Federal judge completely botches ruling on foie gras

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This one is really disappointing. A federal judge on Wednesday overturned a California ban on foie gras.

For those unfamiliar with this food product, it is an unnecessary delicacy that is manufactured by force-feeding through tubes stuffed down the throat of ducks or geese.

People eat meat. That will go on. But why does the process have to include cruelty to this level or to the level of gestation crates or battery cages? In many cases, animals lived better lives on farms in the 1800s.

But this product – foie gras – is a delicacy. It is completely unnecessary. So one less fancy item will be on some high-handed menu. And while some people won’t get to brag that they ate foie gras, more ducks and geese will be spared inhumane treatment.

I think the diners and chefs can at least give up this item.

ABC News quoted U.S. District Judge Stephen V. Wilson, who overturned the ban, as saying,

“California cannot regulate foie gras products’ ingredients by creatively phrasing its law in terms of the manner in which those ingredients were produced.”

What?

So if the production of an ingredient for a product was shown to put consumers’ health at risk, I guess Judge Wilson would claim the state couldn’t regulate it. I guess he thinks companies should be able to put lead back into the paint on toys and asbestos into homes.

So this judge doesn’t think a state can legislate against animal cruelty? Would he suggest a state could not regulate dog fighting, because the state cannot regulate a gambling operation based on the way the participants are produced?

Of course the states can and should be able to regulate food production, due to the manner in which the products are produced – for the goals of human health, food safety and the protection of animals.

It appears Judge Wilson based his ruling solely on the impact on the profit for high-end restaurants.

Maybe the judge needs to watch a video of who the birds are fed and then attempt to justify his misguided judgement.

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Video: HSUS assists with rescue at Alabama fighting-dog breeding operation

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It is so sad what some people will do for profit. In the case exposed below, it is called hog dog fighting.

The Humane Society of the US assisted law enforcement recently with a rescue at a breeding operation, where dogs are bred to fight pigs.

Degenerates actually place bets as dogs are released to attack pigs.

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Quick update – 2015 thus far: Deer farming, red wolves, sea fracking

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Three interesting bits of news from the Associated Press have come in on the Pack News Wire that I have not touched on as yet. So let’s toss out a quick update.

Deer farming: Nine public hearing were slated for January by the North Carolina Wildlife Commission, on the topic of deer farming. This practice involves raising deer on farms to be sold as game or directly for their meat and antlers.

Hunters are joining wildlife advocates to express concern for this sort of industry. One fear is for the risk of the spread of diseases.

Red Wolves: 2015 could be a key year for the red wolf. The Associated Press notes North Carolina has the only wild population of this wolf species. The program to maintain the species is being debated early this year.

Due to habitat loss and hunting, the red wolf populations were devastated. In 1987, red wolves were bred and released into the wild in an effort to restore their numbers.

Sea Fracking: An article from January 9 contained two stunning revelations.

If fracking waste is discharged by a company into the ocean, it is in most cases up the company to report the spill.

And one paragraph of the Associated Press piece states the following:

Little is known about the effects of the chemicals used in fracking on ocean life.

The Center for Biological Diversity has filed a lawsuit against the Obama administration and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, for failing to honor a request for public records.

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

HSUS rightfully praises one governor and slams another

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Wayne Pacelle of the Humane Society of the US praised the accomplishments of one outgoing governor and the slammed the negative record of another, in a blog post on Monday.

Pat Quinn is out as governor of Illinois. His record on animal welfare was a solid one. Pacelle noted he vetoed a bill on the way door that would have opened up trophy hunting and commercial trapping of bobcats.

Last year, Quinn signed into law a ban on the possession, sale, or distribution of shark fins. He signed the state’s puppy lemon law and an antifreeze safety law. He also fought for restrictions on tethering and promoted non-lethal methods for law-enforcement in handling animals and pushed for a ban on the trade of primates as pets.

But as pro-compassion as Quinn was, Pacelle counters with the horrible record of out-going Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman. He vetoed a bill to ban the trophy hunting of mountain lions and fought to preserve the horrible use of battery cages for hens and gestation crates for pigs.

Heinman seems to be charter member of anti-science and anti-compassion clubs.

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

More dogs than fans at greyhound races as industry continues big losses

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More bad news is circulating through the media concerning greyhound racing. The train of bad news hit the Al Jazeera America website earlier today.

In the video posted on the site, the stands were bare, save a very few individuals, for a recent race in Bonita Springs, Fla. While very few people even care to watch, we are reminded that a racing greyhound dies every three days in Florida.

Florida state Senator Maria Sachs, who gets a Pack Mentality Compassion Award today, is quoted as calling greyhound racing an “inhumane way of gambling.”

