Written by PETA
Yesterday we wrote to Whitefish High School and suggested that it change its name to Sea Kitten High in order to let people know that sea kittens are just as deserving of love as their land-dwelling counterparts. We were so excited to hear back from Jerry House, the Whitefish schools Superintendent. Superintendent House announced that he thinks the change would be a great idea, not just for the high school, but for the whole city!
House suggested that instead of "Sea Kitten," it might be more appropriate to call the city "White Kitten," given Montana's lack of proximity to the ocean. "White Kitten High School, the White Kitten City Council, the White Kitten Fire Department—it has a certain ring to it, don't you think?" We really do think so, Superintendent House, and we love that you can see our point so clearly.
And if you break the law, House warns, "[Y]ou'll be arrested by the White Kitten Police Department, and taken to the White Kitten Jail, where you'll be treated with soft, furry paws and a purr of compassion." Aww … I'm totally moving to Montana.
He even suggested that the new name would bring new business to the town—perhaps the National Federation of Sea Kittens, instead of the outdated National Federation of Fly-Fishers that they're used to? House looks forward to it: "The fur will be flying, and they'll have scratching post exhibits." They'd better get started on that name change, because it looks like they've got some prep work ahead of them. As our new favorite superintendent said, "[W]e're going to have to bring in lots and lots of litter boxes."
Written by Lianne Turner
OK. So I really love The Cosby Show. The deadpan humor, family melodrama, and Bill Cosby's tacky sweaters—how could you not? So when I found out that Bill Cosby will be performing at KFC's upcoming annual Convention Gala, I was heartbroken.
PETA reached out to Bill and let him know that more than 1 billion chickens are raised and slaughtered every year for KFC restaurants. They are drugged and bred to grow so large that many become crippled, and many have their throats cut while they are still conscious. In our undercover investigation of a KFC "Supplier of the Year" slaughterhouse in West Virginia, we documented that workers were ripping off live birds' heads, spitting tobacco into their eyes, spray-painting their faces, and violently stomping on them.
After learning about the cruelty endured by chickens on KFC's factory farms, Bill's rep contacted us and let us know that Bill understands our concerns, but that "unfortunately, it's too late for him to cancel his appearance at the gala" because of his contract. Perhaps after his performance, he'll pass the information we gave him on to KFC executives. Maybe they'll listen to what he has to say!
And if they don't? Well, KFC, now that Bill knows about what goes on at your factory farms, let's just say that I wouldn't expect him at your next gala—unless you improve your slaughter methods to make them more humane for the billion chickens you kill every single year. And after what I'm sure will be a brilliant performance at this year's event, you're really going to be missing out.
Written by Liz Graffeo
Australian wool farmers are very fond of the myth that the mulesing mutilation (cutting the rump flesh off completely conscious lambs) is the most effective way to prevent flystrike, but we know it's only done because it's cheaper than more humane methods of controlling the affliction. These photos, recently taken on a paddock in Victoria, show several sheep suffering from absolute misery, severe neglect and flystrike, despite the fact that some had been mulesed! Yeah. Those farmers sure do care.
Many sheep found on this paddock had such severe cases of flystrike or were so starved or otherwise neglected that they required emergency treatment provided by caring civilians. Some were suffering so badly that they had to be euthanized immediately. Fortunately, an Australian animal rights activist has called for an intervention by the local authorities and has submitted this formal complaint (So far there's been no response yet.)
Australian farmers get away with cutting lambs open and leaving them to be eaten alive by maggots under the pretext of keeping them healthy. Does that sound wrong to anyone else? Please help stop this cruelty by boycotting Australian wool and informing the farmers that mulesing is wrong.
It's no secret that sea kittens stay in their schools far longer than humans do. That's why it struck us as odd that Whitefish High School in Montana has failed to stay up to date with the Sea Kitten Revolution. So we wrote to them, tongue-in-cheek (which is better than hook-through-lip), to ask them to consider changing their name to something a tad more sea kitten–friendly. We can see it now: Sea Kitten High School! The coolest school in the whole country.
In his letter, our Dan Shannon included lots of reasons why sea kitten hunting hurts. "We're hoping that this name change will encourage people young and old to start treating these gentle 'kittens of the sea' with respect—and show them the kindness that they deserve."
Because we know that sea kittens are smart, we thought of a few courses that they might like to take at Sea Kitten High—besides marine biology. For instance, some sea kittens are avid gardeners. They'd love a botany class in which they could learn about cultivating their algae patches! And why not give them a choir class to exercise their vocal talents? Some sea kittens sing to their romantic interests.
Any ideas for a sea kitten curriculum?
Our awesome friends over at PETA Europe have some exciting news! With their help and funding, new skin irritation tests that do not use animals have been successfully validated to replace the use of rabbits completely! This will save thousands of rabbits.
This wonderful news means that animals will not be used in the overwhelming majority of such tests in the future in Europe. The MatTek Corporation announced yesterday that the European Centre for the Validation of Alternative Methods' Scientific Advisory Committee (ESAC) has formally endorsed the scientific validity of the company's Modified EpiDerm Skin Irritation Test as well as L'Oreal's SkinEthic test. I know those are an awful lot of big, impressive words, but it basically means that the big men and women on campus are totally down with these new processes, which do not involve animal testing.
