Raced to Death: The Savage “Sport” of Greyhound Racing Must End

A possum, alive and struggling, her baby still clinging to her back, is tied to the lure arm along the rail. Behind the starting gate a dozen or so greyhounds wait, their eyes fixed straight ahead, their lean and muscular bodies taut with anticipation. The lure arm begins to move along the rail. As it passes the gate, a buzzer sounds. The gate doors fly open and the dogs explode onto the track at breakneck speed. After several laps, the lure arm slows to a halt. The baby possum is nowhere to be seen, having been hurled off somewhere along the track, her brains dashed out on the hard earth or perhaps trampled to death. The mother possum is still alive but limp; her spinal cord has been snapped in half. She squeals. “It’s crying,” someone says. “It’s lost its baby.” The track owner chuckles and removes the dying animal from the armature.

A piglet used as live bait in training racing greyhounds. Before the race is over, he will die.

This grisly scene is from a segment on the current affairs program, Four Corners, which aired not long ago on Australian television. The program included graphic footage, including the scene above, filmed secretly by animal activists that revealed the use of live animals including possums, rabbits, piglets, and kittens, in training racing greyhounds in three Australian states, Queensland, New South Wales, and Victoria. The practice is called live baiting, and it is not only bloodthirsty, it is illegal. The program included interviews with a number of leading greyhound trainers and track owners who denied the existence of live baiting, but there it was on film, and many of those doing the denying were shown to be involved in the bloody practice.

The public and political reaction to the revelations was swift and widespread. At least one major corporate sponsor has withdrawn its support of greyhound racing in Australia. In Queensland, 13 trainers are under investigation. In New South Wales, the board of Greyhound Racing and a former Justice of the High Court of Australia was appointed to lead a review of the greyhound racing industry in that state. Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania, have launched inquiries of their own. Incredibly, at least one prominent politician has directed his criticism not at the trainers but at the activists who trespassed to record the damning footage.

This heinous practice of live baiting is illegal in the United States, too, but that doesn’t mean it’s not happening right here at home. In 2002, one Arizona greyhound breeder lost his state license when racing commission officials found 180 rabbits on his property. A Texas breeder had his license revoked when authorities came into possession of video showing him baiting greyhounds with live rabbits on his farm. The breeder was initially charged with cruelty to animals, but his case was dismissed by a judicial system that typically protects those who profit from animal cruelty. It’s an outrage.

A 2011 FBI investigation into live baiting at a major breeding farm in West Virginia was not pursued to completion. Instead, the man who recorded video exposing the live baiting and other abuses at the farm was sentenced to six months in prison. The sadistic criminals involved in this terrible cruelty will do everything in their power to cover up these horrific crimes.

“Bait” animals are not the only victims of the dog racing industry. Greyhounds themselves — naturally gentle dogs — are often kept in brutal and deplorable living conditions. Live baiters taunt and incite their dogs to chase, attack, and ultimately kill small animals. When the tired and used up greyhounds can no longer run fast, they’re killed.

There has been some progress. In 40 states, commercial dog racing is now illegal. But in seven states – Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Iowa, Texas, and West Virginia – greyhound racing remains legal and operational. And for the poor animals forced to run, deadly.

In February 2015, the greyhound advocacy group GREY2K USA and the ASPCA released the first-ever national report on greyhound racing in the United States. The detailed report chronicles thousands of injuries and hundreds of deaths of greyhounds in those seven states. The report was mailed to state lawmakers and opinion leaders to urge them to bring an end to this inherently cruel “sport.” The report revealed that greyhounds injured while racing between 2008 and 2014 numbered close to 12,000. Injuries included severed toes, broken legs, spinal cord paralysis, broken necks, heatstroke, electrocution, and cardiac arrest. Additionally, 16 racing greyhounds in Alabama and Florida tested positive for cocaine in their bloodstream.

There is hope for greyhounds. Since 1991, 41 dog tracks have closed or discontinued live racing, and the greyhound racing industry has seen a sharp financial decline. Over the past decade, gambling on dog racing has dropped 66%. But we cannot afford to wait – in the first half of 2018, 163 greyhounds were injured on American dog tracks and 53 were killed during a race.

