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  • 18
  • Apr

Paul McCartney’s Easter Appeal

Music legend and long-time animal advocate Paul McCartney is urging fans to make Good Friday a good day for animals, too, by “trying vegetarian”.

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Many Christians traditionally replace meat from land animals with fish on Good Friday, but whether two-legged, four-legged or finned, all animals raised and killed for food suffer in just the same way.

Paul, who was raised a Catholic, says, “Many years ago, I was fishing, and as I was reeling in the poor fish, I realised, ‘I am killing him – all for the passing pleasure it brings me.’ And something inside me clicked, I realised as I watched him fight for breath that his life was as important to him as mine is to me” .

Leading scientists agree that fish feel pain and suffer in the same way that birds and mammals do, and yet every year, billions of these smart, sensitive animals are slaughtered without any regard for their welfare.

This Good Friday, join Paul in doing something good for fish by choosing not to eat them.

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  • 18
  • Apr

Spotted! Adorable Easter Babies You’ll Want to Keep Safe Forever

To mark Easter, the advent of spring, and to celebrate new life, here’s your weekly cuteness fix – some irresistibly adorable baby animals who are guaranteed to put a smile on your face!

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Piglets” by Meneer Zjeroen / CC BY 2.0

These sweeties have beauty and brains – pigs are thought to be smarter than a 3-year-old child!

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Lindenhof Lambs” by Emma Jane Hogbin Westby / CC BY 2.0

Sheep display emotions with their ears, recognise facial expressions, communicate using a variety of vocalisations and can recognise their mothers by the sound of their bleat. Oh, and they’re pretty adorable, too!

 

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Chick” by Thomas Vlerick / CC BY 2.0

Surprise fact: these fluffy creatures are actually the closest living relative of Tyrannosaurus rex!

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Close-Up of the Calves” by Deb Nystrom / CC BY 2.0

#toocutetoeat

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Ducklings” by Vince Wingate / CC BY-SA 2.0

Ducks and geese are family-oriented animals, with the mother and father usually working together to bring up their ducklings. Awww …

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Bunneh” by Nick Coombe / CC BY 2.0

So little! So lovely!

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How ironic that many people who eat meat will coo over adorable baby animals one moment and then go out the next and buy their industrially slaughtered corpses to munch on.

Going vegan is all about making the connection between what you eat and where it comes from – and realising that the beautiful little lamb who tugs on your heartstrings could be the same animal you see later, dismembered and packaged in cellophane in the meat aisle of the supermarket.

If you know anyone who seems ready to clear their conscience by trying out a compassionate vegan diet, why not point that person in the direction of our popular 30-day pledge?

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  • 15
  • Apr

Alan Carr: Be a Little Fairy for Animals!

Comedian and TV personality Alan Carr has brought his cheeky sense of humour to bear on the issue of spaying and neutering in a new ad for PETA.

Alan Carr Final

Ahead of the new series of Chatty Man, the talk-show host felt that it was time to have a serious heart-to-heart talk about animal overpopulation in the UK, explaining:

There’s no “magic wand” that will find homes for all of Britain’s homeless dogs and cats, but simple surgeries – spaying and neutering – will make a huge difference in the long run. We’ve got to get to the root of the problem, and that’s all the puppies and kittens that are being born into an overpopulated world.

Many thousands of dogs, cats and other companion animals in this country are abandoned. Some are left on the streets to starve to death, be injured or killed by vehicles, fall prey to abuse or suffer from sickness or disease. Others may be left to languish in animal shelters, waiting day after day to be adopted by a loving family. Shelters have to euthanise many of these depressed dogs and cats because of a lack of good homes. Every time that people allow their companions to have an “accidental” litter, an animal in a shelter loses his or her chance of adoption.

Tackling the heartbreaking crisis of unwanted cats and dogs may seem like a mammoth task, but we can all make a big difference by making sure that our companion animals are fixed. Spaying or neutering just one animal can prevent literally tens of thousands of others from being born into neglect and homelessness.

