Written by Jeff Mackey
In a huge victory for horses—one that's sure to get even
bigger as its effects are felt throughout the racing industry—the Kentucky
Horse Racing Commission has approved
a plan to phase out the use of the race-day medication furosemide, also known as Lasix
and Salix, in races in the bluegrass state, following pressure from PETA, The Jockey Club, and other
progressive forces within the industry to ban
this dangerous practice.
tasweertaker|cc by 2.0
As PETA Vice President Kathy Guillermo explained when she addressed the commission in November, the prevalence of catastrophic breakdowns in horses has sparked a
backlash against risky procedures such as the use of powerful
Lasix, a powerful diuretic, not only causes horses to lose about
2 percent of their body weight in water (resulting in a weight advantage of
roughly 20 pounds) but also increases urine production, which can mask the
presence of other—often illegal—drugs by "flushing out" a horse's
system. This enables unscrupulous trainers and veterinarians to run injured
horses when they should be recovering by giving them a variety of drugs to mask
pain and control inflammation, leading to breakdowns.
Most countries ban the use of Lasix on race days because of
its performance-enhancing qualities, yet more than 90 percent of thoroughbreds
in the U.S. are given the drug just hours before they race. But thanks to the
efforts of PETA and other advocates for horses, the tide is turning.
With this latest victory, Lasix will be banned in 2014 for
all 2-year-old graded and listed stakes races in Kentucky. Starting in 2015,
Lasix will be banned in all 3-year-old graded and listed stakes races, which
means that the Kentucky Derby will be Lasix-free in 2015! The next year, Lasix
will be prohibited from all graded and listed stakes races regardless of age.
Join PETA in celebrating this important victory by keeping
the momentum going—please contact your members of Congress and ask them to
support the Interstate Horseracing Improvement Act, which will ban the use of
performance-enhancing drugs and increase drug testing in all races.
Written by PETA
Kentucky PETA members marked World Week for the Abolition of Meat by wearing little clothing and a lot of "blood" in 28-degree temperatures outside the JBS Swift slaughterhouse in Louisville.
"We are challenging people to really think about what 'meat' is," PETA senior campaigner Ashley Byrne told reporters. "When you eat flesh, you're eating the corpse of an abused animal who did not want to die. We're encouraging kind consumers to try going vegan."
Written by Michelle Sherrow
This is Kristina.
This is Kristina on Craigslist. Taking inspiration from Animal Friends Croatia, we're "renting out" our vegan experts to help people make the easy and ever-so-scrumptious switch to cruelty-free cuisine.
Kristina "I can veganize anything" Addington—an accomplished cook—will help the highest bidder in Louisville, Kentucky, shop for $100 dollars' worth of groceries (on our dime), and then she'll cook a gourmet vegan meal for up to six people! Don't live in Louisville? Don't worry—PETA will soon be renting vegans in a town near you. Until then, take advantage of this priceless shopping and cooking companion.
Written by Amy Skylark Elizabeth
After more than a year of stonewalling, KFC's hometown of Louisville, Kentucky, has finally gotten around to officially denying PETA's request for a permit to display our giant crippled chicken statue at a city intersection.
Over the past year, Louisville officials have devised various creative and ever-changing obstacles to PETA's application, including an imaginary "moratorium" on permits for public exhibits, a new requirement that adjacent property owners must approve of a public exhibit, a months-long delay in reviewing PETA's application, and other free-speech-trampling tactics that PETA believes were nothing more than a thinly veiled attempt to prevent people from finding out how KFC suppliers abuse chickens.
Strangely, officials didn't seem to have any objection when KFC erected a giant bucket of fried chicken in a shopping mall.
Hmmm … sounds like a great spot for our chicken statue. Speaking of which, does anyone know a good pro bono attorney in Chickentown?
Written by Alisa Mullins
Can Kentucky Derby fans handle the truth? Outdoor advertisers in Louisville don't seem to think so. We sent the ad below to every billboard and bus ad company in town with the intention of running it during next week's Derby, but they all turned us down flat.
We wanted racegoers—and everyone—to know that the horrific on-track breakdown of Eight Belles at the end of the 2008 Kentucky Derby was no fluke. On average, three horses break down on racetracks in America every single day. That adds up to at least 2,000 racehorses dead on tracks since Eight Belles collapsed two years ago after both her front ankles snapped.
After being prodded by PETA, the racing industry has made some improvements, including banning steroids from the states where Triple Crown races are run, but the misuse of legal drugs is still the biggest cause of breakdowns and deaths, and the industry has yet to address that issue in any meaningful way.
Many trainers use injections of painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs to mask fatigue and injury and make horses feel well enough to run when they should be resting and recovering. Racing subjects horses' bodies to punishing stresses that can lead to breakdowns. Racing insiders tell us that some horses are injected with various drugs 25 to 30 times in the week before a race, and it's all legal.
PETA advocates a ban on all drugs during the week leading up to a race, among other reforms. Please take a moment to send an e-mail to the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority to let its officials know that Eight Belles has not been forgotten and to demand that the authority take steps to ensure that no more horses die in pursuit of the roses. As for the Derby: Don't go, don't watch, and don't bet.
Let me count the ways … in which PETA's proposed chicken-feces sculpture of Colonel Sanders would be a perfect centerpiece for downtown Corbin, Kentucky, where Sanders set up mass-murder shop in the 50s.
The city of Corbin has plans to erect a bronze statue of Colonel Sanders, but before the city memorializes the Colonel, we want to remind everyone of the filth and suffering that the millions of chickens killed for KFC are forced to endure. Could you think of a more appropriate way to honor Sanders' legacy of cruelty, obesity, and possible racial insensitivity than with the same thing KFC's full of?
Written by Logan Scherer
This is one of those stories that starts off sad, but gets better—I promise!
