Category Archives: Animal Issues

The U.S. Navy should sink deadly, pointless decompression tests on animals

🇺🇸By Nathan Libby, FC1 (AW), U.S. Navy (Vet.)

Why make him suffer?! art: file photo

Four major universities are squeezing the life out of thousands of animals in cruel, deadly and ineffective decompression sickness and oxygen toxicity experiments bankrolled by more than $3.8 million in taxpayer funding awarded by the U.S. Navy – even though the Navy knows the senseless tests don’t help humans.

Although these tests on animals at Duke University, the University of Maryland/Baltimore, the University of South Florida and the University of San Diego purportedly study the phenomenon called “the bends,” a painful condition that arises from the rapid reduction of ambient pressure leading to the formation of nitrogen bubbles in the bloodstream, their results fail to translate effectively to the condition experienced by humans susceptible to the bends, such as deep-sea divers.

The crude procedures include cutting open rats’ abdomens; embedding a recording device inside them and probing wires along their body through their back, neck and skull; inducing seizures without pain relief; and drilling into their skulls and attaching electrodes to their heads. In some experiments, mice as young as 8 to 12 weeks are confined to a decompression chamber for up to 60 minutes at a time in order to induce air embolism to mimic the bends and are injected with experimental substances. But wait — there’s more.

Mice and rats used in these tests are forced to run on treadmills and are electroshocked if they fail to keep up. Experimenters also insert probes into mice’s rectums, put petroleum-based chemicals into their eyes, drill into their skulls, inject chemicals into their brains and force them into carbon dioxide gas chambers. When experimenters have finished tormenting the animals, they kill them.

Other animals are not viable stand-ins for humans in studies of the bends due to important differences in the species’ anatomy and physiology. Furthermore, human divers experience varying depths, dive durations and individual factors that contribute to the condition, making it challenging to extrapolate reliable data from animal experiments. In fact, a former director of the Navy Medical Research and Development Center, Dr. Wayman W. Cheatham, has admitted as much, stating, “The impact of physiological differences between species with regard to disease processes … is well recognized throughout the medical research community.”

🎖️The Navy can’t rightfully claim to be a world leader in human-relevant medical research as long as it continues tormenting animals in barbaric tests that it knows are irrelevant to human health. These experiments make the Navy an outlier among the navies of our peer nations. The navies of France and the U.K., for instance, have already scrapped their animal testing programs for studying decompression sickness.

There are better ways for the Navy to achieve its goals. Sophisticated in vitro studies and reanalysis of existing human-diver data have already yielded promising results that are directly applicable to humans in diving conditions. Machine-learning techniques may aid in the prediction of symptoms such as seizures during hyperbaric oxygen therapy. Computational modeling can improve the performance of dive computers in order to equip divers to avoid the bends.

Last year, the Navy terminated its funding of decompression experiments conducted on sheep at the University of Wisconsin/Madison up to two years ahead of schedule after People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) sent Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro a complaint.

Tormenting and killing animals doesn’t advance human health, but advanced non-animal, human-relevant research methods do. It’s high time for the Navy to sink its pointless decompression sickness and oxygen toxicity tests on animals.

☮️🕊️A path to peace: embrace vegan living on the International Day of Peace!🐄

By Rebecca Libauskas

Yes, you can “de-calf” your coffee! art: PETA

In elementary school, we performed a well-known song with the refrain “Let there be peace on Earth, and let it begin with me.” I loved the message. But I’ve never understood why our society doesn’t apply this concept to all species.

Every day, we have multiple opportunities to choose nonviolence and extend peace to all sentient beings — and one of the simplest ways to do so is to opt for delicious and healthy vegan foods instead of meat, eggs and dairy. By refusing to take anything that rightfully belongs to animals, we walk a path of peace that benefits everyone. So, for the International Day of Peace (September 21), let there be peace on Earth — and let it begin with vegan living.

Everyone deserves peace. Yet we’re conditioned to treat some species with care and others with indifference — or violence. Pigs, chickens, cows, fish and other animals who are used for food experience pain, happiness, distress and misery, just as our beloved animal companions do. Yet they’re abused in ways that would be illegal if dogs or cats were the victims. Pigs, for instance, may be conscious and feel pain when they’re scalded with hot water during slaughter and when they’re piglets, their tails are cut off without pain killers.

East Fork Farms, Indiana, investigation…

In slaughterhouses, there’s no peace for animals or for the people who work there. According to Occupational Safety and Health Administration data, severe accidents are common and human body parts are severed every week. Reports also reveal a distressing lack of concern for workers’ well-being, including when they’re forced to work despite being sick or injured. These and other serious problems reveal the need for systemic change, including a shift to vegan food production.

Going vegan not only spares animals fear, violence and death but also helps the Earth. In a world ravaged by the climate catastrophe, it’s hard to feel peaceful. A recent American Psychiatric Association survey revealed that 67% of Americans are experiencing some degree of climate-related anxiety. The best thing anyone can do to help save the planet is to reduce the demand for animal-based foods by going vegan. A recent comprehensive study by the University of Oxford revealed that by eating vegan, individuals decrease their food-related climate-heating emissions by 75% and reduce their contribution to the destruction of wildlife by 66%.

Eating less meat helps the planet.

Research shows that choosing healthy vegan foods also reduces the risk of chronic diseases that can ravage our bodies and minds, which can be overwhelming and anything but peaceful. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, compared with meat-eaters, vegans enjoy a reduced risk of dying from heart disease, lower cholesterol and blood pressure levels and lower rates of hypertension, type 2 diabetes and obesity. Its findings conclude that nutritionally complete vegan meals are beneficial in preventing and treating specific diseases. Going vegan empowers us to take charge of our health while advocating for a better world.

When we stop inflicting violence on animals, peace follows. We know this innately: A study published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science shows that young children are less likely to view animals on a farm as “something” to eat. Only after age 11 do they start thinking of animals as food. What if we were to resurrect our natural wisdom and empathy? We can.

For many of us, going vegan starts a ripple effect of compassion and peace that extends beyond our plates. Our view of animals changes: We no longer find excuses for using them in painful, deadly experiments. We think about the suffering and death behind wearing leather, wool, or feathers. We’re heartbroken, not amused, when we see animals confined and exploited for entertainment — including Lolita, the orca who recently died after more than 50 miserable years of confinement. We realize that animals are not commodities and have a natural right to the freedom to do what is natural and important to them.


We sow the seeds of compassion, justice and peace by going vegan. So on this International Day of Peace — and every day — let peace begin with what we put on our plates.

🐝A Plea for Bees🐝🌸🐝

By Melissa Rae Sanger

Bee kind! art: PETA

My fascination with bees began in a rather peculiar way: by adopting a dog named QB from our local animal shelter. We went from calling him QB to just B, and my children embellished his new nickname by indulging me with all things bee: bee T-shirts, bee pictures, bee keychains – you name it, I have it. What started as a sweet tribute to our dog became a newfound inspiration.

I decided to become a backyard beekeeper. I read books, frequented meetings and watched documentaries. I let wildflowers take over my gardens. My father built me the most beautiful hive. I was getting closer to my goal of welcoming bees — until one event altered my perception of “beekeeping” forever. September may be National Honey Month, but as I would soon learn, taking honey from bees is anything but sweet.

Filled with excitement, I attended my first hands-on honeybee workshop. I delighted in the sweet banana-like aroma in the air (which I later learned was an alarm pheromone bees emit when they feel threatened), harmonized with the gentle buzzing and felt the vibrations from thousands of tiny, delicate wings as I held a live frame for the first time. I was, without exaggeration, moved to tears.

But nothing could have prepared me for what happened next.

With the nonchalance of a server refilling a water glass, the instructor filled a mason jar with rubbing alcohol. I watched in horror as she quickly scooped what she estimated to be about 300 bees into a measuring cup and dumped them into the jar filled with the toxic liquid. Once she secured the lid, she began vigorously shaking the jar, passing it to the closest student for a go. I could hear the desperate bees inside, their buzzing growing softer with each shake.

