Written by PETA
Anjelica Huston has decades of experience on the set, tracing back to watching her father, John, filming during her childhood. Given her experiences with animals on the set, we were excited when she sat down with us to discuss the abuses endured by great apes used in film, television, and advertising.
U.S. Department of Agriculture inspectors have documented that chimpanzees and orangutans were denied even minimal "environmental enrichment" and veterinary care in times of illness. And undercover investigations have shown that trainers beat and scream at great apes in order to force them to perform dumb, confusing tricks, take after take, under the burning arc lights.
Chimpanzees can live to be 60 years old and orangutans can live to be 50, but they grow too strong to be handled around age 8. That's when, useless to the industry, most are dumped in roadside hellholes, where they can live in barren cages, languishing amid their own waste or sold for use in experiments. There is no Hollywood actors' retirement home for them. You can see Anjelica's video about this business here:
Anjelica also spoke with us after the filming of the video, telling us how she grew so passionate about this issue, and why the abuse of great apes will never happen on her set:
I think without question that [when] one forcibly takes small simians, small apes away from their parents at [a young] age … and manipulating them into some sort of fake response for the amusement of humans or indeed human children—it's a very bad ethic. … I remember seeing this terribly sad, lonely elephant in Bath, England, at the zoo in the pouring rain with nothing but a football for companionship, and thinking, "No child on Earth would want to see that. No child on Earth who understands the predicament of this animal could possibly approve it."
Check out the b-roll from the video shoot here:
Thanks, Anjelica, from us and from them!
Written by Sean Conner
Regular readers know that mulesing is a process whereby sheep farmers in Australia turn lambs upside-down and cut off the skin and flesh on their rumps with a pair of gardening shears and without any pain relief. Now there are reports that Australian Wool Innovation (AWI), in response to PETA's campaign to end mulesing, has developed another new mulesing alternative, but being hopeful of progress by AWI is something that makes me nervous to no end.
This alternative is an injection that smoothes out the animals' skin (when it's all full of folds, maggots can hatch and eat the sheep alive). The injection is not perfect—the animals are still stressed out from being handled—but it seems relatively painless, which is a huge step forward in embracing the concept that less pain doesn't equal no pain).
We won't break out the champagne yet. In 2004, AWI agreed to end mulesing by 2010, but they've been dragging their heels disgracefully. Then they developed a different (but still very painful) type of skin-removal technique called "clip mulesing," in which big clips are clamped onto lambs' bottoms so tightly that the flesh dies and falls off, and called it "humane." Rotting, dying skin. Ewe.
So we raised a ruckus in the clothing retail industry, causing companies like H&M, Perry Ellis, and Adidas to reject all wool from mulesed lambs (including those mulesed using the hideous clips).
The injection, however, just might be a most-welcome forward movement for all those Aussie lambs.
Written by Matt Prescott
Did you hear? Dave Freeman, the author of 100 Things to Do Before You Die, has died, just like that, at 47! He fell and hit his head. Honestly!
It just goes to show that you have NO idea how long you've got. And to keep the cheery theme alive, consider all the people who have become paralyzed by falling off their mountain bikes, etc.
You can't lock yourself in your room, and even if you did, you could be hit by a chunk of toilet ice falling out of a plane and through your roof, struck by lightening as you took a shower, or … well, you get it. Life is fleeting. In fact, that's been a theme of mine for a while. In Making Kind Choices, I wrote about how amazing it would be to have a wristwatch that would tell you not what time it is now but how much time you had left so that you could know what's important to cram in. You'd look at it and see "40 days, 3 hours, and 2 minutes," and you'd think, "OMG! Better get a move on!"
So ask yourself: Are you putting off asking that special person for a date, telling your friend you are sorry for some remark that ended your friendship, or, most importantly … buying vegan groceries? Wouldn't you rather die than have your last meal on Earth cause animals fear, pain, and death?
Oh, and Dave Freeman took this stuff seriously (yes, he didn't fully "get it," seeing as how he went to Pamplona and ran with—shouldn't that be "against"?—the bulls), so he had made a will. Now some of his leftovers, including some useful money, will go to a children's charity. Good for him! Please follow his lead and put a charity—may I suggest PETA?—in your will, too, or else the state rather than animals will benefit from your death (and you know they'll only use the money to buy something stupid).
Written by Ingrid Newkirk
Now that the Olympics are over, it's impossible to turn on the TV or open the newspaper without seeing something about the Democratic National Convention. What's going to happen, what's going to be said, who's going to be there …
Well, we'll tell you who's there—the PETA pigs, that's who!
Our pigs don't have anything to say about any of the candidates, of course—they're tackling a global issue: meat!
