For seven years, PETA has pushed for the closure of the Pata Zoo and worked to educate the public about how patronizing the decrepit facility supports the continued confinement of the animals held there. PETA has published photos of animals languishing in barren enclosures, denied everything that is natural and important to them, and also released a hard-hitting celebrity campaign that targeted the zoo.
PETA’s investigator visited the zoo last week and documented that animals were enduring extreme boredom. Some were so broken that they did nothing but stare at the same spot on the wall of their enclosure, while others had literally been driven insane by confinement—they paced continuously or threw themselves against the side of their cages. We know the misery, loneliness, and boredom that Bua Noi the gorilla and the other animals endure every single day, so if the reports that some animals are being moved are accurate, it will be a day to celebrate. We also hope the department store will find new homes for all the animals and close the zoo for good.
The animals have lost a true ally and a sharp and honest tongue with the passing of PETA US Honorary Director and entertainment giant Sam Simon, who was a dear friend, a stalwart champion of animal rights, and the multiple Emmy Award–winning co-creator of The Simpsons and one of the writing geniuses behind hit shows like Taxi, Barney Miller, Cheers,The Tracey Ullman Show, The Drew Carey Show, and the FX series Anger Management.
Simon said that the last two years of his life, in which he worked with PETA affiliates to close bear pits, rescue an abused elephant in India, send lone roadside zoo chimpanzees to a sanctuary, and find homes for hundreds of chinchillas, a camel, and even a “gay” bull, were the happiest of his life. Late last week, he was given the news that Ringling Bros., the circus he protested in person, had decided, in light of changed public opinion, to take performing elephants off the road by 2018. He wanted to live to see SeaWorld closed but believed that the day the elephants were out of the circus meant that, too, would happen.
Simon—after whom PETA US’ Norfolk, Virginia, headquarters, the Sam Simon Center, is named—had been a vegetarian since he was 19 and a vegan since joining PETA US about 15 years ago. He set up a charity, The Sam Simon Foundation, to provide homeless people with vegan meals and to rescue dogs from shelters and train them to assist both the deaf and war veterans with physical and mental trauma.
He attacked animal homelessness at its roots by sponsoring spay and neuter surgeries in low-income areas of Los Angeles, helped PETA US launch a mobile spay-and-neuter clinic in Norfolk, Virginia, and hosted numerous PETA US fundraising parties at his home in L.A. He also hosted a weekly Internet radio show on Radioio.com in which he always made a point to address the animal rights issues of the moment.
Simon once attended a PETA US news conference with Bob Barker to call attention to the plight of animals on TV and movie sets. “[I]f you can’t afford the CGI [computer-generated imagery], either do a rewrite,” he said, “or do a cartoon show like I did.”
Simon began his close relationship with PETA US when he donated his fee for an episode ofThe Drew Carey Show because the plot involved greyhound racing and he felt that he could not in good conscience keep the money.
After being diagnosed with terminal cancer, Simon asked PETA US’ president to come to the hospital to see him and draw up a list, which she did, of ways in which he could help animals before he died. Sam’s list became a guide for his philanthropy in the final part of his life. He paid for transport and even purchased dozens of animals who had lived miserable lives in roadside zoos so that PETA US could send them to sanctuaries. “I just wanted to have some days where I get to see animals walk in grass for the first time,” he said. “Through PETA [US], we rescue animals in roadside zoos and circuses. They are some of the most abused animals in the country.”
In addition to all the animals Simon saved during his lifetime, he left generous endowments in his will to ensure that his efforts for animals would continue after he was gone. Animals will have reason to be grateful to this smart, funny, passionate activist and philanthropist for years to come.
In dedicating the Sam Simon Center, Sam said, “One day, people will realize that Sam Simon knew that what PETA [US] says is right, ‘Animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, or use in entertainment.’”
PETA US president Ingrid Newkirk said, “The world could learn all about kindness from Sam’s example, just the things he said, and I hope everyone who hears about him will do something kind and generous in his honor, even give your dog an extra hour in the park or eat one meal that does not involve animal suffering.”
P!nk is known for being super-comfortable in her own skin – so comfortable that she teamed up with PETA US and photographer Ruven Afanador to make her point perfectly clear: she wants animals to keep their own skin. P!nk joins a long list of celebrities who’d “rather go naked than wear fur”.
[A]nimals are the purest spirits in the world. They don’t fake or hide their feelings, and they are the most loyal creatures on Earth. … I would like to say I’ve always been fur-free so I could be proud of myself. Unfortunately, I went through a selfish phase and wore fur on a couple of occasions. But since then, I’ve wised up and now boycott fur completely. I wish everyone was forced to learn the horrors that these animals go through for fashion trends. I hope fur-wearers get bitten in the ass by the same kind of animal they wear on their back.
Electrocuted, beaten, drowned, strangled and skinned alive – this is the fate of millions of animals, including foxes, minks, raccoons, rabbits, chinchillas and even cats and dogs, who are raised for their fur. In China, the world’s largest exporter of fur, there are no penalties for abusing animals on fur farms.
For every fur coat, fur-trim collar or fur-lined boot, at least one animal endured pain and died in agony. Join P!nk today and take the pledge to help lead the charge for animals everywhere by living a kinder lifestyle and vowing never to buy fur.
Among the millions of supporters gathered to celebrate Pope Francis’ arrival in the Philippines were a “seal,” a “kangaroo,” a “cow,” an “elephant”. Why were the animals rushing to welcome the pope? PETA—and Pinoy animal lovers—are hopeful that Pope Francis will inspire everyone to make the kind and just choice to include all animals in our circle of compassion.
It’s easy to become a bit cynical about expecting the government to take real action, particularly when it comes to the issue of animal welfare. But Taiwanese officials have come down hard on cruel and illegal pigeon-racing clubs. The arrests and seizure of property come on the heels of a five-month People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) U.S. investigation into this industry—the most extreme, most deadly, and most crime-ridden in the world.
PETA US undercover investigators documented a grueling system of races over the open ocean and the highest racing death rates in the world. They met with top pigeon-racing officials, observed pigeon racers training birds in three cities, visited pigeon lofts, attended the shipping night of a race in the largest club, toured a ship that transports pigeons for races and watched the loading, and recorded video of bird releases during races in the South China Sea.
Make no mistake about it: Pigeon racing is a deadly pastime—for the birds. Young pigeons are transported out to sea in cargo ships and released in all weather extremes, regardless of the danger. Hundreds of kilometers off shore, the birds are forced to try to make their way home with no land in sight.
These extreme conditions lead to the highest death rates for pigeons in the world. Pigeons often fly low over the water to avoid as much wind as possible, and thousands of young birds die during each race when they are swept underwater by waves or succumb to exhaustion. In one race that PETA US observed, the pigeons were released into typhoon-force winds; 85 percent of them failed to return and are presumed to have perished. These aren’t races—they are massacres.
Investigators gathered race results and recorded top club officers and racers admitting to routine massive casualty totals from the ocean races. Participants also admitted to illegal gambling and tax evasion. With billions of Taiwanese dollars at stake each year, it’s no wonder that organized crime plays a big role in these clubs.
In Taiwan, birds race for one seven-race series when they are between 4 ½ and 6 months old. The president of the largest racing club in Taiwan told the investigators that the birds only get one chance—if they fail to return by a designated time, they are killed. So birds who manage to survive the ocean races but don’t return in the qualifying time likely will have their necks snapped.
These birds don’t deserve such a fate. Besides being loyal mates and nurturing parents, pigeons are personable and extremely smart. They can learn abstract numerical rules—something only humans and other primates were thought to do—and researchers have found that they can learn the letters of the English alphabet quite easily.
Taiwanese officials are to be commended for cracking down on bird abusers, and citizens should take heart that cruelty to animals is being taken with the seriousness that it deserves.
For everyone concerned about the animals affected by Typhoon Hagupit, PETA Asia is monitoring the situation and stands ready to help all animals in need. PETA has a campaigns office in Manila, and we are working all year round to improve the lives of animals (including cats, dogs, cows, chickens—and even an elephant!) in the Philippines.
As the storm moves across the country, flooding—in the capital and elsewhere—poses a risk to animals, especially stray cats and dogs. As in many places, there is severe overpopulation of companion animals in the Philippines, and the many homeless animals on the streets struggle to survive every day.
PETA has helped animals affected by Typhoon Haiyan and Tropical Storm Maring, and we will continue to be here to help our furry, finned, and feathered friends day in and day out.
As the 2014–15 Chinese Basketball Association season gets into full swing, former NBA player The Panda’s Friend launched a new ad for PETA at Raffles City in Chengdu to promote the importance of spaying and neutering. Formerly known as Ron Artest and Metta World Peace, The Panda’s Friend made the name change after he moved to Chengdu in order to play for the Sichuan Blue Whales (and we have to say, we think it’s awesome!).
Check out some pictures from the event:
“The U.S. and China have a serious animal-homelessness crisis,” he said. “Spaying and neutering your companion animals is the way to help them.”
