Written by PETA
Earlier today, I brought you an image of a giant dinosaur attacking DC to help end animal testing. I’m no mind-reader, but I’m fairly confident that the following, word for word, is exactly what went on inside your heads when you saw that picture:
“This is the greatest thing that I have ever seen. Ever. It will be literally impossible for Jack to top this in a subsequent PETA Files entry.”
Well, you were wrong, people. You were wrong. Because, difficult as it may be for you to imagine, there is one thing that's even better than a giant dino rampaging through our Nation’s capital. And we pulled it off yesterday afternoon in Times Square: The first-ever girl/girl shower demonstration. The purpose of the demo was to remind passersby and the media—just in time for Earth Day—that if they’re worried about the environmental devastation caused by wasting water, they should cut it off at the source … by going vegetarian. Just to spell this point out, it takes 5,000 gallons of water to produce just one pound of meat. Which is roughly equivalent to about a full year’s worth of showers (depending on how clean of a person you are).
Now that you’ve patiently sat through the math lesson, here are some pics of two girls and a naked cowboy in a shower. Yup, the naked cowboy himself (who is normally very territorial about his space in Times Square) was gracious enough to hop in with these kickass activists, telling reporters that he was doing it “for the animals — like me.” Glorious.
For reals. The thing is about 25 feet tall, all told, and he’s pretty tough to miss (I did a classic double take when I caught a glimpse of him peering through the window when they were setting up in our parking lot for a dry run last week). This big guy was outside the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services yesterday to remind U.S. government officials that testing on animals is about as progressive as the stone age. Yes, I know that dinos were extinct by the Stone Age, but I would hate to have to explain that to a 25-foot tyrannosaurus. He really does look pretty menacing.
For more info on the campaign that inspired these demonstrations, here’s a recent post about a Paleolithic government entity called ICCVAM, who have been making a royal mess of things for about a decade now.
However, just so everyone is clear on this, there’s reason to believe that this may have been a stunt, and that some parts of this story (such as the starving of the dog) were actually fabricated for the sake of publicity. As this article in The Guardian notes,
“Juanita Bermúdez, director of the Códice Gallery, insisted [the dog] escaped after just one day. She said: ‘It was untied all the time except for the three hours the exhibition lasted and it was fed regularly with dog food [Vargas] himself brought in.’”
Whatever the cruel or weird game that Vargas is playing, if it turns out that he took this animal in and allowed her to go back out on the streets to fend for herself, he still needs to be held accountable for extreme cruelty to animals—but for the time being, the information is pretty patchy.
We’re currently investigating the incident, and I’ll update this blog if we get more information. In the meantime, whether Vargas intended it or not, this whole thing does provide an insight into human nature that will be worth considering once we’re able to look at the big picture: If we can muster up this degree of outrage about one incident of animal suffering, why are we any less horrified by the billions upon billions of similar or worse cases of abuse that we can personally help to prevent?
I’m just going to come out and say this: PETA is offering 1 million dollars (say it in your best Dr. Evil voice) to the first team of scientists that can develop a method to produce commercially viable quantities of in vitro (lab-grown) chicken meat.
The figure was reached by a team of math nerds working in PETA’s basements who have determined that 1 million is actually very close to the number of chickens killed every hour in the United States—so there’s a nice element of symbolism to the offer as well. But symbolism aside—we’re deadly serious about helping to fund developments in this new science, which has the potential to end the suffering of literally billions of animals if a commercially viable lab meat is made available. As PETA President Ingrid Newkirk puts it:
"People are surprised to learn that PETA is interested in lab-grown meat, but we have overcome our own revulsion at flesh-eating to champion a breakthrough that will mean a far kinder world for animals. One million dollars is a lot of money, but it's a small price to pay for something that has the potential to save about 1 million lives every hour."
To qualify for the prize, scientists in the field must be able to produce a quantity of meat that is sufficient to market in at least 10 U.S. states at a price that is competitive with prevailing chicken prices.
There’s plenty more information on our contest page. Once you’ve had a look at it, let me know what you think. I’d love to hear from both vegetarians and meat-eaters—would you eat lab meat?
