Saturday, May 28, 2016

Successes to report this week!

Huge Victory at Johns Hopkins. I am very excited to share with you a monumental victory. When the Physicians Committee was founded in 1985, the majority of medical schools were using animals—routinely killing dogs and other animals to teach students. We tackled this issue head-on, and one by one we've encouraged schools to end animal use and exclusively employ human-based training methods.
Physicians Committee doctors urge Johns Hopkins to end its live animal lab.
In 2006, a medical student at Johns Hopkins University contacted us to say that live pigs were being used in the student surgery clerkship. But after a decade of work—including continuous communications from the Physicians Committee and our supporters, demonstrations, local advertisements, legal complaints, and extensive media coverage—Johns Hopkins has ended its live animal lab. 

First, I want to thank you! Without your support—signing petitions, making phone calls, attending demonstrations, and financially backing our lifesaving efforts, this huge step forward would never have happened.

And now I'd like to ask you do something more: Please join us in thanking the leaders of Johns Hopkins for making this important change.

While years of hard work have brought this victory, the announcement by Johns Hopkins came soon after state legislators publicly grilled university leaders about its animal use. A Maryland bill, championed by Del. Shane Robinson with extensive support from the Physicians Committee, would have prohibited the use of animals for medical training in the state. 

On Feb. 11, 2016, Johns Hopkins alumni Martin Wasserman, M.D., and Barbara Wasserman, M.D.; Johns Hopkins resident Richard Bruno, M.D.; Maryland physician Pradip Sahdev, M.D.; and the Physicians Committee's Angie Eakin, M.D., visited the Maryland State House in Annapolis to offer expert testimony in support of the bill. In addition, 26 of our member doctors from Maryland signed a letter endorsing the bill, which was submitted as testimony at the hearing. It is clear that the bill and the Physicians Committee's years of work are responsible for the recent change at Johns Hopkins.

Now, there is only one U.S. medical school left using animals to teach students. The University of Tennessee's campus in Chattanooga is the last remaining vestige of this cruel and unnecessary practice. Today, 196 of 197 accredited medical schools in the United States and Canada are training future physicians without the use of live animals, and the training is better than ever. In the coming weeks, we'll send you an update on our efforts to put the pressure on the University of Tennessee and ask you to join our call to action.

But for today, let's enjoy this moment, because it has been a long time coming. Securing victories like these requires unrelenting effort over time. Thank you for standing with us—and for the animals—to reach this milestone. 

Success: Retailer Commits to Stop Selling Eggs From Caged Hens. 
Target: Tom Daunt, CEO of Aldi Australasia
Goal: Praise decision to stop selling eggs from caged hens, yet urge that the transition to cage-free eggs is sooner than 2025.
A major food retailer has decided to phase out caged eggs, but this move will take nine years. Thanks to a compelling campaign by consumers and organizations, including ForceChange, the Australian branch of supermarket chain Aldi has decided to stop selling eggs from caged chickens. Unfortunately, these cruel products will be slowly phased out over nine years. The company claims this is because transitioning to cage-free is complex, however several other large retailers in the country have already made the move.
While chickens are needlessly exploited in all variants of the egg industry, caged chickens suffer especially brutal conditions. They live their entire lives confined in tiny and filthy wire cages where they cannot even spread their wings. They never see the outdoors and often succumb to stress or injuries. Like all other chickens raised for their eggs, they are painfully debeaked and sent to slaughter once their production wanes. Moreover, all male chicks are gassed or ground alive because they are of no use to the industry.
Sign this petition urging Aldi to move much faster on this urgent matter and drop caged-eggs immediately, while also working towards phasing out all cruel animal products.
Dear Mr. Daunt,
We gladly received the news that Aldi Australia was banning caged eggs. However, nine years is far too long to wait for this urgent move. This means nine more years of your company actively supporting the incredibly cruel abuse of chickens confined to tiny wire cages in which they cannot even spread their wings.
We urge you to instigate this ban immediately, rather than wait for 2025. Chickens suffer terrible conditions in the egg industry, even when they are apparently “free-range.” Often they never see the outdoors, have no space to exhibit natural behaviors, are painfully debeaked and still sent to slaughter when they no longer produce enough eggs. Additionally, the industry gasses or grinds alive all male chicks, as they are not considered profitable.
Other major retailers such as Woolworths have already made the kinder switch. Please instate an immediate ban on caged eggs, while also working towards banning all cruel animal products from your stores.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Maqi
Giant Victory with Amazon India!
Your signatures on our Amazon India petition were critical in getting nearly 400 animal-cruelty-related items removed from the site. Among the items removed were trophy carcasses, animal oils, and snares like the one that crippled Rose. And Amazon India has agreed to remove similar items in the future! 