After everyone (except me) had taken a turn, she poured the discolored liquid into a tub and flung the dead bees onto the grass, explaining that she was getting a “mite count.” Varroa mites commonly afflict bees, and although I knew that we would be learning about treatment options during this workshop, I had no idea that we’d also be getting an education in beekeeping’s dark side.

I mustered the courage to raise my hand. “Would the number of mites affect the course of treatment?” I asked. Her answer? “No.” Whether the alcohol wash revealed a mite count of one or one thousand, the treatment would stay the same. I asked if there was a humane way to determine a mite count. Her answer? “Yes.”

My gentle fascination turned to rage.

Why should these sentient beings be treated with such extreme disregard and cruelty? Bees demonstrate self-awareness, recognize human (and possibly bee) faces, process short- and long-term memories while sleeping and perhaps even dream. They can feel anxious, optimistic, fearful and frustrated—just like us. Yet bees who are factory-farmed for honey (even when the “factory farm” is in someone’s backyard) are exploited and killed, as if their suffering were of no consequence.

Beekeepers crush drones to death to extract their sperm, then immobilize the queen in a tiny gas chamber so they can artificially inseminate her. And they routinely clip her wings to prevent swarming (a colony’s natural means of reproducing), holding her hostage in her own home. All so we can pillage their honey.

The psychological stress inflicted on bees by the honey industry is a significant contributor to colony collapse disorder, which has caused a sharp decline in bee populations over the past decade. Simply put, humans’ greed is stressing bees, and it’s killing them.

Bees have as much of a right to live free from pain and suffering as we do. Unless we stop seeing them as a collective and start respecting them as individuals, their populations will continue to deteriorate. One of the simplest ways to help them is to stop stealing their honey and enjoy agave nectar, rice syrup or maple syrup instead.

As for me, I’ve decided to forgo beekeeping and spend my time spreading awareness of the plight of these precious pollinators. Bees need all the friends they can get.

🕰️The Price Is Right’s Bob Barker😇: Goodbye to a National Treasure!🐻🐻‍❄️🐋!

By Ingrid Newkirk

Ingrid and friends! photo: PETA

The world has lost a true legend, and animals — as well as PETA — have lost a dear friend. Bob Barker was known for a lot of things, but what meant the most to him and what he spent most of his life pursuing was justice for animals.

Only Bob could make a game show sign-off reminding people to spay and neuter their animals into a catch phrase. Only Bob could have the integrity and conviction to quit a two-decade gig with the Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants because the shows’ producers insisted on including fur coats in the prize packages, a policy they changed soon afterward. Only Bob could insist that the upholstery in the cars given away on The Price Is Right be leather-free.

Perhaps Bob’s entertainment background imbued him with a particular empathy for the elephants beaten with bullhooks in circuses, for the orcas languishing in SeaWorld’s cramped tanks and for the lonely animals in zoos far from their true homes. Bob fought for all of them, with heart, with soul and with his wallet.

I’ll never forget Bob’s grace and dignity when he made a trip to Cherokee, North Carolina, to plead for relief for the bears in the reservation’s appalling roadside zoos. Two of the three zoos refused to let Bob in, but everyone else in town clamored to shake his hand and ask for pictures. This warm and gregarious man used the opportunity to talk to residents about how much the bears were suffering in concrete pits and to urge them to speak out. One of the zoos has since shut its doors, and PETA is still campaigning to ensure that the other two follow suit.

Bob was witty and charming, but he was also pragmatic. He said he was thrilled to spend nearly $1 million to foot the bill to ship elephants Toka, Thika and Iringa from a Canadian zoo to the Performing Animal Welfare Society sanctuary in California.

SeaWorld particularly irked him, and Bob filmed a television spot for PETA asking parents and grandparents to refuse to visit what he called a “dolphin prison” and calling on the theme parks to retire the orcas to protected coastal sanctuaries. He wrote a letter to the president of CBS asking for a ban on using wild animals in all the network’s programming, saying, “[R]eplace the use of captive wild animals in your shows with the creative, versatile, and humane technology that exists today, such as computer-generated imagery.” Today, CGI has made that transition easy.

When PETA held the grand opening of our Los Angeles office, the Bob Barker Building, the fête was filled with Hollywood celebrities, but Bob was the star. Our West Coast headquarters, filled with his awards, stands as testament to Bob’s profound commitment to making a difference for animals.

When asked how he would like to be remembered, Bob said, “I think I would like to be remembered as a man who loved living things and did everything he could do to make it better for animals. And when he had time, he did a lot of television shows, too.” Well, you got your wish, dear friend. PETA, animals and fans around the world will never forget you.

🔥Fighting wildfires with our forks🍽️

By Jade Napierala

In a scene reminiscent of those in California, Texas and Louisiana, lives were forever changed as a spate of fast-moving wildfires swept through West Maui. The historic town of Lāhainā, once the capital of the Kingdom of Hawaii, was consumed by the firestorm, leaving behind only memories. It was the deadliest wildfire in modern U.S. history.

Most wildfires in Hawaii, where I live, are accidentally caused by humans. Although the exact source of the Maui fires is under investigation, higher temperatures, a “thirsty atmosphere” and whipping winds from Hurricane Dora caused them to rage out of control. Regions previously unaffected by wildfires of this magnitude have become much more vulnerable in recent years due to the human-induced climate catastrophe.

Eating less meat will help save our planet – earth. art: PETA

Scientists warn that if we are to change course, we will need to slash our greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030 and stop adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere by the early 2050s. Going vegan is the single best step in helping to curb the destruction humans are inflicting on the Earth.

Raising and killing animals for food requires more fossil fuels than producing vegan foods does, and burning fossil fuels releases carbon dioxide. Animals crammed onto factory farms generate enormous amounts of methane when they digest food. And animal agriculture is responsible for more than half the nitrous oxide emissions worldwide. Together, these potent greenhouse gases contribute significantly to the climate catastrophe.

A study by the University of Oxford found that individuals who go vegan can reduce their food-related emissions by up to 73%. Meat-eaters are responsible for almost twice as many dietary greenhouse-gas emissions per day as vegetarians and about two and a half times as many as vegans.

And going vegan helps save the planet in other ways, too.

So many great ways to go vegan!

Animal agriculture is the leading cause of deforestation: Roughly 80% of the Amazon rainforest, a vital powerhouse for converting carbon dioxide into oxygen, has been cleared —veither for grazing or for growing food for cattle raised for their skin and flesh — and now it’s emitting more carbon dioxide than it’s able to absorb.

If you don’t enjoy cooking, supermarkets like Trader Joe’s have an abundance of pre-made vegan meals, sides – even desserts!

In the U.S. alone, growing crops to feed billions of animals, keeping those animals hydrated and cleaning filthy factory farms and slaughterhouses consumes trillions of gallons of water annually. For perspective, National Guard helicopters dropped 150,000 gallons of water on the Maui fires.

In short, eating meat puts our home and that of countless other species in danger.

Hawaii boasts unique flora and fauna found nowhere else on Earth. Around 90% of the state’s 10,000 native species are endemic, making their populations less capable of recovering after major fires. Two-thirds of the state’s threatened and endangered species are in fire hazard areas, and native ecosystems are not equipped to adapt to wildfires.

And the damage doesn’t stop at land’s end. Wildfires disrupt the entire landscape, causing erosion and sediment runoff into coastal waters. Sedimentation can obstruct sunlight and smother the tiny animals who make up a coral reef, ultimately harming its growth and health.

Catastrophic coastal fires such as this one have the potential to blanket the ocean with ash containing toxic pollutants from burning houses and cars. The ash also brings organic matter to the sea, leading to an overgrowth of algae. The algae eventually die and decompose, depleting the oxygen, which causes marine life to either leave or die. Areas once brimming with life become dead zones.

Fires ravaging Hawaii. Ocean temperatures off the charts. Earth’s hottest month on record. Any one of these events would have been seen as an oddity a decade ago. The planet is in trouble—life as we know it is in danger. We must all take personal responsibility for the climate catastrophe. We can start by keeping animals off our plates and opting for planet-friendly vegan foods.
Vegan nachos!

✨Try Soy, Almond, Oat🥛, Coconut🥥 or Cashew🥤 Milk Today!🌅

By Scott Miller

Cows! art: PETA

Plant milk is nutritious. Plant milk is environmentally friendly. Plant milk doesn’t exploit animals. Plant milk —oat, almond, soy, coconut — is better than cow’s milk.

Only humans (and companion animals fed by humans) drink the milk of another species. If hamsters consumed giraffe milk, people would find it bizarre. Yet grocery stores still sell — and many people inexplicably still drink — white liquid secretions from a cow’s udder. Humans are also the only species that consumes milk beyond infancy. High school cafeterias don’t serve baby food. But encouraging teenagers to ingest bovine juice is still seen, by some, as “normal.”

Fortunately, society is changing. Vegan milk is skyrocketing in popularity, while sales figures for cow’s milk are at an all-time low.

No wonder the dairy industry has gotten desperate, even trying to copyright the word milk. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration denied that ridiculous request, allowing vegan brands to call themselves hazelnut milk and rice milk. Meanwhile, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to require dairy milk cartons to be more accurately labeled as “bovine mammary secretions.” Or, cow’s milk could simply be called bilk. “You’ve just been manipulated by the dairy industry. Got bilked?”

Still, the multibillion-dollar dairy industry has its allies. Some coffee chains, for example, add an upcharge to their nondairy milk offerings. Customers have to pay more for doing the right thing. If businesses truly valued their customers, they would do the right thing and charge less for vegan milk. Meanwhile, the greater cost of the price hike comes at the expense of our planet.

Dairy milk is environmentally destructive, as cows — who require much more land and water than plants do — emit copious amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, helping to drive the climate catastrophe:

Cutting back on meat and dairy products helps decrease greenhouse gases.

Or to put it more plainly, drinking dairy milk requires bovine burps, cow farts, fecal waste and methane. Soy milk and hemp milk are sustainable and help keep the Earth habitable.

Gen Z bought 20% less cow’s milk than the national average last year.

Younger Americans in particular are choosing to drink less cow’s milk. Generation Z bought 20% less cow’s milk than the national average last year, which benefits the lives of Generation C — Calves! On dairy farms, baby cows are taken away from their mothers within hours of birth. They are fed milk “replacers” (including cattle blood) so that their mothers’ milk can be sold to humans.

The cruel cycle continues. Cows produce milk only during and after pregnancy, so roughly every nine months, cows on dairy farms are forcibly impregnated in order to continue their milk production. Suffering inside cramped, filthy enclosures, these complex, sensitive individuals are manipulated into producing nearly 10 times as much milk as they would naturally.

Drinking dairy milk isn’t just sickening. It also makes you sick. “Bilk” has been linked to an increased risk of some types of cancer, and it steals calcium from your bones. Studies have found that people who consume a lot of cow’s milk have a higher rate of bone fractures. Trying to safeguard your bones by drinking dairy is like paying a bully “protection money” when they are the ones you need protection from.

Cows on factory farms spend their days in filthy, unsanitary conditions. They’re pumped full of antibiotics to keep them alive and producing “product,” leading to a surge in drug-resistant bacteria.

Nobody would grow fruit in a sewer, yet we look away from the rancid, disease-ridden process that exploits cows for their milk. And in the end, when their bodies have given out, they’re sent to slaughter. The dairy industry isn’t good for anyone.

So drink oat milk. Try a glass of flax milk. Treat yourself to a macadamia milkshake! And leave bovine mammary secretions to the cows!
This summer try some vegan ice cream!



🐎Boycott Rodeos!!🐎🙏

By Jennifer O’Connor

Horses are beautiful, intelligent, sensitive animals. They should not be carted around in 100-degree heat or in the freezing cold in crumby trailers to the DCU Center in Worcester and other venues for rodeo entertainment. IT’S ANIMAL ABUSE!

If horses and cows could follow a calendar, August would be the month they’d dread most. August is the busiest month on the summer rodeo circuit, and many animals forced to take part in it don’t live to see September. A calf recently sustained a broken back and was left paralyzed at a rodeo in Oregon, a horse was killed in a bucking event in Wyoming and a horse collapsed in an arena in Arizona and required CPR, according to an eyewitness. The list of injuries and fatal incidents goes on and on.

More and more people are coming to realize that it’s high time these violent and often deadly spectacles were relegated to the history books.

Animals forced to participate in rodeos are routinely hit, kicked, spurred, slammed onto the ground and goaded into participating in violent displays. It’s difficult to understand the mindset of those who purposefully agitate animals or of those who enjoy watching them do it.

In calf roping, a common event at rodeos across the U.S. and Canada, terrified young calves race desperately out of a chute to which they’ve been confined and often sustain neck and back injuries when the rope used to lasso them
yanks them violently to the ground. A flank strap is bound tightly around the midsections of horses and bulls used in the bucking and bull-riding events, causing the animals to buck wildly in an effort to rid themselves of it.

Animals have sustained broken necks, backs and legs and experienced aneurysms and heart attacks during rodeos. And degloving — when a steer’s tail is stripped of skin — is a particularly hideous injury.

In a sick attempt to broaden their appeal to families, some rodeos are even encouraging kids to abuse sheep in “mutton bustin’” events. Terrified sheep are forced to carry screaming children — who may kick them and pull their tails and ears — all over the arena. These events teach young people to harass, frighten and harm animals for fun.

Animals used in rodeos are specifically excluded from the meager protections of the federal Animal Welfare Act. Many states exempt rodeos from their anti-cruelty laws as well because they don’t regulate “normal agricultural practices” and/or “livestock.”

Most rodeos are self-policing, and it’s essentially a free-for-all. The Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association’s “humane rules” are worthless — they are rarely enforced, and when they are, the fines imposed on the participants are so small as to be meaningless in comparison to the big prize money they’re vying for. They also allow devices that inflict pain on the animals: electric prods “when necessary” and spurs, which are supposed to be “dull,” even though that’s contrary to what spurs are.

There are no bucolic pastures awaiting these animals in retirement. When they’re too worn-out or broken-down to continue, they typically get a one-way ticket to the slaughterhouse.

People who care about animal welfare shouldn’t support any event that causes animals pain and suffering. Please steer clear of all rodeos this August – and forever!

The US Army’s Return to Weapons-Wounding Tests on Animals🐈‍⬛🐬🐕🐾

By Sergeant Carla Gunn, U.S. Army (Ret.)

The U.S. Army now permits the use of weapons to wound dogs, monkeys and other animals in misguided laboratory experiments after a decades-long ban. This perplexing about-face is disturbing and shortsighted and, above all, deprives injured troops of the best available human-relevant scientific research. The Army must do another about-face on this policy.

In 1983, PETA successfully campaigned to shut down a U.S. Department of Defense “wound lab” in which dogs, goats and other animals were shot with high-powered weapons, supposedly to study human wounds and how they heal. The campaign resulted in the first-ever permanent ban on shooting dogs and cats in wound labs.

The Army then issued Regulation 40-33 in 2005, banning the use of dogs, cats, marine animals and other primates in tests that developed “biological, chemical or nuclear weapons.”

But all this changed in 2020 after the U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command quietly issued Policy 84, which explicitly allows “[t]he purchase or use of dogs, cats, nonhuman primates, or marine mammals to inflict wounds upon using a weapon for the purpose of conducting medical research, development, testing, or evaluation ….”

In March 2022, PETA uncovered this policy shift and filed a public records request asking for documentation of these weapon-wounding tests on animals. The Army initially said there are in “excess of 2,000 pages” of responsive documents. It later backtracked, stating that there is only one responsive experimental protocol, which an official claimed is “classified … in the interest of national defense or foreign policy.”

PETA has appealed, seeking the release of a redacted version of the requested information, but has yet to hear from the Army. We also sent a letter to Secretary of the U.S. Army Christine Wormuth urging her to reinstate the previous ban on such tests. And we escalated the matter through a complaint to her boss, Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III. We’ve received no reply.

