By William T. Breault
The former Public Inebriate Program, now the People in Peril Shelter, is the only “wet” walk-in shelter in the region for homeless individuals. People walk in, or are dropped off, or released from incarceration and given a place to stay. We now are working hard as a region to close this shelter. I have been working to do exactly this for decades. This article explains why.
There have always been two PIP Shelters at 701 Main Street.
The first PIP Shelter is the one that most people know. It is the safety net shelter for people with no options. This PIP offers people a refuge from the street, a place to sleep and get a meal, a place to see a doctor and connect with social services. This is the humane PIP – the PIP that recognizes that we are all legitimate, that we are all worthy of hope, and that we all deserve a place that will “catch you, time after time.” This is the PIP that helps us to be our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers, a PIP that gives us a place to feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, and to forgive the sinner.
The other PIP is the shelter that the neighborhood and social service providers for the homeless know. This is the PIP that enables self-destructive behavior on many levels, the place to go if you want to buy or sell drugs to feed addictions, to buy or sell bodies for sex, to fence stolen goods. Continue reading A tale of two PIP shelters
By Ingrid E. Newkirk
Elephants have the largest brains of any mammal on the face of the earth. They are creative, altruistic and kind. They use tools to sweep paths and even to draw pictures in the dirt and scratch themselves in inaccessible places, and they communicate subsonically at frequencies so low that humans cannot detect them without sophisticated equipment. Imagine, then, what it must be like for them to be told what to do, courtesy of a bullhook—a rod resembling a fireplace poker with a sharp metal hook on the end—at every moment of their lives. Yet this is what life is like for elephants used in circuses, who are constantly beaten and kept chained, sometimes for days at a time.
It takes a lot to get circusgoers to see beyond the headdresses and glitter to that metal-tipped bullhook sinking into an elephant’s soft flesh behind her ears and knees. But I hope that PETA’s new undercover investigation of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus will help open some eyes.
PETA’s investigator caught Ringling employees digging sharp metal bullhooks into the sensitive skin behind elephants’ knees and under their trunks. Eight employees—including an animal superintendent and a head elephant trainer—used bullhooks and other objects to strike elephants on the head, ears and trunk. Employees whipped elephants and a tiger, including on or near the face. One elephant, Tonka, repeatedly exhibited signs of severe psychological stress but was nevertheless forced to perform night after night. The footage can be seen on our website. Continue reading Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus: The saddest show on earth
By Dan Paden
With so many high-profile stories in the news lately—the passing of Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett, the Gov. Sanford scandal, post-election protests in Iran—you may not have heard about the historic victories for animals that are taking place in American courtrooms. It’s worth noting that two of PETA’s undercover investigations of factory farms have just resulted in groundbreaking animal abuse convictions—convictions that are both highly significant and long overdue. All too often, the abuse of animals in the meat industry is shrugged off as just the cost of doing business.
In a landmark case, two former Aviagen Turkeys, Inc., workers were convicted of cruelty to animals after they were indicted on charges stemming from PETA’s fall 2008 undercover investigation of the company’s West Virginia turkey farms. PETA’s investigator caught workers at the farms punching birds, mimicking the rape of a hen and more. Following our investigation, a grand jury indicted three workers on cruelty-to-animals charges, most of which were felony offenses—marking the first time in U.S. history that former factory-farm workers faced felony charges for abusing birds. Continue reading Giving farmed-animal abusers their due
Thursday, July 16
The Movie Channel, this evening, will be airing the Oscar-nominated documentary, “Sicko,” Michael Moore’s film about a villain known as the health insurance industry. With the debate raging in Washington, D.C. — Republicans trying to scuttle it, the President trying to hang on to his public option, and nearly a hundred members of Congress pushing for a single-payer system — showing “Sicko” tonight is very timely. Mike lays out all the facts and the arguments as to why the private insurance companies are never going to side with what’s best for the American people.
“Sicko” airs on The Movie Channel tonight at 8:00 PM. It’s also scheduled to air on The Movie Channel on July 27th at 4:05 PM and on TMC Xtra on August 2nd at 10:45 PM and August 5th at 2:15 AM and 7:30 AM.
We are in a critical time regarding which direction the health care debate is going to go. Make your voice heard. And be armed with the facts. Watch “Sicko” again!
By Chris Holbein
If the thought of trying to squeeze into last year’s swimsuit isn’t incentive enough to slim down before your summer vacation, here’s another reason to drop those unwanted pounds: Airline passengers with “extra baggage” may have to pay more.
This spring, United Airlines announced that passengers who cannot fit into a single seat will be required to pay an additional fare. A handful of other carriers, including Southwest Airlines, have similar policies. So much for the “friendly skies.”
But there is a simple way for frequent flyers to lose weight and avoid paying extra airfare: Stop being a “frequent eater” of meat. Studies show that vegetarians are, on average, about 10 to 20 pounds lighter than meat-eaters are and that consuming animal products can make you pile on unhealthy weight. Continue reading Don’t get squeezed on your next flight!
