Home | Animal Writes | PETA.org.uk - Part 5

Animal Writes

  • 27
  • Jun

PHOTOS: Sunder’s New Life

In a story that shows you should never give up hope, earlier this month, in India – after epic campaigns by PETA and our international affiliates – Sunder the elephant was rescued from years of abuse.

A few weeks later, he’s now settling into his new home at Bannerghatta Biological Park wonderfully!

Sunder drinks water in his new home

Instead of being kept in chains and beaten, first in a temple and then in a shed, he’s now in a beautiful green sanctuary, where he can explore, splash around in ponds and get coconuts for treats.


After years of isolation from other elephants, he is at last able to make friends with other members of his own species.

sunder-kissing-lakshmi sunder-with-baby-shiva

And the massive wound on his leg, caused by heavy chains, is now healing, thanks to veterinary care.

His years of trauma won’t be easy to recover from, but experts from Animal Rahat who have been helping with Sunder’s transition report that he’s showing positive signs of progress. Soon, he will be free to spend the rest of his life roaming the forest, streams and ponds in the park with his new family.

Thank you to everyone who supported the campaign and helped change this animal’s life! There are many other animals like Sunder out there, still waiting to be rescued, so never stop fighting for what’s right.

Right now, please take action for Mali – the only elephant in the Manila Zoo in the Philippines, who is lonely, ill and imprisoned.

Take Action Now

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  • 25
  • Jun

8 of the Best Luxury Vegan Bags

If you’re on the fashion pulse, you may have already heard whispers of celebrity designer and PETA supporter Meg Mathews’ collaboration with high-end vegan accessories label Wilby this month.

Her collection is the latest in fabulous cruelty-free accessories, and to celebrate, here are eight super-stylish bags from companies that have signed up to be a part of the brand-new “PETA-Approved Vegan” scheme. Whether you’re after an oversized tote, a cutesy clutch or a non-nonsense shoulder bag, there’s something here for everyone!

  1. Wilby Yellow Citibag:
    Meg Mathews' Wilby collection - Yellow Citibag
    Our top pick from Meg’s collection, it’s crafted from sustainable cork.
  2. CoraLlei Peri Shopper:
    Irish-designed and Italian-made, this shopper was made from high-quality vegan leather.
  3. Bo Carter Buba Bag:
    Bo Carter
    Up-and-coming talent Bo Carter walked away with the New Designer Award in our 2013 Vegan Fashion Awards and uses no animal products in her collections!
  4. Susie Faulks Wild Hare:
    lens 058
    This adorable printed tote is made from a mix of linen and cotton oilcloth and is extremely durable.
  5. Gamberini Zòji Nuvola:
    Delicate appliqué panels make the bags from this Italian designer really stand out from the crowd.
  6. Esprit Perforated Clutch in Vermillion Red:
    Esprit clutch copy
    We love the edgy texture and vibrant colour of this chic clutch.
  7. Cosi Cosi Fashion Tiziana:
    Can you believe that the material for this bag is made from 100 per cent recycled plastic bottles?

All of these bags are 100 per cent PETA-approved, so you can shop with absolute confidence. These brands have made the commitment to fighting cruelty to animals, and we’re with them all the way!

Of course, no list of vegan bags would be complete without something from the legendary Stella McCartney, so last but certainly not least:

  1. Stella McCartney Beckett Mini Bag:
    Chic and sustainable, this bag comes in classic grey or delightfully summery hot pink.


If you’re looking for animal-friendly accessories closer to home or on a budget, there are also some great options available on the high street, thanks to Accessorize, ASOS, Topshop and others – just be sure to double-check the label before you buy. Happy cruelty-free shopping!

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  • 24
  • Jun

Andy Murray Disqualifies Cruel Hunting From His Hotel

CC Andy MurrayIn a champion move for animals, Wimbledon star Andy Murray has just banished promos for hunting from the website of his luxury Cromlix Hotel in Scotland!

