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Tag: peta

PETA disrupts best in show at Crufts

As a whippet named Tease was being crowned best in show at Crufts, protesters disrupted the prestigious UK dog show by running onto the field and unfurling a banner that read “Crufts: Canine Eugenics.”

The owner of Tease grabbed her dog, Crufts officials quickly secured the trophy even more protectively, and it was all over in less than a minute, after the two protesters were promptly tackled by security officers and whisked away, along with their banner.

The protest broke out just as Yvette Short of Edinburgh lifted her dog onto the podium as the event’s live feed broadcast across the globe.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) took responsibility for the incident.

“Crufts glorifies pedigree fetishists’ twisted pursuit of the ‘perfect’ dog,” Elisa Allen, PETA’s UK’s director, told the Independent on Sunday. “There’s nothing natural about breeding dogs with extreme and debilitating physical traits, and PETA urges everyone to stay away from this cruel beauty pageant.”

Many animal welfare groups take issue with the over-breeding of pedigree dogs to meet arbitrary physical standards and at the expense of health problems and physical ailments, but none with quite the zeal of PETA.

In 2008, the BBC stopped broadcasting Crufts after 40 years following public outcry over health concerns that were raised by a BBC One investigation called “Pedigree Dogs Exposed.”

The documentary focused on chronic health concerns that have resulted from breeders trying to attain physical standards The Kennel Club and breeders promulgate.

The Kennel Club, the organization behind Crufts, called the documentary “biased and selective,” but went on to revise some of the least healthy breeding standards it calls for.

Still, “canine eugenics” remains a pretty apt description of what dog shows are all about.

After Sunday’s demonstration, a Crufts spokesman said the protesters “scared the dogs and put the safety of both dogs and people at risk in a hugely irresponsible way.”

We’d suggest that the security response to the protesters looked far scarier than anything those two were doing, and that the Kennel Club, over its long history, has behaved more irresponsibly than a couple of PETA protesters ever could.

Grammy puppies-for-the-losers gag falls flat

At the 60th annual Grammy Awards on Sunday night, host James Corden handed out puppies to the losers in the Best Comedy Album category.

Yuk. Yuk.

Amid all that self-righteousness about the “Me Too” too movement, all those white roses to show solidarity, and all that trying way too hard to make a point about exploitation of the vulnerable by rich and powerful show business figures, Corden’s boneheaded idea was to hand out puppies as booby prizes, apparently having no clue just how hypocritical that stunt was.

Not only did it put some very young dogs in a fearful and stressful situation, it sent a pretty revolting message at the same time — that dogs are property, or at least comedy props.

News media on the day after seemed to be going along with the stunt, portraying the dogs as actual gifts, and not one lifting a finger to find out where the dogs came from, or report on where they ended up.

EBL News, in one of the most insipid reports, called the use of the dogs “hilarious and darling.” Entertainment Tonight reported that “those adorable consolation prizes” all went home with their trainer.

The puppy distribution came after Dave Chappelle’s win for the Best Comedy Album.

“Congratulations Dave Chappelle. Now I should say to all the nominees this evening who are not going home with a Grammy … I don’t want anybody to be upset tonight,” Corden said. “So the good news is, nobody goes home empty handed, because all night we’ll be handing out consolation puppies. Okay, so if you didn’t get a Grammy, you get a puppy!”

Handlers then delivered puppies to the losers — Jerry Seinfeld, Jim Gaffigan and Sarah Silverman.

PETA, in a statement, said the stunt showed how out of touch Grammy organizers are.

“It’s beyond belief that Grammy organizers are so out of touch with the issues of the day that they failed to grasp what is now commonly understood: that dogs are intelligent, complex animals — not toys, props, or prizes. While the stress of being passed around under bright lights by strangers may have been upsetting for these young pups, using them as prizes for runners-up sent a dangerous message to viewers that dogs aren’t the family members for life that they should be. In a country where millions of homeless dogs are waiting in shelters every year and are euthanized because there simply aren’t enough good homes for them, this stunt is no joke.”

Sarah Silverman later tweeted that she fell in love with her puppy at first sight, whereas Jim Gaffigan tweeted, “That dog was delicious.”

The sad part is, it could haven been a stunt that worked. It could have used adoptable pups. It could have made a point about adoption. It could have alerted and assured viewers that dogs were humanely treated and weren’t being handed out willy nilly, as if they were parting gifts for the also-rans.

