Thankfully, permit for US hunter to kill black rhino remains stalled

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The twisted claims that selling trophy hunts to kill rhinos will save rhinos are nothing more than excuses for individuals to gleefully show off their evidence that they’ve killed an endangered species.

The news about the auction held last January for the permit spread around the news and Internet sites. Hopefully, the negative blow back has helped to stall the permit from going through.

CNN’s update on the story notes the auction was sponsored by the Dallas Safari Club and that and the club and the Namibian Ministry of Environment and Tourism claimed the funds raised would be donated to “conservation and anti-poaching efforts.”

A permit to transport the body parts – as so-called “trophies” – back to the United States. But the article reports some great news. Over 15,000 comments, opposing the permit, were received by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, within the 30-day comment period.

There are only an estimated 5,000 black rhinos left on the planet. Killing them to save them makes little sense. I know the claim is that only older members of the herd are selected for this sort of auction. And I noted the claim that they are no longer of value to the herd.

But these claims apparently come from people who actually put little value on the lives on animals. These rhinos are living, feeling animals who experience emotion and have the capacity to suffer.

And of course, the primary question to ask is this: If the mission is to save the rhinos, why not just donate the funds and travel there to photograph a rhino, rather than kill them?

Jeffrey Flocken said it best in the article:

“They need to be protected, not sold to the highest bidder,” said Jeffrey Flocken of the International Fund for Animal Welfare.

“It’s a farce to say that this is being done for conservation,” Flocken said. “It’s saying the rarity of this animal is worth more dead than alive.”

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Sea Shepherd halts another poaching ship

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I received the following release from Sea Shepherd:

“” “”

Wanted Poachers Try To Shake Pursuit Through Treacherous Ice Chase

Yesterday, at approximately 2300 hours AEDT, at 61˚ 32’ South, 075˚ 27’ East, the wanted poaching vessel, Thunder, attempted a hazardous escape from the Sea Shepherd ship, Bob Barker, by fleeing at speed through a field of pack-ice.

The Nigerian-flagged Thunder, which has been issued with and Interpol Purple Notice, and which is on the CCAMLR black-list of illegal unreported and unregulated (IUU) vessels due to its poaching activities, led Captain Peter Hammarstedt and his international crew of 28 volunteers on a three-hour long chase through the ice-field.

The Bob Barker was forced to break-through ice in order to maintain the hot pursuit. Captain Hammarstedt said, “At times the ice was almost impassable. I had to use my ship as a snow plough in order to break-through and continue chase.”

The incident comes two days after the Bob Barker intercepted the poaching vessel engaged in illegal fishing activities inside the CCAMLR area. Thunder is known to utilise gillnets – a method of fishing that has been outlawed by CCAMLR since 2004.

On locating the Thunder two days ago, Captain Hammarstedt notified Interpol, CCAMLR, the Australian Federal Police and the Australian Fishing Management Authority of the vessel’s activities. As yet, there is been no response to these reports.

Captain Hammarstedt has called on the Australian government to assist with the arrest of the illegal vessel. He said, “We have caught these poachers in blatant violation of international fishing regulations. We have documented their poaching activities, we have reported them, and we are ready to hand them over to the authorities. It is not the responsibility of Sea Shepherd to uphold CCAMLR regulations, but in the absence of legal action from Australia, we remain the only sheriff in town.”

IUU (Illegal, Unregulated, Unreported) fishing of toothfish continues inside the CCAMLR region, despite the Commission’s efforts to eliminate this threat to the Antarctic ecosystem. Currently six operators, including Thunder, are known to be involved in IUU fishing of toothfish inside the area.

Operation Icefish is Sea Shepherd’s 11th Southern Ocean Defence Campaign, and the first to target IUU toothfish fishing operators in the waters of Antarctica.

“” “”

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Greyhound racing’s dark side is further exposed

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Another story involving minimal oversight in greyhound racing and lax regulations and illegal drugs is exposing more about the industry.

This time, WPTV out of West Palm Beach in Florida has the story of a greyhound trainer whose dogs tested positive for cocaine.

An investigation by the news outlet finds Florida’s Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering had failed to act resolved about 400 complaints against individuals who work at the state’s tracks.

So it’s bad enough the state agency that is supposed to oversee the greyhound racing industry is dragging its feet. But it is troubling in and of itself to hear that 400 complaints have been filed in one state.

When will the legislature in Florida and in the handful of other racing states finally see the light and ban greyhound racing immediately?

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Two more protective curtains could be pulled off greyhound racing

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Two pieces of potential good news, in relation to greyhound racing, have been highlighted by the media this month.

