Category Archives: Animal Issues

America! Worcester! Alarming new study shows it’s time to get serious about eating better!

By Heather Moore

Vegan Rustic Stew. Many Americans don’t eat enough veggies, fruits and whole grains.

Fewer than 7% of Americans are in excellent cardiometabolic health, which is measured by evaluating a person’s weight, blood pressure, blood sugar, blood cholesterol levels and signs of heart disease.

Tufts University researchers came to this sobering conclusion after assessing 55,000 people older than 20 between 1999 and 2018. The study’s lead author, Meghan O’Hearn, says it’s “deeply problematic” that less than 1 in 15 adults in one of the wealthiest nations in the world is in optimal cardiometabolic health. Not surprisingly, factors such as economic instability and systemic discrimination are linked to a higher risk of health problems.


A similar study, involving American Heart Association (AHA) metrics—eating habits, physical activity, nicotine exposure, sleep duration, body mass and blood composition—shows that only 1 in 5 Americans have healthy hearts.

There are lots of vegan and vegetarian options at TRADER JOE’S, PRICE CHOPPER, PRICE RITE and other supermarkets. Photo: PETA

This is terrible news, but there is a solution. Eating wholesome vegan foods instead of animal-derived ones can improve one’s overall health, including most, if not all, of the conditions evaluated by Tufts and the AHA.

Fruit, vegetables, grain, legumes and other vegan foods are cholesterol-free and high in fiber and other important nutrients. They’re also generally low in saturated fat, which is linked to viscous (thick) blood and high blood pressure. If you eat animal fat, you may have thicker blood, so your heart has to push harder just to keep the blood flowing.

Buying farm fresh veggies and fruits at an REC MOBILE MARKET on Vernon Hill. photo: R.T.

When scientists with the University of Warwick in the U.K. compared seven different eating plans, they found that eating primarily vegan foods is the best way to lower blood pressure, which is thought to be the number one factor in strokes, heart attacks and other cardiovascular events. The researchers concluded that sticking with vegan foods could prevent nearly 5 million premature deaths a year.

According to vegan cardiologist Dr. Joel K. Kahn, author of Dead Execs Don’t Get Bonuses, between 80% and 90% of chronic health problems, including heart disease, can be prevented by exercising, refraining from smoking, getting enough sleep, managing stress and — most importantly — eating exclusively nutritious vegan foods.


But choosing vegan foods over animal-based ones will not just improve your health — it will likely help you save money, too. Vegan foods tend to cost less, especially when you factor in the money you’ll save on hospital bills, medications and other healthcare costs by avoiding artery-clogging animal-based foods.

Some easy peasy vegan cooking options.

Not only that, but eating vegan foods instead of meat, eggs and dairy can help combat the climate catastrophe, conserve much-needed resources and, best of all — save lots of animals. It’s a win-win situation!

Vegan nachos. Try the plant-based IMPOSSIBLE BURGER the next time you make hamburgers, meatballs or tacos! IT’S TASTY AND ANIMAL-FREE! photo: PETA

PETA is working to make wholesome, affordable, versatile vegan foods available everywhere, including in food deserts. You can make a difference in your community by purchasing and enjoying healthy vegan foods and encouraging your family and friends to do the same.

And when you eat no meat, you save – ANNUALLY! – the lives of 200 animals suffering in America’s factory farms! Photo: PETA

Planning to buy your child a “starter pet”? …

By Michelle Reynolds

A “starter” pet needs extra special care.

After my German shepherd mix passed away, I wasn’t ready to adopt another dog. But my single-girl condo felt empty. So when I got an e-mail about two guinea pigs who needed a home, I thought, “Perfect! How hard could it be?” Looking back, I realize that Alicia Silverstone had nothing on how clueless I was.

Don’t get me wrong, Duke and Bogart are cute, charismatic and perpetually doing things that make me laugh. But I would never recommend guinea pigs to my friends with kids — for a lot of reasons.

