Category Archives: Animal Issues

🍐🍅🥦Food Fight! It’s Fruits vs. Vegetables!🍎🌽

By Scott Miller

🥦🥬🥒🫑❤️ art: PETA

Yesterday was “National Eat More Fruits and Vegetables Day,” which sounds like an order. People don’t like to be told what to do. However, the sentiment is well intentioned.

We’re told to eat fruits and vegetables rather than vegetables and fruits. Fruit is always in front — at the supermarket, on our refrigerator shelves, even alphabetically. Most people prefer fruits to vegetables, and not just because fruit tastes better. Fruit is fun and wacky. Vegetables are serious and sensible. Grapes are the life of the party. Lettuce sits in the corner, complaining about the loud music. Candy is fruit flavored. Mixed drinks are fruit flavored. Tasty treats aren’t vegetable flavored. “Have a Popsicle — it’s cabbage.”

But both fruits and vegetables are ideal foods for compassionate people concerned about the well-being of all sentient beings, as animals don’t suffer for your pomegranates and carrots. In that sense, we could call it National Eat More Fruits and Vegetables and Kellogg’s Frosted Mini-Wheats Cereal Day. (Mini-Wheats are vegan!) And there are bonus health benefits. Produce is good for you. Most other things are not. Aside from the pork industry and heart attack fetishists, nobody is encouraging you to eat more pigs.

Both fruits and vegetables are packed with vitamins and minerals and are rich in fiber and antioxidants. Because fruit is higher in sugar and calories than vegetables, nutritionists say that vegetables are better. On the other hand, a tricycle is more fuel efficient than a Porsche. That doesn’t make it the superior vehicle. It’s unlikely that America’s obesity problem is due to fruit consumption. Doctors never tell their patients, “You’re eating too many apples.” Want to get in shape? Less butter, more bananas.

Of course, diet is not just about health. Vegans eat all kinds of food, as long as it doesn’t involve the exploitation of animals. One could also refer to me as a “Pop-Tartan” (but not the frosted kind, made with animal byproducts). The misconception that vegans eat only vegetables has to do with these two words’ sharing the same first three letters: V-E-G. And although we encourage cashiers to try cashews, we also suggest that they eat strawberries and broccoli — and say “have a nice day” less often if they don’t really mean it.

Yeah, vegetables are the poor cousins of fruits. Passion fruit sounds sexy. Dragon fruit sounds mystical. Peas and leeks sound like bodily functions. “Life is not a bowl of cherries” implies that cherries are sweet and enjoyable. Life is not a cluster of artichokes, and thank God for that. Yet vegetables have a fresh, natural flavor. Celery and bell peppers are crisp and pure and unprocessed and feel like they belong in your mouth. Nobody regrets having eaten a side salad.

The same can’t be said for a chili dog. Plus, as a meatless option, vegetables are also entrées: mushroom burgers, cauliflower wings, eggplant meatballs. So give vegetables their due.

But while the battle between fruits and vegetables rages on, we are lacking in both. Only one in 10 adults eats enough greens. Consumption is especially low among younger Americans — not surprising since TikTok isn’t classified as a vegetable. Strategies for increasing our fruit and vegetable intake include expanding local agriculture programs and promoting community gardens.

From a purely scientific standpoint, animals have nervous systems and brains, allowing them to feel pleasure and joy. This same biology explains the fear, frustration, and physical pain they experience when people use them for food. Fruits and vegetables don’t feel pain. When you punch the air, it’s possible that you’re hurting ghosts. Rational thought tells us otherwise. Use your brain. If zucchini welfare is still a concern, however, know that eating produce directly — rather than feeding it to animals killed for their flesh — requires fewer plants and doesn’t hurt animals, who we know feel pain.

Meat, eggs and dairy are environmentally unsustainable, bad for our health, and deadly for animals. We shouldn’t need a special day to remind us what to put in our bodies. Visit a peach orchard. Then go to a slaughterhouse. Stroll through a cornfield on a sunny day. Then walk the dark corridors of a factory farm, rows and rows of hens kept in tiny metal battery cages used as egg-laying machines. It’s enough to make you want to eat more fruits and vegetables.




