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  • 28
  • Aug

Another Travel Company Recognises That Elephant Trips Are Wrong, Pulls All Promos

Good news for elephants: the travel agency ResponsibleTravel.com has become the latest company to distance itself from the unethical exploitation of elephants for tourism and to pull all promos of trips that include elephant treks or elephant performances.

Its compassionate move follows STA Travel’s excellent decision in May to end tours that feature elephant rides as well as trips to the notorious SeaWorld.

In Asia, the elephant tourism industry snatches babies from their parents in the wild and breaks their spirits using violent “training” methods – all so that unwitting tourists can ride on their backs or watch them carry out absurd feats, such as playing football or performing in orchestras at elephant camps.

Writing in The Independent last week, Responsible Travel’s co-founder explains:

[U]ntil the tourist demand for elephant-related tourism activities dwindles, the demand for illegally caught, wild elephants will continue. Wild adults are often gunned down so that the baby elephants can be captured and sold into tourist camps. Beforehand they are often “broken in” using horrific techniques, tied up in a cage for several days; deprived of food, water and sleep; beaten, burned and stabbed to beat them into submission. A newly broken-in baby elephant can be worth US$30,000 (£18,000) or more. This is a serious threat to a species which is already greatly endangered.

Sadly, there are no laws or regulations regarding the welfare of captive elephants across Asia. They may be tied up in chains, left without shade and segregated from other elephants, which for a highly intelligent, sociable species is unbearable.

Those used for elephant back rides can suffer damage to their spines, sores on their skin from the equipment and wounds from the bull hooks used by their handlers. Elephant riding is very different to horse riding because the animals have not become domesticated through years of captive breeding. For elephants, all their wild instincts remain, even if they are born in captivity.

An Elephant Never Forgets - Thai Elephant TourismOf course, many tourists don’t realise that they’re supporting this horrific and abusive industry. That’s why it’s so important for travel companies to make a clear statement against the cruelty. And if you see other companies promoting elephant trekking, please ask them to change their policy.

To learn more about what happens to elephants in Thailand, check out this eye-opening documentary by Joe Koegh. Anyone who’s fascinated by these majestic animals should consider viewing them in the wild or visiting one of the many sanctuaries that are genuinely involved in conservation efforts to help protect them.

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  • 27
  • Aug

New Research Confirms There’s No Excuse for Using Live Animals in Military Drills

Pressure is mounting on the Ministry of Defence to stop using live animals in horrific trauma training exercises for medics. The UK’s top army doctor, Brigadier Tim Hodgetts, the Medical Director at Joint Medical Command, has admitted that he receives letters from the House of Commons every fortnight asking why the UK hasn’t switched to humane, modern methods instead of needlessly mutilating animals.

Ever since we revealed how British personnel travel to Denmark and shoot live pigs to pieces in shady training operations, tens of thousands of compassionate people have been asking the same question.

Ask the MoD to stop using animals in training drills

Using live animals in these sick war games is deeply unethical and also not the best way to prepare recruits for the frontline. For that reason, 22 out of 28 NATO nations choose to use modern, humane non-animal methods to train army doctors.

We’ve just written to the new Defence Secretary, Michael Fallon, to make sure that he’s aware of the most up-to-date research on this issue:

  • A study funded by the US Department of Defense (DOD) at the University of Minnesota found that medics who were taught haemorrhage control and other emergency medical procedures on human simulators were as proficient as those taught using animals and that both methods produced similar degrees of stress in trainees.
  • A DOD-funded study conducted by the University of Minnesota and the University of Michigan concluded that medical staff who had been taught paediatric intubation skills on simulators were more proficient than those who trained on live cats.
  • A Canadian Forces Health Services study found that a life-like human-patient simulator was as effective as the use of live animals in teaching traumatic-injury management to military medical technicians.

These are only the most recent examples – for many years, study after study has indicated that medical personnel can effectively learn to save lives on the battlefield without shooting, cutting up and killing animals.

