Tag Archives: animal abuse

As Ringling Bros. Heads to Worcester, PETA Releases Exposé of Circus’s Elephant-Breeding Compound

By David Perle

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus is bringing its elephant act to Worcester for the last time, but many people are asking what will happen once the elephants “retire” to Ringling’s Florida training facility.

A new PETA report reveals that elephants kept at the facility, which the circus calls the “Center for Elephant Conservation,” are separated from their mothers shortly after birth, chained for more than 16 hours each day on concrete, and beaten with bullhooks—weapons that resemble a fireplace poker with a sharp metal hook on one end. The report also calls the facility “a hotbed of tuberculosis.”


PETA — whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment or abuse in any other way” — is calling on Ringling to retire all animals held by the circus without delay and send the elephants to an accredited sanctuary where they’d have acres to roam, freedom from physical abuse, and the opportunity to socialize with other elephants.

“PETA’s report reveals that Ringling Bros. plans to continue using and abusing elephants by keeping them chained, jabbing them with bullhooks, and depriving them of everything that’s natural and important to them—such as freedom of movement and maintaining contact with their babies,” says PETA Foundation Captive Animal Law Enforcement Counsel Rachel Mathews. “If this circus cared one whisker for animals’ welfare, it would send these elephants to an accredited sanctuary where they’d be cared for, not exploited as moneymakers.”

For more information, CLICK HERE

SeaWorld must empty its tanks

By Jared S. Goodman

Even though SeaWorld was the last to accept it, the corporation has finally conceded: Orcas do not belong in tanks. And just as Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus did when it announced the end of its elephant shows, SeaWorld CEO Joel Manby admitted that an “attitudinal change” in the public prompted the decision.
As almost everyone knows by now, SeaWorld has announced that it has ended its orca breeding program. This means that this generation of orcas should be the last to suffer in SeaWorld’s tanks.
While welcome, the decision does not go far enough. Instead of forcing orcas to continue suffering for years, perhaps decades, in cramped tanks, SeaWorld must take the next logical step and begin the development of coastal sanctuaries that would allow the remaining orcas to become reacquainted with their natural ocean home.
Such protected seas pens would give orcas greater freedom of movement and many opportunities that they are now denied: to see, sense and communicate with their wild relatives and other ocean animals; to feel the tides and waves; and to engage in other natural behavior that is not possible when confined to a tank. They would have a degree of autonomy and self-determination. Family groups could be preserved, and incompatible animals wouldn’t be forced to live together. Caregivers would remain at a safe distance but could monitor the orcas and provide them with food as well as veterinary care if necessary. Visitors could observe them from viewing platforms. 
Orcas can recover their sanity, even after years in captivity. Let’s not forget Keiko, a wild orca who was captured near Iceland and sold to a series of aquariums, where he was forced to perform tricks for food. He became sick and severely depressed. After the movie Free Willy prompted the call for his retirement, he was moved to the Oregon Coast Aquarium and successfully rehabilitated.

Then in 1998, he was transferred to an ocean pen near Iceland. While his adjustment wasn’t completely trouble-free, Keiko was nevertheless able to communicate with nearby orca pods. He didn’t have to perform. He learned to catch his own food. Even though he was still being monitored by his rehabilitators, he navigated more than 1,000 miles of open ocean and was living free when he died in December 2003 — nearly eight years after he was rescued from his tank in Mexico City and five years after he was first placed in the sea pen.

Orcas Tilikum, Katina, Corky, Kasatka and Ulises—like Keiko, all torn from their ocean homes and forced to spend their lives in tanks—could get to experience some of the same pleasures. Every orca at SeaWorld deserves this. 

Unfortunately, it will probably be too late for Tilikum. Reportedly near death, he has spent three decades in captivity, forced to perform stupid tricks and used as a breeding machine. Kidnapped when he was only about 2 years old, he has never again known the joy of swimming with his family or exploring the vast ocean. 

The tide has forever turned at SeaWorld. PETA’s celebrity supporters, including Kate del Castillo, Jason Biggs, Jessica Biel, Wilmer Valderrama, Bob Barker, Marisa Miller and Joanna Krupa, have all worked to expose the unnatural living conditions and untimely deaths of animals in SeaWorld’s tanks, and people around the world were outraged after watching Blackfish, which documented the misery.
Until SeaWorld takes the next step and does what’s right for the animals who have long served its interests, kind people will continue to stay far away.

