Written by PETA
Turns out we have this great kanga costume, which came in really handy in California on Thursday when our Skins Campaign Coordinator Melissa Karpel and six activists (including Rory Friedman, the author of Skinny Bitch) took to the streets to protest the anti-kangaroo bill SB 880, which seeks to make the sale of kanga skins legal in the state. Seriously, you have to be a real jerk to vote for a bill designed to facilitate kangaroo skinning. The incredible hulk certainly seems to think so, at any rate …
Thanks to James over at The Daily Veg for sending in these pics. For more information about what hens have to go through so that people can have eggs for breakfast, click here.
Have you heard about former fashion writer Peter Braunstein, who has been accused of sexually assaulting a co-worker, and plotting to kill inamous fur hag Vogue editor Anna Wintour? Check out the story here; it’s wild stuff for sure. A psychologist for the defense told jurors that Braunstein is the most clinically textbook case of paranoid schizophrenia she had ever diagnosed, but I’ll tell you what, he appears to be pretty close to the truth when he assesses Wintour's character. Who else but an egotistical “skank” would continue to turn a blind eye to the suffering of animals killed for her many fur coats?
It’s time for Wintour to take a page from the book of her favorite designer. Miuccia Prada recently announced that she would no longer design with fur, saying she was “bored” with it. And I have to agree, nothing is quite so passé as torture, killing, and bloodshed—unless you’re a paranoid schizophrenic of course.
And just for posterity’s sake, I don’t think it’s right to mention Wintour’s name without showing this pic of her after getting a face full of tofu cream pie from an anti-fur activist in Europe.
Of course, the lawyers upstairs would like me to mention that I don’t condone the pie thing. In fact, I have no opinion of it all, I’m just reporting that it happened. There, happy Paula?
Check out this KFC protest organized by PETA Asia-Pacific in Hong Kong yesterday. This is truly a global campaign, with demonstrations happening in about 100 countries so far. KFC needs to wake up and realize that people all over the world are against grotesque cruelty to animals, and the sooner it makes the simple animal welfare improvements we're pushing for, the better.
Want to organize a demo like this where you live? Get in touch here.
Designer and Project Runway star Michael Kors recently pacified representatives from the Humane Society of the US by agreeing to stop using raccoon dog fur in his clothing lines. Unfortunately, Kors is turning a blind eye to the suffering of the countless other animals he still uses for their fur. It won’t result in fewer animals dying—just different animals dying. This “pledge” to not use the fur from just one species completely ignores the simple fact that millions of other animals, including foxes (also members of the canine family), are beaten, strangled, anally or genitally electrocuted and skinned alive for their fur. I’m sorry, but this step just isn’t enough, especially given that so many top designers—including Tommy Hilfiger, Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, Stella McCartney, Betsey Johnson, Marc Bouwer, Rebecca Taylor, and Kenneth Cole, to name just a few—are totally fur-free.
As you probably know, we are all about rewarding companies for taking incremental steps forward. This, however, is not a step forward. Fur is the one issue where there is no middle ground, and the reality here is that this will do absolutely nothing to stop animal suffering overall. Michael Kors’ PR director confirmed to us yesterday that the “MICHAEL” Michael Kors label may in fact still include the fur from other species (as will all other Kors labels).
Well, we’re not willing to take the scraps that Michael Kors is throwing out. It is the year 2007 and it is high time that Kors stops using all fur for good. Please help convince him that there is simply no excuse for using any fur at all by taking action here.
And here is the letter PETA prez Ingrid Newkirk fired off to Kors yesterday.
