Written by PETA
All the way on the other side of the world, the folks at PETA Asia are tireless in their campaigns for animals. We routinely get e-mails from them at midnight their time (and ours) updating us on their newest campaigns and victories. Recently, PETA Asia gathered a group of sexy supermodels to pose in a new ad protesting the large zoo that's on the sixth and seventh floors of a Bangkok department store!
PETA Asia fights for animals throughout a huge region, from protesting vivisection in a Malaysian laboratory and animal fights in Indonesia to weighing in on China's first-ever animal protection laws.
You can keep up with everything these folks are doing by subscribing to the RSS feed for their recently launched "Hot & Sour Scoop" blog.
Written by Jennifer O'Connor
A judge has temporarily ruled that video footage and photographs of the violent killing of SeaWorld trainer Dawn Brancheau by Tilly the killer whale will not be made public. The fight over that will rage on, I'm sure. But the autopsy report has been released today, and it makes it very clear that Dawn Brancheau's last moments were filled with tremendous suffering. Despite massive public relations efforts on SeaWorld's part to smooth over the "incident"—i.e., death by killer whale—by characterizing it as "play" that went a bit wrong, the autopsy shows that Tilly was not in the mood for affection.
The six-page report reveals that Brancheau's left arm and part of her scalp were ripped off. She suffered spinal cord injuries, and her ribs as well as bones in her legs, arms, and face were broken. She had bruises and cuts all over her body. And she drowned.
As PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk states, "These were not love bites, but the vented fury of an angry and frustrated being who has been deprived of everything in life: family, friends, freedom—all for the sake of human profit and a few giggles."
The gory details of Dawn Brancheau's death are further evidence that animals who are deprived of everything that is natural and important to them throughout their entire miserable lives in sea parks, circuses, and zoos around the world will continue to attack and kill people whom they see as having a role in the denial of their freedom and family connections.
Whether by writing, tweeting, picketing, getting creative, or (ideally) doing all of the above and more, please help Tilly and the many other animals who are being held in captivity and deprived of everything that is natural to them. And the most important thing that anyone can do to help imprisoned animals is to refuse to patronize marine or other abusement parks.
Written by Karin Bennett
Sticking up for rats—who are sensitive, intelligent, and nurturing—has always been high on our agenda, although not everyone understands that these dear little mammals are worth caring about … yet.
There is hope, however. For the last 14 months, we've been funding two scientists at the French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA) who are formulating a hybrid species that will make rats less despised. You may remember when we lodged a complaint against the INRA for the glow-in-the-dark rabbit, but sometimes good things come from bad. The rabbit genome is nearly identical to that of the rat, and we have found a way to put this science and experience to good use. Using the same zygote microinjection process (to which we still object!) that was used to create the glow-in-the-dark rabbit, these geneticists can isolate the gene that's responsible for bunnies' cotton-ball tails and then insert it into fertilized rat egg cells. The results are truly phenomenal, producing a genetically engineered rat whom no one will want to harm:
"People are almost certain to be kinder to a tiny mammal with a powder-puff tail," says PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk. "Not only would this pay off in cities that kill these animals with gut-wrenching poisons, it would also make it harder for lab assistants to force-feed toxic chemicals to them or for homeowners to watch them struggle in cruel glue traps."
Rats with a dominant gene for bunny tails can easily be released to breed with wild rodents in New York and other major cities, creating a "rat pack" whose charms no one will be able to resist.
Written by Logan Scherer
Adrian Grenier has a heart to back up those drive-me-crazy (yes, I did just allude to the 1999 Adrian Grenier–Melissa Joan Hart classic) good looks. While out for a run yesterday, the Entourage star stopped when he spotted an injured dog on the side of the road. Grenier checked the dog's vital signs and attempted to revive the animal, then contacted local authorities when he realized it was too late.
Follow Adrian's lead! If you ever see an injured animal—even if you think he or she may be dead—stop and check. Many animals go into shock after they are hit by cars and can end up paralyzed and in pain. If no one stops to help, they may be left to suffer, sometimes for days, before they eventually succumb to their injuries. It only takes a minute of your time to reduce animal suffering.
