Animal Rights Stickers – Yay!

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has a brand new emoji app for animal champions everywhere. Senior Advocacy Strategist Michelle Feinberg invites us to download the peta2 sticker app available now from both the App Store and the iMessage-specific App Store. All the stickers are 100% vegan and cruelty-free!

To give you a flavour –


Let’s get downloading. This app is going to clock up some serious mileage! Fun with an important – the most important – message…



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Because THEY Are Worth It

Cover pic Cruelty Free International


Imagine yourself in a focus group, being asked to blurt out the first words that come into your head when L’Oréal is mentioned. Would they be ‘beauty’, ‘skincare’, ‘make up’?
Or would they be ‘cruelty’, ‘suffering’, ‘inhumanity’? Because underneath the company’s flawless façade of glamour lies an underbelly of ugliness – brutal testing on animals.

In the EU, not only is testing on animals for cosmetics banned, but as from 2013 there’s also a blanket ban on the sale of any cosmetics and/or their ingredients tested on animals outside the EU. Similar measures have also been enacted in India, Israel, Norway, and Switzerland. More than 1.8 billion people can now only buy cosmetics that will never be tested on animals again. American cosmetic companies must already comply with these laws in order to sell their products internationally. Guatemala, New Zealand, South Korea, Taiwan, Turkey and four states in Brazil have also passed laws to end or limit cosmetic animal testing.¹

There is, as yet, no such ban though within the USA itself where untold millions of animals undergo extreme pain and distress in research for cosmetics, as well as drugs and household products. ‘Untold’ because the most commonly-used animals are rats and mice, which the USDA does not define as animals for the purpose of animal experiments. So they slip conveniently under the radar.


L’Oréal and their ilk are rubbing chemicals into animals’ shaved skin, dripping them into their eyes, and even force-feeding the chemicals with a tube down their throats directly into their stomachs, for months at a time, to test for signs of ‘adverse effects’ like cancer or birth defects. All up till now sanctioned by US law.

L’Oréal clearly cares nothing for animal welfare. And such a huge corporation – featuring 198th on Forbes’ List of The World’s Biggest Public Companies, and reckoned to be worth $107.5 billion – can easily afford to forego sales to vegans!

But now there is a brighter side. Enter EpiSkin

What is EpiSkin? “EpiSkin is an in vitro, reconstructed human skin (just the epidermis) cultured on a collagen matrix at the air-liquid interface.”

L’Oréal are pumping some of their lovely big profits into the EpiSkin project. Not because they’ve seen the error of their ways, or out of the kindness of their heart, you can be sure, but because EpiSkin gives a “much better simulation of human skin than animals.” Which means beauty products tailor-made for the end user, rather than best-guessed. Which means increased profits. And as a spin-off, no more torture for the animals, we sincerely hope.

And there is more good news

L’Oréal is making this research open to all:

“EpiSkin models are also available to the global scientific community to support academic and corporate research and development activities across industries,” Charbel Bouez, vice president of advanced research at L’Oréal’s America Zone and president of EpiSkin, told CNBC.

And more

EpiSkin is not the only cultured human skin under research. It has a twin – EpiDerm launched by MatTek in 1993. MatTek does the ultimate in recycling: they use surgical waste skin from cosmetic surgery to grow its two adult humans worth of skin per week.

And still more

EpiSkin“already works so well that it’s outperforming animal testing in most scenarios.

Its applications could reach far beyond the beauty industry, hopefully into medical research. These two competitors, plus other research labs around the world, are looking to expand the technique to make cells for human organs, organs other than skin. This could make even today’s cutting edge technology of organs-on-a-chip obsolete.

For companies and institutions engaged in research, testing on cells in petri dishes is a huge financial saving on keeping those millions and millions of unfortunate animals in labs. Plus the benefits in terms of accurate results are off the scale.

And yet more

The United States itself is close to finally saying “no” to cruel cosmetics.The Humane Cosmetics Act is being reintroduced in Congress with bi-partisan support. This week is the week! The Act would bring US legislation in line with that of many other countries, as well as the EU. It would prohibit the use of animals to test cosmetic products and ingredients, and phase out the sale of cosmetics tested on animals overseas.

If you live in America please urge your legislators to support the Humane Cosmetics Act


Hopefully the time is not too far off when we will look back at animal testing and will not believe how we could have been complicit in the barbaric torture of others, just because we could. That we were drawn into parting with our cash on products of cruelty that promised to magically transform us into an Eva Longoria, a Jennifer Aniston.