Dear Mr. Kors:The bone that you tossed to The Humane Society about dropping raccoon dog and raccoon fur may have pacified Humane Society CEO Wayne Pacelle, but it leaves a bad taste in our mouths. As you know, there’s not a lick of difference between beating and skinning live raccoon dogs and doing the same to foxes, who are also members of the canidae family. The rest of the animal protection community knows that when it comes to feeling the pain of being beaten, strangled, genitally electrocuted, and skinned alive, a raccoon is a coyote is a fox is a mink. To PETA, it isn’t whether or not the animal looks like a raccoon or barks like a dog—suffering is suffering. Foxes, too, have central nervous systems, as do the minks who have their necks broken for your “coffee mink tunic dress.” Having met with your team twice—including your head designer—and shown them a video that reveals the horrific suffering endured by animals used for fur, we are sure this must not have trickled down to you. I urge you to take five minutes to watch this exposé of the fur trade, which is narrated by Martha Stewart, who had a change of heart herself about fur. I think it might help you understand why removing fur from one fur-bearing animal in your collections and replacing it with another is totally unacceptable. Top designers including Tommy Hilfiger, Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, Stella McCartney, Betsey Johnson, Marc Bouwer, Rebecca Taylor, and Kenneth Cole have all chosen to take a compassionate stand and rid their lines of fur—or have never used fur at all. We call on you now to do the same. Sincerely, Ingrid E. NewkirkPresidentPETA
Dear Mr. Kors:
The bone that you tossed to The Humane Society about dropping raccoon dog and raccoon fur may have pacified Humane Society CEO Wayne Pacelle, but it leaves a bad taste in our mouths. As you know, there’s not a lick of difference between beating and skinning live raccoon dogs and doing the same to foxes, who are also members of the canidae family. The rest of the animal protection community knows that when it comes to feeling the pain of being beaten, strangled, genitally electrocuted, and skinned alive, a raccoon is a coyote is a fox is a mink.
To PETA, it isn’t whether or not the animal looks like a raccoon or barks like a dog—suffering is suffering. Foxes, too, have central nervous systems, as do the minks who have their necks broken for your “coffee mink tunic dress.”
Having met with your team twice—including your head designer—and shown them a video that reveals the horrific suffering endured by animals used for fur, we are sure this must not have trickled down to you. I urge you to take five minutes to watch this exposé of the fur trade, which is narrated by Martha Stewart, who had a change of heart herself about fur. I think it might help you understand why removing fur from one fur-bearing animal in your collections and replacing it with another is totally unacceptable.
Top designers including Tommy Hilfiger, Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, Stella McCartney, Betsey Johnson, Marc Bouwer, Rebecca Taylor, and Kenneth Cole have all chosen to take a compassionate stand and rid their lines of fur—or have never used fur at all. We call on you now to do the same.
Ingrid E. NewkirkPresidentPETA
Because milk doesn't actually help you lose weight, which makes the ads ("Milk your diet. Lose weight!) just a teensy bit misleading. Here's how it went down, according to The New York Times: The ads, which were overseen by our old friends the USDA (whom you may remember from such hijinx as failing to enforce their animal welfare regulations and having lousy, inadequate regulations in the first place) made claims such as that three servings of dairy products a day can help people stay thin, and featured celebrities such as Yankees superstar Alex Rodriguez to help promote those claims. But, two years after the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine petitioned the F.T.C. to argue that the ads were misleading (on the grounds that there's just no substantial scientific evidence for the claim), the Dairy Council has decided to withdraw the ads "until further research provides stronger, more conclusive evidence of an association between dairy consumption and weight loss." Here's what PCRM's president, Dr. Neal Barnard had to say:
“I think people will start to recognize that the dairy industry, which used to have a mom-and-pop image, is a huge commercial entity that will exaggerate to sell its products.”
This isn't the first case of misleading ads from the Dairy Industry. You may remember the "Happy Cows" ads from the California Milk Board, which had the tagline "Great cheese comes from happy cows" and the insidious implication that the living conditions for California's dairy cows made them happy—which is like saying that Abu Ghraib was a five star hotel. Though PETA sued the Milk Board in that case, it was eventually decided that the state is exempt from its own false-advertising laws, so the ads were allowed to stand. I’m not even kidding. As you can imagine, watching the Dairy Industry finally being held accountable for its misleading advertising is immensely satisfying. Let's hope this trend continues.
My friend Joel Barlett’s girlfriend made this cute cartoon about soybeans and their childhood dreams. Sorry everyone, Joel made me share.
