Written by PETA
We have a brand-new investigation of a turkey factory farm, and we wanted to let the investigator introduce it to you himself. See what he has to say, then please check out the video.
The alarm clock on my cell blares out at 1 a.m. I twist in pain. It can't be time to get up yet. I hit the snooze button twice. Finally I roll over and rub my face with my hands, feeling the calloused-over blisters scratching my cheeks. The insides of my eyes and nose hurt from the dust that I could not wash out from the hours I worked yesterday in the barns where turkeys spend their entire lives.
They are crammed into pens, sometimes 600 or 800 to a pen. There are almost 8,000 turkeys in one barn. Each of these turkey farms has two or three barns. The dust inside the barns is sickening. I can’t even go in without a respirator mask. I cough and choke from not being able to breathe. I see the turkeys panting much of the time. I think about grabbing one of them and carrying her outside and putting her in the grass where she could breathe and walk freely. It is so sad that they are reduced to this miserable existence just to make some profit.
There are times when I have to hold back the tears. To see the workers torture these animals is infuriating. Today we are loading a truck with male turkeys who have been bred to weigh 80-plus pounds—the same weight as my 10-year-old cousin. I will spend the next four hours watching men slam them into cages on the back of a semi truck in temperatures near 20°F. I have seen these guys stomp turkeys’ heads on the concrete. The sound of cracking beaks and breaking bones makes me cringe, but I can show no emotion. I am forced to watch in silent pain as these innocent lives are being destroyed.
Turkey factory farms endorse suffering. They sell death. They make money on abuse. They do not want to show people what happens here. Everyone should know what happens here. I have spent two and a half months in hell so that people will know what it means to have a turkey on the table. Watch the video, and show people the truth. Make this world a better place by reducing pain and suffering. And please do not eat turkey this Thanksgiving.
It seems that some circus industry folks—including Feld Entertainment, Ringling's parent company—have donated more than $40,000to certain Chicago aldermen and their respective ward organizations in an apparent attempt to derail efforts to pass an ordinance to prevent some of the worst cruelty that is inflicted on elephantsin circuses. And—what do you know?—a large amount of that money went to the ward organization of the same alderman (*cough* Willie Cochran *cough*) who blocked the vote last week—long enough for Ringling to set up shop in the city.
Now, before our lawyers take a bullhook to me, I should add that there's no absolute proof that these donations are causing these aldermen to have, shall we say, a certain lack of enthusiasm for the ordinance. I'm just saying ….
Y'all do the math, OK?
My favorite bit in this story is this: "Feld spokesman Stephen Payne said he had 'no knowledge of' the campaign contributions." I mean, it's so easy to just lose track of hundreds of dollars, isn't it? Maybe it just slipped through a hole in their pockets.
Of course, anyone familiar with those sterling and upright folks at Feld (and, yes, I'm being sarcastic) won't be at all surprised by this latest apparent indication of their complete and utter lack of scruples. After all, this is a company that hired operatives to infiltrate and spy on PETA and other animal protection groups, illegally recorded conversations, removed confidential documents, and so much other creepy, slimy stuffthat I can't list it all here.
When we sued, Kenneth Feld, chair and CEO of Feld Entertainment, got off the hook by claiming that all the spying was done by his staff, and that he didn't know about it or all the money spent on it. Not a very observant bunch over there, are they? Trust me on this, though—PETA is paying very close attention to Feld, Ringling, and this ordinance.
Written by Jeff Mackey
Here's a rare glimpse into what it's like for an undercover investigator. We would like to give a heartfelt thank you to the two brave individuals who went undercover at this pig factory farm in Iowa (and to undercover investigators everywhere). The investigators hope their experiences will motivate you to make a difference for animals each day in your own way. Here's what they had to say:
What exactly was your reaction when you saw just how badly the animals were really being treated? Did you cry?
Investigator 1: I was horrified and terribly saddened. But I had a good idea of what I was going to see, and I prepared myself for it. … Because it is so critical to conceal my identity and my sympathy for animals while undercover, I [can only] cry on the inside when I see the abuse and the cruelty. I can never let my coworkers see that side of me. Sometimes, I will let out a good cry at home or in my car after a particularly disturbing day.