First of all, guinea pigs put you through an approval process that’s similar to the one you use when you meet people on Tinder. Guinea pigs require you to convince them that they should like you. And even then, some will never like to be picked up or held. And after you’ve been bitten, you learn your lesson.

Second, they are messy. Like, apoopcalypse messy. Since their teeth grow constantly, they chew constantly as well. Food pellets, hay, chewing blocks and vegetables add up to an amount of waste that is … let’s just say that if Daniel Day Lewis ever made a movie called There Will Be Poop, he would film it in a guinea pig habitat. And that means washing fleece beds, ramp covers, cloth toys and towels about twice a week.

Third, if you’re thinking that smaller animals equal smaller expenses, think again. I spend more money to meet the needs of these 2-pound animals than I did to feed a 75-pound dog. I’ve also found that vet bills tend to go way up when you tack on the word “exotic.”

This is probably a good place to mention that around the same time that I adopted Duke and Bogart, I also began adopting mice rescued from hoarding and other horrible situations. Mice are incredibly cool. Gus loved to curl up on my shoulder while I worked on my laptop, and Valentine’s construction projects were so impressive that I was always buying him building materials. But mice come with their own unique needs and their own costly medical expenses.

For one thing, their lifespan is just one to two years, and that meant a lot of end-of-life vet visits for mine. My mouse Jaq developed an upper respiratory infection, a painful illness that mice are highly susceptible to. Mice can sometimes recover from URIs, but it’s imperative that they get veterinary care right away. Sadly, however, despite daily treks to the vet for oxygen treatments and help getting medicine into his tiny mouth, Jaq didn’t pull through.

Mice are also nocturnal and have to sleep all day to stay healthy. So from dawn to dusk, I was as quiet as … well, you know. And for those of you who haven’t yet told your new husband who just finished a year of teaching and is starting summer break that he needs to be quiet all day long so the mouse can sleep … you will get a kick out of his facial expression when you do.

We were able to work it out with a closed door and a white noise machine, but that just underscores my point: Even small animals have specialized needs. They are complex individuals. If they get too cold, gerbils go into hibernation. Rabbits don’t like to be picked up and may struggle so hard that they can break their back. Betta fish are carnivorous and need to eat insects and larvae. A major study just found that the main cause of death for captive hamsters is stress caused by dissatisfaction with their living conditions.

Profit-driven pet stores market these and other animals as “starter pets” and sell them like cheap toys. Many don’t even provide information about proper care. It’s easy to see why a quick scroll through Petfinder brings up so many who’ve been cast out of their homes. Kids get bored and lose interest — no surprise — or parents weren’t ready to invest the considerable amount of time and money that these animals require. And the ones who make it to shelters are the lucky ones — many of their cohorts don’t survive.

If you and any other adults in your household are ready to provide the distinct habitat, nutrition, grooming, exercise and veterinary care that a small animal needs, you’re in luck because there are many small animals eager to find a permanent home with someone who cares. And if the kids want a companion who will play with them, there are many dogs and cats waiting for homes, too.

Westminster’s “Breed Standards” 🐕‍🦺mean misery for dogs – and the people who buy them!

By Lindsay Pollard-Post

A husky pup. Full-blooded Siberian Huskies, German Shepherd Dogs, and many large, fast-growing dog breeds often develop hip dysplasia. This arthritic condition is painful – and genetic, the result of over breeding, in-breeding …

Mutts like Lilac are “out-bred.” This often happens in Appalachia or the Deep South, as poorer folks often breed their dogs for health and a good temperament.
– R.T.

Rose’s Lilac

For the second year in a row, the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show was rescheduled from winter to summer as a result of the pandemic. But in light of all the misery that the breeding industry causes dogs and the people who buy them, the show shouldn’t just be delayed — it should be permanently canceled.

“Purebred” dogs are predisposed to a slew of serious health and behavioral problems, including unpredictable aggression. This results in enormous suffering, hefty vet bills, heartbreak and sometimes even hospitalization for dog guardians. If you’ve experienced these kinds of issues with an American Kennel Club (AKC) – registered purebred, PETA wants to hear from you.