Earlier this summer, a man in Louisville, Kentucky, threw a puppy off a bridge and into the Ohio River. Kelsey Westbrook, a college student who works part-time at a riverfront restaurant, saw the dog swimming in circles and immediately raced down to the water's edge and helped nearby firefighters guide the dog to safety.
Although Kelsey had originally planned to find a good home for the dog—whom she named Sunny for her loving disposition—the bond between them grew, and Kelsey soon realized that Sunny had become part of her family. So, Kelsey and her other dog—a 2-year-old rescue mix—asked Sunny to stay.
The warm-fuzzies don't stop there. Kelsey has decided to turn the attention she's receiving towards the issue of cruelty to animals. She's organizing a fundraiser at the restaurant next month, and the proceeds will go to local low-income spay-and-neuter clinics. Now that's compassionate. And because Kelsey keeps going that extra mile to help animals in need, we're happy to be sending her a Compassionate Action Award—along with some treats for Sunny, of course.
Written by Amanda Schinke
This week, Kevin Skinner—an unemployed chicken catcher from Mayfield, Kentucky—sang and strummed his way to the top of America's Got Talent and walked away with a cool million dollars. Congratulations, Kevin!
Kevin's been given a new start on life. Wouldn't it endear him to millions of people if he were to extend that same second chance to those in need—say, to chickens who were abused on factory farms?
We're asking Kevin to donate part of his prize money to a farmed-animal sanctuary to help care for chickens abused by the meat and egg industries. Kevin has the opportunity to give chickens the chance to enjoy all the things that they were denied on factory farms, such as building nests, caring for their young, and enjoying the company of their flock.
We also sent him a congratulatory present, of course: a package of Boca Chik'n Patties. Delicious!
This is the story of 16 freezing, emaciated dogs on a property in a rural town in Kentucky. The dogs were so thin that their ribs were visible and you could count each vertebra in their spines. Two dogs were tied to empty barrels, another spent all day every day tethered to a dilapidated doghouse, and still more spent all winter shivering under a porch, desperate to escape the bitter cold and likely suffering from hypothermia.
The woman who owned the dogs would leave them for weeks at a time, not only deprived of a loving touch but also without food or water. Yet when complaints were filed with local authorities, the calls were ignored. Nearby residents tried to make sure that the dogs had food and water, but with winter in full force, the water would freeze and—because the dogs were desperate to maintain as much weight as they could to combat the cold—the food would disappear more quickly than the neighbors could supply it.
By the time we were notified, one of the females in this miserable situation had just given birth to a litter of puppies. She was so emaciated that nursing the newborns could have been fatal for her. Because the season's first snow had already fallen, the puppies had little chance of surviving.
We worked quickly to get the sheriff's department to investigate, but in the short time it took them to take action, two of the puppies had already frozen to death under the porch. The surviving animals were immediately seized and taken to the local animal shelter. The owner was arrested and charged with animal cruelty.
You might be wondering why we're talking about this heartbreaking case at the beginning of summer. That's because we're entering another deadly season for neglected backyard dogs. Those who somehow survive winter's ice and freezing temperatures will soon face blazing heat and sweltering humidity—if they don't already. Instead of hypothermia, many will suffer heatstroke, flea and tick infestations, and heartworms. Their need for the basics—protection from the elements, food, fresh water, and attention—is year-round.
Chained dogs depend on us to look behind privacy fences and glance under abandoned cars in the junkyard. And please don't tune out their barking. It's their way of crying for help.
Never assume that someone else is already on the case. I can let you know from firsthand experience that not everyone is willing to take action. Several years ago, while living in Chicago, I discovered two dogs who were locked in an abandoned building. Longtime residents quickly gathered around me, voicing their pity for the dogs. Yet when I asked if any of them had called authorities about the dogs, they shrugged and turned away. If I hadn't called to report the case, the dogs may not have been rescued and would likely have starved to death.
All of this is meant as a reminder: Please do more than feel sad or sorry about neglected animals. Take action—you could very well be their only hope.
Written by Karin Bennett
Getting shanked in the shower is definitely a worry, but biting into pus-filled poultry? That's cruel and unusual punishment. Just ask the three Vermont men who are seeking $100,000 in damages from ConAgra Foods after reportedly purchasing bad chicken from the prison store at Lee Adjustment Facility in Beattyville, Kentucky. The sickening saga began three years ago when the trio, who were serving their sentences in Kentucky because of overcrowding in Vermont jails, apparently bit into a batch of Banquet chicken filled with pus. Brown-bagging the rank, three-year-old meat to court to serve as exhibit A, one litigant described the diarrhea and weight loss (as well as the harassment by other inmates) that he says resulted from ingesting the foul fowl.
Pusitively gross, right? Well, take heed, because food poisoning caused by putrid poultry isn't confined to prison food. Animals raised for food are intensively confined on disease-ridden factory farms. By the time they reach the slaughterhouse, many are suffering from pneumonia and other chronic illnesses, and some have cancerous lesions or pus-filled wounds all over their bodies. Wait—it gets worse! Pus-coated bird bits often go into a mixture called a "binder," which is used in chicken nuggets, patties, and "buffalo" wings.
And while eating contaminated meat is downright disgusting and dangerous, the real victims here are the chickens who are being knocked off to make these noxious nuggets. I say prisons should pardon chickens and all animals from their menus.
Written by Amy Elizabeth
you have a general question for PETA and would like a response, please e-mail Info@peta.org. If you need to report cruelty to
an animal, please click
here. If you are reporting an animal in imminent danger and know where to find the
animal and if the abuse is taking place right now, please call your local
police department. If the police are unresponsive, please call PETA
immediately at 757-622-7382 and press 2.
Follow PETA on Twitter!
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.