But meanwhile, for everyone, everywhere:

  • Sign the Humane Society’s petition to Support Legislation to End Inhumane Cosmetics Testing on Animals here
  • Check out Cruelty Free International’s campaign page with 8 petitions to sign
  • Get ‘The Little Book of Cruelty Free’ handy pocket guide here
  • Or search here for Leaping Bunny certified cruelty free products
  • Sign up for CFI’s email updates
  • Donate here – every single donation received, large or small, helps animals in laboratories



¹One Green Planet

Other Sources

The Humane Nation – Wayne Pacelle’s Blog

Lab-grown human skin might finally spell the end for animal testing – ZME

Cosmetics Tests That Use Animals – HSUS

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Some of the Most F*%#ed-Up Family Trees From Last Year’s Crufts Winners

I don’t normally write 4 blogs posts in rapid succession on the same topic, but that’s just a measure of my heartache at the thought of those thousand upon thousand unwanted dogs in shelters in the UK, not to mention the 5,000 strays put down every year. I rescued my own gorgeous girl Holly from Manchester Dogs Home. She has been my loving, sweet, gentle companion for 15 years.

P1000777 (1)

This is Holly enjoying Lake Coniston two years ago.

Multiply the UK numbers by a factor of thousands in the US. Approximately 3.9 million dogs enter animal shelters nationwide every year, with approximately 1.2 million dogs euthanised.

The Westminster Dog Show, the biggest in the US, takes place at pretty much the same time as Crufts and is plagued with the same kind of problems.

Another petition to sign about Crufts

Some of the Most F*%#ed-Up Family Trees From Last Year’s Crufts Winners

We took a look through the family trees of some of the dogs who won “best of breed” prizes at last year’s Crufts. Here’s what we found.



Supporters protest in Birmingham about inbreeding among pedigree dogs ahead of this year’s Crufts.

We knew that inbreeding was rampant in the pedigree dog world, where “purity” of bloodlines is valued above animals’ health. But even we were surprised by the amount of incest we found in the recent histories of these animals whom the Kennel Club judges to be model examples of their breeds.

1. “My grandfather is also my uncle.”
– Marbelton What a Guy at Zobear, pug


This “champion” doesn’t just have an unusual name – he also has a very close family.

Inbreeding makes pugs like What a Guy likely to suffer from severe breathing problems because of their squashed-in faces. It’s actually considered “routine” to perform surgery on these dogs to clear their blocked airways. Their wrinkled skin often harbours painful infections, while their bulging eyes are prone to injuries and ulcers.


2. “My grandmothers are cousins, and my daddy and granddad are half-brothers.”
– Samhaven Wired for Sound, collie (rough)


There is a tangled knot at the centre of this dog’s pedigree – and it’s bad news for her gene pool.

Ninety-five per cent of purebred collies like Wired for Sound have or carry the genes for an eye disease called “collie eye anomaly”, and they’re also prone to cataracts, skin problems and autoimmune diseases. What’s more, they’re one of the breeds most likely to develop bloat, a terrifying condition in which their stomach swells and becomes twisted, often causing death within hours or even minutes.


3. “My mum was conceived when her mum had sex with her brother.”
– Gunalt De Ice at Stridview, Weimaraner


We’re more than a little disturbed by some of the goings-on in this dog’s immediate family.

Weimaraners like Gunalt are often born with deformed hip sockets, or “hip dysplasia”, which can cause crippling pain and lameness throughout their lives. Bone disease, cancer and bloat are just a few of the other conditions that humans’ obsession with breeding inflicts on these dogs.

4. “My dad was conceived when my granddad had sex with his granddaughter.”
– Edglonian Singing the Blues, Shetland sheepdog

Yes, this would most certainly be illegal if they were human.

Shelties like Singing the Blues are at risk of some seriously nasty illnesses, including von Willebrand disease – a blood-clotting disorder that can cause excessive bleeding – as well as epilepsy and Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease, which causes the disintegration of the hip joint.

Dig back into pretty much any “purebred” dog’s family tree, and you’ll discover similar patterns: creepy incestuous relationships and an unhealthily tiny gene pool. With such a lack of genetic diversity, it’s not surprising that so many pedigree dogs suffer from debilitating inherited diseases and usually die young.

Crufts and the organisation behind it, the Kennel Club, give these sickly dogs prizes and encourage breeders to create more animals just like them – often by breeding from the same “champion” dog over and over again.

Dogs don’t need a fancy pedigree to be beautiful. Please don’t buy into “breedism” – boycott breeders, and don’t tune in to Crufts next year.

Written by Ann for PETA

The RSPCA’s Ruff Competition Winners

Crufts Comes Under Fire Again

Following on from Six Good Reasons to Pass up on Crufts, the biggest dog show in the world is getting more bad press.

Crufts has come under fire for awarding a “deformed” German Shepherd the “Best of Breed” title. The dog, named Catoria, has an abnormally sloped back and a painful-looking limp. According to the RSPCA, “Many other dogs at Crufts showed visible signs of poor health and/or discomfort,” including the winner of the Toy Breeds, a Pekinese who was “panting heavily and struggling to breathe.”

