Written by Michelle Kretzer
her work on The Biggest Loser, Jillian Michaels is accustomed to saving lives. But for one horse, her help arrived just hours
before he would have been sent on a journey to become hamburger.
a PETA investigation of horse
slaughter, in which horses are taken from a meat buyer to a Canadian slaughterhouse, our investigators
discovered ex-racehorse Royale With Speed packed into a "kill pen." A
grandson of renowned Triple Crown winner Secretariat, Royale With Speed's racing days were over, and our investigators stood witness as he was sold for
slaughter for $350. He was dehydrated and running a fever of 103.7 degrees Fahrenheit,
and his lymph nodes were so swollen that they later burst and oozed pus through
called the wonderful PETA supporter who cares for another of our rescued
thoroughbreds, Coming Home,
and she agreed immediately to give Royale With Speed a home on her ranch.
Jillian stepped up to buy the horse and cover his transportation costs, and
together, we were able to save him from enduring a 36-hour journey in
subfreezing temperatures aboard a cramped transport truck—with no food or water—that
would have ended at a slaughterhouse.
weeks of intensive care, Royale With Speed, now renamed Gray Man, has fully
recovered. He spends his days lolling on the grass and romping with his new friend
Coming Home—who also has a new name, Little Winner.
of thousands of horses are shipped to slaughter every year. Jillian has voiced
her support for ending
horse slaughter to Congress. Please join her.
Written by Jeff Mackey
A measure of justice has been served in South
Carolina, where, following
PETA's undercover investigation, the
woman who fatally neglected cats at the now-thankfully defunct Sacred Vision Animal Sanctuary (SVAS) outside Myrtle Beach was convicted of violating a county animal-care
ordinance this morning before Magistrate Margie Bellamy Livingston. Elizabeth Owen,
who didn't even bother to show up but instead submitted her plea in writing,
was fined $500 and sentenced to 30 days in jail, but both were suspended.
In March 2011, a Horry County judge ordered the seizure of a dog and approximately 240 cats from Owen—many of whom were suffering from
painful conditions, such as anal maggots, herpes, tumors, seizures, abdominal
abscesses, and severe gum disease. Nearly half of the animals had to be
euthanized to alleviate their suffering.
officials returned the dog and 30 cats to Owen. And then it got worse: County officials
did not make good on promises to check on those animals'
welfare. Meanwhile, Owen left the state—in violation of her bond, according to
a prosecutor—and evidently took those animals with her. Although PETA's
investigatory evidence was passed between four attorneys in the 15th Circuit
Solicitor's Office, none of them filed state cruelty-to-animals charges against
Owen. No other jurisdiction has ever failed to file
charges based on such strong evidence against a hoarder still in possession of
As with many so-called "no-kill" operations, SVAS was merely a cover for an animal hoarder. Owen knowingly deprived suffering cats of veterinary care—even refusing offers
of free emergency treatment for dying cats—and stated that she would rather let
the cats die at the facility than have them taken by officials.
In a disturbing twist, just before most of her animals were
seized, Owen sent approximately 25 cats to Caboodle Ranch, another horrific "no-kill" cat "sanctuary,"
in Florida. Based on evidence gathered in a separate PETA investigation,
officials there seized
nearly 700 cats and arrested and charged Caboodle's founder and operator, Craig Grant, with
felony cruelty to animals.
recidivism rate for animal hoarders like Owen is virtually 100 percent. The
failure of Owen's sentence to prevent her from causing more animals to suffer
and die exposes a critical weakness in South Carolina law, which lacks a
commonsense provision—found in most other states' laws—prohibiting convicted
cruelty offenders from owning or possessing any animals.
Craig Grant and Caboodle Ranch continue to ask the public
for donations, including money to pay Grant's legal fees. Ask Florida officials
to cancel Caboodle's registration to solicit contributions.
Please join PETA in calling for legislation that would
enable all South Carolina courts to bar those convicted of cruelty from having
PETA has learned that Casey, a young, paralyzed St. Bernard,
died recently at Angel's
reportedly after suffering from a long-term urinary tract infection. Casey
spent most of her short life at the mercy of Susan Marino—the founder and
operator of the hellhole, which continues to keep hundreds of ailing and
disabled animals in conditions that you wouldn't wish on your worst enemy. Marino
faces criminal cruelty-to-animals
and other charges;
her next court date is March 20. We will be there.