Check out some of the other celebrities who have teamed up with PETA and its affiliates to promote spaying and neutering:

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  • 09
  • Apr

Dogs Need Rehoming, Not Cloning!

Millions of dogs are abandoned and in need of good homesNews of Britain’s first cloned dog – a dachshund named “mini Winnie”, born at a total cost of £60,000 – has been splashed across the newspapers this week.

Many people find the idea of creating a clone of a loved one pretty disturbing, and there are serious scientific and ethical arguments against cloning, too.

First, the cloning process is experimental, with a low success rate – between 0 and 20 per cent. The first team that managed to clone a dog had a success rate of two dogs out of 123. For every animal successfully cloned, many others have died somewhere along the way – deaths that were completely unnecessary, often in distressing laboratory conditions.

Anyone who has ever lost a loved one knows the grief can be overwhelming, but replicating an adored dog or cat, even if it is successful, can only replicate genetic material. Just as fraternal twins are different people, cloned animals will also have personalities that are different from the original ones. As cloning scientist Sir Ian Wilmut put it: “Owners will be disappointed”.

Moreover, various studies have shown that cloned animals generally have a weak immune system, high rates of infection, increased incidence of tumour growth and disorders, high morbidity and mortality rates, and a poor survival rate of foetuses.

Every year, millions of homeless animals are euthanised because of a lack of suitable homes. More unfortunate animals are abandoned to fend for themselves on the streets and are often subjected to cruelty or succumb to starvation, diseases or injuries The best tribute that anyone can pay to an animal companion who has passed away is to give a happy future to one or two animals who are already on this Earth, equally deserving of love and desperately in need of a home.

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  • 08
  • Apr

9 Easter Chocolate Ideas for Vegans

Easter is a time to give and receive delicious chocolate – why not give animals a gift this Easter, too, by buying dairy- and egg-free chocolate?

Whether your taste runs to white chocolate or decadent dark, you’re on a tight budget or are looking to splash out, you prefer an impressive big egg or a bundle of mini-eggs – given the wonderfully wide range of delicious vegan Easter eggs available in shops and supermarkets this year, you’ll be spoiled by all the choices!

  1. For the ultimate luxury this Easter, head to Hotel Chocolat for The Facet – Luxury Dark Chocolate Easter Egg (£20.00). This egg is unique in shape and made with 70 percent rich dark chocolate – delicious!Image 775
  2. Divine’s Dark Chocolate Mini Easter Eggs (£4.55) are making our mouths water! These fair-trade, smooth, dark chocolate treats make a fantastic present for kids and grownups alike.
  3. These are no ordinary mini-eggs: they are Montezuma’s Dark Chocolate Mini Eggs With Almond Praline (£5.49). These praline-filled eggs are very tempting and available in shops across the UK and online!MOntezuma
  4. For luxury at an affordable price, go for Tesco Finest’s Belgian Plain Chocolate Egg (£10.00). Sure to satisfy a sweet tooth, this big, classic Easter egg is perfect for a lover of dark chocolate!
  5. Fancy a change from the regular Easter egg? Then Booja-Booja’s Banoffee Toffee Truffle Egg is the perfect option! With three delicious truffles made with bananas and rich toffee encased in a beautiful hand-painted egg, it makes the ideal gift. Order online or find your nearest supplier.Picture 198
  6. A delicious alternative to white chocolate is Choices Dairy Free White Chocolate Bunny (£1.50). This adorable little bunny is a tasty and animal-friendly bite-sized treat.
  7. Made with organic rice milk and infused with pieces of vegan-friendly honeycomb toffee, Moo Free’s Easter Egg With Honeycomb (£4.25) is perfect for kids and adults and available at many health-food shops and online retailers.moo-free-bunnycomb-easter-egg-hi-res
  8. For an indulgent dark chocolate Easter egg, Kinnerton’s Adult Dairy Free Egg (£4.99) is a great option! This affordable yet delicious and rich chocolate egg would make a lovely gift.
  9. For all the taste of milk chocolate with no actual dairy ingredients, go for Plamil’s Organic Fairtrade Alternative to Milk Chocolate Half Eggs (£4.95). These delicious little eggs can be used for an Easter egg hunt with the kids (or just as a treat for yourself!).Plamil

To get more helpful tips on how to make sure that there is no cruelty in your Easter celebrations this year, order our free vegan starter kit today!

