Animal Writes: PETA Foundation’s Blog - PETA Foundation’s Blog

Animal Writes

  • 03
  • Mar

Foie Gras: We’ve Taken Your 320,000 Signatures to the Top!

EU Fois Gras SignaturesA staggering 320,275 people from across Europe have spoken out against the force-feeding of birds for vile foie gras – and today, alongside other leading animal-protection groups, the Albert Schweitzer Foundation, L214 and Compassion in World Farming, we delivered their signatures to EU decisionmakers in Brussels.

MEPs support calls for a crackdown on cruel foie gras production

EU foie gras office

Several members of European Parliament – including David Martin, Stefan Eck and Anja Hazekamp – joined us outside the EU Commission to call on the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, to take swift meaningful action against foie gras farming in Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Hungary and Spain. Other MEPs showed their support online.

Finnish MEP Merja KyllÖnen Opposes Foie Gras

The law is simple: force-feeding, which scientific evidence shows causes unnecessary suffering and injury, is illegal. The Commission’s own directive prohibits “[providing] food or liquid in a manner … which may cause unnecessary suffering or injury”, and the EU’s Scientific Committee on Animal Health and Animal Welfare concluded that force-feeding is detrimental to the welfare of the birds. Yet, 16 years later, birds are still suffering.

In addition, the Commission has been given evidence that individual cages, which are illegal in the EU, are still in use in France, Hungary and Spain, but to date, the Commission has taken no meaningful action to stop this.

This simply isn’t good enough! Thank you to everyone who signed the petition – we’ll do everything we can to make sure your voices are heard and that EU leaders stop standing back while ducks and geese suffer illegally for this disgusting product that nobody needs.

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  • 02
  • Mar

A Step-by-Step Guide to Making Your Own Coconut Milk

This is an easy way to make coconut milk at home to use in smoothies, soups or curries – or just to enjoy on its own!

Coconut Milk

250 g desiccated coconut

1 litre hot water

You’ll also need a blender and either a nut milk bag or several layers of muslin or cheesecloth laid over a sieve.weighingcoconut

  • Put the coconut and hot water in a high-powered blender. Let sit for a few minutes, then blend on high for 1 to 2 minutes.
    addwater
  • Place a nut milk bag or muslin- or cheesecloth-lined sieve over a medium-sized mixing bowl to catch the pulp. Pour the mixture into the bag or over the cloth.
  • Lift the bag or cloth and twist the material to begin squeezing to drain the rest of the milk. Make sure you squeeze out as much as you can, until there’s no liquid left.
    strain2
  • Discard or compost the pulp or save it for later. (It can be dried and ground into coconut flour.)
  • Pour the coconut milk into an airtight container and let cool. Store in the refrigerator. Note: Separation is natural, so shake well before using.
    finished

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Of course, if you’re not into making your own, there are countless ready-made dairy-free milks available in supermarkets and corner shops. Check out our handy guide to find the one that’s right for you.

Thanks to PETA intern Harriet Elvidge for the recipe.

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  • 01
  • Mar

Samantha Barks: Try to Relate, and Keep Fish off Your Plate

Proving that she would do anything to help animals, I’d Do Anything and Les Misérables star Samantha Barks didn’t hesitate to strip down and plunge into a tank of cold water to pose for a new PETA advert. The long-time vegetarian’s ad explains that fish suffocate when they’re pulled out of the water.

PETAsamanthabarksAD300-page-001

Numerous studies have shown that fish feel pain, just as dogs, cats and all animals do, and they can learn tasks, have long-term memories, use tools and show affection. When fish are hooked, impaled or netted and pulled up from the ocean depths, they undergo the excruciating pain of decompression, an intense pressure that often ruptures their swim bladders and damages other internal organs.

Fish don’t want to suffocate on land, just as we don’t want to drown in water. Please take Samantha’s advice: relate, and keep fish off your plate! Stop these animals’ suffering by refusing to eat them. Start by ordering one of PETA’s free vegan starter kits:

vegan starter kit

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  • 27
  • Feb

6 Dogs Who Are Winning at Crufts – but Losing at Life

Ever wondered why the RSPCA refuses to attend Crufts? Or why the BBC will no longer air the dog show on any of its channels?

Selectively breeding animals for exaggerated physical traits, obsessing over “pure” bloodlines and making close family members mate with one another isn’t just creepy – it’s a recipe for genetic disaster and causes immense suffering to dogs.

Pedigree dogs are generally far less healthy than their mixed-breed cousins, suffering from a range of inherited health conditions that can make every day of their lives a struggle and often lead to a premature death. What’s more, some breeders have admitted to putting down healthy dogs who don’t match the arbitrary requirements of the Kennel Club’s breed standards – Rhodesian ridgebacks whose backs just aren’t sufficiently ridged, for example.

