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Animal Writes

  • 20
  • Aug

Belgium, Bolivia, Colombia, Mexico City, Paraguay and Peru Have Done It. Why Hasn’t the UK?

Karina-and-her-drawing-of-elephants-in-Circuses-768x1024Circuses are no fun for animals – so three cheers to Mexico City for banning the use of wild animals in performances!

Last month, Mexico City lawmakers made the compassionate decision to stop lions, tigers, elephants and other animals from being forced to jump through flaming hoops, balance on their hind legs and perform other dangerous and bewildering tricks in front of a screaming crowd. When the new law comes into full force, circus owners who continue to use animals could be fined up to $70,000.

Behind the scenes, animals in circuses are usually beaten into submission by means of cruel training methods and kept in cramped living quarters, where none of their needs are met. This eye-opening PETA US video gives a 60-second glimpse into the reality of what life is like for animals in circuses around the world:

Sadly, the UK is lagging behind Mexico City and countries such as Belgium, Bolivia, Colombia, Paraguay and Peru that have also banned circuses that use wild animals. We’re still waiting for the government to deliver on its promise to make these archaic spectacles illegal in England and Wales.

A recent investigation by Animal Defenders International shows a miserable lion and tiger pacing up and down in their gloomy cages at Peter Jolly’s Circus in England – making it crystal clear that, while politicians delay, animals are still suffering for the sake of an outdated notion of “entertainment”.

Please write to your MP, asking him or her to do everything possible to make sure that the wild animal circus legislation is passed during this parliamentary term. Time is running out – and further delays could mean that animals will have to endure years more of appalling abuse.

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  • 19
  • Aug

My Big Fat Vegan Wedding

I got married in Galway on the west coast of Ireland this summer, and it was the best day ever! And best of all, from the dress to the shoes to the food – no animals were harmed in the making of our big day. While the idea of planning a vegan wedding (or any wedding for that matter) initially seemed daunting, it actually turned out to be a piece of (non-dairy, egg-free) cake.

Vegan wedding in Galway

Walking down the aisle in style (and without harming animals) was no problem. I steered clear of leather and silk (who wants silkworms to be boiled alive for a celebration?) and opted for a little white cotton dress that was totally “me.” Barry found a faux-wool suit on the high street and ordered a pair of faux-leather brogues from Wills Vegan Shoes.

Happy wedding guests

Most of the guests were not vegan, so I really wanted them to say, “Wow, I can’t believe this is vegan!” – and they did! Crudités with seaweed “caviar”, fresh summer rolls, roasted tomato lasagne with a cashew cheese and soya chorizo and red velvet cupcakes were among the mouth-watering dishes served to our guests.
Vegan starter wedding reception
Vegan Roasted Tomato Lasagne
Vegan cupcakes

At the end of the meal, just when I thought I couldn’t eat one more bite, a vegan cheese board was presented (which I ended up devouring!). Friends and family raved that the food was delicious, and many even declared, unsolicited, that they would start eating more vegan meals because they were so impressed. For me, that was the icing on the cake.

Vegan Cheeseboard

Barry and I have everything that we could possible want, so in lieu of gifts, we asked guests to make a small donation to a Galway animal shelter.

So does planning a wedding have to mean saying, “I do,” to silk dresses, pearl-trimmed veils and meaty main courses? Not at all! I hope my story will inspire other brides-to-be to say, “I do,” to a cruelty-free wedding.

Elisa & Barry

Here are the companies that helped us keep our big day animal-friendly:

Dress and headpiece: Anthropologie

Menswear: Faux-wool suit from Jaeger

Faux-leather brogues: Wills Vegan Shoes

Catering: Kai Café + Restaurant

Vegan Wine: Cases Wine Warehouse

For more vegan wedding inspirations, check out PETA’s resource page.