Let us work together to put an end to greyhound racing in the United States. Here’s how you can help:

  • Do not patronize greyhound races, bet on greyhound races, or support those states that host greyhound racing.
  • If you live in one the seven states where greyhound racing is still in operation contact your state legislators and insist they act now to put an end to this cruel competition. If you live in the Sunshine State, know that 12 of the 18 dog tracks still in operation in the United States are located in Florida.
  • Join with the fine organizations who are already working to end greyhound racing by educating the public and pressing for legislation. GREY2K USA is devoted to this cause.

At individual tracks all over the country, the moment that racing season is over, hundreds of dogs are immediately in need of placement. Thankfully, there are greyhound rescue groups that go to the tracks and rescue as many as possible. Several rescue organizations even fly their own planes around the country and to Mexico to save greyhounds from being killed. Until greyhound racing is banned altogether, at least we can insure that fewer retired greyhounds will be put to death by finding good homes for these gentle, low-maintenance, family-friendly animals.

Peace for ALL the animals with whom we share the planet!

In loving memory of Chester Riis, retired racer and gentle soul.

California Bans Cosmetics Tested on Animals

Thanks to SB 1249, the Cruelty-Free Cosmetics Act, just signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown, cosmetics tested on animals will no longer be allowed to be sold in California. Beginning in January 2020 (why not 2019?), to do business in the world’s fifth-largest economy, cosmetics manufacturers will have to stop subjecting animals to unspeakable cruelty and death in testing their products and their ingredients. This is not only good news for animals and those who care about animals, but for consumers as well. Using animals to conduct safety testing is flawed science, because differences between species, and even between animals in the same species, are subject to variances in absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion of chemicals, and lead to flawed and generally useless results regarding humans.

Even though animal testing is NOT required by law, companies still choose to torture, maim, and kill animals by the hundreds of thousands each year in the United States, even though there are much better alternatives to animal testing.  The animals most frequently used for these horribly cruel tests are mice, rats, rabbits, guinea pigs, monkeys and beagles. Yes, because of their docile nature, beagles, like my friend Snoopy, are also often used for testing. In tests of cosmetic products and ingredients, animals suffer through painful and often bizarre tests for skin irritation, eye irritation and any kind of toxicity. In these tests, the animals have chemicals forced down their throats, into their eyes and onto their shaved skin to document their reaction. Lethal dose tests, in which large amounts of a test chemical are forced through a tube down the throats of animals are conducted to see how much and long it takes for the animal to die. These animal tests result in immense pain, distress, blindness, swollen eyes, sore and bleeding skin, internal bleeding, organ damage, birth defects, convulsions and death. In a barbaric procedure called the Draize test, a solution of products is continuously dripped into the eyes of rabbits. The rabbit’s head is held in a restraining stock and clips placed on the poor animal’s eyelids to hold them open during the test period, which can last several days. The results are typically intense burning, itching, pain, and often blindness. The animals can’t do anything to stop their suffering because they can’t free themselves from the gruesome restraining stocks. In a Draize test for skin irritancy, the test substances are applied to the animal’s skin after it has been shaved and scraped raw. The suffering these animals are put through is too ghastly to comprehend. Animals that survive such tests are killed when the tests are done, their destroyed bodies thrown in the trash. Laboratory animals are not protected under the Animal Welfare Act.

Alternatives to using animals in testing include:

  • in vitro (test tube) test methods and models based on human cell and tissue cultures
  • computer models and simulations
  • stem cell testing methods
  •  the use of cornea-like 3D structures, which are produced from human cells. These human skin cultures can be grown specifically for cosmetic testing. This is a much more accurate alternative to pouring caustic chemicals into the eyes of terrified and suffering animals.

For more alternatives to animal testing go to https://www.neavs.org/alternatives/in-testing

California is not the first to ban the use of animals in cosmetics testing – animal testing has been banned in the European Union, India, Israel, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland, and Turkey. How sad that the United States has not seen fit to end the suffering and torment of testing on animals. Let’s hope California’s compassionate choice will lead the rest of the nation to put a stop to the horrific violence done in the name of human vanity. Please take a moment to let decision-makers know that no cosmetics product or ingredient is worth inflicting suffering on animals. Act now to stop cruel cosmetic tests on animals in the U.S. by going to this web site (https://support.peta.org/page/1879/action/1)  and scrolling to the bottom of the page.

Presented below are two links that offer a list of companies who test on animals and those who don’t. But to ensure an absolute cruelty-free cosmetics collection, always look for the signature “cruelty-free” bunny logo.

