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Animal Writes

  • 15
  • Oct

Be a Hero to Turtles by Refusing to Support the Cruel Exotic-‘Pet’ Trade

After the release of movies or TV shows featuring animals (even animated ones), people often get caught up in the fad of buying real-life versions of the animal stars.

For example, despite the movie’s anti-captivity message, sales of clownfish soared after the release of Finding Nemo, as did sales of owls in the wake of the Harry Potter movies. According to Blue Cross, the number of huskies and similar breeds at its rehoming centres has increased by 700 per cent over the past five years, likely because of fans of fantasy shows and films such as Game of Thrones and Twilight. Later, after realising that it’s difficult to make a lifetime commitment to an animal purchased on impulse, many buyers either ignore their briefly cherished companion animals or abandon them.

So, with the upcoming release of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, PETA is writing to parents groups urging families not to rush out and buy turtles.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles pets uk

Because of issues with abusive dealers, breeders and smugglers, not to mention guardians who have no idea how to care for an exotic animal properly, buying a turtle is a bad idea from start to finish. Pet shop employees are rarely trained to tend to the complex social, physical and psychological needs of reptiles and therefore can’t educate even the best-intentioned prospective caretakers. It is predictable, then, that stress, disease and death will follow.

A recent scientific analysis in The Biologist, a prestigious magazine published by the Society of Biology, shows that three-quarters of all “pet” reptiles die during their first year in UK homes.

Reptiles are often infected with salmonellosis and other zoonotic diseases. In the 1970s, the sale of turtles less than 4 inches long was banned in the US in order to stop the growing number of reported salmonellosis cases. The ban resulted in a 77 per cent reduction in the disease the following year.

Taking on the responsibility of caring for an animal is a serious matter and shouldn’t be done on a whim. If you can give an animal a home, visit a shelter – where the staff will take the time to discuss your circumstances and find the perfect animal match for you – rather than a heartless breeder or a money-grabbing pet shop.

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  • 14
  • Oct

Good News! India Bans Import of Cosmetics Tested on Animals

A huge victory for animals – the Indian government has just announced a ban on the import of animal-tested cosmetics!

Animal testing for cosmetics banned in India

This news comes after intensive efforts by PETA India, Union Minister Maneka Gandhi and others and will save millions of animals from being blinded, poisoned and killed in cruel and useless tests for products sold to India’s billion-plus population. The India Ministry of Health and Family Welfare made its decision public in The Gazette of India today and will implement the ban in November.

The compassionate move brings India up to speed with the European Union and Israel, which have already banned the sale and marketing of animal-tested cosmetics. Earlier this year, animal testing for cosmetics was banned in India. Now, companies that want to sell cosmetics in the country won’t be able to conduct cruel tests elsewhere, either.

Just last month, it looked like the existing ban on animal testing for cosmetics could be under threat from a group of international companies – including NIVEA, Johnson & Johnson and L’Oréal – which are members of the Indian Beauty & Hygiene Association. Thank you to everyone who wrote to these companies to help make sure that didn’t happen.

Congratulations to PETA India and everyone else who was involved in achieving this immense victory for animals. It’s a message to the whole world that India will not tolerate blinding bunnies for shampoo, mascara and other such products – and this ruling now gives an upper hand to businesses that use superior, human-relevant, non-animal testing methods.

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  • 07
  • Oct

The Compassionate Knitter’s Guide to Vegan Yarns

Kelly Yarn StoreEveryone knows that knitting isn’t just for grannies anymore – since the crafting revolution hit these shores, the gentle click of knitting needles can be heard up and down the country, as people of all ages crochet, stitch and purl their way to beautiful handmade items.

But if you love knitting and animals, you’ll want to make sure that your hobby doesn’t come at someone else’s expense.

As PETA US’ shocking recent exposé highlighted, the worldwide wool industry cruelly abuses millions of sheep a year. Angora wool is often produced by ripping the hair from rabbits’ skin as they scream in pain, while goats and llamas suffer for fabrics such as mohair, cashmere and alpaca.

Luckily, there’s another way – vegan yarn! We caught up with Kelly, who runs the excellent UK-based Vegan Yarn Store. Here, she talks us through some of her favourite non-animal wools and explains which type of projects they’re best suited for.

Sock Yarn

Vegan yarn made from bamboo, cotton and nylon
Let’s face it – knitters love making socks. For vegan knitters, Panda Sock Yarn is the answer to our prayers! It’s made up of bamboo, cotton and nylon, so it’s soft and durable, with the right amount of flexibility for feet.

Banana Yarn

Renewable and long-lasting vegan yarn

Banana yarn is a soft and extremely durable fibre which has the added benefit of being a renewable resource. The yarn is made from the decaying outer layers of banana tree bark, which is scraped away and then soaked, pulped and spun into yarn. Its weight and strength make it perfect for accessories such as bags, while its softness also means that it’s great for everything from scarves to cardigans.

Cotton Yarn

Lightweight vegan yarn

Cotton is often seen as a summer yarn by knitters, but this doesn’t have to be the case. Cotton can be just as warm and cosy as animal yarns, especially when blended with other fibres such as acrylic or bamboo. One particular warm cotton yarn is Aslan Trends Lecco, which is knit up on 6mm needles and is perfect for colder seasons. Cotton also has the added benefit of being great for crochet, especially for granny/afghan blankets. The brands Debbie Bliss and Louisa Harding offer a range of cotton yarns in a variety of weights and colours that are perfect for any season.

Chunky Yarns
Chunky vegan yarn

Chunky yarns are a joy for lazy knitters/crocheters and those who want to work on a quick and satisfying project. Vegans can improvise their own chunky yarns by holding two strands of the same colour yarn together and knitting on larger needles. Alternatively, some great chunky yarns – such as DY Choice’s Chunky Chain, which knits up on an impressive 12mm needle – are available for those of us who eschew animal products.

Bamboo Yarns

Bamboo/Rayon Vegan Yarn

Silky smooth bamboo (sometimes also called rayon) is processed from the inner fibres of the bamboo plant and is a dream to knit with. Its texture is wonderful in its own right as well as when used in blends. Often, when it’s blended with cotton, you can get a similar texture and drape as when you use animal fibres such as merino or alpaca (but without the cruelty). Two great 100 per cent bamboo yarns are Rad Rayon and Bellatrix Laceweight, or for an exceptional cotton/bamboo blend, you could try Alnilam Worsted.

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So there you have it – whether you’re working on socks, scarves, jumpers, hats or any other type of knitting project, there’s a perfect vegan yarn to match.

All these yarns and others are available to order at www.VeganYarnStore.comKelly is even offering a generous 15 per cent discount to PETA supporters for the next two weeks. Simply use the discount code PETA15 when placing your order (offer expires on 31 October at 11:59pm).

We’d also love to see your vegan knitting creations, so please feel free to tweet us a pic!

See also:

PETA Knitting Pattern Christmas Jumper
Free Knitting Pattern – Vegan Christmas Jumper Investigations Into the International Wool Industry Surprising Facts About Sheep

 

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  • 02
  • Oct

Paul O’Grady to Lord Mayor: Please Don’t Herd Sheep Across London Bridge

Paul O'Grady to Lord Mayor: Please Don't Herd Sheep Across London Bridge

The Lord Mayor of London is historically entitled to the Freedom of the City, a privilege that theoretically affords him or her the right to do many things, including carrying a naked sword in public and other equally archaic practices. One of these practices is the dangerous tradition of herding sheep across London Bridge.

Since the current Lord Mayor of London, Fiona Woolf, plans to do just that in a fundraising stunt set for next week, Paul O’Grady MBE has written to ask her to put a stop to the tradition. “I am sure that you will agree that these ‘rights’ should not be exercised simply because they can be exercised”, he writes.

