Written by PETA
Embarrassing as it is to get scooped by the peta2 blog on a story, this news is way too exciting to pass up. After negotiations with PETA, PepsiCo (the multibillion-dollar parent company of the Pepsi-Cola, Frito-Lay, Tropicana, Quaker Oats, and Gatorade brands) has pledged to end all animal testing. The company's official statement on the topic is just about as progressive as it gets—both a powerful endorsement of alternatives to animal testing and a strong warning to other companies that they need to embrace these alternatives if they want to survive in the marketplace:
“PepsiCo does not do any animal testing and does not directly fund testing using animals. … Where testing on animals is not required, PepsiCo strongly endorses efficient and effective research that does not include the use of animals. We will encourage our partners to use alternatives to animal testing and share this statement with organizations we believe to be involved in projects potentially involving animal research done on behalf of PepsiCo or with PepsiCo or PepsiCo Foundation funding.”
It goes without saying that this is a big step forward. For some more detailed information on the topic, you can check out PETA's PepsiCo victory feature here. And if all this good news puts you in the mood for some witty banter about vegan cupcakes and dreamy rock stars, you should check out the peta2 blog.
First of all, Happy third day of Be Kind to Animals week! I hope your week has been as jam-packed with compassion for animals as mine has (mental note: don't ever say that again). In case you're casting about for some easy ways to help animals that will fit into your schedule, one great thing you can do is write to your legislators about pending bills that will affect animals in your area. The good news is that PETA keeps track of all these bills, and can keep you informed about what's going on and what it all means through our Activist Network, which you can sign up for here.
Conveniently enough, if you live in California, you can get started right away. The particular bill that's pending right now is a singularly unpleasant piece of legislation that seeks to undo an act that made it illegal in the state of California to sell kangaroo skin. As you might imagine, nobody bothered to ask the kangaroos how they felt about this bill, and various interests that stand to profit from their suffering—including the California Chamber of Commerce—are making an effort to push this one through. You can learn more by clicking here, and you can help out by using the form to write to the Chamber of Commerce about the bill, and the contact information provided to let the senator responsible for this bill know why it's such a lousy idea. For anyone who's not convinced that this bill needs to be firmly defeated, here's a short video (warning: this one's really graphic).
What do you do when you have more naked activists than life-size, cellophane-wrapped meat trays? Double up. At least that was how they handled it at Princeton University yesterday, to striking effect. The demonstration, which was a joint protest organized by PETA and the Princeton Animal Welfare Society to draw attention to the suffering of animals used by the meat industry, got two different front page stories in the Daily Princetonian, including this one, about a follow-up presentation given by Dan Mathews to explain in a bit more detail why PETA does these kinds of demonstration instead of just putting on a suit and tie and pointing out the various inadequacies in the Humane Methods of Livestock Slaughter Act. (The short answer, by the way, is that we do both, but people don't always show up for the latter presentation.) Anyway, here are some pics:
So the Marketing Department just had our weekly meeting a couple of hours ago, and, as often happens, we got to reminiscing about some of PETA's old marketing initiatives. The conversation went a little like this:
Tracy: What ever happened to that "Say No to Pot (roast)" feature we used to have? That was so funny!Joel: Um, I made sure that was removed from all of our websites, never to see the light of day again.
I'm reserving judgment—but feel free to decide for yourselves: Was this a good idea?
I hope day 2 of Be Kind to Animals Week is treating you well. This one's a wee bit controversial, but I thought it would be a good time to address the issue of purebred animals, especially given some of the surprising comments I've been seeing from so-called "responsible" breeders on a recent entry about some landmark legislation that's being pushed through in California to help cats and dogs. PETA's position on "responsible" breeding is that there just ain't no such thing, because every animal that a breeder sells means an animal in a shelter who won’t find a home. The harsh reality of the situation is that, with 6 to 8 million animals handled by animal shelters in the United States every year—3 to 4 million of whom won't make it out alive—deliberately breeding cats and dogs is about as irresponsible (and frankly, cruel) as it gets.
