Written by PETA
My buddy Ryan, who is currently on tour with Taste of Chaos for those hard-partying scene-hounds at peta2, was busy getting himself a suntan in Florida on Friday between stops on the tour (seriously, I need Ryan's job), when who should be frolicking on the beach but representatives of KFC's parent company, Yum Brands. Turns out Ryan and his pals had stumbled upon a Yum corporate teambuilding retreat. I wouldn’t think that finding out about how your company is responsible for outrageous, large-scale animal abuse is all that great for morale-building, but Ryan, spunky little hipster that he is, was determined to find out. Here are the pics he sent in:
No, I'm not talking about an NRA convention—I'm referring to this fascinating article that was in The Washington Post the other day about these chimpanzees who have been discovered in the West African savannah fashioning spears that they use to hunt bush babies. It's been sitting in my Inbox for a few days now, because it took me a while to work out exactly how I felt about it. On the one hand, this is yet more incontrovertible proof that animals are intelligent, that they are capable of making plans and carrying them out, and that (this is the important point here) it is therefore imperative that we apply to them the same ethical considerations that we naturally apply to people based on humans' demonstrated ability to consciously experience things and, consequently, to suffer. Which means, like, not eating or wearing them, or—since we're talking about monkeys here—not stuffing them in tubes and pumping them full of drugs until they die.
Of course, the part of the story that makes me a little uncomfortable is the fact that this particular demonstration of self-awareness is a violent one, and one that itself causes suffering. But, despite the added twist of the spears, my response to this is the same as my response to anyone who says, "Why would you care about killing animals yourself when they kill each other in the wild?" (You'd be surprised how often that comes up). The mixed blessing of having a highly developed sense of ethics like humans have (for the most part) is that you still have to act morally towards individuals with a less highly developed sense of ethics—which means babies, people with low IQ's, and, yes, chimps with spears. It's only really a dog-eat-dog world if you're a dog, which is one of the many reasons I don't eat dogs, for instance … or hunt bush babies.
The thing about the truth is that it just never gets old, especially when there's nudity involved. The truth about the chicks raised for KFC is that they're horrifically abused and often scalded alive. The infinitely more palatable truth about these two chicks, who happen to be colleagues of mine, is that they don't have any clothes on. The hope is that the one truth will make the other truth easier to process, and, based on the reactions of some folks in KFC's hometown of Lousiville where this protest took place, it's working like a charm. Be careful not to get the two truths mixed up though—there's absolutely no good reason for boycotting naked chicks.
There are 19 more photos where that came from in The Louisville Courier Journal. The photographer just couldn't stop for some reason ...
So every now and then, we have these meetings at PETA where everyone in my department talks about the new animal-friendly features they have lined up for the website, and we brainstorm a few good ways to promote them on the Internet. The highlight of these meetings is always when my good friend Mylie starts raving about her latest project and we all make fun of her. Mylie, bless her heart, is the kind of girl who brings in, like, lotus nuts and fennel seeds for everyone to snack on at work, and while I haven't been able to substantiate this rumor yet, it's possible that she may have been raised on a commune. Anyway, the point of all this is that Mylie is even more pumped than usual about her new "DIY Vegan Candles" giveaway (yes, apparently not only is there such a thing as a vegan candle, but it's possible to actually construct one yourself somehow … out of soy), so I thought I'd give her feature a little love on the blog. To be fair to Mylie, the giveaway is doing really well so far, and—though I hate myself for saying this—the candles actually look kind of cool. So there you have it—you can enter to win some kickass DIY, 100 percent vegan, soy candles here. If you don't want to do it for the animals, do it for Mylie.
Did you hear about the Georgia truck driver who won half of the $390 million lottery jackpot yesterday? I’m not ashamed to admit that I had a couple of tickets myself, but seeing how I’m still slaving away over my computer, you’re correct in assuming that I’m not the one splitting it with him. There’s always Saturday’s drawing I guess . . .
Anyway, apparently the guy’s not sure what he’s going to do with his new fortune, other than “do a lot of fishing.”
So we wrote him this letter, asking him to consider spending his money in ways that don’t hurt animals. You can check out the whole letter here, and I’ll let you know how he responds.
