In two weeks, world-famous hip-hop group Wu-Tang Clan will release A Better Tomorrow, its first album in seven years. But before this long-anticipated album hits the stores, group leader RZA – whom you may also know as Apocalypse Samurai on Californication – will appear in a brand-new PETA ad declaring, “A better tomorrow is a vegan tomorrow. I am RZA, and I am vegan”.
“I don’t need a dead animal or dead piece of flesh to go into my live body”, RZA says. “I had animals as friends …. They was happy to see me in their own animal way. I’m quite sure they did not want to be on my plate.”
RZA also talks about the influence of hip-hop icons Russell Simmons, who promotes veganism, and KRS-One, who in his song “Beef” gave “us an idea of the process that animals go through … to make it to our tables”, RZA says.
Animals value their lives just as much as humans do. Yet those lives are sacrificed for profit, and human health and the environment are damaged because of it. RZA makes the point that we shouldn’t be putting the product of such stress and death into our living bodies.
It’s never too late to make the kind, smart choice and adopt a plant-based diet, giving your health a boost and sparing animals unnecessary suffering. Order your free vegan starter kit today.
Soul-singing sensation Paloma Faith uses her celebrated voice to draw attention to the barbaric fur industry in a new video that shines an unflinching spotlight on fur production in Europe and the US.
Paloma is known for her distinctive style but doesn’t believe that animals should suffer in this way for her fashion choices. As she says:
“All fur is the product of extreme cruelty and abuse of animals. That’s why I always choose faux fur. With so many extraordinary alternatives on the market, there’s just no excuse for tearing the fur off an animal’s back”.
Foxes with skinless paws forced to live beside their dead, decomposing cage mates and a mink with an untreated head wound so severe that the animal’s brain is visible – these are just two of the stomach-churning scenes in the video, which is a montage of video footage taken from farms in countries that make up part of the fur industry’s “Origin Assured” marketing initiative.
Fur from animals farmed in any one of 29 countries can potentially be labelled “Origin Assured”, including the animals seen in this video. So claims by stores such as Harvey Nichols that it sells only “Origin Assured” fur are really nothing to boast about.
Please join Paloma in opposing the inhumane fur industry by sending a message to Harvey Nichols asking it to stop selling cruelly produced fur at once!
It’s common sense, really – a crowded shopping centre at the busiest time of year is no place for a wild animal. Yet across the UK, a number of towns have plans to use reindeer as holiday “props” in Christmas displays.
Reindeer belong in the Arctic and subarctic regions of the world, where they can live in herds and roam freely over vast open ranges. Being carted around from one display to another, housed in tiny sheds and pens, forced to pull sleighs and exposed to bright lights and loud noises, prevents them from engaging in any of their natural behaviour.
According to research from the Veterinary Laboratories Agency, a poor diet, exposure to diseases carried by other animals and the stress of being removed from their natural environment have contributed to an increase in deaths among young reindeer used in the UK. When they’re denied the opportunity to roam for long distances, their hooves can grow too long, a serious condition that can be debilitating. They can also contract parasites carried by domestic animals.
Reindeer are large, strong animals who tend to be skittish and unpredictable, and they don’t enjoy being harnessed and petted, either. They can inflict serious injuries on humans. Consequently, male reindeer are commonly castrated to make them easier to handle – which is hardly in the Christmas spirit.
Along with many concerned supporters, we’ve been writing to councils up and down the country asking that they cancel any plans to use reindeer and implement policies against live-animal displays.
You can help! If you learn about any events in your local area that will feature live animals, please write to the organisers and ask them to rethink their plans. Here’s a template letter if you’re not certain what to say. Ending the exploitation of reindeer and other animals would do nothing to diminish children’s sense of the magic of the holiday season. For these animals, though, it would make a world of difference.
It’s no secret that fine vegan dining is on the rise in London, thanks to chefs such as Ali Parvinjah, the creator of the vegan menu on offer at The Montagu, which has been awarded two AA rosettes and is located in the five-star Hyatt Regency London – The Churchill.
For World Vegan Month, Chef Ali explains how the vegan movement in London has spread and gives viewers an exclusive look at some of his favourite plant-based recipes in our latest video.
“I have guests constantly telling me here at the restaurant The Montagu, ‘Chef, it was an epiphany. It was a rainbow of flavours'”, Chef Ali says. And diners aren’t the only ones who are excited about plant-based cooking. “The chefs here have completely embraced the move”, he says. “They want to be a part of it. … They feel that this is happening and … they have to stay on top of their game.”
And Chef Ali is at the forefront of the movement, even at home. In the video, he shares his recipe for his favourite breakfast smoothie – “Drink that”, he says, “and you’ll feel on top of cloud number nine for like 12, 10 hours” – as well as his tried-and-true method for cashew-based crème fraîche.
