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Rodeos–An American Embarrassment

Created by Ashley Roth, Communications Specialist on May 17, 2016

America was built on dirty culture. Embarrassing culture. Even worse, we often refuse to grow from our past, to recreate ourselves into an aware and compassionate society. Examples of this legacy are plentiful. For now, let’s focus on rodeos.

Rodeos.

You know the event. South Dakota, Wyoming, and Texas embrace these cruelties as their state sport. But, let’s be frank. This isn’t a sport. It’s barbaric and a poor reflection on humanity. Need some credibility to this claim? Let’s delve further.

Rodeos consist of many parts–one of these is roping. The name says it all. This “heroic” cowboy rides a horse around while wrapping a noose around either a calf or an adult steer. Other nooses loop around the terrified calf’s ankles, all while trying to keep him or her upright. If the baby’s legs cave in and they fall, this “poor” cowboy has keep repeating the act until the calf remains upright. Gee, we don’t want our country’s beloved emblem to work too hard.

The most known form of roping is tie-down. Yeah–it’s exactly how it sounds. Team roping is where an entire group chase a frightened steer. Where is the entertainment in looping ropes around scared animals? And that isn’t all. Another heinous version of roping is breakaway roping–done with a shorter rope that the calf breaks free from. They run without being tied down. Many states and cities have opted for this version, thinking it’s a humane alternative. They’re wrong. The only humane alternative is abolishing rodeos completely.
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Horse Racing and Steeplechases: Sports of Death

Created by Ashley Roth, Communications Specialist on May 12, 2016

Nashville’s annual Steeplechase is happening in a matter of days. Many associate this event with big hats, Southern tradition, and a mint julep or two. These patrons never think about prescription cocktails that numb horse’s pain or abnormally speed up their performance. They never think about overworked horses discarded and sent to slaughter. They never think about the damaging injuries or too frequent deaths. And why would they? The industry has worked hard to shield the public from the truth.

When you examine the horse racing industry, you find their torture glaringly obvious. Horses may enjoy a galloping stroll through a pasture naturally, but the intense sprinting at the mercy of the human riding on top of them is totally contrived. It isn’t the horse seeking first- place–it’s the people who profit from equine victory.

Here’s the path from horse to overflowing pockets:
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Zoos Are No Fun For Animals

Created by Ashley Roth, Communications Specialist on April 18, 2016

Activists cheered when the plight of captive animals was brought into mainstream discourse. 2013’s BlackFish veered these thoughts and questions into the public eye. The documentary shocked audiences, showing them how their beloved Shamu truly lived. After its release SeaWorld’s stock dropped 30%. SeaWorld refuted the film’s claims in their desperate television ads; they promised bigger fish bowls. The public wasn’t buying it. The film’s message speaks beyond SeaWorld and orcas: Animals in captivity experience devastating psychosis. After the film, society began looking at zoos through a new, scrutinizing lens. NPR has aired several segments debating the cruelty of zoos; TIME magazine had an entire issue devoted to animal intelligence; and Huffington Post and the Guardian have numerous articles discussing the subject.

Being that this is a group based on animal advocacy, our stance on the subject is probably quite clear. BlackFish portrayed an orca’s insanity in captivity. Zoos hold their own instances. There was Gus the polar bear. Slate.com documents his repetitive figure-eight swimming, often for over twelve hours straight. Little Joe, a teenage gorilla, escaped from the Franklin Park Zoo in 2003. His frantic run for freedom resulted in injuries before he was shot with a tranquilizer gun. Other escaped prisoners were not merely tranquilized. PETA has a memorable video titled, “9 Animals Driven Insane.” The clip shows animals suffering from zoochosis. Pacing, circling, swaying, and self-injury are portrayed through actual footage of animals in captivity. Bill Travers conceived this term–zoochosis–to explain the compulsive, recurring behaviors of captive animals. If you’ve been to a zoo, you’ve seen these behaviors. You’ve seen a lion pacing, an elephant swaying, or a bear walking in repeated circles.
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We Are Not Gifts!

Created by Ashley Roth, Communications Specialist on March 22, 2016

Easter is soaked in springtime symbolism. It’s a holiday inundated with remnants of the Pagan holiday Ostara. Kids run through backyards and parks, searching for plastic eggs (because chicken eggs aren’t for humans, remember?). They gobble up jelly beans and chocolate hollow bunnies. They wear pastels. Little hands dig through baskets, and reach in for their new favorite toy: a plush bunny, duck, or fuzzy chick. The most crucial aspect of this scene is that their new furry friend is a toy–as in made from cloth and stuffing and no vital organs inside. Because live animals are not commodities–and should never be a gift from the Easter Bunny.

Sadly, some Easter Bunnies are uneducated and do this very thing. It’s unfortunate that many find the need to buy chocolate laden with cow’s milk, or that they support the egg industry for some glorified art project. News flash: there are vegan options, even for dyeing eggs. Parents can craft their own egg substitutes, or buy EggNots. As for the live animals–this shouldn’t have to be explained. But it does.
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