Photos: Christian McLeod and Mark Clinton

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  • 15
  • Aug

RIP Bingo – Another Orca Dies in Captivity

After spending 30 years confined to a tank, yet another orca has died in captivity. Bingo, a male orca at Japan’s Port of Nagoya Public Aquarium, suffered from an inflammation of his lungs before passing away last week. He had been captured off the coast of Iceland in 1984 and never allowed to return to his family or ocean home.

Three orcas still remain at the aquarium: Stella, another wild-caught orca who once inhabited the vast waters of Iceland, and her two daughters, Ran II and Rin, both born in captivity.

Between 1967 and 1989, 54 orcas were captured off the coast of Iceland, and 47 of them have since died in captivity. The other seven still remain trapped in aquariums.

Please take action against the enslavement of sensitive, intelligent marine mammals by asking the Spanish government to return young orca Morgan to her home.

Rest in peace, Bingo. You are finally free.

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  • 15
  • Aug

8 of the Best Barbecue-Worthy Vegan ‘Meats’

The best vegan bbq meat substitutesIt’s that time of year again! The sun has got its hat on, and it’s time to fire up the grill and gather everyone together for a slap-up summer barbecue. If you’re one of the ever-growing number of compassionate people for whom the idea of burning animal flesh doesn’t conjure up summer fun, there are many cruelty-free hot dogs, veggie burgers and vegan sausages crying out to be grilled, tossed into a bun and gobbled up!

Here are some of our favourite vegan ‘meat’ options:

  1. Sainsburys Meatfree Sausages: These are a no-fuss choice, which are guaranteed to hold their shape on a grill and taste absolutely vegan-licous between two slices of bread and smothered with mustard and ketchup!
  2. Linda McCartney Mushroom & Spinach Burgers: If you’re not that into faux meats but still want a chunky burger with just the right amount of green, these are for you! These burgers have a distinctive mushroomy flavour and are widely available in most supermarkets.
  3. Dee’s Traditional Vegan Sausages: These pea protein–based sausages are spiced with ginger, coriander and Irish dulse seaweed and are a cut above your average vegan bangers. Available from Waitrose and Ocado, they are suitable for vegans and coeliacs and are also soy-free.
  4. Tesco Mexican Style Bean Burgers: For those who love a spicy kick to their burgers, these Mexican-style burgers are HOT! They’re packed with kidney and haricot beans and sweet corn and are perfect served in a bun with salad and guacamole or salsa. They’re also great value for the money.
  5. VBites Meat-Free Jumbo Hot Dogs: Offering a vegan take on the classic frankfurter-style hot dog. VBites already offers a wide range of meat and cheese substitutes, available from Holland & Barrett and some larger Morrisons’ stores.
    Vegan BBQ grill ideas
  6. Fry’s Traditional Burgers: These hearty and satisfying burgers have an authentically “meaty” flavour and, with their char-grilled pattern, even look the part as well! Find them at Holland & Barrett and Ocado.
  7. Wheaty Döner Kebab: At last, vegans can recreate that late-night kebab shop experience at home, thanks to this tempting wheat-based “meat” from Germany, which is available from health-food stores and retailers such as Suma.
  8. Make your own! Even if you don’t have time to rush out to the shops before an event or just want something that’s less processed, there are loads of great vegan barbecue recipes out there. These black-bean and sweet-corn burgers can be prepared quickly, using mostly store-cupboard ingredients.
    Veggie burger recipes for barbecue


So what are you waiting for? Get yourself down to the supermarket and turn those barbecue dreams into reality. You might even be able to convert a few meat-eaters while you’re at it!

Team them up with delicious accompaniments, such as potato salad, guacamole or grilled courgettes – here are a few recipe ideas. For more vegan food inspirations, order our free starter kit:

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  • 13
  • Aug

20 Prizes for 20 Years – Week 7: Win a Stella McCartney Faux-Python Bag

Stella McCartney handbag competition giveaway with GraziaTo help celebrate our 20th anniversary, Stella McCartney, Britain’s favourite designer, has donated one of her cruelty-free falabella bags! We’ve teamed up with top fashion mag Grazia to give away her bag and promote compassionate fashion.