We’ve taken a look at some of the most notoriously troubled illness-prone breeds – which are nevertheless still awarded prizes at Crufts every year.

Basset Hound

Basset_hound_t67

Basset Hound during dogs show in Katowice, Poland” by Pleple2000 / CC BY-SA 3.0

If these dogs are famous for looking sad, it’s probably because they are. Their bizarre physique, with its short legs and long back, is fundamentally impractical: their rib cage is often too short or narrow to support their spine, which makes it risky for them to jump up or sometimes even climb stairs, and they can develop spinal problems that make even the smallest movement extremely painful. Their loose folds of excess skin and long ears leave them vulnerable to nasty yeast infections, while overly droopy eyes (ectropion) can cause constant irritation. And that’s not all – bassets are also at risk of hip dysplasia, glaucoma and a number of other distressing conditions.

Dogue de Bordeaux

Dogue

Dogue de Bordeaux” by Tomer Jacobson / CC BY-SA 3.0

Dogues have one of the shortest average life spans of any dog, at around just five years. During their tragically short lives, painful joint problems can leave them constantly limping, and they are at high risk of bloat – a twisting of the stomach that can kill them within hours. Because of their short noses, they are particularly sensitive to extremes of temperature and can die suddenly in hot weather.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

King Charles

Perhaps the most heartbreaking hereditary illness experienced by these little dogs is syringomyelia – a neurological condition in which their brain becomes too large for their skull. The resulting severe pain often makes them scream and yelp and contort their necks in an effort to alleviate the pain, but the condition can eventually lead to paralysis. As if that weren’t bad enough, they’re also vulnerable to mitral valve disease, a usually fatal heart condition, as well as eye conditions such as cataracts.

Rhodesian Ridgeback

Ridgeback

Rhodesian Ridgeback 3 Mois” by Ceidrr / CC BY-SA 3.0

Predisposed to cancer, at high risk of bloat and vulnerable to cataracts, degenerative spinal disease and deafness, this African dog’s lot is not a happy one. What’s more, the breed’s eponymous ridged back is often associated with a health condition called dermoid sinus, which can penetrate deep into tissues and cause pain, infection and even death.

German Shepherd

German Shepherd

German Shepherd Dog Eyes” by Miguel Skater / CC BY-SA 2.0

Hip dysplasia – a genetic deformity in which the thigh bone doesn’t fit properly into the hip socket, causing the bone to wear away over time – is a major issue for this breed. It leads to arthritis and chronic, disabling pain and can be treated only with invasive and costly surgery. German shepherds can also be predisposed to degenerative myelopathy, a neurological condition similar to multiple sclerosis in humans, which causes creeping paralysis of the back legs as well as a host of other distressing conditions.

Bulldog

Bulldog

Bulldogs are an example of evolution gone way off course – as a direct result of human interference. Their distorted frame and over-large heads make it almost impossible for them to mate and give birth without human assistance – in fact, up to 80 per cent of bulldogs are delivered by Caesarean section. And from malformed hips, spines and mouths and skin infections festering inside their deep wrinkles to eye conditions such as cherry eye to allergies and a long list of respiratory diseases, there is barely an inch of a bulldog’s anatomy that is not riddled with potential problems.

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RescueThese are just a few examples of breeds whose pedigree lineage all too often comes at the cost of their health and fundamental well-being. If you care about dogs, please don’t tune in to Crufts this year. You can also send a message to the TV channel More4 asking it to follow the BBC’s example by not broadcasting the unethical dog show in the future.

Even more importantly, don’t ever buy a dog from a breeder. Instead, if you’d like a canine companion, adopt a lovely mixed-breed shelter pooch who is far more likely to be a happy, healthy friend for a long, long time.

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  • 27
  • Feb

Foston Update: Positive Step as Environment Agency Rejects Application

Earlier this week, the Environment Agency rejected an application from Midland Pig Producers regarding their proposed intensive, US-style factory farm in Foston, Derbyshire. The agency said it would “offend human senses”.

For years now, our supporters have been speaking out against the plans for this factory farm, as it would offend animal senses, too! The proposed factory farm would imprison up to 25,000 pigs at a time and send 1,000 pigs a week to slaughter.

© Jo-Anne McArthur / We Animals

Pigs are not commodities: they are intelligent, sentient animals with distinct personalities. The proposed factory farm would subject them to horrific cruelty in many ways, including confinement in crowded conditions for their entire short lives, mutilations such as tail-docking and a terrifying journey to the abattoir when they’re less than a year old.

We’re still waiting for Derbyshire County Council to reject this ill-advised application that would cause immense suffering. The Environment Agency’s decision will hopefully influence them heavily to do the right thing.

