Written by PETA
Tropical Storm Ondoy caused severe flooding in many areas of metropolitan Manila last weekend. While PETA Asia-Pacfic's Manila office survived Ondoy intact and local staffers and their animal companions are safe, the storm caused massive damage.
As many of us remember from Hurricane Katrina, animals are often left in desperate situations after disasters, and PETA Asia-Pacific staffers, along with members of the Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS), have been busy rescuing animals in distress.
PAWS—with which PETA Asia-Pacific works closely year-round on issues such as spaying and neutering and stopping the introduction of greyhound racing to the Philippines—has also opened its shelter as an evacuation center for companion animals affected by the storm.
Tropical Storm Ondoy provides a sobering reminder that we all need to plan ahead to ensure the safety of our animal companions during natural disasters. You can learn more about preparing your companions for storms and other disasters here.
Written by Jeff Mackey
Ground beef is not a completely safe product.—Dr. Jeffrey Bender, food safety expert
Ground beef is not a completely safe product.—Dr. Jeffrey Bender, food safety expert
In a chilling reminder to all meat-eaters, Saturday's New York Times recounted the tragic story of Stephanie Smith, whose meatborne illness almost killed her and left her paralyzed.
Two years ago, Smith was a dance instructor who ate a hamburger contaminated by E. coli bacteria, which happens when feces from cattle comes into contact with their flesh during the slaughter process—something that's hard to avoid when the animals are forced to lie in their own urine and feces in barren feedlots and when they are hacked apart in filthy slaughterhouses.
Stephanie experienced stomach cramping that turned into bloody diarrhea. Then her kidneys shut down. Seizures, which knocked her unconscious, were so frequent that doctors had to force her into a coma. Nine weeks later, she woke up. The virus had ravaged Stephanie's nervous system to the point that she can no longer walk, and doctors believe she will be bound to a wheelchair for the rest of her life.
The name "E. coli" comes from "colon," where E. coli is found. In other words, anything that comes into contact with feces can be contaminated. While raw vegetables can be cross-contaminated with meat or with waste runoff from factory farms, ground beef is the most common source of E. coli poisoning.
Ground beef is usually a mixture of the flesh of many cattle from several slaughterhouses. Stephanie Smith's deadly burger contained "trimmings" from one slaughterhouse in Nebraska that kills 2,600 cattle each day. Other bits of the burger came from a slaughterhouse in Texas that kills discarded dairy cows and old bulls.
According to the Times, there isn't any federal law requiring meat-grinding companies to test for E. coli. Many slaughterhouses put the fear of losing money in recalls before public safety and will only sell to grinders who agree not to do testing.
The company that made Stephanie Smith's burger continues to sell its cheap bits and pieces of dead cattle to supermarkets, fast-food restaurants, and the school lunch program, so if a dose of E. coli doesn't sound appealing, go vegan.
Written by Heather Drennan
While Nike the shoe company is named after Nike the Greek goddess of victory, unfortunately, in dogfighting, there are only losers: Even the victors end up in the grinder at the end of the day. Nike seems to have forgotten that little fact, as the company is reportedly now supplying Michael Vick with "product," although it says it has not signed a promotional contract with the disgraced former dogfighter and current NFL QB.
This begs the question posed in a letter sent by PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk to Nike President and CEO Mark Parker: Why is Nike giving free swag to a guy who admitted laughing when he tossed "family pets" into the ring and watched them get ripped to shreds by trained fighting dogs? Is this a guy you want parading around Philly displaying the Nike swoosh? Unless Nike aspires to corner the bottom-feeding dogfighting market, this plan seems designed to have the company's competitors cheering.
We hope you'll contact Nike, too, and let the company know that if it aspires to alienate anybody and everybody who's ever loved a dog—and to encourage them to change their brand away from Nike—it is sure to be, er, Vick-torious.
Written by Alisa Mullins
On Saturday, dozens of PETA UK members in duck masks descended on the Oxford Street Selfridge's for a flash mob–style protest. The "ducks" converged on the storefront, did a few rounds of the "birdie dance" (affectionately referred to as the "chicken dance" on this side of the pond), and dispersed.
The action was part of PETA UK's campaign against foie gras—and against Selfridge's for its refusal to stop selling the cruelly produced, diseased, fatty liver.
Oh, and they were led by the most adorable duck costume I've seen yet.
Written by Amanda Schinke
Sound the alarm! Yet another emergency services department in California is facing a financial crisis. This time it's the police department in Vallejo. PETA has offered to help by paying the department to run our pro-vegan ad on Vallejo's police cruisers.
Police departments across the country say that their goal is "to serve and protect." If Vallejo police chief Robert Nichelini allows PETA to serve our message to his community, no doubt many residents will make changes to better protect animals, the environment, and their own health.
Written by Karin Bennett
As you may know, we have a little obesity epidemic here in the U.S. There's been some debate over how to handle the problem—parents are getting arrested, schools are issuing fat report cards, billboards are being erected, and even Spider-Man is getting involved.
