Actor and animal defender Alec Baldwin describes the sad plight of elephants who are torn from their families and forced to perform grueling tricks in the circus.
"It's still trying to move. It's trying to breathe. Will it live?"
That's the question asked by a worried child after catching a small fish during the Youth Fishing Derby at Lake Fairfax Park in Reston, Virginia.
A video shot by a PETA investigator at the tournament shows small fish with hooks impaled in their mouths writhing in fear and pain. The children, who obviously had no idea what they were in for, looked sad, confused, and concerned. Despite the fact that the children are assured that the fish "should" survive, fish who were thrown back into the lake are shown bleeding from their wounds and floating lifeless in the water.
It is estimated that up to 58 percent of fish die within six days of being released. In addition to the stress of being impaled by a hook and slowly suffocating while they are out of the water, fish become more prone to bacterial infections and parasite infestations after they are handled and the delicate protective coating on their scales is damaged, often irreparably.
Armed with this video evidence of both cruelty to fish and the distress it causes children, we have written to the Fairfax County Park Authority and asked it to make its latest Youth Fishing Derby, which took place last Saturday, its last and ban future youth fishing tournaments in all Fairfax County parks.
PETA protested outside SeaWorld parks in San Antonio and San Diego today, just one week after the marine-animal prison chain was hit with a $38,500 repeat violation fine from the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) for allowing dangerous contact between employees and orcas in defiance of a federal court order—and basic decency.The fine resulted from a follow-up investigation and photos and footage on TV of trainers who hugged and kissed orcas without any protective barrier, as required by an earlier OSHA ruling. SeaWorld fought OSHA's decision with two unsuccessful appeals, but the ruling stands.
Aggression between orcas is nearly non-existent in nature, but the constant stress of living in forced social groupings inside tiny tanks at SeaWorld causes them to lash out, posing a danger to animals and employees alike. SeaWorld's own corporate incident logs contain reports of more than 100 incidents at its parks. Orcas have pulled trainers into the water, held them at the bottom of the pool, head-butted them, slammed into them, breached on top of them, and, of course, killed them—and those are just the episodes that have been reported.
What You Can Do
Please tell everyone you know to leave all marine-animal parks and aquariums out of their family travel plans, and ask SeaWorld officials to release their animals to sanctuaries.
By Alisa Mullins, PETA
A newspaper exposé has led to an investigation by Ontario's Environment Ministry into four mass animal graves at the province's Marineland theme park. According to a former park employee, the graves contain the bodies of more than 1,000 animals, including orcas, dolphins, seals, walruses, bears, bison, and deer.
Former marine-mammal trainer Phil Demers described one particularly gruesome incident to a reporter from the Toronto Star. After an orca named Kandu died in December 2005, he was buried on the park's grounds. But staffers failed to obtain brain tissue samples during the whale's necropsy, so Demers and another trainer were assigned the macabre task of exhuming Kandu's body two weeks later.
"He was not frozen and it smelled so bad and there was blood all over the place," says Demers. "I was elbow deep in the pit in a reddish orangey sludge and we both kept coming up to vomit. It was gross."
Graveyard of Niagara Falls
The graves may be illegal, since Ontario requires waste permits to dispose of animal corpses and the park apparently had no such permits. Government officials are also concerned about possible contamination of the water and soil, especially because of the graves' close proximity to the Welland River, which feeds nearby Niagara Falls.
PETA has been campaigning against Marineland for years, citing the park's abysmal conditions and the high mortality rate among young whales and dolphins. The park also has a long history of obtaining wild-caught beluga whales, dolphins, and orcas, including Keiko, aka "Willy" from the movie Free Willy, whom Marineland sold to an even more depressing park in Mexico, where he languished for years before being rescued and rehabilitated. This summer, Demers and seven other former trainers came forward to report numerous instances of neglect and abuse, including serious damage to animals' skin and eyes because of filthy, tainted water.
Alarmingly, Ontario is Canada's only province that does not regulate the keeping and displaying of exotic animals or conduct public-safety inspections. Parks like Marineland are allowed to "police" themselves, and Marineland's mass graves are silent testimony to how good—or bad—of a job it's doing.