By now, most people in the country, and certainly everyone in the blogosphere, have heard about the letter we sent Al Gore urging him to face the reality that while the steps he asks people to take in An Inconvenient Truth are certainly important, the most effective way to stop climate change is through diet change. So, for Big Al (oh and by the way, vegetarians weigh, on average, 10 percent less than their meat eating-counterparts … I'm just saying) we want to make the veg thing easy by offering to cook him food and giving him recipes.
The story has been covered all over the world, but my favorite by far is the Fox News piece that starts with “Can Al Gore be a meat-eating environmentalist? PETA says no… and is offering to cook the following meal for the former vice president to prove it!” and goes on to list the vegan recipes we are offering to cook for him. Brit Hume also talked about the issue on his show last night, which is pretty cool too.
Anyway, since this whole thing made the news, we’ve been getting tons of requests for the recipes, so here you go. Have fun!
Fried 'Chicken'(Makes 4 servings)Ingredients:1 tsp. salt1/2 tsp. onion powder1 tsp. pepper1 tsp. garlic powder2 cups unbleached white flour4 Tbsp. nutritional yeast (optional)3 Tbsp. yellow mustard1/2 cup water2 Tbsp. baking powder1 lb. soy chicken (Morningstar farms chicken strips)3 1/2 cups vegetable oilMethod:Mix together the salt, onion powder, pepper, garlic powder, flour, and nutritional yeast in a deep bowl.In a separate bowl, dilute the mustard with 1/2 cup water.Add 1/3 cup of the flour mixture to the mustard mixture and stir. Add the baking powder to the dry flour mixture and mix.Dip chunks of the soy chicken into the mustard batter, then drop each chunk into the flour mixture and coat with the desired amount of "crust."Fry the chunks in hot oil on medium-high heat in a large skillet or deep fryer until crispy and golden brown, turning as needed.Slow-Cooked Collard Greens(Makes 8 servings)Ingredients:4 bunches collard greens4 Tbsp. olive oil4 medium onions4 cloves garlic, minced4 carrots, minced1 1/2 cups vegetable stock2 chipotle peppersSalt, to tasteMethod:Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the onions and the garlic cloves. Sauté until the onions are soft.Add the collard greens, carrots, and vegetable stock. Cook until tender.Season with the salt.Cornbread(Makes 6 to 8 servings)Ingredients6 Tbsp. water2 Tbsp. ground flax seed1 cup all-purpose flour1 cup cornmeal1/4 cup sugar4 tsp. baking powder3/4 tsp. salt1 cup plain soy milk1/4 cup canola oilWalnut halves, optionalMethod:Preheat the oven to 425ºF. Lightly oil an 8-inch square baking dish.Bring the water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add the ground flax seed and reduce the heat to medium-low. Stirring occasionally, simmer for 3 minutes, or until thickened.In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, Florida Crystals, baking powder, and salt.Add the flax seed mixture, soy milk, and canola oil to the flour mixture. Combine just until smooth.Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish and place the walnut halves on top. Bake for 20- 25 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.Creamy Chive Mashed Potatoes(Makes 4 to 5 servings)Ingredients:5 large potatoes, diced1 cup liquid nondairy creamer (try Silk brand)2 Tbsp. margarine1/4 cup fresh chives, choppedSalt and pepper, to tasteMethod:Place the potatoes in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook for 20 minutes.Drain the potatoes, place in a bowl with the remaining ingredients, and mix until smooth.Serve hot.Chicken-less Gravy(Makes 6 to 8 servings)Ingredients:2 cups boiling water2 Tbsp. vegetable oil3 Tbsp. nutritional yeast1 vegetable bouillon cube1/2 cup fresh mushrooms, diced1/2 cup onion, finely choppedOnion salt, to tasteUnbleached all-purpose flourMethod:In a large saucepan, simmer all ingredients except the flour for approximately 5 minutes.Slowly add the flour by tablespoons, whisking after each addition, until the desired thickness is reached.Keep warm.Preparation time: 10 minutesAll-American Apple Pie(Makes 8 