Entries in PETA (5)


SeaWorld Killer Whale Injury Spurs PETA Complaint

Hemera/Thinkstock (file photo)(SAN DIEGO) -- A killer whale at SeaWorld in San Diego is recovering from a nasty gash to its jaw that is the subject of a dispute between the park and the animal rights group PETA.

SeaWorld says the 11-year-old killer whale named Nakai was injured during a show last month when he somehow came in contact with a portion of the pool.  The gaping hole is so big that Nakai’s jawbone was left exposed.

PETA says an anonymous whistle-blower told them that Nakai was attacked by other captive, angry orcas at the park.

“You can’t keep three young males together in what is, for them a fishpond or a fishbowl,” PETA president and co-founder Ingrid Newkirk told ABC News.  “They will have nowhere to go unless they can swim through concrete when they feel aggressive towards each other.”

The animal rights group has filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, saying it wants SeaWorld disciplined for not keeping the whales separated as required under the Animal Welfare Act.  The law requires incompatible marine mammals to be kept in separate enclosures, PETA said.

SeaWorld says veterinarians determined the injury was not a result of an animal bite and provided video to ABC News showing Nakai on the mend. Trainers and veterinarians say they are closely monitoring his recovery and treating him with antibiotics.

“He’s [Nakai] doing very well and interacting with all the other whales and trainers,” said Kristi Burtis, supervisor of animal training at SeaWorld.

Nakai is a killer whale with a violent family tree.  Nakai’s father, Tilikum, was the orca that killed a trainer at SeaWorld in Orlando, Fla., two years ago.

“It’s hard to tell if they’re just playing rough or if these are just aggressive interactions between individuals,” said Robert Pitman of the National Marine Fisheries Service in San Diego.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Why Is PETA Fighting Program Pairing Panhandlers with Dogs?

Goodshoot/Thinkstock(SAN FRANCISCO) -- Animal rights organization PETA is fighting against the launch of San Francisco’s Wonderful Opportunities for Occupants and Fidos (WOOF) program, which will pay previously homeless people now living in sponsored public housing to foster dogs that are at risk of being euthanized.

PETA has offered to give $10,000 to the program if they leave animals out of it.

Teresa Chagrin, PETA’s animal care and control specialist, calls the program, “A lure to keep people from panhandling. Many chronic panhandlers battle with addiction issues. These animals are supposedly not adoptable. Putting these two troubled populations together is very likely to result in disaster.”

Bevan Dufty, director of San Francisco’s Housing Opportunities, Partnership, and Engagement (HOPE) initiative, said that while some of the housing residents do resort to panhandling, they should not be labeled as panhandlers, but as people trying to get their lives back on track, and are fully able to care for pets.

“These are individuals who have been through job readiness programs, who live in our buildings. They were individually interviewed, went through orientation, and have gotten a gold star of approval,” Dufty said.

San Francisco’s Animal Care & Control, HOPE’s partner in launching the program, also said that PETA’s claims are unfounded.

“You have this image of us pulling up in a van full of dogs handing them out to people,” ACC director Rebecca Katz said. “We would not be putting animals at risk. Our job is to investigate animal abuse and neglect. We are going to have a lot more oversight during this fostering program than if they were to just adopt dogs on their own.”

ACC’s involvement, however, does not lessen PETA’s concerns.

“I don’t believe that people at Animal Care & Control have a lot of experience dealing with people with mental health and addiction issues,” Chagrin said. “You can’t put dogs with people who are battling their own demons.”

PETA’s protests have not slowed WOOF down, which begins its first trial in August with 10 individuals working in pairs with five dogs.

Both Dufty and Katz said they believe PETA’s objections highlight the extreme negative prejudice faced by the homeless, making this program even more important.

“I’m pretty horrified by some of the criticism I’ve seen. They believe anybody who has ever been on the street has mental and addiction issues,” Katz said.

Dufty echoed Katz’s attitude, “In order to be effective in responding to homelessness, you can’t ignore the humanity of people. Ultimately this program is about giving dogs and people a second chance, and I don’t see how you can argue against that.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Ringling Bros. Agrees to Pay Largest-Ever Animal Welfare Act Settlement

Tim Boyle/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The owner of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus has agreed to pay $270,000 to make a USDA animal cruelty investigation go away. The agency calls this civil penalty the largest ever assessed against a circus under the Animal Welfare Act. The circus also has agreed to require a training regimen “for all personnel who work with and handle animals.”

"This settlement sends a direct message to the public and to those who exhibit animals that USDA will take all necessary steps to protect animals regulated under the Animal Welfare Act," Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in the announcement.

The circus has long been in the crosshairs of animal rights activists and this settlement resolves “alleged violations of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) dating from June 2007 to August 2011.”

