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    Wacky Mentality at the forefront this month

    October 23rd, 2014 No Gravatar

    Maybe it’s the approach of Halloween or maybe it’s a decay of common sense, but we’re seeing an ever-growing level of Wacky Mentality in recent news reports.

    But first, a commercial break: A new, regular video feature is coming soon for the Pack Mentality Blog. Stay tuned for more details. Hint: It will be a news show like no other.

    Now – on to the latest Wacky-ness:

    Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying was quoted this week as stating that allowing all people to vote in a democracy would give too much power to the poor.

    So you oppress people into poverty and then cry-baby that letting them vote would give them a stake in their government. That’s wacky and evil.

    The national government in China has presented a plan where the people of Hong Kong could vote on their leaders, but only among a list of candidates hand picked by the sitting government.

    We’ve got our own problems with voting laws in some US states. I hope leaders in these regions don’t get any new ideas from China.

    Allowing fracking companies to keep the list of chemicals they use secret from the public is more than wacky – it’s sneaky, underhanded wacky. But this is exactly what the government is currently doing.

    An Environmental Integrity Project report notes the companies don’t even have to obtain a permit to inject potentially-dangerous chemicals into the ground. Why? – because the lobbyists keep reminding the politicians about those big campaign donations.

    And get this, it’s called the “Halliburton Loophole.” If that’s not a slap in the face to the environment and to the public across the board, I don’t know what is.

    And if both of those stories weren’t enough for the week …

    Cigarette manufacturer Reynolds American – in 2014!! – is finally banning the act of smoking in its offices. Most indoor areas will be off limits to smoking, but the company will set up smoking rooms.

    It took Reynolds this long to consider the health of its employees. That’s stunning, even for a cigarette company.

    PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

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    BP Translated: “Whaaaaa, no fair; Everybody’s pickin’ on us ’cause we polluted the Gulf”

    October 22nd, 2014 No Gravatar

    So BP has huge hand in the worst man-made environmental disaster in US history and now the company talking heads want to downplay the horrible impacts.

    Geoff Morrell, the senior vice president of U.S. communications and external affairs at BP, penned an op-ed for Politico Magazine, which published the drivel on Tuesday of this week. It’s seems the endless train of propaganda-filled TV ads weren’t enough.

    The headline of the op-ed (or in this case – odd-ed) – “No, BP Didn’t Ruin the Gulf.”

    Morrell fails to mention impacts on the ocean floor in the Gulf of Mexico and the coral reefs and fails to touch on the impacts to wetlands and marshes along the coast.
    Earlier today, Media Matters noted the misleading nature of the op-ed. And of course, BP seems to want us to forget the horrible images we saw as oil-coated animals suffered and died.
    PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

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    Survey Says – We’re making progress on adoption and spay/neuter messages

    October 20th, 2014 No Gravatar

    PetSmart Charities’ 2014 US Shelter Pet Report contains some interesting findings that show progress on the animal-welfare front. But it should be noted that one of the troubling aspects of the report explains that about 8 million homeless pets are entering US shelters every year and only half find homes.

    Some of the other findings include the chart that shows the number of households with pets increased from 63 percent in 2011 to 81 percent three years later.

    The percentage of those are choosing adoption over buying a new pet rose from 58 to 66 over the same 2011 to 2014 time frame. Only 28 percent purchased the most recent dog addition to the family.

    The education level is rising within the American public, thankfully. But we can’t scale back on the effort. The more people who receive the message, the better.

    One of the many great sections of the report notes “adoption is one of the safest ways to acquire a pet.” It is the safest means. Purchasing a pet is only safe if the person engages in significant research into the breeder and visits the breeding facility for a FULL tour.

    But still, if you ask the right questions at the shelter or when dealing with a rescue group, you can be more assured that you’re getting the right pet for you.

    And of course, spay/neuter is a key element in the battle to greatly reduce the number of pets dying in shelters. Clearly education is so important, as noted in the PetSmart report, where 85 percent underestimated the number of pets euthanized every year.

    I found this statement from the report interesting: “In the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, the Association of Shelter Veterinarians says that spay/neuter surgery is safe for pets as young as 8 to 10 weeks old.”

    I would tend to suggest going a bit older, if possible, just to be safe. But how about this stat – 86 percent of pet dogs and cats are spayed or neutered. Of course, we still have a bigger problem with roaming cats and dogs.

    So the end result is, progress is being made and we’re moving in the right direction. But we still have a long road to travel and far more in the way of education is needed.

    PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

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    Report: Another family dog shot by law enforcement officer

    October 10th, 2014 No Gravatar

    I will routinely lead in post such as this with a statement of general support for law enforcement officers. A vast majority are in their jobs because they want to fight crime and protect the innocent.

    But we’ve seen a number of cases of late where the innocent has been the target of a few officers. The latest case where an animal is concerned is in Michigan, where a team of officers surrounded the wrong house, in engaging in raid to arrest a wanted suspect.

    The Huffington Post reports that even after the group realizes they are at the wrong home, an officer in the back yard shoots the family dog – an elderly mixed-breed dog.

    Thankfully, the 15-year-old canine survived, after struggling through three surgeries. The article states the family is not getting a response from either the Michigan Department of Corrections or the Michigan State Troopers.

    Clearly, a 15-year-old dog would not be perceived to be a threat. So any officer in a case such as this who fired the shot should be – at minimum – suspended for a long period of time and forced to undergo extensive daily training on both the use of a firearm and how to handle cases where they encounters dogs.

    If the facts of this case show no more important evidence in favor of the officer, he should be fired and his permit to carry a gun revoked.

    We can’t have law enforcement officials encountering the public (including pets) anywhere, with little or no apparent training in the use of a dangerous weapon.

    PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

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    More bad news for Earth’s oceans and ice caps

    October 9th, 2014 No Gravatar

    Two recent articles point to troubling trends for our oceans. If only more than a few political leaders had the courage to stand up to their Big Oil/Big Coal donors – and then move in the right direction on climate change.

    Climate Central describes the oceans as “warming and acidifying.” And recent reporting indicates 90 percent of the planets warming is on the seas.

    Before you think, “oh, it’s only the oceans,” read this from the article – “That rapid ocean warming has consequences for the Earth’s climate and its shorelines.”

    And then there’s the Daily Beast, from October 5. Despite what the anti-science crowd is putting out, Antarctica is melting fast. It is even reportedly impacting the Earth’s gravity.

    Over a three-year span of a recent study, three Antarctic glaciers lost about 2014 billion US tons of ice each year.

    PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

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    Extremely troubling report on wildlife populations

    October 9th, 2014 No Gravatar

    The Wall Street Journal published a recent article concerning decline in wildlife populations worldwide. Scientist from groups such as the World Wildlife Fund and the Zoological Society of London report the downward spike in wildlife numbers is worse than they had previously thought.

    It seems from 1970 to 2010, the overall animal population of animals fell 52 percent. This is a horrible rate of decline. Key factors sited for land, rivers and oceans, are habitat destruction, commercial fishing, hunting and climate change.

    Of course, humans have a role in all of it. A previous report from 2012 put the rate of decline at 28 percent.

    And while the animal population plummets on planet Earth, the human population continues to expand. And this sentence from the WSJ article offers a stark warming: “With the planet’s population expected to swell by 2.4 billion people by 2050, the challenge of providing enough food, water and energy will be difficult.”

    PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

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    Humane Society releases scorecard for elected officials and voter guide

    October 9th, 2014 No Gravatar

    The Humane Society Legislative Fund has released two important web pages, where voters can go to see how their area representatives rank on animal welfare issues.

    The 2014 Animal Protection Voter Guide allows users to click on their state for a list of candidates with good animal-welfare records.

    The Humane Scorecard offers a detailed report on how the current Congress is performing for animal welfare.

    The sites offer good tools for helping voters decide which elected officials are voting with a level of compassion.

    PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

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    Another politician who needs a science lesson

    October 8th, 2014 No Gravatar

    It is on the one hand comical and other hand troubling and sad to continue to read statements from political leaders and pundits who are battling against science.

    Too many are denying there is a human factor to climate change. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia is among ranks of those who either don’t understand the science at all or just want to deny science is real.

    This week, Capito debated Natalie Tennant, her Democratic opponent for US Senate. From an interview after the debate, the Charleston Gazette quoted Capito as saying, “Is the climate changing? Yes it’s changing, it changes all the time, we heard it raining out there. I’m sure humans are contributing to it.”
    She doesn’t know the difference between climate science and the daily weather outside. It is stunning on on off-the-charts scale.
    If some politicians want to be puppets for Big Oil or some other set of corporations, why can’t they just be up front about it? These statements only scream out to show a lack of basic education. Do they really want to broadcast this about themselves?
    PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

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    Breaking: Legislative bill filed in Florida to protect racing greyhounds

    October 3rd, 2014 No Gravatar

    File this story under the heading – Really good news – But not really good enough.

    The Miami Herald reports two elected officials – Sen. Chris Smith (D-Fort Lauderdale) and Rep. Kevin Rader (D-Boca Raton) of Floria – have introduced the the Greyhound Safety Act, a state bill that should strengthen protections for racing greyhounds.

    It is a solid step forward, but what the dogs need is a complete ban on greyhound racing – or at least a decoupling bill that will end the requirement that the racinos hold races. With a decoupling, the facilities can completely drop greyhound racing.

    Currently, one of the most idiotic laws on the United States requires the gambling sites to hold so many races per year. Did I say it was idiotic? No – it’s more than idiotic.

    The article notes the bill includes a provision that would ban those “convicted of a felony for animal cruelty, child abuse, aggravated assault or battery from obtaining a license or permit from the Division of Parimutuel Wagering …”

    The bill also contains requirements for safety upgrades and reporting injuries to the dogs.
    Again, it’s all good. But banning the horrible industry altogether or at least allowing the tracks to drop it, is a far better solution.
    With this bill, dogs will still suffer and die on a regular basis, as we’ve seen in the reports of deaths over the last year at Florida tracks.
    PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

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    More negative press for greyhound racing

    September 24th, 2014 No Gravatar

    Let’s review more in the way of bad press for the greyhound racing industry – much-deserved bad press.

    The Miami Herald went all scathing on dog racing earlier this month, in terms of “lax regulations.” The article led with information about a convicted kidnapper being allowed to race dogs in Florida.

    One of the key sentences in the piece – “But, based on dozens of cases reviewed by the Miami Herald and Tampa Bay Times, the implementation of the rules are lax, and the penalties are often weak.

    And it is noted the state regulators dished out 80 licenses over the last year to individuals previously convicted of everything from “cocaine, heroin and amphetamine possession to assault and battery.”

    Solid reporting there by the Miami Herald.

    Inquisitr.com puts the death numbers that I previously blog about in these terms: The rate of death at Florida greyhound tracks is one every three days. A volunteer from GREY2K USA is interviewed for the piece and states advocates were actually underestimating the number of annual deaths.

    Now that reporting is required by law, the real extent of the problem is being uncovered. But of course, the industry defends itself by reporting percentages, compared to overall numbers of greyhound.

    This does little for the huge number of dogs who are dying each year. This article puts the number of greyhound deaths at 149 at the 13 Florida tracks – between May 2013 and July 2014. That is a horrible and troubling number.

    To minimize the tragedy with percentages is disgusting.

     

    PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

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