The tennis gold medallist hadn’t realised that the inexcusable pastime of maiming and killing animals with high-powered weapons was being advertised on his hotel’s website. After hearing from PETA, his company’s management swiftly confirmed that “Andy has made sure all traces of hunting have been removed from the website”. Bravo!

A British studyStock pheasant of deer hunting found that 11 per cent of deer who’d been killed by hunters died only after being shot two or more times and that some wounded deer suffered for more than 15 minutes before dying. Unlike natural predators who help maintain wildlife populations by killing off only the sickest and weakest individuals, hunters kill any animal whose head they would like to hang over the fireplace – including large, healthy animals who are needed to keep the population strong.

As a professional athlete, Andy understands that true sports involve competition between two evenly matched consenting parties – whereas hunting involves an armed individual tormenting and killing a defenceless animal for a twisted notion of “fun”.

Last year, Andy’s hotel made another compassionate move for animals, by refusing to serve cruel foie gras – a pâté made from the diseased livers of force-fed ducks and geese – yet another reason to support him in this year’s Wimbledon Championship!

Image: “Andy Murray” by Carine06 / CC BY-SA 2.0

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  • 23
  • Jun

New Research Sheds Light on the Fascinatingly Complex Lives of Fish

They may be covered with scales and breathe in water rather than air, but if you look below the surface, you’ll understand that fish are far more similar to us than you might have realised.


We’ve long known that fish are sensitive and feel pain. Now some fascinating new research has uncovered more details about their sophisticated intelligence and social lives. The following are some of the findings from a new study carried out by biologist Culum Brown of Macquarie University in Sydney:

  • Fish can multitask. Like humans, they are able to use different hemispheres of the brain simultaneously for different tasks.
  • Fish – yes, including goldfish – have excellent long-term memories.
  • Schools of fish are complex societies, in which traditions are passed down through generations, showing that fish have the capacity to learn. They are also able to recognise themselves and others.
  • Some fish demonstrate so-called “Machiavellian intelligence”, such as traits of cooperation and reconciliation with other members of the group.
  • Fish can also master tool use. In one study, cod figured out how to use a dorsal tag to pull a piece of string in order to release food from a feeder.

Despite the growing body of evidence that fish are complex, interesting individuals who value their lives, globally, humans eat more fish than any other animal. What’s more, fish are generally killed without any regard for their welfare – sometimes cut open while conscious or left to suffocate, slowly and painfully, on the decks of fishing boats.

As Professor Brown, the scientist behind the study, concluded, “We should therefore include fish in our ‘moral circle’ and afford them the protection they deserve”.

Of course, millions of people around the world already show respect to our fishy friends by refusing to eat them – including actor Joaquin Phoenix. Check out his video below, then, if you haven’t already, please pledge to leave fish in the ocean, where they belong, by trying out a vegan diet.


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  • 18
  • Jun

Happy Birthday, Paul McCartney!

PETA Paul McCartney Birthday Celebration

At 72 years old and still a living legend, music icon, vegetarian and PETA supporter Paul McCartney is celebrating his birthday today. To mark the occasion and to thank Paul for being such a good friend to animals, “look-alikes” wearing masks gathered outside Liverpool’s famous Cavern Club (where The Beatles played their first gig) to hand out veggie sausages and copies of Paul’s hard-hitting PETA video “Glass Walls”.

Paul McCartney vegetarian LIverpool flashmob

As a vegetarian, Paul puts the famed 1960s principles of peace and love into practice every time he eats, saving animals from immense suffering on factory farms, in abattoirs and on the decks of fishing boats. As he puts it:

“When I see bacon, I see a pig, I see a little friend, and that’s why I can’t eat it. Simple as that”.

Paul’s convictions about his diet have inspired many others to follow in his footsteps. If you haven’t yet seen the life-changing video “Glass Walls”, which he narrates, here it is in full:

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  • 16
  • Jun

Petition: Let’s Get CCTV Into Slaughterhouses

“If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be vegetarian.”

