Tag Archives: animal rights

As our nation mourns, remember that love conquers hate

By Mitch Goldsmith

Like the rest of the nation, and as an openly gay man, I am stunned and heartbroken by the carnage in Orlando. While we as a society debate the factors—anti-gay sentiment, misguided fundamentalism, all-too-easy access to assault weapons—that led to the deadliest mass public shooting in American history, as President Obama rightly noted, “We know enough to say this was an act of terror, and an act of hate.”

Members of the LGBTQ community know what it’s like to feel the sting of mindless intolerance and hatred simply because of who we are. And for many of us, this experience of irrational bigotry informs our advocacy—not only for gay and transgender rights but also for the rights of others who are oppressed, including individuals of other species.

While our country mourns and discusses ways to prevent future outbreaks of such violence, if any good can come of this tragedy, I hope that it will engender continued progress against biases that harm so many of us who are perceived as “different,” including animals.

Animals’ lives are as important to them as ours are to us. They experience fear, love, grief, joy and pain just as we all do, though often their feelings are dismissed as unimportant. Billions of animals are slaughtered, experimented on, shot, poisoned, beaten, shackled, drowned and dissected. This happens routinely, despite the availability of kinder options.

If we truly reject violence, as we all say we do, we must reflect on the torment that animals are forced to endure every day, out of sight, just because they are deemed “different” from us and therefore easy to exploit. And then we must also act. By choosing to eat a vegan meal rather than a meat-based one, buying shampoo from a cruelty-free company or going to a concert rather than the circus, we can easily make a difference. These may seem like simple actions, but our day-to-day choices matter. How we go about our daily lives can perpetuate injustice, or help bring about fairness and tolerance.

I’m not the first person to make this connection, of course. Leaders of social justice movements have historically recognized that the liberation of one oppressed group is linked to the liberation of all the others. The best way to end bigotry is for social justice advocates of all stripes to work side by side.

Steven Simmons, a respected PETA staffer and gay rights activist who died of AIDS in the mid-1990s, wrote, “It’s time for us to end this hierarchy of who has the right to live, who deserves not to suffer, who should be respected, [the idea] that there’s a limit to the amount of compassion that we can have for our fellow creatures.”

It was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. who stated, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” and it’s worth noting that after his passing, as the concepts of gay rights and animal rights began to spread, his widow, Coretta Scott King, became an outspoken LGBT advocate and a vegan.

Members of the LGBTQ community have fought long and hard to overcome the violence, hatred and prejudice directed at us just because of who we are, and the massacre in Orlando reminds us that there is still much work to be done. But as a society, we must not limit the scope of our concern. Those of us who sincerely want to foster a climate of compassion and peace must have the courage to speak out and stand up against all forms of violence.

Why this feminist would ‘rather go naked’


By Ingrid Newkirk
Is it odd that a feminist like me, from back in the bra-burning ’60s, champions racy protests featuring women wearing little more than body-paint markings that mimic a butcher’s diagram? Some might raise an eyebrow, but this March, National Women’s History Month, let me explain why I believe that supporting women’s rights and stripping for a cause go together like Gloria Steinem and miniskirts.
With feminism, as with all social movements, each generation has its own battles to fight, and while respect is certainly owed those who helped society evolve to this point, today is a new day with new issues to grapple with. I relate best now to the third-wave feminists who are sick of second-wave feminists—ever so ironically taking the place of repressive fathers and husbands—demanding that women cover ourselves up and “behave.” How dare we expose our bodies to prying eyes! But dare we do, with more feminists daring to do something more important: to challenge the idea that breasts are to be kept covered like a dirty magazine.
At PETA, which is awash with “uppity women” like me, we’d rather go naked than wear not only fur but leather or wool—any skin. We see animal liberation as a logical part of a philosophy that rejects violence to, and the exploitation of, those who are not exactly like oneself in some way or another. We reject prejudice on the basis of any arbitrary factor such as skin color, gender, sexual orientation, religion or species. For surely there is something fundamentally wrong with moaning about freedom for yourself while denying it to others.
We are all of us composed of flesh and blood. We have faces and feelings and a beating heart, as did the pigs and chickens and other animals who were killed and decapitated for nothing more than a fleeting taste. What is done to them would be the same if it were done to us. And that’s the point of provocative PETA campaigns such as our “All Animals Have the Same Parts” protests featuring those aforementioned butcher’s diagrams. The scantily clad women who stand out in the cold know that people will stop and stare and that many of them will have never thought about animal rights before. That’s the power of their protest.  
Instead of attacking the (naked) messenger, who doesn’t need anyone’s permission to strip, I ask people to  put that energy and outrage where it belongs—into taking action against those who would abuse and exploit the most vulnerable among us. Women’s rights and animal rights go hand in hand. If you reject violence against women, you can’t in good conscience eat bacon and drink milk. Why? Because mother pigs—sows, who are smart as the dickens and who love their precious babies as dearly as any human mother loves hers—are confined to metal crates so small that they can’t even turn around and they develop painful ulcers from the constant pressure of lying, nearly immobile, on the unyielding cement floor. Because terrified, crying calves are torn away from their devoted mothers right after birth so that humans can steal the milk that was meant for them. Because factory farm and slaughterhouse workers, who have grueling, dangerous, soul-crushing jobs, often take their frustrations out on female animals by sexually assaulting them—sometimes in their terrifying last moments. The video is on our website and is hard to watch.
I have seen slaughter, have seen pigs beaten and loaded into the trucks on their way to it, and have been disturbed by the unmistakable sorrow and fear on their faces as they rattled down a highway for the first and last time ever. It’s the same look that you or I would have. We all feel pain and fear and long for the freedom to live our lives. We’re all the same.
With one significant difference.
Unlike the pigs and turkeys and fish and cows, I have choices. I can choose to walk away from meat and eggs and dairy products and continue enjoying my life, opting instead for healthy, humane vegan foods. If you haven’t done that yet, please, come join me. Women unite for animal rights!

Why Pope Francis’ visit brings one Catholic animal rights advocate hope

Lilac on the road, with Rosalie and Jett, 9/28. Pope Francis urges humans everywhere to respect the sacred in all fauna and flora …

By Christina Matthies
By the time you read this, millions of Catholics (and indeed, people of all faiths) will have seen Pope Francis during his historic first-ever visit to the United States. The Jewish High Holy Days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur will have just passed. And the city of brotherly love will be preparing for an infusion of loving kindness when His Holiness the Dalai Lama visits in October.
Three very different traditions and yet at their core, the message is the same: To honor the holiness inherent in ourselves, we should strive always to choose empathy over self-interest, compassion over cruelty and being of service over being served. And as we learn more about the other animals who share the Earth with us—that they, too, communicate with one another and build complex relationships, mourn their dead, and can suffer from pain, fear and grief—we must not overlook our treatment of them as we try, again and again, to live up to these ideals.
As a Catholic, I hold tightly to my faith in God and know that He has watched over me and my family in our toughest moments, and as an animal rights advocate, I know He watches over all of us. So I was heartened when Pope Francis declared in his encyclical on caring for the environment, “Every act of cruelty towards any creature is ‘contrary to human dignity.'” I hope kind people will be inspired by his message and realize that we can care about and help both humans and other species at the same time. We don’t have to choose one over the other.  
Although I express my faith through Catholicism, it is far from unique in asking us to extend our empathy to all beings. All the world’s great religions teach love and compassion for animals and even require those who are sincere in their faith to act with compassion in their dealings with animals.
The Buddhist text the Dhammapada teaches, “All beings tremble before violence. All fear death. All love life. See yourself in others.. Then whom can you hurt?” According to the Prophet Muhammad, “A good deed done to an animal is as meritorious as a good deed done to a human being, while an act of cruelty to an animal is as bad as an act of cruelty to a human being.” The Jewish Tanakh (what Christians call the Old Testament) reminds us that “a human being has no superiority over an animal” (Ecclesiastes 3:19).
So why do we continue to tear animals away from their families and homes and confine them to small cages or tanks for our archaic notions of entertainment? Why do we burn and blind them in cruel experiments even though astonishing non-animal research methods such as organs-on-chips supersede animal use? Why do we abuse and kill them for food and skins when vegan options are plentiful? 
For animals, these are not merely rhetorical questions. Our answers have very real consequences for the orcas, elephants, pigs, chickens, rabbits, foxes, mice and so many others whom we exploit for our own ends. Mother pigs are smarter than our canine companions and love their precious babies as dearly as I love my two children. Rats giggle when they are tickled and will risk their own lives to save other rats. Crocodiles surf ocean waves for fun. Intelligent, complex orcas have their own language and customs that they pass on to their young. Fish live in complex social groups, develop cultural traditions, cooperate with one another and can even use tools. Their lives are as dear to them as ours are to us. The choices we make—about what to eat, what to wear, what to do for entertainment—matter.
If we say that we believe in love and compassion, that we believe the most fundamental teachings of the world’s great religions, then we must practice what we preach by avoiding choices that hurt animals. The message of kindness applies to all.

Back to School: 10 animals your kids should copy off of this school year

Respect your fellow animals!! Jett, Lilac and April. (pic: R.T.)

By Michelle Kretzer
It’s time for students to heave a collective groan and start hitting the books again. While PETA doesn’t condone copycatting, there are many brainy animals who would be great cats to copy from if your kids found themselves seated next to one. As hundreds of studies have shown, other animals can understand cause-and-effect relationships, form abstract thoughts, solve problems, use language, make tools and more — just like us. 
For example, in algebra class, your kids should buddy up with a dolphin. These math-minded mammals rely on complex nonlinear mathematics to navigate the vast ocean and find food.
For help with sociology, hire a rat for tutoring. Empathetic rats will free their restrained cagemates, even if it means they will then have to share a mound of chocolate. So they’ll have no problem helping your kids learn about patterns of behavior in social groups.
Would-be broadcasters who sign up for speech classes will find a whale of a class partner in a sperm whale. These whales use different accents to identify members of their extended family and whales from other regions of the world.
Bees could be a huge help in political science. When a decision affects the whole hive, they put it to a vote. So no matter which side of the aisle students’ political beliefs fall on, bees can help them understand the democratic process.
In physical education, blackpoll warblers should always get picked first. Every fall, these tiny birds make the 1,700-mile trip from New England to the Caribbean without stopping. So if your children have to run laps, thinking about a blackpoll warbler’s grueling trek will make them feel a whole lot better about it.
College students struggling with engineering courses should try to sit next to a beaver. The dams these natural builders make increase water supplies for farms, help prevent erosion and improve fish and wildlife habitats. Scientists are even starting to turn to beavers for tips on dealing with climate change.
In psychology, students can never go wrong studying with an elephant. These highly intelligent animals have complex social structures and relationships so intimate that they flirt with one another and even argue about directions. Elephants will likely always be up for a rousing “Mars vs. Venus” debate.
For language arts classes, baboons are a student’s best bet. These clever monkeys can tell whether a group of letters is a real word or just gobbledygook—and they might even help out with that Grapes of Wrath paper that went awry.
For help studying for just about any other class, encourage your kids to get chummy with goldfish, who have longer sustained attention spans than we do. In a study done by Microsoft, goldfish were able to concentrate for nine seconds, while humans managed to do so for only eight.
And if your kids are looking to make some new friends this school year, help them get in good with crows. When a girl named Gabi started feeding crows in her garden, the birds recognized that they’d made a friend and started waiting for her to get off the bus. They also expressed their thanks by leaving her gifts, including a pearl-colored heart, an earring and a tiny piece of metal with the word “best” printed on it. The crows have even found and returned objects that Gabi’s family lost outside.
But perhaps the most important thing we can learn from other animals is compassion. Once we learn more about animals’ intelligence, needs and interests, we begin to recognize that it is our duty to treat them with respect for who they are — rather than what they can do for us.


pr-2015-coupon (1)

At Becker College! Learn, love, donate, ADOPT…

Schedule of events:

Emcee: Peter “Zip” Zipfel

12:15 p.m. Chuck and Mud

1 p.m. The Ed Sullivans

2 p.m. Roomful of Blues

3:30 p.m. Hero Awards presented

4 p.m. Just for Kicks

CLICK HERE to see their website and learn more about this GREAT FAMILY FESTIVAL – all for the love of animals!

From an InCity Times reader: My little Sweetpea!

Rescued: Sweet Sweetpea!!!

Last May while looking at the plights of homeless and abused animals on facebook, we saw a pair of little white adorable pitbull mix puppies that had been rescued by Second Chance Rescue in New York City.

We contacted them with questions about the dogs, who looked very thin and lost – and were sad to hear they had been rescued from irresponsible kids who were selling them on craigslist at only 2 weeks of age, and they were both very ill with pneumonia and other serious health issues.

After 6 weeks in the Animal Clinic of Harris Court in Flushing, NY, only one puppy was healthy enough to be adopted.

Their wonderful Kelcy agreed to meet us halfway in Wallingford in mid-June to pick up the sweet little “Sugar,” about 10 weeks old, who we then named “Sweetpea.” She is now a year and a half years old and is incredibly sweet, super friendly and extremely affectionate.

She comes to work with us every day, meets lots of people (and dogs) and absolutely LOVES everyone!  She has incredible energy and is very playful and healthy .

From now on, she will only know love, comfort and kindness.

Kathy Lewis

Get beautiful for your Valentine! Great, inexpensive pretty-my-eyes …

… cheeks, etc cosmetics – ALL CRUELTY-FREE! ALL available at your local TARGET, CVS or WALGREENS! Support companies that support animals!     – R.T.