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  • 07
  • Apr

Court Rules That Sunder WILL Be Free!

We have some excellent news today that is bound to bring a smile to the face of anyone who has heard the story of Sunder, a young Indian elephant who has spent the last six years chained up in a temple, miserable and alone, and endured beatings and abuse.

Today, in a landmark judgment, the Honourable Bombay High Court ruled in favour of PETA India by upholding the implementation of the Joint Secretary (Forests), Government of Maharashtra’s order of August 2012 to release Sunder to a sanctuary. This is the result we’ve all been hoping for, and it’s a major victory in the 21-month-long campaigns by PETA and our international affiliates to free Sunder – supported by Paul McCartney, Pamela Anderson, many well-known Bollywood stars and more than 17,000 PETA UK supporters who wrote to Indian officials calling for Sunder’s release.

Sunder’s shocking beatings have been caught on videotape, and veterinarians and elephant experts who examined him found him scarred, wounded and chained so tightly that he couldn’t lie down. The Jyotiba temple came into possession of Sunder in 2007, but after constant chaining and beatings came to light, Maharashtra Minister of Forests Dr Patangrao Kadam and the Project Elephant division of the Ministry of Environment and Forests issued orders for Sunder’s release to a sanctuary on 21 August 2012 and 9 November 2012, respectively. However, those orders were never carried out, and Sunder was then whisked away at the behest of the Member of Legislative Assembly Vinay Kore and hidden in an old poultry shed, where he remained chained. In December 2013, PETA India obtained new video footage showing that his mahout was violently beating him.

Now, at long last, it looks like Sunder’s suffering could be over. The next step will be to transfer Sunder to the Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre in Bangalore. PETA India is calling on officials to implement the court’s order quickly, before he can be harmed again.

Thank you to everyone who spoke out for Sunder. Now, all compassionate people can look forward to seeing him finally receive the care and respect that he deserves.

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  • 05
  • Apr

This Giant Goose Is Representing Birds in Epic Trafalgar Square Pillow Fight (Photos)

Today was International Pillow Fight Day – a worldwide flashmob event planned in a spirit of harmless fun. It’s unfortunate, then, that many of the very pillows used in the festivities caused immeasurable harm to the ducks and geese who had the feathers yanked out of their skin to fill them.

PETA’s giant plucked “goose” sprang (or rather, waddled) into action to give revellers in Trafalgar Square a timely reminder about the dire consequences of the down industry for birds.

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Many birds used for down are live-plucked, meaning that workers painfully rip fistfuls of feathers from their bodies – sometimes so violently that they are left with gaping wounds. This may happen several times a year. Buying down can also support the unethical foie gras industry, as farmers seek to make an extra profit from the geese and ducks that they force-feed by selling their feathers.

PETA US has contacted pillow-fight organisers around the world, asking them to issue “no-down” policies – keep your fingers crossed that the London event will take the compassionate message on board in time for 2015.

Fortunately, down-free pillows are easy to come by, are incredibly comfortable and don’t cause allergies, so the next time the International Pillow Fight Day comes around, you can wallop away to your heart’s content, while letting geese and ducks keep their feathers intact!

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  • 03
  • Apr

Scotland’s Ban on Wild-Animal Circuses – Let’s Make History

Urge Scotland to ban wild animal circuses foreverScotland is considering introducing a ban on the use of wild animals in circuses – but we need your help to make sure that it happens.

