Written by PETA
Like most people, I love to watch the man play football, but if the allegations I heard today are true, I'm not sure I ever want to see Michael Vick suit up for a game again. According to news reports, local and state law enforcement discovered more than 60 pit bulls and other dogs on Vick's property in Surry County Virginia yesterday, who showed signs of serious abuse that is consistent with having been used for fighting. Officials also evidently discovered dogfighting paraphernalia, including a “rape stand” on the premises. These are deadly serious allegations, and it's immensely distressing to see such a high-profile athlete accused of this kind of cruelty. PETA is calling on the Atlanta Falcons to immediately suspend Vick pending the outcome of the investigation, and if animals on his property are found to have been neglected or used for fighting, we're asking that he be released from the team.” You can help out by clicking here to write to the Falcons about this issue, and for more information you can read our letter to Falcons Owner Arthur Blank.
The Atlanta Falcons should be kicking themselves right now that they traded away backup QB Matt Schaub this offseason, but even a year with Joey Harrington at the helm is better than having your team led by someone with a mark like this on their record.
Air Force Drill Sergeant Michelle Manhart made big headlines a little while back when the Air Force got all in a tizzy after finding out she had posed for a spread in Playboy magazine. As you're probably aware, PETA doesn't have quite the same take on public nudity as the Air Force does, especially when it's being used to get people to pay attention to an important issue. Which is why we were thrilled when Michelle agreed to become the latest star of our "I'd Rather Go Naked Than Wear Fur" series. Check out her great interview and the beautiful ad below—it'll make you proud to be an American (unless, like me, you're not an American, in which case you can just focus on the pretty lady in the picture).
You probably remember the Primarily Primates, Inc. (PPI) case we have been working on for a year or so. If not, PPI is the pseudo-sanctuary in Texas where, late in 2005, staff members called PETA to report that animals were suffering horribly and dying and that the facility's director, Wally Swett, was drunk a lot of the time. PPI staff members reported that Swett did the following things:
To make a long story short, on the heels of a lawsuit fueled by PETA, the Texas Attorney General filed its own lawsuit against PPI and the Court appointed a well-known specialist with more than 20 years of primate and rehabilitation experience to bring the place up to some level of decency. She did that, and then some, and things were getting better—animals have received veterinary care, proper feed, clean water, and the comfort of bedding and nesting boxes that was all denied to them previously.
But just today, the Texas Attorney General has entered into a settlement agreement whereby all charges against PPI are to be dismissed, and he will wash his hands of the obligations of caring for all the animals and turn the pseudo-sanctuary back over to a board of directors that includes Friends of Animals president Priscilla Feral, who backed the old regime including its director, Wally Swett, who drunkenly threatened volunteers with a firearm most recently and, in the past, has failed to provide even emergency veterinary care for dying animals.
The court-appointed Receiver (the current administrator of PPI), Lee Theisen-Watt, her attorney, Skip Trimble, and longtime staff member and whistleblowers on site are expressing their outrage. In the settlement, the Attorney General pledges to use his offices to attempt to retrieve the seven surviving former OSU chimpanzees who are now doing well in their rehabilitation at Chimp Haven in Louisiana, a move that will be hard fought. Their return would violate a Texas state and local law prohibiting dangerous animals at a site like PPI, so let’s all hope that doesn’t happen.
Here is PETA President Ingrid Newkirk’s statement on this disaster:
“PETA is pleased to have helped gather and organize the evidence that led to a search and seizure warrant being served at PPI in October, 2006. Although it was too late to save animals who had died of outright neglect, some lingering in pain for long periods of time, as a result of that entry into what had been a closed premises, relief was delivered to hundreds of chimpanzees and other animals who had been neglected. Since then, animals have received veterinary care, proper feed, clean water, and the comfort of bedding and nesting boxes that was all denied to them under Wally Swett and Stephen Tellos, and with the protection of Friends of Animals. The Texas Attorney General has now settled the case, much to the distress of those who have come to know and love the animals they have cared for during this interim period, and to the concern of all those who know what Friends of Animals sanctioned and how it stood by and didn’t take action that could have saved animals from suffering. Nevertheless, we live in hope that lessons have been learned and that the facility will no longer be mismanaged and be the place of despair for animals it once was.”
Please take just a few moments to contact these people to politely state your concern:
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott:Phone: 512 475-4665Fax: 512-322-0578Governor Rick Perrywww.governor.state.tx.us/contactCitizen's Opinion Hotline: 800 252 9600Main Switchboard: 512-463-2000Fax: 512-463-1849
And just to give you a first-person perspective on this mess, I’ll leave you with a letter written by Chance French who has worked with these amazing animals over the past few months. At the end is a list of animals who will suffer because of the Attorney General’s action:
November 1, 2006 7:30 a.m.This was the first time Christina and I ever stepped foot on PPI's property. Let me tell you it was one of the hardest days in our lives. The abuse and neglect we were shown for the next eleven hours was horrific. The only thing that kept us going was the thought that we were going to be able to make a difference in all of these amazing, forgiving lives. And the next day we begun! Day after day, hour after hour WE MADE A DIFFERENCE! To give a friend (chimp, for those of you who haven't ever heard me speak of them) a blanket when it's cold or uncomfortable on the concrete at night, a toy to play with when bored, a three course meal of produce three times a day when all they've ever had was monkey chow (a damn' dog biscuit), enrichment filled with treats because they deserve it or just those fifteen minute talks throughout the day with them, those times when they look at you and you see in their eyes the joy and happiness it brings each and every one of them. We all were hopeful it would never end. Well it's happened, the attorney general has dropped the case against PPI because the receivership has brought the sanctuary back to the standards it should be at. The truth is the attorney generals office dropped the ball by misfiling and other problems. So to save face and not look stupid they're running! Let me tell you if I could save this place by dancing naked only in a cowboy hat in front of the Alamo in this great state of Texas.................IN A HEARTBEAT! The sad truth is that it will end up back to what it was. And who suffers? TINA CHAMP DEETER JEWEL URI RAISIN KOKO OKO JOSHUA WILLIE CHOBE HARRY SIRI CHEETAH LB ARLENE VANESSA PENNY VIOLET RICHIE SHANNON NICOLE LAURA NAOMI SIERRA JESSIE EFFIE CINDY RUDY JOSIE JASON JONSIE LEAHA HANZIE BANGO OLIVER JUSTIN CLAIRE DEE ROSEMARY HOPE LISA BOBO WANDA HOLLY MANDY ABE CARMEN BUFFY APRIL HOPE AMY THEO THOMAS SUDIO MARION MALLORY STELLA SEAN SHU SHU BAXTER WALTER BUBBA BARBI JULIEAmong hundreds of other wonderful loving animals. I don't know what else to say except they were all stabbed in the back by one elected official. Chance
Please, for all the animals above, take the time to contact the officials listed above. Thanks guys.
So I walked into my local Taco Bell today, psyched to order my usual lunch, the always delicious and satisfying combo of a bean and rice burrito and a beef and potato burrito (substitute beans for beef and salsa for sour cream). The cashier was excited to see me (yes, all the employees know me and my pal Joel Bartlett, we eat there that much) and point out that, lo and behold, the new specialty item they’re pushing is vegetarian. It’s called a 7-Layer Crunchwrap, and it’s basically like a double bean tostada thing wrapped in a tortilla and grilled. Of course, they’ll gladly make it vegan by nixing the cheese and sour cream, which I guess makes the vegan version a 5-Layer Crunchwrap, huh?
Anyway, just wanted to share my newfound favorite menu item at the ultimate purveyor of Mexican fast food goodness, and holler at my favorite girl at the register. See you tomorrow, Kim.
I just wanted to give you a quick update on the sealers trapped in the ice in Newfoundland.
Well, it turns out that there are still hundreds of hunters trapped, and now they’re starting to run out of food, water and fuel. The Canadian coast guard is working hard to rescue them before it’s too late. Now I don’t wish suffering on anyone, not even callous hunters who cruelly kill baby seals who are too young to even swim or get away, but the good news here is that since so many hunters have been stuck for so long, it looks like they’re going to come up around 60,000 seal pups short of their quota this year, which means that a whole bunch more of these cute little dudes will actually get to grow up . . . and that, of course, is a very good thing!
Is it me or is the karmic irony in this story almost too much to handle? Check out this ABC News piece for the full report.