You already know to adopt animals, not buy them — now take the next step

By Dan Paden
By now, most kind people know that the best thing we can do to help eliminate the cruel pet trade is to adopt animals from shelters, never buy them from pet stores or breeders. But once you bring your new animal companion home from the shelter, choosing where to buy supplies like dog food and cat litter is another important consideration. If you shop at big-box stores that sell live animals, you’re still indirectly supporting a greed-driven industry that views animals as disposable objects, not living, feeling beings.
A new PETA eyewitness exposé documented that thousands of small animals were confined to crowded bins or cages in filthy, windowless warehouses at a massive animal mill in Pennsylvania. This facility supplies animals to hundreds of pet stores across the eastern U.S., including several big-box chains.
Rabbits were stacked in cages with wire floors, giving their sensitive paws little, if any, relief. The cage that one lone rabbit was kept in contained a pile of feces measuring approximately 25 square inches.
PETA’s eyewitness saw hamsters constantly running in circles, which is often a sign of severe stress or illness. Gerbils, kept in bins in which each animal had just 6 square inches of floor space, scratched frantically at the walls. A dollar bill is 6 inches long, so that gives you an idea of how cramped these enclosures were.
All the buildings reeked of urine and feces. The floor of one building was also spattered with the blood of helpless animals who had apparently been torn apart by the cats who were allowed to roam freely throughout the facility. One hamster was attacked by a cat and then just left to writhe in pain and finally die on the floor.
Animals were also commonly given no choice but to drink from filthy, contaminated water bowls—when they had any water at all. During nearly three months at the facility, our eyewitness found hundreds of small animals dead, often in bins in which no water had been available.
PETA’s observer never saw any animals receive veterinary care at the facility, despite repeatedly alerting the manager to the plight of obviously sick and injured individuals. Instead, workers piled animals—from rats and gerbils to guinea pigs and even a rabbit—en masse into a feces-smeared cooler and crudely gassed them with carbon dioxide. Their screams as they were gassed to death could be heard across the room.
Live rats and mice were also stuffed into plastic zipper bags and put in a freezer, where they died in agony. Some rats frantically tried to claw their way out as they slowly and painfully froze to death, and several mice were still breathing after nearly 15 minutes. These animals were sold as feed for carnivorous reptiles.
Over a period of less than three months, this facility shipped more than 20,000 guinea pigs, hamsters and gerbils to pet stores. Mother mice were seen trying to hide their babies as workers took their newborns away to ship them to customers. Animals slated for shipping were packed into boxes the day before and left there without water overnight before being hauled away for a grueling, multi-state journey.
Based on PETA’s evidence, a team of U.S. Department of Agriculture officials descended on this animal mill, and the company is now under federal investigation.
That’s good news, but please remember that this case is hardly an anomaly: Numerous exposés of other animal dealers have revealed similar conditions. Animals will continue to languish and die in the cruel pet trade until consumers stop patronizing stores that stock live animals.

No fairy-tale ending for Ringling elephants

By Jennifer O’Connor
In the face of growing public condemnation, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus has finally conceded: It’s eliminating elephant acts this May instead of next year, bringing the lame and ailing animals some measure of relief from their days on end chained in stifling, reeking boxcars. But don’t pop the champagne corks just yet.
Despite Ringling’s spin on what comes next, the circus’s Florida breeding compound — where the elephants will be sent — has its own fundamental flaws. At the grandiosely named Center for Elephant Conservation (CEC), elephants are still chained on a daily basis, forced to breed (although no elephant born there will ever set foot in the wild), deprived of opportunities to interact and socialize normally, and continue to live in fear of being whacked with a bullhook or shocked with an electric prod.
According to the sworn testimony of the general manager of the CEC, some elephants at the facility are routinely chained on concrete floors for up to 23 hours a day.

They are typically chained by two legs—one hind leg and one foreleg—which prevents them from taking more than a step or two in any direction.

These keenly social animals, who need contact and interaction with other elephants, have little opportunity to engage in the activities that give their lives meaning. The general manager also testified that pregnant elephants at the CEC are chained by two or three legs for at least two weeks prior to their due dates.
During a court-ordered inspection of the CEC, an elephant-care specialist observed that elephants spent so much time chained that they had worn grooves into the concrete floor. 
Chaining on hard surfaces makes elephants prone to arthritis, infection and psychological stress and can ultimately lead to premature death.

Chained elephants often sway back and forth like manic metronomes and repeatedly shift their weight from one foot to another in a desperate attempt to cope.
In another chilling revelation, the U.S. Department of Agriculture found that the CEC is awash in tuberculosis (TB), calling it “[t]he facility with the highest incidence of TB in their elephants,” and as a result, the CEC has been the subject of a series of government-mandated quarantines.

