In outfits cunningly fashioned from lettuce leaves, PETA volunteers tempted passers-by at Manchester’s Piccadilly Gardens yesterday with free vegan sausages. Sowing the seeds of healthy vegan eating in the minds of Mancunians, the lovely “Lettuce Ladies” were there to celebrate National Vegetarian Week – and to extol the benefits of a green and compassionate diet.
While wielding signs reading, “Turn Over a New Leaf: Go Vegan”, supporters also showed the lunchtime crowd our powerful video “Glass Walls“, narrated by Paul McCartney. The short film exposes the suffering of animals in the meat, dairy and fishing industries and has been known to turn people vegetarian on the spot!
Quitting meat is the best statement you can make against cruelty, and it’s the green thing to do, too. A recent United Nations report summarised the devastation caused by the meat industry by calling it “one of the top two or three most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global”. Meat is also destructive to the body: vegans tend to be slimmer than meat-eaters and are less likely to suffer from cancer, heart disease, strokes and diabetes.
What better time to turn your back on an industry that confines billions of animals to severely crowded spaces and subjects them to mutilations, injuries and terrifying deaths than during National Vegetarian Week? It’s easier than you might think, especially as we’ll send you free advice and resources to help you make the transition to a plant-based diet. Sign up here to get started: PETA.org.uk/VSK.
On Morrissey’s birthday this Wednesday, he was the one giving a present – to geese, that is. The legendary rocker posted a stirring message on his website, slamming the torture of birds for the production of foie gras. When it comes to this cruel product, he won’t rest until he knows it’s over.
The ex-Smiths singer, who is now as famous for his compassion for animals as he is for his thoughtful lyrics, congratulated Prince Charles for banishing foie gras from his functions but let rip at Fortnum & Mason for continuing to profit from a product that is made by violently force-feeding geese with metal pipes until their livers swell to up to 10 times their normal size. “Foie gras production is illegal in the UK, yet the ever-so-correct Fortnum and Mason have found suppliers in France who will keep their shelves stocked …”, he writes.
Thank you, Morrissey, for helping to spread the message about vile foie gras!
Join him in saying, “VivaCompassion!” Please keep reminding Fortnum & Mason on Twitter and Facebookthat selling foie gras is unacceptable. And if you haven’t already, it takes just a few minutes to send a message to the company online – take action at this link: StopFortnumAndMasonFoieGrasCruelty.com.
Coronation Street star Helen Flanagan unveiled her sexy new PETA ad today in London’s Covent Garden in order to make an unforgettable statement against the cruelty of using exotic skins in fashion. The sultry image, shot by top celebrity photographer Trevor Leighton, reveals her versatility as an actor – because, although she made her name playing Manchester-born Rosie Webster, here she stars as a jungle-dwelling reptile!
Helen, who has just been crowned FHM’s Sexiest Woman in the UK, was keen to make the point that you don’t need to wear dead animal parts to turn heads. She watched PETA US’ hard-hitting exposéof what happens to snakes, alligators and other exotic animals killed for their skins, which shows animals who were nailed to trees, bludgeoned with hammers and skinned alive. And knew she had to speak out.
“Spring is the perfect time to clean the cruelty from our closets”, Helen says. “I know when people see the footage of how animals killed for their skins suffer, they won’t want anything to do with the exotic-skins industry and will join me in leaving wildlife out of their wardrobes.”
Orcas and other sea mammals routinely die prematurely from stress and other captivity-related causes in marine parks and aquariums, such as SeaWorld and Loro Parque.
Despite numerous tragedies, including the deaths of many orcas and trainers, the safety of marine mammals and humans continues to be jeopardised. Blackfish, the new film from Gabriela Cowperthwaite, exposes what lies behind the “entertainment”.
The film tells the story of Tilikum, a performing orca whose captivity led to the deaths of several people. Shocking video footage and emotional interviews explore his extraordinary nature, the cruel treatment of his species in captivity, the lives and losses of the trainers and the pressures brought to bear by the multi-billion pound sea-park industry.
At Loro Parque and SeaWorld, highly intelligent and social whales are kept in pitifully small tanks and denied everything that is natural and important to them. The movie is an eye-opening look at the cruel industry that is exploiting these animals, and we encourage our supporters to take friends and family to see it.
Want to do more? Morgan is an orca who was born in freedom and is currently held at Loro Parque, where she is forced to perform trivial tricks and confined in a cruel and unjustifiable manner to a tiny barren concrete tank with incompatible orcas who bully and attack her. Take action, and ask for her to be transferred to a coastal sanctuary, where she can be rehabilitated for potential reintroduction to her home and family.
Compassion and common sense won out this week when Leeds University cancelled plans to host a petting zoo on campus during exam season following an urgent letter that we sent to the university’s vice chancellor laying out the facts. And our call was backed up by many compassionate students, who also voiced objections. If you were one of them, thank you!
Animals don’t enjoy being dragged around the country and manhandled by strangers, and petting zoos contribute to a cruel cycle of breeding, abandonment and killing. Exhibitors take young animals on the road and, if they survive the stress of transport and handling, typically dispose of them when they become more difficult to handle, replacing them with new animals.
Even at the “best” zoos, animals are rarely kept in normal social or family groups. Cages are usually very small and inhibit or prevent natural behaviour, including running, scavenging and selecting partners. The animals’ frustrations can lead to abnormal, neurotic and even self-destructive behaviour.
What’s more, petting zoos can have dire repercussions for humans, too. They’re hotbeds of serious pathogens, including E coli and salmonella bacteria. The area surrounding an animal’s cage can be teeming with bacteria. Those with weakened immune systems are especially at risk, making stressed-out students extra vulnerable. Coming down with a bout of salmonella just as you’re about to sit your finals is hardly likely to help you pass with flying colours – or to reduce your stress levels, for that matter.
Students with study fatigue will instead get to unwind with a bouncy castle. Jumping around releases a rush of endorphins and will be far better for the students’ health – unlike a petting zoo, which puts the health of not only animals but also humans at risk. Other institutions still considering hosting petting zoos should take note: hurting animals is no way to help students.
Acclaimed South African writer JM Coetzee didn’t mince words this week as he dispatched a scathing letter to the Culture Committee of Spain, criticising its support for bullfighting.
The Nobel Prize winner’s rousing message urged committee members toreject a pending initiative, sparked by bullfighting aficionados, which would give bullfighting legal protection as a “cultural pastime”. Here’s an extract:
Bullfighting is an archaic form of entertainment. It is a violent, bloody spectacle – a throwback to a time when people took no heed of the feelings of animals and the bull was an object of torment for boys who wanted to impress their fellows.
Bullfighting has had a long history in Spain, but times and sensibilities have now changed. Today, we see clearly that it is not fair to pit a skilled, practised, sword-wielding matador against an unwilling, confused, maimed, psychologically tormented and physically debilitated animal.
Tormenting and butchering bulls for entertainment belongs in the Dark Ages – not in 21st century Spain.
A committed vegetarian , Coetzee has spoken up for animals before and writes about the moral case for compassion in books such as Elizabeth Costello and Disgrace, which won the Booker prize in 1999.
Every year, more than 40,000 bulls are violently slaughtered during Spanish bullfights. It’s an indefensible situation, and 76 per cent of Spaniards say that they have no interest in the barbaric ritual.
It was an impressive sight: thousands of activists, coming from all over Belgium, France, Italy, Spain and elsewhere to speak out peacefully for animals who don’t have a voice.
As bullfighters in Alès, in the south of France, were preparing to execute 18 bulls during the town’s annual Ascension Festival this weekend, compassionate people came together to protest against this cruel and archaic spectacle. The major rally was organised by CRAC Europe with the support of many animal rights groups, including PETA France, and sent a powerful message: we won’t stand for bullfighting – it’s time for a ban!
Torturing an animal for sport is just plain wrong. In bullfights, confused and agitated animals “fight” for their lives as men repeatedly pierce them with knives until they are dizzy, weakened from blood loss and suffering agonising pain. By the time the matador makes the final stab, the exhausted bull is already near death. The bulls are often still conscious as their ears and tail are cut off as “trophies” and as they are dragged from the ring on chains.
Alès is one of the few places in France where this barbaric ritual still goes on. Most French towns and most French people would never dream of celebrating violent animal abuse in this way.
It’s the same in Spain – the majority of Spaniards have no interest in bullfighting, yet the government, perversely, is considering protecting it as a cultural pastime. We need to speak out against these plans as a matter of urgency. Please join the movement here:
Where do you stand? That’s the question that we posed to guests at Fortnum & Mason’s Food and Drink Awards last night. PETA gave Fortnum & Mason the shameful award of Cruellest Retailer on Monday as a result of its sale of foie gras, and we’re determined to tell as many people as possible about the store’s unethical practices, which hurt animals.
So we came up with an elegant solution for infiltrating the ceremony and getting through to the writers and foodies who were in attendance: we dispatched a team of swankily dressed PETA volunteers to hand out mysterious wax-sealed envelopes to guests on their way into the store.
Upon opening the letter, attendees saw this hard-hitting message:
Fortnum & Mason is proud of its British heritage. So why is it selling an item which is illegal to produce in the UK?
An investigation at a French farm that supplies foie gras to Fortnum & Mason found that birds tried to flee in terror from the metal force-feeding pipe and panted constantly because their engorged livers pressed against their lungs. At the abattoir, many geese were stabbed in the throat without prior stunning, which is illegal under both French and British law.
Fortnum & Mason is one of the last British department stores still selling foie gras. Sir Roger Moore, Ricky Gervais, Joanna Lumley and Dame Vera Lynn are among the many high-profile names calling on Fortnum & Mason to stop selling foie gras, and even Prince Charles has banned foie gras from being served at his residences.
Where do you stand?
Learning about Fortnum & Mason’s support of inhumanely produced foie gras in the middle of the store’s own award ceremony may have made some people feel slightly … uncomfortable. But a little social awkwardness pales into insignificance when compared to the intense, prolonged physical suffering of geese on foie gras farms.
Yesterday evening, our goal was to educate people about the cruelty of foie gras and Fortnum & Mason’s hypocrisy in continuing to sell the nasty stuff. And we can safely say, “Mission accomplished”! But as for putting a stop to the horrors of force-feeding for good, there’s still work to do. That’s why we need your help! Please speak out for ducks and geese today by taking action here: http://action.peta.org.uk/ea-action/action?ea.client.id=5&ea.campaign.id=16005
Dolphins may be diving in delight this week at the fantastic news that plans to build dolphin parks in several Indian states have been scrapped following pressure from PETA India. The proposed marine parks would have condemned dolphins to spend their lives in small tanks after being torn away from their natural habitat and families. While there, they would have been forced to perform absurd tricks for human entertainment.
Three cheers for Jayanthi Natarajan, India’s Environment Minister, for making the right decision and announcing this week that her ministry will not allow the cruel dolphinaria! PETA India reminded her that importing and imprisoning the playful marine mammals would be a violation of cruelty-to-animals legislation. Luckily for dolphins, she listened.
In their rightful ocean homes, dolphins establish close, cooperative and long-standing relationships. They live in large, intricate social groups, swim together in family pods and can travel up to 100 miles a day. In aquariums and marine parks, these animals can only swim in endless circles in enclosures that, to them, are like bathtubs, and they are unable to engage in most natural behaviours.
We’re hopeful that a complete ban on dolphin parks in India is on its way. There are currently no dolphins in captivity in the UK; nor should there be anywhere, because no animal belongs in a prison.
One marine mammal who still needs our help is Morgan, a female orca who is being held captive at Loro Parque in Tenerife. Please speak up for her today:
… a company that profits from the torture of animals – Fortnum & Mason. As it gears up for its hoity-toity Food & Drink Awards ceremony tomorrow, we felt duty-bound to tell the world about the store’s nasty side by presenting an award of our own. So today, we bestowed on Fortnum & Mason the not-so-proud title of UK’s Cruellest Retailer because of its continued sale of foie gras.
Glamorous PETA volunteers put on their glad rags and rolled out a red carpet outside Fortnum & Mason’s Piccadilly store in order to present the medal of dishonour. Although for some reason, the company’s CEO, Ewan Venters, declined to attend the ceremony, plenty of curious passersby stopped to find out what was going on – and were dismayed to learn the vile secret of animal abuse that lurks behind Fortnum’s fancy exterior.
When it comes to cruelty, Fortnum & Mason really does stand out. Harvey Nichols, Selfridges, Ocado and many other businesses have shown that they have a conscience by banishing foie gras from their shelves. Because foie gras is made by repeatedly shoving a metal pipe down the throats of ducks and geese and feeding them until they become severely ill, it can never be humane.
Fortnum & Mason’s Food & Drink Awards are purportedly all about “the proud heritage of British food”. But if the company really were committed to celebrating the best of British, it wouldn’t still sell foie gras. There is no such thing as British foie gras, after all: it’s illegal to produce the repugnant foodstuff in this country because of its cruelty.
As long as Fortnum & Mason profits from imported torture, it has no right to talk about our proud British heritage. Anyone with an ounce of compassion would not be able to maintain a stiff upper lip while watching the trauma that geese go through on foie gras farms. We know – we’ve seen it. Our undercover investigation of Fortnum & Mason’s suppliers shows panting, terrified birds who are roughly grabbed by their necks as the force-feeding tube is shoved down their throats and huge amounts of grain are pumped into their stomachs. This happens to them several times, every single day, until they’re killed, painfully, at the abattoir.
That’s why Fortnum & Mason deserves this ignominious award, and that’s why animals are counting on you to write to the store asking it to end this cruelty, now.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) Foundation—a charitable company limited by guarantee, with its registered office at Lacon House, Theobald's Road, London WC1X 8RW. Registered in England and Wales as charity number 1056453, company number 3135903.