Wednesday, 30 June 2010

The Ins & Outs of Exotic Animal Smuggling

Today I came across this article on another site which I found rather disturbing. What people will do for money never fails to repulse me. To think of the confusion and suffering these animals are enduring is both sickening and outrageous.

What kind of sick f***er is buying these rare and endangered animals.

here's the article I was reading

Earlier this week, airport authorities in Wellington, New Zealand, caught a smuggler as he tried to slip onto a flight. The German citizen wasn’t smuggling drugs, guns, or cash, though. His cargo was a bit more alive: 44 endangered skinks and geckos, all stuffed into his underwear. Why would anyone want to stuff reptiles into his underwear? Because there’s serious dough in it; the geckos would have been worth $2,800 apiece to European collectors.

Although this sort of smuggling job sounds bizarre, the truly shocking thing is how common such arrests are. It doesn’t get the same publicity as illicit drugs or weapons, but the illegal wildlife trade has quietly become one of the world’s biggest black markets. Here’s a look at how it works.

Just how big is the international animal racket?

The black market for wildlife is second only to the illegal drug business in size. It’s currently estimated to be worth more than $20 billion. Yes, that’s billion with a “b.” And it’s not just elephant tusks that are changing hands under the table. For every type of endangered species out there, there’s an eager collector waiting to shell out a lot of cash. For example, a pair of Queen Alexandra’s Birdwings—the world’s largest butterflies, with wingspans of up to 14 inches—sells for about $10,000. A baby chimpanzee goes for as much as $50,000. But the black market isn’t just for cute critters. In March 2009, New York officials broke up a huge smuggling ring that specialized in snapping turtles, rattlesnakes, and salamanders.

Why are so many criminals getting into wildlife smuggling?

In addition to being extremely profitable, it’s pretty difficult to get caught smuggling endangered animals. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service is staffed with fewer than 400 law enforcement agents; by comparison, the Drug Enforcement Agency has 11,000 employees. And if you do get nabbed, the punishments are much less severe than in the drug trade. Let’s say you’re a narcotics dealer, and officials find you with hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of heroin. Even if it’s your first offense, you could face a minimum of 10 years in prison, and you’ll be a convicted felon. But if you’re an animal smuggler with no prior convictions and you get caught with an equivalent cache of illegal butterflies, you might not even spend the night in jail. And if you’re a repeat offender, the consequences still aren’t so bad. When Hisayoshi Kojima, the world’s most wanted butterfly thief, pleaded guilty to 17 smuggling-related charges in 2007, he received 21 months in prison and a fine of just under $39,000. Such low-risk, high-reward conditions have led many drug traffickers to diversify into the wildlife business.

But what’s so bad about dealing butterflies?

Many scientists believe that the illegal wildlife trade exacerbates one of the gravest problems facing mankind: the mass extinction of species. Biologists like Harvard’s E.O. Wilson predict that half of all plant and animal species will be extinct by 2100, and that could mean dire consequences for humanity. Plants and animals pollinate our crops, filter our water, regulate the amount of carbon dioxide in the air, help decompose waste, and lead scientists to new medical breakthroughs—all free of charge. Each time a species goes extinct, we lose one of these unpaid workers. And because wildlife smugglers tend to target the species that are already the most vulnerable, they’re speeding up the rate at which we’re losing plants and animals.

Who’s buying this stuff?

This is the question that keeps wildlife agents up at night. Although officials have scored some major coups breaking up smuggling rings, the traffickers often refuse to reveal their buyers, which makes it tough to figure out what motivates them. Consider the example of a Komodo dragon, the world’s largest lizard, which can grow up to 10 feet long and has a mouth full of razor-sharp teeth. It’s venomous, and its saliva contains virulent bacteria. Who would want to buy that? Yet, Komodo dragons fetch more than $30,000 on the black market.

Part of the answer may lie in the psychology of collectors. Whether they’re amassing baseball cards or Beanie Babies, most of them start by gathering the common items and then build to the more unusual ones. Eventually, they start seeking out the things that are truly rare. As author Bryan Christy put it in his book The Lizard King: The True Crimes and Passions of the World’s Greatest Reptile Smugglers, reptile collectors tend to follow a common progression. First, they get bigger species, then meaner ones, then unusual ones, and, finally, illegal species, which are also frequently venomous.