Two separate attacks on people by angry, frustrated, imprisoned animals over the weekend has this gal wondering: Are zoo prisoners launching a sort of global Attica-style revolt? Let's consider the evidence.
Exhibit A: At Roger Williams Park Zoo in Rhode Island, 20-year-old Griffy, a so-called "towering beast" of a giraffe, head-butted a zookeeper, who luckily managed to stagger out of the enclosure to safety. Zoo officials downplayed the attack, calling it a "playful" accident. Really?
And exhibit B: At the Byculla Zoo in Mumbai, a 55-year-old elephant named Laxmi attacked a man who entered the pen that she shares with another elephant, Anarkali, who is 46. Laxmi is old and ailing, and a month ago she was the subject of an urgent appeal by PETA India, which urged that she be removed from the zoo, where she has been chained and beaten. Anarkali, too, has been abused in this zoo, and PETA India wants the two of them moved to a sanctuary. The man was severely injured when he was removed from the enclosure and was declared dead shortly thereafter.
So tell us: Are animals like Griffy, Laxmi, and Tilly—who were meant to roam or swim for miles but are instead imprisoned in tiny pens or pools—simply being "playful" with zookeepers? Is this behavior uncharacteristic? Or are they revolting against their cruel confinement, their loss of freedom, and the fact that they are deprived of a real life?
I got teary again and again watching Jennie Garth's character, Kelly Taylor, grow up on Beverly Hills, 90210—and I got goose bumps when she mamboed on Dancing With the Stars. But when I learned that Jennie asked MomCentral.com to drop its partnership with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, I cheered so loudly that I woke Frank and Tom from their fifth nap of the day. (Sorry, fellas.)
The mother of three was moved to take action after learning about Ringling's abuse of baby elephants, who are snatched away from their wailing, distraught mothers by trainers who slam the babies to the ground, poke and prod them with bullhooks, and give them electric shocks. Asking the site to sever its ties with Ringling, Jennie wrote, "Because Mom Central is a resource that promotes support for all mothers, I implore you to consider the helpless animals who are forced to surrender their children to a lifetime of isolation and pain."
You don't need to have children to be concerned about the dangerous lesson Ringling teaches its audiences—that it's OK to abuse babies who've been stolen from their mothers. I'll be following Jennie's lead and politely asking MomCentral.com to drop Ringling. Will you join me?
With the passing this week of Robert Culp, captive animals—and the people who care about them—have lost a true advocate and friend.
Although he appeared in dozens of films and television programs, Culp was best known to baby boomers for his work on the TV series I Spy and to the following generation for The Greatest American Hero. His fans may not have known that, off screen, Culp was a genuine hero for captive animals. In 2007, he filed a lawsuit to block construction of a new elephant exhibit at the Los Angeles Zoo, citing allegations that the zoo did not provide elephants sufficient veterinary care, confined them in an inadequate space, and used bullhooks and electric shocks on them. Last year, when a judge ruled against him, Culp filed an appeal.
Taken from their families in the wild, elephants in zoos suffer a life of chronic physical ailments, social deprivation, emotional starvation, and premature death. Lack of exercise and long hours standing on hard surfaces are major contributors to foot infections and arthritis, the leading causes of death among captive elephants. Two elephants who died at the Los Angeles Zoo in recent years, Tara and Gita, suffered from arthritis-related illnesses.
We can each pay tribute to this kind and talented man by carrying forward his efforts to help elephants in zoos.
Written by Jeff Mackey
The cost of keeping wild animals in captivity is always more than the price of admission to a zoo or amusement park. Just ask the woman who lost two of her fingers after trying to feed a caged black bear at a Wisconsin zoo last week. The 47-year-old woman—who was with her 3-year-old granddaughter and boyfriend—had her thumb and forefinger bitten off, and two other fingers were partially severed. The boyfriend was also bitten while trying to pry open the bear's jaw to get the animal to release the woman's hand, but he didn't lose any fingers.
Bears in captivity spend much of their time pacing, walking in tight circles, swaying or rolling their heads, and showing other signs of psychological distress. These behaviors are not just symptoms of boredom—they indicate profound depression caused by being denied everything that is natural and important to them. Bears, like any wild animal, are unpredictable and will try to defend themselves if they feel threatened and are unable to escape—sometimes with serious or deadly consequences.
News of this perilous encounter comes less than two weeks after Tilikum—the imprisoned orca—killed a SeaWorld trainer. It's just further evidence that patrons of zoos or any facilities that display captive animals are not only supporting the mental, physical, and emotional torment of animals, they are risking their own safety as well.
Today, PETA and Zoocheck Canada are officially initiating a lawsuit against the city of Edmonton, Alberta, over the cruel and apparently unlawful conditions under which Lucy, a solitary elephant at the Edmonton Valley Zoo, is forced to live.
Lucy's health issues—which include upper respiratory problems, arthritis, obesity, and chronic foot ailments—are the result of the substandard conditions at Edmonton Valley Zoo and are further aggravated by the region's frigid climate, which is inappropriate for an Asian elephant. Lucy has also been alone for the past two years, spends most of her time in a small barn, and exhibits behavior that indicates severe psychological distress. Even Dr. James Oosterhuis, the Valley Zoo's own consultant, acknowledged that the zoo's indoor facilities fail to meet the industry's minimum standards.
Consultations with experts prove that Lucy's life is at risk in Edmonton. Dr. William Keith Lindsay—a Canadian ecologist who has been actively involved in research on the ecology of elephants with the Amboseli Elephant Research Project in Kenya since 1977—is one of several experts who confirm that Lucy's living conditions are unacceptable. Dr. Lindsay states, "It is abundantly clear that Lucy would benefit greatly from the company of other elephants." Elephants live in close-knit families, and the females spend their entire lives in herds that include all their female relatives. The solitary life that Lucy lives prevents her from taking part in any of the social behaviors that are necessary for maintaining an elephant's health.
Dr. Joyce Poole, an elephant biologist and ethologist who has spent more than 30 years studying elephant social behavior and communication states, "Lucy has spent much of her life standing on concrete in a small barn and doing very little of what an elephant needs [to] do to maintain good physical health and mental well being. The consequence is that she is a young elephant in an old body. This causes her real privation and suffering."
We won't rest until we see Lucy moved to a sanctuary. As we take the city to court, we urge you to take action to help Lucy find the freedom she deserves and to share this information with everyone you know. Keep checking back here for more updates.
Mali, an Asian elephant imprisoned at the Manila Zoo, was only 3 years old when she was torn away from her mother and shipped away to live in captivity.
For more than 30 years, Mali has spent her days alone in a barren enclosure with only a small pool for entertainment and relief from the heat. Mali paces her small area incessantly or stands in one spot with her trunk to the ground. Mali has reportedly walked to the edge of her enclosure, reached out her foot in the hope of going farther, and even after feeling empty space, stepped back and repeated this movement, evidence of her boredom, loneliness, and frustration. In their natural habitats, Asian elephants have homes ranges that are between 25,000 and 60,000 hectares, but the entire Manila Zoo measures only 5.5 hectares. Even if Mali's enclosure were doubled or tripled in size, it would still be completely inadequate.
PETA Asia-Pacific has just released a report that documents Mali's bleak existence. The report includes a letter from Carol Buckley, who has more than 35 years of professional experience in the care and management of Asian elephants and who operates The Elephant Sanctuary—the largest rehabilitation and living center for former captive elephants—where she has offered Mali a permanent home.
If swift action isn't taken to save Mali and the many other animals locked up at the Manila Zoo, they may meet the same fate as Sisi—the orangutan who died of cancer last year at the facility. Please sign PETA Asia Pacific's petition requesting relief for the animals at the Manila Zoo and urge everyone you know to do the same.
you have a general question for PETA and would like a response, please e-mail Info@peta.org. If you need to report cruelty to
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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.