BBC Video: Proof that calling some politicians “bird-brained” is an insult to birds

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In the BBC video posted below, a complex puzzle is set up in an attempt to stump a crow. These birds are well-known for their intelligence and use of tools.

The crow’s problem-solving skills are amazing, which begs the questions: Should we elect crows to Congress? Could they do a better job of solving the economic problems the nation faces? Could they do a better job of promoting renewable and green energy sources? Could crows enact better protections for the environment? Would crows reject bribes from Big Oil and other special interests? Would crows be able to overturn the horrible Citizens United Supreme Court ruling with new legislation?

The answer, based on the video and other evidence collected over time, is a resounding YES to all of the above. Of course, even if the birds sat around all day and did nothing but eat treats, we would no worse off than we are now.

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Sochi officials go stupid and evil route in wanting removal of stray dogs

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So officials in Sochi, Russia don’t want stray dogs roaming around during the Winter Olympics, so instead of holding those responsible for homelessness accountable for the problem, they are choosing to punish the victims.

We see this mentality all too often. Humans have created everything from feral cat colonies to homeless dogs and cat populations overall to an imbalance in wildlife populations.

And the only means some people can come up with – even in 2014 – is to torture and kill the victims. No thoughtfulness. No compassion. No discussion of options. They just want to kill.

They’ll poison. They’ll shoot. They’ll torture wolves in chasing them down from helicopters. We’re supposed to be the most advanced species on the planet, but officials like those in Sochi can only come up with the option of death. A 5-year-old could develop a better, more humane plan.

Thankfully, a Russian billionaire is funding an effort to save as many Sochi dogs as possible, through a local animal shelter. The New York Times article reports about 300 dogs each month were being killed in the town.

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Greyhound and horse breeders mad about proposed cut in subsidies

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Breeders of race horses and greyhounds are mad that they won’t get as much free taxpayer money from the West Virginia lottery, under a new bill. I wonder if putting more of the funds into programs where they should go – for education or mental health programs, etc – seems unfair to these breeders.

The breeders would get 15 percent less in subsidies under the plan. And make no mistake that this is taxpayer funds we’re talking about, even though it’s a voluntary tax through the lottery. State lottery profits should go to programs that benefit people and animals.

The WV Gazette article includes the following:

Racing industry representatives contend the cut would be the final blow to horse and dog racing at the state’s four racetrack casinos.

So the industry can’t exist without the subsidies, funneled away from other programs. And even a 15 percent cut would mean an end to both racing industries; this from the industry insiders.

What does this really mean? It means the general population gets it and fewer and fewer people are gambling on animal races, as they understand the history of abuse. They know race horses have ended up in slaughterhouses and have been found to have been drugged. And they know untold numbers of greyhounds never made it out alive.

If an industry’s business is so bad that it cannot survive without subsidies, it’s time for it to go away. Why would two industries with a history of animal exploitation somehow get this level of government protection? I’m sure other struggling businesses would love to have the government ensure they never fail.

The WV Gazette article notes the racing industry received 87.6 million in Lottery subsidies last year.

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A revealing report on greyhound racing wraps up with some poor reporting

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The video below, produced by CBS Miami reporter Jim DeFede, uncovers information on greyhound kennel operator James O’Donnell and the recent charges that he gave his dogs three different steroids and the allegations that he forged the signature of a deceased veterinarian to falsify vaccination records.

But some huge miscues were made in the reporting. The reporter never asked O’Donnell to disclose the name of an assistant to the deceased veterinarian, an assistant O’Donnell claims stamped the signature, after the vet’s death. If he did ask and O’Donnell declined to answer, this would have been important to include in his report.

And at the end of the video above, DeFede calls O’Donnell a “decent man” who is being used as a scapegoat. This would not be an issue particularly, if DeFede was billed as a columnist. But he is billed as an investigative reporter. He went on to claim O’Donnell is under fire, as a way for those who want to shut down dog racing to drum up controversy.

But he did not offer up any proof to this claim, as an investigative reporter. And he calls greyhound racing, “a once storied sport that has fallen from grace.” It is not a sport – and to use the phrase “storied” to describe an industry that was once and still is killing dogs as part of a gambling operation is simply horrible.

I’m stunned by what was uncovered concerning the accusations against O’Donnell – which was great reporting. But then I was stunned by the huge gap in information and with the comments made.

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Another greyhound racing scandal in Florida

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It just never ends in greyhound racing, but state legislatures where it exist are still slow to act to finally ban this cruel industry.

Today, a man known as one of the largest greyhound kennel operators in the state of Florida is being accused of forging veterinary vaccination records, so that he could race the dogs.

James E. “Barney” O’Donnell allegedly used the signature of a deceased Miami veterinarian. The state is asking for a fine and for O’Donnell’s license to be revoked. The Miami Herald reports the “operators of the racetracks in Jacksonville and Hallandale Beach” have suspended his contract to race their tracks.

This is same individual who was charged recently with possessing performance-enhancing drugs that were being given to the dogs.

As the scab continues to be ripped off greyhound racing, I don’t understand why it is still such a slow process we’re seeing, on the way to ultimate and complete shutdown.
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Introducing the Mentality Pack Cartoon

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Day One for the new Mentality Pack Cartoon – a lighter take on animal advocacy.

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Video: Human population boom; Wildlife extinctions

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From the Center for Biological Diversity:

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Today’s update from Sea Shepherd: Under attack from whaling ships

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Sea Shepherd Australia offers another update on the effort to shut down the Japanese whaling fleet:

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SEA SHEPHERD SHIPS UNDER ATTACK FROM WHALING FLEET: BOB BARKER STRUCK BY HARPOON SHIP

Sunday February 2, 2014 – Melbourne, Australia — At approximately 0650 AEDT today, The Bob Barker, was hit by the Japanese whaling fleet’s harpoon vessel, the Yushin Maru No. 2 as the harpoon vessel crossed in front of the bow of the Sea Shepherd ship at 67° 29’ S 164 °01’ W.