In truth, the animals that wind up living in some collector’s menagerie are the lucky ones. Many trafficked animals and insects are sacrificed to dinner plates and medicine cabinets. In China, turtles are often turned into turtle soup or ground into aphrodisiac powder. Other animals are killed so that smugglers can harvest a certain organ or body part. In a number of Asian cultures, bear paws are thought to impart strength and virility, and their gallbladders are used to treat everything from cancer to hemorrhoids. A single bear gallbladder can fetch thousands of dollars. And as we all know from the Indiana Jones movies, the practice of eating monkey brains is still alive and well in many parts of the world; in the United States, though, monkeys are usually smuggled in to be pets.

So how do you smuggle a monkey through an airport?

In your pants, of course! But the trick doesn’t always work. Just ask the guy who tried to smuggle two pygmy monkeys into Los Angeles in 2002. Upon landing at LAX, his brilliant plan was to discreetly stuff them into his underwear as he went through the airport. But his traveling companion blew their cover in customs, when several birds of paradise burst out of his suitcase and flew around the terminal. More recently, a smuggler was caught hiding a monkey under his hat on a flight to Peru, and another female smuggler was caught strapping a monkey to her belly and pretending she was pregnant on her way from Thailand.

For some reason, stuffing animals in one’s trousers is a favorite tactic among smugglers. In 1995, two men were arrested at the Mexican border after customs officials noticed that the bulges in their pants were moving. It turns out that the slithering bumps were actually pantyhose filled with more than a dozen snakes.

Even when traffickers get caught, the stories rarely end well for the animals. Because they’ve been pulled from their normal habitats and potentially exposed to all sorts of diseases, stolen animals can’t simply go home. Instead, they end up quarantined in zoos or in wildlife refuges. And while that isn’t the worst fate that can befall an animal, it does nothing for the survival of the species in the wild. From a conservation standpoint, sneaking an animal out of its habitat really isn’t any different from shooting it for its hide.

How Much for that
Baby Gorilla
in the Window?

Wondering if you got a good price on that creature in your basement? Here’s what the world’s hottest endangered species are going for these days.

Hyacinth Macaws

Native to: South America
Price: up to $20,000
Why they’re so hot right now: This parrot’s large size and beautiful blue feathers have made it a favorite among collectors. The poaching of macaws has devastated wild populations and driven up prices, which makes them even more popular.

Chimpanzees and Gorillas

Native to: Central Africa
Price: more than $50,000 for babies
Why they’re so hot right now: Because they’re cute when they’re little.

Sperm Whales

Native to: the world’s oceans
Price: up to several hundred dollars per pound; one whole whale could cost you a few million. Also, one sperm whale tooth can run you $500.
Why they’re so hot right now: If you thought hunting for Moby Dick went out with Herman Melville, think again. Although the International Whaling Commission banned commercial whaling in 1986, whale sushi is still a delicacy in Japan, and the teeth continue to be carved and sold as knickknacks.

Ploughshare Tortoises

Native to: Madagascar
Price: upwards of $30,000
Why they’re so hot right now: Because they might not be around much longer. With fewer than 1,000 ploughshares left in the wild, they’re some of the world’s most endangered animals.

Oenpelli Pythons

Native to: Australia
Price: $30,000
Why they’re so hot right now: This large python can change colors like a chameleon, shifting from dark brown during the day to pale silver at night.

Chinese Alligators

Native to: the lower Yangtze River
Price: $15,000
Why they’re so hot right now: In 1999, commercial developments destroyed the alligators’ habitat to such an extent that, today, only about 130 survive in the wild. Rarity like that lures the collectors.

If ever there was a doubt about the insanity mankind this is a prime example of it.


Saturday, 26 June 2010

ARB History Lesson

A Little History Lesson......