However, in October of last year, a few months after PETA submitted our records request, an Army spokesperson issued a statement saying the department had “no ongoing animal wounding programs” and that it “[did] not have any studies related to wounding cats or dogs.”

This is misleading, given that PETA has confirmed with the U.S. Army Medical Command that at least one recent “classified” weapon-wounding testing protocol using dogs, cats, monkeys or marine animals exists. Furthermore, in March of this year, reported that the Pentagon had recently exposed primates to “pulsed radio frequency” directed-energy weapons. The Army has also issued a $750,000 taxpayer-funded grant active through September of this year for a brain injury experiment that involves bombarding 48 ferrets with directed-energy weapons, such as radiofrequency waves, in an attempt to mimic the symptoms of Havana syndrome.

Maiming animals doesn’t reveal anything about how humans heal from similar wounds. When studying wound-healing phenomena, dogs, cats, monkeys, dolphins, ferrets and others are poor stand-ins for humans, at best. It may be overstating the obvious, but the significant physiological and biological differences between humans and other animal species complicate and render useless the results of tests on nonhuman species when it comes to outcomes for humans.

Alternatives to this bloodshed exist. Minimally invasive studies have used healthy human volunteers to develop models for studying how wounds heal. New-generation molecular tools that require only small amounts of human skin tissue are also available. And a modern in vitro model to study wound healing has been developed by researchers at Harvard and Boston universities.

These superior research methods don’t use animals, and their results are directly applicable to humans. Mission accomplished.

The Army is fighting a losing battle. Not only is intentionally wounding animals with weapons gruesome, it also simply can’t provide the best-available science-backed information required to increase the combat readiness of our military and help wounded fighters. The guardians of our freedom deserve no less than the best, including the support of technologically advanced, animal-free, human-relevant research methods instead of archaic, grotesque, and useless weapon-wounding tests on animals.

☀️Summer Vacation Checklist: Choose Kindness!🐪🐻‍❄️🐬🐊🐘

By Jennifer O’Connor

Monkey reaching out from her cage. photos: PETA

School is out, and the open road beckons. Summer vacations are what memories are made of, and with so many choices, it’s hard to narrow down the right destination. But whether you decide to stay close to home or travel to far-flung destinations, please don’t spend any time or money in places where animals are forced to entertain the public.

You’ll spot the billboards on every highway — appeals to pull over to see every novelty from live alligators to dancing bears. It may be tempting to take a break and check things out, but tourists who buy tickets are unwittingly keeping animals in servitude until the day they die.

Just about anybody — whether or not they have any qualifications — can apply for and receive a U.S. Department of Agriculture animal exhibitor’s license.

Roadside zoos are typically privately owned and on precarious financial footing. At these facilities, naturally far-ranging animals like lions, bears, tigers and primates are usually housed in cramped cages consisting of chain-link fencing and concrete floors. Their comfort is an afterthought.

Since most of these places operate with little staff or money, cages are often poorly maintained and filled with urine and feces. The grounds are typically littered with garbage and never-ending “improvement projects.” The animals might not be provided with any kind of enrichment beyond an old tire or a dead tree branch to help them pass the seemingly interminable days.

Many calculating operators have taken to adding the word “sanctuary” or “rescue” to their names, knowing that kind people are drawn in by such claims. But far too many of these outfits are nothing more than breeders, dealers and exhibitors exploiting the public’s goodwill and generosity.

These kinds of scam operations aren’t only here in the U.S.; they’re everywhere:

Throughout Asia, tourists find appeals to visit elephant “sanctuaries” for up-close encounters. But no legitimate elephant sanctuary allows hands-on interactions with the public, and that includes letting tourists ride the elephants or give them baths. When not being forced to labor, the elephants at these sham sanctuaries are chained, and they always live in fear of being beaten with a bullhook — a heavy baton with a sharp steel hook on the end. TRAFFIC, a leading international wildlife-trade monitoring network, released an exposé showing how tourism actually drives the suffering of elephants, including when they’re captured in their natural forest homes.

Bear in China with permanent nose ring.

“Swim With Dolphins” programs are another common tourist draw. In nature, dolphins swim vast distances every day in extended family pods. They are keenly intelligent, have complex social ties and use echolocation to navigate and judge distances. In captivity, even the largest tank feels like a prison to them. Captive dolphins often die far short of their expected lifespan.

Animals are suffering even at well-known, popular tourist destinations, including the Grand Canyon; Santorini, Greece; the pyramids of Giza in Egypt; and Petra in Jordan, where horses, donkeys and camels are forced to haul sightseers around on their backs or in carriages. They are worked to exhaustion, often in the scorching heat, with no access to water.

A dolphin in his natural habitat: THE OCEAN!

Return home from your vacation with photos and happy anecdotes – not memories of despairing dolphins, stressed bears or battered horses! Their mistreatment should be condemned by all compassionate people!

Every traveler must pledge not to spend a dime on businesses that exploit animals.

🐛🦋THE WEB OF LIFE MUST THRIVE!🌍 Let’s ‘Bee🐝’ Nice to Bugs!🐜

By Rebecca Libauskas

Perfection.❤️ photo: R.T.

Our yards are teeming with life, from fluttering moth wings to the dynamic march of ants. Yet many people see bugs and other tiny animals as “pests” that should be eradicated — rather than as individuals who want to live. Using pesticides not only harms insects but can also have severe long-term consequences for other animals and the environment.

I’m fortunate to live in a neighborhood where algae-covered ponds, untouched ravines and elder trees provide a home for various animals, including bugs. During the summer months, the glitter of lightning bugs and the symphony of chirps and buzzes create an enchanted atmosphere in my yard — an ambiance that is almost nonexistent in more manicured suburban areas.

Although I enjoy the magic of bugs, I know that they don’t exist for me. Like all sentient beings, insects have their own desires, needs and purpose in the ecosystem. They have their own value — whether they add joy to my life or not.

Scientists are discovering that insects may experience a range of emotions, including pleasure, depression and optimism. A study by researchers at the University of Arizona and King’s College London reveals striking similarities in how the brains of different animals — like flies and humans — regulate behavior. And insects are much more intelligent than was once believed: Bees can count up to four, cockroaches can play dead and wasps can use tools.

Insects may not communicate in ways we understand, but they have feelings. When threatened, trapped or killed, they can experience fear, stress and anxiety. Still, many humans dump harsh pesticides onto insects’ homes — claiming these areas as their lawns — without blinking an eye. It makes me wonder: Why is the golf-course aesthetic preferable to an untamed tangle of native wildflowers, anyway?

Perhaps this ideal will change as more people become aware that when they spray to get rid of a specific “problem” — like mosquitos or dandelions — they also place the life of every insect in the area at risk. Some are misled by packaging or ads that claim a product is “eco-friendly.” But it’s impossible for an insecticide to spare all non-target victims. Pollinators, including bees and butterflies, are particularly susceptible to herbicides because these chemicals can obliterate their food sources. And the damage doesn’t stop at insects: Studies show that pesticides and herbicides have caused a decline in some bird species populations. Insecticides can also pose a risk to human health.

Change starts with us. Try talking with your neighbors about allowing a patch of native plants in your yard, planting a butterfly garden at a local park or spreading information in neighborhood groups about the harm caused by pesticides. Consider building insect habitats, such as “bug hotels,” with your children or local scout troops to provide shelter and nesting sites. And remember that there are always humane ways of dealing with unwanted insects. Mosquitos can’t fly in the wind, so in summer, when I enjoy the magic in my yard, I run an extension cord and a fan to avoid becoming dinner. Another tip? Ticks hate the smell of lemon, lavender and peppermint, so any of these can be rubbed onto exposed skin to prevent bites. And you can add rose geranium oil to your canine companion’s collar before a hike. There are many other helpful tips like these on the internet.

We must change — before it’s too late: According to a 2019 report by the journal Biological Conservation, there has been a global decline of 40% in insect species populations and one-third of those species are at risk of extinction.

By protecting and preserving insects, we can help sustain the complex web of life on our planet.