… read this list of vegan, cruelty-free makeup products that you can find at your nearest drugstore or Target, and start stocking your makeup bag the compassionate way:

1. Use a NYX Concealer Wand for under-eye circles, blemishes, or uneven skin complexions.


2. Physicians Formula Brightening Compact Foundation powder is great for all-over facial applications.

Physicians Formula Powder

3. Bring out those eyes with a funRunway Eyes palette, by Milani.

(Note: Only the Designer Browns,Couture in Purples, and Backstage Basics palettes are vegan. Other Milani vegan items are clearly marked.)

Milani Eye Shadow

4. But don’t use it without applying someeye primer from Jordana first.

Eye Primer

5. NYX has 27 beautiful shimmery shades of powder blush to choose from.


 CLICK HERE to see more make-up not tested on animals – or using/harming them in any way! 


ICT editor Rosalie Tirella buys her makeup at Walgreens or Target stores. All cruelty-free. Here she is, yesterday, sporting her Wet ‘n’ Wild mascara (cruelty free brand, which you can’t see cuz of her sun specs) and Elf powder blush and lipstick – always CRUELTY-FREE and amazingly affordable ($2, $3, $5)! Both cosmetics companies have lots of great products for older broads like Rosalie! And don’t worry! She is wearing a faux fur hat cuz it’s freaking cold out there!



Yes, Virginia! There’s plenty of cruelty-free cologne out there …

… for the hemp-lovin’ men in your life this Valentine’s Day! All natural men’s cologne … no animals cruelly “tested,” mutilated or killed to create/make these great boy Valentine’s Day gifts!  … From PETA.ORG.        – R.T.

CLICK HERE to see all the goodies! Click on product name to learn more/ rush order for Val Day …

– R. T.

The following article originally appeared on VeganBeautyReview.com, and has been updated with new products.

Down to Earth Fragrance Oil

Earthly Body’s Moroccan Nights Body Mist or Nag Champa Body Mist

Earthly Body Cologne (Moroccan Nights and Nag Champa)

The perfect Valentine’s Day gifts for your sweetie!

Why “perfect”? Cuz all of ’em were made with LOVE – as in NO ANIMALS were killed/tested/harmed to create/make any of these products! Support companies that support animals!   -R.T.




“Share the Love” Valentine’s Day Temporary Tattoos

For the kid at heart, this package of 15 inexpensive temporary Valentine’s Day tattoos will leave a lasting impression. Each tattoo comes in a red custom envelope and has “To:” and “From:” fields, so it can be sent to a loved one miles away.

PETA Valentine's Day Cards

Vegan/GF Heart Marshmallow

February is filled with frigid temperatures, so spending a date night snuggled up by the fireplace with vegan hot cocoa is a must. Dress up your drink with this heart-shaped vanilla marshmallow, which is partially dipped in organic dark chocolate and sprinkled with real strawberry flakes.

free people vegan valentine's day candy marshmallow heart

Edible Massage Oil in French Vanilla

Warm up your hands and volunteer to give your lover a sensual massage—with cruelty-free oil, of course. You’ll have him or her melting in the palm of your hands—and smelling great!

French Vanilla Edible Massage Oil

Valentine’s gifts that do ZERO HARM to animals!

Not one silkworm perished! Not one bunny’s eyes burned and burned as it sat crammed in its little cage! Not one animal suffered or died to make these skivvies, candles, etc! It’s easy to buy CRUELTY FREE Valentine’s Day gifts! Some of these goodies are available at the Auburn Mall, etc. Which means animal rights has gone LOCAL and MAINSTREAM.

– R. Tirella


Nothing can get you in the mood for love like dressing the part. Although it can be difficult to find alternatives to silk(approximately 3,000 silkworms are killed to make every pound of it) for special-occasion lingerie, you may agree that this 100 percent lacy number fromFor Love and Lemons could not be more perfect. We’re confident your SO would agree.

for love and lemons

 We say what we mean, and we mean what we say: lace over silk any day! But if single pieces are more up your alley, this animal-friendly Audrina Print Chemise by Frederick’s of Hollywood is sure not to disappoint:

fredericks of hollywood

There will be those who prefer more ample get-ups—we get it! If neither of the above is quite your style, take it easy in this sweet organic cotton camisole from Organic by John Patrick. As the name suggests, this pretty piece is 100 percent certified organic and biodegradable. Score for you, animals,and the environment!

Organic by John Patrick

patchouli sweetgrass candle

 Make a Toast to Love (for All!)

The Vegan Vine makes a delicious cabernet sauvignon that will no doubt get you in the mood for love. This company is committed to abstaining from the use of animal products, so drink away any worries of consuming those little-known buzz kills found in wine: isinglass (fish bladder), gelatin (pig hooves), casein (milk protein), and egg whites. Cheers!

the vegan vine

CLICK HERE to read more!