“Say No to Animal Tests” — an Open Letter to PETA and PETA Supporters

The first in a series of articles about PETA, animal protection, and China


A PETA poster

Paul Penders can proudly claim to be among the very first manufacturers in the world to stand up to a government and refuse to allow his products to be tested on animals. Maybe even the very first. Paul himself has been a leading champion in the cosmetics industry for animal rights and an end to the cruel practices of animal testing. For some 30 years,“No Animal Testing” has been a guiding principle of his company, one that has helped to build its international reputation for excellence.

In 1984, he began a battle with the authorities in the Netherlands that culminated with him moving his entire factory and his family out of the country of his birth. The government required tests of any personal care products at that time (fortunately Dutch laws have been changed). Naïve and innocent, as a young man he brought a sample of his shampoo to a lab for tests, actually thinking that the animals would be given a bath and if their fur was clean and shiny that would be that. Instead, he personally witnessed the force-feeding of products to rabbits – until he ran out to the bathroom to throw up his lunch. That day changed his life and every day since he has been deeply committed to the causes of animal protection.

Recently a letter was received from “People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals,” known as “PETA.” In it, a representative wrote that the Paul Penders company is to be stripped from the list of companies that maintain cruelty-free practices. Their reason? Paul Penders products are sold in the Peoples Republic of China (mainland China).

This is the first in a series of articles to come on this blog looking at the many issues raised by this action on the part of PETA.

The issues can be complex, certainly there are still animal tests and examples of animal cruelty going on in China and elsewhere throughout the world. Political, legal, and financial issues abound around the best ways to persuade a country’s government to enact laws protecting animals and ending animal tests. The cosmetics industry is challenged to provide safe formulas that may border on the medicinal or pharmaceutical. And importantly, the proper conduct of a not-for-profit, donor-supported animal rights organization comes into question.

Let me say here that I am personally outraged by this action by a representative of PETA’s “Laboratory Investigations” arm. It is clearly harmful to this small company and profoundly disrespectful to Paul who has been one of the most outspoken leaders of this cause for some 30 years – long before PETA took up the banner.

Further, I believe it insults Chinese culture and its governing officials.  And it damages PETA’s reputation as it destroys the trust of its supporters in the cosmetics and personal care industries, and the general public. If PETA can take such actions based on unidentified “Chinese experts” advice – without proof and or valid investigation – then why should anyone believe them?

“Innocent until proven guilty” is a fundamental principle of American justice. If PETA has proof that Paul Penders products have ever been tested on animals – in China or anywhere in the world – let them bring it forth. The burden of proof is on PETA.

Meantime, let us reassure you – readers of this blog – that Paul Penders reputation and principles are firmly based on a policy of “No Animal Testing.”

And you should know that even after registering 30 products in the People’s Republic of China, Paul Penders International has never been asked by Chinese authorities to submit products for animal testing.

Stay tuned for more – and please feel free to write to us with your comments at info@paulpenders.com.

By Blogger Teviot Fairservis.


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A Hoax or a Help?

Thanks to people willing to take action — like one of our heroines, Brigitte Bardot — cruelty to animals can and must be stopped wherever you find it. She has become a leading advocate for an end to one of the most spectacular and longest standing examples of torturing animals for entertainment – bullfighting.

Because of the growing sentiment against bullfighting, this ancient entertainment is gradually disappearing. The picture below has been circulating all over the internet for several years. But it’s not quite what it appears to be…

    “And suddenly, I looked at the bull. He had this innocence that all animals have in their eyes, and he looked at me with this pleading. It was like a cry for justice, deep down inside of me. I describe it as being like a prayer – because if one confesses, it is hoped, that one is forgiven…”

This picture has moved thousands of people to stop the cruel practice of bullfighting. It circulates on the internet and Facebook, and credits Álvaro Múnera Builes as the matador who despairs at the agony of the dying bull and as the author of these words. The truth is a little more complicated.

Known around the world as “the vegetarian matador,” at 17 years old, Álvaro Múnera won an international tournament in his home country of Colombia. “The less you move, the greater the risk.” He stayed very still and was awarded the top prize for his bravery. He became known as “El Pilarico,” and was invited to continue his career in Spain. When only 18 years old in September 1984, he was thrown into the air by a powerful bull. When he landed, the bull gored him again, severing his spine and rendering him paraplegic for life. Now an activist for animal rights and disabled people, he speaks out against the practice of bullfighting.

It’s a wonderful story, isn’t it? But it’s a hoax.

Múnera’s biography is true. To this day, he is in a wheelchair. He does work to end the practice. An eloquent and moving audio interview is posted on the internet done by Radio Netherlands Worldwide (RNW, October 2011). As one commentator wrote: “Have a listen. he’s a human being just like you and me. not bombastic, simply telling his story.” Go to: http://www.rnw.nl/english/article/vegetarian-bullfighter.

He recounts meeting an elderly woman who said, “I’m really happy to see you in a wheelchair. You are a barbarian. You are cruel. And you don’t deserve to ever walk again.” He realized that “It is unethical to torture and kill animals for entertainment.” He remains haunted by dreams of bulls he has killed and says, “I hope they will forgive me for the wrongs I have done.”

“A picture is worth a thousand words,” says the Chinese proverb. When is it right for a hoax to continue? Perhaps, as in this case, when it helps bring awareness.

The photograph is actually of an exhausted matador, Francisco Javier Sánchez Vara, simply taking a break while waiting for the bull to collapse. The words come from an article by the author Antonio Gala Velasco in the Spanish newspaper El País in 1995. Alexander Fiske-Harrison, author of Into the Arena, The World of the Spanish Bullfight blogged about this misinformation in July and once again the photo is circulating widely on Facebook. For the true story, see “This Photo is Not What It Seems” on http://fiskeharrison.wordpress.com/2012/07/25/this-photo-is-not-what-it-seems/.

Things are changing in Spain and throughout the world. PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) UK has an online petition to Spain’s government which asks, “Please heed the 72 per cent of Spaniards who have no interest in bullfighting and would prefer their beloved country to be seen as a compassionate place that respects the lives of all its inhabitants.”

The Spanish animal rights group “Prou!” (Catalan for “Enough”) collected 180,000 signatures asking the Catalonia Parliament to end the practice. In September 2011 in a packed arena in Barcelona, Catalonia ended its 700 year history with the last bullfight in that state.

If you agree as we do that bullfighting should be stopped, sign it here:
http://action.peta.org.uk/ea-campaign/clientcampaign.do?ea.client.id=5&ea.campaign.id=1861

By Teviot Fairservis.


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I’d Rather Go Naked Than Wear Fur!


 
This internationally known Asian singer /actress is willing to go naked for PETA. “I won’t show my body in ads or on TV – but I’ll make an exception to bring awareness to animal suffering,” said the famous Taiwanese movie star and singer Annie Yi Neng-jing. “Fashion refuses slaying, real beauty denies killing. I’d rather go naked than wear fur.” Annie Yi, as she is known, confessed at a Beijing press conference on March 8th that she used to think of fur as a fashionable luxury item until she saw a video about the torture of animals at fur farms. She has narrated an anti-fur video for PETA’s (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) Asia-Pacific campaigns.
 
According to PETA, a “growing list of top fashion designers and retailers—including Calvin Klein, Stella McCartney, Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, Forever 21, Charlotte Russe, and H&M —are 100 percent fur-free.”
 
Asian celebrities are coming out in force to support an end to cruelty to animals. In Beijing, the popular Chinese actress Gao Yuanyuan has become the new spokesperson for seal protection for her opposition to the Canadian seal hunts. Speaking out on behalf of PETA Asia-Pacific, the actress has been photographed wearing a publicity T-shirt protesting seal killing according to the “Women of China” website.
 
“The Dancing King of Asia,” Taiwan’s Show Luo has been named ‘Person of the Year’ by PETA Asia for his love for dogs. He appears in an ad saying, “Adopt Dogs, Don’t Buy!” to help combat the homeless animal crisis.
 
In Asian countries that have been criticized by the West for their human and animal rights abuses, these celebrities are courageously speaking up and even “baring it all.”
 
PETA came back in the news recently when the American celebrity Kim Kardashian was ‘flour bombed’ as she walked the Red Carpet in London wearing fur. Now if only, ‘Kim K’ and others who consider luxury before life would follow her Chinese counterparts’ example!
 
Paul Penders International applauds these Asian celebrities for their courage. The company continues its long-time support of PETA’s efforts around the world to end cruelty to animals.
 
With thanks to PETA Asia-Pacific for their permission to reprint this photograph. Please visit their website at: http://www.petaasiapacific.com
 
Other references for this article can be found at:
http://english.cri.cn/6666/2012/03/09/2561s685772.htm
http://www.womenofchina.cn/html/womenofchina/report/139502-1.htm
http://www.whatsonshenzhen.com/ent299.html

 
By Teviot Fairservis.
 

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Use Your Internet Power To Stop Canada’s Seal Hunt

Let’s save the seals once and for all! Give the government of Canada a wakeup call! No matter where you live in the world, our global connectivity means you can add your voice to millions of others. You can help stop the Canadian harp seal hunt without leaving the comfort of your computer. Just click!
 
Simply visit the websites for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), the Humane Society International (HIS and HSUS), and others that are out on the front lines of the campaign to stop the slaughter. Show your support by hitting the “Like” button and posting to your FB Wall or “Tweet” to help make this campaign “go viral.”

    “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” ― anthropologist Margaret Mead.

Negotiations with the Canadian government to stop the annual seal hunts have gone on for decades but now things are reaching critical mass. With millions of people exerting their power through the internet, governments can be pressured into taking action to right this and many other wrongs.

Then we can also ‘hit ‘em where it hurts’ – in the pocketbook. Use your internet power to tell everyone you know that cruelty to animals is unacceptable. Remind your friends that people are still selling fur products and that they should never buy or wear fur.

Boycott the Canadian seafood industry – seek out and promote restaurants that have joined master chefs Mario Batali and Cat Cora and hundreds of other restauranteurs plus more than 750,000 individuals and over 5,500 grocery stores and seafood suppliers in the US in the boycott of Canadian seafood.
 
According to the Humane Society International, Canada is now attempting to negotiate a $12 billion free trade deal with the European Union. If those in the EU join Americans in boycotting Canadian goods, change is possible. Remember how the international boycott of South Africa ended apartheid there? The irony is that Canada risks its international reputation, going so far as to challenge the existing EU ban on the seal product trade.
 
It seems so wrong that a handful of Newfoundland fishermen have been allowed to kill over 2 million baby seals in the last decade, for a total income from the slaughter of only a measly $1 million a year. Many Canadians support compensating the fishermen for loss of income in exchange for stopping the practice – a simple and fair solution. But when will the government wake up and make this illegal?
 
Like the polar bear and other marine mammals, all species of seals are also threatened by the melting of the sea ice due to global warming. Animal and plant species are disappearing every day. Human health and welfare is at risk from many dangers. In the past, you might have felt like a lone voice screaming in an empty desert. But the world is different now. Whatever issues concern you, use 21st technologies to exert your power for positive change. You are more powerful than ever before…

Join the 2012 Canadian Seafood Boycott to Save Seals
 
Canada’s annual seal hunt is the largest slaughter of marine mammals on Earth.
 
Add your voice to stop the killing of seals and learn what else you can do to help at http://www.humanesociety.org/issues/seal_hunt/2011_hunt/tool_kit.html
 
By Teviot Fairservis.
 

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The annual seal slaughter starts soon


    Baby Seal in the snow

The animal rights organization PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) has just launch a year-long campaign against the annual slaughter of seals for their skins.

More than 205,000 seals were killed in last year’s month-long slaughter alone. These animals, who are often just weeks old and have not even taken their first swim, have their skulls smashed in or are shot. Then they are skinned for their fur. The seals, who are often still conscious, are dragged across the ice floes with hakapiks, and many are skinned alive on the ice. This horrifying slaughter of seals is scheduled to start again very soon!


    Spotty Seal being Slaughtered

This year PETA is especially targeting their campaign against the Vancouver Olympic Organization Committee, since the Winter Olympics next year will be held in Vancouver, Canada.

The campaign was launched at news conferences in Vancouver and cities all over the world on Wednesday.

Canada is by far the country where most seals are hunted. But also countries like Greenland, Namibia, Russia and Norway take part.


    Slauthtered seal dragged away

The connection between seal slaughter and a blog for natural organic health care products may not seem clear, but it becomes obvious when it is mentioned that Paul Penders has always been a avid opponent of any kind of cruelty to animals. Not a single Paul Penders product has ever been tested on animals.

Despite of the seal hunting season kicking off in a few weeks, there may be light at the end of the tunnel, though. On Wednesday, The Canadian newspaper “The Globe and Mail” reported that “Russia is moving to end its seal hunt, with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin calling it a “bloody industry.” The decision comes as the European Union edges toward banning the trans-shipment of seal products, a move that could stop the Atlantic seal hunt for good. In recent weeks, Russia has stopped the killing of white coats, the youngest seals, and has now pledged to protect older seals as well, though it did not give a time line.


    White Coat Seal pup

At Paul Penders we strongly support any initiative taken to stop this merciless seal slaughter. We will at any time fight for the rights of the animals, as well as we are leading a daily fight to avoid chemicals being added to your personal health care products.

Steve