Companies that DO:  https://www.peta.org/living/personal-care-fashion/beauty-brands-that-you-thought-were-cruelty-free-but-arent/

Companies that DO NOT: http://features.peta.org/cruelty-free-company-search/cruelty_free_companies_search.aspx?Donottest=8

To learn more about California Bill SB1249 watch this video, produced by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sfAdPJMvMdk&feature=youtu.be

Peace to ALL the animals with whom we share the planet!

Stop the Slaughter of Baby Seals

In 1963 I traveled to Canada to act in my first television role. I played Cindy, a little girl who climbs out of the back of her parents’ station wagon to retrieve the teddy bear she dropped. Her parents, unaware she’s missing, drive off leaving Cindy alone in the woods. The tiny girl is ultimately rescued and reunited with her parents thanks to a very special German Shepherd. The show was called The Littlest Hobo, and it was filmed in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Canada is a beautiful country, and home to extraordinary animals like grizzly bears, caribou, bison, and humpback whales. But Canada is also home to the shameful, brutal murder of hundreds of thousands of baby harp seals. It’s the largest mass slaughter of marine mammals in the world.

Every spring, soon after the babies are born, seal “hunters” go out onto the ice floes in the waters off Eastern Canada, and bludgeon and hack seal pups to death for their skins. They crack open their tiny skulls with heavy clubs and hack them to death with a type of pickaxe called a hakapik. There is nowhere for the pups to hide and no means of escape. The ice is stained red with the pups’ blood as their mothers bellow and moan pitifully for their slaughtered babies. Not only is the killing savagely brutal, post-mortem surveys show that more than 40% of these helpless white balls of fluff are skinned while they are still alive.

The Canadian government refuses to acknowledge their part in the savage killing, but it is the Canadian Coast Guard that relay the seals’ locations to the killers, and Canadian Coast Guard cutters that break through the ice to lead the killers to their innocent prey.

Activists like Paul Watson and his organization, Sea Shepherd, have led the fight against the Canadian seal kill. To thwart the killers and make the seal pups’ fur undesirable to them, they stain the pups with henna dye, painting a red stripe down their backs. A dyed baby seal is a seal who will live to grow up.

To hide Canada’s complicity in the slaughter from the rest of the world, the Canadian government has gone so far as to pass a law called, with colossal irony, the “Seal Protection Act,” which does nothing to protect seals and makes witnessing the seal kill by civilians a criminal offense. Taking photos or videotaping the seal killers as they club and hack baby seals to death will land you in jail.

Paul Watson and Sea Shepherd are not deterred, and risk prison to record the brutal killing and share the images they capture with the world. As a direct result, the United States, Mexico, India, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Taiwan, Switzerland, and the 27 nations of the European Union have banned trade in seal products. Thanks to the activists’ bravery and leadership, the worldwide market for seal products is fast collapsing.

Yet, Canada is not the only nation still engaged in the slaughter of baby seals for their skins. Russia, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Iceland, Greenland, and Namibia are, too. Please urge them to stop the slaughter by leaving a message at the Facebook pages for all those nations’ American embassies and consulates.

Canada: https://www.facebook.com/CanadaNY/

Russia: https://www.facebook.com/RusEmbUSA/

Norway: https://www.facebook.com/NorwegianEmbassyinWashington/

Finland: https://www.facebook.com/FinnEmbassyDC/

Iceland: https://www.facebook.com/swedeninusa/

Greenland (autonomous region of Denmark): https://www.facebook.com/DenmarkinUSA/

Sweden’s and Namibia’s embassies have no Facebook page, but you can contact them by email at:

ambassaden.washington@foreign.ministry.se

info@namibianembassyusa.org

 

Peace to ALL the animals with whom we share the planet!

California Hospitals and Prisons Now Offer Vegan Options

Dining out recently with my manager and co-author of my forthcoming memoirs, I had to have him take my picture with this great “Star Trek” poster. I love the message – Vulcans respected all forms of life, as should we all.

I am so pleased that California Gov. Jerry Brown has signed into law a landmark bill that guarantees the state’s hospital patients and prison population a vegan option at every meal. “Whether to protect animals, our climate, or our health, those of us who choose to eat a vegan diet can celebrate today with Gov. Brown’s signing of SB 1138,” says State Senator Nancy Skinner, sponsor of the bill. “SB 1138 ensures that people in hospitals, healthcare facilities, or prison have access to plant-based meals.” Co-sponsoring the bill was the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine and Social Compassion in Legislation. State law will now require licensed California health care facilities and state prisons to make vegan meal options containing no animal products or by-products, including meat, poultry, fish, dairy, or eggs.

