Written by PETA
"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
A distressed female becomes pregnant—but she's still a virgin! Grave danger ensues!
But no. I'm not talking about events in that Little Town of Bethlehem, circa 1 A.D. This happened just last year in Virginia Beach, practically next door to PETA's Norfolk HQ.
In a study reported today, DNA testing confirmed that the embryo carried by Tidbit, a blacktip shark held captive at the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center, contained no genetic material from a male. That's right—a virgin conception, in our day and age. Holy mother of God … er … I mean … Holy Tidbit!
But wait, that's not all. Tidbit's pregnancy was only discovered when she died after being sedated for her annual health checkup—so there was no virgin birth, only an immaculate conception. The scientists who confirmed the nature of the pregnancy say that Tidbit's pup would almost certainly have been eaten by bigger sharks in the same tank.
Now, those of you who frequent our site know that we're not fans of aquariums and marine mammal prisons … uh, parks. But the above story pretty much says it all. These facilities claim to be helping and preserving marine animals, but they can't even protect a newborn—or the adults, for that matter. In the end, perhaps Tidbit was the fortunate one. At least she no longer has to deal with the daily boredom and stress of her unnatural environment.
Ya know, when we first moved our headquarters to Norfolk, we ran a campaign against this particular aquarium because of its severely inadequate dolphin tanks (among other things). And it always just really frustrated me to know that there were these marine animals locked in a tank right across from the ocean.
Now the Jesus shark comes to this very aquarium and is dead before arrival. The irony is not lost on me!
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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.