Animals all over the world are being abused in the entertainment industry, but an organization is working against it.
Abuse. It is one of the vilest words that exist in meaning. It can happen to anyone, but it often to happens to some of the most vulnerable members of our society: animals. And it’s not just in the private of some backwoods home, it can often be just behind the curtain of entertainment. Many animals that are used in the entertainment industry are often kept in conditions that aren’t up to where they should be. They could be too hot, too cold, or bad for the animals in other ways.
There have been many cases of animals being abused on the set of television shows, in circus acts, or even in zoos or aquariums. One such instance was in 1990. The Las Vegas entertainer Bobby Berosini was found to physically abuse his orangutans, resulting in the loss of his wildlife permit. Again in 2002, six polar bears were removed from a tropical circus. This circus was accused of underfeeding their bears, whipping the bears, and having polar bears perform in extremely high temperatures, which is not suitable for polar bears.
One organization that is trying to help these animals in need is one known throughout the world as PETA. PETA, or People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, is a well known animal rights activist group throughout the world. It is most known for promoting veganism, the stop of using fur and animal skin in products, the stop of zoos and aquariums, animal testing, and so much more. There are many people who find their tactics and stances extreme and controversial, but with their 6.5 million members worldwide, they have managed to help so many animals throughout the world, both saving their lives and helping the conditions where they are kept.
PETA was founded in March of 1980 by Ingrid Newkirk and Alex Pacheco. Ms. Newkirk is currently 67 years old and an avid animal lover. She was raised in a home that valued charity and help for anyone who needed it. She would often help make toys, pack and wrap pills for lepers, and feed stray animals as a child. She didn’t really get too into animal rights and vegetarianism until later in life though. When she was about 21 years old, she found a litter of abandoned kittens. She then went on to find other abused animals and that sparked her interest in helping them. Before going on to founding PETA she worked for the British government and police force to help find abused or neglected animals and put them into better care. She had one of the best records for finding abused or neglected animals. Then, after founding PETA, she worked to end all abuse and mistreatment of animals, while also wholeheartedly supporting veganism. She currently still helps in PETA’s events as a speaker and participator.
Alex Pacheco was born in 1958 and still loves animals. He helped cofound PETA, but is no longer a part of the organization due to disagreements with tactics and the leaving of its original basis. He did, however, found the organization 600 Million Dogs which helps stray dogs and cats get homes and the care that they need, as well as spay and neuter them. They are trying to find a different birth control method though.
One very large problem they help fight is the use of animals in the entertainment industry. Animals have been used in the entertainment industry for centuries, dating back to Roman times where they fought lions in the Coliseum. Nowadays, animals are used in movies, aquariums, theme parks, circuses, and more. In these situations, animals are often treated in less than ideal ways. They can be kept in poor habitats that could be too small, too hot or cold, or many other problems. This can lead the animals to develop depression. They could be abused in different ways and performing is something that is unnatural for animals. PETA is doing as much as they can to stop the use of animals in these practices. They have been fighting for these performing animals for many years. For example in 2011 they acquired footage of the Ringling Bros Circus of the violent training of baby elephants that have been forcefully taken from their mothers. In a separate account in 2011, they found the Ringling Bros guilty of beating and whipping their elephants behind the scenes. Finally, most recently, PETA has helped in the closing of Ringling Bros. Circus. PETA has “targeted” them for over three decades and after 146 years of running the circus closed down in 2017 because of the decline in ticket sales, mainly due to reveal of the abuse of animals.
PETA stands by the thought that “Animals aren’t actors, spectacles to imprison or gawk at, or circus clowns. Yet thousands of these animals are forced to perform…Many of these animals [even] pay with their lives.” (Official PETA website) Animals being used like this for human entertainment is dangerous to their lives and shows a decrease in our ethics as humans if we allow this to go on. PETA is always welcoming new people to their organization. You are able to donate on their website, if you would like to help these animals get out of their unfortunate situations.