Bill Maher on Ingrid Newkirk’s ‘Free the Animals’

Bill Maher, host of HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher,” has written a poignant (and, as usual, entertaining) article on the new release of Free the Animals, Ingrid Newkirk’s celebrated book that “tells the riveting, real-life story of the people who put on disguises, use fake IDs, or jimmy their way into laboratories in order to carry out the daring rescues of animals used in experiments and of the insiders, the whistleblowers, who risk their jobs to help them.”

One of those rescues involved Britches, an infant macaque monkey who had his eyes stitched closed and some kind of electrical box put on his head in a really lame and truly bizarre experiment. When PETA released photographs of Britches with his eyelids sewn shut, it was a PR nightmare for his tormentors, who switched to doing more benign things — not as benign as, say, knitting, but at least they stopped using baby monkeys.

Maher discusses the progress that has been made since the book was first published twenty years ago, and the work that is still to be done.

Which brings us to something else that’s changed since the book was first released: the widespread awareness that writing letters to your member of Congress isn’t enough and that bold action is needed to get animals out of laboratories, where dogs and rabbits are treated as though they were pieces of lab equipment. That’s something that the surprisingly normal members of the Animal Liberation Front discovered and is discussed in Free the Animals

You can read the full HuffPost article here, and you can buy the book here.

Skin Trade India: Exposing the Truth about India’s Leather Industry

A new video takes an unflinching look at India’s gruesome leather trade. In the video footage, cattle are tied together with ropes through their noses and beaten mercilessly in forced “death marches” over vast distances. During the marches, cattle collapse from hunger, exhaustion, injury and despair. Handlers force the cattle to continue by breaking the animals’ tails at each joint (the human equivalent of having a finger broken) and by rubbing tobacco, chilli peppers and salt into the animals’ eyes.

The cattle are never offered food or even a drop of water. Illegally crammed into severely crowded trucks, many cattle, including mothers and calves, are trampled or gored during the long journey to slaughter. By the time they arrive, some of the animals are already dead. Many others are so sick and injured that they must be dragged inside, where workers cut the animals’ throats by sawing back and forth with dull knives. Completely conscious animals are left to slowly bleed to death. Some have their legs hacked off while they’re still conscious or suffer the agony of being skinned alive.

You can help put a stop to this cruelty by going leather-free and sharing the video with your friends.

Compassion begins with awareness. Please watch the video here and forward the link to your friends and loved ones.

Adopt a Rescued Animal Companion (Or, Better Yet, Two!)

Daphna Nachminovitch of PETA has published a clarification on PETA’s recommendations on animal companions. While they are firmly against buying animals from pet stores, they strongly support adopting rescued animals from pounds and shelters. In fact, they suggest adopting at least two, so your companions will have companions even when you aren’t around. Read her full article for details.

Mars Candy Company Kills Animals

In case blood chocolate wasn’t reason enough for one to boycott the products of Mars Candy Company, here’s another compelling reason: Mars does completely unnecessary animal testing and kills animals. Watch the video and take action.