A vegan diet not only saves the lives of animals but promotes better health. I became vegan over twenty-five years ago after reading the books The Case for Animal Rights by Dr. Tom Regan and Diet for A New America by John Robbins, and by watching videos showing animals in factory farms and slaughterhouses. So gruesome were the images I saw, I could barely keep watching, but I had to know the truth behind what we eat. Everything I read and saw not only confirmed to me that all animals have the capacity to suffer, and they do – horribly, but also that animals have complex emotions and are much smarter than most people realize. I decided I simply couldn’t continue to participate in something that inflicts such fear, pain and suffering upon poor, innocent animals.

Pigs, cows, sheep, chickens, and other animals raised for human consumption are horribly abused in factory farms and slaughterhouses, their throats cut, and their still living bodies hung upside down to bleed out, after which their corpses are cut up and delivered to meat packing plants. Fish are pulled from oceans and lakes and cut apart or left to die of suffocation on the bloody decks of fishing trawlers. Dairy cows are artificially inseminated by a machine known in the industry as a “rape rack,” and kept pregnant their whole miserable lives, pumped constantly for the milk created for their babies until they collapse from brittle, calcium-depleted bones. When their milk production declines, the poor cows, crying for their babies, are shipped in hot, crowded trucks and boxcars to the slaughterhouse. The cow’s female babies are destined for the “rape rack” just like their mothers, but her male babies are taken away, umbilical cord still hanging, and shipped off to veal farms. There they are chained by the neck so they can’t move and fed an anemic diet, so that their flesh is tender and white when they are slaughtered, still in infancy, to be processed as veal.

Dairy is an extremely cruel industry. I drink almond or soy milk and enjoy vegan cream cheese, vegan mayonnaise, and other vegan cheeses. I could go on and on. Google vegan substitutes for ANY animal product and you will find awesome alternatives. To learn more about opposing animal cruelty and choosing compassion (and better health, as well), please visit adaptt.org and get the brochure “Why Vegan” from veganoutreach.com

If you’re interested in watching some awesome documentaries about how to start the process towards veganism, see “Cowspiracy,” “Forks Over Knives,” and “What the Health.” For an even larger selection, go to https://nutriciously.com/best-vegan-documentaries/

A well-balanced vegan diet can easily provide all the nutrients we need to thrive. Government health experts worldwide are finally catching up with the large body of scientific evidence demonstrating that a vegan diet is not only a viable option for people of any age, but that eating plant foods instead of animal-based foods can confer significant health benefits, including reduction in incidence of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart attack, stroke, and cancer.

Taxpayers benefit from the new law (studies show vegan meals cost about 50% less than meat entrees), patients and prisoners benefit, and most importantly, millions of animals’ lives will be saved.

Let’s urge every state to follow California’s lead and offer vegan meal options in every hospital and prison. In fact, let’s broaden the law. With childhood obesity a major issue in America today, isn’t it time schools were required to offer a vegan option, too?

Peace for ALL the animals with whom we share the planet!

Hunting Is Not a “Sport”

For several years I lived in Connecticut, where this photo was taken. It was there I was walking through the woods one winter’s day, appreciating the quiet and enjoying seeing the occasional animal leaving tracks in the snow as they scurried about looking for food. On my walk I encountered a hunter intent on “bagging” a deer, and though I begged him not to, he wasn’t interested in anything but bringing down a big deer just for the fun of it

As we spoke a beautiful red-tailed deer and her tiny faun stepped from behind some bushes. What a perfect picture of nature – a mama deer and her baby walking together through the snowy woods. The hunter raised his rifle and shot her through the neck. The shot reverberated through the woods, sending flocks of birds into the air and the baby deer running back into the bushes.

I wept for the deer and screamed at the hunter, asking how he could cold-bloodedly kill an innocent being who was simply taking care of her baby. As I sobbed, the hunter dragged the dead deer by her legs up the hill to the road leaving a trail of bright red blood in the snow. The little faun crept back out from the bushes and sniffed at the blood in the snow as she followed her dead mother. The hunter tried to scare the baby away by shouting and throwing things at her. But the little baby wouldn’t leave her mother even as her corpse was loaded into the back of a pickup truck. After the hunter drove away with his kill, the baby ran back into the woods. Too young to feed herself or keep herself warm, there’s no question she soon died, too. With one bullet, the hunter had killed two gentle souls.

For what? There’s no need for people in a civilized society to hunt anymore. Whether it’s in the woods of Connecticut or on the Serengeti plains, killing for pleasure as a “sport” or as a hobby is pure evil. The thrill hunters get from killing deer, bears, coyotes, wolves, lions, or elephants eludes me.

Hunters have invented all sorts of excuses to rationalize their murderous recreation.  Save the excuses – killing has no justification. Hunting has nothing to do with “conservation” or “population control;” nature has handled those matters quite well for millions of years without the “help” of humans. In nature, most animals self-regulate; at times of food scarcity, those animals cease to bear young. Left alone by humans, the delicate balance of nature’s ecosystems ensures the survival of most species.

Few things are uglier than the head or other body parts of a noble animal hacked off and hung on a wall or over a mantel. For their “trophies,” hunters typically seek out the largest, most robust animals, those needed to keep the gene pool strong. “Trophy hunting” weakens the rest of the species’ population. Elephant poaching is believed to have increased the number of tuskless animals in Africa, while in Canada, hunting has caused the horn size of the bighorn sheep to fall by 25% over the last 40 years. Nature magazine reports “the effect on the populations’ genetics is probably deeper.”

Hunting is not a “sport.” Real sports involve competition between consenting parties and don’t end with the slaughter of an unwilling participant.

Quick kills are rare in hunting, and many animals suffer prolonged, painful deaths when hunters severely injure but fail to kill them. Hunting also disrupts migration and hibernation patterns and destroys families. For animals such as wolves and geese, who mate for life and live in close-knit family units, hunting can devastate entire communities.

The fear and the inescapable, earsplitting noises from gunfire and other commotion that hunters create cause hunted animals to suffer tremendous stress. This severely compromises their routine and their eating habits, making it hard for them to store the fat and energy that they need to survive the winter. Loud noises can also disrupt mating rituals and can cause parent animals to flee their dens and nests, leaving their young vulnerable to natural predators. When animals are killed, families are broken up, leaving the young to perish of starvation, exposure, or attacks by other animals.

Hunters likewise often accidentally injure and kill animals other those they’re hunting, including horses, cows, dogs, and cats.  Dogs used for hunting are often kept chained or penned up when they’re not hunting, and much their lives are spent in miserable conditions.

Those who wish only to enjoy our country’s vanishing wilderness and the beauty of nature are often forced to share wildlife refuges, national forests, state parks, and other public lands with armed individuals on the hunt for animals to kill. Close to 40% of hunting in the United States is conducted on public lands, at the cost of millions of dead animals every year. Most federal and state agencies charged with managing wildlife refuges, national forests, state parks, and other public lands are funded in part by the sale of hunting and fishing licenses and hunting tourism, and agencies now go out of their way to encourage these activities rather than regulate or police them. In fact, wildlife departments often kill majestic predators, such as wolves, bears, and coyotes, to increase the elk, caribou, and deer population in certain areas so hunters will have more of those animals to gun down. Talk about upsetting the balance of nature.

Before you support a “wildlife” or “conservation” group, ask first about its position on hunting. Some groups, including the National Wildlife Federation, the National Audubon Society, the Sierra Club, the Izaak Walton League, the Wilderness Society, and the World Wildlife Fund are either in favor of “sport” hunting or make no effort to oppose it.

Peace for ALL the animals with whom we share the planet!

In Times of Natural Disaster, Animals Need Help, Too

Once again, major wildfires in California are wreaking havoc on both wild and domestic animals. Some fires are moving at the rate of 50 miles per hour, consuming everything in their paths. Fleeing animals can’t outrun the flames and are being burned alive or suffocating from smoke inhalation. My heart breaks because they are confused, frightened, and have no place to go. More than anything in the world, I wish I could save them all.

During the wildfires last December, I volunteered at the Last Call animal shelters, trying to reunite lost cats and dogs with their owners. I also helped dozens of volunteers wash animals being brought in completely covered with ash. We flushed out their eyes with warm water since animals are incapable of doing that for themselves. The animals were crying and shaking; it was so very sad. We did what we could by giving them loving kindness and comfort.

I urge anyone who can make the time to volunteer at your local animal rescue. Even in non-emergency times and locations, animals need you to help them find safe and loving adoptive homes.

Lost homes can be rebuilt but lives lost are gone forever. As you read this, poor animals are dying by the thousands in fear, pain, and misery.

All of us must be stewards of the earth’s animals. They are so innocent and need us to love them, protect them, adopt them, and NOT to eat them.

Peace to ALL the animals with whom we share the planet!

How to Buy Cruelty-Free

One episode of “Space Academy” featured a rabbit named Jumping Jupiter. Did you know there are a pair of rabbits that can help you select cruelty-free products when you’re shopping?

In the animal rights movement, cruelty-free is a label for products or activities that do not harm or kill animals. Products tested on animals are not considered cruelty-free, since these tests are horribly painful and cause the suffering and death of millions of animals every year. Every product, every action, and every lifestyle decision can be a choice to stop the immense suffering and death of animals who can’t speak up for themselves.

Animals such as rabbits, rats, mice and guinea pigs are kept in tiny cages and forced to eat or inhale toxic substances, or have cosmetic ingredients rubbed onto their shaved skin, eyes, or ears every day for 28 or 90 days to see if they have an allergic reaction. After these gruesome and archaic tests, the animals are killed and thrown away like yesterday’s garbage. These tests are also done with pregnant animals who, after much suffering, are killed along with the fetus. In more prolonged carcinogen tests, rats are force-fed a cosmetic’s ingredient over two years, and then killed.

Typically, a little rabbit, or other small animal is tightly constrained in a box so that he is completely unable to move. Clips hold his eyelids open. A disgusting “tester” puts a concentrated substance to the outer layer of the eye and observes over a span of days or weeks for responses such as blindness, bleeding, hemorrhaging and ulceration. Because the poor animals are unable to move, they can’t even scratch their eyes or skin. They are kept from moving for days and even weeks. After the test, the animals are killed.

Primates, dogs such as the beagle, and cats are used for ghastly invasive experimentation as well. Many laboratories use these species to test drugs and chemicals old and new, and to study the effects of disease.

There are several organizations working hard to get outdated animal testing replaced with quicker, cheaper, and more accurate methods. Alternatives to animal testing have shown results that are far more accurate to humans. Remember, the reactions of rabbits, mice, etc. cannot be extrapolated to a human. However, using human tissue as well as computer modeling, researchers can legitimately test how humans will respond. For example, reconstructed human epidermis—which uses human skin donated from cosmetic surgery to replace the hideous rabbit Draize skin test—is more relevant to human reactions. Other methods replace the Draize eye test by using in vitro (test-tube) human tissue. Computer-based systems allow for isolation of a select tissue or organ to conduct tests in an extremely controlled environment. These tests not only save millions of animal lives, but are more precise and accurate at protecting humans from toxic substances.

Companies now offer a wide range of cruelty-free products such as cosmetics, personal-care products, household cleaners, clothing, shoes, and candles (which usually use paraffin or beeswax). Organizations such as PETA, the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection and its offshoot organization Cruelty Free International, have issued lists of cruelty-free products to buy and cruel products to boycott. There is also the “Leaping Bunny” symbol or the PETA “Cruelty Free Bunny” logo that identifies products not tested on animals and manufactured without animal ingredients. More and more companies are now identifying on the packaging products that are “not tested on animals and no animal ingredients were used in the manufacturing of this product,” making it easier than ever to buy “cruelty free!”

Please visit these sites to learn about the products you can use that do NOT test on animals. The animals thank you!!

https://www.navs.org/what-we…/promote-cruelty-free-shopping/

https://www.crueltyfreeinternational.org/why-we-do-it/alternatives-animal-testing

https://www.mediapeta.com/peta/PDF/companiesdonttest.pdf

Peace to ALL the animals with whom we share the planet!

The Cruelty Behind “Cruelty-Free” Laboratory Meat

In the very first episode of Blondie, Cookie won’t eat her eggs. Who can blame her? Eggs are the product of a cruel and deadly industry. I like to think Cookie grew up to be vegan, just as the girl who played her did.

Millions have gone vegan in response of the horrific suffering imposed on animals, as well as for health and environmental reasons. For that reason, the merciless meat and dairy industries are running scared. Now they’ve come up with laboratory-grown, or cultured, “meat” as a substitute for the flesh of cows. They’re trying to peddle this lab-grown meat as a “cruelty-free” alternative, and it’s not just “cultured” beef vying for space restaurant menus – they’re also attempting to clone chicken breasts and fish fillets.

What they don’t want you to know is that growing meat in a lab requires a product known as fetal bovine serum, or FBS. FBS, as the name implies, is a byproduct made from the blood of cow fetuses. Dairy cows, who are kept pregnant throughout their miserable lives to ensure constant milk production, are slaughtered when they’re no longer productive enough to justify their upkeep on factory dairy farms. To get this FBS, these cruel meat producers take pregnant dairy cows to slaughter and bleed them out. The fetus is removed and brought into a blood collection room. The fetus, which remains alive during the process to ensure blood quality, has a needle inserted into its heart, and the blood is drained until the fetus dies, a slow death that takes about five minutes. This blood is then refined, and the resulting extract is FBS. This is hardly the cruelty-free future meat producers want you to believe in.

The bottom line is, meat made in a lab still requires the slaughter of cows and the killing of and extracting blood from the cows’ fetuses. Add to that all the same health risks associated with consuming animal flesh: high levels of cholesterol and saturated fat that increase your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.

If you want truly cruelty-free alternatives to eating animal flesh, don’t be duped by the monstrous meat and dairy industry and their lab-grown beef. There are hundreds of clean, healthy plant-based products on the market. Visit a Whole Foods or other full-range grocer and ask to be introduced to the wide selection of vegan burgers, vegan ground round (great for tacos!), Gardein vegan meatballs, and on and on. Sample the many delicious milk substitutes, vegan ice cream sandwiches, and even vegan apple pie!

Here’s a great site that will answer all your questions regarding healthy and delicious vegan alternatives. You’ll be surprised at how many there are and how much fun and easy – and tasty! – it is to go cruelty-free!

Peace to ALL the animals with whom we share the planet!

San Francisco Bans Fur Sales, Plus a Guest Essay by Priscilla Feral

A candid photo from 1975, taken on the steps of City Hall while shooting on location for the police drama The Streets of San Francisco. San Francisco is a beautiful city. I’ve been there many times. Soon the city will be even more beautiful when the ban on the sale of fur takes effect on January 1, 2019. San Francisco joins a growing list of cities across America that are banning the products of a cruel and bloodthirsty trade.

Priscilla Feral is a longtime friend and President of Friends of Animals. This past week, Priscilla published an op-ed piece in the New York Daily News calling on the nation’s fashion capital to join the ban. Priscilla and I agree it’s about time.

 

Torture goes out of fashion: Momentum builds for a ban on NYC fur sales

by Priscilla Feral

New York City prides itself on being a fashion capital, with designers who create the most innovative looks on the world’s stage. Now it’s time for the city to truly become fashion forward — to take its lead from powerhouse designers such as Stella McCartney and Michael Kors, and cities such as San Francisco, Berkeley, and West Hollywood, all of which are making the most important fashion statement of all by banning the sales of fur.

Furs is not fashion. Compassion is. More than 60% of Americans find killing animals for fur amounts to cruelty, according to an Angus Reid survey.

The signs that fur is over are everywhere.

Not only have McCartney and Kors shunned fur, as have Gucci and Versace, but so have New York City-based fashion houses Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein and Hugo Boss.

Manhattan’s fur district has steadily declined. Where 450 fur factories once operated, now just a handful do – evidence that society’s desire for a product that depends on the slaughter and suffering of 50 million animals a year has waned. It’s been six years since an essay about the district’s demise was headlined “Last of the Furriers.” That is nothing to lament.

Fur is not only cruel to animals, but its production is toxic. Each mink skinned by fur farmers produces about 44 pounds of feces, which adds up to 1 million pounds produced annually by mink farms. Fur farm byproducts can leach into waterways.

Meanwhile, vegan fashion is in vogue. Faux fur revenues reached $250 million in 2010, with a predicted growth rate of 30% a year. And buyers are turning to cruelty-free fashion with gusto.

Why then should the city continue to prop up a declining, polluting, cruel industry? Neither the federal government nor the state of New York has regulated the sale of fur products except for the sale of dog and cat fur, which is generally prohibited under federal law.

Until the federal or state government decides to regulate the sale of fur products from other animals commonly used in the fashion and apparel industries, New York City is free to limit the sale and distribution of these products.

Thus, we have proposed City Council legislation to amend the administrative code of the city of New York in order to prohibit the sale, offering for sale, display for sale, trade, gifting, donation, or other distribution of an animal fur product. We have already spoken to several Council members who are supportive and expect to introduce legislation this fall.