Whether you dine in five-star hotels or just fancy a takeaway in front of the TV, many cruelty-free meals are readily available. Why not try them out? Order PETA’s free vegan starter kit here:
Benjy was facing slaughter for being gay. The bull made headlines this month after a veterinarian declared his sexual orientation the reason why he wouldn’t breed and the farmer who owned him decided to fatten him for slaughter.
After learning from PETA about the bull’s plight, Simpsons co-creator and philanthropist Sam Simon put up the money to buy Benjy and transport him to a sanctuary where he’ll be able to live out his natural life with peace and dignity. Benjy’s transfer is expected to take place in time for Christmas.
“PETA told me about Benjy, and I felt compelled to help. All animals have a dire destiny in the meat trade, but to kill this bull because he’s gay would’ve been a double tragedy”, says Sam, a long-time vegan. “It thrills me to help PETA and ARAN make Benjy’s fate a sanctuary rather than a sandwich.”
Sam is facing a life-threatening battle himself. He was diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2012 and has chosen to use his resources and the time that he has left to help a number of animals in need, including getting 17 bears transferred from virtually barren concrete pits to a lush new home, helping retire a lame horse used for racing, securing the transfer of a chimpanzee who had spent more than 18 years in solitary confinement at a zoo to a reputable sanctuary and running The Sam Simon Foundation, an organisation dedicated to rescuing and rehabilitating homeless dogs. Benjy is just the latest on a long list of animals who have been saved thanks to his work.
In addition to the money fronted by Sam, more than 250 other people have donated to fund Benjy’s transfer through a crowd-funding initiative set up by Irish animal-protection group ARAN and TheGayUK.com.
We hope those moved by Benjy’s plight will extend their empathy to the billions of other animals on farms who, like Benjy, are denied their most basic freedoms. People can do that every time they sit down to eat simply by leaving animals off their plates. Start by ordering PETA’s free vegan starter kit:
We get it. You have to pretend to be a little sad when you say bye to Mum and Dad as you leave for uni. You’re intuitive enough to realise that it’s not easy for your parents to watch their little munchkin leave the nest, so you might even squeeze out a tear or two to make sure Mum knows you’ll miss her. But on the inside, you’re jumping for joy at the thought of your upcoming campus life: new friends, societies, parties and, most importantly, FREEDOM! Oh, yeah, and a good education, of course.
We’re sure you’ve got a lot on your mind, so we thought we’d do you a solid and give you a few pointers on navigating uni as a vegan:
- Before you leave for uni, learn to cook. Learn to cook?! We’re not saying you need to become a gourmet chef. Just learn to make a few quick and easy dishes so you don’t have to rely solely on the canteen or takeaway for all your meals. You don’t have to take classes. Learning to cook can be as easy as picking up a good cookbook. We recommend PETA’s Vegan College Cookbook.
- Contact your uni canteen. Vegans gotta eat, too! So don’t hesitate to contact your uni’s canteen supervisor and ask if they currently have any meal options for vegans. If they don’t, ask them if they can start making some. It might even be useful to give them some suggestions, such as vegetable and houmous wraps, quinoa salads or vegetable curries and rice. Just remember to be polite. You don’t want to piss off the people cooking your food.
- Join a vegan/vegetarian or an animal rights club or society. Joining a vegan/vegetarian or an animal rights club or society is a great way to meet fellow “vegheads” and animal rights enthusiasts. And as a bonus, most of them host potlucks – a great way to show off your newfound culinary skills while filling up on other people’s dishes. Don’t have a vegan/vegetarian or an animal rights club or society at your uni? Then start one! What a great way to leave your mark on your school. Plus, it’s usually fairly easy to start a new society or club – just contact your student union for details.
- Learn to shop on a budget. Ahhhhh! Budgeting! Don’t let that word scare you – it’s really not that difficult. Look for offers at your local grocery store. Plan your meals ahead of time – weekly if you can – then make a grocery list and stick to it. The UK has some of the best markets in the world! Take advantage of them. If you go towards the close of the market, you can usually get some really good deals, as the farmers are typically eager to get rid of the last of their produce. Check out our “Vegan on a Budget: Recipes From a Girl Called Jack” blog post.
- Shop online. Doesn’t your grocer know that savoury yeast flakes make everything taste better? Can’t find your niche vegan staples at the local market? Then order them online. You’d be surprised at what you can find on Amazon.co.uk, and Ocado.com has a whole vegan section.
- Eat breakfast. Not just because it’s the most important meal of the day but because it’s kinda hard to focus on what your lecturer is saying when your stomach’s grumbling. So even if it’s just a bagel with peanut butter and banana slices, put something in your tummy in the morning that can hold you over ’til your next meal.
- Pack snacks. We can’t stress the importance of this tip enough. But we probably don’t have to because it’s highly likely that you’ve already been caught out in the wilderness of the concrete jungle, famished, without a crumb of vegan nourishment in sight. We know it sounds dramatic, but isn’t that how you feel when you’re busy and hungry with no vegan food at arm’s reach? Don’t fall into this trap again. An apple, some almonds, a nutritional bar … it doesn’t matter what. Just always remember to throw a snack in your bag or pocket before you leave home.