Now, the Baltimore City Public School System has taken a page from Sir Paul McCartney's playbook in its efforts to fight childhood obesity: "Meatless Mondays." Instead of serving greasy, fat-laden hamburgers and "chicken fingers," school cafeterias in Baltimore will be dishing up fresh, organically grown fruits and veggies and eliminating meat completely every Monday.
For its dedication to providing healthy meals for students, PETA is awarding the school system our Proggy Award. Congratulations, Baltimore public schools!
Meatless Mondays not only provide healthier meals for students but also help protect the environment and save animals' lives. PETA's humane-education division, TeachKind, will be working to implement this program in schools across the country—but remember, you don't have to be in school to incorporate Meatless Mondays into your own life.
Written by Liz Graffeo
British artist Damien Hirst—known for his series of "art" installations featuring dead (and yes, sometimes dissected) animals preserved in formaldehyde—has reportedly hung up his canning supplies in favor of a paintbrush.
Apparently Hirst has spent the last three years painting in a shed behind his house. He says he had to relearn to paint for the first time since he was an art student, and the paintings were, at first, "embarrassing," and he "didn't want anyone to come in."
It looks like reconnecting with art in its pure form, instead of focusing on shock art that exploits animals and treats their bodies as amusements, has made Damien rethink the direction his career has taken. You've got to wonder why the man wasn't as embarrassed by his past work …
Here's hoping that Damien will stick to this new oeuvre.
Written by Amanda Schinke
This one goes out to any stonehearted, selfish so-and-so who still eats veal:
Baby cows are torn from their mothers hours after they're born and then kept weak and immobile in filthy pens for the entirety of their short lives. And if that fails to register your compassion or your disgust, let's try this tidbit: Your next veal meal just might be laced with poison.
That's right—federal charges have been issued against Select Veal Feeds Inc. for allegedly lacing feed with formaldehyde in order to lessen diarrhea and with potassium permanganate to ensure that the anemic calves' flesh appeared even lighter. Wayne Marcho and Select Veal Feeds are expected to plead guilty to misdemeanor charges of misbranding under the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. The company also faces a felony charge for lying to Food and Drug Administration inspectors.
The moral of this story? If you eat veal, not only do you contribute to the suffering of an infant, you also risk eating toxic chemicals that you'd find in a high school chemistry lab.
… from a miserable life under a pile of heavy cinder blocks and plywood?
This makeshift pen was "home" for a sweet 5-month-old mutt named Dollar, who was discovered by a PETA fieldworker in North Carolina.
Our relentless efforts to educate people about the terrible mental and physical suffering endured by backyard dogs—as well as the dangers posed by cruel humans and occasionally other animals—almost always make an impact. Occasionally, the owners agree to bring the dogs inside. Other times, they shrug and hand us the leash.
In this case, our fieldworker was canvassing a North Carolina neighborhood and signing up needy dogs for PETA's spay-and-neuter and doghouse programs when she spotted Dollar's head poking out of his ramshackle "fence." It was a dangerous barricade that possibly could have collapsed and crushed him. Dollar's guardian refused to bring Dollar inside or to let us take him.
Dollar's owner did agree, however, to let us neuter him and to clear the cinder blocks from around his doghouse.
There is no doubt that Dollar's life is better than it was. He's no longer forced to eat and sleep in that feces-littered cinder-block prison that was about to cave in on him. He's also scheduled to receive a in the coming days. But there's also no doubt that Dollar's life, like that of so many other backyard dogs, could still be so much better.
Backyard dogs spend every moment of their lives yearning for a family who loves them and keeps them indoors where it's warm and dry—and you can help them by taking action. If your neighbors keep backyard dogs, talk to them and educate them about the animals' social, physical, and mental needs. Investigate chaining laws and shelter requirements in your area, and work with legislators to strengthen the laws. Our information about anti-chaining ordinances can help.
Fall is here, and winter is right around the corner. Make a decision to be a person who refuses to give backyard dogs the cold shoulder.
Many of you have been writing to and calling the University of California–Irvine to demand that it stop using animals in horrible classroom experiments, and your efforts have paid off. The university has just announced that it's ending deadly procedures using rats and replacing them with sophisticated computer simulations.
In the cruel neuroscience experiments conducted at the university, undergrads were drilling holes into rats' skulls, damaging their brains with chemicals, and forcing them to perform in behavioral experiments to assess the brain damage they inflicted. Then the rats were killed. Following a complaint filed by PETA that included suggestions for non-animal alternatives, as well as thousands of e-mails, letters, and phone calls from our supporters, UC–Irvine conducted a review of the experiment and decided that modern, effective non-animal methods will now be used instead of animals.
Because of this victory, as many as 200 rats will be saved from suffering each year.
This is great news, but animals are still suffering in other labs, so it's no time to rest on our laurels.
Case in point: At Arizona State University (ASU), baby rats are killed in classroom experiments in which students remove the animals' small intestines and uteruses. In other experiments, frogs' brains are destroyed when pins are stuck through their skulls, and rabbits have holes cut into their chests and are injected with various drugs before being killed.
Please take a moment to contact ASU and urge the school to follow the example of UC–Irvine by putting an end to the use of animals in classroom laboratories once and for all.
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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.