The incident is a part of an attack by the Japanese whaling fleets’ three harpoon vessels, the Yushin Maru, Yushin Maru No. 2 and Yushin Maru No. 3 on the Sea Shepherd ships, The Steve Irwin and The Bob Barker, which began at approximately 0001 this morning AEDT. The ships were located at approximately 68° 40’ S and 163° 43’ W at the time the attack began.

The assault is an attempt to deter the Sea Shepherd ships from their current position, blocking the slipway of the Nisshin Maru, preventing the whalers from loading whales poached from the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.

During the attack, currently ongoing as of 0730 AEDT, the harpoon vessels overtook the Sea Shepherd ships from the stern, crossing the bow, and coming as close as three to five meters. Captain Peter Hammarstedt of The Bob Barker and Captain Siddarth Chakravarty of The Steve Irwin have thus far been able to steer out of the path of the encroaching harpoon vessels, only narrowly avoiding numerous potential collisions.

The whaling vessels have also made consecutive attempts to foul the propellers of the Sea Shepherd ships by dragging steel cable across the bow of the conservation ships. Further, the crew of the whaling vessels threw projectiles at The Steve Irwin’s small boat crew and turned water cannons on The Bob Barker’s small boat crew as they attempted to cut the steel cables.

This season, Sea Shepherd’s direct intervention has led to a disastrous January for the illegal operations of the Japanese whaling fleet. Early interception and a persistent chase has enabled the Sea Shepherd Fleet to effectively suspend whaling operations and allowed the fleet to take up position and secure the slipway of the Nisshin Maru.

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Sea Shepherd Whaling Update from Friday

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Sea Shepherd is seeing more success in blocking Japanese whaling operations:

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SEA SHEPHERD SECURES THE SLIPWAY OF THE NISSHIN MARU:

WHALING HALTED

Friday January 31, 2014 – Melbourne, Australia — As of 1700 AEDT today, the Sea Shepherd Fleet has shut down the operations of the Japanese whaling fleet for seven consecutive days. The Sea Shepherd ships now guard the slipway of the Nisshin Maru, rendering the factory vessel unable to butcher and process whale meat.

Captain of The Bob Barker, Peter Hammarstedt, said, “The primary strategy of our Antarctic Whale Defence Campaigns is to secure the slipway of the Nisshin Maru, and allow no dead whales to pass into this floating abattoir: We have achieved this goal. We will continue to block the slipway of this poaching ship, relentless in our mission to protect the whales and the sanctity of the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.”

Throughout January, the Sea Shepherd Fleet has engaged the Nisshin Maru for a total of nine days and has monitored the poachers for an additional two days from The Steve Irwin’s helicopter. Further, accounting for the three-day journey it would have taken the whalers to return to their self-designated killing grounds after being chased from the region, Sea Shepherd is able to say with absolute certainty that for at least 14 days of January, the Japanese whaling fleet has been unable to kill whales.

With half of the month of January accounted for, alongside the monitoring program by the Australian government and bad weather conditions that would have made whaling during this period difficult if not impossible, the whaling fleet has had a disastrous month. The whalers rely heavily upon January as their most profitable month, and Sea Shepherd is hailing January 2014 as our most successful in a decade of enforcing the 1986 international moratorium on commercial whaling.

Early interception and a persistent chase enabled the Sea Shepherd Fleet to effectively suspend whaling operations until they were able to take up position and secure the slipway of the Nisshin Maru.

Given the whalers average 25 whale kills on a good day, Sea Shepherd estimates that intervention during Operation Relentless has so far saved the lives of approximately 350 whales.

Captain of The Sam Simon, Adam Meyerson, said, “2014 has been a great year for the whales so far. Now that Sea Shepherd has a small navy, it gives us flexibility to use our ships to keep the whaling fleet on the run and out of the hunt indefinitely. We will not rest until this illegal fleet is driven from the sanctuary.”
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Pack of greyhound racing news

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The needle is moving in the positive direction in greyhound racing, as more news about the odds of shutting down the horrible industry in Iowa comes out. And hopefully, the Florida legislature will follow suit. The Herald-Tribune out of Florida ran an editorial yesterday about the decoupling effort, a move that could drop the requirement to hold dog races at casinos in the state. The next legislative session begins March 4. The editorial notes 12 of the 21 greyhound tracks in the country are in Florida. And then there’s the following tidbit about gambling dollars on dog racing, which have dropped:

… by 72 percent in Florida between 1990 and 2013. During the same period, taxes and fees paid by tracks and collected by the state dropped by 98 percent.

Again, I can’t say this enough: How could any taxpayer support the massive way a few of states have specifically supported this industry, with huge handouts and a requirement that it exist. What other business in the country gets this sort state backing – with a handouts and a guarantee they won’t be shut down, no matter how incredibly deep the losses go.

More good news is coming out of Australia, where the headline on the Young Witness website actually plays the news of greyhound racing’s decline as a bad thing. It’s seems there are ongoing funding cuts and talk of “now it’s all falling down around us” and “alleged mismanagement of the sport by GRNSW.” We can only hope the whole industry falls down – soon.

In some disgusting news out of Great Britain, a trainer is supporting a track in Wimbledon through a “Show of Passion” campaign. How about a show of “compassion” for the dogs by shutting down the industry for good.

And a great headline from Iowa ran Wednesday on TH Online website – “Negotiations would immediately end dog racing in Dubuque.”

Hopefully, an agreement is on the way that will allow both casinos in the state to end racing – with an end to the state mandates there.

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