With apologies to RL Stine, VICE employees recreated our favorite spooky book covers
Watch: Lil Bub & Friendz, Part 2
Itty-Bitty Kitty, Giant Spirit – Lil Bub Gets Her Soul Examined by a Powerful Pet Psychic, with Photos by Terry Richardson
If you’ve spent any time on the internet, you probably already know all about Lil Bub. The tiny, adorable cat—who is a “perma-kitten” thanks to several genetic abnormalities—has captured the hearts of millions through her photos and videos, which have spread across the web like a communicable disease of cuteness. She’s (yes, Bub is a little lady) also made appearances on TV shows like Good Morning America and The View and held meet and greets all over the country with her fans.
VICE has been following this superlatively cute cat around for some time, and we’re gearing up to release Lil Bub & Friendz, a feature-length documentary that records the travels and trials of Bub and her loyal owner, Mike Bridavsky, who has cared for her through her many health problems. (Mike donates much of the money he makes from her fame to animal-rescue charities.)
Lil Bub & Friendz won this year’s Tribeca Online Festival Best Feature Film Award and will premiere to the world at large later this summer. To prepare for the next stage of Bub’s celebrity catdom, Mike contacted Christine Agro, pet psychic to the stars, to peer inside Bub’s celestial being via Skype and give the pair some advice.
Christine Agro: Could you say your full name three times please?
Mike Bridavsky: Michael Gregory Bridavsky, Michael Gregory Bridavsky, Michael Gregory Bridavsky.
And what would you like to receive from this reading?
Whatever there is to be received; if there’s anything I need to know about Bub or the adventure we’re on.
The Government Is Retiring Hundreds of Chimps from Biochemical Research
I hate to paint with a broad brush here, but primates in America have horrible lives. Sure, there are your One Percenters like Koko and Bubbles the Chimp, but by and large, the US is essentially one big Bergen-Belsen for our oldest living ancestors. Some are forced to do parlor tricks for street performers and others are stuck in cages for pasty-skinned families to gawk at, but perhaps the most unlucky of the lot are used as research subjects by the government.
Chimpanzees share about 96 percent of our DNA. It shouldn’t be surprising, then, that the government is quite partial to that particular primate when looking for test subjects. Recently, the National Institute of Health issued a statement saying that it “plans to substantially reduce the use of chimpanzees in NIH-funded biomedical research,” effectively retiring 310 chimpanzees from the system. “Where are all the newly freed chimpanzees going to go?” You might be asking as thoughts of Bedtime for Bonzo dance through your head. Many will be heading to Chimp Haven, a wildlife sanctuary about 20 miles southwest of Shreveport, Louisiana.
At the risk of sounding like a PETA spokesperson, let me quickly give you the CliffsNotes on how Chimp Haven came into being.
As mentioned above, the US is fond of experimenting on chimpanzees, but because they are endangered, the government had to resort to breeding them in captivity beginning in the 1980s in order to produce more live subjects for the study of diseases like hepatitis and HIV.
By the 1990s, technological advancements in the biomedical field spawned new research models that didn’t require chimps. That eventually left the US government with a lot of sick, unwanted great apes on its hands. To help chimpanzees make the transition from working in experimental medicine to retirement, a league of primatologists and other professionals established Chimp Haven in 1995.
Celebrity Dogs of America
Last weekend, I attended America’s Family Pet Expo in Costa Mesa, California, which attracts thousands of people for a host of reasons: they love pets, they volunteer with rescue organizations, or they’re interested in buying their cats some quality business cards. One of the biggest draws, though, was the celebrity pet event—a showcase of trained dogs and cats who act in popular TV shows.
Like normal, non-dog-dominated events, the expo had its own black market: shortly after I stepped into the long admission line with the rest of the non-celebrity pets and humans, I got approached by a sketchy, nervous-looking guy who mumbled at me, “You guys want to buy some passes?” Yes, this man was a Pet Expo scalper. I bought a pass.
Although I was primarily there for the celebrity pets, there was no shortage of other entertainment. While walking through the expo, I watched several rounds of dachshund racing, pet an 18-pound rabbit, and spotted more than a few dogs who were better dressed than I was.
The Cute Show – Capybara Bathhouse!
The capybara (which, according to google, is the world’s largest rodent) at Nagasaki Bio Park in Japan love to take dips in the park’s hot springs. The park allows visitors to get up close with the animals, so we tried our best to make friends with these shy little beasts. We interviewed Mr. Ito, the head of the park, and checked out the rodents in their element.