The pigs—who are circling around the convention center and picking up passengers in their cherry red convertible—are calling for a federal excise tax on meat. (Look out for them next week as they cruise around the Republican National Convention!) Why? Well, there's a "sin" tax on cigarettes, alcohol, and gasoline. Why shouldn't there be one on meat, which is bad for both your health and the environment?
Our Senior VP Dan Mathews (who, as we know, is fond of wearing costumes) is among the protesters. He sums up the reason our pigs are calling for a 10-cents-per-pound tax: "The impact of the meat trade is as devastating to our health as the tobacco and alcohol industries put together—and even more so to the environment. Slapping a tax on meat would save countless lives—and not just those of animals."
Check out our pigs below—and if you're concerned about the health and environmental consequences of eating meat, check out GoVeg.com for a free copy of PETA's "Vegetarian Starter Kit"!
Written by Amanda Schinke
OK, ever since we mentioned our proposal to take over a SeaWorld and turn it into a virtual-reality marine-mammal theme park, some people have been a bit, well, skeptical.
Obviously, these folks aren't familiar with PETA and our unique blend of determination and outside-the-box thinking. Long story short: Never say "never" to PETA people (and that includes our wonderful members and supporters).
Anyone who doubts that we are serious—and, really, we're a little hurt, Sea World PR man—might want to check out a new animal-friendly show touring the U.S. called "Walking With Dinosaurs." It features enormous "live" dinosaurs roaring and stomping around the arena, chasing each other, foraging, and protecting their young. Imagine a life-size T. rex towering over you. Using animatronics, lighting, and sound effects, the show is thrilling family-packed audiences.
Unlike the animals currently trapped at SeaWorld, these robotic Barneys voluntarily put on an amazing 90-minute show. Machines don't get bored and anxious between performances or miss their "natural" environment, but marine mammals—who would naturally swim hundreds of miles per day, eat a diverse diet, and form complex relationships—spend their lives swimming in listless, lonely circles.
If they can already do all that with fake dinosaurs, then our SeaWorld overhaul should be a piece of cake (or maybe a cupcake), right? Like one of those aquarium screensavers—and if you're jonesing for an aquarium, that's the way to go—taken to the extreme. It's win-win: The animals are free to do their thing, and you don't go home smelling like chlorine.
Written by Jeff Mackey
People of all different backgrounds, ethnicities, races, and religions have discovered that vegetarian food tastes delicious and is good for our bodies, the environment, animals, and … yes, our souls!
Take South Los Angeles, for instance—not exactly the veggie mecca of the world. But this inner-city community heavily populated by African-Americans has seen a rise in the number of black-owned and -operated vegetarian restaurants. Owners say that the threat of obesity and other diet-linked health ailments is motivating local black residents to search for healthy options and alternatives to animal products. Restaurants like Vegan Village Café, Stuff I Eat, and Rahel's are catering to the growing interest in plant-based food.
It still might be a while before vegetarianism takes over the world, but the addition of so many new vegetarian restaurants is definitely helping! And stars like Russell Simmons, Erykah Badu, and PETA's "Sexiest Vegetarian" winner Kevin Eubanks are urging African-Americans and everyone else to choose a cruelty-free, healthy meal that won't harm the body or any other living creature.
In fact, many African-American celebrities have recently teamed up with PETA to combat the fast-food industry's attack on African-Americans. Oscar-winning actor Forest Whitaker, basketball legend John Salley, civil rights leader The Rev. Al Sharpton, and many more are part of this important movement. Check it out here, and watch John Salley's vegetarian testimonial below:
Written by Jennifer Cierlitsky
I'm having a hard time typing this with a straight face, but scientists at the University of Vienna have recently released a study claiming that, in the words of a news article, "living with humans has taught dogs morals." Apparently, the researchers attribute dogs' sense of "fairness" to their contact with humans.
Are they drinking from their lab-bench pipettes again? I mean, don't you always think of dogs as exemplifying the finest attributes we look for in humans? Loyalty, love, and—of course—fairness … aren't these qualities we can all learn from dogs? With all the human injustices—the wars, rapes, pillaging, cutting other people off in traffic, etc.—it seems a bit grandiose to claim that dogs learned their sense of fairness from us.
Consider this news story from Argentina: A 14-year-old girl abandoned her newborn baby outdoors, in winter, in the middle of the night. When the baby was found, she was being kept safe and warm—not by the human being who left her to die or by any other human but by a dog.
The dog, China, was keeping the baby girl safe among her own puppies and, perhaps seeing that she was weirdly hairless, had even covered her with a rag! Authorities theorize that China found the baby outdoors and carried her back inside. If not for China, the baby would have died unprotected against the cold outside.
So let me get this straight—who should learn from whom here?
Last month, PETA broke the news about barbaric U.S. Army trauma training exercises that were being conducted at a base camp in Hawaii, in which pigs were shot with high-powered rifles. Local Army officials there are standing by their false claims that these exercises are necessary to provide soldiers with the skill to treat trauma victims on the battlefield, even though it seems to us these exercises broke Army regulations by not using available alternatives to the primitive use of animals.
I guess we can sleep well knowing that if a soldier loses his tail during a raid, some well-trained fellow soldiers, thanks to this training, may be able to reattach the necessary posterior appendage.
Given the U.S. Army's apparent outright disregard for their own regulations and the treatment of these animals, PETA is now asking commanding officers at bases in Hawaii and Texas—where a more recent training exercise included breaking and amputating the legs of nearly 1,000 goats with tree trimmers—for a court martial over the shooting, mutilating, and killing of animals during these old-fashioned training exercises.
According to the Army's own regulations, the Army is required to use alternatives to animals in training exercises when scientifically valid and comparable alternatives exist. And they do! The animal exercise should have been replaced with validated, state-of-the-art simulators, such as the Department of Defense's own Combat Trauma Patient Simulator, which more realistically simulates battlefield conditions and, consequently, is considered superior to outdated animal methods. Other viable alternatives include Dr. Emad Aboud's "living" cadaver perfusion model, Simulab Corporation's TraumaMan system, and establishing military level one trauma centers in nearby communities in order to have trainees work with the community to take care of their city's population.
Kathy Guillermo, director of PETA's Laboratory Investigations Department, says, "The Army has regulations in place specifically to prevent this kind of cruelty to animals, but the oversight committee apparently chose to ignore them. Our soldiers deserve to be trained using the most advanced technology available—that means using human simulators."
The U.S. Army does not train soldiers to race into battle zones to retrieve injured pigs, goats, or dogs. That would be great, but let's face it: It's not the government's main agenda. Time, money, and resources could be far better spent.
We all know exactly how disastrous racing can be for the horses who are whipped and drugged for entertainment. Well, the scandal doesn't stop at the Kentucky Derby—it goes all the way up to the Olympics.
That's right—four horses forced to compete in the Olympics have tested positive, and have subsequently been banned, for the drug capsaicin. Capsaicin is banned because, in the words of one article, "it is derived from the chilli pepper and is used for either medication, as a pain-killer, or for its hypersensitizing properties. In both cases a horse might jump better as a result of its use." Of course, when you mask pain and overuse a limb, the repercussions can be bone-shatteringly bad.
The four horses banned were competing in team show jumping. Their riders have also been banned from participating in individual events—and if more horses are found to have been drugged, the Olympic medals may be shifted around. Of course, this wouldn't be the first Olympics where horse-dopers have been stripped of their medals—Germany lost the gold in Athens for the same crime.
People will be shocked to hear of this scandal—and for good reason. If horses are subjected to this kind of mistreatment at the highest level of the "sport," maybe "sport" isn't the right place for these beautiful, sensitive animals. Horses should not be drugged up and run into the ground by greedy people for money or for medals, even if it means abusing animals whose athleticism wins the gold. Oh, and did you see any of the close-ups, with the horses' heads being yanked all the way to their chests and up again, their eyes almost popping out of their heads as they were jerked around? Nice.
News from Germany this week, where Gana, a gorilla in the Muenster Zoo, has been raising her baby boy, Claudio. This past weekend, Claudio suddenly died, possibly from a heart defect.
Heartbroken, Gana kept carrying her dead baby on her back as she had when he was alive, looking back again and again in the hope of finding him recovered. She held her child up, desperately searching for signs of movement in his limp body, and sat cradling him.
Zoo visitors were visibly moved and many cried upon seeing Gana's grief. But no one who has been paying attention to animals should be surprised by the depth of emotion that Gana showed in her mourning. Animals feel pain, fear, anger, love, and grief. Mother cows bellow for their calves, who are taken away so that humans can drink the milk that they make solely to nourish their babies. Dogs, beavers, and monkeys take pity on orphaned animals and adopt them as their own. Animals—from pigs to porpoises—show concern for humans, too, by going to great lengths to rescue us from peril.
Yet people often look away from this glaring evidence of sentience. By convincing themselves that animals don't feel deeply—that they're "not like us"—humans have justified inflicting all kinds of horrors on animals. But if people torturing primates in laboratories or slaughtering gorillas in the Congo could look into Gana's shattered heart, they might wake up to the true cost of their actions.
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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.