The AKC’s “breed standards” — which are used to judge purebreds at Westminster and other dog shows — call for distorted physical features and traits that can be achieved only through harmful breeding practices.

For example, dachshunds, with their elongated spines, often endure excruciatingly painful disc disease or other debilitating back problems. Many bulldogs, pugs, Pekingese and other brachycephalic (flat-faced) breeds can barely breathe — let alone go for a walk or chase a ball — without gasping for air because of their unnaturally shortened airways.

Cavalier King Charles spaniels are bred to have such tiny heads that more than 70% of them suffer from syringomyelia, a neurological disease, by age 5 — because their skulls are too small for their brains. Afflicted dogs often scream in pain, scratch themselves raw, grow progressively weaker or even become paralyzed.

In order to pass down certain traits called for by the AKC, many breeders orchestrate canine incest — mating mothers with sons and fathers with daughters. This practice greatly increases the odds of passing on debilitating afflictions such as hypothyroidism, epilepsy, cancer, allergies, heart abnormalities and hip dysplasia.

Labrador retrievers — the most popular breed in the U.S. — are prone to bone disease, hemophilia and retinal degeneration. Doberman pinschers, Great Danes, Irish wolfhounds and German shepherds are susceptible to sudden death from cardiac disease. Can you imagine the horror of watching your beloved dog suddenly drop dead during a walk or a game of fetch?

The cost of veterinary treatment for these health conditions can add up to many thousands of dollars over the course of a dog’s life, causing some families to experience financial hardship. Some people face the agonizing decision of whether to euthanize or surrender their sick purebreds to animal shelters because they can’t afford the extensive veterinary care required.

And if you purchase a purebred, there’s no way of knowing whether your dog will be afflicted with canine rage syndrome — another sinister side effect of breeding for appearances. Springer spaniels, cocker spaniels, golden retrievers, Dobermans and other dogs frequently purchased as family companions are prone to this horrific disorder, in which they become uncontrollably violent without warning or provocation and sometimes even attack the people they love.

The AKC knows that its breed standards cause dogs and their guardians terrible hardship, yet it refuses to make even simple changes to them that could reduce these problems. For example, pugs’ predisposition to spina bifida, a congenital abnormality linked to their curled tails, could be decreased if its standard did not stipulate that “the tail is curled as tightly as possible over the hip.” And deafness would afflict fewer Dalmatians if the AKC would not automatically disqualify dogs with patches, who are less likely to be deaf.

But clearly the AKC isn’t interested in protecting dogs or humans.

It’s up to caring people to push back against breeding for appearances and all the agony that it causes: Never buy purebreds, and don’t watch Westminster or other dog shows. If you already have an AKC-registered purebred dog who became ill or violent or who died prematurely, notify PETA. And if you’re ready to give a dog a lifetime of love and care, please opt to adopt a one-of-a-kind, healthy mutt from an animal shelter.

Mutts like Jett are one-of-a-kind and often healthier than “pure-breds.” CECELIA file photo

Can we save the planet with food?

By Rebecca Libauskas

Our planet, earth, is a living organism, and every one of us is a part of its body. But that body is burning up with fever.

💙💙💙💙💙💙 art: PETA

The past four years have been the warmest on record, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. This warming is an alarming trend, and the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warns that a global average temperature increase of more than 2.7°F would be catastrophic. Experts predict that with an increase of this magnitude, extreme weather events will become more frequent and have permanent consequences for the environment. But this diagnosis isn’t just for some future planetary ailment — we already see the symptoms everywhere.

Scientists have observed severe hurricanes linked to warming oceans over the past few decades. And recent research suggests that increased heat and aridity are the main reasons for the more extensive and powerful fires out West. These phenomena are linked to human-caused climate change. But that’s not all.

New record highs in greenhouse-gas concentrations, sea-level rise and ocean acidification indicate that we are causing disastrous changes on land, in the ocean and in the air, according to the World Meteorological Organization. This is bad news for all species.

What we eat matters!

