Archive for the ‘Animal Rights’ category

I Can Think Of A Few Things I’d Like To Do With That Pitchfork…

March 28th, 2011

…and the elephant is not involved.

Text from Animal Defenders:

Animal Defenders International has released shocking footage from behind the scenes at the winter quarters of Bobby Roberts Super Circus, which graphically shows violence and confinement of circus animals.

ADI secured footage over a three and a half week period from a camera observing activity in a barn where the animals are kept when not touring, which shows a staggeringly high level of violence and serious animal husbandry flaws. Incidents included Annie (Anne), an elderly, severely arthritic 57 year old elephant being hit with a metal pitchfork and kicked around the face and body 48 times over the period of observation by workers, who are also seen beating and spitting on a camel and beating miniature ponies and horses on numerous occasions.

The disturbing footage also shows Annie constantly chained for the entire period of filming by her front and arthritic back leg with only enough room to take one step forward or backwards. Her chains were only changed to different legs twice, ADI believes this will clearly cause her pain and discomfort. It was noted that the feeding regime was poor.

What makes this case all the more disturbing is that the circus proprietor Bobby Roberts, who has claimed publicly to take good care of Annie as ‘she is a family pet’ and ‘part of the family’, is clearly captured on camera kicking Annie on the trunk, an extremely sensitive part of an elephant’s anatomy, and this is done in front of a worker.

As government prepares to make an announcement within the next few weeks regarding the fate of animal circuses in the UK and makes the decision to implement a total ban or self regulation, Animal Defenders International believes that this new evidence provides them with only one option – a total ban on the use of wild animals in circuses.

Jan Creamer, ADI’s Chief Executive said: “Annie’s tragic story symbolizes the plight of circus animals and is a shocking indictment of the circus industry at a key time as government considers a ban on the use of wild animals in circuses. We have presented successive governments with extensive evidence from our undercover investigations over the years into UK circuses that proves conclusively that routine violence and deprivation is endemic within the industry.

“To Lord Henley, the Minister responsible, we say enough is enough. It is now time for him to act decisively to stop this appalling suffering. It is time for him to enact a total ban once and for all.”

Government’s own public consultation in March 2010 found that an overwhelming 94.5% of the public want to see a ban on wild animals in circuses and over 170 MPs have now signed Early Day Motion 403 calling on the Government to ban wild animal acts. A recent parliamentary poll conducted by ADI found that 63% of MPs would like to see a ban on the use of wild animals in circuses and only 14% disagreed.

ADI has now exposed the shocking abuse of animals in UK circuses from several random undercover investigations over the last fifteen years. Only recently, in 2009, the beating of elephants at the Great British Circus was exposed and now in 2011 Bobby Roberts Super Circus shows that this is a way of life at the circus. A clear pattern has been proven and this time the government needs to act.

Tim Phillips, ADI’s Campaigns Director said: “The release of this footage stops any attempt by UK government to ignore the will of the public. It is clear that self-regulation is not an option in this industry.

“Once again, we have exposed that cruelty and deprivation is rife within the circus industry. We have also established that self regulation is not a viable option as the government would be asking circuses like Bobby Roberts or the Great British Circus to regulate themselves. That would be a farce, and the animals will continue to suffer abuse.”

And to the circus industry, ADI says enough is enough.

Jan said: “I have no doubt that it will be claimed that this is an ‘exception’ and/or that the owner was not aware of the abuse, but the evidence is now conclusive. Each time we expose the cruelty, the circuses give a similar range of excuses.

“ADI has been concerned for Annie’s welfare for many years and have followed her tragic plight. Poor Annie has been with the circus for over 50 years since she was baby, having been caught in the wild and torn from her family. Elephants are social and extremely intelligent so this has been a living hell for her. At last we have managed to expose this circus operation for the cruel farce that it is and never again can Roberts preach about animal welfare and how well his animals are cared for.”

Tim concluded: “Our latest investigation shows how animals like elephants suffer in the travelling circus. In the name of entertainment they are beaten, jabbed with hooks and hit with pitchforks, chained up for hours every day, and pushed into metal boxes each week where they remain for hours on end whilst the circus moves to another site. And when they are meant to be resting in their winter quarters the abuse and cruelty continues.