PETA had sued the USDA over alleged lack of enforcement of the AWA in regards to this circus. Feld Entertainment, which runs the circus, denies the allegations and calls the settlement “a business decision.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


PETA to Kids: Would You ‘Eat Your Dog’ For Thanksgiving?

PETA(WASHIGNTON) -- PETA, the animal rights organization known for its sometimes controversial ad campaigns, is now inviting children to consider that eating a turkey on Thanksgiving is the same as dining on their dog.

The Thanksgiving ad, which was released Monday, features a Jack Russell terrier’s head photoshopped onto a turkey’s body and says, “KIDS: If you wouldn’t eat your dog, why eat a turkey? GO VEGAN.”

“Turkeys may not be as familiar to us as dogs or cats but they have the same ability to suffer and that’s something people innately understand, especially kids,” said PETA’s manager of campaigns Ashely Byrne.

“There are a lot of kids out there who don’t want to see a dead bird as the centerpiece of Thanksgiving dinner.”

PETA plans to erect numerous billboards of this ad near public schools in major cities in Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oregon, Florida, New Mexico, Utah, and Tennessee, to “spark a dialogue between kids and their parents,” according to Byrne. However, PETA is still negotiating with local advertising companies in various cities.

The organization launched the campaign, Byrne said, to raise awareness that much like man’s best friend, turkeys are also animals that are sensitive to pain.

“It doesn’t make sense to call dogs our friends and turkeys our food,” Byrne said. 

In addition to the billboards, PETA also suggests turkey substitutes for a traditional bird, including the soy-based Tofurkey, as well as other soy-based recipes on their website.

This isn’t the first time PETA has used the Thanksgiving holiday as a soap box for turkey cruelty.
In 2009, the organization released an ad called “Grace,” which featured a little girl leading her family in prayer over their Thanksgiving meal and then suddenly launching into a graphic description of how turkeys are slaughtered as her family shifts uncomfortably in their chairs.

PETA had hoped to air the spot during NBC’s broadcast of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade that year, but the network declined, saying the ad “does not meet NBC Universal standards.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Wild Pigs Target of Federal Government Plan for Eradication

Feral pigs run amok in San Diego (Courtesy of Department of Fish and Game)(SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif.) -- It looks as if San Diego County is far from becoming hog heaven for the feral pigs in the area that are facing potential eradication.

With no natural predators and voracious breeding habits, hunters in California cannot keep up with the expanding population of these wild pigs that weigh between 250 and 350 pounds.

Many landowners view these pigs as a destructive nuisance. "They tear up property, tear up landscape and tear up habitats," said Andrew Hughan, the public information officer at the California Department of Fish and Game.

Now the federal government is considering stepping in.

The U.S. Forest Service is proposing a plan for eradicating these creatures. The plan would use professional hunters, traps and even helicopter shooters to control the spread of these pigs.

The issue is that these pigs are as sneaky as they are abundant. While some estimate the pigs' numbers to be in the hundreds, others estimate them in the thousands. The stealthy pigs have a tendency to come out at night and change their habits once they know they are being hunted.

No one knows for sure where these hogs came from. Some say the animals migrated from other states, or perhaps even Mexico. Others have speculated that the pigs could be the result of a failed attempt to create a game-hunting venture on the property of one of the native Indian tribes.

There is no bag limit on how many hogs hunters can kill, but Hughan said it is "realistically impossible" to eradicate this "literally unchecked species." The pigs have been wreaking havoc in many different ways, said Brian Harris, the public affairs officer for the Cleveland National Forest in Southern California.

"They have a destructive effect on the vegetation of the area, and they are damaging the oak and grassland habitats by rooting around," said Harris. The hogs also like to eat the acorns that are supposed to be seeds for new trees, and the eggs of the forest's many ground nesting birds.

Harris said that the plan is still in its "scoping phase" and will go through a full environmental assessment, with opportunities for public comment before any decisions are made.

Even though Harris said the ultimate goal is to manage the population, not eliminate it, representatives from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) have already spoken out against the plan.

Martin Mersereau, PETA's director of cruelty investigations, told the Los Angeles Times that "The feral pigs are there through no fault of their own. They're just trying to feed their families."

The presence of these pigs has been confirmed in 56 of California's 58 counties, and Hughan believes they are likely present in the remaining two counties and just have not been spotted.

These feral pigs populate the country far beyond California. The hogs are all over the country, including in Washington, Oregon, Texas, Georgia and Michigan. Attempts at eradication have also been made in Louisiana, Oklahoma and Hawaii. The battle against them has even spawned a reality series, Discovery's Hog Wars.

From now until June 26, San Diego's porcine plan is open for public comment before further steps are taken.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio