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Animal Writes

  • 25
  • Sep

Street Artist Dan Witz: Why ‘Empty the Cages’?

Street artist Dan Witz’s thought-provoking collaboration with PETA, “Empty the Cages”, is causing a stir across London, as dozens of unsettling installations encourage Londoners to open their eyes to animals’ suffering.

Dan explains the inspiration for the project:

Like most artists, I’m interested in exploring what society hides from itself. As a human, I’m concerned with injustice. But, like most people, I feel powerless to do anything about the downward spiral our planet seems to be taking. But, as someone who operates in the public commons, with my street interventions, sometimes I get the opportunity to directly address this frustration, to provoke a dialogue about issues that matter to me.

It wasn’t until the anti-whistleblower ag-gag laws began passing in the United States that my attention was drawn to America’s animal agriculture industry. Further exploration revealed unbelievable depths of abuse – perpetrated against not only farm animals, but also the environment. Climate change, deforestation, wildlife extinction, water waste, air pollution and ocean dead zones (among other things) are all directly attributable to meat, dairy and egg production. And then there’s the merciless ways in which these deep-pocketed and powerful entities treat their employees, not to mention the local irreversible environmental damage. It’s truly unconscionable what these corporations get away with, day in and day out with seeming impunity.

This is why when PETA UK invited me to partner with them on the Empty the Cages project, to raise awareness surrounding animals raised for food and their dire plight, I didn’t hesitate to say yes. If encountering my pieces brings this topic to anyone’s attention, then art matters, because life matters, and I’m satisfied.

Dan Witz PETA collaboration London

To see more images from the project and a map of locations, visit the “Empty the Cages” website.

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  • 25
  • Sep

Unsettling London Street Art Brings Animals on Farms Out From the Shadows

chkn fngrs smithfield far ldn2014 flat (2)Have you ever been walking through a city and done a double take because you’ve seen something totally unexpected? That’s the effect that pioneering New York street artist Dan Witz‘s work often has on people – providing a glimpse of another world, concealed within the bricks and concrete of urban life, through the use of sophisticated visual effects such as trompe l’oeil and photorealism.

Now, in an exciting collaboration with PETA, Dan (a vegetarian) has brought dozens of powerful new pieces to the streets of London. These works, collectively titled “Empty the Cages”, show the faces and bodies of chickens, cows, pigs and other animals raised for meat, peering out through grilles, fences and darkened windows, from behind the bars of their prisons.

Visit the Empty the Cages website.

The project plays on the idea that these animals’ suffering is hidden in plain sight. The abuses that occur on factory farms are well documented – but, too often, nobody wants to see them. It can be easier to look away, even though, deep down, we all know that putting sentient beings through this misery is wrong.

At the same time, the project aims to empower viewers. We’re not helpless in the face of this injustice. As individuals, we can all make the choice to stop supporting the industrial-scale exploitation of animals for their flesh or bodily fluids – and millions of people already have.

The social movement towards meat-free diets is steadily emptying the cages.

For advice about how to get on board, order our free vegan starter kit here.

See the art on the street!

Check out the map of locations here, and let us know if you’ve spotted any of the pieces on the street by tweeting or instagramming a photo using the hashtag #emptythecagesLDN or by leaving us a comment on Facebook.

 

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  • 24
  • Sep

Sophie Ellis-Bextor: ‘Here’s the Rest of Your Fur Coat’

Enter for a Chance To Win a T-Shirt Signed by the Star!

More than 10 years ago, Sophie Ellis-Bextor took a stand against fur and posed in an eye-catching PETA ad that made headlines. Her message is as important today as it was back then.

PETA UK Sophie Ellis Bextor Ad

We’re reviving the ad, shot by Mary McCartney, in time for the autumn fashion season, and we’re hoping that shoppers will turn their backs on the cruel industry after seeing “the rest” of a fur coat.

And most will. According to a poll, 95 per cent of the British public would never wear real fur. That’s because fur is made by hurting and killing foxes, rabbits, minks, dogs, cats and other animals. These animals are electrocuted, drowned, beaten or often skinned alive so that their fur can be turned into coats and trim. Before being killed, they are either kept in cramped, filthy cages on factory fur farms for their entire lives or caught in the wild in vicious traps, where they may languish in agony for days and sometimes even chew off their own limbs in a desperate attempt to escape.

As Sophie heads out on her 2014 UK tour, fans can join her again in speaking out against fur and help put an end to the killing of animals for their skins. Check out these opportunities to take action:

We’re also offering fans a chance to win a “Mean People Wear Fur” T-shirt signed by Sophie herself!

 

Sophie Ellis-Bextor 1

For your chance to win the pictured signed T-shirt, just fill out the form below. The competition closes at 9 a.m. on 9 October 2014, and one winner will be chosen at random from all entrants and notified by 10 October. The prize will be posted to the lucky winner shortly afterwards.

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  • 23
  • Sep

PETA India Staffers Hospitalised After Attack by Angry Mob

A peaceful gathering of PETA India staffers in the Royal Market in Bhopal took a violent turn when an angry mob of men who had been lying in wait attacked the group of women, hurling stones and trying to tear off their clothes.

Celebrate a vegan EidThe peaceful appeal, which was led by a Muslim PETA India staffer wearing a dress adorned with lettuce leaves, was organised as a suggestion to festival-goers to choose non-violent ways to give alms to the poor, such as gifts of grains, fruit, clothing or money during the Bakra Eid religious commemoration of Abraham’s offering of his son to God.

Every year during Eid, the streets of India run red with the blood of millions of slaughtered goats, many of whom play with and are the beloved pets of children until they go to the knife. PETA India is letting Bhopal residents know that there are also non-violent ways to celebrate, which many people already practise, by giving fruit, lentils and other food offerings or by donating clothing and money to the poor.

But PETA India’s simple plea for compassion was met with violence.

The angry mob, which police estimated to have risen to hundreds of people, had apparently gathered in anticipation of the event. After men in the crowd reportedly shouted for the group of PETA India members, who were all women, to be stripped and stoned, men started hurling rocks and assaulting the women, who were forced to run for their lives. One staffer sustained severe facial injuries and other wounds. Another staffer’s pants were ripped as the mob tried to tear at her clothes. However, shockingly, instead of taking action against the women’s attackers, the women have been charged with “outraging religious feelings”.

mock_lamb_shammi_kebabPETA India CEO Poorva Joshipura told the media that “PETA organises peaceful animal protection awareness programs for Christmas, Easter, Diwali, Janmashtami and other holidays as well as Eid” and that “it is shameful that in working to stop violence, our volunteers were made to suffer violence”.

For ideas about how to prepare a cruelty-free Eid feast, check out this blog post.

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  • 19
  • Sep

Why I Took the Stage During an Animal Experimenter’s Speech

PETA Protester at NIH SpeechMaternal deprivation experiments on baby monkeys are a textbook example of unethical psychological research, and they need to stop. Hundreds of infant monkeys are being torn away from their mothers, causing them to suffer from psychoses at a US National Institutes of Health (NIH) laboratory. So when Dr Stephen J Suomi, the head experimenter on baby monkeys at NIH, was to speak in Cardiff at the annual general meeting of the Royal College of Psychiatrists’ Faculty of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, I, along with another activist, decided to make my voice heard and interrupted his keynote speech.

Suomi is responsible for tormenting baby monkeys in disgustingly cruel and archaic experiments that cause them to experience severe anxiety, fear, pain and depression. Some of the monkeys bite at their own flesh and pull out their own hair. This was all revealed following the release of hours of video footage and hundreds of photographs and documents obtained by PETA US from NIH through a contested Freedom of Information Act request. After watching the video below, any compassionate person would wonder how Suomi can sleep at night.

We’re in the age of brain imaging and superior human-based research that allows us to study the causes and treatments of mental illness in humans without terrorising animals in traumatic experiments. Yet videos revealed that experimenters laughed while infant monkeys were being terrorised, screaming frantically and trying to escape and hide. This is not science – it’s violence.

We were escorted from the premises but not before we unfurled our posters and made sure that the conference attendees were aware of the cruelty that occurs in Suomi’s labs.

Will you join us in speaking out about this cruelty by signing PETA US’ action alert and sharing?
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  • 18
  • Sep

See Eye-Opening Environmental Documentary ‘Cowspiracy’ in London

There’s a new must-see documentary causing a stir among environmentalists, activists and everyone who cares about the future of our planet. It’s called Cowspiracy – and it’s coming to London!

The film reveals the catastrophic environmental impact that large-scale factory farming has on our planet and investigates why the world’s leading environmental organisations are too afraid to talk about it. Billed as a cross between Blackfish and An Inconvenient Truth, it promises to be a riveting viewing experience.

Here are a few of the startling facts revealed in the film:

  • Animal agriculture is the source of 51 percent of all greenhouse gasses.
  • Forty-five percent of the Earth’s land mass is used for animal agriculture.
  • About 136 million acres of the rain forest have been cleared for cattle grazing and growing feed crops.

Cowspiracy will be showing in London at Clapham Picturehouse on Monday, 13 October, at 6 pm. The screening is being hosted by yogahaven – book your tickets here. You can also catch the film at VegFest in London on 27 and 28 September. We’ll keep you posted about other upcoming UK screenings.

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  • 16
  • Sep

PHOTOS: Air France Faces Embarrassing Moment at Airline Conference

It can take courage to stand up for your convictions. Fortunately, compassionate PETA supporters have bucket loads of it!

Today, in a room full of suited airline bosses discussing the future of aviation, this activist stood up and made her voice heard – literally – about Air France’s cruelty to primates. Just before a speech by Air France Executive Pieter Elbers in London, she crashed the venue with a banner and a demand for the airline to stop shipping monkeys to their deaths in laboratories.

Air France aviation conference Londonair france 2 London

air france cruelty to primates

She was eventually escorted from the room, but the shocked audience had already received the message loud and clear. Air France’s monkey trafficking needs to stop.

A few days earlier in France, this plucky individual paid a visit to Air France’s expo in Paris:

(Video created by sauvonslesanimaux.com for PETA France.)

For the non-Francophones, here’s an extract from his speech:

Ladies and gentlemen, shame on Air France, the last company to transport monkeys for laboratories! Yes, today the airline still carries monkeys and other animals to vivisection laboratories! … Do not close your eyes anymore, and see what happens! Today these animals die in airplanes. Three out of 10 die before arriving. … These animals are transported on scheduled flights while you are travelling!

Another supporter seized the opportunity to pose in an airline seat at the same event:

 Air France Expo Paris

These are just the latest incidents in a campaign that has spanned multiple continents. People all over the world – including actor James Cromwell and primatologist Dr. Jane Goodall – have been voicing their disgust at Air France’s callous disregard for animals.

The thousands of monkeys shipped by Air France every year end up in laboratories, where they’re caged, cut into, poisoned, crippled, deprived of food and water, infected with deadly diseases and killed.

Every other major airline has stopped transporting primates for animal testing, and pressure is mounting for Air France to do the same.

Please join the movement:

Take Action Now

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  • 16
  • Sep

Standing Ovation for Trafalgar Studios’ Decision to Stop Traumatising Goldfish in Tragedy

Goldfish Richard III Trafalgar Studios Withdrawn from Production

Anyone familiar with Shakespeare’s Richard III may have been surprised to learn about some unlikely cast members in a new production starring Martin Freeman at London’s Trafalgar Studios – a pair of goldfish. These animals certainly don’t appear on the original running list, and we were dismayed to learn that each night, they were subjected to the terrifying ordeal of having an actor’s head plunge into their tank and then thrash around wildly on stage.

A concerned audience member contacted us after seeing the fish “ground up with the gravel and pushed up against the sides of the tank” in the disturbing scene – which was repeated night after night.

However, we’re pleased to announce that after receiving a letter from us, the play’s director, Jamie Lloyd, agreed to remove the poor fish from the production. Goldfish, like all living beings, are not props, and the well-being of animals should never be compromised for entertainment.

The play is running until September 27 – and compassionate people will no doubt be pleased to learn that they can catch some of the final performances, knowing that only willing human actors will be taking the stage.

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  • 16
  • Sep

Don’t Throw Your Health Under the Bus

Londoners in every corner of the city may soon be doing a double take every time a bus passes them. That’s because PETA is looking to place an eye-catching new ad on the back of London’s buses to ask people who are struggling to lose weight – and who want to decrease their chances of falling victim to some of the UK’s biggest killers – if perhaps it’s time to give plant-based eating a try.

Bus Back

We’re hoping the optical-illusion ad will highlight how meat, dairy products and eggs are making people fat and sick and that getting on the road to a slimmer, fitter body can be as simple as going vegan. Vegans are, on average, 18 per cent thinner than meat-eaters are.

Eating meat, eggs and dairy products is like packing sludge into a motor. They contain no fibre and are loaded with artery-clogging saturated animal fat and cholesterol. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in the US, vegetarians are less prone to developing heart disease, diabetes, obesity and cancer than meat-eaters are. Going vegan isn’t just good for your health. Each person who goes vegan drastically reduces his or her carbon footprint and saves many animals a year from immense suffering on factory farms, in abattoirs and on the decks of fishing boats.

PETA’s free vegan starter kit is packed with useful information, tips and recipes for anyone looking to make the switch. Order yours now:

 

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  • 15
  • Sep

20 Prizes for 20 Years – Week 13

PETA UK is 20!
Since we were founded in 1994, PETA UK has never stopped fighting for animals on every front, calling out cruelty wherever we find it.

Whether spreading the vegan message, taking on the barbaric fur industry or campaigning for an end to animal testing, we’ve achieved some major victories in the past two decades – all with the help of our wonderful supporters, of course!

Check out our anniversary video for some highlights:

To celebrate and to say thank you to everyone who’s helped us come so far, over the next 20 weeks, we will be giving away 20 fabulous prizes – ranging from signed celebrity swag to high-end designer goods!

Check back here each week to see what’s up for grabs.

20 Prizes for 20 Years – Week 13

Win a day for two at KX, a private members’ club that is dedicated to health and fitness!

To help celebrate our 20th anniversary, KX, the luxurious private members’ club in London’s Chelsea, has donated a day at its gym and spa for two, which we’re giving away in partnership with Women’s Health magazine.

Enter here.

KX PETA Comp

With renowned personal trainers and a wide variety of classes that are kept deliberately small to ensure that all members receive personal attention and guidance, KX is a private members’ club dedicated to health and fitness. The prize includes a group personal training session for two people, a facial or massage for two and a vegan meal for two in the KX Restaurant, with a selection of nutritious, healthy food and refreshing beverages.

The prize is a great way to jump-start a healthy vegan lifestyle. Eating plant-based foods has been shown to improve blood and oxygen flow and can also help protect against heart disease, diabetes, strokes and cancer. Order our free vegan starter kit, and enter to win on Women’s Health’s website.

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