Home | Animal Writes | PETA.org.uk - Part 4

Animal Writes

  • 08
  • Mar

Meet 5 Women Who Are Changing the World

This Saturday marks International Women’s Day, a day to celebrate women’s groundbreaking achievements and continue to encourage and support them to create positive change. Here at PETA UK, we have no shortage of strong, accomplished women to look to – we were founded by one, after all. In honour of International Women’s Day, here are five of the women who are leading the animal rights movement and who embody this year’s theme: “Inspiring Change“.

Let’s start with our own Mimi Bekhechi. As PETA UK’s associate director, she heads our campaigns as well as our media, marketing and corporate work. Under her leadership, PETA UK has grown into the largest animal rights group in the country and has achieved many victories, including convincing world-famous department store Selfridges to abandon foie gras sales as well as the House of Lords, Wimbledon, Lord’s Cricket Ground and some of the country’s largest catering companies, Compass Group and Brakes. She has taken on the European Commission over a threat to its cosmetics testing ban, debated heads of the animal testing industry and challenged the Ministry of Defence to stop killing animals in archaic trauma training exercises. She has done everything from sit in a crate to raise awareness of factory-farming conditions and appear on television and radio programmes to defend the rights of all animals to live free from oppression.

As PETA India’s chief executive officer, Poorva Joshipura, is the driving force behind everything that the organisation achieves. Known for her bold “never-back-down” style, Poorva leads by example. She has gone undercover to investigate facilities where animals are abused, confined herself to cages in order to demonstrate the plight of chickens who are killed for their flesh and gone to jail for disrupting a Michael Kors show to protest fur. Poorva lives by the credo “never be silent“. Check out what PETA India has accomplished in the last year alone.

PETA US Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman oversees campaigns, marketing, corporate affairs, the youth division and Web outreach efforts. Even her job description could make you tired. But Tracy never seems to be.

She has helped PETA US achieve milestones such as convincing Calvin Klein to drop fur, stopping NASA from sending primates into space, getting the first-ever charges filed against a factory farmer for cruelty to chickens and convincing the top 10 US advertising agencies to pledge never to use great apes in their ads. And with her guidance, PETA US was named the number-one non-profit organisation that 13- to 24-year-olds in North America would volunteer for.

PETA US Senior Vice President of Communications Lisa Lange was hired in jail. She had been arrested for helping to free birds who were about to be shot and was put in a cell with PETA founder Ingrid E Newkirk. Rather than pay bail money to the city that sponsored the bird hunt, they spent 12 days locked up. Lisa got a job, and then she got the hunt stopped. In two decades at PETA US, Lisa has helped win resounding victories, including ending car-crash tests on animals and getting animal testing facilities shut down and the workers indicted on felony cruelty-to-animals charges.

And finally, Ingrid E Newkirk started PETA US with a couple of people in an apartment, no money and a belief that everyone should have respect and compassion for animals. Did she meet with seemingly insurmountable obstacles? Of course. Did people scoff at her? Naturally. But Ingrid was determined to stand up against animal abuse, even if she was the only one to do so. But that isn’t what happened.

Multitudes of people have agreed with her. Soon PETA US protests were making headlines, exposing what companies were doing to animals. And soon after that, companies were agreeing to meet with PETA US in order to avoid facing a protest. PETA US won more and more victories and gained more and more members. Now it’s the largest animal rights organisation in the world, and it has affiliates worldwide.

*****

Are you the next Mimi, Poorva, Tracy, Lisa or Ingrid? They had no idea that they would change the world – until they did. And you can do it, too!

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  • 06
  • Mar

Become an Avenging Angel for Angora Bunnies With 4 Simple Steps

Since video footage from PETA Asia’s investigation into Chinese angora farms became breaking news last November, the campaign against angora has come on by leaps and bounds.

More than 30 retailers have promised to stop selling items made with angora, which usually comes from China, where rabbits are farmed in tiny cages and often scream in agony as the fur is ripped from their bodies.

PETA Asia’s investigation showed the world what was happening on angora farms. But it was compassionate consumers who made sure that companies took notice and changed their policies. After hearing from customers in stores, on the phone, by letter and online – and speaking to PETA – retailers from ASOS to John Lewis took swift action to remove angora products from their collections.

Cruelty to angora rabbits on Chinese farms

Every time a company stops selling angora products, the supply for the wool decreases, meaning that fewer rabbits will be made to suffer the appalling scenes of cruelty seen in the video. But these animals still need your help.