Please join us in sending a message to the Secretary of State for Defence asking him to put a stop to these cruel, archaic drills:

Take Action Now


Photos: Jørn Stjerneklar

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  • 24
  • Aug

The Great Vegan Bake-Off 2014 – The Finalists

PETA Great Vegan Bake OffWe’ve been so delighted by all your terrific entries that it was almost impossible to narrow all the entries down to just 10 finalists. However, after much consideration (and drooling over the delicious baked goods), at last we have managed it!

Help us choose who we should name as the winner of our competition by taking a look at all the tasty treats that were entered into The Great Vegan Bake-Off, and let us know which your favourite is by voting below.

Without further ado, here are the finalists:

Laurianne’s walnut-and-coffee tartelette from 100 Days of Vegan Cakes

Laurianne's walnut-and-coffee tartelette from 100 Days of Vegan Cakes

Coffee-and-walnut cheese-less cake from Jennifer at PS … It’s Vegan

Coffee-and-walnut cheese-less cake from Jennifer at PS … It's Vegan

Juliane’s coconut, mint and lime bread from Veggiephile

Juliane's coconut, mint and lime bread from Veggiephile

Emily’s dark chocolate cupcakes from Vegan Lass

Emily's dark chocolate cupcakes from Vegan Lass


Ombre vanilla dream cake from Katy at Little Miss Meat-Free

Ombre vanilla dream cake from Katy at Little Miss Meat-Free

Hannah’s banana split cake from Hannah Banana Bakery

Hannah's banana split cake from Hannah Banana Bakery

Malwina’s chocolate-and-cherry cake from The Stories at the Vegetarian Table

Malwina's chocolate-and-cherry cake from The Stories at the Vegetarian Table

Annabelle’s double chocolate cake from The Flexitarian

Annabelle's double chocolate cake from The Flexitarian

Banana-and-walnut spelt loaf from Lisa at Thirty-Something Vegan

Banana-and-walnut spelt loaf from Lisa at Thirty-Something Vegan

Jasmine’s raspberry cake from Self Sufficient Cafe Jasmine's raspberry cake from Self Sufficient Cafe


We’ll have two weeks of voting, ending on 7 September. PETA will give equal consideration to two factors when choosing a winner: the total number of votes that the entry receives and our assessment of how tasty it looks. We’ll crown the winner in an announcement on 10 September! The winner gets bragging rights for being our choice for greatest vegan baker, along with the warm, fuzzy feeling that comes from sharing his or her delicious recipe with the world.

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  • 22
  • Aug

Watch: Documentary Uncovers Shocking Secrets of Thailand’s Elephant Tourism

The feature documentary An Elephant Never Forgets follows the same path that thousands of British tourists take every year as they visit elephant attractions in Thailand. Joe Keogh, a comedian from Manchester, offers a great deal of insight into the living and working conditions of the many elephants used and abused in the tourism industry.

Joe uncovers the uncomfortable truth behind the elephants’ obedience and takes viewers around some of the local camps and zoos to convey a sense of what these magnificent animals are subjected to on a daily basis. The reality is very bleak, with numerous elephants swaying from side to side – an indicator of stress and ill health – and chained up with barely any room for movement.

The uncomfortable truth behind the elephants attractions

Documentary Uncovers Shocking Secrets of Thailand's Elephant Tourism

An Elephant Never Forgets - Thai Elephant Tourism


The film also takes a look at sanctuaries that offer refuge to elephants abused in the logging, circus and tourism industries. Joe meets sanctuary owner Lek Chailert, who spends her time taking care of rescued elephants. The joy that can be seen in this nature park is worlds away from the cruelty of the tourist camps, a sad comparison that is especially poignant since her sanctuary borders a tourist park and cruel elephant rides can be seen in the background of the sanctuary footage.

You can help!

The days of these cruel attractions may soon be numbered as companies stop promoting them. Travel agency Responsible Travel no longer promotes trips that include elephant treks or elephant performances, and STA Travel, the world’s largest student travel company, has pulled promotions for elephant rides as well as Thailand’s notorious Tiger Temple and SeaWorld.

Tourists today have so many fantastic opportunities available to them that it’s easy to have a vacation filled with cruelty-free memories. If you encounter any attraction that includes captive animals, walk the other way.