This will allow manufacturers worldwide to use these exciting new non-animal methods. It will also help manufacturers test cosmetic ingredients humanely, which is especially important because animal testing for skin irritation and most other purposes will be banned in Europe as of March 2009. Tens of thousands of rabbits have been used for skin irritation tests each year in the past, but we say, "No more!"
The validation of these tests is an important step in adopting cruelty-free scientific methods that are effective and humane, and PETA Europe should be so proud to have played a part in that. You can read more about this whole situation here.
On another totally not surprising—but totally awful—note, the U.S. still does not accept these tests. We are, of course, writing the new Secretary of Health and Human Services, Tom Daschle, to tell him to get the U.S. to stop stalling!
Written by Christine Doré
I'm pleased to announce that I have a surprise for my family—but first, listen to this: Following our appeal to them, the nationwide chain Dollar Tree has agreed to stop selling glue traps! This decision will spare untold numbers of mice, birds, squirrels, and even house hamsters and other small animals from slow deaths by starvation and dehydration.
Why am I personally so extremely excited? Well, of course, there's the fact that taking glue traps off the shelves will prevent huge amounts of suffering, because animals who become trapped in them often tear off patches of skin or fur in their frantic efforts to escape. Sometimes they even try to chew off their own limbs.
However, this also means that I will now have the perfect place to grab my last-minute stocking-stuffers this year (circa December 23 or 24, which is when I typically start shopping).
I hope my giftees will be as delighted as you all must be. But don't forget that we still need your help to get Lowe's to stop selling glue traps too. Click here to take action.
Written by Sean Conner
This is an awesome year for many reasons (have you seen our slideshow?), and a great one has to be today's victory over cruel animal tests! Today, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) agreed with PETA and ruled that no further animal testing is needed to declare that a natural plant-based sweetener derived from stevia is safe for use in food and drinks. Why is that so great? Well, before today's decision, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) was pushing for more animal tests on the herbal extract, even though it's been widely recognized as safe. I mean, stevia has been used safely for more than 400 years! It's bad enough that it was tested on helpless rats in the first place, but they wanted to test it on even more animals? Come on!
Everyone knows how animals in laboratories suffer, so why would anyone knowingly choose to inflict pain on another creature for the sake of unreliable and cruel animal testing, especially when there are so many cruelty-free alternatives? CSPI tried to say that they needed to test on rats and mice because the rats they used before weren't good models for the substance's toxicity in humans. Hang on, what? That's right, they know that the tests on rats don't work, but they want to repeat the tests on rats and do even more tests on mice. Anyway, the FDA finally did something right and approved the substance without the additional animal tests. Score!
Unfortunately, there is still animal testing going on, and the CSPI is still pushing for more and longer animal tests. You can help by sending a polite letter to CSPI executive director Michael Jacobson asking him to focus CSPI's work on safe and effective non-animal testing methods.
The BBC has announced—in a momentous victory for dogs everywhere—that it will no longer broadcast coverage of the Kennel Club's Crufts dog show. Crufts is the British equivalent of the American Kennel Club's Westminster Dog Show with all the attendant hype and fuss and dogs in crates.
BBC officials have learned that "purebreds" entered into dog shows are genetically predisposed to debilitating diseases caused by generations of inbreeding. And it's all in an attempt to make sure that the dogs who are bred for money are the best "specimens" in town. Kudos to the BBC for taking a stand for dogs!
Apparently USA Network (which broadcasts Westminster Dog Show every February here in the states) hasn't yet gotten the memo that "breedism" is a thing of the past. Remember last year's winner, Uno? As a beagle, Uno has a significantly higher risk of hypothyroidism, demodectic mange, umbilical hernia, epilepsy, eye and eyelid problems, cryptorchidism, hip dysplasia, intervertebral disk disease, and luxating patella. Now what ribbon does that deserve?
Those boots may be made for walkin', but were they made from an animal's sensitive skin? That may be the big question in the minds of travelers shuffling through the Memphis International Airport in the coming months.
In lieu of the nation's financial crunch, the Transportation Security Administration has decided to allow advertising on the shoe/belt/bag bins at security checkpoints in order to bring in extra revenue. Well, you can bet we're already all over this one!
In PETA's letter to the CEO of Memphis International Airport, we are requesting the right to advertise an anti-leather ad (shown below) on the shoe bins. The ad features the photograph of a "missing" calf named Charlie, who was pulled away from his mother, most likely branded without any pain relief, and eventually slaughtered for his meat. And his skin was made into someone's shoes, belt, or jacket—the very same items that get tossed into the bins at security checkpoints.
Airport advertising has the potential to reach gazillions of people, and by placing our ad in such a highly visible location we can help high-flyers get the message that leather kills—and make them think twice about their next purchases. Gorgeous, durable, cruelty-free shoes await their feet. Besides, the production of leather is catastrophic to the environment; planting a carbon offset tree for flight miles won't cover that!
Written by Jennifer Cierlitsky
Wow, it's been a wacky year. We've witnessed Barack Obama make history, cheered on the home team during the Summer Olympics, watched the economy take more surprise turns than a paternity test on Maury, and—oh yeah—achieved loads of important victories for animals. But I digress. Before we "Auld Lang Syne" our way out of 2008, let's stop and take a look-see at the trends we can expect in the coming year. And now (drum roll please), I give you PETA's list of what's in and what's out for 2009:
Written by Amy Elizabeth
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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.