If you see angora on sale anywhere, please speak out in the following ways:

      • Politely ask to have a word with the store’s manager, and explain how disappointed you are to see angora on sale. You might want to mention PETA Asia’s video.
      • Leave a comment on the company’s Facebook page, or send a tweet, asking the company to stop selling angora.
      • Send an e-mail or write a letter to the company. Below is some suggested text that you can use as a template.
      • If you get a response (especially if it’s a positive one), please let us know! Send an e-mail to Info@peta.org.uk.

To Whom It May Concern:

[Note: If you are able to find out the name of the retailer's director, CEO or manager, please use that person's name.]

I’m writing to you concerning PETA Asia’s harrowing investigation into angora farming in China – where 90 per cent of the world’s angora wool comes from. The video footage shows how rabbits scream out in pain as workers violently rip the fur from their skin. Rabbits who have their fur cut or sheared also suffer terribly. Their front and back paws are tightly tethered, which is a terrifying experience for these prey animal, and the sharp cutting tools inevitably wound them as they struggle in a desperate bid to escape.

Rabbits – who are extremely clean by nature – are forced to spend their entire lives in tiny, filthy cages, surrounded by their own waste, with little protection from the elements. The thin wire cages constantly cut into their sensitive footpads, and they never have the chance to run around, jump or play. After they endure this process every three months for two to five years, their throats are cut and their skin is ripped from their bodies. Please take a few moments to watch the video footage here.

I hope you agree that with all the wonderful animal-free fabrics that are now available, no rabbit need ever suffer for the sake of a jumper, gloves or a scarf. Please, will you assure me that [name of company] will join the many compassionate designers and retailers that have already turned their backs on the cruel angora wool industry and pledge never to use it in your future clothing and accessories collections?

I look forward to hearing from you about this important matter.

Kind regards,

[Your Name]

[Address details if you wish to include them]

That’s it! It really is that easy to become an angel for angora rabbits. So what are you waiting for?

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  • 05
  • Mar

Apple Says NO to Bludgeoning Seals to Death, Launches Activist App Instead

In 2010, Apple blocked an app that let players beat, shoot and kill virtual seals, but saving “seals” is fair game. Today, Apple launched a free iPhone app called Seals Hero, which allows users to save seals from Canada’s annual slaughter, highlighting how younger generations look at seals as wonders of nature, without any desire to hunt them or beat them to death with a stick.

Seals Hero iPhone App

The gaming gurus at Australia-based Maiko Enterprises describe the app best:

Your mission is to save seals. You will control Cid, a smart, energetic, non-violent animal rights activist who uses speed and intelligence to race against the clock to save as many seals as he can while avoiding a number of obstacles. Seals Hero was created as a fun way to educate players about a serious issue and unite them worldwide against it.

Along the way, players learn how they can team up with PETA US to speak out against the slaughter, which has been in massive decline in recent years following seal import bans in the EU, Russia, the US and elsewhere.

iPhone users can download Seals Hero here – and everyone can become a real-life hero for seals by sending a message to the Canadian government:

Take Action Now

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  • 04
  • Mar

6 Dogs Who Are Winning at Crufts – but Losing at Life

Ever wondered why the RSPCA refuses to attend Crufts? Or why the BBC will no longer air the dog show on any of its channels?

Selectively breeding animals for exaggerated physical traits, obsessing over “pure” bloodlines and making close family members mate with one another isn’t just creepy – it’s a recipe for genetic disaster and causes immense suffering to dogs.

Pedigree dogs are generally far less healthy than their mixed-breed cousins, suffering from a range of inherited health conditions that can make every day of their lives a struggle and often lead to a premature death. What’s more, some breeders have admitted to putting down healthy dogs who don’t match the arbitrary requirements of the Kennel Club’s breed standards – Rhodesian ridgebacks whose backs just aren’t sufficiently ridged, for example.

We’ve taken a look at some of the most notoriously troubled illness-prone breeds – which are nevertheless still awarded prizes at Crufts every year.

Basset Hound

Basset_hound_t67

Basset Hound during dogs show in Katowice, Poland” by Pleple2000 / CC BY-SA 3.0

If these dogs are famous for looking sad, it’s probably because they are. Their bizarre physique, with its short legs and long back, is fundamentally impractical: their rib cage is often too short or narrow to support their spine, which makes it risky for them to jump up or sometimes even climb stairs, and they can develop spinal problems that make even the smallest movement extremely painful. Their loose folds of excess skin and long ears leave them vulnerable to nasty yeast infections, while overly droopy eyes (ectropion) can cause constant irritation. And that’s not all – bassets are also at risk of hip dysplasia, glaucoma and a number of other distressing conditions.