What can we do? When we’re ill, we must take care of ourselves. Why not extend that same remedy to our planet? Raising animals in order to exploit or kill them for food is like drinking poison when we’re already in the ICU. Eliminating animal agriculture is “our best and most immediate chance to reverse the trajectory of climate change,” according to research published in the journal PLOS Climate.

Go, Joe!

Animal agriculture is the leading cause of water and air pollution, deforestation, and biodiversity loss. It dominates a whopping 83% of all farmland and generates more than half of farming’s greenhouse-gas emissions, according to a University of Oxford study. Precious ecosystems are ruined and replaced by animal farms, whose products deliver only 18% of our calories and 37% of our protein. This system is not sustainable or healthy.

The Earth has finite land, water and energy resources, and raising animals for food exhausts them. Approximately 70 billion animals are raised each year for human consumption, and nearly 16% of global fresh water and a third of the grain produced worldwide are used to support them. But eating plants directly — instead of diverting them through animals — would be an ethical, sustainable, healthy solution.

A model developed by scientists from Stanford University and the University of California–Berkeley shows that a worldwide shift away from animal-based foods in the next 15 years would have the same beneficial effect as a 68% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions through the year 2100. Other experts and studies have reached similar conclusions: A study published in Science, for example, shows that producing protein from soybeans in the form of tofu creates only 4% of the emissions that raising and killing cows for meat does. And growing protein-packed peas and nuts creates less than 1%.

Embracing vegan foods would eliminate animal agriculture’s soil degradation, deforestation and greenhouse-gas emissions. This would help to stop the climate catastrophe while securing our global food supply. But time is of the essence — we can’t let a sick planet get sicker. For the sake of the Earth, we must act now.

Every human can have an immediate impact by ditching animal-derived foods and switching to healthy vegan options. There are plenty of delicious choices already on the market and more on the horizon. Plus, each of us can save the lives of nearly 200 animals every year simply by going vegan.



We may save the earth – but not in leather shoes!

By Ingrid Newkirk

Ingrid with some friends

… The United Nations has just warned that we must slash greenhouse-gas emissions by 43% by 2030 and reach peak emissions before 2025 at the latest — or time will be up and the game will be over.

With the stakes so high, it’s easy to feel despondent. But if governments won’t act, we can, and individual acts do add up, as surely as individual bubbles create a pot of boiling water. Here’s one often overlooked, simple action among many that does make a difference: Ditch leather.

Leather is an extremely lucrative coproduct of the meat industry, which is one of the world’s biggest polluters and contributors to the climate catastrophe. Animal agriculture — of which leather is an integral part — is responsible for nearly one-fifth of all human-induced greenhouse-gas emissions.

Clearing land to raise animals and grow crops to feed them is a leading cause of deforestation, including 80% of deforestation in the Amazon rainforest. A report released late last year by the conservation group linked more than 100 fashion brands to Amazon deforestation via their leather supply chains. Brazil supplies more than 20% of the world’s total leather exports, making it the single largest source of animal hides.

And remember the admonition not to waste water? Well, animal agriculture uses a massive amount of water, contributing to droughts and the spread of wildfires, and the chemical- and waste-laden runoff from factory farms poisons our waterways — killing fish, creating algal blooms and potentially spreading disease.

Formaldehyde, coal-tar derivatives and various oils, dyes and finishes — some of which are cyanide-based — are used to prevent animals’ skin from rotting in the buyer’s closet.

PETA Germany investigated the billion-dollar leather industry in Bangladesh and found child workers soaking hides in harmful chemicals. Its investigators visited the poor residential district of Hazaribagh in Dhaka, where 15,000 laborers toil in more than 200 tanneries. Workers stand barefoot in toxic chromium effluent and handle acids and bleaches that can cause chronic skin diseases, respiratory conditions and cancer. According to the World Health Organization, 90% of workers in Hazaribagh’s tanneries will die before they’re 50. And the scene is repeated along India’s waterways and elsewhere.

And then there are the animals. More than 1.4 billion cows, goats and sheep — and millions of other animals — are killed for leather every year.