This is a major victory for all of us, a victory for wildlife in general, and a victory for every animal who has experienced unspeakable suffering in a trap or snare. We thank you and we thank little Rose for helping us to inspire this change. Read more on this milestone in the Times of India

Success: Innocent Dog Not Euthanized. 
Target: Jeremy Wright, Attorney General for England and Wales
Goal: Thank attorney for helping to save the life of a dog wrongfully accused of threatening sheep.
A dog accused of chasing and threatening a farmer’s sheep will not be euthanized. We need to thank the attorney general for helping to save the life of this innocent animal.
The farmer had absolutely no solid proof that Pandora the dog had ever threatened any of his sheep. Since no such concrete evidence existed to show that this ever took place and since Pandora had always thrived in a household full of children and other animals, the dog’s owner—Sarajane Rounds—pleaded with the courts for her animal’s life to be spared. She argued that since the dog had not previously attacked either a person or another animal that it was highly improbable the dog threatened or attacked the farmer’s sheep. Thankfully, with the help of animal activists, such as those in theForceChange community, Pandora was eventually saved.
Thank the attorney general for playing a part in helping to save this innocent dog. Pandora will likely get to spend many more happy years with her family because the attorney general and animal activists cared enough to fight for her.
Dear Attorney General Wright,
You recently advocated to save a dog that was accused of killing a farmer’s sheep. We as the animal rights community would like to thank you for helping to ensure that Pandora the dog will see another day.
Since the farmer who accused the dog of having harassed his sheep had no concrete evidence to prove that this was the case, it is great news that this particular animal’s life was spared. Animal activists everywhere are grateful that you helped this dog, as Pandora had been living peacefully in a house filled with both animals and children for two years before she was ever accused of having committed such an act. Being unwilling to accept that a dog should be euthanized without having solid proof that it ever threatened other animals makes you both an ethical and caring attorney.
Once more, thank you so much for doing everything in your power to ensure that Pandora gets to continue living with her family. Animal activists appreciate you fighting for her, as she will likely now get to spend many more fulfilling years with Sarajane Rounds and the other people who truly care about her the most.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Malamute
AZ just banned dog racing, KS can do it too! Arizona has just become the 40th state to make dog racing illegal!
Victory! Kansas dog tracks will not reopen!
Today I bring you great news! The Kansas legislature rejected the bid to re-open the state's three closed dog tracks as racinos (racetrack casinos). Thanks to everyone who signed this petition, contacted their lawmakers and helped spread the word that the cruelty of greyhound racing belongs in the past. Read more here:

Paul White Chevrolet Pulled Orangutan Ads. We have great news! After thousands of PETA supporters wrote to Paul White Chevrolet with complaints about its commercials featuring an orangutan named Popi, the dealership pulled the commercials from the air. This victory wouldn’t have been possible without your help. Thank you for everything that you do to help animals.
Paul White Chevrolet in Cabin Creek, West Virginia, is currently running two commercials that feature an orangutan named Popi. The video footage of Popi used for the commercials is decades old. It was filmed when she was being exploited as a “performer” by the notorious Las Vegas showman Bobby Berosini. In 1989, while working at the Stardust Resort and Casino, a dancer filmed Berosini backstage viciously beating an orangutan minutes before each performance, for seven days in a row. PETA conducted an investigation and learned that in addition to enduring the beatings, the orangutans used by Berosini spent their offstage hours confined to tiny windowless lockers anchored to the floor of a bus. Popi was subjected to these conditions for nearly two decades.

In response to the investigation, Berosini got out of the ape business and left the country. Before leaving, he sent Popi and the other orangutans to an ape trainer in Southern California who continued working and breeding them for the entertainment industry. Popi was at this compound for well over a decade until she was moved to a behavioral research facility in 2008. In 2012, she was retired to the Center for Great Apes, an accredited sanctuary in Florida, where she lives today. Popi was lucky—most ape “actors” are dumped at poorly run roadside zoos or other substandard facilities once they’ve outlived their usefulness in the entertainment industry.