Dogue de Bordeaux

Dogue

Dogue de Bordeaux” by Tomer Jacobson / CC BY-SA 3.0

Dogues have one of the shortest average life spans of any dog, at around just five years. During their tragically short lives, painful joint problems can leave them constantly limping, and they are at high risk of bloat – a twisting of the stomach that can kill them within hours. Because of their short noses, they are particularly sensitive to extremes of temperature and can die suddenly in hot weather.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

King Charles

Perhaps the most heartbreaking hereditary illness experienced by these little dogs is syringomyelia – a neurological condition in which their brain becomes too large for their skull. The resulting severe pain often makes them scream and yelp and contort their necks in an effort to alleviate the pain, but the condition can eventually lead to paralysis. As if that weren’t bad enough, they’re also vulnerable to mitral valve disease, a usually fatal heart condition, as well as eye conditions such as cataracts.

Rhodesian Ridgeback

Ridgeback

Rhodesian Ridgeback 3 Mois” by Ceidrr / CC BY-SA 3.0

Predisposed to cancer, at high risk of bloat and vulnerable to cataracts, degenerative spinal disease and deafness, this African dog’s lot is not a happy one. What’s more, the breed’s eponymous ridged back is often associated with a health condition called dermoid sinus, which can penetrate deep into tissues and cause pain, infection and even death.

German Shepherd

German Shepherd

German Shepherd Dog Eyes” by Miguel Skater / CC BY-SA 2.0

Hip dysplasia – a genetic deformity in which the thigh bone doesn’t fit properly into the hip socket, causing the bone to wear away over time – is a major issue for this breed. It leads to arthritis and chronic, disabling pain and can be treated only with invasive and costly surgery. German shepherds can also be predisposed to degenerative myelopathy, a neurological condition similar to multiple sclerosis in humans, which causes creeping paralysis of the back legs as well as a host of other distressing conditions.

Bulldog

Bulldog

Bulldogs are an example of evolution gone way off course – as a direct result of human interference. Their distorted frame and over-large heads make it almost impossible for them to mate and give birth without human assistance – in fact, up to 80 per cent of bulldogs are delivered by Caesarean section. And from malformed hips, spines and mouths and skin infections festering inside their deep wrinkles to eye conditions such as cherry eye to allergies and a long list of respiratory diseases, there is barely an inch of a bulldog’s anatomy that is not riddled with potential problems.

*****

RescueThese are just a few examples of breeds whose pedigree lineage all too often comes at the cost of their health and fundamental well-being. If you care about dogs, please don’t tune in to Crufts this year. You can also send a message to the TV channel More4 asking it to follow the BBC’s example by not broadcasting the unethical dog show in the future.

Even more importantly, don’t ever buy a dog from a breeder. Instead, if you’d like a canine companion, adopt a lovely mixed-breed shelter pooch who is far more likely to be a happy, healthy friend for a long, long time.

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  • 03
  • Mar

Jimi ‘Poster Boy’ Manuwa KOs Fur in New PETA Ad

Jimi “Poster Boy” Manuwa, the fearsome UFC phenomenon, is undefeated in the ring, and the next opponent he’d like to knock out is the fur industry. He is fighting cruelty to animals as the latest star to appear in PETA’s “Ink, Not Mink” ad series.

Jimi 'Poster Boy' Manuwa New PETA Ad

Jimi wants to be the first Brit to win a UFC belt, and with a fighting record of 14-0, he is well on his way. But he took a break from training to encourage people to be kind to animals.

“Animals beaten, gassed and electrocuted for fur are never given a choice and are powerless to defend themselves”, said Jimi at the photo shoot. “Anyone interested in fighting animal abuse can join me by refusing to wear fur.”

In the wild, animals caught in steel-jaw traps can languish for days, slowly dying from hunger, thirst, disease, blood loss and predation. Some, especially mothers with babies, chew through their limbs in a desperate attempt to escape. Animals on fur farms spend their entire lives confined to cramped, filthy cages before they are beaten, gassed or anally electrocuted. Sometimes, they are even skinned while still alive. More than 2 million cats and dogs are skinned in China every year – many while still conscious.

Jimi will face Alexander Gustafsson in the headline fight for the UFC’s London event on 8 March, and we’ll be cheering him on. Show your support for his efforts to knock out fur by watching this investigation into China’s shocking fur trade and by taking the pledge to go fur-free.

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  • 03
  • Mar

Cruelty-Free Shoes Are In This Spring

The 86th Annual Oscars - Red Carpet Arrivals © WENN

It wasn’t just Olga Kurylenko’s natural beauty that turned heads when she walked the red carpet at last night’s Academy Awards in Hollywood. The Ukrainian-born actor stepped out in style in metallic-trimmed black faux-suede evening shoes by celebrated British shoemakers – and frequent PETA collaboratorsBeyond Skin, whose handmade vegan and eco-friendly shoes are loved by celebrities such as Natalie Portman and Anne Hathaway.

Meanwhile, here in London, PETA Vegan Fashion Award winner Wills Vegan Shoes launched its first-ever spring collection. London’s vegan movers and shakers attended the launch with company founder Will Green, who said: “I was blown away by the instant success of my winter range. People have taken to us in a huge way. It has been this incredible reaction from our customers that has allowed me to present such a large and diverse collection for spring. I have pulled together such an exciting mix of fashion, styles and colours for the range and it feels terrific to be delivering a collection that is not only on trend, but also completely cruelty-free”.

UK ethical vegan shoe companies

Will has good reason to be blown away, as both eco-minded celebrities and compassionate people everywhere are turning away from leather. Tanneries are notorious for polluting the surrounding land and water, and tannery workers are often exposed to excessive amounts of deadly chemicals, including arsenic. What’s more, many animals who are killed for their skin endure castration, branding, tail-docking and dehorning – all without any painkillers. At slaughterhouses, many animals are skinned and dismembered while they are still conscious.

The good news is that like Beyond Skin and Wills Vegan Shoes, more and more designers and retailers – including Stella McCartney, Vivienne Westwood, Topshop and H&M – are recognising the huge demand for animal-friendly fashions and offering their customers shoes, bags, purses and belts made from modern, high-quality synthetics. The PETA Vegan Fashion Awards highlight some of our favourite products this season.

As both Olga Kurylenko’s fabulous Oscars look with Beyond Skin and Wills Vegan Shoes’ new range proves, it’s easier than ever to find high-quality fashion that doesn’t come at the cost of any animal’s life.

For more information on the leather industry, check out fashion designer Stella McCartney’s shocking exposé, and pledge to wear only your own skin while letting animals keep theirs.

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  • 28
  • Feb

10 Vegans to Watch Out for on the Red Carpet

Pre-Oscar frenzy is at its height right now, ahead of this year’s Academy Awards on Sunday. But amid all the gossip and dress speculation, what we’re really looking forward to is seeing some of our favourite compassionate stars step out on the red carpet to show off their vegan “glow”.

These are a few of the beautiful, talented Hollywood vegans we’ll be watching out for:

Ellen DeGeneres

Ellen DeGeneres receives her star on "The Hollywood Walk of Fame"

Ellen will be taking centre stage at this year’s awards – she’s hosting them! The much-loved talk-show star has been cruelty-free for years and even had a vegan wedding.

Jared Leto

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Up for Best Supporting Actor for his role in Dallas Buyers Club, the heartthrob has 20 years of animal-free eating behind him!

Joaquin Phoenix

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Compassionate Joaquin is the star of Best Picture–nominated Her – as well as some hard-hitting PETA videos!

Olivia Wilde

"The Incredible Burt Wonderstone" Premiere

Gorgeous Olivia, who stars alongside Joaquin in Her, already has one coveted award to boast about – in 2010, she was named PETA US’ Sexiest Vegetarian Celeb!

Jessica Chastain

85th Academy Awards (The Oscars)

Jessica, who’s had two Oscar nominations to date, said of her vegan diet: “I don’t want to torture anything. … [I]t’s about trying to live a life where I’m not contributing to the cruelty in the world”.

Anne Hathaway

"PUNK: Chaos To Couture" Costume Institute Gala

Anne, who walked away with the Best Supporting Actress Award in 2013, even had custom vegan high heels made for the big night.

James Cameron

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The visionary Avatar director and multiple Oscar-winner is a passionate advocate for a plant-based diet, telling fans, “By changing what you eat, you will change the entire contract between the human species and the natural world”.

Casey Affleck

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Compassionate cutie Casey refuses to let dead animal flesh pass his lips and has teamed up with PETA US to speak out against practices such as cruel dehorning.

Natalie Portman

Guggenheim International Gala

The award-winning Black Swan beauty eschews meat, eggs and dairy products because torturing animals is “just wrong”.

Tobey Maguire

Premiere of "The Details" in Los Angeles

That’s right – Spiderman is vegan! The star reportedly likes to have his own vegan chef on set while filming and even sent back a Mercedes because it had leather seats.

*****

Inspired to follow in these stars’ award-winning footsteps? Get started on a plant-based diet here: PETA.org.uk/pledge.

