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Animal Writes

  • 11
  • Sep

This Season’s Hottest New Look?

Unnerving ‘Bunnies’ Turn Heads on the Catwalk at London Fashion Week

A bold new look hit the catwalk at London Fashion Week today, thanks to a trio of volunteers who decided that the fashion world needs a nudge in the right direction – at least, where animals are concerned.

Somerset House PETA demo against fur, angora and other cruel fashion items

The three compassionate ladies strutted their stuff outside Somerset House on the Strand in London wearing a striking outfit, pairing lovely lingerie with huge Donnie Darko–style rabbit heads. Their statement was simple – no bunny should suffer for fashion.

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As a shocking PETA Asia investigation revealed last year, millions of rabbits a year are kept in tiny cages on Chinese angora farms. They’re plucked alive – causing them to scream in pain – or tied to boards and roughly sheared, time and time again, until, after a few years, they’re slaughtered for meat.

Other rabbits are farmed by the fur industry and live in miserable conditions for their entire lives before being bludgeoned or electrocuted and skinned for their fur. Only truly heartless people could take any pride in wearing coats, stoles or hats made from these suffering animals’ skins.

The best thing that you can do to help rabbits and other animals abused for fashion is to check the label when you’re out shopping and avoid anything containing angora or real fur. If you see angora on sale, please politely ask the shop’s managers to stop profiting from the abuse of terrified animals.

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  • 11
  • Sep

Badger Massacre Continues

Badger Cull 2014: Somerset and Gloucestershire Massacre ContinuesThe cruel and misguided extermination of wildlife continues in the UK this week, as the government has recommenced its horrific programme of badger culling – or killing, to call a spade a spade – in Somerset and Gloucestershire.

As a member of Team Badger, we are one of 25 different organisations with a total of 2 million supporters who are calling for the second year of badger culling in Somerset and Gloucestershire to be stopped.

Dr Brian May, one of the most outspoken opponents of the widely condemned cull, summarised the shocking situation:

It’s almost beyond belief that the Government is blundering ahead with a second year of inept and barbaric badger killing. TB in cattle in England is currently at [its] lowest level in 10 years, the drop being predictably the result of improved husbandry in cattle. So this is a most inappropriate moment for Cameron to be wasting tax payers’ money persecuting our wildlife against the advice of every independent scientist in the field; even the Government’s own expert panel has branded the cull as ineffective and inhumane.

Current revelations from a whistle blower damn the process even more – making it clear that the numbers the present shooters are working towards are completely unreliable. This cull is a failure and a disgrace.

Last year, government sharpshooters killed 921 badgers in Gloucestershire and 940 in Somerset, and this year, many more animals will likely die, despite a wealth of scientific evidence suggesting that this slaughter will probably do little to halt bovine TB, and the government’s own report concluding that the culls were “not effective and that they failed to meet the humaneness criteria”.

Badgers are shy, sensitive animals who have been living in Britain for hundreds of thousands of years. During last year’s cull, hundreds of them died, frightened and in pain. As many as 18 per cent of them took over five minutes to die, suffering for every agonising second.

It’s the meat and dairy industries that are behind the inhumane badger cull, putting pressure on the government to make wildlife the scapegoat for some of the consequences of intensive cattle-rearing practices. One way to help badgers – and cows, too – is to stop supporting industries that hurt and kill animals by switching to a vegan diet. Get more information by ordering a free vegan starter kit. And for more details about the campaign against the badger cull and how to get involved, visit the Team Badger website for updates.

Image: “Badger” by Peter G Trimming / CC BY 2.0

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  • 10
  • Sep

Virtual Reality Technology Will Give You a Bird’s-Eye View of the World – Literally

Virtual reality chicken project animal rightsPeople who care about the suffering of animals often use the phrase “put yourself in their place”. Now, thanks to an innovative virtual reality (VR) project by PETA US, that concept is no longer just a metaphor.

“I, Chicken” is a virtual reality experience that recreates what it’s like to be a chicken using cutting-edge technology – including wireless VR goggles, motion-capture cameras and powerful computers – as well as input from leading VR psychologists. It allows people to become fully immersed in a chicken’s world, including flapping their wings, exploring their surroundings, taking dust baths and communicating with “other” birds.