In an exclusive interview with PETA, Sir Paul McCartney has a lot to say about why eating meat is the worst thing you can do for the environment. I just want to say this one more time, so I can relish the moment: Exclusive. Paul McCartney. Interview. OK, I’m going to shut up now, and let the man talk.
What do you think is the most personal change a person can make in their own lifestyle to help the environment? Some people often think recycling and taking shorter showers is all they need to do. What wouldyou add?
I think the biggest change anyone could make in their own lifestyle would be to become vegetarian. Although this may seem to some like an unusual answer, the Global Meat Industry and the land & water required to service it is one of the major contributors to Global Warming. This surprising fact has emerged in research over the past fewyears. So I would urge everyone to think about taking this simple step to help our precious environment and save it for the children of the future.
What do you think about the fact that most major environmental organizations and the most prominent environmental advocates are omitting vegetarianism from their list of the top ways to help curtail global warming?
I think it's very surprising that most major environmental organisations are leaving the option of going vegetarian off their lists of top ways to curtail global warming. Of course there are many powerful businesses which would wish to resist this idea but it is becoming clearer that a simple change in peoples' lifestyles could make a major difference to our environment. What is interesting is that nowadays it is so easy to become vegetarian and so many people are reducing meat in their diet. That is a simple but extremely effective step that many people could take to help the environment and improve their own health at the same time.
How do you feel about the disappearance of birds, other wild animals and natural places around the globe?
It is such a pity that the wildlife and natural places of this beautiful planet we inhabit are being destroyed by thoughtless industrialization. This scandal can be halted and there are hopeful signs that people are starting to realize that this must be done to secure a brighter future for our children and theirs.
What do you feel is the best step for a person who is concerned about over-fishing, marine pollution and the clear-cutting of the ocean floor by commercial fisheries, to take?
Unfortunately many people seem to think that vegetarians eat fish but this is not so and when you consider the over fishing, the marine pollution and the huge damage to our precious oceans that are caused by commercial fishing it becomes obvious that a vegetarian lifestyle would greatly improve our environment and help to save ouroceans. The surprising thing is that even though many of us, including me, were brought up as traditional meat and fish eaters, it is a simple matter these days and an exciting one to consider changing your diet to a healthier one which not only brings benefits to the person who does it but also to the planet as a whole.
"Morrissey never dined at STK nor did we report that he did, but as a matter of policy, of course, STK welcomes him and vegetarians of all stripes. There's loads of vegetarian options: roasted beet, organic arugula and hearts of romaine salads; nine vegetable options … and on and on."
And as far as the second point is concerned, you can read my dissertation on the subject here.
Morrissey’s rep also very kindly contacted us last night to alert us to the STK statement and point out that the TMZ piece “also erroneously alluded to a disagreement between Morrissey and PETA who remain mutual supporters and admirers.” True dat!
In case you've missed the more-or-less nonstop coverage of the Pope's visit to the U.S., here are some pics from his recent appearance in DC. Some of my colleagues were on hand to remind attendees that being a good Christian means being kind to all beings. Which is a sentiment that Pope Benedict has backed up himself, speaking out very eloquently on the cruelty of factory farms.
First of all, let me say that I’m a big fan of TMZ. They're a hell of a lot of fun to read, and (most importantly), they cover stories about PETA whenever we do something awesome—which is a lot. But a blog they posted today, entitled “PETA - hypocrisy, table for one,” is kind of begging for a response—especially since it raises an issue that causes some confusion even within the animal rights movement. Their theory, if I understand it correctly, is that ethical vegetarians are hypocrites if they even step inside a restaurant that sells meat. I get where the idea is coming from, but it’s so fundamentally opposite to the way we actually need to do things if we want to make progress with animal rights that I feel like I should spell it out here.
