Written by PETA
The ASPCA was founded in 1866 because of overworked horses in New York City. You have to figure that if the ASPCA’s founder, Henry Bergh, were alive today, he would have made damn sure that his group took some enforcement action last weekend, when New York was hit by a major storm that brought bitterly cold temperatures to the city and filled the streets with ice. But the ASPCA of today seems to have pretty much forgotten the city’s horses.
Donny Moss, an enthusiastic young New Yorker who has just made a documentary (Blinders) about the shady, cruel carriage-horse business, was out on the streets last weekend, taking photos and documenting the miserable conditions that the animals were forced to suffer through while their handlers wrapped themselves tight against the biting cold. Have a look at his photos and compare his descriptions to the ASPCA chief’s statement: "Our agent ... does not agree with Donny's opinion of the conditions." Was their agent in the Bahamas, or was he just not looking out the window at the time?
Please take a moment to let Mayor Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Quinn know that you would like them to support the proposed ban on the carriage horse trade, a sleazy cash business that sends the horses to the glue factory after they’ve slipped on the ice, collided with motorized vehicles, collapsed from the blazing heat of summer, or, in one case last year, endured a public beating. This cruel business needs to stop now, whether the “A” (which gets an “F” on this one) chooses to do something about it or not.
Tomorrow afternoon, PETA members will be demonstrating against the horrific cruelty involved in factory-farm egg production at, of all places, a Trappist Monastery. The perpetrators in question are a group of supposedly peace-loving monks who run an operation at Mepkin Abbey in South Carolina that crams 20,000 chickens into tiny wire “battery cages” so small that they barely have room to move. Although Mepkin’s monks don’t grind the male chicks up in macerators themselves—egg farms don’t have any need for male chicks, for obvious reasons—their suppliers do, and this little deal with the devil doesn’t reflect particularly well on them either. In the spirit of Christmas (which is getting ominously close), now’s a really good time for these monks to think about a new way of participating in what they call "the caring cultivation of the Earth and its creatures" that doesn’t involve torturing defenseless animals. I’ll post pictures of the demonstration tomorrow—the protestors will be stationed outside the stores in Charleston and Columbia that sell Mepkin’s eggs—but in the meantime, you can watch footage from our investigation into Mepkin Abbey below.
Zac Posen is a New York fashion designer who still uses fur in his designs, which—pathetic as that is—wouldn’t be worth mentioning right now if it weren’t for the fact that, by a delightful twist of fate, PETA’s New York office has the same phone number that Zac’s mom used to have. Which leads to some pretty amusing conversations.
I got a kick out of that when my friend Michael (who works out of our New York office) told me the story, and I guess The New York Daily News did too, when he told them. You can read their coverage here. Priceless.
A little while back, I wrote about a photo that was leaked from the upcoming Sex and the City movie in which Kim Cattrall’s character, Samantha, gets red paint all over her fur coat—you can’t see the perpetrators of this act in the photo, but they’re presumably a group of angry animal lovers (or possibly a consortium of careless house painters). Well, here’s a little bit more of the inside scoop on that whole situation: Although Kim Cattrall used to wear fur herself, she had a change of heart when she learned how they make the stuff, and she feels very strongly about not appearing to endorse real fur. As soon as they’ve wrapped up work on the new film, she’s made arrangements to ship the coats used for the movie to PETA for us to use in our program to donate discarded furs to the homeless.
Thanks, Kim—we appreciate it. And good luck with the rest of the shoot.
Following a PETA action alert and protests targeting the company, which resulted in thousands of emails to Petsmart Corporate over the last three months, Petsmart has announced that they will no longer sell rabbits in their stores! “At this time,” writes Petsmart (using perhaps my least favorite prepositional phrase ever), “we’re not expanding the test and will not continue to sell dwarf bunnies beyond those already in or planned for our stores.” Given the thousands of rabbits who are abandoned to die in shelters every year, this is big news for bunnies—and for those who care about their well-being.
This doesn’t mean the end of our campaign against Petsmart, which continues to sell other animals like hamsters, rats, fish, lizards, and birds—who are just as prone to suffering at the company’s hands—but it’s an important sign that direct pressure on the company from consumers will make them listen. Petsmart claims that this was purely a business decision (“we failed to meet the business objectives”), which means that we need to continue to go after their bottom line by boycotting their stores—you’d be surprised to see how many “business decisions” turn into “ethical decisions” when a company realizes that consumers are outraged at their practices. A huge thank you to everyone who called or wrote to Petsmart about this issue—if you haven’t already, please take this opportunity to let them know that you appreciate this decision but will continue to boycott their stores until they end all animal sales. Please also ask that they turn the remaining rabbits over to a reputable rabbit placement group which can ensure that they won’t be used as Christmas presents and will go into permanent, responsible homes.
For anyone who's done animal rights protests before, you'll know that—no matter what the issue—the first thing anyone ever asks you is whether your shoes are leather (seriously, the question is almost a reflex for some people—I've heard of people being asked that at naked demonstrations). So it's always a bonus when the demonstration is focused on the treatment of cows in the leather industry—at least then, you can stay on topic.
And this particular topic is an exceptionally gruesome one in India (which, along with China, provides most of the world's leather), as today's protest in Bangalore showed to dramatic effect. The powerful demonstration was staged by a pair of PETA India members (in what appear to be canvas shoes, in case anyone's wondering) and was covered widely in the Indian media. Great work, guys.
As you may have noticed, I’ve been scouring our Holiday-themed ads a little bit recently. There are some real gems in there, but this one kind of jumped out at me. It makes an important point about not buying animals for Christmas, without hitting people over the head with it. Check it out:
I’m not sure that I’ve directly addressed this topic before on this blog, but there have been two events this month that really underscore the importance of having a serious discussion about “no-kill” shelters among animal advocates, so here goes: The first was this article in The LA Daily News, which published statistics showing that more animals die in “no-kill” or “limited-admission” shelters in LA than people think. As the article puts it:
“Over the last five years, the number of animals euthanized in L.A. shelters has been cut in half, from 37,024 to 17,881. But with that gain come trade-offs. Keeping large numbers of unadoptable pets alive means shelters will be more crowded. Animals can't be as closely monitored. Contagious illnesses will spread, and violent animals will more often prey on weaker ones. So while euthanasia rates have gone down, animal deaths from other causes - including illness and attacks - have gone up from 1,462 to 3,312 a year, a 127 percent increase.”
To me, the article addresses what is in many ways a problem of terminology: “No-Kill” sounds pretty great, but it doesn’t mean “No-Suffering” (or “No-Death" for that matter), by a long shot. What it means is that the people running the shelter (though they are often well-intentioned individuals) have made a decision to turn their backs on the animals who may be abandoned and die on the streets because their limited-admission shelters lack room for more, and—as the article shows—allow the animals who are in their shelters to die from overcrowding, disease, or injury instead of humane lethal injection in the arms of caring people.
The second event that brought this topic to mind was the recent release of footage from a PETA undercover investigation into a “no-kill” shelter called All Creatures Great and Small. The investigator, who was there throughout a 7-month period, discovered systematic abuse and neglect of the hundreds of animals kept in filthy, overcrowded cages with no hope of reprieve or release from their suffering. There’s some more information about PETA’s stance on this issue here, and you can watch the video from our investigation below. I know this is a complex and emotional topic, but I thought this was a good opportunity to explain where we stand.
"This is very much a first in the UK. We are the first council to take such a stand and we will be sending out the message loud and clear that York is a foie gras-free zone."
Unfortunately, this doesn't amount to an outright ban on foie gras sales in the city, but it's a hell of a good start. Most of the foie gras in England is imported from France, which has declared the product "part of the cultural and gastronomic patrimony" — a very sophisticated French way of saying "we don't give a crap about anything". The good folks in PETA Europe are working hard to push other cities to follow York's example, so I'll keep you posted on how that goes, and we'll see what the French foie gras producers have to say about their ludicrous "gastronomic patrimony" once compassionate people throughout Europe send their sales plummeting.
Congratulations to York and to everyone who helped to work on this campaign!
I just saw this great story from Time Out New York about which Big Apple residents are currently in our crosshairs. Some, like Ringling, won’t be much of a surprise, but some of the others, well . . . I don’t want to ruin the surprise, so you’ll have to check out the article for yourself. Here's the link again.
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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.