Anyway, without getting too preachy here, one great way to celebrate Be Kind to Animals Week is, if you or anyone you know is thinking about getting a pet, be sure to adopt them from a shelter. And if you happen to be running a breeding operation, frickin' stop it.
Here's a link to some more info on the topic. And here's a link (this one kind of dates me) to the only good kind of Breeders. Kim Deal rocks.
My roommate is big into political documentaries at the moment, and this weekend he rented a '93 documentary about Bill Clinton's presidential campaign, called "War Room", which I found myself mesmerized by. Two things really struck me about the film: The first were the similarities between the unorthodox way that campaign was run and the way things work here at PETA—the "no bad ideas" brainstorming sessions, the behind-the-scenes maneuvering for positive media coverage, and the quirky stunts to draw attention to an important issue (Clinton supporters even had a guy in a chicken suit sneak into the republican convention with a sign reading "Poultry Workers for Bush" on one side to fool security and "Chicken Bush Won't Debate" on the other for the TV cameras).
The second thing that really stood out about the movie was the sheer force of personality of James Carville, who brilliantly engineered Clinton's landslide victory over George Bush Part 1 in '92. There's a PETA connection here, too, since James and his wife Mary Matalin—a force to be reckoned with on the other side of the aisle—who met PETA VP Dan Mathews at a recent event in Las Vegas, are going to be hosting a party for Dan's new book, Committed, at their home in Virginia this Thursday. When asked what inspired them to help promote the book, Mary Matalin answered, "Good man, good book, good cause. Let's party!" Couldn't have said it better myself.
You can read more about the story here.
This Sunday, at Churchill Downs racetrack, thousands of spectators gathered to watch the Kentucky Derby, brought to you by KFC parent company Yum! Brands—kind of like a little mini convention for animal abusers, where the horse people and the chicken people could get together and talk torture tactics. A cruelty conference, if you will. Or a suffering summit. OK, I'm done, I promise. But one bright spot in the event came in the form of PETA's Bear, who has been following the Queen everywhere she goes on her U.S. visit to draw attention to the fact that her Guards' regiment wear dead bears on their heads, despite the fact that it is now the 21st century. The bear, as usual, was a big hit, and the pictures from the protest are awesome. Ten points for anyone who can identify the Houston Texans lineman in the bottom pic. Also, check out the great news coverage of the bear's nationwide tour here.
P.S. Don't forget that this week is Be Kind to Animals week. To get things started, you might want to have a look at some of the tips on how to keep your companion animals happy here.
A little bit of star-spotting for you today, this one courtesy of People magazine. The lovely Sienna Miller was photographed this week wearing a stylin’ sweater with an animal rights message. Three of my favorite things in one picture: Seals, Sandwiches, and Sienna. Amazing.
I know, I know. But this comic strip made me laugh out loud. Enjoy!
Thanks to Snaggy and Nitrozac for letting me post the strip!
Some great elephant news on two fronts for you today, as two famous elephants have found new places to live. The first, an elephant named Dulary from the Philadelphia Zoo, has been released to a sanctuary to spend the rest of her life following the zoo's decision to close down its elephant exhibit for good. It's amazing to me to think that before I got involved in animal rights, it never even occurred to me that there was something monumentally screwed up about keeping elephants (who walk up to 30 miles a day in the wild) in tiny enclosures in places like Philadelphia for people to gawk at. Anyway, awesome work The Philadelphia Zoo for figuring that out too. You can read the full story here.
The second elephant to find a home is a beautiful little anti-circus sculpture who goes by the name of "Ella PhantzPeril" (yeah, I know. Kill me.) Ella, a shackled, weeping pachyderm who wears a sign that reads, "Shackles, Bullhooks, Loneliness — All Under the Big Top" has been the subject of a few legal troubles over the past few years, even getting the ACLU involved when DC balked at displaying her as part of a citywide exhibit of elephant and donkey sculptures. Now, after a whole lot of back and forth with the New York City Parks Department, the New York Post has reported that the city has finally agreed to allow her a spot in Union Square Park this summer. So take that, circuses.
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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.