Written by PETA
OK, this one's from a few years ago, but these things are so damn popular that I thought I'd post it. A little context—this is the letter that PETA Vice President Bruce Friedrich sent to Michael in 2004 to ask him to reconsider his anti-animal stance. The sad truth is that Bruce’s decidedly less sensational letter never received any attention at all—least of all from Michael Moore, who refused even to acknowledge receipt. But it's a cracking good letter, nonetheless. You can check it out here.
Sorry Canadians. I know I'm a day late on this one, but hopefully you'll forgive me since I'm bringing you this amazing shot of PETA activists Lucas Soloway and Andree Silcok, after they snuck into Montreal's Canada Day Parade yesterday. They look like they’re having a blast, and check out the people in the crowd; they can't take their eyes off of them. Oh, and in case you’re wondering, I think the guy talking to them is asking if there is room inside the banner for him too . . .
The coolest thing about this picture is that despite not having permission beforehand, the two were allowed to complete the whole parade, reminding thousands of Canadians that it's time to stop the cruel seal hunt.
Way to go Lucas and Andree!
For those that want to get in on PETA Europe's annual Running of the Nudes festivities but can't make the trip to Pamplona, Spain, here is the next best thing to being there. PETA Europe is holding a contest to give away 10 of these cool pens featuring supermodel Annamarie Lytle, along with a signed poster.
OK, so the pens look pretty cool, eh? Well they're even cooler in person, because when you flip them upside down, Lytle is wearing nothing more than plastic bull horns and the traditional red scarf they wear in Pamplona . . . Man, is it getting hot in here or is it just me?
You can enter the contest here, and for more information on bullfights, which is where the bulls that are run through the streets of Pamplona wind up, click here.
Much as it pains me to pamper the egos of those too-cool-for-school scene queens over at peta2, I was really impressed with this interview that my friend Dan (who runs the show in PETA’s Youth Outreach division) just did with MTV Canada. I’ve been trying to get on MTV since I dreamed of auditioning for MTV’s The Grind in the early '90s (if you haven’t heard of that show, don’t worry about it. You’re better off.), but it looks like I’m going to have to settle for living vicariously through Dan’s achievement. Watch how he reels off hip bands like he’s Carson Daly or something. You can click the screenshot below to watch the video on MTV’s site. Enjoy!
According to its website, the Telly Awards “ . . . is the premiere award honoring outstanding local, regional, and cable TV commercials and programs, as well as the finest video and film productions” so we are thrilled to have won three “Tellies” this year.
Each of the following spots took the bronze in the Public Service category:
Country music icon Loretta Lynn donated her classic song “I Wanna Be Free” for this PSA reminding everyone that "Life on a chain is no life at all."
John McEnroe—winner of three Wimbledon singles victories and four U.S. Open singles championships—offered his famous voice to push spaying and neutering in a humorous play on his famous temper.
The third winner takes a decidedly more somber tack. This ad is shot from the point of view of a dog stranded in flood waters in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, and pleads “Have a plan. Save your pet."
A big shout out goes to PETA’s Communications and A/V departments for making these, and the rest of our PSAs, happen. Congrats guys.
There is little in life I hate more than being scooped by the hipper-than-thou scenesters over at the peta2 blog, or “blizzy,” as they call it. But, it happened here in a big way, and I’m man enough to admit it. They reported on the PB&J Campaign, oh, like a month ago, but it’s so cool I wanted to give it a shout out here too.
I love the PB&J Campaign’s mission statement. So simple and to the point: "The PB&J Campaign is working to combat environmental destruction and improve animal welfare by reducing the amount of animal products people eat. The PB&J Campaign approaches positive change one meal at a time by illuminating the differences one single dining decision can make."
What's the best reason of all to make a PB&J instead of, oh, say, a chicken breast? As their Web site states: "Saving water, fighting global warming, and preserving habitat are all great reasons to have a PB&J for lunch, but, if you like animals, there's the added benefit of not killing them. It takes about 16 PB&J sandwiches to save a chicken's life, for example."
To read more, check out their Web site here.
Our media maid got a call yesterday from ING, you know, the bench people. They called to ask us—ever so nicely—to remove their logo and the ad we made with Ingrid Newkirk sitting on a bench with a cat looking up at her in the style of their iconic “Life’s Easier on the Bench” ads from the web. We’re all a bit sad to take it down, as we still get a lot of positive remarks about it, but alas, down it shall come.
When I asked Ingrid if this turn of events would sway her from her staunch support of the ING/Renault Formula 1 team, she was adamant that “it most certainly will not” and admonished me for even thinking such a thing. She said the “very polite lad” from ING was complimentary of our work, and that the company will actually consider sponsoring our doghouse and SNIP programs. With beloved dogs in many car commercials these days, and a duck working out investments for another company, that would fit perfectly.
And of course it doesn’t hurt that among the drivers she roots for are Renault/ING’s Giancarlo Fisichella (who she once let take her taxi in the rain) and Heikki Kovalainen, who recorded the difficult pronunciation of his name for her website, and that she still fantasizes about running off to Magny-Cours to change tires for a living once this whole animal rights thing is taken care of.
OK, I had to admit that I had my doubts when I heard the first rumblings about a giant “fish quilt” we were making to raise awareness about the fact that fish are intelligent, intriguing animals who feel pain just as all other animals do and that they don’t deserve to be violently killed for food, painfully hooked for “sport,” or cruelly confined in aquariums. But now that I see the finished product, I have to admit that it’s pretty cool.
Each square was handmade for the quilt by PETA members and supporters across the country. Some people also submitted stories about why they no longer support cruelty to fish, including the following:
The giant fish quilt is now on a nationwide tour a la the aids quilt, so keep your eye out for it. Click here to see the full quilt. Here’s a shot from its opening display in Manhattan last week.
Check out Jeff Corriveau’s unique take on the story about Bulgaria’s last three dancing bears being released to a sanctuary in this week’s DeFlocked comic.
Unfortunately, there is no punch line; I am not kidding. The reporter thought this was a fine example of Romney’s “emotion-free crisis management” style, but who knows. Here's what PETA’s president, Ingrid Newkirk said to an enquiring press:
“First, as a charity we can’t and don’t endorse or oppose any candidate for public office, but I can say (and not just as a person who grew up with an Irish Setter!) that any individual who does something like that may have what scientists term the absence of the mirror neuron, i.e., a pin-pointable absence in the brain of the characteristic which allows the individual to feel basic compassion. The implications are frightening. Anyone who suspects that they are not able to feel empathy for others needs to be aware of the existence of this condition. What is also worrying is that Mr. Romney seems to hold the very old fashioned idea that he needs to actively show he is heartless, hence the hunting claims he has made. Not subsistence hunting, but pride in killing defenseless animals for sport, for fun, for show. In the case of the dog on the roof of the car, if this is true, quite remarkably it obviously wasn't for show as only his own children were watching, a lesson in cruelty that was also wrong for them to witness. There was also the obviousness of the situation. Thinking of the wind, the weather, the speed, the vulnerability, the isolation on the roof, it is commonsense that any dog who’s under extreme stress might show that stress by losing control of his bowels: that alone should have been sufficient indication that the dog was, basically, being tortured. If you wouldn’t strap your child to the roof of your car, you have no business doing that to the family dog! I don't know who would find that acceptable. Mr. Romney needs to tell the world he realizes this was not humane. People do stupid things and one day realize it, so better late than never."
Thanks to Ana Marie Cox, founder of Wonkette, now Time.com’s Washington Editor, for noticing the story on Boston.com and jumping on it.
I’m pretty excited about this one, as it’s the first time PETA is dipping its toe into Second Life. On July 12, we’re teaming up with cruelty-free designer Stella McCartney to co-host an event on a specially created island in the virtual world. Visitors to the island—which is inspired by the English countryside, with stables, picnic tables, and a Linda McCartney veggie burger stand—will be able to show support for PETA in virtual terms. All visitors will receive a bunch of cool anti-fur gear for their Second Life character to wear; you can donate money in Linden dollars, the community's currency, which PETA will be able to exchange for real U.S. dollars, and you’ll be able to dress your character in a sweet T-shirt with the slogan "I'd rather be pixilated than wear fur."
And check this out; there are real-world prizes to be won as well. We’re holding a competition on the island from July 12 - July 19 for a new PETA slogan based around the iconic tag line, "I'd rather go naked than wear fur." Prizes include two tickets to McCartney's spring 2008 show in Paris, one of the designer's Appaloosa bags and her entire Care skin care line.
For those of you already on Second Life, I’d be glad to email you when the island goes live. Just send me an email so I have your address.
Even though I work here, I didn't quite realize the full extent of the glory in store for the winner of PETA's World's Sexiest Vegetarian title. But Kevin Eubanks—this year's “Sexy Veg” co-winner with the stunning Carrie Underwood—learned exactly how prestigious his new title was last night, when Jay Leno and two dancing vegetables presented him with a lovely sash and tiara on The Tonight Show. And in case you're wondering—no, it does not get better than that.
Here's what Kevin told us when we informed him of his victory: "I'd like to thank everyone who voted for me. I hope this encourages people to eat better and to remember that animals are our friends and a key to a better environment. Not to mention, it's just cool!"
I totally understand that it must suck to be 25 years old and have the best years of your life well behind you, and I do realize she probably gets lonely at home between her stints in rehab, but somehow I just don’t think Britney Spears should be responsible for the care of another living thing. Seems to me she’s got enough on her plate just getting herself out of bed in the morning . . .
OK ladies and gentlemen, congratulations are in order. The votes are in and following an impressive week-long rally by Jay Leno, Tonight Show band leader Kevin Eubanks has been voted PETA’s World’s Sexiest Vegetarian man for 2007, while American Idol superstar Carrie Underwood has been voted World's Sexiest Vegetarian woman.
Well over 100,000 ballots were cast, and the other finalists include Milo Ventimiglia, Joaquin Phoenix, Kristen Bell, Bryce Dallas Howard, Jared Leto, TV Guide columnist Michael Ausiello and Maggie Q.
I’m sure Leno couldn't be happier about Eubanks' win. He mentioned the contest several times during the past week and said that he stopped by to vote for Eubanks, noting that he wanted Kevin to win to bring honor to the Tonight Show stage. And Tonight Show viewers logged on in large numbers, pushing Eubanks ahead of his competitors. I’m not saying Eubanks wouldn’t be up there in the rankings without it, but Leno’s repeated stump speeches had to have given him an edge. Leno even brought out some rather revealing shots from Kevin’s past to get viewers excited . . .
Previous winners, in case you’re keeping score, include Prince, Natalie Portman, Shania Twain, Chris Martin, Andre 3000, Tobey Maguire, Josh Hartnett, Alicia Silverstone, and Lauren Bush.
Congrats Carrie and Kevin, from all of us at PETA. And Jay, how about a segment with both winners on the show?
So now that you know that I love Wimbledon—and Amelie Mauresmo—more than is healthy for any man, I guess you know what I’ll be doing this weekend. And one of the high points for me is always the fact that John McEnroe is the commentator. The guy had an amazing career as a player and now brings perfect balance and a nice edge to his coverage of the genteel sport of tennis. It’s just plain fun to listen to the man.
And in case you haven’t seen it, McEnroe starred in this amazing spay/neuter PSA for us. I think he’s perfect in it.
So yeah, don’t call me on Sunday afternoon. I’ll be watching my girl Amelie kick ass and listening to McEnroe talk about it.
As the Michael Moore juggernaut continues unabated, I thought it might be nice to take a quick breather and check out some of the amazing work that PETA India has been doing this week, which, because it's not quite so sensational, probably won't be getting the attention it deserves. Animal Rahat is a program that works closely with PETA India to bring relief to working bullocks, donkeys, ponies, and horses in India by giving them the rest, drinking water, and veterinary care that they so desperately need.
The sad situation for most working animals in India is that the people who use them simply can't afford to ever give them a day off, let alone veterinary care, and the reports and pictures that we get from India about these animals' lives and deaths are heartbreaking.
Which is why it's always so great to get photos like these, from the team at Animal Rahat, who spent last weekend fixing water troughs in a local square near their facilities.
If you'd like to sponsor a working donkey, buffalo, bullock, or pony in India through Animal Rahat, you can learn more here.
First of all, if you know Michael Moore, you know he can take it. Seriously. The guy is not going to cry himself to sleep because we offered him some diet advice. For anyone who has seen a Michael Moore documentary or read one of his books, you'll know that he doesn't pull punches when it comes to issues he's passionate about, or miss an opportunity to take a potshot at those he disagrees with. Compared with the letters Michael Moore writes (see, for instance, this letter he wrote to the president), Ingrid's letter was incredibly polite.
Secondly, I should probably provide a little context to our own relationship with Michael Moore—which goes back a long way. We've written to him several times over the years, starting back in the days of Roger & Me with ever-so-polite appeals to embrace animal rights. We don't hold it against him, but the only response we ever got from him was when his people showed up outside the PETA building with a donkey, two goats, two sheep, a rabbit, a chicken, three dogs, a fish in a bowl(!), a guinea pig, two gerbils, and a rat in a cage "wearing" offensive signs, like “You are wasting your lives.” He arranged to haul these animals out on a hot day to taunt hard-working people just to get a cheap laugh for his show. In addition to that little stunt, whose real victims didn’t even have the luxury of understanding what was happening to them, Michael Moore has made comments throughout his career glorifying meat-eating and hunting, and mocking people who care about animals. Now, neither I nor any of my colleagues take those comments personally—we dish it out, and we can take it. But, like I said, so can Michael Moore.
Michael Moore has never responded with anything but sneering to PETA's requests that he address animal protection issues in one of his documentaries, but we're not giving up hope. And, even if he ignores this particular attempt to reach him in his own style—playful and provocative at the same time—we hope that some of the people who hear about this story will get the message: A vegetarian diet is the compassionate choice, it's the healthy choice, and it's the right choice—for us and for animals. I'm glad that this letter has given us the opportunity to say that again.
P.S. Judging from some of the comments I read yesterday, I should probably also point out for a few people that “elephant in the room” is an expression that means “an important issue that people are avoiding.” Not, like, an actual pachyderm in someone’s living space. Like this one.
We’ve been getting a lot of questions on this since the European Parliament voted on it this week, so I thought I’d clear the air a bit.
I realize that it’s going to come as a huge shock to some but PETA is completely opposed to the ban. Obviously, the cruelty involved in the slaughter of dogs and cats is beyond hideous and has to be stopped, but we feel like this “ban” is really nothing more than a feel-good measure that is likely to harm more animals than it would help.
First off, the entire point of the proposed legislation, as it states very clearly, is to protect the fur industry. The language in the proposed legislation couldn’t be more clear on this fact: The bill is intended to and would in fact “facilitate the placing on the market of fur and fur products from species other than cats and dogs and prevent disturbance on the international market for fur and fur products in general.”
Even more insane to me is the fact that the proposed legislation would do absolutely nothing to actually stop the trade in dog and cat fur in Europe, since it would exempt fur from dogs and cats who have been killed for any other purpose, including meat. Millions of dogs and cats are killed for their meat and fur in China, where we did an investigation and found horrendous cruelty.
Our concerns really boil down to the fact that the ban will help the fur trade by giving consumers a false sense of security that it is safe to buy fur because they’ll believe it isn’t from dogs and cats. In the United States and other countries, similar bans on dog and cat fur simply haven’t worked; dog and cat fur is still sold, but it is relabelled as fur from other species. A ban like this won’t work any better than self-regulation, which, in the fur trade, means no regulation. The ban’s only practical effect will be to promote the acceptance of fur from other species of animals, including canine and feline species such as coyotes and lynx, who are just as abused as dogs and cats in the fur trade.
Essentially, this legislation will just grease the wheels of the fur industry so it can kill millions of animals for their skins while assuring consumers that none of them is like their family pets. And of course, it’s just as messed up to skin minks or foxes alive and wear their fur as it is to skin dogs or cats alive for their fur.
I hope this helps make our position a bit more clear. Where do you stand? Comments much appreciated.
I don’t know about you, but I always get a little bristly when my “almost” vegetarian friends tell me that they “only eat fish.” Of course, I totally believe that nobody is perfect, myself included, and that every small step people take to help animals is important. I just don’t understand how fish got so removed from the compassion radar that some people actually call themselves vegetarians while scarfing down tuna melts?
Anyway, my point here is that everything I read about fish intelligence and sentience just blows me away. And this story from the UK put a smile on my face. It’s just kind of nice to see the plight of our piscine friends finally being taken seriously . . .
… apart from the fact that most of them are reprehensible hedonists who care more about living the high life than living a good life—though they probably knew that already. Turns out that foie gras is a carrier for a rare but exceptionally nasty little disease called amyloidosis, which is akin to Mad Cow disease—another little gift from the meat industry to its buying public. You can read more about the discovery here, though as far as I'm concerned, the only reasons that anyone could possibly need to boycott this particular “delicacy” are right here:
In other foie gras news, my good friend Noah, who works for a group called Central Texas Animal Defense, has been very busy this month helping restaurants in his hometown of Austin get the foie gras off their menus for good. You can read about his efforts here.
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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.