servings)Ingredients for the Crust:2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour1 tsp. salt1/4 cup cold water3/4 cup solid vegetable shorteningIngredients for the Filling:1 3/4 lbs. Golden Delicious apples, thinly sliced1 3/4 lbs. Granny Smith apples, thinly sliced3/4 cup sugar1 tsp. fresh lemon juice1/2 tsp. vanilla extract1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon1 Tbsp. unbleached flour3 Tbsp. Earth Balance margarine, diced1 Tbsp. soy milk1 Tbsp. Florida Crystals sugarLarge pinch of ground cinnamonMethod for the Crust:In a bowl, combine the flour and the salt. Mix the water with 1/3 cup of the flour mixture to make a paste. Set aside.With a pastry cutter or a fork, cut the vegetable shortening into the remaining flour mixture until the texture is "pebbly." Add the paste and mix well. Shape into a ball and divide into 2 parts.Lightly flour a clean countertop and rolling pin. Roll 1 portion of the dough at a time. Roll from the center out, lifting the roller at the end of the dough (rather than rolling back and forth). Roll to a 1/8-inch thickness.Have an 8- or 9-inch pie pan ready. The rolled dough should be at least 2 inches larger than your pie pan. Loosen from the rolling surface, fold in half, and place in the center of the pie pan. Unfold and gently work into the pan, pressing lightly. Trim any excess dough with a knife.Method for the Filling:Preheat the oven to 400°F.In a large bowl, combine the apples, sugar, lemon juice, vanilla extract, and cinnamon. Let stand for approximately 15 minutes, or until juices form. Add the flour and mix.To Assemble:Spoon the filling into the bottom crust and dot with margarine.Roll out the second ball of dough to form a 13-inch round circle. Drape over the filling.Seal the top and bottom crust edges together and trim any excess dough, leaving a 1/2-inch overhang. Fold under and crimp decoratively with a greased fork.Brush the pie with the soy milk. Combine the sugar and the cinnamon in a small bowl and sprinkle over the pie.Transfer to a baking sheet and place in the oven.Immediately reduce the temperature to 375°F. Bake for approximately 2 hours, or until the crust is golden brown, the apples are tender, and the filling is thick and bubbling. If the edges are browning too quickly, cover with foil.Serve warm or at room temperature.
And if you’ve read this far, chances are you’d like some more ozone-friendly vegan recipes, so here you go.
I know I was just talking about how cool Simon Cowell is, but he is at it again.
This time he’s got some choice advice for American Idol hopefuls: Be kind to animals. Everyone knows Simon is notoriously harsh when Idol contestants deserve it, but he’s got a big soft spot for animal advocates. Simon opened up on the set of his new PETA ad, which is due out early this summer, saying:
“The people I work with … are all animal lovers. That’s part of the criteria for judging the show, you’ve got to like animals.”
And he applies the same standard to wannabe contestants as well:
“I once had an incident with a guy who auditioned who actually admitted that he likes killing animals. Didn’t go through.”
Considering that Cowell raked in a reported $36 million last year and has been ranked the second-highest-paid person on TV by OK! magazine, it might be wise to heed his suggestion . . .
Have you seen Fast Food Nation yet? If not, the DVD was just released, so you can go rent or buy that jam this weekend.
Just like the book, this film does a great job of getting people thinking about the screwed up process of turning living, breathing animals into a bunch of 99 cent hamburgers. And it’s actually a really good movie too! Not that I’m biased or anything . . .
You can still check out our interviews with the cast and director Richard Linklater here. It's pretty cool to see what they thought of making a movie like this and how it affected them personally.
Anyway, my weekend plans are now complete: Fast Food Nation screening with friends on Friday night, followed by my Willie Nelson party on Saturday. And my friend Joel just got a Wii, so I’m sure I’ll be playing my share of Madden ‘07 this weekend too.