For those of you that haven't heard of me or ARB I thought I would provide some background on myself and ARB. Animal Rights Book (ARB) began in the beginning of 2009. I (dev) was an active part of the animal rights facebook community and involved in an online campaign against hunters posting pictures and videos of their mindless slaughter on facebook. In one of the many heated debates with the facebook hunting community they commented that if I wasn't happy with the way facebook operated I should start my own social network, so ARB was born :)
Thanks to the online AR community ARB was a great success and welcomed with open arms. It grew from one member (little old me) to nearly 200 in the space of 2 weeks. it was growing so fast & was so active that I had to appoint another couple of admins, thats when Carolyn Bailey & Catherine Dickinson came to my rescue. I was constantly looking for ways to keep ARB active as well as get ARB out there. One of the ideas I came up with was to hold guest chats where prominent members of the AR community joined us in the ARB chat room and took questions from ARB members. The guest chats became a popular success and after the first 4 guest chats ARB membership had tripled with members returning on a daily basis to the network. Guests on ARB included some of the most admired and respected people within the animal rights movement such as Steve Best, Will Tuttle, Anthony Marr, Keith Mann, Camille Marino & Shaun Monson. Have a look at the video below for a insight about what ARB and me are about.

The free servers Ning which hosted ARB announced they were preparing to stop the free service and ever since I have been wondering where to take ARB. I set up ARB on another free server (Spruz) but to be honest I was more interested in taking ARB in a different direction and had been for a while. After much thought I decided the blog route was a good way to go, I could continue the interviews I started with PETA's Ingrid Newkirk as well as share my direct opinion and experiences. So here we are, the all new ARB blog.

There are a number of people I would like to thank for their support with ARB, most of all Alistair Cornell, Lisa Wright, Chis Alfvegan, Catherine Dickinson, Lisaliberationnow, Kelly Carson, Herdis Daugbjerg, Vegan Student, Camille Marino, Stacey Rakic, Carolyn Bailey, Jason Miller, Cherokee Rayne, Granny Bear, Steve Best, Keith Mann, Alice Mann, Adele Grant, Lisa Rees, Anthony Marr, Gina Maltese, Judith Jaehn, Kerri Milam, Kyle Dowler, Shaz, wee irish Sarah ;), Claire and Marie Amiel and so many more. If I haven't mentioned you please dont take offense its just old age creeping in ;)

Anyway I hope you all find the new ARB blog interesting and useful.

ARB's Interview With Ingrid Newkirk................

ARB Interview With Ingrid Newkirk
questions submitted to ARB by the ARB social network members interview completed in the beginning of 2010

We are proud to announce the posting of an ARB interview with PETA's president & co-founder Ingrid Newkirk. Click here to find out more about Ingrid Newkirk & PETA. A short time ago ARB asked its members to submit questions that we could put to Ingrid Newkirk in an interview Ingrid had very kindly accepted to take part in.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank Ingrid Newkirk, PETA and ARB members for making this interview possible.

Lily Allan:
After your many years of animal work where do you believe
right now our work should be most focused?

Ingrid Newkirk
Well, let’s see. I think we are almost at a tipping point if we keep pushing about animals in captivity for entertainment: it’s not just that orcas and elephants and chimpanzees are drowning, slamming down, and tearing the faces off people, there is truly an awakening to the fact that perhaps elephants shouldn’t be kept in shackles, denied their lives and families and hit with what is essentially a fireplace poker; that orcas can’t be happy taken from their pods in the great oceans and kept in a
tank with cement walls; and that chimpanzee infants need to be with their mothers, not in diapers with some of their teeth removed, a chain around their necks and the sting of a shock prod when they sexually mature and won’t just sit there and take it anymore.

Lily Allan:
after many things seen and heard and witnessed with animals over the years..does any one thing stick in your mind?

Ingrid Newkirk
Sorry, wish there was just one thing, but there are many, many things stick in my mind, from finding the neatly severed lip flap of a black dog killed in a satanic ritual to the first time I saw inside a slaughterhouse, the most casual cruelty visited upon chickens, little frail birds with wings and legs that snap in a second, hanging upside down and crying out, trying to right themselves as they came down the line. Having rescued chickens at home at the time and knowing them each as a
personality, an individual, seeing their pain was horrific, but knowing that a million an hour are killed for the table in this country alone and that few people, even kind people, have stopped to think “I can’t support this nightmare!” was even more horrifying.