Casey was among the animals whose systemic neglect we
documented in our undercover investigation of the self-proclaimed "hospice
and rehabilitation center." Our investigator routinely found Casey covered
with her own waste and confined to a filthy crib, often without access to water.
Routinely spending hours caked with excrement scalded the paraplegic Casey's skin
around her hindquarters and genitals. We learned that in recent months, Casey
was mostly kept on a mattress surrounded by baby gates, where she often lay in
her own waste; that at some point, she had bloody urine; and that Marino often
bemoaned Casey's "stink."
Casey as a pup, in September 2010.
Casey was not alone in her suffering. Several of the animals
whose suffering we caught on video have since died, including Tucker, a sweet
little beagle-hound mix with hydrocephalus who allegedly drowned a few weeks
ago, evidently after being left unsupervised. Our investigation exposed the following:
The Delaware County, New York, District Attorney's Office
filed charges of cruelty to animals and criminal possession of a controlled
substance against Marino, but hundreds of animals still remain in Marino's
How You Can Help
Please urge the New York Attorney General's Office to
dissolve Angel's Gate as a nonprofit corporation and make sure that Marino's
victims are immediately
Written by PETA
If you were the governor of a state struggling in the economic downturn and you had $100,000 to spend, what would you do with it? Restore programs cut from schools? Aid homeless shelters? Or promote alligator-skin golf shoes? Florida's budget currently includes about $100,000 a year to market alligator skin, but Gov. Rick Scott wants to put the money to better use. "The state shouldn't be in that business," he said.
Agreed. Really, no one should be in that business. Alligator farmers raid marshes and steal the eggs. Trying to save their children, mother alligators risk their lives jumping into the farmers' boats. On farms, alligators are piled on concrete slabs in tiny stagnant pools and are often used in "petting zoos" and shows until they are large enough to kill for their skin.
A PETA undercover investigation of a Florida alligator farm documented gruesome slaughter methods. One person stood on the animal's mouth, and one stood on the tail, while a third attempted to chisel through the spinal column with a pointed instrument and hammer. It took many blows for the chisel to break through the vertebrae, and even then, the spinal cord wasn't completely severed. It can take around two hours for an animal slaughtered this way to die. Another common slaughter method is beating alligators to death with baseball bats.
Even if Florida fails to cut the industry's funding, you can cut its funding by refusing to buy exotic skins and complaining to the manager if you see exotic skins on store shelves.
Written by Michelle Sherrow
If you think cruel steel-jaw traps used to snare animals are a thing of the past, think again. Animal protection group Born Free USA just released the results of its undercover investigation of professional and recreational wildlife trapping in the U.S. The horrific video footage shows how animals trapped for their fur suffer, sometimes for days, before dying.
A bobcat is caught in a leghold trap in New Mexico.© Born Free USA / Respect for Animals
The trapper kills the red fox by crushing the fox’s chest and lungs with his foot in Pennsylvania in January 2011. The fox is restrained by a catch pole. © Born Free USA / Respect for Animals
The widely used steel-jaw traps crush animals' limbs and are so painful that animals sometimes mutilate their own bodies in an attempt to free themselves. Another trap, the Conibear, crushes animals' necks and chests, taking three to eight minutes to suffocate them. Animals caught in traps that are set underwater take up to nine agonizing minutes to drown. And the target animals aren't the only ones who get caught in these traps. Born Free USA estimates that one in three victims are other animals, including many homeless or lost dogs and cats.
Born Free's executive vice president, Adam Roberts, says, "Commercial fur trapping dates back to the 1600s and has hardly changed. It remains barbaric and most people are not even aware that this is going on in most of the U.S." Even though more than 80 countries and some U.S. states have banned steel-jaw traps, they are still legal in most of the country. What are we waiting for?
The only way not to support the fur-trapping industry is to refuse to buy any item containing fur. Please sign PETA's Pledge to Be Fur-Free today. And if you've ever even considered wearing animal fur, this video is for you.
