Monday, July 11, 2011

Naked in the Snow

I know more about PETA and naked campaigns than I really want to. In the mid-90’s I (accidentally) watched a PETA slaughterhouse video, and went veg. I was soooo mad at PETA for forcing me to change!

I had had no idea how animals suffer for food, fur, the circus, and animal testing. The videos shocked me to the core (especially “Free Me,”) and I started to get involved.

One day PETA called. They had my name from some volunteer list. I had signed up to, you know, stuff envelopes. Or walk dogs. But no. They were calling me in Alaska, to ask me to go naked. Like any normal person, I said no. I said no over and over and over. But three weeks later, a PETA campaigner flew up and there I was...really cold.

The PETA staffer, myself, and three others all stood behind a huge banner wearing nothing but underwear, slippers, and snowflakes. It was Fur Free Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, and snowing like crazy. The banner said, “We’d Rather go Naked Than Wear Fur.” It was cold. It was embarrassing. It was scary. And it was wildly successful.

Alaska kills a lot of animals for fur, but nobody ever discussed it. That changed after our protest. Not only did the entire state talk about fur for weeks afterwards, our protest got International coverage. Millions of people saw it and thought about the cruelty of fur. PETA gave the media videos of animals being killed for fur, so they played shots of our protest mixed in with graphic images of animal suffering. So many eyes were opened!

PETA staff and volunteers don’t enjoy going naked. It’s awkward and cold and humiliating. But any discomfort we feel is nothing compared to what an animal feels as they are skinned alive for their fur. We must tell people how fur is made, so they stop buying it and fewer animals are killed for it.

We can send the media all the serious reports and videos we want—they won’t cover it. Let’s face it, it’s a tabloid world. But add one naked protest, or a person in a chicken costume, or a crazy idea that’s no more than a silly joke…and all of a sudden the media is all over it.

PETA’s budget is tiny. To put it in perspective: KFC, one of the worst animal abusers, spends $497 million dollars a year just on advertising. PETA’s entire annual budget is 32 million! So you see what we’re up against.

KFC can spend money on TV ads. PETA can’t. We must get media coverage to get the word out, or animal abuse will never stop. We prefer the serious work, but that doesn’t help animals if the public doesn’t know about it. PETA exists to help animals, but it’s humans who inflict the pain. And it’s humans who have the power to stop the pain. So we have to get humans to pay attention!

Animals suffer behind closed doors. Nobody sees them beaten in the slaughterhouse, or vomiting poison in the vivisection lab. If they stay hidden, the pain will never stop. PETA exposes the abuse to the world, and then we stop it. We’re up against the biggest corporations in the world. It’s a David and Goliath war. We don’t have billions of dollars and public apathy on our side, but we do have creativity, passion, and empathy. If a colorful street protest gets attention for animals, we’re going to do it!

It’s OK if the naked campaigns aren’t your favorites, but don’t diss them. They work. I know this: If I was being held prisoner in a windowless shed, being beaten and raped on a regular basis, I would want someone on the outside to do whatever it took to expose my plight. If they had to go naked to get attention for me, I would want them to! I figure animals would feel the same. That’s one reason why I’m so proud to work for PETA. We’re the only group doing whatever is effective to stop animal abuse, and we’re winning!

This post was written by Alex Bury in 2009.

Red Paint: The Truth

“PETA throws red paint on people all the time!” Well, no, PETA doesn't. PETA sometimes uses red paint on their own fur coats…the coats donated to PETA when people learn the truth behind fur. PETA uses those coats in colorful demonstrations. It’s a great way to get the media, and the media is a mouthpiece for animals (love ‘em or hate ‘em, you gotta work with ‘em).

There are many, many animal rights activists in the world. And a lot of them have no connection to PETA whatsoever. We can’t control activists who do throw paint on fur-wearers. We aren’t the Animal Liberation Front, nor are we connected to them. We aren’t the Humane Society. We aren’t a shelter. We aren’t the Animal Welfare League of Topeka.

PETA has nothing against red paint. And we try not to talk down other groups and activists. They do their thing, we do ours.

But we find it’s a lot more effective to put the fake blood on ourselves, get some media, and then education millions about animal suffering. We like corporate negotiations, scientific research, shareholder resolutions and building doghouses. We like performing free spays and neuters and giving away Tofurky sandwiches. We really like doing undercover investigations and then sharing what we find with the whole world, while demanding criminal charges for the abusers.

We also really, really like good vegan food.

Are PETA Videos For Real?

Have you seen “Free Me,” the PETA video set to the music of Goldfinger? It’s so moving.

About once a week I hear someone say, “Oh, PETA videos of animal abuse can’t be real. They must be manipulated in some way.”

Don’t we wish. The images on our videos are so horrific, they’re hard to believe, and we wish they were not real. But they are. And here’s the simple fact: If anything on any of our videos was less than 100% legitimate, we’d be sued and would have to take it off the web. That’s the end of the story.

When we say, “This is what happens at Agri-Processors,” you can bet the company tries to stop the video. But they can’t. Because it’s real, and we always prove that it’s real.

So the next time someone questions a video, gently remind them that it’s all too real, and real enough to survive attacks against it. There’s no question. That suffering exists, and we need to stop it.

Unless you're talking about the Sex and the Kitty video. That one's not real. :)

Is PETA Against All Pets?

First of all, they’re our companions, not our “pets.” We can’t own them any more than we can own a child.

Is PETA against having animal companions? Come to Headquarters someday and decide for yourself. Most of the staff has rescued dogs, cats, rabbits, mice, rats, horses, and chickens. A lot of these sweet rescued animals come to the office. Next to the big Headquarters building there’s a beautiful dog park that’s open to the public, with a big sign: No Yelling At Your Dog! :) When you’re up in the kitchen on the 3rd floor, you can look down and watch dogs play.