As much as we’d like it to, Progress ain’t gonna come if we just sit here and wish with all our hearts that all the steakhouses go out of business. When progress does come, it comes in the form of steakhouses adding a veggie option or two to their menus. And then a couple more. And then, when they see that they’re big sellers, keeping them there, and in the process showing some of their regular customers that there are actually a whole lot of really tasty alternatives to meat. But that’s not going to happen if all the vegetarians in the world turn up their noses and refuse to eat at any restaurants that also sell animal products. Same deal with grocery stores—no one’s doing anyone any favors by refusing to shop at supermarkets that aren’t 100 percent vegan. The smart thing to do is to vote with your dollars, because if businesses don’t even know that there’s a big market for vegetarian options, they’re not going to have a whole lot of incentive for providing them.
One last thing on this—I’ve talked about the positive-reinforcement technique, but for every carrot, there’s also a stick, and that’s why PETA and other animal groups apply pressure to specific companies that are the absolute worst of the worst in the way they treat the animals they use, by calling for an all-out boycott until certain improvements are made. It’s a tried-and-true technique, and we’re going to keep using it. But it doesn’t mean that you should avoid going to a fast-food restaurant with your family and ordering the veggie burger. Because that would just be dumb.
Update: This whole thing started when TMZ reported that Morrissey was seen inside a steakhouse. Turns out they actually misreported it after all. My point still stands though.
Here’s how this works: By neglecting to address the number one cause of global warming, Al Gore—as one of the world’s most prominent environmental advocates—is arguably doing a fair bit of damage to his cause. So if he’s not going to set an example by boycotting the industry that generates 40 percent more greenhouse-gas emissions than all the cars, trucks, ships, and planes in the world combined … well, somebody needs to pick up the slack.
Which is where OffsetAlGore.com comes in. Visitors to the site can learn the full extent of the meat industry’s role in causing global warming, and actually do something to help stem the tide by taking a pledge to go vegetarian for 30 days. That's enough time to prevent the release of more than 270 pounds of carbon dioxide into the Earth's atmosphere, and a more effective way of combating pollution than giving up driving every weekday for the same amount of time. As PETA VP Bruce Friedrich puts it:
"Visitors to OffsetAlGore.com can undo some of the damage that Al Gore is doing to the environment every time he sits down to a steak. Mr. Gore's own addiction to meat is adding to the very crisis he's devoting his life to stopping."
Anyway, check out the site, take the pledge (if you haven’t already), and let me know what you think of the campaign. We’re big admirers of Al Gore’s work here, but it really seems like the guy is doing his own cause a serious disservice by avoiding the single most important issue facing the environment today.
Amy from the VegCooking blog here. It's that time of the year again for The Great American Meatout—the annual grassroots diet education campaign. Supporters worldwide donate a little of their time to educate the public about delicious vegan cuisine by giving speeches, leafleting, providing food samples, and giving cooking demonstrations. This is exactly where I come in.
I'm confident in saying that I am more of a food expert than Jack, who has admitted to making the same meal for dinner every night for months at a time, which is why I'm here to share a Meatout recipe with you. Trust me, you should be happy it's me and not Jack. He would tell you to open a container of store-bought guacamole and just call it a day.
Since the goal of this day is to encourage meat-eaters to kick that nasty habit (and take the pledge to be veg), I think it's the perfect time to feature a faux-meat recipe. Sure, there are many great products you can buy from the store that require little to no preparation (a few good ones to try are the Morningstar Farms Meal Starters, Boca Chik'n Patties, and Tofurky slices), but if you want to put in a little extra effort—which might be all that's needed to convince your loved ones that they, too, can go veg—try this recipe below for mock crab cakes served up on toasted crostini and topped with a little lemon-dill mayo. Yum.
When your loved ones are done eating, and in awe of how fantastic vegan food can be, don't forget to ask them to take the pledge to be veg.
Mock Crab Cakes With Lemon-Dill Mayo
For the Cakes:1/2 cup finely diced onions1/4 cup finely diced carrotsOil for sautéing 2 tsp. minced garlic 2 lbs. firm tofu, crumbled 1 1/2 Tbsp. cornstarch 1/4 cup nutritional yeast 1/8 cup dry white wine 1 Tbsp. salt 1/2 tsp. ground white pepper Juice of 1 lime
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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.