You Can Help
Refuse to patronize any marine park, including SeaWorld, which also has a tragic track record. Please voice your objections about the lack of adequate captive-animal protection laws in Ontario to Premier Dalton McGuinty:
The Honourable Dalton McGuinty
Premier of Ontario
Rm. 281, Main Legislative Bldg., Queen's Park
Toronto, Ontario M7A 1A4
After learning that the Food Bank of Lower Fairfield County in Connecticut had put out an urgent call for Thanksgiving food donations following Hurricane Sandy, PETA has sent the hunger-relief organization 20 delicious vegan Tofurky roasts.
Vegan Food: The Taste of KindnessPETA's donation should make the season brighter (and healthier) for the region's hungry as well as for animals. PETA also hopes the Tofurky will offer food for thought, showing that compassion knows no species barriers.
More than 250 million turkeys are killed in the U.S. every year—45 million for Thanksgiving dinners alone. Yet turkeys are sensitive, smart, social, and resourceful birds, who deserve to be treated as living beings, not centerpieces.
What You Can Do
Delicious, healthy vegan foods offer both hungry humans and exploited animals reason to give thanks. Enjoy fine vegan holiday dining with PETA's free recipes.
It wasn't as if experimenters at New York University (NYU) didn't know for days that Hurricane Sandy was approaching. It wasn't as if they didn't know that federal policy requires them to at least try to protect the animals they torment and kill in experiments from also becoming victims of a natural disaster. But the experimenters either made no evacuation plan for the animals in their "care" or they failed to follow through with it. Instead, they abandoned 10,000 mice and rats in a basement laboratory, who remained trapped in their cages as the floodwaters rose. Many animals—panicked, afraid, and desperate to escape—drowned to death, while others suffocated from the toxic diesel fumes of a leaking fuel tank. NYU was unable to give an exact figure for the number of animals who died—remarking instead that the facility lost 7,660 cages of mice and 22 cages of rats, with each cage holding one to seven animals.
PETA has filed a complaint with the National Institutes of Health, the government body that oversees federally funded experiments, calling for an investigation into NYU's irresponsible and unconscionable actions and inaction. In our complaint, we pointed out that the university will likely acquire thousands more animals to replace those who died, multiplying the suffering caused by the experimenter's negligence.
It's not the first time that animals were left trapped in laboratory cages during natural disasters. At the University of Texas Medical School at Houston, 35 dogs, 78 monkeys, 300 rabbits, and 4,000 mice and rats drowned during tropical storm Allison in 2001. The storm also killed 30,000 mice and rats who were left in the basement at Baylor College of Medicine. Hurricane Katrina killed 8,000 animals trapped in Louisiana State University's laboratories, and thousands more died at Tulane.
An official with the National Academy of Sciences remarked: "This happens again and again and (research labs) never learn. Anybody with half a brain knows you do a site-specific analysis [to understand the risk of disasters], and it's really stupid to put your animals in the basement if you're in a flood zone."
Stupid, cruel, and inexcusable.
By Michelle Kretzer, PETA
PETA has filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) after someone in the audience sent us this video showing a handler with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus' Red Unit hooking and striking an elephant named Luna—who has a history of leg problems—with a bullhook (a weapon used by the circus that resembles a fireplace poker):
Exotic-animal veterinarian Dr. Mel Richardson, observing that Luna was stiff in one of her legs—a sign of painful arthritis, one of the leading reasons why captive elephants are euthanized—determined that Luna was most likely not feeling well and didn't want to perform the trick, which required her to rear up on her hind legs. But the callous trainer continued to hook her in order to force her to perform—actions that Dr. Richardson described as "abusive."
"[Luna] is already giving him the indication that she is not going to do this trick at the 10 [second] mark. She appears to pull toward her left for a second and [the trainer] goes to her. He keeps saying 'Luna move up.' He strikes her at 15 [seconds]. Watch her, she is lowering her body and right leg in avoidance and starting to back up. He hooks her in her right tush pocket at 19-20 [seconds]. (Female Asian elephants do not have true tusks but sometimes have shorter second incisors called "tushes.")
Luna responds to this abuse by cowering.
And this is just what Ringling trainers do in front of the audience. Behind the scenes, they are fond of what they refer to as "tune-ups": screaming at and beating elephants as soon as the show is over as punishment for the animals' failure to do exactly what they were told to do.
We turned this new video evidence over to the USDA and filed a complaint, citing yet more violations of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) by Ringling, which holds the record for the most complaints. We are urging the USDA to investigate all the Red Unit elephants for bullhook wounds and to examine Luna for signs of illness and injury that would preclude her, by law, from performing. How much longer will these vulnerable elephants be forced to endure this abuse?
