In the Bible, the book of Leviticus describes a horrific custom that involved sacrificing two goats to atone for the sins of the community. On the appointed day, one of the animals was slaughtered in the temple; the other, bedecked with a red ribbon to symbolize the people’s wrongs, was abandoned in the desert to die. British artist William Holman Hunt’s famous 1854 painting, “Scapegoat,” shows a dying goat, wearing the pretty ribbon, staggering beneath a blazing desert sun while surrounded by inhospitable salt pans and the bones and carcasses of other animals.
I first realized something was wrong when I noticed my dog Murphy having trouble getting up from his bed. He seemed to hurt every time he moved. The next time 1 went to the store, I spotted "Healthy Joint Formula" dog food, whose label claimed that "glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, and hyaluronic acid" help rebuild joints. Wanting to do what was best for my pal, I considered purchasing a bag. Luckily, I consulted Murphy's veterinarian first, and it was through that conversation that I started to learn about the complexities of pet food labeling.
Imagine you’ve been chained to a tree in a backyard for months, without food or water or any hope of rescue. Imagine you’re at half your ideal body weight, the victim of devastating malnutrition, anemia, calcium deficiency, and stress fractures. Imagine you’ve been beaten with a stick so viciously that you bleed. All for the amusement and profit of others.
First came “Mad Cow” Mania. Throughout the 1990s, television and newspaper reports saturated us with information about this strange and frightening disease, more properly known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or BSE. Before long, a form of mass panic set in. Throughout Europe, millions of healthy animals were slaughtered as a “preventive” measure. The images of gigantic “burn piles” on which animal bodies were dumped are hellish and haunting. (For more information about BSE, see “Beef’s Last Stand.”)
The next time you walk down a city street on a cold winter day, take a close look at what people are wearing. Chances are you’ll find fur trim on everything from jacket collars and cuffs to sweaters and vests — even handbags and belts. The fur industry is spending big to weave what it calls “the new American fabric” into any item it can convince designers to sell.
In September 2002, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) stunned animal advocates with an about-face in its decision to deny an application by Six Flags Marine World to import two baby Asian elephants from India.
Ask what comes from “factory-farmed animals” and most people will think “food.” After all, eggs come from factory-farmed chickens, milk from dairy lot cows, sausages and bacon and pork chops from factory-farmed pigs. But why should we think the use of animals stops at the dinner table?
Most people are aware that fur comes from animals who were either cruelly trapped or miserably raised in tiny barren cages. Few people today flaunt full-length fur coats that took the lives of 35 minks to make, but even fewer people recognize that 3 foxes suffered just the same to make a fur-trim collar. It’s estimated that 90% of today’s cage-raised fox is used for fur trim. That’s a lot of suffering for something as frivolous as a fur collar, especially when so many beautiful, stylish, and humane alternatives are available.