Written by PETA
Doggone it, I knew there was a reason why I love Kyra Sedgwick. Oh, sure, she's an outspoken dog rescuer and an amazing actor, and she's married to hunky Sexiest Vegetarian Alive contender Kevin Bacon. But what really sent her into the hero stratosphere was this letter she sent to New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg today asking him to improve the living conditions for the elephants who are being forced to perform by Ringling in Coney Island this summer and requesting that he forbid Ringling from ever returning to Coney Island.
She's not asking for much, just little creature comforts like not being chained up for hours on end and not being whipped in the face or jabbed by bullhooks. Doesn't seem like a lot to ask, does it? Read Kyra's letter for yourself and see if you agree.
Written by Alisa Mullins
Last summer, my friends and I screamed bloody murder on the hair-raising Cyclone at Coney Island. But it was later that my stomach really turned when I learned about the electrocution of Topsy the abused circus elephant at Coney Island back in 1903. Her public execution was punishment for killing three men (including a sadistic trainer who tried to feed her a lit cigarette).
Elephant abuse has returned to Coney Island, thanks to Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. But unlike the very public atrocity of Topsy's death, Ringling tries to keep its trainers' actions under wraps.
Luckily, we have an easy way for you to expose Ringling's abuse of animals. It's our "The Cruelest Show on Earth" tee! Super-soft and stylish, it's sure to get all your friends talking. Not only that, but we are giving three of them away for this week's "Win It" Wednesday.
How do you win? Over the years, many exploited elephants have fought back against their abusers. As I read through the list of incidents involving elephants, John Lennon's "Instant Karma" kicks in my imaginary soundtrack.
So, which song title do you think best represents the suffering (or revenge!) of elephants who are beaten and humiliated in circuses? Tell us in the comments section below—the three most descriptive entries will win PETA's carnie-inspired anti-circus T-shirt.
Written by Karin Bennett
"Why?" That was the response I received each time I told someone that I was going to intern at PETA this summer. They were apprehensive that I would be thrust into a world of crazed, paint-throwing vegans, but I assured them that I'd be working for a great cause with passionate—and, yes, completely normal—individuals. So, ready to fight for animal rights, I hopped on a plane and was transported to a world of animals, exciting work, and great food. Here are a few highlights from my month-long stint as an intern:
My PETA internship was one of the most exciting and fulfilling experiences an animal lover could have because, in the end, it's all about the animals. Oh, and the delicious vegan lunches that were served every day didn't hurt either!
Written by Sarah Hamshari
Sharp-eyed PETA intern Elijah spotted a couple of recent news stories that show (once again) how much we have in common with our primate cousins—monkeys, in this case.
First came word that cotton-top tamarin monkeys can "acquire an affixation rule that shares important properties with our inflectional morphology." Gotta love scientific jargon, huh? Put a bit more simply, they can recognize when a word doesn't have the suffix or prefix they expect to hear. So if you're striking up a conversation with a monkey, watch your language because you're not the only one who knows what "caging" and "killing" means.
Then we learned that rhesus monkeys use the same mechanism—"configural perception" (well, natch)—as humans do to recognize faces. Turns out that monkeys also experience the "Thatcher Effect," which, yes, is named after the former British prime minister. If you don't know what the Thatcher Effect is—I didn't—here's more about it. (If you don't know who Margaret Thatcher is, I can't help you.)
So let's see. Monkeys can recognize Margaret Thatcher upside down. They know prefixes and suffixes, can speak in sentences (and with accents), and can even do math. Heck, they have a stronger skill set than some people I've worked with—although not at PETA, of course. But they're definitely overqualified to be caged and tortured in laboratories at Columbia University or Covance. What really blows my mind is how experimenters can discover all of this and still torture and kill monkeys. Maybe we should be conducting tests on experimenters' empathy instead.
Written by Jeff Mackey
There's no doubt that Survivor alumni Ethan Zohn and Jenna Morasca know how to make the best of a tough situation. Not even the diagnosis of Ethan's cancer has been able to keep this couple down! When Ethan was diagnosed with CD20-positive Hodgkin's lymphoma earlier this year, he let the world know that he and longtime girlfriend Jenna would be tackling the illness head-on. As he told People magazine in May, "I'll take it on like a real game of Survivor. I'm not getting voted out of this one."
We are, of course, rooting hard for Ethan and Jenna—remember when they posed au naturel for our "Rather Go Naked Than Wear Fur" campaign? And we were elated to learn that one of the first steps they took toward battling Ethan's cancer was to switch immediately to a vegetarian diet.
We recently had the opportunity to ask Ethan and Jenna a few questions about the couple's switch to a vegetarian lifestyle, and as you can see from their answers, they couldn't be more pleased with their decision. More energy and the chance to help animals and the environment? As Jenna says, "You can't get any better than that, in my mind!"
What made you decide to go vegetarian?Jenna: When Ethan was diagnosed with cancer, we decided that we need to be careful about what we put in our bodies. So we went vegetarian together!
Have you ever considered going vegetarian in the past?Ethan: I was on a macrobiotic diet when I was younger and my father was ill. My entire family made the change to macro to help my father and the cancer he was battling. In addition, I was a vegetarian for 14 years before going on Survivor.
How did you make the transition? Was it gradual, or did you stop eating meat cold (faux) turkey?Jenna: We actually made the transition pretty quickly—just cutting out everything right away. Now, with so many great faux-meat products, it's not as hard as people think anymore to go vegetarian. For instance, in the grocery store are many great faux-meat options, like Gardenburger meatless buffalo chicken wings. Ethan was a huge fan of buffalo chicken wings, so these are a good replacement!
How do you feel since making the switch to a vegetarian diet—any different?Ethan: Yes! We feel like we have more energy and do not consume that many calories during the day.
Studies have shown that the meat industry is deadly to the environment—not only does it contribute to water pollution and deforestation, it's also the biggest contributor to greenhouse gasses and climate change. What do you think about going vegetarian as a way to help the environment?Jenna: I think that any way to help the environment is a bonus, and going vegetarian not only helps the environment but also helps animals too! You can't get any better than that, in my mind!
Written by Amanda Schinke
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Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights? Read more.