Written by PETA
What could be cuter than a rat with a cotton-ball tail? OK, cuter and real? I nominate this "Awww"-some video of Tinkerbell taking a bath:
Rats are not only adorably squeaky clean but also super sweet and smart—not that hygiene, looks, and/or IQ should ever be a requirement for caring about rodents or any other animal.
Written by Karin Bennett
In The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, the dolphins know to leave Earth before the planet is destroyed—and it looks like Douglas Adams was on to something.
No, the planet isn't in immediate peril (depending on your definition of "immediate"), but dolphins really are geniuses, second only to humans in intelligence, according to a new study.
This study revealed that the brain cortex of dolphins has the same complicated folds associated with human intelligence, and it has the scientific community buzzing. Thomas White, professor of ethics at Loyola Marymount University, argues that dolphins (i.e. "non-human persons") deserve rights and "qualify for moral understanding as individuals." PETA couldn't agree more! And because we wouldn't force our relatives to live in cages tanks, we're writing a letter to the National Marine Fisheries Service, asking it to place a permanent ban on issuing permits allowing dolphins to be captured and used as attractions at theme parks and resort hotels.
Dolphins are thoughtful animals with distinct personalities, and each dolphin has a strong sense of self. They think, plan, and communicate with one another. In the wild, they spend their entire lives in large groups; removing them from their natural communities is traumatizing and often results in stress-related illness and premature death. If we don't start treating our cognitive cousins with more respect, in the end we might really be left holding that note that reads, "So long, and thanks for all the fish."
Written by Logan Scherer
Those of you who still need convincing that fish sea kittens are smarter than a 5-year-old should check out today's New York Times. Molecular biologist and geneticist Sean B. Carroll writes about recent studies indicating that fish who inhabit coral reefs can learn to differentiate between targets marked with different designs and colors in order to obtain food. Other studies of coral-reef fish in their natural habitat show that fish are more drawn to "dummies" that closely resemble beneficial "cleaner fish" than to dummies with similar coloring but different markings.
If you can stand the cuteness, check out this photo of a teeny-tiny damselfish poking a target marked with an asterisk with his (or her) teeny-tiny nose.
Of course, it comes as no surprise to us here at Sea Kitten Central that fish are smart cookies. Previous studies have shown that fish have long-term memories and can learn to avoid nets by watching what other fish do. "[T]hey are capable of learning quickly," says Dr. Chris Glass, director of marine conservation at the Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences in Massachusetts. Dr. Phil Gee, a psychologist at the University of Plymouth in the U.K., says that fish can even tell what time of day it is: Dr. Gee trained fish to collect food by pressing a lever at specific times.
Still not convinced? You leave me no choice but to unleash … goldfish soccer.
Written by Alisa Mullins
Recent research shows that dogs are at least as clever as a 2-year-old human child—but dear Rex won't yell "No!" at everything, like a kid in the throes of the "terrible twos."
Dogs can learn, on average, between 250 and 165 words, depending on which study you read. They have basic math skills (and can even call us out when we add incorrectly), and they're skilled problem-solvers. Perhaps they are more like 20-year-olds.
Come to think of it, this might explain why Lassie always had to save Timmy from falling down wells.
If you really want to get inside another animal's head, allow me to direct you to New Orleans, where a virtual-reality exhibit allows humans to experience what it must be like to have the heightened senses of sight and hearing that other species enjoy naturally.
The exhibit allows visitors to see in ultraviolet light, as birds do, and hear the ultra-low frequencies that whales and other animals communicate in every day.
It looks as if Mark Twain was on the right track when he said, "It is just like man's vanity and impertinence to call an animal dumb because [he or she] is dumb to his dull perceptions."
Written by Jeff Mackey
Sam Neill, star of that "oldie but goodie," er …
… Shoot, what was that one?
… Oh, yeah, Jurassic Park! Anyway, Sam Neill's fossilizing career now has him plugging the consumption of artery-clogging meat from abused cows, pigs, and other animals in commercials for Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA).
In the ads, MLA has Mr. Neill suggesting that eating meat will make a person smarter (hardly) and more energetic (not so). And as if that weren't offensive enough, Sam's co-star in the two spots is an orangutan named Dennis.
Jason Baker, director of PETA Asia-Pacific, wasted no time—or words—in his letter to Mr. Neill:
"Seeing you pimp for an industry that is linked to the main killers of human beings as well as of animals is, well, sad."