PETA has a new Flickr account! Which is a very good thing, because up until now, we had thousands of photos of demonstrations, events, animal-friendly celebrities, and old PETA ads that were just kinda languishing in the vaults. I’m particularly proud of this project, because I had to upload a gazillion photos only to find out that the page had been marked as “restricted” because of the NSFW quality of some of our “Running of the Nudes” pics—which meant that only tech-savvy 12-year-olds who can figure out how to turn off their safe search would be able to view the account. But the issue was finally resolved yesterday, and the page is up and running, so if you have any animal-rights-specific photos that you think would fit the bill, you can send them to us by clicking here. Make sure to read the terms and conditions page before you submit the photos, or our lawyers will haunt you in your sleep like they do me.
P.S. I’ve noticed a few regular comments from folks who aren’t so interested in animal rights lately—which is really cool since a little debate on the issues is a very healthy thing for all parties involved—but while I genuinely appreciate the comments, I figured I should probably let Steve and Larry Buck know that pictures of you guys eating hamburgers won’t make it up onto the Flickr page. Sorry to disappoint.
It's difficult to say exactly why London Mayor Ken Livingstone hates pigeons with such a virulent passion. Perhaps he was bitten by a pigeon as a young child, or harassed by gangs of pigeon bullies as a schoolboy, but whatever the reason for it, his "war on pigeons" is well known in London, and his various attempts to poison and starve them out of his city have earned him the nickname of "Ken 'The Killer' Livingstone." OK, whatever, I made that nickname up, but you get the point. One last little tidbit about Ken Livingstone before I get to the actual point of this post (which is robotic peregrine falcons): In 2001, when Ken the Killer was at a news conference in Washington, an animal activist made international headlines by dousing him with a pitcher of water and shouting
"Your plan to poison pigeons is all wet. Mayor Livingstone starves pigeons to death."
P.S. There's some more information on humane pigeon control here.
So I’ve been vegetarian for kind of a long time, and back in the day, my choices for nonleather shoes and belts and so forth were pretty much nonexistent. If I found a decent pair of vegan shoes in my size, I’d snap up a couple of pairs at a time. Honestly, it was a little tough. But that was back in the dark ages, and today it couldn’t be easier. I don’t have to look hard at all to find cruelty-free clothes anymore, and as you can see from the picture, the results are positively devastating.
But I digress. The point is that I was really excited to see this Today Show piece about modern cruelty-free fashions. It makes it clear how easy it is nowadays to be cruelty-free and super fashionable at the same time, if that's your thing. Check it out:
I've talked about how rad The Netherlands are before—when the Dutch "Party for the Animals" (yes, Holland has a legitimate political party dedicated to animal protection which holds seats in parliament) paid to run spots of “Free Me” on Dutch national television. Well, the latest news from our clog-wearing friends is that Holland has just become the first country where vegetarians are eligible to receive discounted health-insurance because of their diet. According to Ode magazine, which reported on the story, the policy, called VegePolis, "operates on the principle that people who choose not to eat meat live healthier lives." Apparently, members also get a 10 percent discount on vegetarian dinners, and a portion of the insurance revenue goes to animal welfare groups. What a kickass country. Nice job, The Netherlands.
Fears of E. coli contamination have prompted California-based Richwood foods to recall more than 100,000 pounds of beef from grocery stores. The scare comes after three children became seriously ill. You can read about the story here if it hasn't come across your radar yet, but if you’re in the mood for a little bit of "I told you so" posturing from yours truly, stick with me.
In order to line the wallets of its executives, the meat industry crams animals by the tens of thousands into filthy sheds that are contaminated by feces, vomit, and other bodily fluids. Leaving aside the ethics of this practice for a second (which, well, you can probably guess where I stand on that issue), what this means from a health perspective is that most of the flesh from the 10 billion animals a year killed for meat in the U.S. is contaminated with dangerous bacteria like E. coli, campylobacter, and listeria. The fact is that this recall shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone—and it definitely won't be the last. Anyway, it's good that these products are being recalled when kids start getting sick, but if the meat industry wants to be consistent, it might want to pay attention to the significant role it plays in the 700,000 annual deaths from heart disease in this country, just for starters.
In other relevant news, companies like Boca and Morningstar Farms make these really delicious, 100 percent disease-free veggie burgers, which you can find at any grocery store. I'm just saying.