- Download the HappyCow app. If you haven’t already, download this magical app. Yes, magical. It’s like GPS for vegan food. Seriously, open the app, and it will show you a list of vegan-friendly restaurants and food stores in your vicinity.
- Going out? Plan ahead. Going out with non-vegan friends from uni? Well, unfortunately, not all restaurateurs or pubs carry vegan options (or even know what “vegan” means, for that matter), but with a little research, you’ll find that there are loads of pubs, restaurants and fast-food chains in the UK that serve vegan dishes. Check out our “On the Menu – Vegan Options at Chain Restaurants” blog post.
Got any tips to add to this list? Add ‘em in the comments.
In a groundbreaking victory more than three decades in the making, the US military has agreed to replace the use of animals in six different areas of medical training with modern human-patient simulators – an enlightened step forward that will save countless human and animal lives.
These advanced simulators will better prepare medical personnel to treat injured soldiers and will save animals from being cut into and having hard plastic tubes repeatedly forced down their throats, among other invasive and often deadly procedures.
As reported in a Boston Globe cover story, in a recently released memorandum, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs Dr Jonathan Woodson determined that “suitable simulation alternatives can replace the use of live animals” in certain trauma and other surgical training courses. PETA US had specifically requested that the military adopt the simulators for trauma and paediatric intubation training, two of the areas for which they will now be used. Woodson ordered all service branches “to fully transition to the use of simulations in these programs by no later than January 1, 2015.”
The Department of Defense’s announcement follows numerous letters and complaints filed by PETA US and military and civilian medical experts as well as protests and hundreds of thousands of e-mails from concerned supporters specifically calling for medical training using human simulators instead of animals.
Unhappily, the UK and a handful of other EU countries have still not got the message that using animals in military drills is both cruel and unnecessary. Every year, British soldiers travel to Denmark to shoot apart and sew up live pigs in inhumane exercises.
Send a message to the MoD asking it to adopt advanced humane training techniques and to leave animals alone!
This winter, we’ve teamed up with top-notch department store Liberty to help animals and the homeless at the same time. We’ve provided the store, which has a long-standing policy against selling fur, with an abundance of fur coats that were donated to us by members of the public who had a change of heart after seeing the cruelty involved in fur production. The coats will be used in Liberty’s annual coat drive to help the homeless keep warm during the chilly winter months.
The message that people should take away is that only those in desperate need have an excuse for wearing fur. After all, there’s nothing glamorous about raising animals in filthy cages, anally electrocuting them and ripping or cutting off their skins – the fate of thousands of animals on fur farms all around the world.
And our fur coat “amnesty” programme is still going on! If you have any fur garments lingering in your closet, either inherited or purchased before you learnt about the horrors of fur farming, we are always happy to accept them. We’ll put them to good use, whether in awareness-raising demonstrations, by donating them to those in need or even by sending them to animal shelters to be used as bedding. Of course, we always mark the fur coats first, so there’s no chance they’ll end up back on the market.
Post your unwanted furs to:
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals Foundation
8 All Saints St
London N1 9RL
Image: Rosie Barnett
The spotlight is on department store John Lewis this week. Its much-anticipated Christmas ad campaign has been received with excitement, with Monty, the ad’s penguin star, winning over the hearts of Christmas shoppers.
The ad won us over, too. That’s because the retailer and its advertising agency, adam&eveDDB, made the decision to use innovative computer-generated imagery (CGI) from the Moving Picture Company to create a stunningly lifelike penguin, rather than using a real one. So we’re sending John Lewis PETA’s Compassionate Marketing Award.
Using CGI saves frustrated, tormented animals from suffering in the TV and film industries, where they are treated as living props. On-screen entertainment has progressed technologically as well as socially since the commercials of the 1970s, in which chimpanzees were forced to wear roller skates, carry pianos or pour tea from a pot. Slick creations such as this ad show that using actual animals is, in addition to being cruel, utterly unnecessary!
Like all wild animals, penguins naturally shun contact with humans. Being hauled around by commercial animal handlers to be used as props for appearances or filming is extremely stressful to them and can leave them agitated, frightened and with weakened immune systems. By using CGI in the Christmas ad campaign, John Lewis has ensured that real-life penguins won’t have an unhappy holiday season.
Keep your feet cosy, your conscience clear and your wardrobe on-trend this winter with these vegan shoe picks for every occasion, from an office party to a snowball fight!
Video footage from the leather industry is a shocking reminder of why vegan shoes are the only compassionate choice. Globally, millions of cows and other animals endure beatings and other abuse and then die painfully so that their skins can be turned into shoes, belts and bags.
But on a more cheerful note, there are SO many fabulous shoes out there that have absolutely no connection to animal abuse. Here are our top winter vegan footwear essentials:
These are just a small selection of the MANY vegan shoes available on the high street or online. Wills also offers a great range of smart mens’ shoes, and Converse and Dr Martens are just as indispensable for guys as well as girls.