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.
Whether you’re a fan of ice skating, fine art, open-air cinema or fashion, you’ll find them at Somerset House – which is why we were delighted to learn this week that the London cultural institution is also a foie gras–free zone!
“I can confirm that we do not allow foie gras to be supplied or served at Somerset House”, Director Jonathan Reekie wrote to PETA.
We were especially relieved by this news in light of Somerset House’s Christmas partnership with Fortnum & Mason, one of the few retailers that continue to sell foie gras in the face of fierce public opposition to the vile product. Foie gras is made by force-feeding ducks and geese using metal pipes, day after day, until their livers rupture. Sir Roger Moore has labelled it “torture in a tin”.
Somerset House joins many other venues that are proud to have banned foie gras, including the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, the Brit Awards, Wimbledon, Lord’s Cricket Ground, the Port Eliot Festival, the Royal Shakespeare Company and both Houses of Parliament.
If you ever see foie gras on sale in a restaurant or store, please speak out! You can also send a message to Fortnum & Mason asking it to stop profiting from torture:
Members of the Scottish Parliament were able to leave their lunch boxes at home on Thursday. To mark World Vegan Month, a PETA volunteer visited Holyrood with delicious vegan pizza, courtesy of award-winning pizzeria La Favorita Delivered, after First Minister’s Questions.
PETA is eager to show everyone, from MSPs to everyday Edinburghers, how delicious and healthy vegan food can be. Demand for dairy-free products is on the rise: according to recent reports, one in five Brits now includes non-dairy milks in his or her weekly shopping trip, and research group Mintel has found that the market has increased by a staggering 155 per cent in the last two years. Choosing vegan snacks and meals is a great way to reduce the risk of suffering from heart disease, strokes, diabetes, obesity and cancer – and of course, each person who goes vegan saves more than 100 animals every year from daily suffering and a terrifying death.
“November is World Vegan Month, so there’s never been a better time to try the delicious vegan meals on offer at so many of Edinburgh’s restaurants, including pizza, sushi and curry”, said “Lettuce Lady” Jenna McGuinness about the pizza giveaway. She wants Edinburghers to know that meals such as pizza with dairy-free MozzaRisella cheese from La Favorita Delivered and the vegan haggis–topped baked potato from The Baked Potato Shop make going vegan easy in the capital city.
November is World Vegan Month, and Parliament is marking the occasion by making it easy for MPs and Westminster staff to go vegan.
There are a number of restaurants in the House of Commons, and they’ll be promoting vegan options throughout the month with a Vegan Loyalty Card, offering each diner’s 10th vegan meal for free.
Kerry McCarthy MP said the following:
I’m really glad that the efforts of the three vegan MPs to raise awareness of veganism amongst the catering authorities at Parliament have paid off. This has partly been about self-interest – so we can eat! – but also about showing people that vegan food can be healthy and delicious, and gently persuading them to give it a try. There are compelling ethical, environmental and health reasons for going vegan, but many people feel it’s a step too far. I hope that vegan month in Parliament will persuade them it give it a try.
A vegan lifestyle isn’t just taking off among UK politicians, such as McCarthy, Cathy Jamieson MP and Chris Williamson MP. In the US, former President Bill Clinton, former Vice President Al Gore and former US Rep Dennis Kucinich have all made the switch to a plant-based diet for health, environmental or ethical reasons.
Join them for World Vegan Month. End your support of cruelty to animals, get healthy, help the environment and join hundreds of thousands of compassionate people by going vegan for 30 days:
Enter for a Chance to Win a Pair of the World-Famous Boots
With so many great fashion retailers and brands catering to the rapidly expanding vegan market, you most definitely don’t have to compromise on style when it comes to being cruelty-free. Dr. Martens is demonstrating this point perfectly with an awesome range of its classic boots – but minus the leather!
“Dr. Martens is proud to offer vegan consumers its world-famous air-cushioned styles in the highest quality animal-free materials, which replicate our standard footwear right down to the very last detail and even boast a more natural-feeling heel loop”, the company announced.
Whether hanging out in Camden or taking in the October colours in the park, boots from Dr. Martens’ stylish vegan range are the perfect footwear for the autumn and winter seasons. And being vegan means that no animals were harmed for your look.
As revealed in Stella McCartney’s shocking exposé of the leather industry, most of the millions of cows and other animals who are killed for their skins endure the horrors of factory farming, including extreme crowding and deprivation as well as castration, branding, tail-docking and dehorning – all without any painkillers. Because skin is the most economically important co-product of the meat industry, buying leather directly supports the horrors of factory farming. Plus, the environmental footprint of animal-free fabrics – regardless of whether they are natural or synthetic – is minor compared to the environmental devastation of factory farming and tanneries.
Dr. Martens is asking its fans what they stand for. If you stand for animal rights and compassionate fashion, let the iconic brand know using #standforsomething on Twitter and thank the company for offering a vegan alternative.
And we’re giving away a pair of those world-famous boots! For your chance to win a pair of vegan Dr. Martens boots in the style of your choice, just fill out the form below. The competition closes at 5 pm on 30 November 2014. One winner will be chosen at random from all entrants and notified by 3 December. The prize will be posted to the lucky winner shortly afterwards.