Critics might say New York City will lose money. But there are a variety of immoral ways to earn revenues – and we should always shun them.

As San Francisco noted in its fur ban legislation: “The sale of fur products in San Francisco is inconsistent with the City’s ethos of treating all living beings, humans and animals alike, with kindness.”

The New York City Economic Development Corp., in its Fashion NYC2020 study, called on the city to become a hub of fashion-industry innovation. A fur ban gives designers and retailers in the city this very opportunity to be leaders in vegan fashion, build a commitment to protecting the environment, and send a message that animal suffering and slaughter for the sake of expensive clothing – only affordable to the 1% percent anyway – is over.

 

Every Glass of Milk or Slice of Cheese Supports the Veal Industry

As a child actress and model, I was photographed in all sorts of poses, including a few like this one – eating a bowl of cereal and milk.  Of course, I had no idea then how cruel the dairy industry is or what goes on at dairy farms. Thank goodness I know now.

We’re so used to drinking cows’ milk we never think about what dairy cows and their offspring endure for people to pour milk on their cereal. Did you know that human animals are the only species on earth who drink the milk of another species? And did you know every animal in the animal kingdom stops drinking milk after they’re weened, except for – you got it – human animals.

Although the dairy industry would rather you didn’t know and tries to hide this fact, lactose intolerance is a natural and common condition among humane. Lactose intolerance affects approximately 95 percent of Asian-Americans, 74 percent of Native Americans, 70 percent of African Americans, 53 percent of Latin Americans, and 15 percent of Caucasians. Symptoms include gastrointestinal cramping, diarrhea, and flatulence, and occur because the lactose intolerant do not have the lactase enzyme to digest the lactose, the sugar naturally found in milk.

The dairy industry would like you to believe that dairy cows graze contentedly in green pastures before being led into a rustic red barn to be milked. Nothing could be further from the truth.   The reality in today’s world find thousands of cows packed tightly together in nightmarish factory farms, hooked up to painful and frightening machines.

Dairy cows are, of course, female, and, like all mammals, produce milk after giving birth to nourish their calves. To keep cows producing milk, it is necessary to force them to remain constantly pregnant. Dairy farmers achieve this by artificially impregnating their cows again and again on so-called “rape racks.”

A cow’s natural lifespan is about 20 years, but cows used by the dairy industry are typically killed after about five years because their bodies wear out from constantly being pregnant or lactating. A dairy industry study found that by the time they are killed, nearly 50 percent of cows have painful mastitis – grossly enlarged and misshapen udders – and are typically lame and infected from standing in intensive confinement on concrete floors and in filth.

If that weren’t cruel enough, do you know what happens to all those calves brought into the world in order to keep their mothers producing milk? First, calves are torn away from their mothers within 24 hours of their birth. This is traumatic for both mother and calf; mother cows can be heard crying out for their calves for days. Female calves will live short and cruel lives just as their mothers do, but a different fate waits in store for the males. Most male calves of dairy cows are shipped to barren feedlots where they will be fattened and slaughtered for beef. Those are the “lucky” ones.

A “city” of veal calves, each imprisoned in his own tiny crate at a factory farm.

Some male calves are turned over to the veal industry. These calves, beginning at a day or two old, are kept 24/7 in tiny crates, a chain around their neck to prevent them from moving about or even turning around. The muscles of calves who cannot move atrophy and remain tender. To make their flesh white, the calves are fed a diet lacking in iron and any real nutritional value. Veal calves typically suffer from anemia, diarrhea, and pneumonia. Frightened, sick, and isolated from other calves, these poor animals are slaughtered after a few short months, and their flesh stripped and sold. That tender, pale veal neatly packaged in the meat case of your local supermarket is the end product of a short, sad, and brutal life.

Those who refuse to eat veal because of the cruelty involved ought to be aware that drinking cows’ milk or buying dairy products – butter, cheese, ice cream etc. – are still supporting the veal industry with their wallets.

The good news is that removing dairy products from your diet is easier than ever. Today, there are many cruelty-free vegan alternatives at your supermarket, such as soy, rice, oat, almond, coconut, and pecan milks and ice creams, tasty vegetable-based spreads, and delicious cheeses for cooking and eating. Please try them – they’re great!

Peace to ALL the animals with whom we share the planet!