However, as is the case for billions of real chickens, the experience ends somewhat abruptly.

Watch the video to learn more about the project:

“I, Chicken” will be going on a tour of college campuses in the US to help thousands of young people see the world from a chicken’s point of view – and to encourage them to make kinder dietary choices that don’t inflict suffering on these intelligent animals and result in their painful deaths.

Of course, you don’t need virtual reality to feel empathy and compassion for others and to understand that animals such as chickens are sensitive, complex individuals with distinct personalities. Once they know the facts – that chickens on farms may be kept in crowded sheds or cramped cages, mutilated by having the ends of their beaks cut off and often sent to slaughter when they’re as young as 41 days old – most people have second thoughts about eating meat and eggs.

If you’d like to stop chickens experiencing these horrors, why not adopt a compassionate vegan diet for the next 30 days?

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  • 10
  • Sep

The Great Vegan Bake-Off 2014 – the Winner

Vegan baking is clearly in! This year’s Great Vegan Bake-Off saw dozens of entries, including delicious breads, cakes, muffins and tarts, all made without eggs, dairy products or any other ingredients derived from animals.

From the 10 finalists, choosing the best was a difficult task, but your votes have been counted, and our judges have made up their minds.

The winner is …

Ombre Vanilla Dream Cake by Katy Beskow at Little Miss Meat-Free!

PETA UK Vegan Bake Off Winner

Katy is a self-taught home cook and blogger from Yorkshire, and her vegan vanilla sponge cake with strawberry balsamic jam looks delicious.

A classic cake that is light and airy with a delicate sweet flavour, Katy’s vanilla sponge hides lashings of strawberry balsamic jam and is topped with an ombre rose buttercream icing. The results may look difficult, but Katy has shared her simple techniques for how to make her gorgeous cake. Read her tips and see the full recipe, then have a go yourself!

Vegan Bake Off PETA Winner

Thanks to everyone who entered and the hundreds of vegan baking fans who voted to help us decide who we should choose as the winner. The winner was chosen by PETA based on several factors, including vote count.

Last year’s winner, Hannah Banana, came a close second with her banana split cake. In third place was the delicious-looking coffee-and-walnut cheese-less cake from Jennifer at PS … It’s Vegan.

Bake Off Runner Up

If you want to learn more about vegan living, order our free vegan starter kit here:

PETA UK Vegan Starter Kit

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  • 09
  • Sep

PETA Founder Rings the Bell for Wild Boar

The wild boar population of the Forest of Dean is under threat from a controversial and cruel cull plan.

Animal activists around the world are speaking out against the planned killing, and PETA founder Ingrid Newkirk has also chimed in.

Forest of Dean Wild Boar

To help support activists fighting the cull, Ingrid has put up for auction a hundred-year-old family heirloom – the bell that her great-uncle, who was the headmaster of a grammar school in Coleford in the Forest of Dean, rang from his school’s steps each morning.

Coleford School Bell“My great-uncle Sidney and my father, who spent his boyhood in Coleford, loved the Forest of Dean – they knew its paths and peculiarities well and, as amateur ethologists and hobby botanists, appreciated the trees, plants, birds and other wildlife in it”, Ingrid says. “Both would be whirling in their graves at the thought that the wild boars were being cavalierly dismissed as ‘pests’ and would say that the real pests are the human interlopers who appreciate nothing natural, only artificial constructs and pleasures. I am glad to sell this bell if the proceeds might be used to preserve the boars who call the forest home.”

Boars became extinct in England about 300 years ago but were reintroduced to the Forest of Dean in the 1990s, and their rooting has helped insects and plants to flourish in the freshly turned soil. Killing the boars is cruel and misguided. In 2012, a cull was suspended because of concerns that the number of boars had dropped too low and the species could be eradicated. A cull could also cause a spike in the food supply, which would prompt surviving animals to breed at an accelerated rate, leading to a continuous and pointless killing cycle.

Bidding on Ingrid’s family heirloom closes on 20 September, and the proceeds from the auction will help the activists’ fight against the cull.