“The public wants to see a ban, Parliament wants a ban, animal protection groups want a ban. A ban is the only way to put an end, once and for all, to this deplorable violence and deprivation, and government must act now.”
The Bobby Roberts Super Circus began its UK tour on the 24 March. Potential visitors are being asked to vote with their feet and stay away.

ADI is consulting with its lawyers to see what the potential is for legal action.

Story & Video from Animal Defenders

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Oprah Goes Vegan(ish)…Again

February 2nd, 2011

So the time rolls around again and I hear the talk of the upcoming event, Oprah is doing another show on veganism. The Twitter is aflutter and people just can’t rock their socks loud enough to get the word out. Now listen people, Oprah isn’t going vegan. Don’t get so excited to think that the Queen of Materialism is about to put a Vita-Mix and a lifetime supply of Earth Balance under the seat of everyone in her audience and spew forth the news that she will shed her life of all animal meat edibles. No, I’m so sorry to say that won’t happen, nor did it. These are just some quick thoughts on the show that I have.

Yes I watched the show, reluctantly and only to prove to myself that I was right. All I saw was a TV show skimp over an issue while sugar coating everything, “Oh, yes it isn’t easy.”, “We’re only doing it for one week but we’ll make it with these food replacements.”, “No, they don’t taste good.” Enough! First, if you want to show the virtues of a vegan diet, and diet was all you touched as veganism is so much more, if you want to show how great a vegan diet can be get off the processed fake meat replacements!

When a woman pushed the point of having eggs as long as they are from “happy hens”, Oprah’s guest Kathy Freston, a self-proclaimed “veganist” said yes, sure. Now, I’m all for allowing whomever to eat whatever they choose but if you’re calling yourself a “veganist” the least you could do is serve up so well-intentioned facts on why one shouldn’t eat those eggs. Opportunity missed. At the end of the show Freston goes through Whole Foods promoting every processed and prepackaged food she can get her hands on. Apparently, she doesn’t care about how delicious and nutritious fresh veggies are and how absolutely easy the are to prepare. I’ll go out on a limb and say Kathy Freston is as fake a vegan as the fake meats she pushed.

Michael Pollan, who only serves to cuddle the guilt-ridden meat eater and pat them on the back all the while telling them thier corpse ingestion is not the greatest thing but a little bit two or three times a week is OK, seemingly tells the audience that eat all the meat you want as long as it’s from Cargill as they have the cleanest factory farms and slaughter-machines in the nation.

As far as taking people into a slaughterhouse and showing what happens to the cow pre-steak that’s great. I think everyone should see that but that entire segment seemed to show reasons why it was OK to eat meat. Is Oprah scared of the meat industry now after her run ins a few years back? Michael Pollan did nothing but say what a great job Cargill does and stroke the executive sitting next to him.

There are vegans that think this was great publicity and getting the vegan word to the masses. It was the wrong message. This did nothing for veganism as the vegan message was toned down through the course of the show from full vegan diet to eating meat to 2-3 times a week, to vegan-ish (whatever that is) and finally just settling on Meatless Mondays. This was not a show on veganism as much as it was a show on a diet leaning toward plant-based. Veganism is about so much more than food, don’t count on Oprah to ever understand that.

In the end the episode did more to show reasons why your SHOULD eat meat than reasons to adopt a vegan diet, not to mention the vegan lifestyle it didn’t even touch on.  From allowing, and agreeing, that Cargill puts out a good product, animals get a dignified death and vegan food doesn’t taste good as shown by staffers in line at the Harpo cafeteria eating processed junk the loud message was “meat is OK”.

Did you watch the show? What are your thoughts? Were you a meat eater that has been transformed by this? Are you a vegan who thinks there is potential in what Oprah does for veganism? Let me know, agree or disagree I would love to hear from you.

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Revisiting PETA

January 5th, 2010

peta_suffer

If you’re a vegetarian or vegan then you have heard of PETA. In fact, there are probably few people in the US who have not. If the circus is in town then you will likely find caged scantily-clad women somewhere in the vicinity touting the virtues of a meat-free, furless, petless life. Today PETA protesters were reported to be showing up at Buena Vista Elementary School in Nashville wearing bloody elephant costumes to protest the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. Of course, the mere mention of this event in the local newspaper drew vile comments.