VICTORY: Barbaric ‘Toro de la Vega’ Bull Stabbing Festival Finally Banned! We’ve just received some wonderful news – a horrific annual “festival” in which men on foot and horseback pursue and stab a terrified young bull to death, has just effectively been banned by the regional government in Spain.
The Toro de la Vega “festival” has, until now, taken place every September in the autonomic region of Castilla y Léon, Spain. The event entails chasing a young bull through the streets of Tordesillas and stabbing him with darts and spears until he is bleeding and crippled. His tail is cut off while he’s still alive. When he dies of his injuries, the person who ultimately killed him is awarded a ceremonial spear and a medal by the city council.
Toro de la Vega still
Compassionate people, including tens of thousands of PETA supporters as well as local Spanish groups such as PACMA, have been protesting against this cruelty for years. Now our efforts have finally paid off! Thank you to everyone who has taken part in our actions or otherwise spoken out against this cruelty.

This victory is part of a wider movement in Spain, as more and more people are turning against events such as bullfighting and bull runs. To date, more than 100 towns have banned these events. The tide is turning against barbaric so-called “traditions” – and with your help, we’ll keep on fighting until no more animals suffer slow and painful deaths in the name of entertainment.

Thank Shelter for Saving Over 5,000 Kittens.
Kitten Jessica Peralta
Target: Gregory Castle, CEO of Best Friends Animal Society
Goal: Thank animal welfare organization for saving over 5,000 kittens.
The Best Friends Animal Society in Los Angeles has saved over 5,000 kittens. This shelter had a kitten nursery built specifically for young kittens who need 24/7 care. The shelter has even received kittens with the placenta still attached.
Volunteers rub the kittens’ bellies to stimulate their bladders and bowels, bottle feed the babies and provide socialization. Constant care is critical for these kittens.
Kittens are a high risk population for euthanasia because there are so many and because they require constant care. The opening of the nursery has helped save thousands of lives. Sign the petition and thank the shelter’s dedication to helping these animals.
Dear Mr. Castle,
Due to the overpopulation of stray cats in the Los Angeles area, kittens face a high risk for euthanasia due to the sheer number of them and their need for constant care. In response, the Best Friends Animal Society in Los Angeles opened a kitten nursery made specifically for young kittens who need 24/7 care.
Thanks to this nursery and the dedicated volunteers, over 5,000 kittens have been saved. Thank you for going to such lengths to save this high risk population. I hope more shelters are inspired by your actions and build kitten nurseries of their own.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Jessica Peralta
Orlando Church Bans Use of Live Animals in Sermons! As you may recall, Church in the Son in Orlando, Florida, used an obviously unhappy caged lion as a visual aid during a recent sermon. The church has now vowed not to use live animals again. Thank you to everyone who spoke out and to Church in the Son for its compassionate decision!
Lion Sermon
Late last week, the Christie administration said it will back off its plan to commercialize Liberty State Park!

This is fantastic news, but our state parks are still at risk. Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Bob Martin announced the state would move forward with its plan to privatize the other 38 state parks to make up for massive budget shortfalls. 

We saved Liberty State Park because our allies, including Friends of Liberty State Park, NY/NJ Baykeeper, and Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop, and thousands of New Jersey LCV supporters raised their voices. If we keep up the pressure, we can protect our other state parks from getting developed.

Send a message to the DEP now. Tell Commissioner Martin you support the decision not to privatize Liberty State Park, but that he should not use our parks to solve the budget crisis.

The Christie administration calls this scheme the “Sustainable Parks” initiative. But that's an incredibly deceptive name. The goal of the program is to get parks to generate revenue because the administration has been reckless with our state budget.

If the DEP puts this plan into place, entire sections of parks would be leased to private developers. We'd see more concession stands and trash in sensitive environments. And entrance fees could go up, making state parks even less accessible to low-income families.

Our state parks are a place where children can swim and families can get away from traffic and pavement. We could lose the tranquility our state parks offer if there's more development and fewer areas kept wild.

The DEP is keeping its hands off Liberty State Park because "everybody piled on."2 If we raise our voices again, we can keep our other 38 parks from getting leased to private developers. 

Tell the DEP you oppose any attempt to commercialize our state parks

Thanks for all that you do to protect our water, air, and open spaces. 

1 - "Christie administration unveils ideas for hotel, theater, amusements at Liberty State Park,", November 24, 2015.
2 - "Liberty State Park advocates cheer DEP decision to abandon development," Politico New Jersey, May 12, 2016.