“Herding sheep down a very busy London street while cars continue to speed along the road next to them shows a disregard for their welfare and needlessly causes them distress. I have no doubt that you would be able to match, if not exceed, the donations that the previous Lord Mayor received by promoting an event without the use of any animals, and compassionate Londoners would thank you for it”, Paul explains in his letter.

As Paul knows from his experience in sharing his home with sheep, they are intelligent and complex individuals. They flock to keep safe from predators, and if threatened, they all run together for a short distance and then turn to face the danger as a group. Just like humans, dogs, chickens and most other animals, sheep make different sounds to communicate different emotions, and flock mates recognise each other even if they’ve been separated for years. A University of Illinois study found that sheep perform nearly as well as pigs on IQ tests and have demonstrated problem-solving abilities.

We hope the Lord Mayor will agree with Paul that sheep are not inanimate props and drop the stunt in favour of a more compassionate form of fundraising that would not cause distress to animals.

 

Image: “I love Ewe! # 1” by foxypar4 / CC by 2.0

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  • 01
  • Oct

Lucy Watson Reveals What All Animals Are Made Of

“Animals are so much more than just ‘breasts’, ‘thighs’ and ‘rumps’. They’re smart, inquisitive individuals with their own unique personalities, and I can’t imagine eating any one of them”, said Made in Chelsea‘s Lucy Watson at the kick-off of her new ad campaign for PETA.

 Lucy Watson

Photo: Pal Hansen; Make-up: Justine Jenkins; Hair: Timothy David 

She unveiled her provocative ad in London on World Vegetarian Day, making the point that cows, pigs and chickens are all made of flesh, blood and bone, just as humans are. We have the same bodily organs, the same five senses and the same range of emotions. And of course, none of us wants to die violently.

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Vegetarian meals are a great way to reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, strokes, diabetes and obesity, and they spare animals immense suffering on factory farms and in abattoirs. They’re also “green”, as raising animals for food is responsible for an enormous amount of water pollution, land degradation and greenhouse-gas emissions.

Why not join Lucy and give it a try? Celebrate World Vegetarian Day by ordering your free vegan starter kit.

 

 

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  • 01
  • Oct

Celebrate Gandhi’s Birthday by Bringing Non-Violence Into Your Diet

Tomorrow, 2 October, would have been Mahatma Gandhi’s 145th birthday. It’s also the United Nations’ International Day of Non-Violence.

QUOTE Gandhi

One meaningful way to celebrate Gandhi’s legacy and the peaceful principles he stood for is to refrain from all forms of violence – specifically in your diet. Last year, MPs from all political parties accepted our invitation to go vegan for the day. This year, we’re encouraging everyone with an interest in justice, non-violence and respect for life to do the same.

Gandhi was himself a strict vegetarian and wrote the book The Moral Basis of Vegetarianism. It makes sense: in the meat, dairy and egg industries, animals are violently mistreated, mutilated without painkillers, separated from their loved ones, shoved into crowded spaces and killed – often painfully. This abuse is hardly compatible with the ideas of compassion and kindness that Gandhi is so well known for.

Go vegan for the day, and you’ll be taking the first step towards eliminating violence from your diet.

If you’re new to plant-based eating, here are a few ideas for what to eat on your first vegan day:

BreakfastBreakfast

  • Muesli, cornflakes, Weetabix, Rice Krispies and many other cereals are vegan-friendly. Just swap dairy milk for soya, almond, rice or any other plant-based milk.
  • Spread toast with vegan margarine, peanut butter, Marmite or jam.
  • Construct an indulgent vegan fry-up with veggie sausages, fried mushrooms and hash browns.

