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Animal Writes

  • 14
  • Sep

SUCCESS! Wychavon District Council Rejects Cruel ‘Chicken City’

Stock chickens TEXTMore than 26,000 of you took action last month to ask Wychavon District Council to refuse planning permission for a cruel new chicken factory farm in Worcestershire. And the council listened!

Council members voted unanimously against the proposal to build an intensive broiler chicken unit in the village of Upton Snodsbury, which would have confined 160,000 birds at a time to filthy, crowded sheds. Applause actually broke out in the council chamber when this excellent decision was announced.

This is great news both for the local community – which would have had to put up with increased noise, traffic, smells and possible environmental damage – and for chickens. Birds raised for meat in this type of intensive system are forced to spend their lives in sheds that stink of ammonia with tens of thousands of other birds, dosed with antibiotics to fight disease and bred to grow so large so fast that many of them become crippled under their own weight and experience organ failure. They are killed for their flesh at 42 days old, when they reach “slaughter weight”.

Thank you to everyone who was a part of this victory for animals!

However, we know from experience that this may not be the end of this unethical proposal. It’s possible that the applicant may go to the Planning Inspectorate to appeal the council’s decision. In the past, the Planning Inspectorate has disregarded the voices of local people as well as concern for animals and overturned democratic decisions on factory farming applications.

If that happens, we hope you’ll stand with us again to speak out for chickens and make our voices heard.

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  • 14
  • Sep

This Kitten Maimed by a Mousetrap Wants You to Use Humane Rodent Control

Babybell proves the need to use humane rodent controlStarving stray kitten Babybell faced a terrifying near-death experience when she tried to swipe a piece of cheese from a mousetrap and ended up with her front paw trapped and crushed. Fortunately, she was found and rescued by a passer-by and taken in by the Blue Cross to recover, although her injured leg had to be amputated.

Babybell’s story highlights the indiscriminate suffering that can be caused by cruel mousetraps. Animals rarely survive an encounter with these vicious devices and may often be trapped and in pain for hours when one of their limbs gets caught. It’s a slow, agonising and frightening way to die.

Even more inhumane are glue traps. Mice will struggle desperately to escape, even chewing off their own limbs, or else suffocate to death when their tiny faces get stuck in the glue. Using poison is also a bad idea, as cats, dogs and other non-target animals can often die painfully after accidentally ingesting them. These unkind rodent-control methods aren’t even effective over the long term because animals will often learn to avoid traps and killing animals leads to a spike in resources that will encourage others to come in and take their place.

Humane rodent control is the best way to keep mice and rats out of your homeMice and rats certainly don’t deserve these cruel and unusual forms of punishment. Mice are extremely agile, can communicate using ultrasound and feel deep empathy for other members of their species. Rats make happy “laughing” sounds when they play, become lonely and depressed without companionship and are susceptible to peer pressure. Both mice and rats also feel pain and fear, care about their families and value their lives, just as humans do.

Even so, if, understandably, you’d prefer not to share your home with these furry little animals, try these humane and effective ways to keep them out of your house:

  • Take preventive measures, and don’t leave a food supply for little visitors. Keep living areas clean, sweep up crumbs, empty the rubbish frequently and store food in sealed containers.
  • Stop rodents from entering your home in the first place by filling any cracks and holes in walls and skirting boards with foam sealant or steel wool.
  • Peppermint oil is a natural deterrent that will keep mice and rats away. Place oil-soaked cotton balls and rags throughout infested areas. Ammonia will also encourage them to move on.
  • Traps tend not to be the best way to keep your house mouse-free over the long term, but if you must use them, humane, box-type traps can be used to capture mice safely and then release them outside in a suitable area. If you use these, be sure to check them every few hours, as rodents quickly become dehydrated when frightened.

Kitten photo: Courtesy of Blue Cross

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  • 12
  • Sep

Kindness Kits Rushed to Local Schools Following Suspected Arson at Manchester Dogs’ Home

Stock dog homeAt least 60 dogs died last night in a fire at Manchester Dog’s Home. Trapped in their kennels as smoke and flames surrounded them, these animals’ last moments must have been filled with terror and suffering.

Even more shocking is the fact that this tragic event was apparently not an accident – police have arrested a 15-year-old boy on suspicion of arson.

Nobody can bring these dogs back to life, but we’ve decided to take action to help prevent future acts of violence by rushing humane-education materials to primary schools in the area. It’s vital that children of all ages recognise the importance of having empathy towards others, and it’s never too early to start bringing this message to the next generation. Acts of cruelty to animals can be prevented if young people are taught kindness, compassion and civil engagement.

Experts in mental health and law enforcement regard all forms of cruelty to animals to be a major red flag. A study by the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and Northeastern University revealed that people who have abused animals are four times more likely to have a record of violent crime. The US Federal Bureau of Investigation uses reports of crimes against animals to analyse the threat potential of suspected and known criminals. Experts agree that it is the severity of the behaviour – not the species of the victim – that matters.

Alongside the deeply upsetting details of the fire, a few more heartening stories have emerged. Two courageous men rushed into the burning shelter to free as many dogs as they could, and Manchester citizens have generously donated hundreds of thousands of pounds to the dogs’ home.

Most people, especially children, instinctively feel compassion towards animals. As a society, we need to  foster and encourage such values, by bringing up our children to respect others – of every species.

Anyone with information on the case is encouraged to call the police on 101. If you’re a teacher, or work with young people, download our free resources here.

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  • 11
  • Sep

Vegan Morning Sickness Solution Fit for a Princess

Now that Prince George is expecting a sibling, the media is reporting that Kate Middleton is again suffering from severe nausea. Morning sickness affects many expectant mothers, but there’s an easy change they can make to help alleviate it. Extensive research involving tens of thousands of women shows that nausea and vomiting during pregnancy are usually linked to meat, dairy products and eggs.

Vegan Prince

According to a study by Dr Paul W Sherman, professor of neurobiology and behaviour at Cornell University in New York, and Dr Samuel M Flaxman, a University of Colorado evolutionary biologist, nausea and vomiting during pregnancy actually serve a beneficial function by causing pregnant mothers to expel meat and other foods that may contain “harmful toxins and microorganisms that could potentially sicken the woman and damage her fetus just when its organs are developing and are most vulnerable to chemicals”. The study found that the most commonly reported aversions were toward meat and eggs – the foods that are most likely to carry harmful microorganisms and parasites. This may explain why many pregnant women suddenly can’t stomach the thought of eating certain foods, such as roast beef or chicken pot pie, that they once ate.

The study also revealed that women from seven traditional societies did not suffer from morning sickness. When the researchers examined these women’s diets, they learned that in six of the societies, the women’s food was either totally or mostly vegan, with little to no meat consumed. In cultures in which more meat is consumed, women experience higher rates of morning sickness.

So upon hearing the news that Kate Middleton was struggling with morning sickness, PETA founder Ingrid Newkirk wrote to the Duchess of Cambridge with some advice and a copy of a vegan-pregnancy guide.

A vegan diet won’t just help morning sickness. A well-planned vegan diet offers everything a woman needs to be healthy during pregnancy and breastfeeding and everything a baby needs during childhood.

Whether you are pregnant or not, discover the many benefits of a vegan diet by taking our 30-day vegan pledge.

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  • 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.



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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