We’re doing the equivalent of wagging our tails at the news that Bolton Council has accepted plans to close down Westhoughton Greyhound Stadium, ending unethical dog races in Bolton!
In June, we shared the promising news that an application had been submitted to close the only remaining track in Bolton and redevelop the site for housing. A handful of dog-racing enthusiasts were threatening to derail those plans, so we asked you to take action. Thousands of you responded and wrote to Bolton Council to support the closure of the stadium, massively outnumbering the measly 17 objections sent in by people who enjoy watching dogs be exploited for money.
We wholeheartedly applaud Bolton Council’s decision to close the stadium. It’s the right move for animals, and as the site of the stadium will be used to build 38 homes, it will create about 60 new jobs, benefiting the local economy, too.
This is a nationwide trend. All over the country, dog-racing stadiums have been closing down as a result of dwindling attendance, a sign that the British public isn’t interested in watching dogs be exploited in order to line the pockets of the betting industry. Just as in the horse-racing industry, greyhounds are treated like commodities, often at the expense of their welfare.
As we all know, you can’t call something a “sport” when the “athletes” have no choice about taking part – and are likely to be abandoned, mutilated or killed if they don’t make the grade. After a few years of being carted from race to race and typically kept in cages and made to wear muzzles, many greyhounds are “retired” into an early grave or dumped onto the streets by trainers.
Thank you to everyone who wrote to Bolton Council with the message that animals are not ours to use for entertainment. Your voices gave compassion a head start, helping to ensure that fewer dogs will now be mistreated in these archaic races.
Image: Philandthehound / CC BY 2.0
The student newspaper The Tab has just published the disturbing finding that British universities are killing more than 1.3 million animals a year in animal testing programmes.
Monkeys, badgers, dogs, cats and pigs are among the animals being abused and killed in academic institutions up and down the country. However, mice and fish are the most frequent victims of tests, with hundreds of thousands being slaughtered a year.
In laboratories, animals are kept in bleak cages and often recoil in terror from the white-coated men and women who treat them as living test tubes. Cruel experiments conducted in universities include forcing rodents to inhale toxic diesel fumes and inflicting high levels of stress on baby animals. Once a test is over, the traumatised animals are discarded and killed.
According to The Tab‘s animal testing figures, the University of Edinburgh is the worst culprit, killing a shocking 226,341 animals a year, followed by the University of Oxford, with 202,203 victims – the equivalent of five mice killed for every single student.
It’s an absolute disgrace that the UK’s supposedly world-class higher-education institutions are still conducting these archaic and inhumane tests on animals. Results obtained from horrific animal experiments in an attempt to investigate human diseases tend not even to be relevant: according to a US Food and Drug Administration report, more than 90 per cent of drugs that pass animal tests fail in human trials. Students and academics are quite simply studying the wrong species – and at the same time, inflicting unimaginable suffering on animals and going against public opinion, social progress and 21st-century scientific pursuits.
These figures were obtained through a Freedom of Information request. But we’re denied the right to know the truth about millions of other animals killed in British laboratories because of a law that keeps this information out of the public domain – despite the fact that in some cases, our taxes are paying for these appalling tests. Please write to the government minister responsible for animal testing and ask that this secrecy clause be abolished: petauk.org/secrecy
Tattooed heartthrob Jade Dernbach may not fit the typical image of an English cricketer, but with his new ad for PETA, he’s decisively bowled cruelty out. The South African–born fast bowler, who plays for Surrey, is the latest star of our “Ink, Not Mink” campaign, which highlights the barbarity of the fur trade.
To say that locking minks in tiny cages, anally electrocuting them and ripping the skin from their backs while they’re still alive (and sometimes conscious) is just not cricket is the understatement of the century.
Jade explains why he chose to take part in the campaign: ”some people are naive to the use of animal fur so it’s important to raise awareness”. Luckily there are many stylish alternatives to real fur on the market, making it easy to combine fashion and compassion.
In going fur-free, Jade is joining other kind-hearted inked-up stars such as Dave Navarro, Tommy Lee, Steve-O and Waka Flocka Flame. You can speak out against fur, too – please, send a message to department store Harvey Nichols, which has recently started to sell real fur again: http://petauk.org/harveynichols.
A Nottingham shopping centre, intu Broadmarsh, has seen sense this holiday season and turned its back on an ill-conceived plan for an event showcasing penguins on a busy shopping day.
The compassionate people of Nottingham joined us in expressing their objections to the shopping centre, which announced last night that “[f]ollowing talks and meetings with members of our local community, and with animal charity PETA, we have decided not to include live penguins in our Christmas Extravaganza event. We came to this decision after listening to people’s views and we believe this is the right thing to do”.