By William T. Breault
To our state legislators:
You are considering important legislation – HB 2160 – that would establish a “medical” marijuana program in Massachusetts. There have been many half truths and mis-perceptions swirling around this controversial issue. It’s important to set the record straight.
Who really uses “medical” marijuana?
Advocates of the legislation claim that “medical” marijuana helps seriously ill people with cancer or AIDS or glaucoma. They paint a picture of elderly ill people who need it for pain relief. However, “medical” marijuana patient records from California show that 62% [of patients] were between 17 and 35 years of age; and 71% were between ages 17 and 40. Only 2.05% of customers obtained physician recommendations for AIDS, glaucoma or cancer. An extremely high number of people were using “medical” marijuana for other purposes. Source: Report from the San Diego County District Attorney
The bill makes it very easy to get marijuana.
This legislation makes it very easy to get marijuana. If you are over age 18, you can obtain marijuana by claiming to have a “medical condition” and pain or spasms or nausea and receive a medical marijuana card from a physician after a quick examination. Continue reading Why pot and medicine don’t mix
By Lindsay Pollard-Post
This Fourth of July, Americans celebrated their freedom with picnics, trips to the beach and time spent with the people they love. But America isn’t a free country for everyone who lives here. In nearly every community—perhaps even on your own street—Americans’ best friends, our dogs, are kept chained and deprived of every freedom.
These dogs spent our nation’s birthday as they spend every other day: pacing their tiny patch of dirt, panting in the heat, wishing for companionship or a drink of cool water and watching the world go by out of their reach. The only difference was that many spent this night terrorized and trembling in fear because of the booming fireworks.
“Out of sight, out of mind” in the back yard, many chained dogs are deprived of even their basic needs and rights. Continue reading Declare dog Independence Day!
By Pablo Soto
My name is Pablo Soto. I am 15 years old and I live on Hope Avenue. But I was raised in the Green Island neighborhood. I attend Fanning Learning Center but my home school is South High, which I will be attending next fall. When I was younger, I never really worried about there not being pools in the summer. All I hear from the younger kids when I’m at Crompton Park is “I heard there’s going to be no pools this summer?” To be honest, I personally do not use the public pools for personal reasons but when I was younger I went every day in the summer. I remember waking up on hot, sticky, humid summer mornings feeling like I was going to explode from the heat.
I feel horrible that the kids in the neighborhood that I grew up in are not going to have a pool to go swimming in the summer. I learned how to swim in Crompton and Vernon pool, mostly Crompton because Vernon was always packed. So I walked down to Crompton. Now children are not going to be able to learn how to swim in their own neighborhood. Pools are something everybody looks forward to in the summer. Maybe the rich families that own their own pools don’t really look forward to them, but the less fortunate do.
Without the pools, kids are most likely to get into a lot of trouble because of the lack of activites to do. I understand that Vernon is going to be rebuilt but it’s going to be the only pool for like three districts, meaning the Vernon is going to be packed. The pools that are planned to be closed down are located in the poorest neighborhoods in the city. People in these communities need these resources in their communities for many reasons. Youth entertain themselves being at the pool, it’s were a lot of first time experiences can happen. It’s another way from staying away from unsafe activities, such as fights, gang violence, drugs etc. Having lifeguards isn’t the issue because I know many youths willing to work as a lifeguard for the pools.
When people think of summertime in the Worcester neighborhoods, the first thing to come to mind is the pools. When I grow up and I have my children I would like them to experience what I did with the pools. I think it’s wrong to end the tradition of the pools now and put in spray parks. Spray parks seem more unsafe and less satisfactory. Spray parks are going to be slippery, unsafe and unsupervised, which is a set up for destruction.
By Ingrid E. Newkirk
There’s a shocking military scandal that you may not know about: the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) is directly responsible for the extreme suffering of countless goats, pigs, monkeys, and other animals.
Every year, thousands of live animals are shot, stabbed, dismembered, burned, and poisoned in routine trauma-training exercises under the misguided notion that such cruelty will prepare medics and members of the infantry to deal with battlefield injuries. It’s horrific but true: The DoD subjects animals to every kind of violent injury that happens on the battlefield.
But despite effective and painless non-animal alternatives available for these trainings—including the DoD’s own Combat Trauma Patient Simulator—the Department continues to maim and kill countless individual animals in gruesome and totally unnecessary ways, including Continue reading Ask President Obama to stop cruelty to animals by the Department of Defense
By Paula Moore
Anna Wintour feels our pain.
In the September issue of Vogue magazine, Wintour informs us that she and her fellow editors are taking this recession very, very seriously and have edited “the collections with value for money in mind.”
We’re then treated to a two-page article on Fendi’s new gold fur—24K-gold bars are pressurized into a mist and infused into fur coats and shawls. “You can sport part of your financial portfolio, and your financial adviser will be pleased to see you so prominently into gold and out of bad stocks,” the writer gushes. One coat in the collection costs $100,000.
If we needed any more proof that fur-loving fashionistas are out of touch with the rest of the population, this is it. By now, most of us know that there is no kind way to rip the skin off animals’ backs, and we’re not buying it—at any price.
Continue reading Fur: The gold standard of cruelty