Enter here.

Stella is known for her high-fashion accessories, celebrity fans and commitment to compassionate fashion, offering products that are free from leather, fur and exotic skins. This fabulous faux-python bag was handmade in Italy from animal-free fibres, meaning that no snakes were harmed.

It’s common practice in the exotic-skins industry to pump live snakes full of water in order to loosen their skin, which poachers then peel off their writing bodies. Thankfully, the rise of animal-free fashion means that fashionistas can get a “killer look” without killing.

To enter, visit Grazia‘s website.

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  • 11
  • Aug

The Scientists Who Are Determined to Stop Chemical Tests on Animals

Gilly and JuliaIt’s the largest animal testing programme in the world, but many people have never heard of it.

We’re talking about REACH – otherwise known as the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals in the European Union. The law states that animals must be used in tests only as a last resort, but since it came into effect in 2007, it’s estimated that a staggering 800,000 animals have already been poisoned and killed as part of the programme, including rabbits, mice, rats, guinea pigs and fish. Millions more could be subjected to the same fate in the coming years, and worse, many could be used in cruel tests when humane non-animal alternatives exist!

Fortunately, PETA and our international affiliates have progressive scientists on the case working day and night to do everything that they can to ensure that doesn’t happen. The PETA International Science Consortium is working behind the scenes to help save animals from these painful and frightening experiments. This month, for example, two scientists working as part of the Science Consortium published an in-depth article in Chemical Watch, a major publication for chemistry industry professionals, outlining how to replace cruel tests on animals with reliable and humane non-animal methods.

REACH chemcial testing programme harms animalsFor example, instead of dripping chemicals into rabbits’ eyes or rubbing them into their sensitive skin, companies can often use in vitro (test tube) experiments or computer modelling to determine the toxicity of chemicals.

By providing the most up-to-date information about alternatives to animal testing, the Science Consortium is pushing the chemical industry forward – away from archaic and unethical experiments on sentient beings and towards a future in which new technologies are used to save both animal and human lives.

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  • 11
  • Aug

The Inglorious Twelfth Marks a Season of Shame


Tuesday is the beginning of the annual red grouse shooting season in Scotland: the deceptively named “Glorious Twelfth”. Around half a million of these shy birds will be shot this year, helping to line the pockets of certain wealthy landowners but causing nothing but suffering to both the grouse and the many other animals who are killed because of this archaic, bloodthirsty industry.

Many estate managers kill birds of prey in order to “protect” grouse so that shooters can then kill them. Hawks, falcons, owls and other legally protected raptors are trapped, poisoned or shot, and their nests are also destroyed. Similarly, gamekeepers “control” (i.e., kill) foxes, crows, weasels, stoats and other animals so that hunters will have more grouse to shoot.

Unnaturally boosting the grouse population – for the perverse purpose of obliterating it later in the year – is also highly detrimental to the local environment. Upland moors store and absorb carbon dioxide – the British equivalent of a rainforest. But since grouse eat young heather shoots, moor “managers” burn heather in order to encourage fresh shoots, releasing massive amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. There’s also evidence that the use of lead ammunition – which is toxic to wildlife – harms the environment and humans.

Estate owners generally receive £150 for every pair of birds shot down. This is basically blood money, supplied by people who kid themselves that this killing is “sport”. The 12th of August will be a glorious day only when grouse hunters put away their guns, traps and poisons for good.

Image: Bods / CC BY 2.0

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  • 11
  • Aug

Seeking Stylish Vegans – Apply Within!

Stylish VeganLove cruelty-free fashion as much as you love to breathe? Have a killer style that no one had to be killed for? Then you are just the person we are looking for!

The search is on for fierce fashionistas and fashionisters who turn heads with their cruelty-free attire. If you think you’ve got the winning style, simply e-mail MostStylishVegan@peta.org.uk with a photo of yourself in your favourite outfit and a few lines about your personal style and why you choose to rock animal-friendly looks.

This is your opportunity to show just how easy it is to be en vogue without being inhumane.