Lily Allan:
Where do you believe PETA has had most success and failed?

Ingrid Newkirk
Although there are many tangible successes, like the first arrest and conviction in US history of an animal experimenter for cruelty, the first suspension and first cancellation of a research grant for cruelty; the first search and seizure warrant ever served on a laboratory, the first convictions of factory farmers for cruelty, the first felony cruelty convictions for cruelty on farms, stopping wound laboratories on dogs, stopping monkeys being sent into space, stopping car crash tests on animals,
that’s not it. The most success is making anything to do with animals, from eating to wearing them, to using them as amusements and in sport, a topic of hot debate, or making animal rights a hot social cause, and of creating so many vegans and vegetarians and aware people who would never buy a cruelly produced cosmetic, wear a fur, buy leather shoes, go to the rodeo, etc. We have failed to grow as fast as we need to grow to help as many animals as we need to help: we have failed to reach many people, especially, still in China and the Islamic states, where animals are very much viewed as things, and we have failed to pass as many prohibitions on animal suffering andexploitation as we have set out to do, but if we keep working hard, we will eventually at least pave the road to victory.

Robyn Faith:
Why has donations been used to get activists out of jail!?

Ingrid Newkirk
It hasn’t. We don’t pay bail money. We have paid for defense expenses however on rare occasion when we have felt someone has been unfairly targeted, sometimes for freedom of speech.Dan Stanfield: How could such a wealthy organisation justifykilling perfectly healthy animals as opposed to finding good homes for them? PETA have put to sleep 23,640 healthy dogs and cats, finding homes for just 1 in 300. Why?
I’m sorry to say that you are reading sites set up by the animals’ enemies, front groups established by Philip Morris (tobacco experiments on animals), Outback Steak House (slaughter for a sandwich), furriers, Ringling (baby elephant beaters), etc. We do not run a shelter, we try to only rarely take in a healthy animal - other than the 8,000 or so a year you are not counting that we take in and sterilize and return home – we refer those to public shelters where they have the best chance of adoption. We take in the broken, sick, old, request euthanasia cases, and you can seethem, their pictures on It is true that there aren’t enough decent homes for all the animals being born in the US, and the “no kill” movement can’t fix that. What can fix it is fixing the dogs and cats, so that’s where we concentrate our efforts, with ads, with mobile clinics, with TV spots, with demonstrations outside pet shops and Westminster, to get people off the idea of breed snobbism, and into the shelters where wonderful dogs and cats sit on death row, literally dying for a home. If you or any friends or relatives or co-workers of yours have the time, patience, funds, love and so on for an animal, please adopt, never buy or breed.

LisaLiberation NOW:
The movement is so divided, why aren't all the major AR groups uniting and working on the same issues? There is strength in numbers and there are many thousands of us. If we could all come together there we be a revolution, don't you think a revolution is what we need? The animals cannot wait any longer.

Ingrid Newkirk
I am pleased to report that many groups do come together for certain initiatives, but human nature is such that no two individuals, let alone groups, can always agree on priorities, and may in fact disagree as to strategy. There is also strength in diversity, so I think everyone should choose whatever they want to work on it, rally as much support as possible, and go for it. Time is wasted thinking and arguing about philosophical differences when there’s so much work to be done.

Cherokee Rayne:
Hello Ms Ingrid. I am an avid activist for the Bully breeds and work very hard to educate people about the breed and the truth behind all the hype. I am also working hard to stop BSL. I would like to know why you would support Breed Specific Legislation when PETA is suppose to represent and help all animals? I would think a huge organization like PETA would surely support us as well as understand the need for education and research on this issue rather than support the murder of a beautiful and innocent animal. Thank you.