🌌🍿🎬The movie Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 3 has a powerful message about animal testing🐇🐁🐇🐁🐇

By Scott Miller

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is a fun superhero comedy-action Marvel movie — but it has an unexpectedly compelling message. As the film reveals Rocket Raccoon’s backstory, moviegoers learn that our beloved hero (voiced by Bradley Cooper) was the subject of cruel laboratory experiments run by the High Evolutionary, an evil villain void of compassion. Fellow Guardian Nebula says that what happened to Rocket was “worse than anything Thanos ever did.” Sadly, this type of plot doesn’t come out of Knowhere. In the real world, millions of animals are enduring it right now.

Stop the suffering! photos: PETA

Here are a few points from the hit movie that blend fantasy with reality:

The High Evolutionary refers to Rocket as 89P13. In real laboratories, animals are not treated as sensitive, complex individuals with feelings and fears, but as pieces of laboratory equipment with ID numbers tattooed on their chests or inside their ears.

Rocket is shown strapped into a nightmarish restraining device while being experimented on. He is helpless to defend himself, as his arms and legs are tightly bound. This inhumane contraption is eerily similar to those that real laboratory workers use to restrain monkeys.

In the film, Rocket and his animal friends are kept in small cages and given no enrichment or mental stimulation. They daydream together about a better future. In real life, animals in isolation experience psychological distress and exhibit abnormal behavior, such as pacing and self-mutilation. In both scenarios, the future is grim. Just as the High Evolutionary kills his living “tools” once they are no longer of use to him, in real laboratories, animals are usually killed and dissected after enduring a lifetime of suffering.

Writer/director James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 screenplay doesn’t back away from its true-to-life subject matter. Although some of the film’s flashback scenes are tough to watch, this movie “sees the individual” — which is why PETA honored Gunn with a “Not a Number” Award. We urge animal experimenters to see it.

The High Evolutionary is an insane narcissist whose experiments serve no purpose other than to satisfy his own perverse curiosity. Yet this is not so different from real life, in which laboratory staff purposefully breed animals to suffer from debilitating conditions, including cancerous tumors, weakened immune systems and a variety of painful disabilities.

Stop the suffering!

Stop the suffering!

Mice have been dropped into inescapable beakers filled with water in near-drowning tests at Eli Lilly, purportedly to study human depression. At the University of Massachusetts/Amherst, experimenters remove the ovaries of tiny marmoset monkeys and overheat the animals with hand warmers to mimic hot flashes in an attempt to study menopause — even though marmosets don’t experience menopause! For decades, experimenters at the University of Wisconsin/Madison drilled holes in cats’ skulls for “sound localization” experiments — even though the lead experimenter admitted that “our goal is not to produce a clinical treatment or a cure.”

But when it comes to this horrible exploitation of animals, any goal is irrelevant because the experiments don’t work. A 2014 review published in The British Medical Journal found that “even the most promising findings from animal research often fail in human trials and are rarely adopted into clinical practice.”

You don’t have to be Star-Lord or Drax the Destroyer to take action for living beings suffering in university and government labs. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 ends on a positive, inspirational note. Spoiler warning: The film imagines a world where animals can live in peace. PETA is actively working toward that future through its Research Modernization Deal by promoting animal-free research methods that could actually result in treatments and cures for human diseases. Find out how you can get involved at



🌸Mother’s Day Reflections: How Motherhood Differs for Humans and Factory Farm Animals🐖🐄🐣

By Amy Snyder

Love and respect all animals! art: PETA

The day my daughter was born was one of the happiest days of my life. I spent five hours in labor and gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. I had been paranoid that something would go wrong, so I was overjoyed that she was healthy. Our bond was instantaneous: I spent my days and nights holding and feeding her, never wanting to let her go.

Now, if I were a cow in a factory farm, my precious infant would have been taken away from me shortly after birth, and no amount of bellowing would have brought her back. In the dairy industry, newborn calves are taken from their mothers so that that the milk meant for them can be “stolen” by humans.

Think about it: Cows produce milk for the same reason humans do — to nourish their young. For cows exploited in the dairy industry, birth is nothing to celebrate. Female calves are turned into virtual milk machines like their mothers. They’re artificially inseminated soon after their first birthday and forced to churn out babies every year, only to see them taken away. It’s a never-ending cycle of trauma and cruelty.

When a cow’s milk production wanes, usually when she’s only 4 or 5 years old, she’s worthless to the dairy industry. She ends up at the slaughterhouse, bloodied, dangling by a hind leg with her throat cut.