I’m not a supporter of PETA for reasons I won’t discuss here though I will say they’re not of the typical anti-PETA reasoning. It isn’t easy to find a PETA supporter in the vegan ranks. They are out there, many of them celebrities who lend their voice to the cause and can be found plastered on billboards or on pages of vegetarian magazines but the usual day-to-day vegan doesn’t always support PETA and many are as vocal in the distrust of the organization as the are the love they have for tempeh or tofu.

Many people point to PETA’s euthanization practices as a disconnection point. Many others claim their tactics are far too in-your-face to be worthwhile. You can find all of the information you desire agaist PETA simply by searching for “anti peta” and I won’t list what can easily be found elsewhere. There’s equally the same amount of information in support of PETA. That’s not what this is about. This is about my curiosity. I simply want to know why people are so set off by the mention of PETA. The local story I mentioned earlier has a list of comments from people blasting PETA.

Do you agree or disagree with PETA? If you disagree and want to blast them feel free to do so in the comments but back your remarks up, don’t just post hearsay and rumors without the facts. Yes, those anti-PETA, non-veg, pro-meat people are free to post but remember, we all know what junior high, imbecilic minds think PETA stands for.

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PETA’s Predicament

August 24th, 2009

PETA Billboard - Save The Whales

Every major cause has at least one major action group behind it.  American Cancer Society, National Rifle Association, Mothers Against Drunk Driving and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.  All groups have its detractors and supporters but here recently PETA has been pushed into the spotlight by some vegans on their new campaign promoting go vegetarian as a way to lose weight.  Billboards which have been showing up in the Jacksonville, Florida area have been drawing heavy criticism and in a press release PETA’s Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman states, “Anyone wishing to achieve a hot “beach bod” is reminded that studies show that vegetarians are, on average, about 10 to 20 pounds lighter than meat-eaters.  Trying to hide your thunder thighs and balloon belly is no day at the beach”

PETA has made efforts in the past to combat factory farms and the animal cruelty plight found there by sending undercover workers in to film actions and document the violations.  They have tried to place themselves as the foremost group in the fight against animal cruelty and as an advocate for vegetarianism  However, many vegetarians, and even more-so, vegans, fail to see PETA’s actions in a positive light.  Many cite their actions of near-nude demonstrations and paint-throwing as shining a bad light on a good cause.  The majority of responses I received on Twitter when asking how others felt about the organization were in line with just that idea:

@RogerYates PeTA have become a bloated welfare corporation. They need shutting down. With www we don’t need such orgs anymore.

@ccaum I support most of PETA’s work. There are sects in the org I highly disagree with. Particularly the paint throwers & name callers

@VeganMudblood No, I do not support PETA. They are backwards, hateful, and ridiculous. Not beneficial to animals! Support abolitionist groups!

@Ocveggie Nope. Their campaigns only exploit and degrade. Not to mention make us seem stupid.

@vegheadjones I think Vegan Outreach, CoK and best of all HSUS do a much better job of reducing animal suffering

It does seem that some of PETA’s tactics can be seen as maybe not the best ways to a means. Does protesting in front of a KFC really shed any light on what goes on in poultry factory farms?  Does it cause anyone to skip the drive-thru and pass on a two-piece dinner or does it just make them buy more out of spite?

Peta - Human Meat

It seems PETA may be in a situation where they are alienating the very people they depend on for support, the vegetarian and vegan community.  With in-your-face tactics most vegetarians and vegans are more and more wishing to not be associated with PETA as they feel it makes them look crazy for adopting a healthy, compassionate lifestyle.

UPDATE:

I wrote this article over the weekend for posting on the following Monday.  On Monday, PETA backed down from pressure and replaced the “Whales” billboard with one less offensive.  In a statement PETA said:

“By replacing the original artwork in the billboard, we’re able to give a fresh perspective on the issue and keep people talking about going veg to lose weight. We’re excited that so many people across the country have been motivated by the billboard…”

petanewad.jpg

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Earthlings at MTSU

April 7th, 2008

Earthlings at MTSU

I have been contacted about a screening of Earthlings that will be hosted at MTSU on April 14th.  It will begin at 7pm and will be held in the KUC Theater.   Free vegan desserts and drinks will be served and admission is free as well.  There will also be a Q&A session after the screening.

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