Ingrid Newkirk
Yes, pits are wonderful, can be so loving and perfect, but, as long as any dogs or cats are killed for lack of a good home, we support spaying and neutering of all dogs and cats. No one NEEDs another pit bull or similar. If you have a heart and whatever else a dog needs, why breed one to spec? That deprives an already born, desperate dog of a home. So, we support any legislation that will ban breeding, and at the moment they seem to be pit bull and similar breed bans. As wonderful as pits are, all dogs are wonderful, of course, and as wonderful dogs as pits are, they are involved in the most bites, they are the favorite of the drug dealers and other criminals who often abuse them, and they are the dog who is chained up and abused the most. If you ban breeding more pits, those tough guys fighting them in alleys won’t use Chihuahuas or cocker spaniels, guaranteed.

Cherokee Rayne:
Hello Ms Ingrid, I was wondering what PETA'S protocol is when a group is working on a specific cause and needs serious back up. I have witnessed your group helping in the seal campaigns as well as anti fur. How do we go about receiving assistance from your organization and does it make a difference what the issue is and where it is taking place?

Ingrid Newkirk
Thanks for asking. We get hundreds of requests for help each week, every kind of help. it’s very upsetting that we can’t jump into every single thing, but we do look at all requests, so please let us know what you have if you need help. Perhaps we can help you. We do assist little and big groups, individuals, you name it, but not everyone or every campaign as I regret that we cannot be everywhere and fund everything, as I’m sure you understand.

Catherine (ARB Admin):
What do you make of the American Government classifying PETA as a 'terrorist' organisation?

Ingrid Newkirk
The agency apologized for it, called it an error. Our friends in animal exploitative industries have been busy, but it is just a chest beating exercise on their part and incompetence on the government’s part.

marietta wybo alfaro:
Is it true that PETA is being criticized for its “double standard”?

Ingrid Newkirk
We are loved, hated, understood and misunderstood, but I’m sorry, I’m not sure what “double standard” you mean. I have been trying to think what you might mean, but I’m afraid I can’t. marietta wybo alfaro: If we can build shelters for the “homeless humans” , if we can expand our housing projects to accommodate “excess population” --- why cant we do the same for the animals instead of killing them for “lack of space”- which we would not do to our fellow humans, would we?
In theory, yes, but who is the “we?” For example, if PETA took all its budget away from every other campaign and built shelters with it, we could not house even a tiny fraction of the homeless animals in the US right now, let alone in other countries. The government won’t do it. But, we have to stop this problem at the source: make it hard for people to keep producing dogs and cats who end up homeless, educate people to spay/neuter, provide low cost spay/neuter services; raise license fees; ban pet shops and tax breeders so that every animal born has a chance at a life. That will do more good in the end.

Elen Jackson:
Why does PETA insist on objectifying women (and the occasional man) in its advertising campaigns when it supposedly believes that we should put an end to commodifying animals? Whilst it may draw attention to PETA as an organization it does nothing to make them change their behaviour and makes the campaigns laughable especially when models who "support" PETA go back to wearing fur.

Ingrid Newkirk
Luckily, the US isn’t Saudi Arabia and if any man or woman wishes to take off their clothes for a cause, it really isn’t anyone’s place to interfere with them or tell them not to. Everyone in the “naked” ads appears in them because they wish to, no one pays them or forces them to take off their clothes. I think there is confusion between sexuality and sexism. As for people not learning, it’s not true I’m pleased to report: you can always point to someone or the other who went back to
doing something they shouldn’t do, but, Naomi Campbell aside, most of our stars do the commercials because they have had a change of heart or have always been kind to animals.

Alice Bruckenstein:
What are your thoughts about the best strategy to use when animal abuse is perpetrated by the federal government, as in the wild horse roundups in the American West? How can we bring this to public attention when the media is determined not to report it? How can we influence our legislators to act on it when they are preoccupied with popular issues, especially when the President has appointed a ranching advocate to head the Department of Interior?