Thanks to a few compassionate Kentucky residents, including the insuppressible Lindsay Rajt, who works on our KFC Campaign out of Louisville, David Novak, the CEO of KFC's parent company, got more than he bargained for out of an evening at a local restaurant on Friday night. Lindsay and company were in the midst of a well-attended KFC protest that was drawing a lot of attention in downtown Louisville when a passerby shouted out that Novak was eating at Seviche restaurant just down the street. Lindsay and a fellow activist got into their vehicle (which, by a stroke of good fortune, happened to be a large black truck with a video screen set to play images of chickens suffering live scalding, debeaking, and other abuses) and circled the restaurant until the entire wait-staff came out to gawk. Despite a slightly unpleasant incident in which the chef thought a good way of handling the situation would be to spit in people's faces, the protest was a big success. At the very least, it probably put David Novak off his dinner.
You may have heard about the latest “solution” to the world’s energy crisis and global warming. This one is perhaps the most absurd idea yet, coming to us courtesy of the well-known environmental stewards of the meat industry.
Last week, oil company ConocoPhillips and the largest meat producer in the world, Tyson Foods, announced that they will soon begin producing diesel fuel from the fat of pigs, chickens and cows. While on the surface this may not sound completely insane, given that the fuel will be made from rendered animal remains currently used in nonvegan soaps, cosmetics and pet food, the reality is that this whole idea has nothing to do with the environment and everything to do with lining the pockets of Tyson and ConocoPhillips execs.
Let’s be real here. The meat industry does not care about the environment. Period. In fact, it is one of the absolute worst corporate environmental offenders on the planet. Take for instance the recent U.N. reports pointing out that animals raised for food generate more greenhouse gases than all cars and trucks combined, and that (according to a recent University of Chicago study), switching to a vegan diet is more effective in countering global warming than switching from a standard American car to a Prius.
No matter what kind of crazy PR spin the meat industry tries to put on it, at the end of the day what it comes down to is that the answer to global warming isn’t to fill up SUVs with the remains of tortured animals. The most effective thing anyone can do to help the environment is to go vegetarian, and until we accept that fact, all the plastic bottle recycling, Prius driving, and tree-planting are barely making a dent in the problem.
I don’t want to come off all gloom and doom here, quite the opposite really. When you consider that we all have the opportunity to “vote the environment” at mealtimes three times a day, it’s actually pretty exciting. If you’re looking for resources to help make the transition to vegetarianism, you can check out our vegetarian starter kit and start saving the planet, one bite at a time. It beats the hell out of pig fat biodiesel.
Not only do the folks over at Smashbox Cosmetics not test their products on animals, but they have these great store displays—and check out the cruelty-free bunny logon on the top of the Smashbox website:
As if that weren't enough to make us really big fans of the company here, they’ve just teamed up with us to make it easy to give your mom a great Mother’s Day gift this year. They’ve made two new eye shadow palettes (I had to ask for help on that one, I was just going to call them “thingies”) in PETA’s honor that will be sold exclusively at Sephora stores. Which was pretty damn nice of them.
Short on cash? You can try your luck in a contest to win free palette thingies here. The grand-prize winner also gets a $100 Smashbox gift certificate.
And just in case you need it, here’s the full list of companies that do and don’t test on animals.
Have you voted for North America’s sexiest vegetarian yet? Here's an interview with one of the finalists in Sacramento.
I had heard of this video about the “Bionic Burger” but I had never seen it until today. Gross.
Nancy from LA sent me this amazing story about a cat who must have heard about the Iams recall and took matters into her own hands, err, paws. Nancy said the cat must have decided, "Screw this, I'm going for fish and chips."
Guess which dinosaur is an ancestor to the chicken.
In case you're looking for another reason to go vegetarian . . . bacon may cause lung damage. For real.
Is your rescued dog lonely? Maybe this could help. I don’t even want to think about the cleanup.
Chicken ghost stories.
Andy Dick is funny. Check out his spoof Gap ad.
And finally, here’s a great piece from ABC on our chinchilla ranch investigation.
As always, if you find something cool on the Internet that you think other PETA Files readers would like, be sure to send it to me. Thanks!
After noticing that a female lobster in the tank at the Men’s Club of Reno was pregnant and carrying eggs, the club’s promotions director and lifelong vegetarian, Aquila Nelson, sprang into action. She convinced the club’s manager to let her free the lobster and called us for instructions on what to do. To make a long story short, the lobster has since been released in protected waters in New Hampshire! Check out what Aquila had to say about the ordeal: "I couldn’t bear the thought of this animal and her babies being thrown into a pot of boiling water. Whether they have claws or paws, no animal deserves to be tortured like that." Aquila, you're awesome.
A little drama unfolding in the UK this week: Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay, who is a good friend of Victoria Beckham (a.k.a. Posh Spice) has found himself in a bit of a pickle after asking Victoria to let his lambs graze on the land at her home in Hertfordshire because his own London garden was too small. Victoria was perfectly happy to oblige … until she found out what Ramsay intended to do with the lambs that she had grown to love (fricassee them, to be precise). As her spokeswoman put it:
"She was more than happy to let the sheep roam around her grounds, but as a devout vegetarian, she will be distraught to learn that they're going to be killed."
And now PETA Europe has joined the fray, with the following quote from PETA Europe Director Poorva Joshipura making the rounds of the British press:
"People are rallying to spare the lambs Posh grew to love. With soy 'lamb' kebabs and marinated mock meats, everyone wins, including the animals."
Maybe there's hope for these lambs yet. Thank you Victoria, for bringing their plight to the public's attention! You can read the full story here.
Well, it wasn't exactly with the Flaming Lips—more like at a Flaming Lips show, but it was a pretty swell evening nonetheless. If you're not familiar with the band, you can check them out here, but as rad as their music is, you're missing a big piece of the puzzle until you see them live. By the end of last night’s show, the entire floor was so covered in confetti that all the people in animal costumes were slipping on it. Amazing. Truth be told, I just kind of wanted to rave about the show because I had such a good time, but there is an animal connection here, since Wayne Coyne from the Flaming Lips interviewed with those authority-questioning scene queens over at peta2 last time the band played in Norfolk, and even allowed a bunch of PETA folks in animal costumes to do a little backup dancing during their set. If you want to find out what Wayne had to say about the whole animal costumes business, you can read the full interview here.
I've posted a couple of pictures in the past with some of the lovely ladies of PETA getting nekkid to help animals, so I figured it was high time I published a few pics of the dudes. This photo’s from a Tax Day demonstration conducted by PETA Campaigner Mike Brazell in Philadelphia to let people know that donating fur coats to PETA is tax-deductible. Mike quickly recognized that, while this is an important and useful piece of information, it doesn't exactly grab the attention like some of PETA's campaigns—so he did what any resourceful campaigner is trained to do in a difficult situation and removed his clothing. Nice work, Mike! Here are the results:
These particular photos reminded me of one of my favorite stories about my friend Matt Rice. PETA had sent out a press release about a demonstration that was going to take place in Corpus Christi, which went something like this:
"Nearly naked and covered head to toe in tiger body paint, one of PETA's beautiful "Tiger Ladies" will be in a cage in Corpus Christi this Friday to protest the cruel treatment of animals in the circus"
The press release did the trick, and a ton of media promised to come out and report on the event, which was all well and good until Matt got a call from the "Tiger Lady" at the last minute to say she couldn't make it. Fortunately, nothing fazes Matt Rice. Here's how he handled the crisis:
Rawr! Matt, you're a hero.
If for some reason you're still starving for pics of scantily clad PETA dudes, you can check out our old Broccoli Boys website here. That'll cure you for sure.
Pamela Anderson is truly amazing. Seriously, could the woman do any more for animals? This time, she got wind of KFC’s plans to expand in Russia, and jumped at the chance to write the president of KFC’s partner company there, urging him to use his influence to convince the company to protect the 850,000 chickens it kills from the worst abuses they suffer.
And of course, the Russian press was all over the story.
Here’s a copy of Pam’s letter, and I’ll let you know if we get a response.
I could seriously sit here all day trying to muster up sympathy for these guys and not succeed. Since that's probably not going to happen, I'll just give you the details of the story instead (I will make every effort not to be gleeful about it). Apparently, more than 100 seal-hunting boats became trapped in an ice-pack yesterday and are still waiting for help from Canada's Coast Guard icebreakers. The London Times reported on the story this morning, and you can read more about that here. Maybe a couple of days waiting to get rescued will give them some time to reflect on the large-scale misery they had been planning on inflicting over the next few weeks. Here's a picture of the boats trapped in the ice fields, which, as much as being stuck in inclement weather probably sucks, it doesn't even begin to compare with the horrors these profiteers had in store for their victims.
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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here. If you are reporting an animal in imminent danger and know where to find the
animal and if the abuse is taking place right now, please call your local
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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.