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Animal Writes

  • 27
  • Feb

Foston Update: Positive Step as Environment Agency Rejects Application

Earlier this week, the Environment Agency rejected an application from Midland Pig Producers regarding their proposed intensive, US-style factory farm in Foston, Derbyshire. The agency said it would “offend human senses”.

For years now, our supporters have been speaking out against the plans for this factory farm, as it would offend animal senses, too! The proposed factory farm would imprison up to 25,000 pigs at a time and send 1,000 pigs a week to slaughter.

© Jo-Anne McArthur / We Animals

Pigs are not commodities: they are intelligent, sentient animals with distinct personalities. The proposed factory farm would subject them to horrific cruelty in many ways, including confinement in crowded conditions for their entire short lives, mutilations such as tail-docking and a terrifying journey to the abattoir when they’re less than a year old.

We’re still waiting for Derbyshire County Council to reject this ill-advised application that would cause immense suffering. The Environment Agency’s decision will hopefully influence them heavily to do the right thing.

Please, add your voice at this crucial moment and join thousands of other compassionate PETA supporters who have spoken out against the cruel plans:

Take Action Now

 

Photo: © Jo-Anne McArthur / We Animals

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  • 26
  • Feb

Owls Don’t Belong in Nightclubs

Barn Owl_miniNews that a pop-up “owl bar” – at which live owls would be handled by cocktail-sipping members of the public – is supposed to be coming to London in March has rightly been met with outrage by everyone who cares about animals’ well-being.

Animals and clubs or cafés don’t mix. The loud music and bright lights at nightclubs are extremely stressful to animals. It would be hard to think of a more frightening experience for owls, who have especially acute hearing and vision, than to be surrounded by intoxicated, caterwauling humans at a bar.

The notion of raising money to protect owls in nature – which is what part of the proceeds will supposedly go towards – by terrifying owls in captivity is absurd. The kindest place for owl enthusiasts to admire these birds is in their natural environment, not at a London nightspot where they’re used as props or playthings.

Most wild animals used for tacky PR stunts are carted from venue to venue and forced to live inside small cages for the majority of their days. They are often victims of harsh, abusive training methods, and when they are no longer useful or get too big, many of them end up abandoned or sold to the highest bidder. It adds nothing to a night out to gawk at terrified animals, but for the animals, it’s a living nightmare.

Speaking out against such cruel attractions can often be highly effective. Just last week, Paris’ five-star Hôtel Plaza Athénée promised never to use live animals again after hearing from PETA France.

If you ever learn of any planned event involving live animals, please contact the organisers and ask them to change their plans. Let us know as well by e-mailing KirstyH@peta.org.uk.

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  • 25
  • Feb

WATCH: Joaquin Phoenix Wants You to Know the Truth About Leather

PETA Asia’s groundbreaking investigation into the Chinese dog-leather industry created a tidal wave of outrage earlier this year.

Now Hollywood superstar Joaquin Phoenix is using his voice to let more people know that dogs are bludgeoned and killed so their skins can be turned into leather items to be sold around the world.

Watch Joaquin’s eye-opening video:

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The Oscar-nominated star of Gladiator, Walk the Line, Inherent Vice and many other acclaimed movies is a long-time vegan who is known for speaking out for animals, whether it’s for the billions of fish who are snatched from the oceans by humans every year or sensitive reptiles who are slaughtered for fashion.

Join Joaquin in speaking out against cruelly-produced leather! Learn more about the investigation and sign the pledge here:

Take Action Now

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  • 25
  • Feb

A Pig Given a Chance at Life: Meet Fella

The Amazing Fella could have ended up as a bacon butty or sausage roll – but instead, he’s living the high life in Cambridgeshire, where he shares his home with his guardians, Emily and Dustin, and their three dogs.

Fella the Pig!