TB is highly transmissible from elephants to humans, even without direct contact. Just last month, two Ringling workers were barred from performing in Indianapolis after testing positive for possible TB. Seven employees at the Oregon Zoo contracted TB from three elephants in their care in 2013, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The CEC’s goal is to try to ensure a steady supply of captive elephants for circuses and now, more recently, zoos.

CEC veterinarian Dr. Dennis Schmitt admitted under oath that the CEC has no intention of introducing elephants into the wild. And Ringling recklessly breeds elephants years before they are mature. Wild Asian elephants don’t normally have their first calves until they are 18 to 20 years old. But Shirley, for example, gave birth to her first calf at the CEC when she was just 8 years old, followed by two more at ages 11 and 17. At least four baby elephants born at the CEC have died.
Elephants who have endured years of suffering while earning Ringling millions of dollars deserve better—including rehabilitation for both their physical and their psychological troubles.

This will not happen at the CEC.

It could happen at the two accredited elephant sanctuaries in the U.S., the Performing Animal Welfare Society in California and The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee. That’s where these elephants belong.


Trader Joe’s grocery store in Shrewsbury has got plenty of vegan options! Earth Balance spread! Soy milk and yummy almond milk, too!    pic: R.T.

By Rosalie Tirella

ICT editor Rosalie does lots of her grocery shopping at Trader Joe’s in Shrewsbury because they have a nice selection of vegan foods: food not derived from American farm animals. The animals on American farms do not lead bucolic lives! They lead horrific lives!

Chickens are crammed into cages, pumped with hormones to make their breasts huge, leaving them unable to stand on little legs. Filthy living conditions call for plenty of antibiotics! And to keep the stressed out, crazed birds from pecking at themselves and each other, “farmers” rip their beaks off – without anesthesia.

Pigs and veal calves are kept in pens where they can’t even stretch out or turn around!

The cruelty most STOP! Consumers do NOT want to support a food-production system that many compare to an animal concentration camp!

Here is some great news:


For the Mass folks who want to eat eggs with a lighter conscience, for the folks who are vegan and have been praying for this day – THE CAGE-FREE CHICKEN REFERENDUM and more! comes to Massachusetts! On the Mass ballot this November!


If passed, the proposed laws would prohibit raising Massachusetts farm animals in small pens where they cannot:

fully extend their limbs

turn around

We’ve been writing about these INHUMANE “farming” practices for years!

Finally, as with the circus issue, we are moving FORWARD!!!

I am so proud to have pushed these issues in InCity Times for almost 15 YEARS and on this website since its inception.

The law would also prohibit the sale of pork, veal or eggs in Massachusetts if the animals producing the food are raised by these methods on farms outside Massachusetts.


Go, Massachusetts, go!

CLICK HERE to read the Boston Globe article!


But for now, once again:

Soy milk? Earth Balance buttery flavored spread? Vegan pudding?

All at Trader Joe’s! And they have organic (pesticide-free) veggies, too!

AND … their prices are great!

By buying vegan, you opt out of the cruel, cruel agribusiness!

Here is a chart to help you substitute vegan foods for hen, cow and pig when you’re baking/cooking up a storm! etc:


Tired of being a fatty?

Sick of feeling helpless in the face of global warming? Need a new wardrobe? Love animals and want to see them respected – not abused?


– R.T.



It’s a new year, and that means New Year’s resolutions may be on your mind. Perhaps you’ve decided to drop a few pounds to fit back into those favorite jeans that are hiding in the back of your closet, or maybe you’d like to do your part to save the planet. No matter what your goals are, follow through this year by going vegan, and you’ll be well on your way to a healthier, happier 2016!

You won’t believe how easy it is.

You can accomplish all of the following New Year’s resolutions simultaneously—just by going vegan:

1. Be More Adventurous


If you’re bored with your daily routine and eating the same foods, there’s a whole new world of vegan food for you to explore. Seitan, tempeh, and tofu can all be prepared in a number of delicious ways.

2. Be Kinder


What could be more kind than saving animals? This new year, give up animal flesh and other animal-derived foods and switch to a compassionate plant-based diet.

3. Lose Weight

Following a vegan diet that’s full of fruits and veggies has helped many people lose weight. Of course, tons of junk food options are vegan, too, so be sure to steer clear of processed foods if you really want to kick your weight loss to the next level!

4. Reduce Your Carbon Footprint


A staggering 51 percent or more of global greenhouse-gas emissions are caused by animal agriculture, according to a report published by the Worldwatch Institute.

While biking to work is a great way to cut down on emissions, nothing compares to the impact you’ll make when you go vegan.

5. Save Water

While skipping showers is one way to conserve water, the very best way is by going vegan. More than half of the water used in the United States today goes to animal agriculture, and since farmed animals produce 130 times more excrement than the human population, the run-off from farm waste is fouling our waterways.