You’ve probably heard about the horrible piece of legislation currently under consideration in California that, if passed, will make it legal to sell products made of kangaroo skins there. There has already been a huge public outcry against the bill, but just in case Cali lawmakers need another reason to kill it, here ya go.
It occurred to me the other day that this is no way for the Golden State to welcome David Beckham, and his wife Victoria, to the neighborhood. The Euro “it” couple is moving to LA this summer, where David will play for the LA Galaxy, in possibly the biggest money deal in professional sports history, reportedly worth several hundred million dollars over five years.
It’s no secret that Posh and Becks are big animal lovers. It’s been reported that Posh is a “devout vegetarian,” and just four years after signing a multi-million-pound contract with Adidas to wear and promote Adidas Predators shoes (made of kangaroo skins), David switched to a synthetic model after watching a video of baby kangaroos being ripped out of their mothers’ pouches and beaten to death. Last year in Australia, more than 3.9 million adult kangaroos were killed for the meat and leather industries, and baby kangaroos, or “joeys”, are considered useless by-products of this barbaric industry.
The couple clearly cares about animal welfare, so hopefully this bill will be killed before they arrive in California. Otherwise, who knows, maybe the new slogan for this campaign will become “Boycott Like Beckham” . . .
And finally, this horrible video is why the bill needs to be defeated, like ASAP:
Have you heard about this? It’s a pretty amazing story out of the UK about researchers at Queen Mary's School of Medicine in London, who developed a unique three-dimensional model of human breast cancer in a test tube. Pretty cool.
This development has the potential to save countless animals from horrible suffering, and it also has amazing potential to save human lives, since the results will actually be applicable to curing cancer in humans, unlike animal experiments.
Hats off to the Queen Mary’s researchers who came up with this exciting new breakthrough. It puts us one step closer to a world without animal testing . . .
For those of you who haven't heard of him, Gordon Ramsay runs a restaurant and hosts a TV show in England, where celebrity chefs are worshipped as a form of minor deity. Despite having only 5 TV channels for the entire country, the Brits have more cooking shows even than they have antiques shows, and they have the highest number of celebrity chefs per capita in the entire world. So in England, Gordon Ramsay is a kind of a big deal. He’s also a cold-hearted animal hater—which is where PETA UK comes in to the story. Evidently, Mr. Ramsay’s latest stunt has been to encourage British people to eat more horse meat, even going so far as to feature a horse-meat barbeque on his show, The F-Word. PETA UK’s response to his antics was as swift as it was smelly, and the pictures of their horse-manure dump outside Gordon’s restaurant this morning have been going everywhere in the British media. You can check out some of the press coverage here.
You may remember that we kicked off our KFC Campaign a few years ago after an undercover investigator at a KFC Supplier of the Year in Moorefield, West Virginia, discovered workers throwing live birds against walls, kicking them like soccer balls, and spitting tobacco juice into their eyes. Well, one of our investigators just returned from yet another KFC Supplier of the Year—this one in Butterfield, Missouri, owned by George's, Inc.—where he found exactly the same kind of sadism and workplace "accidents" that amount to nothing short of torture.
This is, quite literally, the best that KFC has to offer: Birds impaled by transport cages, kicked and thrown around by workers, and crushed to death in dumping machines. George’s has been warned that they need to be very careful how they respond to this investigation, as this is a time to address the severe deficiencies that have been exposed in their operation, not to retreat behind a mask of PR and damage control tactics. You can read our letter to the company here. And you can click here to sign our petition asking KFC to just, for God’s sake, stop allowing its suppliers to get away with this cruelty. Here’s our interview with the investigator:
Just a quick bit of good news for you to start off your Tuesday: According to last week’s Taipei Times, a new amendment to Taiwan’s Wildlife Conservation Law means that animal circuses are on the way out in Taiwan. When interviewed about the progressive new law, legislator Tien Chiu-Chin said, "Circuses do not need animals to be fun and successful. … Most important, by exposing our children to wild animals through circus acts, we are setting an incorrect example of how humans should interact with animals." 'Nuff said, Tien Chiu-Chin. Here's hoping the U.S. wakes up and follows Taiwan's example. You can read the full story here.