Anyone who has seen the beautiful film March of the Penguins would find such publicity stunts disrespectful, out of touch and tragic. Penguins are fascinating birds who do not deserve to be exploited as props, kept in tiny enclosures and forced to endure the stress of being hauled around and then released in front of hordes of holiday shoppers, which can leave them petrified and disoriented and even impair their immune systems.
Such events would have been out of touch with the public’s concern for animal welfare. We commend the shopping centre for instead planning fun, festive family activities such as trapeze workshops, an interactive snow globe, face-painting, live music and a Santa’s grotto experience without live animals.
During this season of goodwill, we urge other shopping centres to follow the lead of intu Broadmarsh and the London toy store Hamleys, which have also cancelled plans to include live animals in Christmas promotions, and we also urge compassionate shoppers to speak out against such events.
Image: Thomas Tolkien / CC BY 2.0
Perhaps best known for her film Red Sonja, actor Brigitte Nielsen might have looked the part in furs when playing a barbarian, but times and fashion have moved on.
Brigitte has spoken out against the treatment of animals for fur by turning her back on cruelty and giving fur the cold shoulder in a new ad for PETA Germany.
In addition to starring alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger in Red Sonja, the Danish actor also starred in Rocky IV, Cobra and Beverly Hills Cop II. She is now a regular fixture on German TV.
As in Germany, most fur sold in the UK comes from fur farms, where animals lose their minds from the extreme misery and suffering that result from being constantly confined to a tiny cage. Animals who are trapped in the wild don’t have it any better: they can be held for days as the trap cuts down to their bones. They sometimes chew off their own limbs in a desperate attempt to escape. And in China, the world’s biggest fur exporter, dogs and cats are often skinned alive for their fur, which is then mislabelled before unsuspecting shoppers purchase it.
With the amount of cruelty-free faux furs on the market, there’s no need to dress up as a barbarian this winter. Plush, modern synthetics are readily available on every high street. And you can shop with confidence at fashionable fur-free retailers such as H&M, Topshop, New Look and AllSaints.
Supporters have been asking us about headlines announcing a change in China’s animal testing regulations.
To date, it’s been compulsory for any company that sells cosmetics in China to conduct tests on animals. Now, the Chinese Food and Drug Administration (CFDA) is proposing to change the way that some cosmetics products manufactured within China are registered – and these changes could mean that fewer animals will be poisoned in Chinese laboratories.
The CFDA’s plan, which is still under review, would shift registration for certain types of cosmetics manufactured in China from the national to the provincial level and would place responsibility for toxicological assessments on the companies, which could choose not to use animals. However, cosmetics manufactured outside the country and so-called “functional cosmetics”, such as skin whiteners, would still be subject to the animal testing requirement.
We are cautiously optimistic that this plan, if it does become law, will be a step towards reducing the suffering of mice, rabbits and other animals in cosmetics testing. At the same time, PETA is concerned that Chinese companies, which are not yet familiar with the range of non-animal tests used in Europe and the US, will still use archaic tests on animals.
PETA US has been working to address this situation by giving financial support to the Institute for In Vitro Sciences, which is providing government officials and scientists in China with training in the use of sophisticated non-animal methods. Ending animal testing in China will be a long process, but little by little, we’re making progress.
You can take action against animal testing, too. Please join our campaign asking airlines to stop shipping primates from Asia to laboratories in Europe and the US to be tortured: PETAUK.org/CSAir.
Disturbing footage released last night reveals horrific cruelty to animals on foie gras farms that supply celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay. In windowless sheds, row upon row of ducks are kept in tiny filthy cages with no space to move, covered in their own vomit, with painful broken wings and beaks, abscesses, eye injuries and bloody sores. Dying birds collapse panting from illness and exhaustion caused by the relentless ordeal of being force-fed grain through a tube several times a day. After weeks of this misery, the surviving birds are shoved into crates and sent to be slaughtered.
The harrowing investigation was carried out by our friends over at Viva ! , and documents the appalling conditions on five French farms belonging to the firm Ernest Soulard. After learning of the video footage, Gordon has reportedly suspended purchasing from the company – but to help end the nightmare for these birds, he needs to banish foie gras from all his restaurants permanently.
This is not the first time that the crinkle-faced cook has been caught serving up the liver of tortured ducks and geese. In May this year, a PETA US investigation of Hudson Valley Foie Gras, which supplies his Manhattan restaurant, found similar scenes of cruelty, with ducks being violently force-fed through steel tubes. Experts have found that force-feeding in this way leads to oesophageal tears and splits, liver rupture and failure, heat stress and aspiration pneumonia.
Let’s hope that this time Gordon takes a leaf out of the book of principled chefs such as Wolfgang Puck and Albert Roux, who have said that they would never, ever serve a product made by abusing animals in this way. Even Morrissey has called the sweary Kitchen Nightmares star out on his use of a product which “is so cruelly produced that he’d be against it if he had an ethical bone in his body”.
The upsetting footage from Viva!’s investigation were sickeningly familiar to anyone who’s seen PETA’s video showing how geese are treated on a foie gras farm that supplies the department store Fortnum & Mason’s distributor, Georges Bruck .
If you agree that it’s a disgrace that British companies are still supporting the horrific foie gras industry, please take action here:
A curious sight greeted anyone who happened to be passing by Dublin’s Henry Street on Wednesday or Belfast’s Arthur Square on Thursday: a scantily-clad PETA supporter lying on a person-sized plate, drizzled with sauce, alongside a pile of vegetables and a gigantic knife and fork.
Yes, these were the latest instalments of PETA’s iconic “Relate to Who’s on Your Plate” demos, which get passersby thinking about what – or indeed who – they’re eating. As World Vegan Month gets underway this November, we’re in the Emerald Isle to illustrate that we’re all flesh and blood and that animals who are killed, chopped up and served as meat have personalities and feelings, just as we do.
The star of Dublin’s demo was lovely Laura, who was crowned the UK and Ireland’s Sexiest Vegan earlier this year, while in Belfast, compassionate psychology student Gemma braved the elements to get the meat-free message across.
Interest in vegetarian and vegan diets is massively on the increase in Ireland, with more and more people choosing a cruelty-free lifestyle. Just in August, the gorgeous Rosanna Davison showed the world how proud she is to be vegan by starring in a spicy ad for PETA.
Given the harmful effects that eating animal products can have on your body – increasing the risk of suffering from various ailments from some types of cancer to obesity and heart disease – going vegan is also a recipe for staying fit and healthy. And of course, plant-eaters enjoy peace of mind because they know that nobody had to die for the food on their plate!
There are thousands of ways to speak out for animals: whatever your talents are, you can use them to advocate for compassion! And that’s exactly what some inspiring students have been doing, by creating stirring artworks with an animal rights message as part of their studies.
This striking poster was created by design student Adam Taylor, who used one of his assignments to raise awareness of the cruelty of the fur industry. The image shows a sinister fur coat tainted with the dripping blood-red innards of the animal who was skinned alive to make it.
Adam, who studies at Gloucestershire College, explains his motivation for the design: “a vivid and striking image attracts everyone’s attention and can sometimes be enough to change an opinion”.
Amy Dixon, who studies fine art at the Chelsea College of Art and Design, also used her talents to expose cruelty, with this jarring piece that highlights Fortnum & Mason’s continuing sale of unethical foie gras, a product made by force-feeding ducks and geese.
Amy says: “I found it heart wrenching when viewing footage of the farms which supply to Fortnum and Mason. I wanted to create art in an attempt to express this … I just hope Fortnums eventually do the right thing and no longer sell this monstrous product”.
We’d award both of these promising students an A* for compassion! If you’re a budding artist, why not follow their example and use your work to raise awareness about the suffering of animals? And if you do get creative against cruelty, please share the results with us!
We’re also offering fashion students an exciting opportunity to combine creativity with compassion in our new competition to design a vegan shoe for ethical footwear brand Beyond Skin.
This is a unique chance for you to see your animal-friendly fashion ideas become a reality, as the winning design will go into production next year. The competition closes on 13 December and is open to everyone. Find out how to enter here.
Ingrid E Newkirk put herself in the place of animals who are killed for meat today – literally. During her visit to Mumbai, the PETA founder lay atop a charcoal grill to remind the world that all animals are made of flesh, bone and blood, just as humans are.
Eating meat entails consuming the corpse of an animal who was once an individual with feelings and a member of a family. All animals raised for food have distinct personalities: chickens pass on culture to their chicks and have complex social hierarchies; cows develop friendships and choose leaders based on intelligence, self-confidence and social skills; and pigs are smarter than dogs, are known to dream and recognise their own names and also enjoy listening to music!
Ingrid, who is always fearless when it comes to helping animals, explains why she decided to put herself on the menu during her visit to PETA India:
Whether a fish, a chicken or a human – a corpse is a corpse, and we are all flesh and blood, with hearts and eyes and feelings. If people are revolted by a “human barbecue”, they should surely also lose their appetite at the thought of eating any corpse. When you smell flesh cooking, you can’t tell the difference. Animals may not look exactly like we do, but they certainly share our ability to feel joy, love, pain and suffering and to fear someone with a knife. Each of us can stop needless violence and live up to our belief that we are decent, kind people, simply by choosing vegan food when we eat.
Ingrid’s gutsy stunt is part of a series of memorable demonstrations that PETA and its affiliates are coordinating for World Vegan Month in November. At the same time, thousands of compassionate people are celebrating World Vegan Month more, ahem, discreetly, by embarking on a plant-based diet for 30 days. Join them here: PETAUK.org/pledge