– Paul McCartney

Paul McCartney’s famous words ring true for anyone who’s glimpsed the terrible things that happen to animals in abattoirs. But in the UK, far from having “glass walls”, most abattoirs are not even properly monitored, allowing shocking abuse to happen behind closed doors.

Animal Aid investigated nine randomly chosen UK abattoirs and found breaches of welfare laws in eight of them. Animals were kicked, slapped, stamped on, beaten, punched, burned with cigarettes and picked up by their fleece and ears and thrown into pens. The footage showed inadequate, botched and multiple stunning and the sadistic use of stunning equipment to “punish” animals.

Neither the government-appointed, on-site veterinarians nor the abattoir operators had detected a single illegal act that was filmed.

That’s why we’re getting behind an online petition to make closed-circuit television (CCTV) mandatory in all abattoirs – the first step towards creating transparency and stopping workers from getting away with abusing animals.

Animal Aid Slaughter FBCCTV would act as a deterrent to those who would otherwise abuse animals and would also provide evidence for prosecutions when staff did harm them. Although it won’t end animal suffering in abattoirs, it is an invaluable tool that would help veterinarians and animal welfare officers protect animals from gratuitous abuse, incompetence and negligence.

We need to reach 100,000 signatures on the petition to make sure it is debated in Parliament and to ensure that politicians take this issue seriously. Please sign the petition today and help build the momentum by sharing it as widely as possible.

Sign the petition


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  • 15
  • Jun

Father’s Day Tributes for Two Compassionate Dads

Our fathers play a vital role in shaping our lives and the way we see the world. In honour of Father’s Day, we’re paying tribute to two very special dads who have gone out of their way to protect and defend animals in need and taught their kids that kindness truly is a virtue. 


University of Leicester professor John Benyon, 63, was nominated by his daughter Danielle, who said of her parents, “It was their influence that helped me become the animal lover I am”. When John learned of an impending badger cull in the area, he refused to just sit around and moan about it – he knew he had to take action. He made weekly donations to groups on the ground, wrote to his MP and organised a boycott of his local Morrisons after he learned that it was supporting the cull. John and his wife adopted a vegetarian diet during the 2001 foot-and-mouth crisis after being appalled that animals were being treated as disposable commodities, and they haven’t touched meat since. 

Burks 1

Chris Burkes, 54, is a painter, decorator and father of seven from King’s Lynn. He was nominated by his daughter Lina, who wrote us a moving letter describing how important it was to her father that he raise his family vegetarian, later transitioning them all to a vegan diet, and how they were taught to respect animals. Lina recalls, “Pretty much the only thing I’ve ever seen my dad cry about is animals who he has loved and lost or the exploitation of animals in general”. Over the years, Chris has offered shelter and relief to many animals in need, including countless birds, baby hedgehogs, rescued cats and all manner of other waifs and strays. He also started a petition for the release of Marius the giraffe from the Copenhagen Zoo. 

We sent both John and Chris a huge box of vegan chocolates to thank them for being the definition of good dads! If someone in your family is notable for his or her compassion, let us know in the comments.

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  • 13
  • Jun

The World Cup in 32 Vegan Recipes

To mark the clash of the nations in this year’s World Cup football championship in Brazil, we threw an international vegan feast, celebrating the best in plant-based cuisine from the competing countries.

World Cup potluck

So whoever you’re rooting for in this year’s World Cup, why not munch along to the matches as they happen with these delicious “veganised” national dishes!

Group A


Vegan Brazilian Feijoada (Black-Bean Stew)

Feijoada (Black-Bean Stew) and Brown Rice

Croatia: Vegan Makovnjaca (Poppy-Seed Strudel)



Spicy Vegan Chilli

Cameroon: Banana and Pineapple Salad

Group B



Vegetable Paella With Mock Duck

Netherlands: Summer Hutspot

Chile: Chilean Corn Humitas

Australia: ANZAC Biscuits

Group C



Vegan Cheese Empanadas



Classic Greek Salad

Côte d’Ivoire: Sweet Potato and Cauliflower Mafe



Vegan Sushi

Group D

Uruguay: Fainá (Baked Chickpea Flatbread)

Costa Rica: Gallitos de Papa



Vegan Cream Tea



Mediterranean Vegetable Pasta

Group E

Switzerland: Bircher Muesli With Almond Milk

Ecuador: Quinoa Soup



Tarte Aux Fruits Frais



Mango Avocado Salsa

Group F

Argentina: Rose Sangrias

Bosnia: Walnut Baklava

Iran: Faludeh (Rice Noodle and Rose Water Sorbet)



Roasted Plantain” by Sandister Tei / CC BY 2.0

Roasted Sweet Plantains

Group G



Traditional Sauerkraut Salad

Portugal: Caldo Verde (Kale Soup)

Ghana: Sweet Peanut Balls



Spicy Buffalo Cauliflower Wings

Group H


Vegan Chicon Au Gratin

Chicon Au Gratin



Couscous and Aromatic Vegetables



Creamy Russian Salad

Korea: Vegetable Pancakes


If this round-the-world culinary tour has left you hungry for even more vegan recipes, order our free vegan starter kit!


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  • 13
  • Jun

Neil Robinson: It’s Time for Football to Go Vegan

The vegan revolution is spreading far and wide – including in the world of sports, where athletes ranging from boxer David Haye to ultra-marathon runner Rich Roll have been getting on board.

Neil Robinson_Grimsby Town_Action Pic Ahead of the World Cup, we caught up with someone who paved the way for the latest wave of vegan stars – Neil Robinson, a former Everton player who was the world’s first-ever professional vegan footballer. Neil gave up eating animal products in 1980, at the height of his athletic career, and has been so impressed by the benefits to his fitness and health that he’s now urging the entire England squad to go vegan, too, in order to boost their performance!

Here, he tells us why plant power is the way forward:

What inspired you to go vegan?

My inspiration for becoming vegan was my older brother John. I became a vegetarian in 1970 when I was 13 years old, solely for ethical reasons – John had become a vegetarian a few months earlier. I’d never heard of veganism at this time, but as I got older, veganism appeared on my “radar” but I never researched it, ignorantly believing that there was nothing wrong at all with the cows “happily” giving up their milk for us to consume. Early in 1980, after John again took the lead and became a vegan, I contacted the Vegan Society for more information. On reading the literature, it became so apparent to me that the dairy and egg farming industries were just as cruel to the animals as the meat industry – if not worse because the poor animals’ lives are prolonged in such terribly cramped farm conditions until they are no longer able to provide humans with “food” – and then they’re slaughtered.

Did you notice any benefits to your athletic abilities after going vegan?

It’s difficult to think back that far now (over 34 years ago!) and I was very fit anyway, but I do remember feeling a lot “sharper” in my first vegan pre-season. From then on, my fitness was sustained to the same levels for the remaining 10 years of my professional football career. I think testimony to this is the fact that not ONE manager, coach, or player I played for, or with, ever questioned my fitness or my ability to perform at that level – in fact, I was always one of the top three fittest players at every club I played for. Plant-powered fitness rules!

SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERAHow has veganism changed in the nearly 30 years since you first switched to a plant-based diet?

Clearly vegan food choices are huge now compared to 1980. Back then there wasn’t even any vegan chocolate, or none that tasted any good – and I was a bit of a chocoholic in those days! Of course, we have such a plethora of raw chocolate bars and treat foods now, which are delicious (although I tend not eat much chocolate nowadays because I follow a low-fat vegan diet). With regard to other foods, it’s so much easier now for people to transition from an animal-based diet to a plant-exclusive diet, with a fantastic array of “fake” meats and cheeses available.