Even the thought of my baby being taken from me, never to be seen again, brings me immeasurable anguish. I’m sure you can understand why I’m so thankful not to be a cow!! Male calves aren’t exempt from misery. They are often slated to be someone’s dinner. Instead of playing and making friends, they’re chained in cramped stalls and raised for veal. Fed a formula that’s low in iron so they’ll be anemic, their flesh stays pale. Normal muscle growth is stunted to produce tender meat. These youngsters are usually killed when they’re between 3 and 18 weeks old. I wouldn’t wish that fate on anyone.

My heart breaks when I think about how it’s inflicted on other mothers and their babies simply because they aren’t humans.

Mother pigs exist in ghastly gestation crates — cages that are just 2 feet wide and too small for them even to turn around or lie down comfortably!

Pigs are as intelligent as dogs.

And although mother hens cluck to their chicks before they even hatch and the chicks peep back through their shells, they’ll never spend a single minute together since the eggs are taken by humans.
Being a mom has its challenges and heartaches — don’t get me wrong. But I didn’t have to endure heart-wrenching torment in the dairy, meat or egg industry.

We should all be outraged that mothers, human or not, are subjected to the agony of losing their offspring, especially for something frivolous and unnecessary. We have so many vegan options nowadays, including oat and almond milks and all the dairy-free foods that can be made from them.

So this Mother’s Day and all year round, please show compassion for all mothers by choosing tasty vegan foods, as my daughter and I do!



Going vegan for the planet, animals and wellness

By Rebecca Libauskas

😢😢😢 Art: PETA

Do you feel your anxiety rising as the planet heats up? As someone who researches climate science, I can confirm that eco-anxiety is not a gimmick — it’s real! A recent American Psychiatric Association survey revealed that 67% of Americans are experiencing some degree of anxiety due to the climate catastrophe. And more than half of the respondents worried about the climate crisis’s impact on their mental well-being. So, for Mental Health Awareness Month (May), let’s be proactive — and go vegan.

Since I became conscious of my environmental impact, I recycle, buy secondhand clothes and reduce plastics in my family’s home.

But eating vegan helps my eco-anxiety the most. According to a study by the University of Oxford, going vegan is the “single biggest way” to reduce your environmental impact. Researchers found that ditching meat and dairy could reduce an individual’s carbon footprint from food by up to 73%.

When we are proactive in our role in the climate catastrophe, we can better confront the stress of frightening climate change–related events like raging wildfires, food insecurity and house-destroying storms. It’s empowering. And sharing vegan food with my family has amplified our collective impact.

As a mother, I know my children need tools to cope with the state of the planet. In a 2021 global survey of thousands of young people, many reported feelings of sadness, anxiety, anger, powerlessness, helplessness or guilt concerning climate change. I upgraded from dairy to almond milk and from chicken nuggets to vegan nuggets. Not only are these swaps environmentally friendly, they’re also affordable, delicious, healthy and easy. Making these changes was an excellent way to introduce my children to the tasty world of vegan eating and inspire them to confront the climate catastrophe. Each person’s actions count.


According to a report by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, animal agriculture accounts for about 14.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Animal agriculture is also responsible for deforestation, as land is cleared to create grazing areas and grow animal feed. And animal waste from farms can contaminate nearby water sources, leading to serious water pollution. Switching to vegan foods can help reduce the demand for animal-based foods — which in turn can decrease the negative impact of animal agriculture on the environment. And my spirit has never felt lighter, knowing that no one had to die for my meal.

Meat, eggs and dairy come from misery and pain inflicted on animals. These animals are forced to endure alarming mistreatment, from the claustrophobic confines of tiny stalls to the agony of mutilations without painkillers. By going vegan, we refuse to bankroll their suffering and we reap the benefits to our mental health.

One study published in the journal Nutritional Neuroscience found that vegan eating may be associated with lower anxiety and stress levels. And a study from the University of Warwick in England shows that people who eat a lot of fruits and vegetables — up to eight portions a day — are substantially happier than people who do not. So with the vegan lunch I just ate, I reduced my environmental impact and contributed to my happiness. It’s that easy!

It’s no surprise that so many of us feel eco-anxiety: We switch on the news or open a newspaper and see a world ravaged by the climate catastrophe. But we have the power to effect change. By embracing vegan living, we take a stand against cruelty to animals and tangibly contribute to the conservation of the planet. So let’s change the world, one meal at a time, and pave the way for our children. This Mental Health Awareness Month, let’s be the change we wish to see.

🌎🌱This Earth Day, Teach Your Children!🐖🐄🐔🐎🐅

By Rebecca Libauskas

Eating less meat and dairy products is good for you and the environment and helps reduce global warming. Art: PETA

Experts paint a bleak picture: Time is running out to escape climate catastrophe, and animal agriculture is a leading cause. But the crisis is not just an environmental issue — it’s a moral one. We stifle our children’s natural compassion when we teach them that animals are mere commodities rather than sentient beings. So for this Earth Day, and every day, let’s go vegan.

While all species have differences, we’re alike where it counts. And although our dwellings may look different, Earth is the home we all share. Yet humans are destroying the planet for all living beings with animal agriculture.

According to a recent report by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the world is likely to surpass the 1.5°C warming threshold by the early 2030s. This report is a stark reminder of the urgency to go vegan: If we continue with business-as-usual emissions, the world could experience extreme climate disasters and folks will be unable to adapt.

Think of the children …

We can have a positive impact on the environment by swapping meat, eggs and dairy for healthy vegan foods.

🌎Researchers at the University of Oxford found that we could reduce our diet-related carbon footprints by up to 73% by ditching meat and dairy.

🌎And a study just released in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reveals that vegan foods are much better for the planet and healthier than animal-derived foods.

Vegan foods are also kinder — as our children already know. My little boy’s face lights up when he sees animals because he recognizes them as friends. Recent research published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science shows that, compared to adults, young children are less likely to view animals on a farm as “something to eat.” Another study published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology found that children view eating animals as morally wrong. As a parent, it pains me that we snuff out our children’s innate compassion.

This summer – lots of variety at Trader Joe’s!

Just as our kids enjoy playing outside on a sunny spring day, chickens enjoy basking in the warm sun and socializing with friends. But chickens raised on factory farms never have a chance to do anything that’s important to them. Mother hens, for example, teach meaningful vocalizations to their chicks before they hatch — but they can’t do that when the egg industry steals them. And chicks on factory farms are never allowed to have contact with their parents, let alone be raised by them. But chickens aren’t the only ones abused by animal agriculture.


Imagine how terrifying it would be to lose your child. Mother cows cry out in distress when their calves are taken away in the dairy industry. And on factory farms, after mother pigs give birth to piglets, they’re moved to farrowing crates, which are so small they can’t turn around or build nests for their young. Then the piglets are separated from their mothers when they’re as young as 10 days old.

Are we raising our children to be compassionate or complicit? Going vegan supports our children’s natural wisdom and saves countless animals from miserable lives and painful deaths. And since so many delicious, healthy animal-free foods are on the market, no one has to choose between their taste buds and their conscience. So let’s not leave our children a legacy of environmental devastation and animal suffering. Let’s go vegan!

Happy cows!




🔥The threat posed by fires🔥… to wildlife

By Craig Shapiro


Last year, 66,255 wildfires erupted in the U.S., burning through more than 7.3 million acres from California to the Florida Panhandle. It was the most fires since 2017, and those were the ones that were reported. The final count is bound to be higher.

This year, wildfire season has already begun, though the threat never seems to diminish, thanks to a warming climate that turns forests and grasslands into tinderboxes.

And it’s not just humans’ lives and homes that are again imperiled. Springtime is a time to remember deer, birds, fish, reptiles – and their offspring – all the animals who can be killed or displaced by fires.

It’s impossible to know exactly how many. The massive 2020 North Complex fire in California torched more than 318,000 acres, uprooting countless bears and coyotes along with anyone else in its path. That same year, an estimated 480 million animals perished in bushfires in New South Wales, Australia.

The impacts of wildfires on animals are immediate, debilitating and often life-threatening — and familiar to humans who’ve survived a fire. Thick smoke disorients them, irritates their eyes and makes it hard for them to breathe. Larger animals may try to outrun the flames, if there’s time. At its peak, the North Complex fire scorched 1,000 acres every 30 minutes. Small animals may try to shelter under rocks and in burrows. Those with babies or who are trapped by fences or other structures may not escape.

Fish and marine mammals, including manatees and sea otters, suffer, too. Toxic residue from plastics burned by wildfires runs off into waterways. Plants and brush disintegrate into nitrogen, phosphorus and other nutrients that can create dangerous algae blooms when they’re swept into aquatic ecosystems.