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  • 09
  • Sep

New Poll: Support for Animal Testing in Britain Continues to Decline

A new government-funded poll by Ipsos MORI shows that the British public continues to voice strong and ever-growing opposition to the use of animals in experiments and also continues to mistrust both experimenters and the inadequate rules governing this archaic and often discredited practice.

According to the latest figures:Support for animal testing declines in the UK

  • Thirty-two per cent of Britons object to the use of animals in experiments.
  • Thirty-one per cent have little to no faith in the regulatory system that governs animal experimentation.
  • Thirty per cent do not trust experimenters to avoid causing unnecessary suffering to animals.

These figures all show a continuing decline in support for cruel experiments since the last poll in 2012 – and with good reason.

Evidence recently published in BMJ (formerly known as the British Medical Journal) demonstrates that experiments on animals overwhelmingly fail to benefit human beings, yet millions of animals are still poisoned, starved, surgically mutilated, electrocuted and burned in British laboratories without a thought to scientific findings about their needs, behaviour and sentience.

Animal experimenters have been allowed to conduct cruel procedures on animals under a veil of secrecy that prevents proper scrutiny. Earlier this year, thousands of people wrote to the Home Office asking it to repeal this secrecy clause, Section 24 of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 – it’s urgent that ministers listen to the public and ensure greater transparency about how animals suffer in UK laboratories.

The number of those who object to animal experiments will undoubtedly rise as people become aware of exciting, progressive and effective science that uses non-animal methods to the advantage of both humans and other species. If the UK is to be at the forefront of science, we must accept the overwhelming majority view (79 per cent) of the public by embracing and investing in these new technologies instead of focusing on animal tests that delay medical progress and dangerously mislead us about disease.

Image: © Doctors Against Animal Experiments

Read more:

PETA Knitting Pattern Christmas Jumper
Ask the UK to End Animal Testing for Household Products The Scientists Who Are Determined to Stop Chemical Tests on Animals Why Is Britain Going in the Wrong Direction on Animal Testing?

 

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  • 09
  • Sep

Vegan-Friendly Travel Company Wins Compassionate Business Award

Compassion may begin at home – but it’s just as important when you’re on holiday or travelling abroad. We’ve just given a Compassionate Business Award to one company that’s making it easier than ever for vegans to enjoy fantastic, animal-friendly vacations.

Veganbnb Travel offers trips to Spain and Central America that focus on fitness and creative vegan cooking. Emma Fry from Dorset initially started a vegan bed and breakfast in Málaga, Spain, which has been a smashing success with ethical travellers from around the world. Realising how much demand there was – not just in Europe but internationally – for vegan-friendly travel, she decided to create Veganbnb Travel.

The company’s trips allow travellers to experience delicious local vegan cuisine. People can visit an organic farm to take a cooking class and prepare the fresh ingredients, explore a macadamia nut farm or even hike up a volcano.

Veganbnb Travel

The vegan-friendly travel trend is growing. STA Travel, the world’s largest student travel company, has pulled promotions for cruel animal attractions, such as elephant rides and SeaWorld, and vegan restaurants are popping up everywhere, from Manila to Glasgow. Tourists today have so many opportunities available to them that it’s easy to have a vacation filled with cruelty-free memories.

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  • 08
  • Sep

On the Menu – Vegan Options at Chain Restaurants

Unless you haven’t taken a stroll down a UK high street in quite some time, you can’t have failed to notice the plethora of animal-free food popping up at every turn. Increased demand for vegan options has opened up a whole new world of delicious, animal-friendly dishes appearing on menus at restaurants, pubs and fast-food chains alike that do not involve grinding animals’ bodies up into nuggets or burgers.

We’ve put together our ultimate list of high-street vegan eats in places that may surprise you  – all tried and tested by us, of course!

Pub Chains

Toby Carvery: “A vegan at a carvery?” you ask. You bet! Toby Carvery’s vegetarian menu includes a nut roast wellington which is suitable for vegans. Ask to have the butter held, and you’ll be good to go! Those around you who have opted for slabs of festering flesh will no doubt wish they had followed your lead.

JD Wetherspoon: You can find a Wetherspoon on almost every high street. Here, you can enjoy a sweet potato, chickpea and spinach curry or a super-food Freedom Salad with giant couscous and balsamic vinaigrette.