Just like his doggie flatmates, cheeky Fella loves to cuddle on the sofa and go out for walks. And he’s quite the activist, too. When he’s out and about, he wears a bright harness with the message “Don’t eat pork!” to encourage others to spare a thought for his cousins who never get to breathe fresh air or feel the sunlight on their back because they’re forced to spend their lives in filthy cages on factory farms.

Fella as a piglet Lucky Fella Nap time for Fella the pig Napping Fella the Pig

Going vegan is the easy answer to help pigs who haven’t been as lucky as Fella. If we can choose to live full, happy lives without having to inflict pain on or kill others, why wouldn’t we? Order one of PETA’s free vegan starter kits to see just how easy and delicious choosing vegan meals can be!

See more cute pics of the Amazing Fella on his Facebook page: www.facebook.com/theamazingfella.

 

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  • 24
  • Feb

5 Easy Steps for Starting an Animal Rights Society

students on grass

Starting a vegan or animal rights uni society is a great way to harness the collective influence of compassionate students who want to share with their student body as well as the community around their school the benefits of veganism. Going vegan is one of the easiest ways to help animals and people, too. Since it takes up to 13 pounds of grain to produce just 1 pound of animal flesh, imagine how many more humans we could feed if we ate the grain directly. Because vegans don’t consume all the artery-clogging saturated fats contained in animal products, they also tend to live healthier, happier and longer lives!

Uni is a place where many students really begin to question the world around them. It might be the first time that they actively think about what they are consuming. A vegan society is a great place to help them learn about the horrors that await animals who are raised on factory farms, killed for their skin, tested on in laboratories or abused in the entertainment industry.

Starting a vegan society is extremely easy, and while schools may differ in terms of what the criteria of starting a society are (check with your student union), the basics are generally the same. Here are five easy steps for starting a vegan society:

  1. Create a committee.

To start a society, you will need a committee of at least a president or chair, a treasurer and a secretary, so in essence, you need only two additional people to start your society. Talk with your friends, your acquaintances and that person eating a veggie burger over there! There are plenty of people likely to support your decision to start a group. Just speak with them.

  1. Write a constitution.

Your constitution will serve as the backbone of your group. It will let new members as well as the faculty know what your mission is. You can see a sample constitution here. Don’t copy it. Simply use it as a template to create your own.

  1. Recruit members.

Tabling at the Freshers’ Fair or setting up in the main campus square is the best way to recruit new members. Tabling is like leafleting, but instead of walking around handing out fliers, you get to decorate a table in order to draw people in. Try getting a laptop and showing a video to grab people’s attention. Have short conversations with people who stop by, and get them to leave their contact information so that you can let them know when you’re holding your next event. Tip: Make sure you apply for a stall at your Freshers’ Fair early, usually at the end of the previous year.

  1. Write a risk assessment of your activities.

A risk assessment is an evaluation of what, in your society, could cause harm to people so that you can consider whether you have taken enough precautions or should do more to prevent harm. The overall aim of the assessment is to ensure that no one gets hurt or becomes ill.

When carrying out your risk assessment, the important thing you need to decide is whether or not hazards are significant and whether you have them covered by satisfactory precautions so that the risks have been minimised. At some universities, a risk assessment can be completed with a form, whereas other universities require a short report. Check with your student union for your university’s guideline to submitting a risk assessment.

  1. Get active!

Now that you’ve gotten the administrative work out of the way, the real fun can begin. We suggest that you get your society members together at the beginning or end of each term to discuss what kind of events they want to be involved in. Your campaigns and actions are as limitless as the imagination of your members. However, if you hit a creative block, feel free to use some of our techniques that have time and time again brought awareness to important issues and instigated change.