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  • 26
  • Feb

Top London Night Club Bans Fur!

No fur sign

Mahiki – the exclusive Mayfair nightclub beloved by celebrities from Kim Kardashian to Prince Harry – has just announced that it’s banning real fur for good.

Meg Mathews, who will be on the door at Mahiki celebrating the first fur-free night tomorrow, says it perfectly: “I don’t care who you are – if you’re wearing fur, you’re heartless, and you’re not coming in.”

Here’s the statement from Michael Evans, Mahiki’s creative director:

I’ve known and loved Meg for a long time, so when she told me about the cruelty that wearing fur causes it was quite a shock, so naturally I wanted to help her and PETA, I was just so shocked and appalled by how horribly animals suffer, for what amounts to nothing really. Since we have been around for 8 years and have a huge celeb following, I thought it was the natural thing to do, to put the ban in place. I believe some people don’t really understand, so teaching them and creating awareness around the issue is what we are trying to do.

Three cheers to that!

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  • 26
  • Feb

Inside Experimenters’ Monkey ‘Factory Farm’

Thousands of monkeys are imported to the UK for experiments each year. But where do they come from, and how do they end up in British laboratories?

A recent undercover investigation by the National Anti-Vivisection Society (NAVS) has shed new light on the abhorrent primate trade. The graphic images from its exposé of a breeding facility in Mauritius – one of the biggest suppliers of laboratory monkeys in the world – tell a sickening story of routine abuse inflicted on monkeys, many of whom were snatched from the wild.

NAVS monkey investigation 500wide 156NAVS monkey investigation 500wide 156

Mother and child: a female macaque is caught with arms and tail pinned behind her back, as her baby clings to her. They will soon be stressfully separated – forever.

NAVS monkey investigation 500wide 233

Rough handling: workers capture animals from their barren cages. On the left, a monkey is swung by the tail. To the right, a baby clings to his mother. Investigators also saw monkeys slammed against concrete floors.

NAVS monkey investigation 500wide 639

Helpless: a sedated male monkey has blood taken from his thigh.

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Surrounded: a frightened pregnant monkey is held down by a group of masked men in a routine procedure.

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An adult macaque undergoing a tuberculosis test, in which a needle is inserted into his eyelid. The pictures were taken on a farm that supplies animals to experiments in UK labs.

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Cruel: a very young baby monkey screams as he is tattooed for identification – without any painkillers.

What Happens Next?

Most of the monkeys will end up being locked inside tiny boxes and flown by Air France to laboratories – many of them in the UK – where they will likely be force-fed drugs and chemicals in toxicity tests or have holes drilled into their heads for neurological experiments.

In laboratories, these highly social and intelligent beings will spend years being physically and psychologically tormented as well as confined to cramped cages all alone before eventually being killed when they’re no longer “useful”.

Air France is the only airline that’s currently shipping monkeys from Mauritius to this horrific fate. You can help these animals by telling Air France officials that you won’t be flying with the airline until it stops sending animals to their deaths.

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  • 25
  • Feb

16 Quotes From Famous Thinkers Who Got It Right About Animals

The principle of animal rights is nothing new – smart people throughout the ages have understood that animals aren’t ours to use and abuse! The following are some of our favourite quotes about animals from thinkers who made their mark on history:

1. George Bernard Shaw

QUOTE Bernard Shaw

2. Pythagoras

QUOTE Pythagoras

3. Albert Einstein

QUOTE Einstein

4. Mark Twain

QUOTE Mark Twain

5. Jeremy Bentham

QUOTE Bentham

6. Mohandas K. Gandhi

QUOTE Gandhi

7. Leonardo Da Vinci

QUOTE Leonardo

8. Alice Walker

QUOTE Alice Walker

Alice Walker” by Virginia DeBolt / CC BY-SA 2.0

9. Charles Darwin

QUOTE Darwin

10. Rachel Carson

QUOTE Rachel Carson

11. Thomas A. Edison

QUOTE Edison

12. His Holiness The Dalai Lama

QUOTE Dalai

Dalai Lama Boston 2012” by Christopher Michel / CC BY 2.0

13. Martin Luther King Jr.

QUOTE MLK

14. Arthur Schopenhauer

Porträt des Philosphen Arthur Schopenhauer, 1852

 

15. St. Francis of Assisi

QUOTE Francis

16. Ingrid E Newkirk

QUOTE Ingrid

Inspired? The world always needs more people to speak out for animals – take your first step by joining PETA’s Action Team: PETAUK.org/actionteam.

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