We recently told you about 240 cats who were seized from Sacred Vision Animal Sanctuary (SVAS) in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, as a result of our undercover investigation at the hoarding facility. Many of the cats were too ill to survive, and many more are receiving veterinary care at the county's temporary shelter. PETA was able to bring three of the surviving cats to our Norfolk, Virginia, office, and after much TLC, they are on the mend.
Nudge's name comes from her love of being petted, which she makes known by nudging the nearest available hand. She spent most or all of her approximately 10 years in a cage and is now experiencing her second kittenhood, playing with toys and exploring. Nudge is finally discovering her hobbies, including cuddling up on laps to take naps or watch TV and giving foot massages by kneading the blankets covering wiggling toes.
Olaf is a charming Southern senior gentleman who has overcome much adversity. He was confined to a cage for many years and now can't get enough attention, which he returns with nuzzles. At the time of his rescue, he was covered in scabs from an untreated flea allergy. His tail appears to have been broken in two places, and part of it is missing, along with his left eye. Olaf is now on the mend and is calm and curious. He loves fellow rescue Okay and snuggles with her often.
After a lot of care, Okay looks like she'll be better than OK once she finds her forever family. The 3- to 4-year-old tabby is recovering from severe conjunctivitis and an upper respiratory infection. Her view was limited to the walls outside her cage in a stifling warehouse, and she now cherishes windows and scenery. She purrs almost constantly while she's getting attention and soaks up all the love she can. She's also discovering what it's like to run and play, and she is getting good at hiding in blankets and chasing toys.
All three cats are sweet and affectionate, despite their ordeal. If you live near the Hampton Roads, Virginia, area and would like to be considered as a forever family for Nudge, Olaf, or Okay, please e-mail us for an adoption application—please put in the subject line, "Interested in Adopting SVAS Cats."
Earlier this week, following PETA's undercover investigation of a Myrtle Beach–area hoarding facility that had been warehousing hundreds of cats and an arthritic dog named Hope in storage units, roughly 240 cats and the dog were seized from Elizabeth Owen by order of a Horry County judge. Roughly half the cats who were seized were so ill that they had to be put out of their misery.
The cats had been "stored," some for most or all of their lives, in filthy, cramped cages, unable to get away from their own waste or even stretch or walk, let alone enjoy life. Dozens of cats were suffering from chronic, painful conditions such as anal maggots, herpes, tumors, seizures, multiple abdominal abscesses, severe gum disease, and more. Some people are criticizing county officials for euthanizing the sickest cats, but the real outrage is that these cats had been allowed to suffer and languish for so long with no quality of life whatsoever. If the cats were too far gone to save, it is because of the long-term neglect that Owen subjected them to—neglect that merits state-level cruelty-to-animals charges and a prohibition on obtaining any more animals. Hoarders are notorious for starting back up where they left off if such judicial measures aren't taken.
Unfortunately, after Owen's attorney told the judge that Hope and about 30 of the cats were Owen's "personal pets," the judge agreed to have them returned to Owen's custody, following a medical exam by the county's contract veterinarian. Hope, who is old and suffering from painful arthritis, is mostly kept in one of the storage units in a small pen and on a cold, hard cement floor or tethered outside in front of the warehouse. Owen has been ordered to provide the animals with veterinary care at her own expense, but it remains to be seen if she will do so. Owen couldn't manage to keep the facility stocked with litter or food, let alone take ailing and even dying animals for veterinary care or euthanasia. Her current registration to solicit charitable funds has been suspended by the Office of the Secretary of State, which means she cannot lawfully solicit donations or items to sell in her thrift store. If the medical condition of the 107 cats whom the county was forced to euthanize are any indication, the 30 animals who went back to that hellhole are doomed.
Not surprisingly, the 101 feline survivors who remain in the county's temporary shelter facility are also sick. The county is providing veterinary care for them, and PETA is hopeful that once they recover, they will find happiness with responsible families who will give them all the love, attention, and catnip they need and deserve.
Written by Daphna Nachminovitch
Following PETA's undercover investigation and an intense year-long campaign, the University of Utah (also known as "the U") has announced that it will no longer purchase dogs and cats from North Utah Valley Animal Shelter (NUVAS)—or any other animal shelter—to be used in invasive and deadly experiments. Since the U was the last Utah purchaser of homeless animals for use in experiments, this victory means the complete end of "pound seizure" in the state of Utah!
