Written by PETA
In case you needed another reason to love British funnyman Ricky Gervais, we've got one for you. Ricky was on the David Letterman show last week, and when Letterman asked him what he got for Christmas, he responded that the worst gift he received was "the gift of a goat." He explained that a goat was donated to a family in Africa in his name. Letterman looked puzzled. Gervais continued:
Ricky: They're 50 quid down, I've got nothing, the African family's going, "Not another mouth to feed." It's ridiculous. There's nothing in it for the goat. The goat wakes up in barren land going, "Where am I? A week ago I was gamboling through the Cotswolds in glades and then someone just kidnapped me, put me on a boat, took me to Africa." It's like Roots in reverse. I bet he didn't want to go to Africa. I think the goat had no choice. …
Letterman: There may be another way to look at this, but I accept your point.
Ricky: I can't see one.
Ricky is right! Donating animals is no gift for the animals who are "gifted" (they must forage in a dust bowl where they often can't find water, and they end up tethered and are usually slaughtered!). And it can actually make things worse for the impoverished family that receives them. Luckily, there are great alternatives. Ricky's friend could have donated to Food for Life or The Fruit Tree Planting Foundation instead, both of which support sustainable (and cruelty-free) programs to combat hunger. Take a leaf from Ricky's book, and let the goats continue "gamboling through the Cotswolds in glades" or wherever they belong.
Written by Lianne Turner
This has been a good week for elephants. Here's why: When Ringling rolls into town, it often tries to partner with local businesses to promote the circus and give out tickets for free or at discounted prices (probably because fewer and fewer people actually buy them nowadays). Well, PETA is always right on Ringling's heels, letting sponsors in on the beatings and misery that go on behind the scenes at the circus. This week, after hearing about Ringling's history of cruelty to animals, both D'Agostino, a New York grocery store chain, and Florida's Blood Centers have done the ethical thing by ending their partnerships and severing their ties with Ringling. (Yay!)
Thanks go out to everyone who participated in our action alert and told D'Agostino about elephant abuse in the circus. Your letters made a difference! D'Agostino and Florida's Blood Centers now join Denny's, Liz Claiborne, Lukoil, MasterCard, and Sears, all of which ended their Ringling sponsorships.
Well, Ringling, looks like you really should have taken us up on that offer to buy you an animatronic elephant to replace your live elephants. If you had, maybe people would actually want to support the circus again.
We encourage you to write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper or other media outlet urging your community to boycott animal circuses that might be rolling in the direction of your town. Click here to find media outlets in your area to contact.
Written by Liz Graffeo
Getting shanked in the shower is definitely a worry, but biting into pus-filled poultry? That's cruel and unusual punishment. Just ask the three Vermont men who are seeking $100,000 in damages from ConAgra Foods after reportedly purchasing bad chicken from the prison store at Lee Adjustment Facility in Beattyville, Kentucky. The sickening saga began three years ago when the trio, who were serving their sentences in Kentucky because of overcrowding in Vermont jails, apparently bit into a batch of Banquet chicken filled with pus. Brown-bagging the rank, three-year-old meat to court to serve as exhibit A, one litigant described the diarrhea and weight loss (as well as the harassment by other inmates) that he says resulted from ingesting the foul fowl.
Pusitively gross, right? Well, take heed, because food poisoning caused by putrid poultry isn't confined to prison food. Animals raised for food are intensively confined on disease-ridden factory farms. By the time they reach the slaughterhouse, many are suffering from pneumonia and other chronic illnesses, and some have cancerous lesions or pus-filled wounds all over their bodies. Wait—it gets worse! Pus-coated bird bits often go into a mixture called a "binder," which is used in chicken nuggets, patties, and "buffalo" wings.
And while eating contaminated meat is downright disgusting and dangerous, the real victims here are the chickens who are being knocked off to make these noxious nuggets. I say prisons should pardon chickens and all animals from their menus.
Written by Amy Elizabeth
In 2008, we were wildly impressed with Chicago. The White Sox's U.S. Cingular Field was ranked number five on our Top 10 Vegetarian-Friendly Ballparks list for its vegetarian food selections. Now, Chicago's health commissioner, Dr. Terry Mason, has launched his "Re-Start" campaign, which asks Chicagoans to go vegetarian for January. This year, Mason has decided to go vegetarian permanently in order to lead the way for other Chicago residents to slim down their waists and lower their blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol levels. Well Chicago, you've stepped it up a notch in 2009, and we're impressed!
We could probably all learn something from the Chicagoans (except for, you know, auctioning off senate seats and whatnot).
P.S.: Countdown to the White Sox home opener: 84 days and counting! Any guesses as to what they might add to their long list of vegetarian options?
Remember when we told you about the 140-year-old, 20-pound lobster confined to a tank inside New York restaurant City Crab and Seafood? Well, after initially denying PETA's request to release the ancient crustacean, the good folks at City Crab have had a change of heart and have agreed to send the lucky lobster back home—i.e., into the sea. (Yay!)
City Crab and PETA are hosting a bon voyage event to see off the lobster, who will be sent back to a watery habitat in style. Pretty exciting if you ask me! Next step: ban catching lobsters completely. Lobsters don't deserve to be pulled from their ocean home and kept in tiny tanks in their own waste and then boiled alive.