6. Be Healthier

Vegans are approximately one-ninth as likely to be obese as meat-eaters and have a cancer rate that is only 40 percent that of meat-eaters. People who consume animal-derived foods are also at increased risk for many other illnesses, including strokes, obesity, osteoporosis, arthritis, Alzheimer’s, multiple allergies, diabetes, and food poisoning. Learn more about the health benefits of vegetarian eating.

7. Reduce Your Cholesterol

Did you know that cholesterol is only found in animal-derived foods? For a healthier 2016, go vegan to cut out all cholesterol from your diet.

8. Update Your Wardrobe

Being vegan isn’t just about food choices—animals suffer and are killed for fur, leather, and wool. If your New Year’s resolution is to update your wardrobe, be sure to make compassionate choices like buying fashionable vegan leather and other synthetic options.

9. Donate to Charity

Consider donating old fur items to the homeless to help keep them warm this winter.

10. Save Money

Not only does eating veggies keep you healthier, it also helps you save money! Compared to the prices of animal flesh, plant-based staples—like beans, rice, pasta, and tofu—are much cheaper than meat.

11. Travel More

Put aside any savings you have from not purchasing meat or expensive animal skins, and use the money for a trip to a place you’ve always wanted to explore.

If any of these New Year’s resolutions are on your list, make sure you follow through with them by going vegan—you’ll accomplish your goals and so much more!

Pledge to go vegan!

12 Reasons You May Never Want To Eat Turkey Again

Let’s REFORM AMERICAN FACTORY FARMS!  No more hormones, no more cramming and beating,  no more standing in filth, no more beak and claw removal WITHOUT ANESTHESIA!

When you don’t eat meat you don’t buy into the horrific suffering of cows, turkeys, chickens, calves, pigs, lambs on America’s factory farms!

Agribusiness is just that – a business.


God’s creatures, every one of them!

– Rosalie Tirella


Reason #2

Turkeys love to be patted! (To see the 11 other reasons. CLICK HERE!)

Many turkeys, even those who have known great cruelty at human hands, will happily sit for hours having their feathers stroked.

Loving Beatrice, a former factory farm turkey rescued by Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary, is a huge snugglebug despite having been mutilated by humans as a baby. And Clove the turkey hen (pictured below) loves to cuddle with her rescuers at Animal Placesanctuary.

Clover the turkey vegan thanksgiving


A vegan holiday gives everyone reason to be thankful

By Craig Shapiro
If it’s OK to be happy about who won’t be there this year when the clan gets together for Thanksgiving, then I’m happy. Really happy.
We’ll once again dig into a festive, flavorful dinner with all the fixin’s, and no one’s going to push away from the table hungry. But for the first time, turkey won’t be on our menu. After masquerading as a vegetarian for some time — my rickety resolve always dissolved at this time of year — I recently went all in and committed to going vegan.
Thanksgiving, in my book, tops the holiday list. It’s about family, grace and, especially, compassion. So why celebrate it by tearing into the flesh of another being?
Did you know that turkeys will sit for hours to have their feathers stroked? Or that they’re gentle by nature but will also protect their friends? They’re intelligent, too, and, like our cats and dogs, are playful individuals with unique personalities. Wild turkeys, who live for about 10 years, can fly 55 miles per hour and like to roost in oak and pine trees.
Most of the 45 million turkeys who will be slaughtered for Thanksgiving this year get to enjoy none of these simple pleasures. They are hatched in incubators, not by their mothers, and, at a few weeks old, are crammed by the thousands into filthy, windowless sheds. To prevent them from hurting each other in these stressful conditions, parts of their beaks and toes are cut off, without the use of any painkillers. They’re bred to gain a lot of weight very rapidly—so much that many experience organ failure and heart attacks. They can’t fly, and many can’t even walk because their legs can’t support all that unnatural weight.
When they’re 3 to 5 months old, turkeys raised for their flesh are violently stuffed into crates and trucked to slaughterhouses, where they are shackled upside-down, have their throats cut and are dunked into tanks of scalding-hot water—often while still conscious.
I’m certain I’ll enjoy Thanksgiving more without having any of that cruelty on my conscience.
And I’ll feel good, too, knowing that my choice is the greener one. A sweeping U.N. study singled out animal agriculture as being largely responsible for 19 percent of global greenhouse-gas emissions, 38 percent of land use and 70 percent of freshwater consumption. The tons of waste produced by factory farms have contaminated groundwater, lakes and rivers.
And here’s the (vegan) icing on the cake: My family will tuck into Thanksgiving dinner without worrying about the health issues, among them heart disease and cancer, that have been linked to eating meat, eggs and dairy products. Vegan foods are cholesterol-free, usually low in saturated fats and high in fiber, protein, complex carbohydrates and cancer-fighting phytochemicals.
I’ve only been vegan for a few months, but the early returns look good. My blood pressure is 112/58, lower than the 120/80 favored by the National Institutes of Health. My cholesterol is down, too. Pretty soon, I’ll need to buy new pants. Goodbye, size 36. Hello, size 34!
I’ve even been sleeping better. While I can’t say with scientific certainty that going vegan is the reason, I do know there’s a rock-solid connection between a clear conscience and the choice I’ve made—that no animal will ever again suffer to fill my plate.
I couldn’t be more thankful.