Around 800,000 Britons visit Thailand each year. Please help raise awareness of the cruelty of exploitative elephant attractions by sharing An Elephant Never Forgets with your family and friends.

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  • 21
  • Aug

LOLA’s New Vegan Cupcake Takes Over London!

Vegan cupcakes are taking over London – they’re even on the Underground.

Most Londoners will recognise LOLA’s Kitchen from their fashionable cupcake shops set up in high-end department stores such as Selfridges, stylish markets like Covent Garden and Spitalfields and underground stations such as King’s Cross, Waterloo, Blackfriars and Cannon Street. But what they may not know is that Lola’s now offers a cupcake that everyone can enjoy, including vegans!

Baked using vanilla soya yoghurt and iced with a deliciously creamy vegan butter, LOLA’s Passion Fruit & Coconut cupcake is vegan!

LOLA's Vegan Cupcake

Just the one vegan cupcake is available at the moment, but LOLA’s has two more in the works, and we were lucky enough to receive a sample. Hopefully, all compassionate Londoners will soon also be able to enjoy a delicious LOLA’s Vegan Raspberry & Coconut and LOLA’s Vegan Strawberry & Coconut cupcakes!

Check out LOLA’s online at lolas-kitchen.co.uk or stop by a shop next time you’re on the tube and give the Passion Fruit & Coconut cupcake a try!

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  • 21
  • Aug

PHOTOS: ‘Monkey’ Prisoners Call Out Air France Cruelty in London

All over the world, people have been standing up to express their horror at Air France’s shipments of primates to laboratories.

Today, the protest arrived in London.

PETA Demo in London against Air France Cruelty

30 PETA supporters gathered outside the Embassy of France in Knightsbridge, London, to make sure that diplomats and the public know how Air France is profiting from the torture of highly intelligent and sensitive monkeys.

Air France is the only major airline that trafficks primates for vivisection

Caged activist speaks out for monkeys

No other major airline still transports monkeys for animal testing. After learning how the terrified animals are caged, cut into, poisoned, crippled, deprived of food and water, infected with deadly diseases and killed by vivisectors – and realising how disgusted their customers were by this cruelty – all the others have stopped.

Please add your voice to the global movement against Air France’s continued shipments of primates to labs, where they will live in pain and misery.

Take Action Now

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  • 21
  • Aug

20 Years on, Tyke’s Intense, Tragic Story Will Still Leave You Shocked

Tyke was an African elephant at a travelling circus in the US who had been abused for years. Like most elephants in circuses, her life consisted of endless beatings and constant confinement.

Eventually, she snapped.

On 20 August, 1994, she was forced to perform in Honolulu. This is what happened next.

Warning: upsetting footage

Tyke’s rampage killed her trainer and injured 13 other people. She collapsed and died after being shot nearly 100 times.

Animals do not deserve to live and die as Tyke did – abused, mentally and physically, until they go mad from the frustration, loneliness and pain.Germany Tyke Demo

There are many other stories of animals in circuses who have turned on their captors. Just last week, a teacher was mauled by a tiger at a circus in Peru. In 2013, a tiger killed his trainer during a performance at the Circo Suárez in Mexico. In 2009, a bear who was forced to ice-skate at a travelling circus in Russia killed the circus manager. These and countless other tragic examples make it horribly clear that a circus is no place for wild animals.

PETA US has just successfully campaigned to get the Moscow International Circus to leave animals out of its shows in Honolulu this year at the site of Tyke’s last performance. But for many other animals around the world, the nightmare continues.

In England and Wales, until the government implements the promised ban on the use of wild animals in circuses, it’s perfectly legal for travelling circuses to keep elephants, lions, tigers and other wild animals, carting them around in cages and forcing them to perform.

Time is running out to outlaw this cruel practice during this Parliament. Please help – urge your MP to back the ban on the use of wild animals in circuses by supporting a 10-minute-rule bill on September 3.

Tyke Take Action


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  • 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.

Take Action Now



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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 possibly 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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