A huge "thank you" goes out to City Crab for this compassionate decision. To celebrate this victory for lobsters everywhere, I encourage you to try our recipe for mock lobster.
PS If you want to become a "lobster libber" and help liberate lobsters in your hometown, check out our suggestions for how you can get active here.
PPS You know how life sometimes imitates art? Click here to see just how true that really is.
A 5-year-old girl in Thomasville, Georgia, has died of her injuries after she was reportedly attacked by her family's pit bulls while she was playing on a trampoline.
Carol Jones, the executive director of the Thomas County Humane Society, missed the point when she responded to this attack by telling people to "be cautious of their family pets. They can turn on you at any time, and it doesn't matter what kind of dog." It's ridiculous to suggest that people be constantly suspicious of Fido when the real reason for this tragedy can be found elsewhere in the article—the part where it says the dogs attacked the child when they "broke free of their chains."
Leaving dogs chained outside creates a risk of injury for children or anyone else who might wander into the yard. Chained dogs kill more children than do fireworks accidents and falls from trees and playground equipment combined, according to a 2002 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Dogs who spend a lot of time alone or chained are more prone to become aggressive and bite, while dogs who are socialized and enjoy life with their human "pack" are generally protective of their guardians without being a danger to the community.
January is "Unchain a Dog" month. Chained dogs everywhere experience stress and confinement that put them in danger of going mad and attacking someone, and many dogs suffer and die every year during winter's bitter cold and summer's blistering heat. Please make a promise to all dogs who are trapped at the end of a chain in your neighborhood that you will do something—anything—to help them.
Written by Jeff Mackey
One of the animals' greatest friends (and one of my heroes), Chrissie Hynde wants you to be in a new Pretenders video.
Ever the activist, Chrissie has found a way to promote animal rights issues—specifically, what happens to animals who are killed for leather—and promote her new song at the same time. The Pretenders are looking for one lucky fan who also happens to also be an animal lover to appear in the official fan video for their new single, "Boots of Chinese Plastic."
To enter, all you have to do is make a YouTube video for the song and show them your "boots of plastic" while you sing your little heart out. Pretty easy, huh? Click here to get all of the details from the woman, the myth, the legend herself.
How cool is that? Being flown to L.A. to appear in a video, just for spreading the word about animals who are killed for fashion—which is something most of you are doing anyway, right? Not a bad deal. And it's not every day that you get the chance to be in a video with an icon. My only problem with this is that I can't enter. But I'm not bitter … honest. Good luck!
PETA's Lettuce Ladies are on the road again! And this time they're kicking America's poor eating habits to the compost heap.
The lettuce-clad ladies are hittin' the streets to greet folks with delicious and free Tofurky sandwiches. Their goal: to get people to turn over a new leaf and go vegetarian for the new year. Check out these photos from the road:
The Lettuce Ladies don't have to be the only sexy veggies roaming the streets. If you make PETA's 30-Day "Pledge to Be Veg" before the end of the month, we will donate money to a program that plants fruit trees! Now, you can help yourself, the environment, animals, and the hungry just by making one simple change to your diet. That's a pretty sweet deal.
Written by Jennifer Cierlitsky
Yes, you heard right. We're on the prowl for chefs who can make a mean foie gras … but not "mean" as in prepared with the diseased, fatty livers of ducks and geese. No, no, we want to find someone clever to create a delicious cruelty-free delicacy. And we know that there's a chef out there with the capability to create a perfect, humane alternative to foie gras.
So, we're hosting a contest to find one!
For PETA's Fine Faux Foie Gras challenge, the winning chef must create a purely vegetarian foie gras that must be almost indistinguishable in taste and texture from the real thing. The grand prize winner will win a $10,000 prize and two runners-up will each receive $1,000 worth of professional kitchen equipment.
Click here to check out the full rules and to find out how to enter.
Good luck, and bon appétit.
Written by Christine Doré
We were blown away (sorry) by the Kentucky Fried Cruelty demonstration that PETA Asia-Pacific held earlier today. Maybe it's a cultural difference, but in that part of the world, people apparently go into giggling fits over the very idea of blow-up dolls. Go figure!
Anyway, the clever folks at PETA Asia-Pacific, with the help of a posse of, um, inflatable activists, just held a truly "out-there" demonstration in the Patpong red-light district of Bangkok. The scene drew crowds of onlookers, and the live activists gave local residents a mouthful with regard to KFC's cruel treatment of chickens.
While we were a bit amazed by the photos of the demonstration ourselves, we know it will convince some curious people to check out KentuckyFriedCruelty.com. There they can learn about how chickens raised to fill KFC's buckets are drugged and bred to grow much larger than normal, have their throats cut while they are still conscious, and are often scalded alive in defeathering tanks.
Considering the shocking treatment of chickens, I understand why PETA Asia-Pacific would hold a demonstration that nobody could ignore. But maybe that's just me. What do you think? Was this demo a little too much or exactly the kind of attention-getting tactic that chickens need? Post a comment below with your thoughts.
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
an animal, please click
here. If you are reporting an animal in imminent danger and know where to find the
animal and if the abuse is taking place right now, please call your local
police department. If the police are unresponsive, please call PETA
immediately at 757-622-7382 and press 2.
Follow PETA on Twitter!
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.