Shoddy work compounds the failure of experiments on animals

By Dr. Alka Chandna
Experiments on animals have long been criticized for their cruelty as well as for their failure to produce results that apply to humans.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration reports that nine out of 10 drugs that test safe and effective in animals are found to be either unsafe or ineffective in humans.

Drugs that effectively treat artificially induced cancers in mice and strokes in monkeys, for example, don’t work in humans. Part of the reason for this failure is that all animals are different – genetically, anatomically, metabolically and so on – and results obtained from tests on other animals simply can’t be reliably applied to us.
Now, compounding these fundamental problems, several new comprehensive studies show that experiments on animals are typically designed, conducted and reported in such a sloppy and biased way that they exaggerate results, downplay negative findings and can’t even be reproduced.  
A recent survey conducted by an international team of scientists analyzed thousands of published animal studies of pharmaceutical drugs and found that the overwhelming majority of these studies were poorly designed and did not even take elementary steps to prevent skewed results. Experimenters failed to assign animals to treatment groups in a randomized fashion in order to ensure, for instance, that the healthiest animals weren’t all being assigned to the group receiving the treatment being tested.

They also failed to ensure blinded assessment of the results, which is necessary in order to prevent the experimenters’ expectations of the outcome from influencing their judgment of the actual outcome, and they failed to ensure that the numbers of animals used would produce meaningful results. These measures are fundamental to valid research, but when it comes to studies using animals, experimenters seem not to know the basics or care about them—or both.
In another recent study, scientists at McGill University analyzed hundreds of animal experiments carried out with a particular kidney cancer drug and found that data suggesting the drug had little to no effect in combating cancer were not published. Consequently, published studies overestimated the effectiveness of the drug by up to 45 percent.

The lead author of this study commented, “Preclinical [animal] research is plagued by poor design and reporting practices, exposing patients to harmful and inactive agents, wasting time in the lab and driving up the price of drugs.”
These latest surveys follow a succession of similar reports of flawed experimental design and conduct and publication bias. Add to this the fact that dozens of studies have demonstrated that seemingly insignificant differences in the ways in which animals are housed and treated in laboratories—including lighting, caging, noise, smells and diet—can further confound results in ways that experimenters don’t recognize and often can’t control.
A 2014 article in The BMJ coauthored by a Yale School of Medicine physician-scientist examined these and other problems and concluded, “If animal researchers continue to fail to conduct rigorous studies and synthesise and report them accurately, and if research conducted on animals continues to be unable to reasonably predict what can be expected in humans, the public’s continuing endorsement and funding of preclinical animal research seems misplaced.”
Yet the National Institutes of Health continues to dedicate nearly half of its $30 billion annual budget of tax dollars to projects that involve inherently flawed and methodologically questionable experiments on animals, including tearing infant monkeys away from their mothers at birth in order to cause depression, injecting hamsters with steroids and forcing them to fight, addicting rats to cocaine and forcing dogs to run on treadmills until they have heart attacks.
Far from producing good science, these experiments cost millions of animals their lives, waste limited resources, misinform the scientific community and give false hope to the public. By switching to cutting-edge and superior human-based research tools such as organs-on-chips, we can safeguard funding, advance human health and save animals.

Great news! Monday’s Ringling show at the DCU center was cancelled!

And crowds were not big for the cruelest show on earth on Sunday or Saturday! THANK YOU, WORCESTER COUNTY families! THANK YOU, WORCESTER CITY OFFICIALS FOR NOT ROLLING OUT THE RED CARPET FOR RINGLING!


I predict: In 10 years or even sooner, circuses that showcase wild animals will be a thing of the past in America, like other American disasters: slavery, blood-letting, the Jim Crow South, women being denied the vote, the Salem witch trials, banning Henry Miller novels, circuses toting around people with special needs and calling it a FREAK SHOW…

America and Worcester move forward! Yay!!!!!!!!!

– Rosalie Tirella