Just a few more little tidbits for you from the recent party that the influential political odd couple Mary Matalin and James Carville hosted for the launch of PETA VP Dan Mathews' new book.
Evidently, Mary—who is certainly no stranger to hosting big events—has never in her life received so many calls about what to wear to a party. I absolutely love the idea that all those Capitol Hill bigwigs were calling up anxiously the day before to find out where they could buy vegan shoes. Mary herself ended up going barefoot, just to be on the safe side, and as for James, well, James opted for hemp—announcing to the assembled partygoers, "I'm all hemped out like Woody Harrelson!"
Dan gave a speech about the history of animal welfare legislation in this country, which has been consistently bipartisan, with strong advances for animals coming from staunch conservatives just as often as card-carrying liberals, and to drive home the point, Mary observed that it was incredibly rare that she and James could host a party together—normally when she throws a bash for her republican pals, James hightails it out of there to take the kids to a movie, and vice versa (I bet those kids get to see a lot of movies).
Mary also pointed out something else that she and Dan Mathews have in common—they've both had the experience of having bologna thrown at them in Iowa. For the full context of that joke, you should check out Dan's book. If it can reconcile a crowd of hardcore democrats and republicans in Washington, you can bet it's well worth the cover price.
Click here for the full text of Dan’s speech.
Here's another classic for you, from a few years back. I've often heard people make the point that no one would wear fur if they were able to see that draping yourself in dead babies is barbaric, regardless of the species. Of course, only at PETA can you make that point in a meeting and end up with a "baby" fur coat by the end of the day. Yup. The handsome model in luxury baby trim is my friend Pulin. And the expressions on those people's faces are priceless.
To mark the occasion, those star-spotting gossip hounds over in our Communications department have put together a little list of animal moms in action. Enjoy!
Like Rosie O’Donnell, who will have more time to spend with her own cubs after she leaves The View, female grizzlies often form partnerships—they travel together, defend each other, and raise children together as a single family unit.
As obsessed about hiding their fawns from predators as TomKat is about hiding baby Suri from the paparazzi, these dedicated does make their babies lie flat on the ground so that they are camouflaged against the forest floor.
Taking a page from Susan Sarandon’s book on how to raise a brood, baboons have been known to conduct “sit-ins,” block traffic, and throw rocks at cars after their youngsters were struck and killed by vehicles.
Taking a cue from Will Smith’s Oscar-nominated performance as a struggling single dad, the males guard and incubate the eggs when the females take off for the winter. Unable to go out and feed or “pursue happyness,” they fast for four months until the chicks hatch.
If chimpanzees lose their parents, their aunts, older sisters, or other members of their families or tribes will step up to adopt them faster than you can say “Brangelina.”
You know what I’m saying? Seriously, it just makes me happy to be alive. Her name is Annamarie, the place is Fresno, and there was evidently a bit of a traffic jam for a while. As Annamarie puts it, "I’ll gladly bare some of my skin if it will help save animals’ skins. With all the luxurious alternatives available, there’s absolutely no excuse to wear animal skins."
And finally, in the interest of fairness, here are some boys too.
“What is a heterosexual meat eater like me doing in a place like this?” asked James Carville, in his own living room last night. “Well, like everything else, you can blame it on Bill.”
Remember the party that political powerhouses James Carville and Mary Matalin were gonna throw for PETA VP Dan Mathews? To make a long story short, after hitting it off with Dan at a dinner for Bill Clinton recently, Carville and Matalin decided to host a party to launch Dan’s awesome new book, Committed: A Rabble-Rouser’s Memoir. Well, the party was last night and it sounds like it was a blast.
The soiree attracted Capitol Hill folk from both ends of the political spectrum, including Democratic big wig Rep. Rahm Emanuel, Bush speech writer John McConnell, a gaggle of gay Washington scenesters, and even well-known Friend of Bill, Steve Bing, who flew in from Los Angeles just for the event. After introductions by Matalin and Carville, Dan got things started by saying, “Although PETA is a nonpartisan organization, we are hardcore party animals.” And in typical Dan Mathews style he made sure the cocktails at the vegan dinner party were made with Beefeater. Love it.
I guess my invitation got lost in the mail, huh Dan?
Fearless PETA members Mike Brazell and Jonathan Frank made a provocative statement yesterday in front of the State House in Concord to advocate for gay rights and vegetarianism at the same time. Mike and Jon chose New Hampshire to celebrate the fact that it has recently become the fourth state to authorize civil unions for gay couples. They also brought a big banner with them that read "Vegetarians Make Better Lovers," and then proceeded to prove it for the benefit of a large crowd of onlookers. In between makeout sessions, the dudes had plenty of leaflets with information about the way animals are treated on factory farms just in case anyone who was having a bit too much of a good time at the demonstration.
There was a fantastic article about the event in the Concord Monitor this morning (evidently the good people of Concord were exceptionally good natured about the whole thing), and, just so I don’t leave anyone wanting more, here's a great video from last year's tour. This one also features Mike. With a different guy. Hell, nobody's claiming that vegetarians make loyal lovers.
I want to start off today by talking about the veggie burger I created at a barbeque last night. Here's how it worked: 1 Boca burger, 1 Chik'n patty, a ton of Bac'n bits, 2 slices of soy cheese, a healthy dose of vegenaise, guacamole, lettuce, and tomatoes. In just one sitting, I devoured three different fake animals, and it was amazing. Word on the street is that the folks over at PETA's Veg Cooking website are going to be coming out with a food blog in the next couple of months, so I expect that—since it seems fairly clear that I am some kind of culinary genius—they will be wanting me as a consultant. If they ask nicely, I may even share with them my recipe for tater tots and ketchup.
Anyway, as today is day 5 of Be Kind to Animals Week, it seemed like as good a time as any to make the point that the single easiest and most effective way of being kind to animals is only eating fake ones. They've got pretty much every kind of fake animal these days, and I like to cook the little suckers up with garlic and douse them in steak sauce. And for anyone who holds themselves to a higher culinary standard than me (which, honestly, most people do), there are a ton of great vegan recipes on the aforementioned Veg Cooking website. Also, if you haven't come across it already, you should check out the Vegan Lunchbox blog. That lady seriously knows what she's doing.
Hope you’re having a good “Be Kind to Animals Week” Thursday. Remember the Hawthorn elephant campaign from a couple of years ago? If not, the short version is that after extensive negotiations over many months, a circus operation called the Hawthorn Corporation agreed to relinquish twelve elephants to a sanctuary, resulting in the single largest elephant rescue in history. If you’re interested, the longer version with more details is here.
My friend and colleague, Debbie Leahy, was a big part of that whole campaign, and she wrote an extremely moving account of the rescue of one of the elephants named Sue. Never one to seek the spotlight, Debbie never shared her story publicly. But as soon as I read it I knew it had to see the light of day, so I asked her to let me post it here. She agreed, and so here we are.