What are your favourite sources of protein?

I try not to stress out too much about my protein intake nowadays –I know it’s a vitally important nutrient, but I also think too much can be harmful to the kidneys in the long term. Having said that, I try to get plenty of greens down me, such as kale, spinach, broccoli, also tofu, some hemp now, and quinoa, and I now use Sunwarrior Raw Rice Protein or Garden of Life Organic Raw Protein as a supplement to my training.

Many top athletes including boxer David Haye, Olympic cyclist Lizzie Armitstead and squash champion James Willstrop are going vegetarian or vegan. Do you think we’re likely to see more “meat-free athletes” in the future?

Most definitely! Veganism isn’t ever going away –it’s onwards and upwards now! In fact, one of the reasons that I’m doing talks now is to try and reach out to the sporting world to inform them that an animal-based diet for fitness is just based on ignorance and Stone Age thinking. Yes, animal foods are sources of protein, but they’re also a very significant source of things that cause ill health in humans –and athletes certainly aren’t precluded from this! If an athlete doesn’t care to become vegan for ethical reasons, then they need to do it at least for their own health –and a vegan diet can provide all the nutrition an athlete requires to compete at the top level.

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

Not to be daunted by it at all because it’s so much easier than people think, providing they do some research –and there’s such great information resources out there now with the advent of the Internet and social media that you shouldn’t go wrong.

Veganism isn’t just a diet –it’s an ethical lifestyle based on eating plant-exclusive foods. Most restaurants can provide vegan alternatives from the menu, or if you contact them beforehand, they should be only too willing to offer a vegan alternative of your choice. One website came up with this great slogan:”Go Vegan and Nobody Gets Hurt!” –absolutely perfect! If you’re thinking of going vegan, just keep this slogan fresh in your mind.


Neil has been proactively spreading the vegan message far and wide.Tolearn more, visit his website: ThePeacefulPlanet.org.

And if you feel inspired to give vegan eating a go, why not sign the pledge to try it out for 30 days?

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  • 12
  • Jun

We Are Thousands Strong Against Cruel Chicken Farm Proposal

We recently asked our supporters to join us in opposing plans to build an intensive broiler chicken production facility in Upton Snodsbury, Worcestershire.

We were overwhelmed by the response.

More than 26,000 people signed our letter to the Wychavon District Council urging planning officers to reject the proposal, which would condemn up to 160,000 chickens at a time to a life of unabated misery. On broiler farms – where chickens are raised for meat – birds are crammed into dark filthy sheds. They usually have the ends of their sensitive beaks cut off without any painkillers in order to prevent them from pecking one another in the stressful, crowded environment.

WE Chickens transport copy

Jo-Anne McArthur / weanimals.org

Chickens on this type of farm are also often dosed with large amounts of antibiotics, and they have been bred to grow so large so fast that they often become crippled under their own weight and have trouble walking. Broiler chickens are usually killed when they are just 41 days old – meeting a terrifying endin the abattoir whilestillconscious.

It’s hardly surprising that so many of you were moved to speak out against this cruelty.

Last year, encouraged by PETA and many compassionate members of the public, the Wychavon District Council refused to grant permission for similar plans, submitted by Edward Davies, to be implemented. Shockingly, its decision was overturned by the Planning Inspectorate at the 11th hour. Davies’ new application, which is for four new units, would condemn twice as many animals to the living nightmare that is an intensive farming facility.

It would also be a blight on the local landscape, creating traffic, noise, pollution and unpleasant smells, as well as contributing to the greenhouse-gas emissions that cause climate change.

We’ll do everything that we can to make sure it is never built. Thank you to everyone who signed our letter – we’ll let you know as soon as there are new developments.

In the meantime, everyone can help chickens right now – by refusing to eat them. Our 30-day vegan pledge is a great place to start!


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