The Scottish government wants your views on the issue and has launched a public consultation. It’s vital to make sure politicians get the message that all compassionate people are against locking up elephants, tigers, zebras and other animals and forcing them to perform absurd tricks in the name of “entertainment”.

Will you take 10 minutes right now to speak up for animals and respond to the consultation?

Here’s the link to submit your views on the Scottish government’s website: http://response.questback.com/scottishgovernment/hctqxhcltc/.

If you’re not sure how to answer every question, we’ve prepared some suggestions here: http://petauk.org/answerguide.

England and Wales are on the brink of banning wild animals in circuses, and exploiting wild animals in this way is already illegal in Belgium, Colombia, Cyprus and other countries. Let’s make history by ensuring that Scotland does the same.

This is our chance to make a lasting difference for animals. The consultation closes on Wednesday, 16 April, so please make your voice heard before then.

Respond to the Consultation

View the Suggested Answers

Image: “Circus 9-03” by ~Pawsitive~Candie_N / CC BY 2.0

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  • 02
  • Apr

The Grand National: 8 Things They Don’t Tell You About Horse Racing

Whatever the results of this year’s Grand National, there’s one thing that you can bet on with confidence – horses will suffer as a result of the unethical spectacle at Aintree.

PETA US has just made headlines with its searing undercover investigation into cruel and illegal industry practices among horse trainers in the US. But here in the UK, horses hardly face better odds. The following are a few home truths about horse racing, which make it clear that the Grand National and races like it are a national disgrace:

  • Horses die on the racetrack all the time. Eight horses have died at Aintree in the past two years. Four died at Cheltenham this year. Their deaths were traumatic and frightening, a stomach-churning mess of tangled limbs, fractured bones and broken spines.
  • Jockeys see horses as “replaceable”. Jockey Ruby Walsh caused a scandal with his comment on the death of Our Conor at Cheltenham: “You can replace a horse“. But his callous remark served only to highlight the widespread attitude within an industry that treats horses as commodities, not as sensitive, sentient animals.HORSE EYE
  • Horses are often on drugs. Drugs, both legal and illegal, are as ubiquitous at the racetrack as silly-looking hats are at Ascot. Horses are often drugged to mask their pain and keep them running when they should be resting or receiving treatment. Last year, trainer Mahmood al-Zarooni was banned from racing for eight years after he doped horses with prohibited steroids at one of the world’s leading racing operations. Billboard
  • Former race horses are “retired” to the slaughterhouse. According to Animal Aid, around 1,000 horses from the racing industry are killed in slaughterhouses in Britain every year, to be turned into dog food or horsemeat. Other horses may face horrific live export to Europe.Horsemeat

  • Aintree is one of the most deadly courses in the world. The infamous Becher’s Brook is known as the world’s most dangerous jump and has racked up many fatalities, yet authorities refuse to remove it. Racing 40 skittish horses at a time makes accidents still more likely, while the minor so-called “improvements” to the course are simply token gestures. It’s the very dangerousness of the race that draws in crowds and lines bookies’ pockets – while horses pay with their lives.Aintreenational
  • Horses are made to race when they’re too young. Making horses risk their lives on the racecourse is wrong at any age. But it’s especially heartbreaking to learn that these animals may begin to race when they’re barely more than babies and their bones are not up to the pounding and stress of the track. It’s hardly surprising, then, that injuries, lameness and exhaustion are common afflictions.HORSE
  • Horses are whipped to the finish line. To hurt an animal deliberately is illegal in most other circumstances, but riders at the Grand National are actually required  to carry whips – despite the RSPCA’s verdict that “[u]sing whips can cause pain and suffering to the horses” and often makes them run beyond their usual capability, increasing the likelihood of accidents. Frequently, jockeys violate  the already watered-down whipping regulations, which dictate how often and where they hit horses.Muybridge_horse_gallop_animated_2

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People who care about horses are turning their backs on the Grand National and every other race in which horses are being run to death.

