RICHMOND -- In a rare display of non-partisanship during this highly partisan political season, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals filed a petition today in United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia asking both the McCain and Obama campaigns to cease and desist from "continued animal abuse."
"Putting lipstick on a pig may be funny to some people," said PETA spokesperson Greta van Tingle, "but not to us." [Editor's note: The crowds at Senator Obama's speech did notably laugh at the "lipstick on a pig" reference.]
"Further, Governor Palin may feel that since she wears lipstick it is perfectly alright for her to apply it to the lips of her pit bull, but we don't. Pit bulls, despite their outward appearance, can be very sensitive. Their psyche can be damaged as well as their lips, as is the case where they are allergic to any of the substances in the lipstick," said Tingle.
"It's my view that these animals have already suffered enough in being used in the testing of lip coloration products and they should not have to go through the embarrassment of being seen in public in it," said Gloria Finglestine.
"There is only one way to characterize what these campaigns have done: smears," said Finglestine, a PETA volunteer who once worked as a lab assistant for testing for Revlon. "I can't blame them for that. Have you ever tried to put lipstick on a Chihuahua or even a Guinea pig? It's tough. Let me tell you, it's tough," said Finglestine.
Although the court filing asks that a injunction be placed on both campaigns specifically for "any and all references to putting lipstick on pigs or pit bulls," according to the attorney for PETA, Burt McDonald, the obvious intent is to halt the application of lipstick, lip gloss or other decorative lip appliqués to any animal whether domesticated or not.
A Durham attorney, who asked that her name not be used, said that although she is not a PETA supporter, and is not affiliated with the PETA legal team, said she could understand PETA's concerns as she had personal experience in the area. Her now-deceased cat, Spooky Bloomberg-Herring, was diagnosed with a condition that could have exacerbated by the application of lipstick.
"When we got Spooky from the animal shelter, the holding pen was labeled 'Male,' however, when we took Spook to the vet to be castrated, the veterinarian said that would not be possible -- but she could be spayed, since Spooky was a female," she said.
The vet also recommended gender identity counseling for Spooky. "I don't know how physically traumatic lipstick might have been for her," she said, "but I can see how it would have been very damaging psychologically."
Further legal action, said PETA spokesperson Graeme Schmidt, is being considered on behalf of two other animal classes, elephants and jackasses, both of which, PETA maintains, are thoroughly embarrassed by the regular association with the Republican and Democratic parties respectively.
Both the McCain and Obama campaigns refused comment on the suit until the results of current polling were in.
GlaxoSmithKline merges with Smith Barney
RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK -- In an unprecedented cross-sector merger, GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceuticals (NYSE: GSK, 43.17) today executed a purchase of Smith-Barney Financial Services division from Citigroup Global Capital Markets Inc.(NYSE: PQU, 9.55). Pending expected regulatory approval, the new mega-corporation will be named GlaxoSmithKlineBarney.
"There no doubt that the financial services sector is very sick -- but I'm not sure this is the cure," said one noted industry observer, Carl Calcorn of Investics Information Services. "Popping a pill or two won't make this headache go away," said Calcorn.
History says otherwise, as GlaxoSmithKline appears to be the best situated company in the world to deal with America's financial sector woes, according to University of North Carolina pharmaceutical-sector historian Gilbert A. Hodges.
According to Dr. Hodges, GSK which began as Plough Court pharmacy, the forerunner of Allen and Hanburys Ltd. in London in 1715, launched the Beecham's Pills laxative business in 1842 -- giving them over 150 years of experience in purging the systems of its bloated customers.
As a historical case in point, parallel to the current acquisition, Prof. Hodges said, everyone agrees, in retrospect, that Beecham's acquisition of County Perfumery Company Ltd. in 1939, manufacturers of Brylcreem, a men's hair application, was a pretty slick move.
Gary D. Gaddy, who has never worn lipstick or owned a pig or pit bull but is a reformed vegetarian as well as a charter member of the other PETA -- People for Eating Tasty Animals, played in the USTA North Carolina Senior Mixed Doubles State Championships last weekend, but doesn’t want to talk about it.
A version of this story was published in the Chapel Hill Herald on Thursday September 18, 2008.Copyright 2008 Gary D. Gaddy