The motto of the Kennel Club, organisers of the event, is “Making a difference for dogs”. Yet their flagship show, where dogs are treated as fashionable prized possessions, rewards breeding practices that severely compromise health and welfare – the exact opposite of its declared aim, “to look after the health and welfare of dogs”.

The prestigious show, in what I call The Crufts Effect, fuels the market for pedigree breeds, a market ruthlessly exploited by the unscrupulous with no regard for even basic animal welfare.

Soaring demand for designer dogs fuels the brutal £100 million industry

The aggrandization  of pedigree breeds leads directly to the situation we have in the UK where 75% of dogs chosen for pets are pedigrees. With the result that 14 strays are euthanised every single day and dog lovers choose to overlook the many thousands more languishing in shelters up and down the country.

Please sign this petition urging the Kennel Club to put an end to this misguided show and start promoting welfare for all dogs.

Sign petition here


The Crufts Effect – Dead Puppies Dumped Like Rubbish in a Ditch

This illustrates perfectly but tragically my previous post 6 Good Reasons to Pass up on Crufts

RSPCA continues campaign against illegal dog farming – the Mirror March 14 2016


RSPCA investigators say the tiny animals were just six – eight weeks old, too young even to have been taken from their mothers. They fear the ditch is being regularly used to dispose of sick pups. They also found decomposed remains of many more dogs at the spot. The puppies were filthy, showing signs of having been kept in their own waste.

The discovery comes after the Mirror revealed nearly 200 sick puppies are being trafficked into Britain every day as soaring demand for designer dogs fuels the brutal £100 million industry.

soaring demand for designer dogs fuels the brutal £100 million industry

The harrowing images of a dumping ground for dead puppies, discovered in a quiet country lane on Feb 27, were released by the RSPCA to highlight the cruel trade.The RSPCA said 70,000 of the vulnerable creatures were illegally transported here by Irish and Eastern European gangs last year – a massive increase from 1,800 reported in official figures five years ago.

The pups are often inbred and kept in horrendous conditions, making them susceptible to fatal diseases, before being sold to unwitting animal-lovers.

The RSPCA has told people to be on their guard when buying pets after this horrific find cast new light on the illegal farming and trafficking of puppies, and has launched a campaign, Scrap the Puppy Trade, calling for new legislation to better protect dogs and puppies being bred for sale, and for dog breeders to have to obtain a licence.

Read more

Sign petition to Scrap the Puppy Trade

6 Good Reasons to Pass up on Crufts


The Kennel Club not only put on this world famous dog show, they also lay down in writing the physical standards each breed must conform to, and keep the pedigree register.



No 1  The way pedigree dogs are bred induces diseases that are breed specific. Or as PETA  so succinctly puts it, “Purebred is a euphemism for inbred.” Here is a handy list.

No 2  We’ve all heard the heavy labouring breath that goes with the squashed faces of Pekes and Pugs. Pedigree dogs are bred to have certain exaggerated features that are actual physical deformities. The RSPCA lists 11 examples that seriously affect the dogs’ health and quality of life.

No 3  Fickle fashion dictates which pedigree dog is today’s status symbol. Whether it’s the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, a modest £9000 a pop, or should I say, a pup. Or the very top drawer Tibetan Mastiff – one of these beasties  recently sold at auction, yes at auction, for £1.6 million. Do we seriously want to turn man’s best friend into a designer accessory with a price tag?  The Telegraph

No 4  Why be complicit in lining breeders’ pockets? The stud dogs and breeding bitches are being used as cash cows. As profitable puppy machines, the bitches in particular have poor quality of life.

No 5  Now this is the one that makes me angry and sad in equal measure. Every year here in the UK we have approximately 110,000 strays, nearly half of those abandoned by their owners. Many that simply stray out of the garden or on a walk do get reclaimed, but many many more languish miserably in rescue centres waiting and hoping for a new home. Worst of all, roughly 5,000 dogs, unlucky, unwanted, unloved, are put down. That is 14 innocent dogs put to death every day of the year. Dogs Trust Stray Survey

No 6  75% of the 9 million dogs kept in the UK are pedigrees. I defy you to visit any dog rescue shelter in the country and not come away crying.

Blue Cross Adoptions

RSPCA Adoptions

Dogs Trust Rehoming

Crufts show is just a breeding ground for canine cruelty – Belfast Telegraph

Read more

On Long John Silver’s Shoulder

The video of this parrot is super cute and made me laugh out loud.


But then I wondered if this is really something I should be sharing. A while back, not longer after I started this blog, I wrote a post called  On Long John Silver’s Shoulder  And I think it’s worth revisiting because for the parrot, as with most species of animals with whom humans interact, there’s a darker story beneath.

Recent research offers a postscript to this: findings are that the beautiful intelligent parrot is the most endangered of all bird species.