PETA disrupts the Belk Bowl as protestors call for end to Texas A&M dog experiments

By today, you’ve probably had your fill of chips, dips and bowl games, but you might have missed this small scale demonstration staged by PETA protestors at the Belk Bowl in Charlotte, which saw Wake Forest University take on Texas A&M.

PETA has also taken on Texas A&M, calling upon the school to cease experiments on golden retrievers in which they are bred to develop a crippling canine form of muscular dystrophy.

On Friday, three PETA supporters wearing sweatshirts and brandishing signs reading, “TAMU: Stop Cruel Dog Tests,” rushed onto the field after A&M scored its first touchdown.

Texas A&M lost the game, 55-52.

For decades, generations of dogs have suffered and died in gruesome experiments at the school, PETA says — experiments that haven’t led to a cure for muscular dystrophy in humans.

PETA is calling on Texas A&M to shut down the laboratory, stop experimenting on golden retrievers, and release all surviving dogs for adoption.

Earlier this year, two PETA protesters were forcibly removed from the University of Texas Board of Regents meeting after demanding the board stop funding the research.

PETA has long been campaigning to bring an end to the research project — a cause whose supporters include comedian Bill Maher, and former A&M quarterback Ryan Tannenhill, both of whom have characterized the research as cruel.

PETA has also released video footage showing golden retrievers and other dogs in TAMU labs who were suffering from canine MD and could barely walk or swallow.

The leader of the research, Joe Kornegay, has defended the project by saying it seeks to find a cure for the debilitating disease in both humans and dogs, and that — doomed as they might be to a life of suffering — dogs brought into the world for use in the experiments are treated well.

Kornegay has said dogs are bred with the disease because researchers can’t find enough canine participants who are already afflicted.

Former racing greyhounds to find adoptive homes after Texas blood bank shuts down


That Texas operation that held retired racing greyhounds in captivity to regularly harvest and sell their blood is shutting down.

PETA exposed neglectful conditions at the blood farm this fall and has been campaigning hard for its closure — going so far as to put up billboards, engage in protests and even buy a share of stock in the company it sold blood to.

The Pet Blood Bank, located northwest of Austin, is one of several commercial blood banks in the United States with an in-house “colony” of dogs used to supply blood for veterinary treatments, according to the Washington Post blog Animalia.

An attorney for the blood bank said in a statement Thursday that the closing was a “business decision” made because the PETA campaign had “caused our long-standing customer relationships to be terminated.”

The National Greyhound Association and other dog-racing advocacy organizations said they were working with regional greyhound adoption groups and the Pet Blood Bank to place all of the 150 greyhounds now housed there up for adoption.

“We’re confident that every greyhound at the blood bank will be on its way to a loving new home within the next few days,” said Jim Gartland, the association’s executive director.”

Last month, PETA obtained photos and videos from a former company employee showing dogs confined in squalid quarters and, in some cases, left to suffer from painful injuries and dental disease.

The blood bank’s owner, Shane Altizer, denied the allegations.

PETA aimed its campaign primarily at Patterson Veterinary, the Minnesota-based company that the blood bank was a provider for. It held protests at the company headquarters and the home of the CEO of its parent group. It bought billboards, and one share of stock in Patterson Companies “to put pressure on the billion-dollar enterprise.”

Operations like the Pet Blood Bank sell their products to veterinary clinics or supply companies, and greyhounds — because members of the breed often have a universal blood type — are commonly used as donors.

The banks are not regulated by the federal government, and California is the only state that regulates them.

In a statement on Thursday, President Ingrid Newkirk said PETA would “work hard to get regulations passed to ensure all blood for emergency transfusions comes from real donors and not from imprisoned, miserable dogs.”

(Photo: PETA)

Getting every last drop from greyhounds

As if racing their hearts out weren’t enough, some greyhounds are retired to dog blood banks where they live caged all day long, except for outings to get their blood drawn.

PETA last month exposed one such kennel, The Pet Blood Bank, Inc., in Cherokee, Texas, which houses about 150 retired greyhounds — solely for the purpose of extracting and selling their blood and blood products.

The products, PETA reported, are distributed by Patterson Veterinary Supply, Inc., which did about $3 billion worth of business in 2016.

After the the PETA expose and a story in The Washington Post, Patterson Veterinary Supply announced it would take steps to correct the horrible conditions they described.

bloodbankBut PETA says no steps have been taken, even after they had Paul McCartney send a plea to the company.

Patterson Veterinary Supply initially announced it would terminate business with the The Pet Blood Bank, Inc.

It also promised to support “efforts to ensure that the animals receive appropriate care.” Bu PETA says it has seen no evidence of any such efforts.