In Florida, one of the dark corners the greyhound racing industry has always been able to hide in was not having to report injuries. This week, the Miami Herald reports State Senate President Andy Gardiner will push forward on a bill that would require the state’s track report injuries.

SB 2 was filed Tuesday by Senator Eleanor Sobel (D-Hollywood). If track veterinarians fail to report injuries, they would be fined. I hope the fines will be substantial, to make circumventing the fines through the backdoor a tougher thing to do.

The Herald reminds us that a new law from 2013 required the tracks to report deaths. In only the first nine months of that year, 74 greyhounds died. The piece rightfully puts the numbers in context – one death every three days. That’s horrible.

The industry always tries to muddy the water by comparing deaths with the number of race starts in any given time period. That propaganda will no longer fly. Anyone with an ounce of compassion in their heart understands that a greyhound dying every three days – or 74 dying over only nine months – is a tragedy.

But what we all really want to see in Florida is at least a decoupling bill to pass into law, which would end the state mandate that casinos hold a set number of races. Even better still would be a complete ban on dog racing.

The news might be even better in West Virginia, where the state could drop subsidies for greyhound racing. Get this: the Charleston Daily Mail reports the state government will hand over $80 million this budget year to the thoroughbred and greyhound racing industries.

And there’s a swirling around for a decoupling bill there as well.

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Hopefully – a trend: New York state to ban fracking

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The more I’m reading about the health and environmental impacts of fracking, the more I’m convinced we’re a long way from this being a safe system for drilling for gas and oil.

Oh we get the take from Big Oil and Big Gas – that it’s completely safe and the people who live around the fracking wells have nothing at all to be afraid of. We hear that the chemicals that the industry refuses to disclose but are pumping into the ground are very safe.

Don’t be concerned about your neighbors being sick. Look at the pretty towers rising across the horizons. Think of them as towers of gold and magic.”

The industry doesn’t have a great track record for safety. And even when full-on, horrible disasters strike, like the Gulf Oil Gusher, the industry blows off concerns and underplays the extent of the impacts.

Should people have trusted the cigarette manufacturers when for decades they claimed smoking was safe? Naah – I think I’ll trust science; thank you.

Of late, we’re seeing more research bubble to the surface on fracking. The news that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is ready to ban fracking in his state offered up more news about the dangers.

But while Cuomo seems to be ready to take this positive step, reports indicate his administration had previously attempted to delay and soften a report about the dangers of fracking.

A Capital New York article from early October reports in the final version of the report, “some of the authors’ original descriptions of environmental and health risks associated with fracking were played down or removed.”

So even in state that might become the first to ban fracking, the coverup on the dangers of the practice was well underway.

I’m just not going to trust the states or the industry, in claiming the chemicals are safe. Why would be that naive?

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

HSUS leader Wayne Pacelle reviews results for 2014

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In his A Humane Nation blog this week, Humane Society of the United States leader Wayne Pacelle reviewed the organization’s “Top Transformational Results of 2014.”

The list features:

South Dakota becoming the 5oth US state to adopt a felony animal-cruelty law.

It is now a federal crime to attend or bring a child to a dogfight or cockfight.

The truly idiotic and evil “King Amendment” was tossed out of the Farm Bill.

A federal appellate court rightfully overturned a horrible ruling from a lower that might have tossed out the animal crush video law. If I recall, the lower court tried to claim that torturing and brutally killing animals was protected free speech. That’s one for the Moronic Court Ruling Hall of Fame.

So arguably the current leader for the Moronic Court Ruling Hall of Fame is Citizens United.

A number of countries have agreed to end the use of gestation crates for pigs.

Three horse-slaughter plants were blocked from opening this year.

A new U.S. Department of Agriculture rule blocks the importation of puppies for sale. This means at least foreign puppy mills can’t sell here.

Internet sellers of puppy now have to follow USDA guidelines. The HSUS helped to block a legal challenge to this ruling.

Better protections are in place for animals suffering through experiments in labs.

The World Trade Organization is thankfully supporting European Union’s ban on products resulting from the horrific Canadian seal hunts.

The wolf hunts were stopped in Michigan.

New York and New Jersey became the first states to banned the sale of Ivory. This one should become a federal ban.

And Pacelle states the “…  International Court of Justice ruled that Japan’s Southern Ocean whaling program violates the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling’s ban on commercial hunting.”

Read Pacelle’s full rundown at the link above.

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

More evidence on fracking hazards

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Big Oil and Gas want us all to believe that fracking is perfectly safe and it won’t pollute the water. We’re supposed to take their word for it, the way people were supposed to take the cigarette manufacturers word for decades, on how safe their products are.