  • Get vegan options in the dining facilities: Petition for more vegan options. Talk with people in dining services. Show them how much support there is for healthy vegan food in the dining halls, and make it happen. Click here to read “44 Accidentally Vegan Snacks“.
  • Host vegan food giveaways and vegan potlucks: Who doesn’t like food? Providing food is a sure-fire way to get people to listen to what you have to say, and with delicious vegan treats in their mouth, they can’t argue. Try some of the recipes in our Free Vegan Starter Kit.
  • Leafleting: Do you have a campaign that you are currently promoting, such as asking Benetton to ban angora, putting an end to the hideously cruel live-export industry or putting a stop to bullfighting? Pass out fliers around your university and the surrounding community to inform people about the issues concerning your campaigns.
  • Chalking pavements: Grab a box of chalk, and (with permission from your uni) go to town on your campus. Get some members of the group to join you, and leave slogans all over your campus’s walkways. It’s like leafleting to everyone the next day while you’re sleeping in.
  • Host a film screening: Hosting a film screening is a very easy way of getting the word out there. Simply pop some popcorn and push “play”. Not sure which movies to screen? Check out this blog which includes some of our favourite vegan and animal-rights films.
  • Organise a Talk: You may be able to find willing speakers from local animal rights organisations, environmental groups or local businesses to talk about vegan- and animal rights–related issues.
  • Use social media: This may be a given, but create a Facebook group and an Instagram account. By posting photos of all the vegan potlucks, food giveaways and actions and events you’ll host, along with information about your society’s upcoming events, you’ll boost your participation numbers.
  • Finally, don’t be afraid to use old-fashioned techniques, such as hanging up tear-off fliers with your group’s contact info on them. Leaving these on all the pin boards around your university will allow you to cover all fronts, IRL and online. Take advantage of every opportunity that you have to promote your animal rights group!

Be sure to drop us a line at Info@peta.org.uk when you start your society. We have resources such as videos and leaflets that we may be able to send you to help you in your endeavours.

 

 

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  • 20
  • Feb

Cheshire Cat Escapes Snare

When Potter, a cat, went missing from his home in Cheshire for 11 days, his family was worried. When he returned, his family was shocked. Potter came back with a deep life-threatening cut around his body and required major surgery.
Potter the cat

 

It emerged that he had been trapped in a snare for almost the entire time that he was missing. Snares are legal and often used to trap foxes, rabbits or hares. They consist of a wire noose which tightens when the trapped animal struggles and can cause a slow, painful death from infected wounds. They also trap indiscriminately, and dogs, cats, badgers and deer have reportedly been caught.

Snare wound on cat

Potter was lucky to escape that snare and receive treatment to save his life. Most animals who are caught endure a much sadder fate.

Help get snares banned by joining our campaign, starting with Scotland. Please sign our letter to the government:

Take Action Now

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  • 20
  • Feb

Iconic Luxury Hotel Bans Wild Animal Displays

When shocking images of a muzzled, chained bear surfaced on social media at the iconic Hôtel Plaza Athénée, part of the Dorchester Collection group of international luxury hotels, PETA France jumped into action.

The bear was used as a prop at a New Year’s Eve party hosted by the luxury hotel. After learning from PETA France how captive bears and other wild animals in the entertainment industry are denied everything that is natural and important to them, the hotel – which was famously featured in the final season of Sex and the City – pledged to implement an immediate ban and said, “Thank you for making us more sensitive to animal suffering”.

#russian #newyear #newfriend #bear #plaza #athenee #whoisthebear?

A photo posted by Cedric Anthony Btesh (@cedanthony) on

Bears belong in nature, where they can forage for food, build nests and splash in freshwater – not chained up in a hotel lobby. We look forward to seeing more establishments follow Hôtel Plaza Athénée’s lead and adopt policies against using animals for entertainment.

If you see an animal being abused for entertainment, speak out! A letter is often all it takes to convince organisations to change their policies.

For more ways to help animals, join PETA UK’s Action Team.

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  • 19
  • Feb

Meet Three Activists Who Would #RatherGoNaked

What better occasion is there than London Fashion Week to remind the fashion world how utterly unacceptable it is to wear the skin of dead animals?

Outside Somerset House today, three gutsy ladies did exactly that, stripping off to put into practice PETA’s famous slogan “We’d rather go naked than wear fur”!

Somerset House - before the demo

We'd Rather Go Naked Demo 2015 cameras

 

We'd Rather Go Naked Demo 2015

Hope, Katy and Monica took part in the demo to urge designers, journalists and shoppers to opt for clothing for which animals weren’t bludgeoned, gassed, strangled or electrocuted. After all, fashion should be fun, not fatal.

Investigations into the global fur trade have found, time and time again, that even in supposedly “high-welfare” countries, animals such as foxes and minks are confined to cramped, filthy cages on fur farms and often go insane from the intense confinement before facing a gruesome death.

Watch our exposé to learn more:

What You Can Do

Please, never wear or buy any item made from fur or featuring fur trim. And join our campaign urging Harvey Nichols to reinstate its fur-free policy here:

Take Action Now

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  • 19
  • Feb

Where to Find Bostin’ Vegan Food in Birmingham

Vegan Birmingham

For the latest instalment in our series of vegan city guides, we head to the West Midlands to discover where compassionate Brummies go to find delicious meat-free food.

These are our top vegan picks in Britain’s second city:

  • The Warehouse Café
    Fresh, local and seasonal ingredients take centre stage at this longstanding eco-veggie restaurant located right in the city centre. There are many tempting vegan options available and clearly labelled – the dessert menu even includes vegan trifle! For groceries, check out the 100% Vegan shop in the same building.
    Warehouse Cafe in BirminghamDSCF0319.JPG” by Tom Adams / CC BY-SA 2.0
  • Deepalis
    Cooking up authentic South Indian vegetarian food, Deepalis is an obvious stopping point for vegans exploring the famous Balti Triangle, whether you’re in search of a fragrant curry or classics such as masala dosa and idli sambhar.
  • Veg Out Café & Restaurant
    Light, healthy and organic – the food at this friendly King’s Heath vegetarian café ticks all the boxes.
  • Blue Ginger
    Monday is vegan night at this Malaysian/Singaporean restaurant, with a full menu of unusual animal-free dishes, including tofu gado gado, rambutan and jackfruit red curry and bright green pandan crepes. If you can’t make it on Monday, the regular menu also caters to compassionate eaters.
  • Bodega Cantina
    This popular restaurant serves laid-back South American food – just ask for the vegan menu, and you’ll be good to go! For added authenticity, wash down your meal with a cheeky margarita (or three).
  • Bistro 1847
    A place to splash out, this is the kind of restaurant where the menu is full of items you may struggle to pronounce – but don’t let that put you off, since everything is seasonal, British and meat-free, with vegan options clearly labelled.
    Bistro 1847 serves up gourmet meat-free food
  • Mr Singh’s All Vegetarian Pizza
    This is THE place to find cheesy vegan pizza in Birmingham! Eat in or take away.
  • Cafe Soya
    As you may have guessed from the name, the vegetarian menu at this Asian restaurant is a mock-meat extravaganza! Pick from a vast array of dishes such as sizzling veggie prawns and mock crispy duck pancakes.
  • Boston Tea Party
    Head here for superior coffee and a slap-up vegan breakfast.
  • The British Oak, Stirchley
    How many traditional boozers have a whole vegan section on the menu? Tuck into pub favourites such as pie and chips or vegetable chilli at this historic pub.
  • Cherry Reds Cafe-Bar
    Hearty vegan breakfasts and staples such as falafel burgers and vegan cakes are the name of the game at this down-to-earth café, with two branches in Kings Heath and City Centre.

Other vegan-friendly local businesses worth looking out for are plant-based street-food kiosk The Vegan Grindhouse and monthly pop-up restaurant Change Kitchen.

*****

If you think we’ve missed any hidden gems in and around Birmingham, let us know by leaving a comment below. Thanks to everyone who gave us tips!