“It was the Wednesday before Christmas, and just as I was drifting off to sleep, I received a late-night phone call. It was Carol Buckley of The Elephant Sanctuary. She had an elephant emergency. Carol explained that Scott Blais and other sanctuary staff members had traveled to the Hawthorn Corporation in Richmond, Illinois, owned by John Cuneo, to assist Cuneo’s veterinarian with drawing blood from the elephants in preparation for their January transport to the sanctuary. Cuneo’s vet sedated Sue, who was considered to be very dangerous, for the blood draw. Sue collapsed on her sternum in a splayed position and was unable to stand up after coming out of sedation. They needed a forklift immediately. I told Carol that I didn’t know of any forklift companies, but then I shook off my grogginess and powered up my computer to help her find one.By midnight, I had called a dozen different places and left frantic messages asking if they offered emergency forklift rentals. One of the companies had an answering service, and I’m certain that the woman who answered thought that I was a crank caller. She repeated, “You need help with a downed elephant?” I finally located a forklift, and after a series of phone calls, the company agreed to wake up a driver and delivered the forklift to Hawthorn by 3 a.m.That Thursday at noon, Carol asked if I could go to the Brookfield Zoo, pick up some straps that were designed specifically for elephants, and take them to Hawthorn. The straps filled two large Hefty bags. While I was in transit, the forklift company called me. They wanted to know how the elephant was doing. When I dropped off the straps, I went inside the barn to take a peak at Sue. I was shocked at the conditions at Hawthorn. The overwhelming stench of feces and urine made it difficult to breathe. Sue’s stall, in which this 8,000-pound animal had been forced to live for years, was approximately the size of a box-stall for a 1,000-pound horse. It was very dark, but I could see that Sue was awake and lying on her side. I thought to myself that after all the elephants were moved out of here, the place should be bulldozed, as nothing would ever remove that stench.Cuneo kept four elephants in the protected-contact area where Sue went down. Sue was born in 1965 and captured in Asia. She was first transported to Circus Vargas in 1969, when she was still a baby, and she was transferred to Hawthorn in 1995. Sue reportedly almost killed one of Hawthorn’s trainers. Billy was another one of the elephants I met in the protected-contact area at Hawthorn. Billy has lived there since 1971. And then there was Frieda, the elephant Hawthorn acquired from the Clyde Beatty-Cole Bros. Circus after she rampaged twice in 1995, injuring about a dozen people and causing around $20,000 in property damage. The USDA prohibited Hawthorn from putting Frieda back on the road. Nickolaus, the fourth elephant, was born to Ronnie at Hawthorn in 1993 and had grown into a dangerous juvenile bull elephant. Nick’s father, Tunga, died three years after Nick’s birth, when he was just 32. On Friday, Carol asked that I pick up hoists from an equipment-rental company. One of the company’s employees had used a magic marker to draw a cute little picture of an elephant on the cardboard under each 150-pound hoist. I took another call from staff members at the forklift company, who were hoping for good news on Sue’s progress. I was touched that even strangers expressed concern over the plight of this elephant. Carol told me that they also needed 30 cases of Pedialyte. That translated into 240 1-liter bottles. No single store had that much Pedialyte in stock, so I went to several drugstores, loading up shopping carts with grape, orange, bubble gum, apple, and unflavored Pedialyte and cleared their shelves of approximately 100 bottles. I decided I would get the rest later. When I arrived at Hawthorn, Sue had been moved to an open area in the barn so that the forklift would have space to maneuver. Scott pointed out the other elephants while I was there. Hawthorn kept the rest of the elephants on the other side of the barn. They were chained by two legs in what the circus calls a “picket line.” The animals swayed ... and swayed ... and swayed. I could see that Liz, one of the elephants, was petite in comparison to the others. Two elephants toward the front, Minnie and Lottie, were clearly very attached to one another. They stood as close to each other as their chains would allow them and intertwined their trunks. Some of these animals, I learned later, were infected with tuberculosis.There were several empty places along the picket line where other animals had once stood—a ghostly reminder of all the elephants who have died at Hawthorn over the years, including Hattie, Joyce, Tyke, Maude, Tess, Bombay, Dumbo, Amy, and Jackie. These vacancies caused me to reflect on how differently things could have turned out if the USDA had only moved faster. Why wasn’t Hawthorn shut down immediately in 1994, after Tyke killed her trainer and police shot her to death in Honolulu? Or in 1996, after Hattie and Joyce died of tuberculosis and the other elephants were quarantined? Or after Lota became emaciated as this highly contagious bacterial lung disease ravaged her system? Or after Debbie and Judy