The whistle-blower was Bill Larsen, 60, a former employee of the blood bank who went back to work there and was horrified by how conditions had deteriorated.

Larsen, who took the incriminating photos, said he unsuccessfully sought help from local animal shelters and a state agency before contacting PETA. “I just like dogs,” he said, and “hate for any animal to get treated like that.”

The photos show kenneled dogs with open wounds, rotting teeth and toenails curling into their paw pads.

The blood bank was founded in 2004 by Austin entrepreneur Mark Ziller, who said he initially sought volunteers and used a bloodmobile. When that did not turn up enough dogs, the company began using retired greyhounds housed in a kennel on a private farm northwest of Austin, the Post reported.

Ziller said he sold the company in November 2015 to Shane Altizer, whose family owns the farm in Cherokee.

“The Pet Blood Bank had a noble mission: It provided blood for veterinarians to use in lifesaving transfusions,” Ziller tod the Post. After viewing the photos PETA obtained, he added, “To see the animals in that state is beyond depressing.”

Altizer did not deny that the images were taken there, but said they predated his 2015 purchase of the company or were “moment snapshots” unrepresentative of overall conditions now.

Blood banks help save thousands of animals a year, but they are also profit-driven and unregulated.

With more medical procedures being used by vets, transfusions are more often required, and animal blood banks struggle to meet the demand. Only one state, California, regulates such operations and requires annual inspections.

bloodbank2Greyhounds are considered especially desirable as donors because they typically have a universal blood type and have big neck veins that make drawing blood easy.

Veterinarian Anne Hale, former CEO of the nation’s first and largest commercial animal blood bank, said she visited the Pet Blood Bank this summer and was “pleasantly surprised” with conditions there. After viewing the PETA photos and video though, she said, “It appears that the facility was ‘cleaned up’ before our touring … I agree that this facility should be addressed. This certainly suggests that regional, state and/or federal regulation is warranted.”

Former Beatle McCartney, who wrote a letter on PETA’s behalf, wants to see all the dogs removed from the facility.

“I have had dogs since I was a boy and loved them all dearly, including Martha who was my companion for about 15 years and about whom I wrote the song ‘Martha, My Dear,'” McCartney wrote. “I join my friends at PETA in asking you to pay these greyhounds back, and to let them retire from the dirt-floored, barren conditions in which they are kept isolated and alone.”

(Photos and video from PETA)

Today’s question: Can dogs be humiliated? The answer is tutu clear


Attention all you “dog shamers,” all you dog dresser-uppers, all you dog-dyers, and anyone else who finds it fun and harmless to put your dog in a costume, use him to make a fashion statement, or ridicule him on social media.

You may be making him feel silly, and damaging his self esteem.

The Telegraph reports that animal charities in the UK are calling upon pet owners to cool it when it comes to decorating their dogs.

Among those quoted in the story was Caroline Kisko, the Kennel Club’s Secretary, who said the organization is “not greatly in favour of doing anything to dogs which makes them feel ‘silly.’ Dogs know when they are being laughed at.”

Not exactly a bold stance there — “not greatly in favour?” — but then again the Kennel Club sponsors Crufts, which in 2009 chose this poodle as winner in the Utility Group:

Apparently shaving a dog to resemble a bunch of poofy cotton balls is an accepted exemption from the “let’s not make dogs feel silly” rule.

Hypocrisy and poodle cuts aside, we think Kisco makes a valid point when she says dog owners need to strike a balance between what is done for the dog and what is mere “human vanity.”

“It is not a toy and we need to maintain that a dog is a dog,” she said. “Since we can’t ask them we should err on the side of caution … Why is it suddenly OK to dress a dog up in silly clothing or dye it?”

The answer is social media, which has made such practices, if not more frequent, at least more noticeable.

Decorating dogs is nothing new. I’d guess even ancient Egyptians did it — because it sounds like something right up their alley. But since Facebook and other social media came along, it has brought out the attention-seeker in all of us, to the point that — even if it’s not Halloween — we’ll post photos of our dogs looking silly or doing something silly.

doghamedThat’s not always “mocking” or “ridiculing” them, but often, particularly with the dog-shaming sites, it comes pretty close.

I’ve long had a problem with people dressing dogs for any purpose other than protection against the elements. I draw the line at bandanas, which my former dog almost always wore, and loved. My current dog, Jinjja, won’t let a bandana anywhere near his neck.