If you can afford the time and money to care for an animal—reallycare for an animal—we hope that you will rescue a sweet someone from your local shelter. There are so many homeless animals. PETA is completely against breeding and buying animals. There are millions of dogs and cats killed every year, because nobody adopted them. Please, look at your lifestyle and if you can give a great home, go save a life!

Too Extreme

What does that mean, exactly? Too extreme for what? An animal who is still alive, screaming in pain while they are skinned for fur…that’stoo extreme. Protesting against that cruelty is not extreme. It’s decent.

Speaking out against wrongdoing is hard. It takes guts and dedication. It takes compassion and a really big heart. It’s extreme, I guess…extremely wonderful.

“PETA is too extreme.” “PETA is a terrorist organization.” Think about this for a minute. PETA is a legal non-profit organization, one of the best known charities in the world. Everything we do is magnified, televised, watched, complimented, insulted and nit-picked almost to death. Do you really think that if PETA had any sort of illegalanything, we would still be going full-steam ahead like we are? We’re a registered charity. We’ve got a kick-*** human resources department, legal department, and finance department. Every penny has to be accounted for. We get audited all the time. We’re examined under a microscope.

When the government finds a charity doing something wrong, they punish the charity. PETA, however, has never been punished. That’s because we haven’t done anything wrong. Period, end of story.

Unless you count the KFC Movie Trailers. I know they’re clever and well-done, and they’ve made people go veg (yay!), but they give me the creeps. Especially the crack house one…yuck!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Pre-Race Check List

1. You should be Registered for the race by now. If you're not, don't put it off any longer!
2. Plan your driving route and departure time. Leave EARLY! Plan to arrive at the race at least a hour early! Trust me, you will be glad. Arriving late will stress you out and possibly upset your race. Roads will be closed, parking will be crazy, runners will be everywhere.
3. Figure out parking now. Read the race website to learn about what roads will be closed, what lots are available and how much they cost, etc.
4. MUSIC: Get that i-pod loaded! Jenna made us all CD's that we'll give out at the Pasta Feed.

Saturday, the Day Before the Race:
1. Go to the Race Expo to pick up your runners bag, number bib, timing chip, and more! There will be tons of booths giving away free samples and selling things, so leave lots of time to hang out and explore.
2. Pick out your race outfit and put it on. That’s right—put it on to make sure you don’t forget something like, oh, the sports bra. Or the left shoe. Put the whole thing on and jog around the block. Don’t try anything new for the race.
3. Drink a lot of water all day.
4. Pack your favorite energy gels, bars or blocks. The race will have water and Gatorade stops, but no gels.
5. Make the time to drive to the course, so you know exactly where the parking, shuttles and starting line are.
6. Purchase and prepare your breakfast for early the next morning.

Have the following items ready to go the night before:
*Your race outfit.
*Official race bib pinned to your PETA Pack race shirt.
*Timing chip attached to your shoe.
*Gels and gus and bars.
*Old sweats to wear in the beginning.
*Hat (if you wear one), sunscreen, hair band, dark glasses.
*PETA banner folded up in your pocket that you can hold up as you cross the finish line (if you want one)
*Music (if you use it).
*Fully charged phone.
*Camera! Please, everyone…bring your camera so we can post photos after the event!
*Small bag with a bottle of water, dry shirt, ID and credit cards for after the race.
*SET YOUR ALARM! If you're anthing like me, you should probably set two.

Race Morning
1. You have everything together, so all you have to do is get dressed and go!
2. Leave with enough time to arrive at least 1 hour early!
3. Find parking and walk to the PETA Pack meeting spot near the starting point on 15th & Broadway.
4. Meet up with the team and walk, stretch, eat a banana…and relax because you're there on time.
5. This race has a gear check--her name is Alex Bury. ;) She'll be at the PETA Pack meeting spot while we're getting ready, but she's not racing so she can take our things back to the office. Leave what you can in your car, but she'll take the rest. That means we can show up in a layer of our favorite old sweats over our race outfits to stay warm in the cold morning air.
6. Ready, set, GO Pack GO!

Post-Race list:
1. Wipe tears off face. Seriously. I guarantee that at least half of us will cry when we cross the finish line.
2. WALK…don’t sit down after the race. Your legs will need to walk so the muscles loosen up.
3. Drink water (they’ll provide it at the race).
4. Cheer for other PETA Packers crossing the finish line and take photos!
5. Share large hugs with everyone you see.
6. Come to the PETA office for the Post Race Party...we'll have pizza, drinks, and more waiting for you! It's 1.5 miles from the finish line, so you can drive, walk, or coordinate a ride back to the office.
17. Eat. Drink. Relax. Stay for the Awards Ceremony, get your prizes if you’ve been fundraising, and take home your runners goody bag!
11. Look in the mirror and marvel at how amazing you are.

If you have any questions, email us soon--don't wait until the night before the race or you may not receive an answer! Good luck with the rest of your fundraising, and we'll see you at the finish line!

Alex, Michelle & Jaci

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


Hello everyone!

I have some VERY exciting news – PETA member Mark Middleton has offered an incredibly generous matching challenge up to $3,000! This is a team-wide challenge which means that the first $3,000 raised, starting right now, will be matched! Even better, there’s no limit – so if you raise $3000 immediately, you could get the entire match!

There are no words big enough to express our gratitude and appreciation for Mark’s gift, so we have to do it by action. We need to raise at least $3,000 to take advantage of his generosity – and make an impact on countless animals’ lives.

Now lets DO THIS!!