"Some of the most accomplished and brilliant thinkers in history were vegetarian—including Einstein, Leonardo de Vinci, Plato, Pythagoras, Mahatma Gandhi and Isaac Newton. Studies published in the British Medical Journal have shown that people with a higher IQ are more likely to go vegetarian—yes, it really is the smart choice."
It's a no-brainer. A vegetarian diet is better for your brain, animals, and environment. Hopefully, Mr. Neill will realize this and get out of the meat-promoting business before his career reaches full-blown extinction.
Thanks for all of your wonderful comments on this Win It Wednesday. The winner of the Bella Dog Bed is Jeanette Rampersad. Congratulations!
Years ago, I used to bring my dog, Lulu, to work with me at the PETA office. Lulu was content to snore the afternoons away, burrowed deep in a box of recycled paper. She was comfy in her eco-friendly dog bed, but I thought it was a bit undignified. She was, after all, sleeping in a waste bin.
If Lulu were around today, I'm sure she'd be ecstatic to learn that today's canine siestas can be comfortable and eco-chic, thanks to the Bella Dog Bed, which is made from recycled plastic soft drink bottles. The folks at Modern Eco Homes, an online emporium that sources all its eco-friendly products from the Internet's most innovative green merchants, were able to contribute one Bella Dog Bed for us to give away. And if you want it, you got it—if you leave a comment with the most appropriate caption for the photo below:
Last night, I was glued to the television for the Home Run Derby. I had to be there to support my boy, Prince Fielder, who was competing against some heavy hitters—including 2006 derby champ Ryan Howard. The competition was definitely fierce, but my man did not disappoint. He nailed 17 home runs in the first two rounds and then blasted six off in the championship … all to be crowned 2009 Home Run Derby Champion!
Not that I had any doubt in Prince. After all, this vegetarian is the youngest player in history to hit 50 homers in a season.
Prince's ability to knock the socks off the crowd while knocking ball after ball out of the park got us thinking about the power of tofu and the rest of the derby participants. It's no secret that they could benefit if they followed in Prince's footsteps and made the switch to a vegetarian diet. Not only would they likely see an improvement in their health, they might see an improvement in their game, too—as Prince Fielder is home run–hitting proof. So, in the hopes of "beefing" up the competition for next year's derby, we are sending a copy of our "Vegetarian Starter Kit" to each of this year's sluggers. Hopefully, they'll learn that by dropping the ballpark franks and picking up veggie dogs, they'll be hitting a grand slam for baseball fans and animals.
Written by Shawna Flavell
Yesterday, PETA's "Soy Cream" Ladies were willing to brave the 107-degree Arizona high-noon heat in order to bring delicious—and cruelty-free—frozen desserts to the citizens of Tucson. Not a single person who ventured past these lovely ladies was able to resist a free Tofutti Cutie or a sexy smile. The PETA gals gave away 200 of the frozen treats and even more leaflets explaining why dairy-free is always the way to go.
And remember: If it's iced coffee weather, it's absolutely Tofutti Cutie weather.
Written by Amanda Schinke
Back in May, we told you that a bill was under consideration in Bolivia to ban all animals from circuses—and that bill was recently made law! With the passage of law number 4040 by Bolivian President Evo Morales, the day has finally arrived when "It is forbidden to use wild and/or domestic animals in circuses throughout the country." As far as we know, Bolivia is the first country in the world to enact such a landmark measure for animals abused in circuses.
Bolivia is no stranger to looking out for animals. The country already set a precedent when it banned its military from mutilating dogs and other animals during training exercises. And with the passage of this new law, elephants, lions, tigers, horses, dogs, and all other animals who are forced to live in shackles or cages—and are routinely beaten into submission in order to perform unnatural circus "tricks"—will no longer be subjected to these cruelties in Bolivia.
And as if that weren't enough, PETA is now working closely with the Bolivian government on the country's first national animal protection framework law. If the measure is adopted, it would make Bolivia a global leader in animal welfare.
With the way things are moving, it seems that animals in Bolivia are on a fast track to having all the simple inalienable rights they deserve.
On behalf of animals in Bolivia, muchas gracias to President Morales, Member of Congress Ximena Flores, and concerned citizen Ana Serrano Revollo for all their hard work in making this law prohibiting animal circuses a reality!
Written by Missy Lane
Celebrate by watching this Creole (not cruel) "Running of the Bulls."
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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.