This abuse is par for the course for Ringling, which has already paid the largest fine in circus history for dozens of violations of the AWA.
Fashionistas around the globe were in for a treat when Tim Gunn released his third book, Tim Gunn's Fashion Bible: The Fascinating History of Everything in Your Closet. Animals were in for a treat, too, when Tim devoted nearly half his chapter "Coats and Jackets" to explaining "why fur belongs in the dustbin of history." He discussed how, during his tenure at Liz Claiborne, Inc., he agreed to meet with PETA Vice President Dan Mathews to discuss the possibility of the 46 Liz brands, which include Juicy Couture and Kate Spade, going fur-free. "[O]ver time," Tim remembered, "I became convinced that fur was unnecessary and even immoral." Liz Claiborne is completely fur-free, thanks to Tim, as is Project Runway. And if Tim has his way, the rest of the fashion industry won't be far behind.
While Tim strutted his animal-friendly stuff during the opening number at the Emmys, Carrie Ann Inaba was using the occasion to speak up for animals, too, tweeting at her Dancing With the Stars fans, "And even though it's a big day for all of us in Hollywood, let's not forget the animals… Help animals in need!!" She then posted a link to a video about why everyone should adopt, never buy.
Elsewhere on Twitter, Wisconsin native Kristin Bauer was appalled by the University of Wisconsin–Madison's cruel cat laboratories, Kat Graham had a colorful way to describe being vegan, and Sam Simon cracked us up:
Candace Parker wasn't at the Emmys, but she still scooped up an award. The fur foe snagged the Player of the Month Award for the WNBA's Western Conference, and we're sure that animals would agree that it couldn't have gone to a nicer person.
Maybe Candace felt as "damn good" about her honor as Dax Shepherd said his vegan diet makes him feel.
The Boss must be feeling pretty good, too. Bruce Springsteen just turned 63, and he is still rocking, thanks to his primarily vegetarian diet and his passion for exercise.
Vegan Russell Simmons is always doing something rocking for animals. After an African safari in which he got to see animals in the wild, he spoke out against circuses and zoos, writing on his Global Grind website: "These magnificent animals I encountered on the safari aren't riding on bicycles or jumping through rings of fire like kids see them do at the horribly cruel circuses where they are routinely beaten and neglected. These great beasts were tending to their young, running free and just being left alone to live their lives."
Carrie Underwood might not have the same musical tastes as Russell, but the two are singing the same tune when it comes to animal rights. The country songbird posted a picture of a chipmunk she took to her veterinarian after her dog tried to eat the little animal. Dale, as she called the chipmunk, was fine and was happily released back into nature.
Al Roker made another dog grateful recently when he adopted a 10-week-old puppy named Pepper from an animal shelter. PETA helped the Roker family welcome their newest member with some fun toys and treats.
To keep up with what your favorite stars are doing for animals, follow @PETA on Twitter.
It's barely been a week since California's foie gras ban took effect, and already restaurant owners have their magnifying glasses out, searching for loopholes that will allow them to serve the delicacy of despair. But compassionate people aren't letting them get away with it.
One San Francisco restaurant, Presidio Social Club, located in the Presidio National Park, sent out an announcement that flies in the face of the ban:
As a result of being on federal land, the Presidio Social Club (PSC) is exempt from the state-wide ban on heavenly Foie Gras. Therefore, PSC will be celebrating two important independences this July: Bastille Day for the French, and the freedom to enjoy Foie Gras for Californians.
The restaurant's rationale is questionable at best, and the executive director of the park's trust tweeted his intent to challenge it:
We are concerned that this action is inconsistent with the values that we promote in the Presidio—sustainability, respect for our environment, responsible stewardship. We will engage with the Presidio Social Club on these concerns.
And while other restaurants invent their own ludicrous loopholes or simply continue to unapologetically dish up the diseased livers of force-fed ducks and geese, animal advocates aren't going to let that slide. As PETA Associate Director of Campaigns Lindsay Rajt told one news outlet, "It's upsetting to see businesses trying to exploit loopholes, and you can bet that protesters will be picketing and showing footage outside their doors."
It's clear that the public has spoken and that it's time for duck and goose abuse to be off the menu.