Species that return annually to the same breeding grounds and nesting sites are especially threatened by habitat loss. Others leave in search of food and, when they enter unfamiliar territory, are threatened by new predators and territorial disputes and are forced to compete for limited resources.

Most naturally occurring wildfires are sparked by lightning. Preventing them would likely take nothing short of divine intervention. But every year, more than 19,500 reported fires are triggered by fireworks. Although exploding and airborne fireworks pose the greatest danger to lives and homes, sparklers, fountains and smoke bombs can ignite fires, too.

Fireworks also terrify dogs and cats: they may run into the street after fleeing their home in an attempt to escape the confusing, deafening blasts. It’s not uncommon for panicked dogs to break through windows and screen doors or dig under fences.

How can we help wildlife trying to escape a fire? 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥

Resist feeding them so they don’t become dependent.

Don’t chase them away (they’re already scared, so let them rest before moving along).

Keep dogs away from them.

Be on the watch for those who wander into roadways and report injured animals to the authorities.

The starting point, though, is to help protect animals and their habitats by eliminating our role in igniting wildfires:
🔥🔥🔥Report unattended fires, thoroughly extinguish campfires and fire pits, keep vehicles off dry grass, don’t throw lit or smoldering cigarettes from your car or truck and check the weather conditions before burning trash or leaves.🔥🔥🔥

And by all means, leave fireworks in the package.



Easter bonnets, not Easter bunnies!

By Donna Albergotti

And try to buy vegan candy for those Easter baskets! Trader Joe’s on Route 9 in Shrewsbury has a great selection of vegan treats – and main dishes, side dishes … everything you’ll need for your Easter dinner. Art: PETA

I recently adopted a rabbit. Olaf had been passed from shelter to shelter for more than a year. He has holes in his ears and eyelids from a severe mite infestation he endured while struggling to survive alone on the streets of Northern Virginia. Fortunately, a good Samaritan scooped him up and took him to the local animal shelter.

I imagine Olaf ended up homeless the same way so many other rabbits do: Someone gave him to a child for Easter without having thought about the commitment involved. And then the reality of caring for a rabbit set in. Olaf despises being picked up — which is more common than not in rabbits — so I’m sure the child got frustrated with him. Eventually, someone abandoned him outdoors, perhaps wrongly believing that he could survive, but being left alone outside is actually a cruel death sentence for a domestic rabbit.

It happens all the time. About a month after the holiday, shelters start bracing for an influx of unwanted rabbits. Many of them are found in parks or backyards or under buildings. They’re often starving, sick, injured from attacks by predators, ravaged by parasites and scared stiff.

I’ve been volunteering to help homeless rabbits for more than a decade, and I’ve seen it all. Some rabbits are confused or frightened when they’re first rescued. Some are angry and put up a fight. Some have simply given up and sit quietly. All of them have pain in their eyes.

I share my passion for rabbits with others and love teaching people about how smart they are and what wonderful companions they can be. But I wish I had a nickel for every time someone recounted their tale of having a rabbit as a child. It inevitably ends badly, with the animal’s horrible death. My own parents got rabbits for my brother and me when we were very young. They were kept outdoors, behind our house, in a small hutch with a wire grating. I remember that one of them used to scream every time we approached. We didn’t know any better, of course, but I’m haunted by that scream and burdened with the knowledge that I made those animals miserable.

It’s a misconception that rabbits are “easy pets.” They have special needs that often come as a big surprise to people who acquire them on a whim. Rabbits require specific foods as well as stimulating, indoor, “rabbit-proof” environments and specialized veterinarians. They need lots of hay, they poop a lot and they love to chew on anything, from electric cords to baseboards. They need just as much attention as a dog or a cat.

Kids want to hug and cuddle them, but rabbits generally shun that kind of hands-on interaction. From their point of view, we’re giant predators, and earning their trust is both a challenge and a joy. But it takes a lot of patience and selflessness, two things young children shouldn’t be expected to have.

So if you’re a parent vacillating over your child’s plea for an Easter rabbit, please say no. The great thing about this season is that there’s no shortage of adorable stuffed toys available. They’re easy to care for, and no one gets hurt.


And remember, Trader Joe’s soaps, hand lotions, shampoos, facial creams and more are all cruelty-free, as are the personal care products/cosmetics listed below. R.T:


🐝Be a good neighbor to wildlife: Create a garden fit for a queen (bee🐝) this spring!

By Melissa Rae Sanger

bzzzzzzz … photo: PETA

Last spring, I decided to let native wildflowers take over a small area of my lawn. I was giddy with excitement and hopeful that my little garden would be a haven for insects and other wildlife in a neighborhood where manicured lawns and landscape pavers are the norm.

I even painted a sign that said, “Pardon the weeds. We’re feeding the bees.”

One day, a neighbor approached me about my beloved bee garden. He said he would file a complaint with the city if I didn’t remove the flowers. Worried I’d get in trouble, I went out and mowed everything, tears streaming down my face.

I’ve since learned that I was within my rights — and that although growing wildflowers may have annoyed one human neighbor, it was a lifeline to a multitude of wildlife neighbors who lived and fed in the foliage. This spring, I’m going to replant the flowers, and I encourage everyone else who can spare even a sliver of lawn to grow wildflowers, too.

Pollinators, including bees, birds, bats, butterflies, moths, wasps, beetles and lizards, are nature’s life force. Their fate is inseparable from our own. They affect 35% of the world’s crop production through pollination, the quintessential synergy that enables the transfer of pollen so that plants can reproduce. They deserve a healthy, vibrant habitat in which to flourish for their own sake, and in doing so, they help us, too.

But these precious pollinators are struggling. Many factors are to blame, and one of the most pervasive problems is habitat loss. Although tidy, over-fertilized lawns appeal to some, it’s time to reconsider the barren, lifeless lawnscaping we’ve come to accept as standard.

Removing “unwanted” plants, such as dandelions and clover, also removes vital sources of shelter and food for insects and other animals. So what might look like a healthy lawn is devoid of the biodiversity that’s necessary for the survival of wildlife. Plus, grass isn’t really “green” if it’s drenched in lawn chemicals and fertilizers and guzzling gallons of water all summer.


Growing wildflowers and other pollinator-friendly plants like basil, rosemary or sunflowers is better for the environment and will attract local and migratory butterflies, birds and bees. The secret is to provide a variety of native flowering plant species to create habitat, food and shelter for all.

If you do choose to keep some grass, consider participating in “no mow May,” which fosters habitat by allowing grass to grow for the entire month of May. Less frequent mowing also saves water by helping grass become more drought-resistant and decreases emissions from gas-powered equipment.

Should you find yourself with uninvited “guests” in your garden or home, there are many ways to deter them without harm. For example, you can fill your garden with plants such as bee balm and lavender, which act as natural rabbit repellents. Placing cinnamon sticks, coffee grinds, chili pepper, paprika, cloves or dried peppermint leaves will help send ants packing.

A growing number of cities and states are recognizing the need to protect wildlife with legislation that promotes pollinator-friendly landscaping. But bees and other wildlife can’t wait — they need our help now, wherever we live. What we choose to do with our home’s outdoor space has an enormous impact on animals who depend on it for life.

If my neighbor complains again this summer, I’ll share the facts instead of reacting in fear. Who knows — maybe one day he, too, will see the beauty in bees and butterflies floating above a sea of purple coneflowers and black-eyed Susans and decide to transform his own yard.

🗻The Iditarod is True March Madness!🗻

By Jennifer O’Connor

Boycott the cruelty! photos: PETA

Running a marathon and finishing it is a remarkable accomplishment. But imagine running four marathons a day for 10 days straight. Throw in biting winds, blinding snowstorms and sub-zero temperatures. Unfathomable, isn’t it? Yet that’s exactly what dogs used in the Iditarod are forced to endure. Many don’t make it to the finish line alive.

No records were kept of dog deaths in the Iditarod’s early days, but the Anchorage Daily News reported that “as many as 34 dogs died in the first two races.” Since then, at least 116 more have died during the events. The number of those who die during training or while chained outside is impossible to estimate. Kennel operators and breeders aren’t required to report how many dogs die at their facilities. Before last year’s race even began, multiple dogs were injured and one was killed during training.

So many exploiters of the beautiful husky dogs!

Even the most energetic dog wouldn’t choose to run 100 miles a day while pulling a heavy sled through some of the worst conditions on the planet. Along the 1,000-mile route, dogs’ feet are torn apart by ice and rocks. Many pull muscles, incur stress fractures or become sick with diarrhea, dehydration, intestinal viruses or bleeding stomach ulcers. Aspiration pneumonia—which can develop after dogs inhale their own vomit—is the number one cause of death on the trail. Rule 42 of the official Iditarod rules says that some deaths may be considered “unpreventable.”