People in North Texas are getting sick and the industry is brushing aside any possible link.  A second Center for Public Integrity article includes information about a new, peer-reviewed study, published by the journal – Environmental Health.

David O. Carpenter is the paper’s senior author and is the director of the University at Albany’s Institute for Health and the Environment. He is quoted as saying, “The implications for health effects are just enormous.”

And the dangers don’t stop in the water. One study found “benzene, formaldehyde or other toxic substances” in the air in fracking zones. The monitoring was conducted in Arkansas, Colorado, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wyoming.

That second article linked above cites studies with findings that should be cause for concern for everyone. One showed people living less than two-thirds of a mile from natural-gas wells were experiencing more skin and upper-respiratory problems.

We should all be concerned with finding more congenital heart defects in babies and benzene found in air samples here some West Virginia wells.

We all know the chemicals are dangerous, but the fracking industry just can’t believe that something so profitable could be a concern for the public.

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Florida has one really messed up criminal justice system

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A news story concerning a convicted dog fighter appeared this week on the Pack News Wire. The Highlands Today article reported on the recent conviction of a man charged with dogfighting.

What he did to the dogs is horrible and the soft punishment he will receive makes matters far more atrocious. It seems a criminal in Florida must amass 22 so-called points on their record before they are sentenced to prison time.

The story notes the man had only 4.5 points last year when he was convicted of a felonly for attending a dog fight (which could have led to a maximum of five years behind bars) and resisting arrest. He also has a drunk-driving conviction on his record, along with other crimes.

So he is a long way from going to prison. What does it take to get major points in Florida? What does it take the court system there to decide the safety of the innocent comes first?

The courts and the state legislature has announced to the nation’s criminals that – “if you want get-out-of-jail free points, just come on down to Florida, where you are welcome to commit multiple major crimes with impunity. And we’ll gladly let you know when you’re close to amassing too many points.

“Hey, we’ve even got a phone app called ‘Crime Points,’ where you’ll receive a free text message when you reach 18.

“Want to fight dogs here? – Well don’t worry. It’s gonna take you at least a good six convictions or more in criminal-friendly Florida, before you have to actually serve time. And that’s just if you’re caught.

“We have a host of criminals on staff who have been let off free and clear by juries. They will counsel you on how to beat your rap. We want to be the customer-friendly criminal justice system.

“So come on down to Florida. We’re not really the sunshine state.”

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

North Carolina officially drops the use of shelter gas chambers

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There’s some very good news out of my home state of North Carolina. The Department of Agriculture has served notice to county municipal animal shelters that the use of gas chambers is no longer acceptable.

A vast majority of the state’s shelters had already stopped using gas chambers of horror to euthanized homeless pets. A WUNC article from December 9 reports the new standards in North Carolina match recommendations from the American Veterinary Medical Association, Humane Society of the United States and American Humane Association.

The AVMA changed its stance on gas chambers in 2013.

Because we know animals experience emotional as well as physical suffering, it makes the use of gas chambers particularly cruel. The animals certainly experience fear when they are stuffed into the dark chambers and then experience respiratory distress once the gas is turned on, until the end finally comes.

Too often, a group of animals are stuffed inside for a mass killing.

It is a horrible way to die. The only acceptable method to euthanize an animal is through injection. I long for the day when shelters no long euthanize animals. If only more more people understood the importance of sterilization and the importance of caring for their pets as a lifelong commitment.

The policy in North Carolina goes into effect on February 15 of 2015.

Wayne Pacelle of Humane Society of the wrote about the news on his Humane Nation blog.

The HSUS produced this map showing the current map of where gas chambers are used or have been banned:

HSUS-gas-chamber-map

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Purchasing poaching products particularly putrid

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Those who are buying products made from elephant tusks or rhino horns or any other threatened or endangered species are the root cause of the horrors of poaching.

And now we know that terrorists are funding their operations in part through poaching. So anyone who purchases ivory now or rhino horn products or any poached items have become promoters of terrorists.

Let’s go ahead and tell it like it is. Too many people in countries like China and Vietnam are buying these products in full support of the terrorists. And clueless people in the United States are supporting the horrors too. A 2008 study showed the US is the No. 2 market for ivory.

Are some people here in the US – supposedly the most advanced of nations – really that uneducated? Stop – You don’t need to tell me. I know … I know. It’s true.

It is pure evil in every way. Poaching is driving animals to extinction and killing innocent people in staggering numbers. And it is driven by clueless people who either wrongly believe rhino horns have medicinal value or are so vain and stupid that they value a trinket over the lives of innocent people and animals.

It’s sick and it’s evil.

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic