little slice of the 17th century that my closest friends have described as “completely unreadable.”
And finally, we’re going to be doing a bit of maintenance on the ol’ blog this weekend, so the comments may be down for a little while, but everything will be up and running by Monday. Have a good weekend!
*That’s right, Amy and Karen. I said it.
Hey, I had to use that subject line at some point. Cut me some slack here. The reference is to a fantastic piece by Bill Maher that appeared in yesterday’s Huffington Post, asking George Bush to pardon all the turkeys. Here’s an excerpt:
"I ask you to do what I'm going to do and pardon a turkey this Thanksgiving. It's not hard. Just eat something else (ideas here and here). Not someone else, because it doesn't seem fair to spare a turkey and roast a hunk of pig or cow instead. If we can bow our heads in gratitude for our families, our friends and our big screen TVs, and then carve into a creature who lived a miserable life and died a horrible death, then our ethics are about as sensible as Britney's parenting skills."
You can read the full post here, and be sure to leave a comment telling Bill Maher he’s a badass. Or something more eloquent. In making the case for a vegetarian Thanksgiving, Bill’s piece refers to our investigation into a Butterball factory farm that was a central theme of the recent HBO documentary about PETA, as well as a brand-new PETA investigation into a standard American turkey slaughterhouse, which is required viewing for anyone who is still thinking about cooking a turkey for dinner this Thanksgiving:
Despite some of the morbid rituals that it’s often associated with, Thanksgiving has long been my very favorite holiday, because (unlike its overrated rival, Christmas) you don’t have to buy anybody presents for it. There are also not one, but two football games on Thanksgiving, which gives the day another powerful edge over the more popular December holiday (which is often embarrassingly devoid of sporting events), and its central theme—eating—is simple, but consistently satisfying. So, I put it to you that Thanksgiving is in fact the greatest holiday of all—or it would be, if they could only get over that whole unfortunate turkey thing. For more on that, check out this awesome ad we made a little while back to encourage people to give turkeys a break on Thanksgiving Day.
Which, well, everybody likes a good horror flick, but I prefer to keep my encounters with the macabre entirely fictional, thank you very much. Speaking of segues: Here, ladies and gentlemen, is horror movie legend Robert Zombie with PETA’s Holiday Message:
Mr. Zombie was also kind enough to sign his PETA T-shirt for us to give away on this here blog. So if you’re a Rob Zombie superfan, e-mail me by November 23 to let me know what you like best about the man and his work, and I’ll pick someone to send it to. I'll let you know if you're the lucky winner the week after the Thanksgiving holiday.
You can also click here to read the terms and conditions of this contest, if you like. But don’t expect it to be a particularly exciting experience.
Update: The event was a huge success! Pam dished out plate after plate of the faux turkey, which was a big hit with the guests at the homeless shelter. Check out these exclusive pics:
Pamela Anderson will be spending some time at a homeless shelter in Las Vegas this evening to serve an early Thanksgiving dinner to homeless families in the area. And Pam’s act of charity will also be setting an example for people who want to make Turkey Day a bit kinder on the turkeys, as the dinner she’s serving is 100 percent vegetarian, with Garden Protein’s amazing faux turkey as its centerpiece. All of the veggie turkey (which you can get in any Whole Foods, btw) was donated by the folks at Garden Protein. Here’s what Pam had to say about the event,
"The holiday season can be especially hard for those who find themselves homeless. And it's murder on turkeys. With so many healthy and delicious options nowadays, it's easy to have a holiday meal that gives even turkeys something to be thankful for."
Pam was inspired to host the event after she saw video footage from PETA's recent investigation at a turkey slaughterhouse, which showed workers striking and handling birds so roughly that the animals suffered broken bones. Not to be too much of a downer here since this is a really positive story, but the footage is heartbreaking, and it shows standard practices in turkey slaughterhouses around the country, which should make anyone think twice about eating turkeys this Thanksgiving.
The good news is that there are some wonderful alternatives, and if you’re trying to come up with a menu for your Thanksgiving dinner this year, you could do a whole lot worse than the feast that Pam is serving tonight, including Veggie Stuffed Turkey Roast with wild rice and cranberries donated by Garden Protein, mashed potatoes with veggie gravy, and garlic-braised collards.
I’ll have pictures of the event up later tonight, so be sure to check back!
And if you’re still undecided about whether to have an all-vegetarian Thanksgiving this year, this is the footage from our recent investigation which inspired Pam to host the event.
I’ve gotten a lot of emails since I posted the Young Guns entry asking to see more of the ads that were submitted. We’re going to eventually post them all online, but until then, you just have to trust me when I say that there’s a reason we don’t show you everything that gets sent to us.
Enough said . . . ? Thought so.
Here's something. Today, George W. Bush "pardoned" a pair of turkeys, for whatever misdeeds they've been capable of packed into a filthy, windowless shed throughout their painful little lives. Two birds (out of the approximately 50 million turkeys who will have been killed for Thanksgiving this year) would at least be a start, if it weren't for the fact that the pardoned animals are usually sent to a place called "Frying Pan Park," which is about as unpleasant a retirement home for birds as it sounds. In case that isn't enough of a downer, the turkeys (who are morbidly obese because of the drugs they've been given to make them grow) aren't likely to live for more than a few months after their reprieve without specialized care. This year's lucky turkeys are being sent to Disneyland, to replace the turkeys who died last year shortly after their pardon. As we normally do around this time of year, PETA sent a letter to the president to point some of this stuff out. He hasn't gotten back to us yet, but we did get some good coverage of the story in the media, which you can check out here.
On a lighter note, I've been reading a bunch of stories recently about the increasing number of people who are going to be having themselves a vegetarian Thanksgiving. Fox news has a great article on the topic this week, and Business Week had a big piece on the success of Turtle Island Foods (which makes Tofurky products). The company "is turning a robust profit and expects $10 million in sales in 2006, despite dramatically lowering the cost of Tofurkys over the years." So, while this isn't exactly going to stop me from freaking out about the way turkeys are treated by companies like Butterball, it's pretty damn encouraging.
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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.