We’ll feature our favourite trendsetters on the PETA UK website so that other fashion devotees can see that compassion and fashion really do go hand in hand. We’ll also send those who are featured some chic vegan goodies as a token of our admiration.

Animals killed for clothing are intelligent, thinking, feeling beings – they are not bags, coats or shoes. Join us in spreading this message. Submit your pics today!

By submitting your photo to us, you’re acknowledging that you’ve read and you agree to our privacy policy and terms of submission.

Image by Monkee Genes.

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  • 08
  • Aug

Siddy Bennett: Go Vegan and Find Inner Peace

Siddy Bennett, lead singer of the up-and-coming indie-folk band Wildflowers, recently popped in for a chat with PETA about all things vegan.

The Londoner and long-time vegetarian made the decision to ditch eggs and dairy products and go vegan a little more than a year ago, when her band was just getting started and she moved back in with her vegan mum, who refused to allow animal products in her home. This situation really got Siddy to think about how cows used by the dairy industry and hens used for their eggs suffer on factory farms, as did a memorable Chrissie Hynde performance of “I’ll Stand by You” for PETA, which spoke to Siddy’s love of both music and animals. She knew then that she had to make the change.

It’s clear that veganism is suiting Siddy, who stresses the benefits it has had for her health and is thrilled with the improvements in her skin and complexion. Even so, the shift in her perspective and outlook, she says, has had a much more profound impact: “I feel relaxed in my head knowing that I’m not eating something that’s come from a bad place or been damaged or hurt”.

Inner peace, improved health and great skin are just some of the positive benefits of choosing a vegan diet and lifestyle. But it’s also about caring for our planet and treating it with respect. Animal agriculture is a leading cause of greenhouse-gas emissions and a scourge on our land, rivers and oceans. When you choose not to buy into this environmental mass destruction, we all win!

And most importantly, we have to remember those who have no choice – animals. They don’t get a say about being subjected to an endless cycle of confinement, cruelty and deprivation in the meat, egg and dairy industries, which lasts from the second when they are born until the day when they are sent to a terrifying and horrific death at an abattoir.

The good news in all this is that it’s extremely easy to adopt a compassionate diet. Veganism can suit any lifestyle, schedule or budget, and there are thousands of delicious vegan ingredients and easy-to-prepare vegan recipes out there for even the most basic of cooks. Siddy is a huge fan of plant-based cheeses, dark chocolate with dates, smoked tofu and falafel wraps. With new vegetarian and vegan restaurants opening all the time and more and more popular chains introducing vegan options, it’s never been easier to go vegan.

Why not take the pledge and switch to a vegan diet for 30 days to see how terrific you can feel!

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  • 08
  • Aug

County Kerry, End the Capture and Display of Wild Goats at Puck Fair

Wild animals suffer tremendously, both physically and mentally, when caught, especially during handling and transport, and contact with humans can terrify and disorient them. So spare a thought for the goat who will soon be “crowned” King Puck at the Puck Fair in Killorglin, County Kerry.

PETA oppose Puck Fair crueltyIn what must be a terrifying ordeal, each year, a wild male goat is caught in the mountains, confined to a small cage in town and then hoisted high in the air, where he remains for three days while revellers party below.

Goats deserve to be left alone so that they can roam the beautiful, sprawling mountains of County Kerry – not captured every year and imprisoned inside a cramped and wholly unsuitable enclosure.

There are many other ways for Killorglin’s residents to celebrate their local community without putting animals at risk. This year, we’ve written to the Mayor of Kerry, offering to contribute to the creation of a life-like goat sculpture if it will help end this cruel and archaic practice. We hope that Killorglin’s mayor and residents will take us up on this offer.

If you visit the county or anywhere else with an attraction that includes a captive animal, please walk the other way. Tourists have so many fantastic opportunities available to them that it’s easy to have a holiday filled with cruelty-free memories.

Image: “King Puck goes up” by Alice / CC BY-SA 2.0

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