Please, add your voice at this crucial moment and join thousands of other compassionate PETA supporters who have spoken out against the cruel plans:

Take Action Now

 

Photo: © Jo-Anne McArthur / We Animals

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  • 26
  • Feb

Owls Don’t Belong in Nightclubs

Barn Owl_miniNews that a pop-up “owl bar” – at which live owls would be handled by cocktail-sipping members of the public – is supposed to be coming to London in March has rightly been met with outrage by everyone who cares about animals’ well-being.

Animals and clubs or cafés don’t mix. The loud music and bright lights at nightclubs are extremely stressful to animals. It would be hard to think of a more frightening experience for owls, who have especially acute hearing and vision, than to be surrounded by intoxicated, caterwauling humans at a bar.

The notion of raising money to protect owls in nature – which is what part of the proceeds will supposedly go towards – by terrifying owls in captivity is absurd. The kindest place for owl enthusiasts to admire these birds is in their natural environment, not at a London nightspot where they’re used as props or playthings.

Most wild animals used for tacky PR stunts are carted from venue to venue and forced to live inside small cages for the majority of their days. They are often victims of harsh, abusive training methods, and when they are no longer useful or get too big, many of them end up abandoned or sold to the highest bidder. It adds nothing to a night out to gawk at terrified animals, but for the animals, it’s a living nightmare.

Speaking out against such cruel attractions can often be highly effective. Just last week, Paris’ five-star Hôtel Plaza Athénée promised never to use live animals again after hearing from PETA France.

If you ever learn of any planned event involving live animals, please contact the organisers and ask them to change their plans. Let us know as well by e-mailing KirstyH@peta.org.uk.

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  • 25
  • Feb

WATCH: Joaquin Phoenix Wants You to Know the Truth About Leather

PETA Asia’s groundbreaking investigation into the Chinese dog-leather industry created a tidal wave of outrage earlier this year.

Now Hollywood superstar Joaquin Phoenix is using his voice to let more people know that dogs are bludgeoned and killed so their skins can be turned into leather items to be sold around the world.

Watch Joaquin’s eye-opening video:

Twitter Share  Facebook Share

The Oscar-nominated star of Gladiator, Walk the Line, Inherent Vice and many other acclaimed movies is a long-time vegan who is known for speaking out for animals, whether it’s for the billions of fish who are snatched from the oceans by humans every year or sensitive reptiles who are slaughtered for fashion.

Join Joaquin in speaking out against cruelly-produced leather! Learn more about the investigation and sign the pledge here:

Take Action Now

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  • 25
  • Feb

A Pig Given a Chance at Life: Meet Fella

The Amazing Fella could have ended up as a bacon butty or sausage roll – but instead, he’s living the high life in Cambridgeshire, where he shares his home with his guardians, Emily and Dustin, and their three dogs.

Fella the Pig!

Just like his doggie flatmates, cheeky Fella loves to cuddle on the sofa and go out for walks. And he’s quite the activist, too. When he’s out and about, he wears a bright harness with the message “Don’t eat pork!” to encourage others to spare a thought for his cousins who never get to breathe fresh air or feel the sunlight on their back because they’re forced to spend their lives in filthy cages on factory farms.

Fella as a piglet Lucky Fella Nap time for Fella the pig Napping Fella the Pig

Going vegan is the easy answer to help pigs who haven’t been as lucky as Fella. If we can choose to live full, happy lives without having to inflict pain on or kill others, why wouldn’t we? Order one of PETA’s free vegan starter kits to see just how easy and delicious choosing vegan meals can be!

See more cute pics of the Amazing Fella on his Facebook page: www.facebook.com/theamazingfella.

 

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  • 24
  • Feb

5 Easy Steps for Starting an Animal Rights Society

students on grass

Starting a vegan or animal rights uni society is a great way to harness the collective influence of compassionate students who want to share with their student body as well as the community around their school the benefits of veganism. Going vegan is one of the easiest ways to help animals and people, too. Since it takes up to 13 pounds of grain to produce just 1 pound of animal flesh, imagine how many more humans we could feed if we ate the grain directly. Because vegans don’t consume all the artery-clogging saturated fats contained in animal products, they also tend to live healthier, happier and longer lives!

Uni is a place where many students really begin to question the world around them. It might be the first time that they actively think about what they are consuming. A vegan society is a great place to help them learn about the horrors that await animals who are raised on factory farms, killed for their skin, tested on in laboratories or abused in the entertainment industry.

Starting a vegan society is extremely easy, and while schools may differ in terms of what the criteria of starting a society are (check with your student union), the basics are generally the same. Here are five easy steps for starting a vegan society:

  1. Create a committee.

To start a society, you will need a committee of at least a president or chair, a treasurer and a secretary, so in essence, you need only two additional people to start your society. Talk with your friends, your acquaintances and that person eating a veggie burger over there! There are plenty of people likely to support your decision to start a group. Just speak with them.

  1. Write a constitution.

Your constitution will serve as the backbone of your group. It will let new members as well as the faculty know what your mission is. You can see a sample constitution here. Don’t copy it. Simply use it as a template to create your own.

  1. Recruit members.

Tabling at the Freshers’ Fair or setting up in the main campus square is the best way to recruit new members. Tabling is like leafleting, but instead of walking around handing out fliers, you get to decorate a table in order to draw people in. Try getting a laptop and showing a video to grab people’s attention. Have short conversations with people who stop by, and get them to leave their contact information so that you can let them know when you’re holding your next event. Tip: Make sure you apply for a stall at your Freshers’ Fair early, usually at the end of the previous year.

  1. Write a risk assessment of your activities.

A risk assessment is an evaluation of what, in your society, could cause harm to people so that you can consider whether you have taken enough precautions or should do more to prevent harm. The overall aim of the assessment is to ensure that no one gets hurt or becomes ill.

When carrying out your risk assessment, the important thing you need to decide is whether or not hazards are significant and whether you have them covered by satisfactory precautions so that the risks have been minimised. At some universities, a risk assessment can be completed with a form, whereas other universities require a short report. Check with your student union for your university’s guideline to submitting a risk assessment.

  1. Get active!

Now that you’ve gotten the administrative work out of the way, the real fun can begin. We suggest that you get your society members together at the beginning or end of each term to discuss what kind of events they want to be involved in. Your campaigns and actions are as limitless as the imagination of your members. However, if you hit a creative block, feel free to use some of our techniques that have time and time again brought awareness to important issues and instigated change.

  • Get vegan options in the dining facilities: Petition for more vegan options. Talk with people in dining services. Show them how much support there is for healthy vegan food in the dining halls, and make it happen. Click here to read “44 Accidentally Vegan Snacks“.
  • Host vegan food giveaways and vegan potlucks: Who doesn’t like food? Providing food is a sure-fire way to get people to listen to what you have to say, and with delicious vegan treats in their mouth, they can’t argue. Try some of the recipes in our Free Vegan Starter Kit.
  • Leafleting: Do you have a campaign that you are currently promoting, such as asking Benetton to ban angora, putting an end to the hideously cruel live-export industry or putting a stop to bullfighting? Pass out fliers around your university and the surrounding community to inform people about the issues concerning your campaigns.
  • Chalking pavements: Grab a box of chalk, and (with permission from your uni) go to town on your campus. Get some members of the group to join you, and leave slogans all over your campus’s walkways. It’s like leafleting to everyone the next day while you’re sleeping in.
  • Host a film screening: Hosting a film screening is a very easy way of getting the word out there. Simply pop some popcorn and push “play”. Not sure which movies to screen? Check out this blog which includes some of our favourite vegan and animal-rights films.
  • Organise a Talk: You may be able to find willing speakers from local animal rights organisations, environmental groups or local businesses to talk about vegan- and animal rights–related issues.
  • Use social media: This may be a given, but create a Facebook group and an Instagram account. By posting photos of all the vegan potlucks, food giveaways and actions and events you’ll host, along with information about your society’s upcoming events, you’ll boost your participation numbers.
  • Finally, don’t be afraid to use old-fashioned techniques, such as hanging up tear-off fliers with your group’s contact info on them. Leaving these on all the pin boards around your university will allow you to cover all fronts, IRL and online. Take advantage of every opportunity that you have to promote your animal rights group!

Be sure to drop us a line at Info@peta.org.uk when you start your society. We have resources such as videos and leaflets that we may be able to send you to help you in your endeavours.

 

 

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  • 20
  • Feb

Cheshire Cat Escapes Snare

When Potter, a cat, went missing from his home in Cheshire for 11 days, his family was worried. When he returned, his family was shocked. Potter came back with a deep life-threatening cut around his body and required major surgery.
Potter the cat

 

It emerged that he had been trapped in a snare for almost the entire time that he was missing. Snares are legal and often used to trap foxes, rabbits or hares. They consist of a wire noose which tightens when the trapped animal struggles and can cause a slow, painful death from infected wounds. They also trap indiscriminately, and dogs, cats, badgers and deer have reportedly been caught.

Snare wound on cat

Potter was lucky to escape that snare and receive treatment to save his life. Most animals who are caught endure a much sadder fate.

Help get snares banned by joining our campaign, starting with Scotland. Please sign our letter to the government:

Take Action Now

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