Buying leather supports both slaughterhouses and factory farms — in which animals’ eyes and lungs burn from the reeking ammonia fumes emanating out of their own accumulated waste and they’re also castrated and dehorned without any painkillers.

PETA’s most recent exposé of the leather industry’s live export horrors revealed that after enduring a grueling journey halfway around the globe in filthy conditions and without sufficient food or water, some cows are so weak and sick that they no longer have the strength to stand up. So a crane is employed to hoist them up off the ship by one leg, which can cause excruciatingly painful joint dislocations and broken legs. At the slaughterhouse, the animals are often killed without even being stunned first: They’re pushed to the ground, sometimes they’re tied up and their throats are cut.

The good news is that there are many options that don’t subsidize violence and misery or destroy the environment. Today’s innovative vegan leather offerings are made out of everything from pineapple leaves and apple peels to cactus, cork and mushrooms. One creative company in India makes biodegradable leather out of discarded temple flowers that would otherwise end up in the Ganges.


According to the latest data from the Higg Materials Sustainability Index, a ranking system created by the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, cow leather contributes more to global warming, water pollution, water depletion and greenhouse-gas emissions than any synthetic or plant-based vegan option.

Killing animals for their skin comes with the same environmental baggage as killing them for their flesh. Leather destroys the planet, kills animals and endangers workers. Why not embrace environmentally friendly and ethical fashion by going leather-free? Our earth really can’t wait any longer.

When the punishment encourages the crime

By Kathy Guillermo

Prediction: The winning jockey of this week’s Kentucky Derby will be fined for a whipping violation. I’m confident of this because there’s a huge financial incentive to break the rules.

Horse racing: an inhumane “sport”! Photos: PETA

Jockey Frankie Dettori was fined $13,600 in March for “using the whip to excess” on the winning horse Country Grammer in the $12 million Dubai World Cup. In contrast, his 10% share of the first-place prize money was a whopping $750,000. The fine was just a token cost of doing business.

When Sam Waley-Cohen recently rode Noble Yeats to victory in the 2022 Grand National, he was banned for nine days and fined £400 for whipping violations. Had he not been an amateur jockey, he would have pocketed £50,000 to offset the paltry £400 fine.

Many horses die every year due to injuries and doping – at all levels of American race tracks.

And when Victor Espinoza was fined $1,500 for whipping Express Train more than six times in the 2022 Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap to win by a head, his jockey’s winning share for that race was $39,000, so the $1,500 fine was a tiny fraction of his paycheck for that race. Espinoza is also known for hitting American Pharoah 32 times in the stretch of the 2015 Kentucky Derby, so he knows how to calculate the risks and rewards of relentlessly beating a horse.


Increasing fines and suspensions to make them commensurate with the prize money would be a start. But more must be done. Currently, only the jockey is held responsible. Trainers and owners can quietly tell the jockey to win at all costs and that they will cover any fines, and maintain their hefty overall profits.

Furthermore, proceeds from jockey fines and suspensions don’t reimburse the betting public, which is regularly bilked by the cheaters.

There is, however, a simple fix, and it’s only two letters: DQ.

Horses under jockeys who violate whipping rules should be disqualified. This means no prize money for the jockeys—and nothing for the trainers or owners, either.

Just as Maximum Security was disqualified in the 2019 Kentucky Derby for interference—a ruling that was made before any official finishing order was posted—whipping violations must also be adjudicated by stewards right away. They should review the number of strikes and any other potential whipping violations and take immediate action.

Making a quick decision on a whipping disqualification would also avoid situations such as the fiasco at last year’s Kentucky Derby, when Medina Spirit’s drug disqualification wasn’t official until months later. Bettors who put their money on the ultimate winner, Mandaloun, lost out. Winning money redistributed to trainers and owners months later doesn’t trickle down to the bettors.

Ultimately, and most importantly, this new policy would protect horses. We need deterrents for whipping infractions, not “encouragement”—racing’s euphemism for painfully striking a horse. With plummeting approval ratings of the sport, the last thing the racing industry needs is for egregious whipping to be penalized with only a slap on the wrist.

Churchill Downs should take preemptive action and establish disqualification protocols for whipping violations to avoid yet another shameful scandal on the first Saturday in May.

How bird flu affects people who eat eggs and meat

By Heather Moore

Expect to shell out more money if you plan to buy eggs or chicken or turkey flesh anytime soon. An outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza — better known as bird flu — has infected birds in at least 18 states, including Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska and South Dakota. More than 17 million chickens and turkeys have either died of the disease or been slaughtered in order to stop additional outbreaks, which spread like wildfire in filthy, extremely crowded animal factories.

Factory farming in America: transport. photos: PETA

This will likely push prices — already high because of inflation — up even further. According to USDA data, egg prices have shot up more than 25% over the past year. And the cost of a chicken breast rose from $3.01 to $3.63 per pound in just one week. Costs may continue to climb in the coming weeks.

Now would be a good time to stop eating eggs, chicken, turkey and other animal-derived foods — but not just because of bird flu. Choosing vegan foods is healthier, cheaper, better for the environment and, most important of all, kind to animals.

Birds pay the biggest price when humans buy eggs. Hens used for egg production are confined to dirty, cramped cages, without even enough space to stretch a single wing. Part of each bird’s sensitive beak is cut off with a hot blade — and no painkillers — to prevent them from pecking one another out of stress and desperation. And when they no longer produce enough eggs, they’re sent to the slaughterhouse, where they’re often scalded to death.

Horrific living conditions for chickens on American factory farms

Because male birds are useless to hatcheries (since they don’t produce eggs and they’re not bred to produce the excessive flesh desired by the meat industry), the chicks are either suffocated to death or ground-up while still alive.

The best way to reduce animal suffering and the spread of animal-borne pathogens — as well as to conserve resources and combat the climate catastrophe — is to stop raising birds and other animals for food. Bird flu spreads faster because humans raise chickens and turkeys for food. The virus thrives when birds are crammed together in damp sheds with accumulated waste.

Two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that animal-borne pathogens can mutate and sicken humans, too. Our appetite for animal flesh and secretions has led to the spread of diseases caused by coronaviruses, bird and swine flu viruses, and other animal-borne pathogens. Birds are known to carry every single one of the 144 varieties of influenza virus, so most scientists believe that the flu always originates in birds.

If you like the taste of chicken or turkey, many companies, including Gardein, Beyond Meat and Tofurky, make delicious vegan meats. And instead of eggs, you can use bananas, applesauce, ground flaxseeds or commercial egg replacers in baked goods. For custardy dishes like quiches, puddings and mousses, soft tofu works well, and seasoned firm tofu can be used in eggless egg salad and breakfast scrambles. These and many other vegan options will save you money, and you can rest easy knowing that you’ll never catch bird flu from tofu.



Saint Francis, a lamb and a trout

By Daniel Paden

When most of us hear “Saint Francis,” we think “of Assisi.” And that’s exactly how the other Saint Francis would want it.

Saint Francis of Paola, whose feast day is April 2, was devoted to living a humble life and wanted nothing more than to be the “least in the household of God.” But, as is often the case when we humans try to write our own destinies, God had other plans. He bestowed on Francis the gifts of prophecy, healing and miracle-working. And much like the better-known Francis his parents named him after, Francis of Paola didn’t reserve his God-given talents just for humans. He knew that he was to be a healer of all creation.

Francis was born in 1416 in Paola in the Italian region of Calabria. As a young boy, he studied at the Franciscan friary of San Marco. But at just 15, he asked his parents’ permission to become a hermit, living in a cave and devoting himself to prayer, humility, poverty, chastity and nonviolence. In keeping with those tenets — and in an expansion of Lenten fasting — he refused to kill and eat animals or anything made from their milk or eggs. He knew that animals’ lives were precious to God, that they possessed souls and that they continued to exist after departing this life.