Mushers have tested positive for methamphetamine and marijuana. Dogs have tested positive for opioids.

Mushers appear to be oblivious to the misery the dogs endure. Last year’s winner shared a disturbing video during the race of dogs covered in snow and ice in the blistering wind with, as he described it, their faces “totally entrenched in snow” and their eyes “all frozen shut.” One musher lamented that chipping frozen urine off the dogs’ penises was an unpleasant but necessary task. While dogs pull and pull, mushers can ride and sleep. Mushers have tested positive for methamphetamine and marijuana. Dogs have tested positive for opioids.

Life off the trail is equally grim. The vast majority of dogs spend their seemingly interminable days tethered on short chains with only barrels or dilapidated doghouses for shelter. Most kennels are never inspected by any regulatory agency. Dogs who aren’t fast runners or who simply can’t run for days on end are discarded like defective equipment. Dogs used in sledding have been shot, bludgeoned to death or abandoned to starve, or their throats have been slit.

Urge sponsors to abandon the race!

The Iditarod isn’t about honoring Alaskan culture or tradition. It’s about money and unearned bragging rights. How can anyone justly take pride in an event that causes so much suffering and death?

🍅New vegans are sprouting up every day🌸 – what about you?🌹

By Heather Moore

Rose’s Cece waiting for dinner! photo: R.T.

Has your New Year’s resolution to eat healthier already fallen by the wayside? Did you forget about your pledge to participate in “Veganuary” before breakfast on January 1? If so, don’t be discouraged. It’s not too late. Interest in vegan living remains high, including among more than a third of U.S. adults, according to a Wakefield Research survey. More and more people are realizing that they can lose weight, reduce their risk of suffering from life-threatening diseases, help animals and combat the climate crisis and other environmental problems by eating vegan foods rather than animal-based ones. I suspect that’s why a record-breaking number of people — one every 2.4 seconds — signed up to take part in Veganuary on January 1, 2023, alone. If you lost your resolve to go vegan earlier in the year, now’s a good time to march into a vegan way of life.

I went vegan 31 years ago. I still remember an amusing conversation I had with an acquaintance a few years later. When I told him how long I’d been vegan, he exclaimed, “Wow, you must really like salad!” I explained that although I enjoy vegan versions of chicken, tuna and egg salad as well as potato salad, pasta salad and, yes, leafy green salad, vegans eat much more than “salad,” including veggie burgers and other foods from vegan-friendly companies.

There are plenty of tasty foods to eat after you ditch meat, eggs and dairy. These days, new vegan products are coming out left and right. Ben & Jerry’s, for example, recently introduced two more vegan flavors — Lights! Caramel! ACTION! and Oatmeal Dream Pie. Both Babybel and Laughing Cow now make vegan cheese rounds, and Boursin is selling dairy-free spreadable cheese. Lindt unveiled tasty oat milk chocolate bars, and Hellmann’s is one of the many mayonnaise manufacturers that offer a vegan variety. MorningStar Farms teamed up with Eggo to produce the vegan Chik’n & Eggo Liège Style Waffle Sandwich, and Beyond Meat, the maker of the popular Beyond Burgers, has also started selling vegan Beyond Steak and other animal-free products.

Wholesome foods like fruit, veggies, beans, nuts and grains are versatile vegan staples, and there are simple ways to incorporate vegan foods into your daily routine. For breakfast, skip bacon and eggs and eat tofu scramble and tempeh bacon, oatmeal with almond milk and blueberries, toast with nut butter and fruit preserves or a fruit smoothie. At lunch, have curried chickpeas rather than chicken flesh or vegetable fajitas instead of meat-based ones. For dinner, enjoy spaghetti and marinara sauce with vegan meatballs, black bean and corn chili, veggie sushi or lentil and spinach soup, or whip up some stir-fried vegetables or a hearty vegetable risotto. It doesn’t take much effort, even if you, like me, aren’t crazy about cooking.

If you haven’t already gone vegan, don’t wait another minute. It’s easy, and you know it’s the compassionate, environmentally friendly, healthy choice. If you want more information, tips and recipes, PETA offers a free vegan starter kit …
Vegan baking cheat sheet. PETA