LoungersAsk for the vegan menu at this relaxed café-and-bar chain, which has 48 branches across England and Wales in cities such as Birmingham, Bristol and Cardiff. There’s an extensive selection, featuring ciabatta sandwiches, tapas, cooked breakfast and even two choices of dessert – including an extremely tempting-looking dark chocolate and ginger torte!

Pizza/Italian

PizzaExpress: We got quite excited when PizzaExpress announced its new vegan Pianta Pizza. In fact, all its pizza bases are dairy-free, so feel free to choose. If you take in your favourite vegan cheese and ask nicely, you can even have it added to your pizza.

Pizza Express

Carluccio’s: This Italian café offers a separate vegan menu, including spaghetti, bruschetta, olives and fancy Italian breads. All you have to do is ask for it. The restaurant also offers soya milk for coffees.

Carlucios

Portuguese

Nando’s: One of the UK’s favrourite restaurants, from salads to wraps, eating vegan at Nando’s is easy with a few substitutions. Try the portobello pita with a side of veggie strips, just hold cheese and mayonnaise.

Burgers

The Handmade Burger CompanyThis chain of burger restaurants, found in a bunch of different locations, including Aberdeen, Glasgow and Sheffield, does a good job of labelling the vegan items on its menu. The chickpea-and-quinoa burger, veg skewers and super salad are all free from animal products, along with the essential side dishes: chips, onion rings and corn on the cob.

Oriental

Wagamama: There are several vegan-friendly dishes on Wagamama’s main menu including yasai gyoza (steamed vegetable dumplings), noodle-tastic yasai itame, and other options which can be veganised simply by switching up the noodles and leaving out the fish sauce.

Wagamama

Yo Sushi: Our top vegan choices from the Yo Sushi conveyor belt include vegetable yaki soba, firecracker rice and vegetable gyoza dumplings. There’s way more to sushi than just dead fish, you know!

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Latin/Mediterranean

Las Iguanas: If tapas and fajitas are your thing, Las Iguanas has got you covered. It has a dedicated vegetarian and vegan menu with all dishes clearly labelled, such as the yummy mushroom fajitas. Pass the patatas!

Giraffe: You don’t have to stick your neck out very far to find a Giraffe restaurant. Here, you can graze on tapenade and a selection of other meze as well as a vegan breakfast!

Giraffe 3

The Real Greek: Offering a wide selection of traditional hot and cold Greek meze, The Real Greek clearly labels which items on its main menu are suitable for vegans. Slow-cooked beans in an herby sauce and grilled aubergine are both highlights of this menu.

Leon: This expanding chain, found at stations and airports all over London, offers wholesome options, such as a gobi curry lunchbox, fresh salads, hummus and flatbread, and almond “milk”shake in three different flavours! Its website clearly marks vegan options.

LEON London

Fast Food

Pret A Manger: From its avocado-stuffed Supergreens sandwich and hearty soups to its more-ish salted dark chocolate (we’re obsessed), Pret is a winner for vegans.

Vegan Option At Pret A Manager

Starbucks: For caffeine addicts, Starbucks offers breakfast and lunch options to complement your soya latte, including a gluten-free hummus-and-veggie salad wrap and creamy soya porridge.

Staurbucks

Subway: The Veggie Delite sandwich is a safe bet for vegans – and piled high with as many vegetables as you can fit on a sub, it’s a healthy option, too. (Just avoid the flatbread, as it contains dairy products.)

Subway

The West Cornwall Pasty Co.: An on-the-go grab for all commuting “veg heads”, it offers two animal-free pasties, a veggie and a wholemeal, and all the pasties are glazed with a recipe suitable for vegans – so it’s no surprise that it walked away with a PETA Vegan Food Award in 2013.

West Cornwall

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With more and more consumers becoming aware of the health benefits of eating vegan as well as the horrific treatment and suffering of the animals bred for our plates, the demand for vegan options is only going to increase! And the more that are available, the more people will buy them. Every time you request or order a vegan meal, you are casting a powerful vote with your wallet.

