Open Letter to the President: Reject the Keystone XL Pipeline

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The odds that President Obama will read the following blog letter addressed to him are extremely slim – probably the same odds that I will be elected President of the United States during any future election.

But I’m going to post it anyway. Who Cares? – Right? It’s the joy of blogging.

Mr President,

One of the key questions on the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline goes to who do you trust and who should the American people trust?

A) – We can trust the science – in both the impacts of pollution on our air – and on our water from the frequent spills we will certainly see. And we can trust the science on climate change.

Or B) – We could trust Big Oil and its lobbyists and CEOs and non-scientists.

The B option has the poorest of track records. Remember before the Gulf Oil Gusher, when the propaganda from politicians and Big Oil was telling us off-shore oil drilling was soooo safe and spills rarely, ever happen? After the one of the biggest man-made disasters in world history unfolded in the Gulf of Mexico and after we found out the level of coverup that transpired, we found out that leaks and spills were commonplace in the Gulf and the equipment is anything but safe.

The lives of so many people were impacted and of course the suffering for wildlife was extreme. We should never forget the images of animals covered with thick layers of sludge or the individuals who died on the rig. Had the Federal Government and the Minerals Management Service not so fully trusted and bowed down to Big Oil, maybe that disaster could have been prevented.

Sure – we need jobs and energy is vital to our society. But why should we continue to live in the 1930s? Even by the 1960s we had a government that pushed innovation. President Kennedy called for a man on the Moon by the end of the decade and the effort proceeded forward like a stampede, until the goal was reached.

Now, as a nation, Big Oil would have us believe we need to back up into the 1950s. We are four decades beyond Neal Armstrong’s first footprint on the moon. Where is the same level of governmental push for innovation on energy, that we saw with space exploration back in the 1960s?

What we, the people, see from the outside looking in seems to be the stifling of energy innovation, from the rather large boot of Big Oil. The strategy seems from my viewpoint to be – slow down real energy innovation until they’ve sucked as many barrels of oil out of the ground as possible. Why? – Because oil still in the ground is lost profit, when some clean, great energy source rolls into the forefront.

So again I ask – Who should you trust and who should the American people trust? In whose hands should we place our future? Should Big Oil get its way or should the health and welfare of our environment and therefore the health and welfare of the American people take the highest level of concern?

The answers are abundantly clear.


PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

February’s “Duh” Quote of the Month

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This one is really worth noting.

Let’s say you’re a police officer and you pull someone over for going 50 MPH in a 35 zone. They challenge the ticket and it goes to court. The speeder’s attorney puts you on the stand and asks you if you are anti-speeding.

You respond – “Of course.” So the attorney says – “A-hah, you are not credible because you’re out with your radar gun and you want everyone to stop speeding.” (Of course, no credible lawyer could do this.)

Well … that’s basically where one greyhound racing supporter went late last month. American Greyhounds Council PR specialist, Marsha Kelly was quoted in an Orlando Weekly blog as saying:

“GREY2K is out to eliminate the industry and abolish the industry, so I’m not sure they’re a credible source of information on the issue.”

So if you’re against something, you’re not a credible source of information on that issue? If you want to abolish something horrible, then she doesn’t believe you can be a credible source of information on that issue?

It’s just one of those silly statements with no real meaning. The blogger rightfully noted the information presented by GREY2K comes from reports off the Florida greyhound tracks.

And then the writer, Fred Lambert, goes on to quote an industry lobbyist, who says he doesn’t want to compare greyhounds to children and then proceeds to compare the deaths of greyhounds to the deaths of abused children. He tries to justify the deaths of racing dogs by saying a higher number of children died.

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Misleading headline of the day

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When the headline – “Iowans divided on future of greyhound racing” – popped up on the Pack News Wire this morning, I had a sinking feeling. Why would support for dog racing be on par with those who support animal welfare?

But then I read the Des Moines Register article. While the numbers are far from where they should be, I wouldn’t use the phrase “divided” to describe the results. The anti-dog racing side won the poll – 50 to 33 percent. In an election, this would be considered a huge win for Candidate Compassion.

The bad news comes in the fact that only 50 percent support animal welfare in this poll. Apparently, a lot of people are not well-informed on the issue. Must …. keep … focusing … on … education.

The battle goes on.


PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Video: World Wildlife Day 2014

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This is World Wildlife Day. But we can’t let a day go by without working toward a goal of protecting animals from abuse, poaching, neglect and any other horrors they face – be it wildlife or domestic animals or farm animals.

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Sea Shepherd: More whales horribly slaughtered within sanctuary

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Sea Shepherd has some sad news to report this morning. The full media release follows:

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Sunday March 2, 2014 – Melbourne, Australia — Today, at approximately 10:05 AEDT, Sea Shepherd located the factory vessel of the Japanese whaling fleet, the Nisshin Maru, at 74°23’ S, 178°55’ W inside the Ross Sea Dependency, with a dead, protected Minke Whale onboard, and blood running from the side of the ship. Slabs of whale meat were also photographed on the deck, along with the severed head of a recently butchered whale.

The factory vessel was located by The Steve Irwin’s helicopter, which has found the whaling fleet on four occasions this season. The Steve Irwin and The Bob Barker are now closing in on the factory vessel.

Captain of The Bob Barker, Peter Hammarstedt, said, “Each time we have located the Nisshin Maru, the Sea Shepherd Fleet has been attacked by the whalers in night time ambushes. With darkness just a few hours away, as we close the distance to the slipway of the Nisshin Maru, we are well aware that we are soon likely to have harpoon ships crossing our bows towing steel cables, and the strong possibility that our ships could become disabled in the treacherous and frigid Antarctic waters. After sustaining two grueling assaults, we believe a third attack by the whaling fleet is imminent. We have thirty-eight Australians and three New Zealanders on board the Sea Shepherd ships. We call on the governments of Australia and New Zealand to stand up to the Japanese government and send a clear message that they will not tolerate another unprovoked attack on their citizens upholding international law.”

It is the second time this whaling season that Sea Shepherd has documented the Japanese whaling fleet in the act of poaching whales within the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. On January 5, Sea Shepherd released damning images and footage of the Nisshin Maru with three dead, protected Minke Whales killed in the Sanctuary. The blood-stained decks of the factory ship were smeared with the remains of a fourth whale, including a head and spinal column.

It is the second time in six days that Sea Shepherd has located the Japanese whaling fleet. The whalers have remained outside their preferred self-allocated hunting grounds of the Ross Sea due to Sea Shepherd’s relentless patrolling and monitoring of the region. Sea Shepherd believes that, at the first opportunity that the whalers have had to resume operations, they have successfully interrupted whaling once again.

In July 2013, the governments of Australia and New Zealand challenged the legality of Japan’s so-called “scientific research” whaling at the International Court of Justice. A decision on case is pending.

Captain of The Steve Irwin, Siddharth Chakravarty, said, “It is not enough for the politicians, whose obligation it is to keep these whales alive and protected, to ignore their international responsibilities and the wishes of their constituents. I urge the Australian Environment Minister Greg Hunt and the New Zealand Minister of Foreign Affairs, Murray McCully, to look at this dead Minke Whale, brutally killed in an internationally recognised Whale Sanctuary that both Australia and New Zealand claim a commitment to uphold, and ask themselves if they truly believe that they and their governments have done everything within their power to stop this illegal slaughter.”

Sea Shepherd remains the only organisation in the Southern Ocean committed to upholding the sanctity of the Whale Sanctuary, directly intervening against the illegal operations of the Japanese whaling fleet.
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PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Greyhound Racing: Quote of the Month and Mislabeled “Article” of the Year

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I’m calling it the quote of the Month, but on second thought it could be a clear nominee for quote of the year. The utterance came from Matt Gaetz and was part of a NWF Daily News article.

Gaetz was referring to the state mandate in Florida that requires casinos to hold a set number of greyhound races each year. The mandate remains to this day despite the evidence of deaths and injuries to dogs and the news about the severe losses and lack of interest in the industry.

“We’re forcing a company to do what they don’t want to do by maintaining something people don’t want to participate in that happens to be barbaric.”

That is one all-encompassing, fact-based sentence. The article is long and filled with much more information.

The leader for the Mislabeled “Article” of the Year has to be the piece that ran Friday on I try to avoid calling out other writers, but this one should have been billed an editorial. Instead, it is presented as a straight news story by a “reporter.”

Maybe Mike Vasilinda intended the text to be an editorial, because it is heavily-weighted in support of the greyhound racing industry.He interviewed and quotes three pro-dog racing insiders, but includes only one, brief quote from the pro-humane side of the story – from Grey2K USA Executive Director Carey Theil.

Vasilinda twice mentions the same dollar amount in tax revenue from dog racing. But does not mention the drain on the state or the huge losses in the industry. And then he includes the following, horrible, misinformed paragraph:

State lawmakers are being asked by dog tracks to be able to stop racing dogs and simply offer card games. That would mean there’d be no place for these dogs to go.

I guess Vasilinda failed to research the number of greyhound rescue groups in the United States, even those that operate in states where greyhound racing was banned long ago. My home state banned dog racing decades ago and we have at least two greyhound rescue groups.

Flatly writing that the dogs would have no place to go is a huge error – whether he meant the piece to be an editorial or a straight news story. This is inexcusable.


PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

HSUS Video: Tennessee walking horse rescue

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This video is from last April, but it is certainly worth sharing now. The HSUS took park in the rescue of about 19 Tennessee walking horses who had been abused by the horrible practice of “soring.”

For those not familiar with this phrase, it involves putting a burning chemical on the horse’s lower legs, so that it exaggerates the high-stepping motion with the front legs. It is the typical actions we see in industries where animals are used for profit or for winner contests. In this case, it happens to be horse shows.

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PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Decoupling of greyhound racing gains more media attention

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In Florida and Iowa efforts are underway to decouple greyhound racing from casinos, where the races are unbelievably require by law to exist and the dog-racing industry is getting huge subsidies/kickbacks that could go to other programs.

Thankfully, we are seeing forward movement in efforts to end dog racing, saving so many greyhounds from a life of being used as profit machines for a dark corner of the gambling industry. If people are going to gamble, why not let it be on sports, cards, dice or slot machines.

I am also really pleased to see the heightened level of press coverage we’re seeing on this subject. It ranges from information about the idiotic requirements for a set number of races to the huge amount of money being handed over to the industry every year to the unacceptable number of greyhounds deaths each year.

First up, let’s go to the other side, for a bit of strange support for the industry. The Quad-City Times ran an editorial today from an attorney for the Iowa dog racing industry.

He writes:

Despite the greyhound industry’s critical role in enabling these racinos to make hundreds of millions of dollars, they no longer want to have to share it with their “spouses” (the racing industry).

Huh?? – What?? – Dog racing is bleeding losses and is costing taxpayers and the casinos big money. If this was not true, the casinos would never ask for the decoupling to take place. I can’t even believe anyone would make that statement.

And it seems Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad also disagrees with the racing attorney. The Des Moines Register quotes Branstad as calling greyhound racing “a dying industry.” Great stuff, Gov – including the use of the phrase “industry” as opposed to “sport.” Dog racing and horse racing are NOT sports.

I’ve noted many times that dog racing could never be a sport and horse racing could only be a sport if the horses rode on the backs of the jockeys.

Branstad supports the shutdown of the state’s two casino tracks in Dubuque and Council Bluffs and opposes a proposed agreement that would allow a dog track to open elsewhere.

Here’s the great quote:

“Dog racing is dying throughout the country,” Branstad said.  “It doesn’t seem to make sense to open another track when it is a dying industry.”

The Des Moines Register also reports on the formation of a new group – “Iowans for Ending Dog Racing.”

Greater Dubuque Development Corp. President Rick Dickinson – according to the blog post – is referenced in the following –

He said the only thing keeping dog racing alive in Iowa is $13 million in annual subsidies from Iowa’s casinos.

The opposition to dog racing is growing in West Virginia, where a casino vice president is speaking out against racing mandates.

In Florida, where a movement is also underway to decouple dog racing, Robin Ganzert, the head of the American Humane Association, is speaking out concerning the inhumane treatment of the dogs.

The publication Clay Today out of Florida ran a piece today under the headline – “Greyhound Racing Fading to Black.”

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

A ban is close on dog racing in Colorado; but the news is not so good out of Iowa

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Great news tonight out of Colorado, where a bill to officially ban greyhound racing in the state is only the governor’s signature away from becoming law.

The state does not currently have an operating dog track, but this will prevent any comeback bid.

One step at a time and one victory at a time for the dogs.

But in Iowa a proposed amendment to a bill that would allow the casinos to drop greyhound racing, would allow dog tracks to open elsewhere. With this latest move, a state Senate committee tabled the bill.

So once again we see political debate or lobbying efforts block animal-welfare legislation. And the suffering and deaths go on.


PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic