Written by PETA
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.
Check out the gaggle of nearly naked PETA members who converged on the Spanish Embassy in Washington D.C. yesterday in a warm up for PETA UK’s sixth annual Running of the Nudes in Pamplona, Spain, to protest the cruelty of the Running of the Bulls. OK, so I guess this demo is more like the Running of the Almost Nudes since they were all rocking underwear, but still . . .
Of course in the real Running of the Nudes, most of those participants roll buck naked, save for running shoes and the red scarves that are traditionally worn during the bull run. And lots of body hair. Come on, it is in Europe after all.
Here’s the video from last year’s event.
Attention: Only watch this video if you are over 18 and if seeing naked people protesting cruelty to animals is legal where you live (the lawyers made me say that).
Click here if you want to get in on this year’s run in July.
Michael Moore, for those of you not familiar with him, is a fat, bearded dude who makes political documentaries and occasionally angers conservatives. His latest work is a film called SiCKO—which exposes the inadequacies of health care in the U.S. and played to rave reviews at the Cannes Film Festival. It's going into wide release on June 29. Well, PETA's president, Ingrid Newkirk, has a few words of advice for him: As she points out in the letter she sent him this week, the best way to fight the U.S. health care bureaucracy is to take some personal responsibility and make positive changes that will lead to a healthy lifestyle—and there’s no better way to do that than by adopting a vegetarian diet. As Ingrid puts it,
“Although we think that your film could actually help reform America’s sorely inadequate health care system, there’s an elephant in the room, and it is you. With all due respect, no one can help but notice that a weighty health issue is affecting you personally. We’d like to help you fix that. Going vegetarian is an easy and life-saving step that people of all economic backgrounds can take in order to become less reliant on the government’s shoddy healthcare system, and it’s something that you and all Americans can benefit from personally.”
PETA is challenging Michael Moore to reduce his risk of fat-related illnesses by taking PETA's 30-day Veg Pledge. The idea is that if people didn't make themselves unhealthy in the first place by eating meat products that are known to cause heart disease, high blood pressure, and strokes, the situation would easier for everyone. As Ingrid puts it, "Yes, America’s health care system needs to be fixed, but personal responsibility is a big part of why people look and feel as ill as they do." Here's hoping Michael Moore puts his money where his mouth is.
You can read Ingrid's letter to Michael Moore here. I'll let you know how he responds.
Jason Bayless, our Lead Circus Monitor (i.e., the dude whose nerve-wracking job it is to follow Ringling Bros. around everywhere and document their abuse of animals), is about to embark on tour with the circus next week, so we fitted him out with a nice new set of wheels that will let circusgoers know exactly what he's there for. Jason's just going to have to rely on his natural charm if he wants to make friends with any of the Ringling employees during the six-month tour—the van itself isn't exactly designed to ease the longstanding tension between PETA and the circus …
As Scandinavian countries go, Finland is actually pretty awesome. They've got some kickass modernist architecture, the world's finest sauna technology, and—if you're into bands that play Metallica covers on the cello (which, honestly, who isn’t?)—an unbeatable music scene. Unfortunately, Finland also kills more foxes for their fur than almost any other nation, and we'd really, really like for them to go ahead and just stop doing that. Enter the wonderful Pamela Anderson, who's going to be visiting the country for the annual Rauma festival this year (Pam's ancestry is Finnish), and who took the opportunity to raise the issue with Finland's president, Tarja Halonen. You can read Pam's letter here, and I'll keep you posted on Tarja's response. Thank you, Pamela, for everything that you do. Don't forget to bring me back a souvenir.
As promised, here’s this week’s DeFlocked comic by Jeff Corriveau. I love it.
Yeah, that's right. We got a giant bird costume.
For a little bit of context, you should check out our undercover investigation of two PetSmart locations which revealed appalling conditions for the animals sold by the stores. There's also a handy little factsheet here, which explains (for anyone who hasn't figured it out by themselves) why big birds don't belong in small cages. This picture's from a demonstration outside yesterday's PetSmart shareholder meeting in Chicago.
In a fantastic victory for animals, Schumacher Furs suffered quite a blow last year when the downtown Portland store decided to close after years of protests by concerned Portland residents. But, much as I'd love to take credit for the great protests, PETA really didn't have an awful lot to do with them—a fact which had our lawyers more baffled than concerned when ol' Gregg and Linda filed suit against us for more than $2 million in damages. Fortunately for everyone (and as Mr. and Mrs. Schumacher learned the hard way this week), being really sad and grumpy because your unethical business got shut down isn't enough by itself to convince a court of law that someone owes you over $2 million. The claims against PETA were thrown out as being frivolous earlier this week, and Schumacher Furs will, more than likely, be paying PETA's legal fees. As PETA Counsel Bonnie Robson puts it:
“The court's decision is a victory for the First Amendment—and for animals, who must rely on human voices to protest their torture and slaughter for fur. The court did not give in to the fur industry's desire to keep the public in the dark about how animals are turned into fur coats and collars."
Well guys, now that you've failed at making your living through hurting animals and suing charities, what's next on the agenda? I'm not sure I even really want to know.
OK, so a few days ago, I posted this little entry about a video for a song called Mommy Kills Animals. I thought that was going to be the end of it, until I started hearing from my colleagues about a certain “lack of enthusiasm” they had detected in that particular post. Apparently, the music video has made an impression so deep on the employees of this Virginia office that they are willing to turn on their humble blog-writing coworker with an almost insane fury when he fails to recognize its full brilliance. Truth be told, this thing kind of freaked me out, but I wouldn’t be doing my duty as a blogger if I didn’t give the people what they want—so here it is again. Brace yourselves.
And in other completely (and I mean completely) unrelated news, there’s this federal bill up for a vote right now that is about to seriously jeopardize some turtles. If you could take a moment to help by clicking here, I would be very grateful.
Here at PETA, it’s not uncommon for us to get ideas for ads sent to us. In fact, it’s a rare day that we don’t get more good ideas than we can ever use sent our way. But this one really struck me. It’s from Scottish member Kfir Bolotin, and I think it sums up the fur issue pretty well, especially with so many dogs and cats being killed for their fur in places like China . . .
Gianfranco Ferré, one of Italy's most well-known designers, died this weekend of a brain hemorrhage in a Milan hospital at the age of 62. When I heard the news this morning, I knew that PETA VP Dan Mathews—who famously crashed a Ferré fashion show wearing a priest costume and holding a "Thou Shalt Not Kill" sign a few years ago—would have something to say about it. And so he did. This is from the letter of condolence that Dan sent to the company:
“I hope Mr. Ferré’s death is the last death at the company, and that the new design chief eliminates all the dead skin from upcoming collections. I hope that during this sad time of reflection they’ll see more clearly how the fashion house can be creative without being destructive.”
I think that sums things up rather nicely. Sad as it is, I hope the designers at GF Ferré will see this as an opportunity for a fresh start. I’m sure Gianfranco Ferré wasn’t a bad person, despite his inability to see how much suffering he was causing, but that doesn’t mean that his bad habits shouldn’t be buried with him.
One thing I forgot to mention about Ingrid and Pam’s birthday party at Sublime last week was that the real star of the show for everyone setting up the event was “Charlie the Tooth.” Charlie is the boss of Jenny Brown of J. Brown signs, who deserves props for the awesome backdrop, but more importantly, for giving Charlie such a loving home.
If you agree that Charlie is the cutest dog ever, you can join his fan club by sending an email here.
"There's nothing 'peaceful' or 'relaxing' about torturing sensitive, intelligent beings. There are plenty of opportunities for fathers and sons to bond that don't involve killing animals."
You can read the letter that Ingrid wrote to Senator Webb this morning here. I'll let you know if we get a response.
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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.