Let us know if you’ve spotted any other great vegan food picks at well-known restaurants by leaving a comment. And if you’d like more advice about vegan living, order a free vegan starter kit today:

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  • 05
  • Sep

Q&A With Plant-Fuelled Paralympian Dave Smith

Dave Smith, MBE, is an athlete who has triumphed over adversity time and time again. His many impressive achievements include representing Team GB in the able-bodied karate and bobsleigh events and overcoming a spinal tumour to win a gold medal for rowing at the London 2012 Paralympic Games – as well as saving hundreds of animals by following a vegan diet!

Dave celebrates gold medal at London 2012

We caught up with him to talk about how ditching meat, dairy products and eggs has contributed to his success.

What inspired you to go vegan?

It was originally for my health and sporting performance – however, it has grown from that to being based on ethical views, also.

Did you notice any benefits to your athletic abilities after switching to a plant-based diet?

Absolutely – I noticed right away that I had more focus and reduced recovery times and generally felt lighter from the inside. My body also didn’t have to use so much energy to absorb food anymore.

What’s your favourite fuel, snack or meal before activity?

For me, some sessions are 100 miles on the bike, so I need energy. I like to make a blend of lots of veg with some fruit. I love bananas, so I have lots of them with almond milk, dates and strawberries. I juice and blend all the time.

Many top Olympians – including sprinter Carl Lewis, cyclist Lizzie Armitstead and bobsled champion Alexey Voyevoda – are vegetarian or vegan. Do you think we’re likely to see more meat-free athletes in the future?

Yes, I think as more athletes realise the benefits of this lifestyle and the positive impact it can have on your health, we will hopefully see more switches.

What advice would you give to anyone who is curious about going vegan but doesn’t know where to start?

I would say, get the PETA vegan starter kit and have a read, then slowly start to add good plant-based foods to your lifestyle. I like to think of it as crowding out the bad stuff. The more good plant-based foods you bring into your kitchen, the more your body will start to crave them, and before you know it, you will be 90 per cent plant-based. Then it’s just making that last step when you’re ready to go to 100 per cent. There are lots of good books on recipes, and I went from not being able to cook to now cooking amazing meals every night.

What’s your next athletic goal(s)?

My next athletic goal is to make it to Rio 2016 on the bike and try to win a medal to go with the rowing one from London 2012.

Vegan athlete Dave Smith training in cycling

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We’ll be rooting for Dave at Rio 2016!

To learn more about switching over to a plant-based diet that’s good for your body, the planet and animals, order our free vegan starter kit here:

Read more:

Alexei-500x333 Jonas1-500x332 I-am-Fauja-Singh-and-I-am-a-Vegetarian-353x500
Alexey Voyoveda: Russian’s Vegan Olympian Memory Champion Jonas Van Essen: Remember to Go Vegan! Fauja Singh: 100 Years Old, World Record Holder, Vegetarian
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  • 04
  • Sep

Everyone Who Cares About Animals Thinks London Zoo Needs to Cancel These Events

London Zoo’s stubborn insistence on not cancelling its “Zoo Lates” events – in which around 6,000 visitors pour into the zoo in the evening, during the animals’ usual resting hours, drink alcohol, sing and shout along to music – reveals the institution’s true priorities. Like all zoos, it’s more concerned with making money than safeguarding the animals it keeps captive.

Allegations that one visitor poured beer on a tiger, another fell and “accidentally” punched a bird and yet another asked a staff member “Which penguin can I fight?” are apparently not enough for the zoo to concede that these events are a bad idea.

Our director, Mimi Bekhechi, summed it up neatly:

“Plying thousands of people with alcohol on what is actively promoted by the zoo as a ‘wild night out’ might be a good fundraiser for the London Zoo, but it doesn’t put the animals’ needs first”.

Now, the UK’s other leading animal-protection groups, the RSPCA, the Born Free Foundation, the Captive Animals’ Protection Society, Animal Aid, OneKind and Viva!, have all joined our call for London Zoo to cancel these distressing events and signed our joint letter to the Zoological Society of London’s director.

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Thousands of compassionate people have also signed the online version of our letter. If you agree that there’s no way to justify adding to the misery of animals in zoos in this way, please add your name here:

Take Action Now

 

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