Ingrid Newkirk
It’s good to see renewed efforts to stop this atrocity. My friend was just in a demonstration and sent me a photograph of an impressive banner. The biggest enemy the animals have is the silence of their friends. It is vital to make one’s opinion known - that animals aren’t here to be our living targets, to be treated as nothing more than hamburger on the hoof, as “resources” for the taking. As Martin Luther King said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” At work, at school, in the home, at clubs, at the supermarket, in our legislators’ chambers, every one of us who believes that animals should be treated with respect rather than cruelly, needs to get the facts, speak up, give out books, websites, fact sheets, videos, cook for others, get on the soapbox, never let it rest. The more we do, the quicker animal liberation will come. Look back at how gays were ostracized and ridiculed and oppressed. It wasn’t until gays stopped hiding and being afraid, that things began to change. Being quiet grows oppression rather than stifling it. If people keep working on this, it will stop already over the years, some cruel aspects of this horror have been stopped.

Kitty Waitress:
With all the horrors you have witnessed, all the heartbreak, how do you keep from burning out? I know you keep going for the animals, but how do you keep the flame inside yourself fed?

Ingrid Newkirk
The flame feeds itself: it is impossible for me not to be angry and sad and therefore be highly motivated to act to stop what I see and hear about that is done to animals. It is a very cruel world, and we can’t fix it all, but we can do so much good just by trying, saying, doing, helping others in their campaigns or striking out on our own. I wrote “Making Kind Choices” and “PETA’s Practical Guide to Animal Rights” to point out many ways that you influence people even when you don’t realize you are doing so. I do advise people that when you are feeling despondent at the state of the world, for people, children, refugees, the wildlife, animals, it is important to look back and see how far we have come, not feel overwhelmed about how much is left to do; and please find a way to lift your spirits by action or by doing something like watching a funny film!

lisa rees:
I have been working for months with a friend to try to help stop the Camel culls in the states of WA and NT Australia. The problem is we cant seem to get anywhere with this campaign as the government are very secretive with the details of the culls, it doesnt get media attention and not alot of people seem to support this campaign as they see Camels as "pests". Can you suggest something we can do, we sometimes feel that we will never be able to get anywhere and these poor Camels are being slaughtered by aerial marksmen which leave them suffering on the ground for days. Any advice on campaigning for "so called pest" Animals would be greatly appreciated.

Ingrid Newkirk
I don’t know the details, so forgive me if I misspeak and do not have any marvelous advice for you. The best thing of course, would be to get video and show that the suffering of these animals during the “culls” is illegal, as it probably is, and to get that on TV and in the papers so everyone can see what exactly it entails. I am sure you must have done everything you can to find a well placed advocate for the camels. I remember once when we had no luck stopping a deer hunt on an island by conventional means, we put out an alert that people were in the woods and risking their lives, dressed in deer-colored clothing, and that stopped the hunt. If the land is government land, then it would seem an injunction might be possible; if it is private, then aerial filming or getting the landowner under pressure if he is not sympathetic, to agree to an alternative solution. I do not know how many camels or what alternatives you can find, but that would be important.

lisa rees:
Another campaign we have been working on is to stop the culling of Kangaroos. Just wondering if PETA would be interested in taking on this campaign too?

Ingrid Newkirk
At the moment, the main campaign PETA has in Australia is to stop the mulesing of lambs, whereby the flesh is cut off the lambs’ rumps with a pair of gardening shears. Luckily, many retailers have been appalled and no longer buy Australian wool. Of course, we are interested, yes, but doubtful we’ll get to it any time soon, but happy to lend our name to this worthwhile campaign.

Maureen Hurly:
Can PETA do anything or has it alaready done anything about the plan to "bless" the soccer stadiums before the World Cup in South Africa by slaughtering several animals in a 'traditional killing"?

Ingrid Newkirk
Yes, PETA and PETA UK have written to FIFA and to all the soccer players.

Sissy Mac Niel:
Regarding some of your previous campaigns/ads.Have you ever had any regrets in that you've gone too far in trying to get your point across?As an example when 22-year-old Tim McLean was beheaded and consumed by another passenger on a Canadian Greyhound bus PETA brought out an ad comparing the similarities between his murder and and the meat industries everyday slaughter of animals.Do you still stand by this ad or wish it had never been used? Thank you.

