Activists + > Actors

Refusing to do your schoolwork can get the average kid grounded. But when your mom is Jamie Lee Curtis and the assignment is dissection, you can breathe a sigh of relief. In fact, Jamie Lee is so happy that her daughter, Annie, is an animal rights activist that she bragged about it on TV!

Jamie Lee has decorated her new car with a “Proud Parent of a Student Who Won’t Dissect” bumper sticker from PETA in celebration of “Cut Out Dissection” Month, which is observed every October. Jamie Lee knows that students don’t need to kill frogs to learn about life. She also wants parents to know that they don’t have to stress over whether Junior’s education will suffer if he says, “No, thanks,” to dissection.

For Annie, a staunch vegan, dissecting a frog never entered her mind. “It’s just something I could never, ever do,” she says. “I love animals. I’ll never hurt them.” Annie dodges dairy products, leather, and cosmetics tested on animals. She’s also the reason why mom Jamie Lee is quick to point out that any fur trim on her clothes is fake.

Compassion runs in the family. Annie’s grandmother, Psycho star Janet Leigh, spoke up for fish last year, joining PETA’s campaign to ask the U.S. Park Service to ban fishing in national parks.


Today,many countries, including Argentina, Switzerland, Norway, the Netherlands, and Denmark, have banned school dissection, and most other countries do not require it. In the U.S., many states, including Pennsylvania, California, Florida, and New York, have enacted laws giving students the right to refuse to dissect.

Studies have shown that modern computer programs and anatomically correct models teach just as much as poking around in a stinky, formaldehyde-laden corpse.

Millions of animals are dissected in schools every year, including frogs, cats, dogs, pigs, mice, rabbits, fish, and worms. And they don’t die of “natural causes.” Frogs are snatched from ponds and streams. Cats may come from animal dealers, breeders, thieves, and even “free to a good home” ads. PETA’s undercover investigation at one biological supply company found live animals being kicked and jabbed, a drowned rabbit, and cats and rats injected with formaldehyde while they were still moving.

Fear not! Even if you’re faced with a Triassic teacher,you can still be a frog’s best bud. Call the NAVS Dissection Hotline at 1-800-922-FROG,or contact PETA’s Literature Department for a free “Cut Out Dissection” pack that’s loaded with mind-boggling facts. Ask for details about our hurl-inducing video “Classroom Cut-Ups,” which includes footage taken undercover at a biological supply company. Show it to teachers, students, the school board–whoever will watch!

Order a “proud parent” bumper sticker for your mom and dad to slap on the back of the minivan.

Grrr! celebrity advice columnist Brandon Brooks (who stars as “Murray” on the hit show Malibu, Ca.) answers your questions about sticky animal issues.

My uncle wants to take me on a deer-hunting trip. I don’t want to kill animals, but he says we have to or they’ll starve. Is that true?
Trevor F., Burlington, Vt.

My number one problem with hunters is that they aren’t really interested in thinning the herd–actually, they’re trying to do the opposite. “Buck-only” hunts (that leave lots of does around to have more babies), clear-cutting forests and planting corn, and killing deer’s natural predators like wolves and coyotes are all intended to create more targets for hunters, not save deer from starvation.

If your uncle really wants to help hungry animals, he’d put down his gun and support efforts like the one in Gaithersburg, Md., where deer are given birth control–and fewer die of starvation or gunfire.

My friend taught his iguana to walk on his hind legs. Where can I find an iguana like that?
Ashley M., Knoxville, Tenn.

Animals are not wind-up toys. If you are looking for entertainment, go out and buy yourself a Furby. If you are looking for companionship, go to the animal shelter. But do not, I repeat, do not run out and snag an animal because it’s “cool” or your friend has one.

Animals are more than just conversation pieces. They need balanced diets, veterinary care, toys, treats, supplies, and most important, lots of TLC. “Exotic” animals can also come with unexpected surprises. Pot-bellied pigs often top the scales at more than 200 pounds! Many birds bite or screech loudly (their natural way of “chatting” over jungle miles). Snakes, lizards, turtles, and other reptiles often carry salmonella bacteria, which can spread to humans.

Of course, most owners of exotic animals will never face such problems, because their “pets” will be dead in a matter of weeks. Why? Because they didn’t bother to read up on care and feeding before they plunked down their moolah on the latest “fad.”

Ashley, if you really have the time, energy, and patience to devote to an animal, pass up the pet shops and head straight for the local humane society. Across the country, millions of wonderful cats and dogs–some abandoned by people looking for more “funky” or “hip” animals–are literally dying to be someone’s friend.

Beastie Boy Michael Diamond–aka Mike D–isn’t beastly in our book: The rockin’ rapper is a vegetarian! You don’t need to be a rock star to “wrap,” though. In fact, anybody can do it right in their own kitchen! Wraps are the latest twist on sandwiches. Just take some large tortillas, fresh veggies, beans or mock meats, and your favorite toppings, and you’re ready to “wrap and roll.” Look for animal-friendly foods like vegan cream cheese and vegetarian deli slices at your local health food store or in the natural foods section of a well-stocked supermarket.

Here are three of our faves:

“Tofurky” Dinner to Go

Spread a thin layer of Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese on a wheat tortilla. Top with Tofurky Deli Slices, cranberry sauce (optional), and raw spinach leaves. Roll up and eat.

Refried Roll-Ups
Mix together a few tablespoons of refried beans or bean dip and mild salsa. Spread on a wheat or corn tortilla. Top with shredded lettuce and soy “cheeze” (such as Mexican-style VeganRella). Roll up and eat.

Very Veggie Wrap
Spread a thin layer of Nayonaise (vegan mayonnaise) on a wheat tortilla. Top with a variety of grated or sliced veggies, such as carrots, scallions, zucchini, raw sweet potatoes, lettuce, and avocado. Season with a squirt of lime juice. Roll up and eat.

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