Lunch

  • Snack on houmous and crackers or healthy carrot and celery batons.
  • Grab a ready-made soup and some bread. New Covent Garden Soup Company, Pret a Manger and many supermarket lines have vegan options.
  • Check out our list of vegan packed lunch ideas for more inspiration.

Dinner

  • Keep it simple with whole-wheat pasta and marinara sauce (this is usually vegan, but check the ingredients to make sure) topped with fresh basil leaves and a drizzle of olive oil.
  • Toss tofu, thinly sliced carrots, cabbage, mangetout and baby corn into a wok for a vibrant stir-fry. Serve with rice or wheat noodles.
  • Explore hundreds of delicious vegan recipes from all over the world at PETALiving.com.

Let us know how your day of peaceful vegan eating is going by tweeting using the hashtag #GoVegan. And if tomorrow goes well, why not extend the exercise by taking our 30-day vegan pledge?

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  • 01
  • Oct

PETA Takes Advantage of Parody Law Change to Blast F&M

Beginning today, the government has amended the number and scope of permitted acts in relation to works protected by copyright to include allowing limited copying on a fair-dealing basis for the purposes of parody, caricature and pastiche. What does that mean for us? Well, PETA US has often used parody in its campaigns, from mocking SeaWorld to lampooning video games in order to call out those targets and help get people thinking about animal rights. PETA UK has been unable to include the creation of parody websites in its campaigns, until now.

So we’re excited to be taking advantage of the new rules in order to launch ForceFedAndMurdered.com, reflecting Fortnum & Mason’s shameful support of the foie gras industry!

Fortnum and Mason Foie Gras Cruelty

The luxury retailer’s image has already been tarnished by its sale of unethical foie gras, which is so cruel that its production is banned in Britain, and now, we’re hoping to use parody to bring further attention to Fortnum’s trade in the product.

Please head over to ForceFedAndMurdered.com to learn about the campaign and be sure to write to the shop in order to ask it to ditch the vile product.

Torture in a Hamper

 

 

 

“Stork Statue” image is a derivative of: Coat of Arms in Fortnum and Mason’s Cafe | tristan forward | CC BY-SA 2.0

Hamper ©iStock.com/stocknshares, feathers ©iStock.com/DrPAS

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  • 30
  • Sep

Simon Cowell Axes ‘Xtra Factor’ Dolphin Scenes

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Anyone who has followed Simon Cowell’s countless good deeds for animals over the years knows that he’s far from being the meanie so often portrayed on The X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent.

So it comes as no surprise to us at PETA that as soon as Simon learned that next weekend’s episode of Xtra Factor was planning to air footage of the six final boy contestants attending a dolphin show and swimming with the animals, the outspoken celebrity took a stand, tweeting, “I had no idea Xtra Factor producers filmed with dolphins. This will NOT be showed on Saturday” and “I think you all know my view on cruelty to animals”.

Many of the highly intelligent and social animals incarcerated in marine parks around the world have endured the trauma of being caught and torn away from their families in the wild and then sold into a life of captivity. In the wild, dolphins swim together in family pods for their entire lives. In the chlorinated prisons of marine parks, their ocean worlds are reduced to claustrophobic swimming pools. Most captive dolphins die prematurely, living to only half the age of their wild brothers and sisters.

Please join Simon in always speaking out whenever you see tour companies advertising cruel “swim-with-dolphins” excursions or other exhibits at marine abusement parks. Please also take a moment to tell Sir Richard Branson to stop promoting trips to SeaWorld here:

Take Action Now

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  • 30
  • Sep

6 Places That Will Deliver Delicious Vegan Pizza to Your Door

The UK is a nation of pizza lovers. In every corner of the country, down almost every high street (and now accessible even on your smartphone), you will find pizza restaurants, takeaways and home-delivery services. Vegans love their pizza, too, and thanks to the rapidly growing vegan movement, restaurants and takeaways are waking up and realising that offering vegan options creates new opportunities, reduces animal suffering and helps save the planet. The following are places where you can get your hands on a delicious eco-friendly (vegan) cheesy pizza feast, delivered right to your door:

La Favorita Vegan Pizza

  • Edinburgh – La Favorita: The restaurant that jumped on the vegan train most recently is Edinburgh’s La Favorita, which is the first establishment in the city to offer a vegan cheese pizza. It didn’t take much persuading to convince the restaurant that dairy-free is a great option all round for vegan, lactose-intolerant and health-conscious customers.
  • West Midlands – Mr Singh’s: Mr Singh’s has always had a 100 per cent vegetarian menu, and its extensive offerings include mouth-watering pizzas made with mock meats, fresh veggies and vegan cheddar cheese. Vegan options are clearly marked with a “V” symbol.
  • Bristol – PepeNerorganic: PepeNerorganic uses completely organic ingredients, from its pizza bases to the fresh vegetable toppings. The pizzas in the vegan section of its menu are all finished off with vegan mozzarella and prepared entirely separately from other menu items.
  • London – Village Pizza: The vegan section of the menu at Village Pizza is definitely exciting, and the restaurant won a PAPA Industry Award in 2013 for best delivery store. We love the look of its vegan Hickory Chicken Pizza.

Basilico Vegan Pizza

  • London – Basilico: Basilico was the first pizzeria to deliver wood-fired pizza right to your door. Nowadays, it offers both of its vegetarian pizzas with the option of vegan cheese. If you’re looking for something a bit more special than your average margherita, look no further!
  • Hove – Pizzaface: On Mondays and Tuesdays, Pizzaface offers a quirky vegan menu featuring pizzas named after vegan celebrities. Highlights include The Moby with vegan chorizo and vegan smoked sausage and the Thom Yorke, topped with spinach and smoked tofu. Yum!

We’re really excited that vegan pizza is popping up in more and more towns and cities around the country. Even if you don’t live near one of the restaurants listed here, you can order from national chains such as Papa John’s (its original crust and sauce are vegan-friendly) and just hold the cheese. You can top it yourself when it arrives with vegan mozzarella, balsamic glaze, pesto or whatever other alternative you desire. Delicious pizza doesn’t have to require the daily suffering of cows and their calves in the dairy industry. You can vote against cruelty every time you order a takeaway!

Do you know of other places that serve delicious vegan pizzas? If so, let us know in the comments, and we’ll add them to the list!

 

Top image by Wojtek Gasiorowski.

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  • 30
  • Sep

Edinburgh Embraces the Vegan Revolution

With more and more consumers taking an ethical approach in their food choices and demand for vegan options on the rise, restaurants and takeaways are joining in and stepping up their cruelty-free menu options. The latest in a growing list of pizzerias that offer non-dairy vegan cheese is Edinburgh chain La Favorita.

La Favorita Vegan Pizza

La Favorita EdinburghWe are delighted to report that, after chatting with PETA UK about the benefits of dairy alternatives, La Favorita will now be offering the city’s first vegan cheese pizza! The new pizza uses smoked MozzaRisella, an innovative mozzarella cheese made from rice milk, imported from Italy.

Business owner Tony Crolla is excited about this new addition to the menu, saying, “Whether you’re vegan, lactose intolerant, or just trying to be more health conscious, we’re sure you’ll love our new delicious dairy-free cheese pizza”. Glasgow currently holds the title of the UK’s Most Vegan-Friendly City, but Edinburgh looks set to close the gap when it comes to cruelty-free, compassionate living.

Dairy products are a common trigger for allergies and have been linked to many illnesses. For example, medical studies indicate that dairy milk may actually increase women’s risk of having osteoporosis. The dairy industry is also horrifying for cows, who are subjected to a sickening cycle of pregnancy and grief as their babies are taken from them so that humans can siphon the milk that nature intended for their calves.

Why not give dairy-free vegan living a try?

Photos by: Wojtek Gasiorowski

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