God rewarded Francis richly, and as friends and family members came to visit him and bring him food, word of his abilities spread. Soon people of faith were coming to join him, so he built a church and the friary of the Hermits of Saint Francis of Assisi was born. He later changed their name to the “Minims,” owing to their desire to be the “least of all the faithful.” In addition to the traditional vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, they each took a fourth vow of nonviolence and, like Francis, refused to eat animals or anything that caused them to suffer. The Minims were some of the earliest Catholic ethical vegans.

Francis performed many miracles, healing the sick, walking on water and raising the dead — including animals who had been killed for food. On one occasion, some hungry men caught and slaughtered Francis’ gentle pet lamb, Martinello, roasting and eating him. When Francis discovered what had happened, he looked into the fire at the lamb’s bones and fleece and called, “Martinello, come out!” The lamb jumped out, unharmed and bleating happily.

On another occasion, a priest who had held a service at the monastery saw a trout swimming in a nearby pond. Francis was fond of the little fish and had named her Antonella. But to the priest, she was just a meal. He caught Antonella, took her home and threw her into a frying pan. When Francis found out, he asked a fellow parishioner to go retrieve the fish. This annoyed the priest, who threw the cooked Antonella on the ground, shattering her body. Nevertheless, the messenger gathered up the pieces and took them to Francis, who placed them in the pond and prayed, “Antonella, in the name of Charity, return to life.” And there she was, whole again and darting through the water.

Francis was widely respected, and the Minims rapidly grew to include friars, nuns and laypeople. As a new monastery was built, even nobles hauled stones to help with the construction. When King Louis XI of France realized that his time on Earth was coming to an end, he asked to see Francis, hoping for a miracle. Francis did not heal him but did stay with him through his death and became a close friend and adviser to his heir, Charles VIII.

On Good Friday, April 2, 1507, Francis died at age 91. He was canonized in 1519. And his teachings of humility, charity and nonviolence are still applicable today. Every one of us has the God-given ability to be a protector of all of His creation.

The war in Ukraine isn’t just a catastrophe for humans

By Ingrid Newkirk

Ingrid is president/founder of PETA. She’s changed the way we all view companion animals, farm animals and wild animals – locally and globally.

Animals don’t wage war, yet they — along with innocent civilians — are often among those most affected by battle. The events unfolding in Ukraine bear this out.

Last month a team from PETA Germany was at the Polish and Romanian borders with Ukraine, helping as many animals as they could to reach safety. That’s where they met a cat named Crimsee. Her worried guardian had tucked the cat under her jacket and carried her on foot more than 37 miles in the bitter cold to escape the war zone. The poor woman was so exhausted that she could barely stand, but now she and Crimsee are safe and receiving support from PETA Germany.

PETA Germany’s team also responded to a call for help about several dogs who were crossing the border with their human guardians and needed urgent care. All involved were debilitated and frightened, but they, too, received the assistance they needed.

In an undertaking fraught with obstacles, PETA Germany has coordinated the delivery of blankets and 44,000 pounds of dog and cat food. Stores in Ukraine are closed, and supplies are almost exhausted, so the group is doing everything in its power to move urgently needed goods into the country to provide relief. With hundreds of thousands of people on the move — many with their beloved animal companions and little else — and with lots of red tape at the border, the task is daunting.

Some refugees don’t even have the comfort of their animal companions, because they were forced to make the heartbreaking choice either to stay in the war zone or to cross the border to safety, leaving their dogs, cats and other animal family members behind to starve or die in some other horrible way. It is wrong, but in war, that’s reality.

At first, health restrictions made it nearly impossible for Ukrainian residents to enter other countries with their animal companions. Unless animals were microchipped or tattooed and vaccinated against rabies, they weren’t allowed to cross the border into the European Union or the United Kingdom. But PETA pleaded for a policy change on humanitarian grounds, and now Poland, Romania, Lithuania, Mexico, Hungary, India and other countries — though still not the U.K. or Germany — have relaxed those requirements. PETA will keep pushing all the holdout countries to allow people to take refuge with their animal companions, who face death if left behind.