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  • 18
  • Feb

Celebrate Chinese New Year Vegan-Style

It is said that during Chinese New Year, a mythical beast called Nian passes through villages and eats the villagers as well as their crops and livestock. To celebrate the Chinese New Year, we have some vegan recipes for a feast so delicious it might even convince Nian to ditch meat.

3_dim_sum_go_go

Veggie Dumplings (Jiaozi)
1/2 cup finely chopped mushrooms
1/2 cup grated carrots
1/2 cup shredded cabbage
2 Tbsp finely chopped red pepper
2 Tbsp finely chopped onion
2 tsp minced fresh ginger
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp sesame oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
35–40 small dumpling wrappers

  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the mushrooms, carrots, cabbage, red pepper, onion, ginger, soy sauce and sesame oil. Stir until combined and then season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Place the wrappers on a dry working surface one at a time, place 1 teaspoonful of the vegetable mixture in the centre of the wrapper, wet the edges of the wrapper with water, fold one side over and then pinch the edges together until sealed. The dumplings will be in the shape of a half moon. Repeat until all the filling is gone.
  • Bring 1/2 inch of water to a simmer over medium heat. In a steamer, place as many dumplings as will fit without touching each other. Cover and steam for 10 to 12 minutes. Repeat until all dumplings are cooked.
  • Serve while hot, with a side of your favourite dipping sauce.

Makes 35 to 40 small dumplings

Chinese Hot Pot
This is a common feature of most Chinese New Year meals as it is meant to symbolise the coming together of family members.

1 small yellow onion, chopped
1 large carrot, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced on a diagonal
1 stalk celery, thinly sliced on a diagonal
6-oz can sliced water chestnuts, drained
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 tsp peeled and grated fresh ginger
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
5 1/2 cups vegetable stock
1 Tbsp tamari or other soy sauce
8 oz extra-firm tofu, drained and diced
4 oz fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and caps thinly sliced
1 oz snow peas, strings trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
3 scallions, chopped
1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil or Chinese hot oil

  • In a 4-quart slow cooker, combine the onion, carrot, celery, water chestnuts, garlic, ginger and red pepper flakes. Add the stock and tamari. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.
  • About 20 minutes before serving, add the tofu, mushrooms, snow peas and scallions. Drizzle in the sesame oil.
  • Cover and cook until the mushrooms and snow peas are tender.
  • Serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings
(Adapted from Robin Robertson’s Fresh From the Vegetarian Slow Cooker)

Garlic-Ginger Tofu Stir-Fry
1 small Thai pepper, minced
1 tsp minced ginger
1 garlic clove, minced
1 Tbsp olive oil
3 Tbsp soy sauce
1/4 cup water
1 Tbsp arrowroot powder or cornstarch
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 16-oz pkg firm tofu, drained and cut into 1×1/2-inch pieces
1 tsp soy sauce
2 carrots, cut into 2-inch strips
1 red pepper, sliced
1 large bok choy (or 4–5 baby bok choy), cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 medium onion, sliced
1/2 cup courgette, sliced into 1/2-inch-thick pieces
Cooked lo mein or soba noodles

  • Sauté the minced pepper, ginger and garlic in the olive oil for 2 to 3 minutes over medium heat. Add the soy sauce and water, stirring until well combined. Stir in the arrowroot powder and simmer over low heat until the tofu and vegetables are cooked through.
  • Heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat in a non-stick 12-inch skillet.
  • Add the tofu and cook, stirring frequently (stir-frying) until heated through and browned on all sides, about 10 to 15 minutes. Add the soy sauce and stir-fry for 1 minute. Transfer to a bowl.
  • Add the carrots, red pepper, bok choy, onions and squash to the skillet and stir-fry until the vegetables are tender but crisp, about 3 minutes. Add the prepared sauce and tofu and stir-fry until all the ingredients are coated and heated, about 2 minutes.
  • Serve immediately over the lo mein or soba noodles.

For more ideas for celebrating any holiday with compassion or to receive our free vegan starter kit:

vegan starter kit

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