This cruelty will end only when the public realises that there is no such thing as a “harmless flutter” when it comes to funding the cruel and exploitative horse-racing industry.

Please help spread the word about the cruelty of horse racing:

 
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  • 02
  • Apr

7 Tips for Spring-Cleaning Your Wardrobe

Do you have skeletons in the closet? Perhaps not literally – but could your wardrobe be harbouring some uncomfortable secrets, such as items for which an animal suffered or was killed to produce?

Now is the perfect moment to purge your wardrobe of anything made from animals so that you can face spring with a clear conscience – and plenty of closet space to fill up with fabulous vegan clothes!

So grab a bin liner, roll up your sleeves and consign anything that contains these outmoded materials to the “rejected” pile.

Fur

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This is a real no-brainer. Wearing fur has become a byword for callousness – think Cruella de Vil. If you’ve got any embarrassing fur relics lingering at the back of your closet, PETA will happily take them off your hands and put them to good use (for example, as bedding for rescued animals), while ensuring that they never end up back on the market.

Exotic Skins

Snakes, lizards and crocodiles need their skins a damn sight more than anyone needs a snakeskin bag or shoes. Cold-blooded animals suffer just as much as mammals do when they are skinned while still alive by hunters and farmers. They are often killed in disturbingly gruesome ways, such as by being beheaded with a machete, bludgeoned to death, or nailed to a tree and having their skin slowly peeled off.

Leather

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Cow skin is not “in” this season – or any other. The leather industry is almost as toxic to the environment as it is to the cows who are killed for their hides. Tanneries discharge massive amounts of heavy-duty chemicals into their surroundings, causing pollution and illness in countries such as India and Bangladesh. You’re better off buying shoes and bags made from eco-friendly and humane synthetic fibres – they make a better statement than wearing the chemical-doused skin of a slaughtered animal.

Angora

 

Keep bunnies in mind as you ditch the fluffy stuff. Angora wool usually comes from China, where rabbits are kept in barren cages and often have their fur torn from their skin as they scream in pain or else are tied up, manhandled and sheared. Following our exposure of these practices, it’s become unacceptable for responsible retailers to sell angora – and for compassionate people to wear it.

Down

DOWN

Feathers don’t grow on trees – they grow on the bodies of ducks and geese and are often violently ripped out for human use. If you’re allergic to cruelty, make sure that your bedding (and your bomber jackets) contain only synthetic stuffing. And for sheltering from April showers, high-tech fabrics such as ThermoBall™ will keep you snug much better than soggy feathers will.

Wool 

WOOL

Lamb image: Patty Marlk / ALV.org.au

That heavy, scratchy woolly jumper is not winning you any style points – nor does it contribute to your ethical credibility. Sheep reared for wool endure neglect, starvation and sometimes bloody mutilations and are also often shipped off to their deaths by the horrific live-export industry after a few years. Ecologists also suggest that sheep farming has devastated Britain’s natural landscape. The tide is turning against cruel wool – and you can get on board by throwing yours out!

Silk

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Silk is an animal product, too. To obtain it, distributors boil silkworms alive inside their cocoons. Anyone who has ever seen worms startle when their dark homes are uncovered must acknowledge that worms are sensate—they produce endorphins and have a physical response to pain. Humane alternatives to silk—including nylon, milkweed seed pod fibers, silk-cotton tree and ceiba tree filaments, polyester, and rayon—are easy to find and usually less expensive, too

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All gone? Now you’re ready to treat yourself to some chic vegan fashion items!

Fur-free Topshop and ASOS could be a good place to start. Go fancy with leather-free Stella McCartney or vegetarian Vivienne Westwood or splash out on boutique vegan brands such as Beyond Skin. Check out our Vegan Fashion Awards for more inspiration.

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