PETA's shocking investigation at the U in 2009 has prompted a sea change in the treatment of animals in Utah. Until then, public shelters were forced by law to sell animals to the U. Soon after we broke our case, the U was cited for nine violations of federal animal welfare laws, Utah legislators amended the state's pound-seizure law so that government-run animal shelters could choose not to sell animals for experimentation, and the shelter that was then selling the most animals to the school ended the practice. A PETA lawsuit compelled a city to turn over records of the animals it sold to the U so that the public would know who these betrayed animals were. And who can forget Sheena, the loveable mutt whom PETA helped rescue from the U, where she would have gone under the knife, just in time for Christmas.
The U's decision appears to have already pushed it to find more humane research methods. Instead of repeatedly forcing tubes down shelter cats' throats in a cruel and crude intubation training course, the scheduled animal laboratory was recently canceled after PETA protests, and modern human-infant simulators were used instead.
Now, animals entering the state's animal shelters will no longer be betrayed by those who should help them, and Utah residents with missing dogs or cats can at least know that if their beloved animal companions make it to a shelter, they won't be sold to laboratories, where they would experience lives filled with suffering and grisly deaths.
A huge thank-you to all of you who asked the U and NUVAS to do the right thing by animals. This is a major victory, but there are still too many animals suffering in university laboratories—in Michigan, South Carolina, and Ohio and in both Dallas and Galveston, Texas, just to name a few. So please keep speaking up until every cage is empty. And to help PETA continue to help animals, become a member today!
This morning, after being presented with evidence—including video footage from PETA's investigation—making the case that animals warehoused in Elizabeth Owen's Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, storage units are in need of emergency intervention and care, Horry County Judge Bradley Mayers signed an order to seize custody and control of the animals because of animal neglect. The order requires officials to seize Owen's animals—a German shepherd named Hope and some 300 cats who have lived for months or years on end (some for their entire lives) in cages and crates stacked on top of each other at the "Sacred Vision Animal Sanctuary."
The order reads, in part, "Sufficient evidence of a pattern of behavior wherein [Owen] fails to provide adequate veterinary care to ill and suffering animals has been established necessitating emergency care." According to one news story, "Judge Mayer [sic] said after reviewing evidence he would not feel comfortable allowing the animals to remain in Owen's care." We agree wholeheartedly.
The animals will be immediately evaluated by a veterinarian and sheltered. They will finally have a clean, soft spot to curl up, the ability to groom themselves without swallowing their own waste, room to stretch and walk about, and desperately needed veterinary attention. Future court hearings will determine when the animals can be offered for adoption and find the permanent, loving homes that they deserve and should have been afforded long ago. Judge Mayers' compassionate decision marks a long-overdue new beginning for these animals, many of whom have been caged in Owen's dungeon-like, stifling warehouse for years. Stay tuned for more updates on this case.
Written by Lindsay Pollard-Post
First, Professional Laboratory Research Services shut its doors just days after PETA released the findings of our disturbing undercover investigation there. Now, Covance's horrendous Vienna, Va., laboratory, which PETA investigated five years ago, is closing up shop.
During PETA's 11-month investigation at Covance, our investigator documented that workers struck, choked, and screamed obscenities at frightened and "uncooperative" monkeys. Monkeys suffered from rectal prolapses as a result of constant stress and diarrhea, and baby monkeys' noses bled daily because workers shoved hard tubes up their nostrils to pump experimental chemicals and drugs into their stomachs. As a result of PETA's investigation, the U.S. Department of Agriculture cited and fined Covance for serious violations of the Animal Welfare Act.
PETA has actually been battling this laboratory for nearly two decades. I remember participating in a protest outside the facility back when Covance was known as Hazleton Research Labs, a name made famous by the book The Hot Zone, which was about the Ebola outbreak among monkeys at the now-defunct Hazleton laboratory just a few miles away in Reston, Va.
In addition to closing the hellhole in Vienna, Covance has also scrapped plans to build a massive facility in Prince William County, Va., meaning that thousands of animals will be spared years of loneliness, misery, and pain. Pop the champagne corks, folks! And let's hope that this trend involving the shuttering of animal laboratories continues into 2011.
Written by Alisa Mullins
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.
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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.