Written by PETA
Lantos has said that his traumatizing experience in the Holocaust, during which his family was killed and he spent time in a forced labor camp, gave him and his wife Annette an understanding of what it means to be victimized for no other reason than being different from others, and inspired them both to devote their lives to working on behalf of the oppressed and the downtrodden. At PETA, we are profoundly indebted to Tom Lantos for his insistence that oppression should be fought wherever it exists, not just where it’s convenient, and we will always remember the important work that he did to help animals with gratitude and admiration.
Tom Lantos will be deeply missed here at PETA, both by those of us who knew him personally, and by those of us, like me, who have been inspired by his example. Even as we mourn his loss, we celebrate his amazing work for all beings.
You may have heard of Safeway. They are the second-largest grocery chain in North America. Which makes our latest breakthrough with the company (which has been six years in the making) a huge victory for animals. Safeway executives have just confirmed to us that they are initiating a new animal welfare plan that will make them, along with Whole Foods, one of the grocery industry leaders with regard to animal welfare. The company has agreed to encourage all of their egg suppliers to ban battery cages, implement a purchasing preference for pork that was produced without cruel gestation crates, and favor poultry suppliers that use controlled-atmosphere killing (the least cruel method of slaughter) instead of electric stun baths and throat-slitting.
As usual with these announcements, this is wonderful news because it means that one of the biggest, most influential corporations in the world is listening to the public’s concerns about animal suffering and making significant changes that will directly affect millions of animals—as well as fundamentally changing the way an entire industry does business. It does not mean that we’re all going to pat ourselves on the backs, pack up our desks, and go home. We still have a long way to go before animals stop being tortured and killed because (for instance) people have a preference for a certain kind of breakfast food, but this is a big step in the right direction, and we’re extremely grateful to everyone who helped us during the years of negotiations, the multiple shareholder resolutions, and the action alerts encouraging Safeway to take animal issues seriously.
Thanks to Safeway for making this compassionate decision, and to everyone who worked so hard to make it happen. Now back to work.
There was yet another carriage-horse fatality in New York today. How many more horses have to die before New York realizes that this industry has no place in a civilized city? The following is PETA’s official statement on the incident.
PETA has just learned that a horse used to pull carriages in New York City died this afternoon at the Clinton Park Stables. Unconfirmed reports indicate that the horse died of colic, which causes severe abdominal pain. PETA is investigating the circumstances of the horse’s death and reminds New Yorkers as well as tourists that these horses should be in pastures, not locked in dark, damp stalls in warehouse buildings. We renew our call to New Yorkers to help put an end to this inhumane and unsafe industry and to support City Council Member Tony Avella’s proposal to ban horse-drawn carriages in the city.
Literally. Mississippi state representative W.T. Mayhall Jr. has been all over the news recently after introducing a provocative bill that would bar Mississippi restaurants from serving obese people. I’ll refrain from commenting on whether such a bill would be a good idea, but if they are going to consider such things, we have a suggestion for an amendment: instead of royally pissing everybody off by refusing to serve overweight people altogether, PETA is proposing that restaurants be required to serve only healthy vegan meals to consumers who are struggling with their weight. As PETA Vice President Bruce Friedrich says, "Vegan meals like hearty vegetable casseroles, bean burritos, and pasta with mushrooms, tomatoes, and green peppers not only are satisfying but will slim you right down too." You can read our letter to the state rep here.
We’ve been trying to get designer Donna Karan to watch some footage of exactly what happens to the animals killed for her fur coats for a long time now—and yesterday, a brave PETA member who was up in New York for fashion week made sure that happened, with a little help from some soy lattes: Dressed to the nines and carrying a tray of coffees, she marched up to Donna Karan’s apartment and was welcomed inside without any questions, and offered a seat in the living room. When Donna Karan returned home, my friend pulled out the mini DVD player she had in her bag and cued up the fur farm footage, prompting the following exchange:
DK: I can't watch this now. I have somewhere to be . . . I just really don't have the time. PETA: Yes, but you’ve promised twice that you would stop using fur and you keep bringing it back. Everyone’s so disappointed. You have to know that this isn’t right.DK: I've seen all these videos, but for me it's just purses and accessories. PETA: But for me and millions of other people, these are animals. They suffer terribly as they are electrocuted, gassed and skinned alive for their pelts.
…and so on, until Donna decided enough was enough and escorted my friend out of the house. Pissed off as she was, hopefully this has at least planted the seed in her head that it’s time to stop supporting the horrific abuses of the fur industry. But if that doesn’t work, we’ve got a few more tricks up our sleeve:
The New York Post featured this story on their front page today. You can read their coverage here.
Call me a hopeless dreamer, but I really thought we were going to get a bit of a break from hearing news about professional athletes taking part in vicious blood sports. The latest is that New York Mets all-star Pedro Martinez was videotaped taking part in a cockfighting event in the Dominican Republic. Cockfighting is still legal in the Dominican Republic, so Pedro wasn’t actually breaking any laws, but there’s a reason that it’s illegal in this country: It’s a hideously cruel, barbaric practice that’s nothing short of torture for the animals involved. I know the guy has a reputation for being a headhunter, but this is taking it a bit far, don’t you think? The damage is done now, sadly, but we’re asking Pedro Martinez and Hall of Famer Juan Marichal (who was also present at the event) to take part in our ”Developing Empathy For Animals” training seminar, which Michael Vick voluntarily attended after being charged, so hopefully some good will come of it. We’re also calling on the league to offer animal-sensitivity training for MLB players.
You can read our letter to Pedro Martinez here, and there’s a great post on the story by Deadspin’s Rick Chandler here.
Earlier today, we launched the latest and (IMHO) greatest installment of the new video series for our Animal Birth Control Campaign. Just in time for the American Kennel Club-sponsored Westminster Dog Show, this one makes a few telling points about the folks who run the AKC—a group which discourages spay/neuter legislation and bills aimed at protecting pets from abuse as part of its agenda to cash in on the animal-breeding business, while millions of homeless animals die in shelters and on the streets. I love this video.
That’s right. It’s officially the Year of the Rat today, and in honor of the new year’s murine mascots, PETA is asking people to, um, be a bit nicer to them. For regular folk, doing that could be as simple as looking into humane options for dealing with rats who may end up in their home. And for people like the executives at Mars Candy, it would probably mean discontinuing those experiments where they torture and kill the little guys. This recent demonstration outside a Mars factory in Chicago helped to drive that point home (at the expense of some completely frozen protesters):
Meanwhile, the folks in PETA Asia Pacific have been busy as hell bringing in the New Year with demonstrations aimed at encouraging people to stop buying glue traps. You can see some pics from those demos here.
So, a very happy Year of the Rat to everyone! Hopefully it’ll be a good year for rats, too. It’s about time they caught a break.
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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.