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.”

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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

Important new terminology coined for behavioral condition

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We all see the news accounts of celebrities and regular Joes engaged in really stupid activities – from drunk driving to substance abuse to other extreme behavior. We all read about the votes cast by politicians and the statements some of them make, based on warped ideas.

We all see the completely illogical statements made by those fighting against legal protections for animals, to shield them from horrible abuse. We can come up with countless examples of people doing really stupid things.

But until now, science did not have all-encompassing term to cover these behaviors or actions. Let’s call the condition – “Self-Inflicted Brain Deficiency Syndrome.”

Th condition can be cured with an injection of common sense. But when the condition is advanced, the subject’s brain can reject common sense.

A number of young celebrities bouncing around the headlines of late have Self-Inflicted Brain Deficiency Syndrome. They are following the dead-end path so many others before them followed. But they can’t see it, because they choose to have Self-Inflicted Brain Deficiency Syndrome.

Congressman Steve King, who has expressed opposition to animal-welfare bills, including those that would make it federal crime to attend a dog fight. Steve King has Self-Inflicted Brain Deficiency Syndrome. Okay, it’s possible that in some cases, it isn’t self-inflicted.

 

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Videos show dogs trying to revive friends

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I received a link today to a video showing a dog trying to revive his friend, who had been struck and killed on a highway. (I won’t post the video here, as it is too emotional.)

I noticed a few other videos on the YouTube page with the same theme and the thoughts that this shows dogs showing compassion for others. I am a true believer. The dogs are shown pawing or nuzzling their friends or licking them, trying to revived them – and sitting close by.

It offers more evidence, above the already irrefutable evidence that dogs (and other animals) do have self-awareness and a state of consciousness.

 

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

The clinching evidence for a complete ban on greyhound racing

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We already knew dogs are dying at an alarming rate in greyhound racing and we already knew that too many of the dogs never make it out alive, despite the propaganda-like adoption percentages coming out of the industry.

But now we have the inside numbers, straight off the Florida dog tracks – the state with by far the most tracks of any state.

The Tampa Bay Times ran an article on Saturday, reporting 74 greyhounds died at Florida tracks over only a seven-month span last year. We might never have known, if not for a new regulation that went into effect last spring, requiring the tracks to report deaths.

So between May 31 and December 31, a greyhound died every three days. And do we know whether or not the numbers include dogs taken away to be killed after their racing days are over? I would suggest 74 deaths certainly does not offer the complete picture of what is going on.

But 74 deaths in seven months is best described as an extreme tragedy. And this tragedy is forced to continue by the Florida law that requires casinos to run a set number of racing each year. There is a legislative move underway to decouple the races from the casinos – or in other words, drop this idiotic requirement.

And on top of all of this is the status of the industry overall. It is bleeding losses. The Tampa Bay Times article notes the Bonita Springs track in Naples lost $2.5 million last year.

So how is the industry responding to the death numbers? The American Greyhound Council put out a press release on Tuesday. In it, the AGC states “… we are proud to report that fewer than one-half of one percent of all racing starts result in injuries, and only a tiny fraction of those result in a greyhound fatality.”

So 74 deaths in seven months is acceptable because of the huge number of races held? I’m sure drunk drivers who kill people would love to use this sort of illogical defense. They would love to tell the jury that it’s not so bad that they killed someone, because they’ve driven drunk hundreds of times and passed thousands of cars in the process.
Trying to justify the horrible number of greyhound deaths with percentages ranks as one the worst excuses in history.
And then get this little tidbit from the release:
Greyhound breeders and kennel operators have adopted some of the toughest self-regulatory standards of any animal industry.
As we say in the South – “That ain’t sayin’ much.” It would be like the 2013 Oakland Raiders touting success by saying, “We won more games than Houston.”
What the numbers really tell us goes to the horrible level of deaths in greyhound racing. The numbers tell us the tragedy has gone on far too long. Tomorrow is the best day to ban greyhound racing – forever. Thankfully, groups like GREY2K USA are working to this goal.
PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Misspeak of the Week: Iowa Senator on greyhound racing

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One of the biggest misspeaks of the week goes to Iowa Sen. Jeff Danielson (D-Cedar Falls), who was quoted by KWWL.com as saying a quicker phase-out of greyhound racing in the state would “be irresponsible.”

Senator Danielson must have been misquoted or must have misspoke – right? Does he realize that it is the greyhound racing industry itself that is irresponsible? The faster we can end greyhound racing, the faster it is that the dogs can be rescued and adopted into loving homes. It is irresponsible and cruel to allow the suffering and the injuries and the deaths to continue for another day.

Maybe he was misquoted, because otherwise it seems he does not understand the meaning of the word.

And the article published Feb. 13 reports Danielson and a Senate committee will look into a second draft of legislation that would allow casinos in Iowa to drop greyhound racing. But this second version was developed by the Iowa Greyhound Association (a breeder group).

The dog-racing industry should be the last group considered for input on legislation that could impact animal welfare.

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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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