Dogs and cats have no political affiliation, and they don’t start wars. They love unconditionally. Humans created this crisis, and we must not turn our backs on animals in the midst of it. If you wish to help animals suffering as a result of war and other disasters, please consider making a gift to PETA’s Global Compassion Fund, which has supported lifesaving rescue work around the world, from the current war in Ukraine and floods in Australia and the devastating earthquake in Mexico in 2017 to the eruption of Taal volcano in the Philippines and the explosion in Beirut in 2020. Animals need all the friends they can get at the best of times.

🐰🐰🐰🐰🐰🐰🐰🐰🐇🐇🐇🐇🐇🐇 (add Trader Joe’s personal care products to this list🐇):


Upending the sexist status quo to benefit all females

By Michelle Kretzer

Would you intervene if a female were being sexually assaulted? What if she were of a different race? Nationality? Religious group? Political affiliation? … Species?

Cows and other female factory farm animals are forcibly impregnated by owners. Frightened, often impregnated via mechanical means … Is this RAPE? photos: Peta

If you stopped saying “yes” when you came to “species,” ask yourself why it’s OK to sexually abuse a female who didn’t happen to be born human. Isn’t that like saying men have the right to abuse women because they’re superior?

There was a time when most men believed that women shouldn’t be allowed to vote. “They’re just women. They don’t have the same brains as us,” they said. Similarly, they claimed that God created women to serve men. Now, the same argument is often wielded as an excuse for exploiting other species. When Mary Wollstonecraft published A Vindication of the Rights of Woman in 1792, Cambridge philosopher Thomas Taylor quickly issued a parody called A Vindication of the Rights of Brutes to make her seem ridiculous — if we start believing that women are individuals, what’s next? Treating animals like individuals, too? The horror!

Thankfully, nowadays it’s getting harder for people to get away with excuses like “But they’re just animals.” We know from science, experience and our own common sense that female animals feel pain and sorrow, love their young and experience loneliness and distress. Yet, every year in the U.S., billions of female animals are confined against their will, sexually assaulted and forcibly impregnated to serve human desires. Breeders and puppy mills do it. Marine parks do it. The horse-racing industry does it, too. Mother cows are restrained and impregnated to keep them producing milk. Chickens are held in cramped wire cages, their reproductive cycles manipulated to force them to produce more eggs. Farm workers observe and touch female pigs’ genitals to decide when they’ll shove a tube of semen into their vaginas.

Pigs are as intelligent as dogs. They, like the dogs in horrific puppy mills, are forcibly impregnated.

Those in power have always cited inconsequential differences to justify their own preferential treatment and their right to decide what happens to those who are not in power. And decide they have.

Among the many atrocities committed by Christopher Columbus and his men, Spanish soldiers tore Native Caribbean women’s infants from their breasts and bashed their tiny heads against the rocks. PETA investigations have shown that workers on pig farms commonly kill unwanted “runts” by slamming their heads into the floor, often in view of their helpless mothers. Doctors used to experiment on enslaved Black women’s reproductive systems — without anesthetics — claiming that they couldn’t feel pain. Today, we do the same thing to female primates, mice, rats, dogs, cats and other animals. After Tiger King’s Bhagavan “Doc” Antle gained notoriety for exploiting big cats and forcing them to have babies to fuel his cub-petting enterprise, numerous women accused him of sexual and physical abuse and psychological torture — when most of them were underage girls.

When some forms of abuse and oppression are allowed to continue, it’s easier for other forms to flourish as well.

We no longer believe the lie of white supremacy or male supremacy. We must also dispel the lie of human supremacy.

Race horses, too!

On this International Women’s Day and throughout Women’s History Month, let’s reflect not just on the biases against our own gender but also on our own biases against other species — and decide to show solidarity with all exploited females. To everyone who opposes sexism: Take a stand, not just against the oppression of human females, but against the oppression of females of all species. Because choosing kindness to animals is not just an act of compassion. It’s a powerful rebuke of injustice.