Some dogs tolerate getting adorned, receiving dye jobs, and funny haircuts; some don’t. But, as Kisco points out, even a dog who doesn’t visibly object may still be getting humiliated.

“Some will have a reasonably high level of tolerance for that sort of thing. You can get a dog that will love being the center of attention. But some will feel silly. Outfits come under the same banner – whether it’s a silly collar or whatever.

“If someone wants to put a bumblebee costume on their dog for Christmas, that’s fine, but take it off again. The dog doesn’t want to be a bumblebee …”

Paula Boyden, veterinary director at Dogs Trust, told The Telegraph that she had a problem with grooming techniques and dyes that could cause discomfort or irritation.

“It’s important that dog owners, and groomers, remember that dogs are not fashion accessories to have the latest trend tried out on them, grooming is for the dog’s needs rather than for the owner’s entertainment,” she said.

And Elisa Allen, a director at PETA in the UK, is quoted in the article as saying, “Dogs aren’t bonsai trees to be sculpted into shapes that please us. Many are nervous about being groomed, and dyeing them bright colors puts them at risk for allergic reactions and even toxic poisoning, which can have serious and even fatal consequences.”

Before you start thinking those groups have peacefully united to pursue this cause, keep in mind that the only place they seem to have come together is in the Telegraph article, and that — if there is any newsworthiness here — it’s that there is something all three groups agree on.

PETA regularly crashes Crufts, and the Dogs Trust has blamed the Kennel Club and Crufts for promulgating breed standards that don’t just make dogs look silly, but makes them unhealthy as well.

The article may make it sound as if the groups are harmoniously working hand in hand, but that’s about as likely as a bulldog doing ballet.

Happy ending? Pattinson retracts account of being urged to pleasure a dog in film

Actor Robert Pattinson now says the story he told on Jimmy Kimmel Live —
about being urged by a film crew to perform a sex act on a dog — didn’t actually happen.

Pattinson appeared on the show last week, and said that while filming the movie “Good Time,” the director urged him to stroke a dog’s penis. He told Kimmel he refused, and that a prosthetic penis was used for the scene.

PETA, maybe a little too soon, jumped on the story, criticizing the movie’s makers but supporting Pattinson for his courageous refusal to do what he was asked.

“PETA depends on actors and crew members to come forward when they see mistreatment, whether it involves a dog who is being forced into churning water on the set of ‘A Dog’s Purpose‘ or an A-list actor who is being asked to molest his canine co-star,” PETA Vice President Lisa Lange said in a statement.

She added, “Robert Pattinson is our kind of guy (and everyone’s who has a heart) for refusing to masturbate a dog — which is like child molestation — and for talking about it so that the public can see that once again animal trainers’ top priority is money and animals’ interests and well-being are often ignored.”

After the PETA statement, Pattinson cleared the record. He issued his own statement, saying the story he told Kimmel was “a joke.”

“The story I told on Jimmy Kimmel last night seems to have spiraled out of control,” he said in a statement to E Online. “What didn’t come across is that this was supposed to be a joke. No one at all expected or assumed that anything like that would happen on the Good Time set.”

No one, maybe, except PETA and millions of animal lovers.

GoodTime2017Pattison’s initial remarks on the show were in reference to a scene in which his character, he said, was “sleeping with the dog and basically giving the dog a hand job.”

“I asked the trainer [about it] because the director was like, ‘Just do it for real, man! Don’t be a pussy!’ And the dog’s owner was like, ‘Well, he’s a breeder. I mean, you can. You just gotta massage the inside of his thighs.’ I was like, ‘Just massage the inside of his thighs?!’ I didn’t agree to do the real one, so we made a fake red rocket.”

He prefaced his telling of the story with these words, “Oh, God! I don’t even know if I can say this. There are a lot of things in this movie which really cross the line of legality. Like, it’s not even on the line, it’s way beyond the line.”

That doesn’t sound too much like the set-up for a joke, but he insisted later that a joke — funny or not — is what it was.

Co-director Josh Safdie, in a statement on Instagram, denied that Pattinson was pressured to touch the dog inappropriately. He said the prosthetic device was used in filming. The scene, however, was deleted during editing.

“Everyone involved in Good Time are amazing professionals and have come together to make a movie that I’m extremely proud of,” Pattinson said. “I feel embarrassed that in the moment, I was trying to make Jimmy laugh, only to create confusion and a false impression.”

The independent film stars Pattinson as Constantine “Connie” Nikas who is trying to evade authorities and get his brother out of jail after a bank robbery goes wrong.

It premiered to rave reviews at Cannes in May and opens August 11.