Millions of unwanted animals are suffering and dying on the streets every year because of starvation, disease, traffic accidents, and abuse. Spaying eliminates the stress that females endure while they’re in heat as well as the risk of developing uterine cancer, and it also greatly reduces the risk that they will develop mammary cancer. Neutering makes males far less likely to roam and fight, prevents testicular cancer, and reduces their risk of developing prostate cancer. Spaying or neutering is also strongly encouraged by the Chengdu Municipal Public Security Bureau, which offers spay and neuter services at its animal shelter.
Thank you, Panda’s Friend. We and all animals ♥ you.
In December 2013, Revlon announced that it is “exiting China,” but the company refused to confirm whether this simply meant that offices were closing or whether it will be withdrawing its products from China and no longer paying for tests on animals there.
PETA U.S. finally got the truth, and it isn’t pretty. A representative attended Revlon’s annual meeting to present a resolution calling for transparency for the company’s animal testing policy and practices. She also asked Revlon CEO Lorenzo Delpani point blank whether the company would be withdrawing its products from the Chinese market. Delpani confirmed that “exiting” China does not mean that Revlon will stop selling its products there and added that the decision to exit China was based on business and financial reasons, not the government’s animal testing requirements.
We’d suspected that Revlon’s months-long refusal to answer PETA US’ questions meant that the company had something to hide. Now we know that “something” is the bodies of rats, rabbits, and guinea pigs who are poisoned and killed for its products in cruel and archaic tests.
Wherever there’s cruelty to animals, PETA will be there.
Last week, Fendi brought its “Un Art Autre” exhibit to a popular Hong Kong mall. The event, whose title translates as “Art of Another Kind,” showcased a dozen Fendi designs of death (aka “fur coats”) created over the last several centuries.
PETA and local activists made sure that Fendi was aware that its cruel ways would not be tolerated in Hong Kong—or anywhere else, for that matter.
During the launch of the event—which was crowded with celebrities, socialites, and members of the fashion media—activists unleashed their fury on Fendi. One activist stripped at the event’s entrance to reveal “FurIsDead.com” written all over her body; another wore a bunny suit reading, “Who stole my fur?”; and a pair unfurled a banner portraying a giant image of a skinned fox and the words “Here’s the rest of your fur” from an upper-level balcony. A dozen other activists held signs outside the Fendi booth and made sure that their “fur is murder” chants would be heard in the background of every single TV interview. Needless to say, Fendi’s guests didn’t stay long.
We’re looking forward to seeing Fendi at its next stop. If you want to join the fight against fur, start by taking PETA’s fur-free pledge.
Part of what makes travel so alluring is experiencing different cultures – and this often includes sampling the local cuisine. Luckily, wherever you wander, a tasty, healthy and affordable vegan meal is never far away. If you’re planning to visit Hanoi, you’re in luck – we’ve compiled a handy guide to the city’s best vegan eats!
39 Lê Ngọc Hân St, Hai Bà Trưng District
Price range: $1–5/person
This pure vegetarian restaurant serves authentic Vietnamese dishes – from fresh rolls and vegetable salads to noodle soups and hotpot – all at a very reasonable price. For a traditional Vietnamese-style meal, order some rice, a main dish (we recommend the fried tofu with lemongrass and chilli), green vegetables and a bowl of soup. Treat yourself to a fresh-fruit shake, too – just be sure to ask for no milk.
16 Hàng Hành St, Hoàn Kiếm District
91 Lý Thường Kiệt St, Hoàn Kiếm District
Price range: $2–8/person
With two locations in Hanoi, Thien Phat Chay offers a fine dining experience with a tranquil ambiance. The set menu, which features small portions of four to five dishes, is perfect if you want to sample a little bit of everything. Or if you’re with a group of friends, order some rolls and a hotpot to share. We highly recommend the faux-meat dishes – try any of them, and you will be delighted.
6 Hội Vũ St, Hoàn Kiếm District
Price range: $4–10/person
If you want to try something different from the normal Buddhist-style vegetarian restaurants commonly found in Vietnam, this is the place. Located in the heart of Hanoi’s Old Quarter, in a tiny alley far from the noise of the busy streets, Hanoi Social Club offers an extensive vegan-friendly menu with labels on each dish indicating vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options. Start off with a plate of leafy green salad, grab a veggie burger and take home some tofu chips as snacks for later.
37 Hàng Hành St, Hoàn Kiếm District
Price range: $2–6/person
One thing to keep in mind about restaurants in Hanoi is that most of them close very early. If you want to grab a bite after 9 p.m., this small café has everything that you need. Its vegetarian menu is very vegan-friendly, and the staff is always helpful if you want to clarify any specific dietary requirement. The crispy fried noodles with vegetables on top are particularly outstanding.
One thing is certain: You won’t go hungry while you’re visiting Hanoi. So grab your bag, get a map and discover the 1,000-year-old city of rich culture, friendly people and delicious food!