Investigator 2: There were some nights I would get home and get emotional about the day's events. You have to hold it inside until you get home. If the other employees see you react in an emotional way, it would blow your cover. The people whom I have met working at a hog farm would never get emotional or upset due to the mistreatment of the animals, and so we must act in that same manner.
What toll does it take on you mentally and emotionally? How do you handle working in facilities that abuse animals?
Investigator 1: The job is challenging, both mentally and emotionally. It always helps me tremendously to look at the big picture and focus on the light at the end of the tunnel. Personal sacrifice is almost always necessary to achieve great change. But I take solace in those … moments that I spend, one-on-one, with the animals whom I meet on an assignment. Looking into the sad eyes of a suffering animal motivates me and energizes me to do more. And I realize that my mental and emotional anguish pales in comparison to the suffering and pain this animal is feeling right now. I get to go home after work every day, but the animals never leave.
Investigator 2: It can take a large toll on you. Seeing what happens firsthand day in and day out definitely affects you. There are times during a case when I have had nightmares about it. The only way to really get through it is to always keep in mind that this would all be happening if I was there or not. By being there, I have the opportunity to help stop abuse.
To read all of the questions and answers from the investigators, click here.
Do you think you'd be able to handle being an undercover investigator?
Written by Christine Doré
Change was a hot topic this election, but we all need to remember the millions of animals whose lives will stay the same even though the election is over—unless we all do a lot of hard work. Breeders and pet shops will continue to contribute to the tragedy of dog and cat overpopulation—just to make a profit. We need to work hard to make spaying and neutering affordable and legally mandated in every community across the country. Although the election is over, let's remember to keep fighting the good fight! We must educate others about the importance of spaying and neutering their animal companions and adopting from shelters instead of buying from breeders and pet stores. If we all pitch in, then eventually the tragic but merciful euthanasia of animals for whom no suitable, loving homes exist will no longer be necessary.
To check out the archives of past strips, click here.
Need some brushing up on your ABCs? Animal Birth Control, that is. Now's your chance! Meet Amber, PETA's sexy new student who has a big heart for homeless animals and some hot tricks up her sleeve.
Check out PETA's Striptease Quiz and see if you have the smarts to get 10 out of 10 questions right. You'll be quizzed on everything from the importance of spaying and neutering to the significance of adopting from animal shelters instead of pet shops. If you study hard and get 100 on the quiz, I promise there'll be a reward for you in the end.
After you've aced the quiz (I know you will), fill out the contest form below and you will be entered to win an ABC T-shirt.
It's time once again for my favorite PETA Files feature: our Vivisector of the Month contest. Each and every month, I read up on two of our nation's most vile vivisectors and let you, our dear readers, decide who is the worst by voting.
Let me begin by recognizing Marina Picciotto, whose primate addiction studies and mouse torture won her the undesirable title of Most Vile Vivisector last month. Her competitor was much-derided Allyson Bennett. Congrats, Marina—I'm certain Yale and all of New Haven are glad to have you!
This month, we have another two truly bizarre candidates … just see for yourself.
David Gozal of the Kosair Children's Hospital Research Institute in Louisville has a bit of a problem. He is fascinated by erections—mouse erections, to be exact. He passes his days in the lab getting up close and very personal with little boy-mice, studying their erections and even severing their spinal cords so that they cannot move while experimenters observe their penises.
In his most recent study, "Erectile Dysfunction in a Murine [Mouse] Model of Sleep Apnea," which was funded in part by the federal government, Gozal measured the number of erections and ejaculations in dozens of mice after placing them in a chamber to deprive them of oxygen. Some mice were also given tadalafil, an erectile dysfunction drug. They were then killed by puncturing their hearts with a needle, and their testicles and penises were cut out of their bodies for examination. Gozal concluded that oxygen deprivation makes it more difficult to get an erection and that tadalafil, which is already prescribed (as “Cialis”) for humans with erectile dysfunction, works in mice.
Daniel Traber of the University of Texas Medical Branch Department of Anesthesiology has made a living for almost three decades by burning animals' skin off. In a recent experiment, he either torched mice with a Bunsen burner until more than 40 percent of their bodies was charred or forced them to inhale smoke. A few select mice got the full treatment—they were both burned and forced to inhale smoke. Some died during the experiment, and survivors were subsequently killed.
In another study, Traber heated an aluminum bar to nearly 400 degrees with a Bunsen burner and roasted the skin of live pigs on it for 30 seconds, creating a series of deep burns that covered 15 percent of their bodies. In order to repair the deliberately injured animals, Traber and colleagues then removed skin from the pigs' legs to graft over the areas that had been burned off. After living through all this torture, the pigs were killed. Again, this is only his most recent work—Traber has been burning, mutilating, and killing sheep for years.
Who should win? The Children's Hospital Vivisector or the Bunsen Burninator? As always, let me help you decide by posing a question: Would you rather be molested, stabbed in the heart, and have your genitals torn out, or would you rather be roasted alive over a Bunsen burner, forced to inhale the smell of your burning flesh, and then killed?
It's a burning question, isn't it?
Written by Sean Conner
The extent of Gustav's effect on the Gulf Coast and its animals is still being assessed, but it's clear that in the days preceding the hurricane, officials and citizens took seriously the critical importance of evacuating animals with their guardians. This first-ever joint effort on the part of government officials, animal protection groups, and citizens appears to have worked to a great degree so far!
Up 'til now, animal-related calls to PETA's office have been minimal and swiftly addressed. But now Hanna, Ike, and Josephine are following Gustav. With a dangerous hurricane season in full force, it's crucial to stay vigilant and have a plan ready to ensure the safety of your companion animals in case of an evacuation or other emergency. Our disaster preparedness checklist provides all the information you need to create a safe, effective plan to protect your companion animals.
Please make your plan before it's too late!
Written by Carrie Ann Harris
As more and more people kick their meat addiction, we thought we'd rate the top five vegetarian-friendly rehab centers. More and more celebrities every day are going to rehab—to the point where it's almost become trendy. Hopefully they'll take a note from our blog and check out our list below:
5. The Meadows (Arizona): All about fresh, organic root veggies, tofu, veggie burgers, and vegetarian casseroles, this desert oasis has helped the likes of Kate Moss, Eric Benet, Mike Tyson, Elle McPherson, Tara Palmer-Tompkinson, Paul Gascoigne, Ron Wood, Kerry Katona, Michael Barrymore, and Whitney Houston.
4. Hazelden (Minnesota): Hazelden offers Gardenburgers, veggie chili, veggie riblets, vegetable egg rolls, and sautéed vegetable sandwiches. Calvin Klein and Aaron Sorkin are two of the famous faces who have stayed at this ultra-famous facility.
3. Passages (California): Daily vegetarian and vegan soups and salads, vegetables, fresh fruit, squeezed juice, hummus, tabouleh, pasta primavera, vegetarian lasagne, wild mushroom pasta, vegetarian tacos and burritos, and veggie burgers are just a few of the menu must-haves at Passages, which has catered to Mel Gibson, among other stars.
2. Cottonwood de Tucson (Arizona): Baked rigatoni with spinach, wasabi mashed potatoes with snap peas, veggie pizza, veggie fried rice with spring rolls, portobello mushrooms stuffed with polenta, vegetable tostadas, green corn tostadas, and a daily salad bar are just some of the many vegetarian options that this favorite facility for rockers in recovery have offered to residents like Ron Wood, Geri "Ginger Spice" Halliwell, and Robbie Williams.
1 .Caron Foundation (Pennsylvania): Offering five-star eating for stars including Liza Minnelli, Steven Tyler, and Miss USA Tara Conner, the Carol Foundation is a vegan's paradise. Daily vegetarian options include vegetable pot pies, black-bean patties with pineapple chutney, veggie dogs with vegetarian chili, veggie pita sandwiches, roasted vegetables and tofu bakes, seven-vegetable orzo stew, Jamaican delight over rice (a sweet and sour combo of roasted peppers and tropical fruit), ratatouille and tofu, spinach mushroom pies, veggie arroz rojo with sun-dried tomatoes, tofu tetrazzini, vegetarian paella, three-bean stir-fries, Caesar salad with portobello mushrooms, broccoli-tofu turnovers, vegetarian tacos, tofu stir-fries, vegetarian barbecue, vegetable fajitas, and tofu with peppers, peanuts, and mushrooms. There's also a HUGE salad bar, and soy milk, rice milk, and soy cheese are available upon request.
Written by Amy Elizabeth
Quick: Who wins the cheese, the mouse or the mob boss? Answer: No one wins. In this unusual game of cat and mouse, the cheese is clearly the villain. Just ask reputed Boston Mafia godfather Carmen "The Cheeseman" DiNunzio, who, according to the Boston Herald, has been locked in his home under house arrest since May for his part in an alleged bribe.
It's clear that this "big cheese"—who earned his name after his local cheese shop and who weighs in at a whopping 400 lbs.—has done his time gorging on gouda and snacking on Swiss. Following a request from his doctor, the court will now allow DiNunzio to leave his home for two hours each day so that he can hit the gym and lose the pounds that are putting extra strain on his already bad heart and diabetes.
His doctor recently told the court, "I need him to have at least 30 minutes a day of sustained aerobic exercise. The best exercise he can do is sustained walking allowing for both arm and leg exercise."
OK, I'm confused. Wouldn't a reputed Wise Guy who is under house arrest for allegedly receiving money most likely be able to afford a mail-order Bowflex?
Well, regardless, we say: Hey, Big D! Drop that cheese! And listen up to our little business proposition. Yes, we sent "The Cheeseman" his very own delicious nondairy cheese pizza from Boston's own T.J. Scallywaggle's—recently voted one of the top 10 vegan-friendly pizzerias in the U.S.! We'd tell him to go there, but you know, he's a shut-in.
We suggest that Mr. DiNunzio try stocking his cupboards full of nondairy treats that aren't full of artery-clogging fat and cholesterol, like their dairy counterparts, if he really wants to whack those unhealthy pounds. He certainly has the time to cook up some tomato sauce for that spaghetti, a side of broccoli with garlic, and some pure vegetable minestrone. He will be getting those recipes and a copy of our "Vegetarian Starter Kit." You know, for some leisurely reading?
Written by Jennifer Cierlitsky
When Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast three years ago, thousands of animals were left in death traps from which they couldn't escape. PETA's rescue teams saw them clinging to trees surrounded by toxic floodwaters, swimming madly toward rescuers who were not allowed to save them, and pacing, stranded, and left to die on rooftops and balconies. Some of the luckier animals were rescued by PETA and eventually reunited with their guardians. With Hurricane Gustav having made landfall (the extent of the flooding is not yet certain) near New Orleans, many area residents have vowed not to make the same mistake again and have learned that the only way to protect the entire family during a disaster is to evacuate with their animal companions.
Read the stories below of several families whose animals were rescued by and delivered back to New Orleans by PETA after Hurricane Katrina; these lucky ones have already evacuated to safety with their human families.
Sporty: Sporty's guardian refused to evacuate during Hurricane Katrina because he wouldn't leave his dog behind. As the tragedy unfolded and the levees broke, Sporty's guardian swam for two blocks in toxic waters with Sporty under his arm, only to realize that if he continued to fight the raging waters, neither of them would survive. He retreated, with Sporty, to the attic with food and water for both, and when rescue workers finally came, he was forbidden to take his dog with him. It took this kind, elderly man more than three months to track down his beloved dog, who was being fostered at PETA's Norfolk headquarters. Today, Sporty and his guardian are safe and sound; they have evacuated and are outside the storm's path.
Mary Lou: During Hurricane Katrina, the Estaveses stayed in their St. Bernard Parish home as long as they could before taking the last ferry out, but they were forbidden from taking their animals along. Afterward, they spent several weeks frantically searching for their lost dog before being reunited with Mary Lou, one of the 30+ dogs PETA had brought back to its Virginia office. The family has a plan this time around and has already evacuated to safety—with Mary Lou.
Licorice: Licorice's "mom" was in the hospital with her elderly mother at the time Hurricane Katrina hit, and despite her pleas with rescue workers and government agents, she wasn't allowed to enter her home to retrieve her toy poodle. The toxic floodwaters and the stress of being left to fend for herself had made Licorice quite ill and weak by the time rescue teams finally found her. Licorice was given vet care and fostered by PETA for months before we could track down her anxious human mom. Today, Licorice's guardian wouldn't dream of leaving her behind and has already evacuated the area with her family.
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.