Ingrid Newkirk
We don’t regret it, no. What we regret is that people find it an offensive rather than an apt comparison. We are all animals, we are all sentient, we all experience fear and pain, and there are few things as horrifying as the slaughterhouse. It is so odd that people can feel sympathy and express disgust at the killing of a human stranger, while ordering a steak sandwich or chicken nuggets. People need to think a bit deeper. No, a lot deeper.

Sissy Mac Niel:
I have a question regarding the 2 for one coupons that came out for KFC veggie burger?How can you support KFC yet be against them at the same time?They may be offering one item that is cruelty free but their whole company is based on cruelty and horrific abuse.I have never understood PETA in helping to promote this company.Thank you.

Ingrid Newkirk
I suppose that can be confusing, sorry! If you mean the veggie chicken sandwich in KFCs in Canada, we are delighted that they serve one item that isn’t cruelly produced and if it makes even one person who was about to buy a bucket of limbs to choose not to, and to try perhaps their first ever veggie sandwich, great! We’d like to encourage that. It is our pragmatic policy to want to show a company that switching from a cruel item to one that doesn’t harm animals is rewarding, and KFC is only in business for money.

I would also like to ask Ms Newkirk her personal opinion on the sexism used by PETA in their advertising campaigns. Some may suggest that women are using their bodies politically. But how can this be in a patriarchal society? They are perpetuating commodification and that is the root of the problem.

Ingrid Newkirk
Please see above. I don’t consider nudity sexism. It may be a patriarchal society, but women have ever-increasing power and part of that is the power to choose not to cover their knees or their nipples if they don’t wish to. It used to be that a woman’s father, brother, husband would tell her to cover herself, now it is a certain sect of feminists. With all due respect, there are many kinds of feminists and not all find such things objectionable, they find it objectionable and patronizing to be criticized for stripping.

Susan Somerville - Franz:
I would like to know why places such as St. Thomas, U.S. VI and other outlying areas are so utterly ignored by PETA, and other animal organizations that are based in the U.S.. As far as I know nobody has had any recent concern or contact as to the amount of cruelty that goes on here. It's hideous. I am aware of other places having the same situations, but so often I read of other remote areas getting more attention. The court system here is extremely, painfully slow - but there are unfortunately there are underlying reasons for that. You may know that, I don't know. Does it have anything to do with the huge amont of crime involved in dog fighting, cock fighting etc?

Ingrid Newkirk
Sadly, we can’t be everywhere in the world. It’s not a case of ignoring, in fact we have given funds and advise to various Caribbean island activists. PETA affiliates also have programs in China, India, the Phillipines, Turkey, and other countries where animal suffering is commonplace and on the street. We have also supported programs on various islands – for instance, stopping the use and abuse of animals at Ross University in St. Kitts, and suing to stop a huge monkey laboratory in Puerto Rico. We urge people to start groups were they are, to enlist local vets, to get to know politicians, to round up volunteers. Local progress usually comes from local people. I wish you all the luck in the world. Persistence invariably pays off.

Beryl Scott:
I would like to know why PETA's Caring Consumer list has such weak investigative requirements, as opposed to the Leaping Bunny Programme? It is unrealistic to think that companies will necessarily be honest when signing PETA's "Statement of assurance" and the fact that Clarins appears on the list is a concern. Clarins started and supports an Association for Research into Polyarthritis; an organisation which subsidies and conducts animal experiments! Why, in view of this, is Clarins endorsed by PETA?

Ingrid Newkirk
Thanks for asking. We do not “endorse” Clarins, but the lists show the criteria that is used, e.g. “does not test,” “tests,” “ingredients tested,” “no animal ingredients,” etc. The lists are undergoing review right now and there will be new lists shortly. The Leaping Bunny is our logo for just one category, as you know, and is stricter than the CC lists which give consumers information in a variety of categories of interest.

Amanda MacLean:
I'd love to work for PETA but I'm Canadian. Can we establish an office in Canada?

Ingrid Newkirk
We may do that! Keep posted. Meanwhile, may we have your volunteer activism? Please check out for information on letters and emails that need sent, products that should be boycotted, new vegan foods, the works!

Once again ARB would like to thank Ingrid for her time and patience