rampaged through a church in North Carolina? Or after a trainer was convicted of cruelty to animals in Norfolk? Or after the elephant Delhi was confiscated because she was in imminent danger from lack of veterinary care? Over the years, how could USDA inspectors stand in the same spot that I was standing in, see the same things that I was seeing—filth, neglect, abuse, emaciated elephants, sick elephants, dangerous elephants, neurotic elephants—and just leave those animals there to suffer?I was glad, at least, that I was able to play a role in finally getting those elephants out of there. The USDA subpoenaed me to testify against Hawthorn after the agency filed charges alleging 47 violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act. Some of my many visits to the circus had provided the agency with evidence of lack of veterinary care—which led to Lota’s being taken off the road—and unsafe handling.While I was there, Scott gave Sue a banana. She made yummy slurping noises as she ate it. I was amazed that after all she’d been through—including her current life-threatening predicament—she could still find joy in the simple pleasure of a tasty treat. I wasn’t really surprised when Scott said that there wasn’t enough produce at Hawthorn for the elephants. On Christmas Eve, I fought the crowds of last-minute shoppers in order to buy more Pedialyte and produce for the elephants. I loaded up my station wagon with hundreds of pounds of carrots, apples, bananas, pears, mangoes, watermelon, onions (yes, elephants like onions!), oranges, tangerines, broccoli, cabbage, tomatoes, peanuts, and celery. I left just enough room to see out of the rear view mirror. My four-cylinder engine ran sluggishly under so much weight, but it managed.On Christmas day, I returned to Hawthorn to deliver the goodies and stayed for several hours to lend a hand. One of the sanctuary’s veterinarians was there monitoring Sue’s blood. She was showing signs of improvement. The sanctuary staff members were working desperately to save Sue’s life. Scott was trying to help her stand up with the forklift, which was attached to straps around her chin, chest, and waist. The forklift gently pushed her forward and lifted her up inches at a time. Then workers adjusted the tension on the straps and pushed the tires that she was leaning on for support closer to her. I’m sure it was all very strange for Sue, but she was patient and understood that everyone was trying to help her. Scott kept rubbing her, patting her, and giving “Suzie Q.,” his nickname for her, soothing words of encouragement. A couple of times, Sue roared out of frustration with not being able to get her legs to work. The other elephants immediately reacted by vocalizing, squealing, and trumpeting in order to let Sue know that they were there and were concerned over her distress. The other elephants wanted so desperately to be by Sue’s side to comfort her that they strained against their chains. Nickolaus, who was watching Sue’s dilemma from just a few feet away, hurled himself against the bars of the cage, which made a frightening noise that made me jump each time he did it. The sanctuary staff members made sure that Sue had as much food and drink as she wanted. They would open a bottle of Pedialyte, pour it into a bucket, and push it close to Sue’s trunk. Sue would then dip her trunk into the bucket, suck up the liquid, and squirt it into her mouth. Sue loved the orange flavor but didn’t care for the bubble gum flavor. Instead of squirting the bubble-gum flavored Pedialyte into her mouth, she sprayed it onto her back, drenching Scott a few times. I scrambled to pull all the orange flavored bottles from the dozens of bags piled against the wall. Staff members also sliced up a watermelon and other fresh produce for Sue, who eagerly took each piece with her trunk, placed it in her mouth, gobbled it up, and stretched out her trunk for more.Sue was lucid, and her appetite was strong. She was a spirited elephant, and she was clearly a survivor, having lived for so long in such horrible conditions. Over the next few days, we kept up hope that she would make it. Carol reported that Sue rallied a few times, trying to get on her feet. Scott provided a pool filled with warm water to help her. Scott and other staff members gently eased Sue into the pool and pumped in warm water. Immediately, Sue became energized, and she began to play. After splashing the water with her trunk in joyful abandon, Sue became still and passed away. All the other elephants—even Nick, who had become so loud and animated when Sue struggled in vain to get to her feet—fell completely silent. They knew that their longtime companion was leaving them.I had company visiting when Carol called on December 30 with the sad news. I didn’t care that I had visitors—I wept. It’s terribly unfair that Sue wasn’t given the opportunity to enjoy a new life at the sanctuary. But at least she knew comfort, tenderness, and dignity in her final days.”
There are a million other animals like Sue who need our help, so please, never patronize any circus or other act that uses animals. And please, share Sue’s story with others to make sure they don’t either.
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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.