One of the recent perks of being a PETA employee is access to advance chapters of the new book by PETA's globe-trotting VP, Dan Mathews. The book, entitled Committed: A Rabble-Rouser's Memoir, doesn't come out until April, but I've been enjoying the hell out of the little bits and pieces I've been able to coerce Dan into sending me. Here's an excerpt from his account of the inaugural tour of our vegetarian mascot, Chris P. Carrot:
With my feet in his clunky, white shoes, Mr. Carrot stands over seven feet tall. ... He holds a poster that reads “Eat Your Veggies-Not Your Friends” (we thought of going with “Eat Me” but thought again). Completing the ensemble is a pair of fluorescent orange panty hose, which, sadly, wouldn’t stretch to the top of my lanky legs. As PETA's campaigns chief, I don’t ask anybody to do anything I wouldn’t do myself. Since I cooked up this junket, it was my duty to give the flame-colored mascot a test drive in order to work out the kinks for future carrots. My comrade was recently hired campaigner Tracy Reiman, a chipper gal from Georgia, who I was training. On her first business trip, she had to rise at dawn to help her new boss morph into a reject from the land of H.R. Pufnstuf. Tracy also became the carrot’s official spokesperson; the voice I had developed for Chris P. Carrot, a hybrid of John Wayne and Pee Wee Herman, triggered panic-stricken shrieks and projectile tears from second graders, so we decided on the spot that the carrot should be mute. …
Our initial goal was simply to score equal time to tax funded talks in which the U.S. Department of Agriculture beguiles a captive audience of kids about how meat and milk is produced, using carefree materials such as the “Peace & Plenty Farm" coloring book. ... Students are not informed that the animals are kept in such cramped conditions that factory farmers routinely cut off their horns, slice off their beaks, and grind down their teeth to keep them from mutilating each other. When schools refused our offer of a more realistic classroom presentation, we announced that we’d bring the news to kids just off campus, courtesy of PETA’s zany decoy, Chris P. Carrot, whose blazing orange leaflets contained all the grim facts that were omitted from meat trade handouts. The story exploded throughout Cattle Country. For many years I pushed campaigns which appealed to people’s intellect and compassion. But as cable TV and the Internet helped mold an escapist society hungrier for entertainment than education, serious topics began taking a backseat to scandal and sensation, and we at PETA had to dream up flashier ways to vie for people’s attention. … Although I lament the loss of serious public discourse, I’ve easily adjusted to the new rules because I am, at heart, a very silly person.As a chubby adolescent too bashful to undress in the locker room, I couldn’t have predicted that I’d spearhead a campaign called “We’d Rather Go Naked than Wear Fur,” be hauled to jail nude on three continents. Or that I’d conduct business at a skinny-dipping party at the Playboy Mansion. Or that I’d impersonate a priest to crash a fashion show in Milan, don a cow costume to storm a cattleman’s convention in Denver, and argue whether Jesus was a vegetarian in the solemn office of the Archbishop of Turin. I’ve picked up the phone to get an angry earful from Madonna when I spoke out against her bullfighting-themed music videos. I’ve also picked up the phone to hear Sir Paul McCartney insist we take the rest of the day off when we successfully pressured McDonald’s to stop buying meat from slaughterhouses that fail USDA inspection.
There's a pretty fun series of interviews with Dan that's been making the rounds, which you can check out here. For what it's worth, our Legal Department wants me to warn you that (in no particular order) you will explode, your eyes will pop out, and your brain will boil in your head if you watch this, since it may have been put up on YouTube without permission. Enjoy!
When I walked by my boss Ingrid’s office this morning and heard “My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys” blaring, I knew something fishy was going on . . .
Well, toss your cowboy hat in the air, crank up “On The Road Again” and holler yee haw! Willie Nelson (Yes, THE Willie Nelson) and his daughter have been trying to close horse slaughterhouses in Texas for many years, and today their efforts and the efforts of everyone who was fighting right alongside them won out! The US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has ruled that the old law on the Texas books prohibiting the operation of these hideous places is valid—meaning that the two remaining horse slaughterhouse in the state have to close! The only other option the horse butchers have is to try their luck in the Supreme Court, but I really don’t see that happening.
To celebrate, I’m throwing a huge party this weekend, and I just bought “Mama Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Cowboys” to start getting pumped up for the big event.
I just love that Willie and his family have worked so hard to help horses. Thank you, guys!
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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.