And then Izzy Havenick, who owns the Naples–Fort Myers Greyhound Track and Poker Room is quoted as saying, “We’re legally obliged to keep a business operating that loses $2.5 million a year.”

Sachs wants to see dog racing come to an end and supports legislation that would remove the dog-racing mandate and allow the casinos to close down the tracks if they choose to do so.

If only enough of her fellow legislators will agree with her, we could soon see an end to this inhumane industry.

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Dog’s new prosthetic legs allow him to run for the first time

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What an inspirational story this is! Derby was born with deformed front legs. But thanks to a new set of prosthetic limbs, similar to some human prosthetic devices, he is running with joy.

One look at Derby’s face in this video offers proof-positive that animals do experience emotions.

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

The bad news keeps rolling out for greyhound racing

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In Florida, supporters and insiders from the greyhound racing industry want to continue to force the state to prop up it up with influxes of money and in maintaining the state requirement that forces casinos to hold dog races.

I can’t think of any industry that enjoys protection from a state to this degree. And when we add in the fact that very few people are even attending these horrible races, we have to really wonder how anyone can justify these protections on any level.

With all of the terrible news we’ve seen on this topic over many years, the evidence for a full ban on the greyhound racing industry continues to pile up. This week, it’s a report from of WPTV out of West Palm Beach, Fla.

First up, Florida Representative Jared Moskowitz (D-Coral Springs) was quoted in the article as saying:

“No one is coming to watch the dogs run, I’ve been there I’ve seen it.”

Moskowitz has been told it is taking an average of eight months to bring cruelty cases out of greyhound tracks to completion. Half of the 16 current cruelty cases are more than a year old.

One proposal that has been debated for at least a couple of years now is to decouple greyhound racing from the state mandate, meaning no longer force the casinos to hold dog races. This would be solid step in the right direction. But the best, most humane option would be to ban dog racing everywhere – immediately.

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

All things are connected – and here’s how it works

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Matt Orr’s recent post on the Up Worthy website called the success of the reintroduction of wolves into the Yellowstone National Park = “One of the most exciting scientific findings of the last 50 years …”

Wolves were reintroduced into Yellowstone Park in 1995 and the results have been a resounding success. The results also offer solid proof of the interconnectivity of nature.

From the impacts on the population of deer in the park to their behavior changes to the regeneration of some of the forest areas to the good news for songbirds and beavers to muskrats, ducks, otters, fish to bald eagles and bears.

When nature is allowed to do its thing – without the negative impacts that some people and entities inflict on the environment – then beautiful things can happen.

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

WildAid releases statement on California’s move to strengthen ivory ban

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WildAid has released a statement concerning California AB 96, the bill set to toughen up California’s ivory ban.

I hope we will see other states follow, but it would be great to see similar legislation at the federal level.

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The bill introduced today by California Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins would close loopholes that have made if difficult, if not nearly impossible, to enforce California’s 40-year-old ban on ivory.

For decades, criminals have used the legal trade of ivory imported prior to 1977 in order to launder illegal ivory from Africa, where 33,000 elephants are killed for their tusks every year. With the passage of this bill, California would join New York and New Jersey in closing this loophole and adopting stiffer criminal and civil penalties on the sale of ivory.

WildAid supports AB 96 and encourages California’s legislature to join us in our fight to save Africa’s remaining elephants before it’s too late.

ABOUT WILDAID
WildAid is the only organization to focus on reducing the demand for wildlife products. WildAid works with hundreds of Asian and Western political figures, celebrities and business leaders, including the Duke of Cambridge, Yao Ming, Jackie Chan, Edward Norton and Sir Richard Branson, to dissuade people from purchasing endangered wildlife products. WildAid’s public service messages and educational initiatives reach hundreds of millions of people per week in China alone through donated media space. “When the buying stops, the killing can too.”

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PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

California representative introduces bill to strengthen ban on the sale of ivory

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Toni G. Atkins gets a Pack of Compassion Award for this effort. The following is a full release from the speaker of the assembly’s office:

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Speaker Toni G. Atkins Introduces Bill to Protect Elephants and Rhinos from Poachers

SACRAMENTO–In response to the global wildlife crisis in which an average of 96 elephants are being slaughtered daily for their ivory in Africa, Assembly Speaker Toni G. Atkins today introduced AB 96 to close loopholes that prevent the effective enforcement of existing California law prohibiting the sale of ivory. Senator Ricardo Lara is the Principal Co-author of the bill.

“The slaughter of elephants for their tusks and rhinos for their horns is as senseless as it is cruel,” said Speaker Atkins (D-San Diego). “California recognized that and enacted a law almost 40 years ago to end the ivory trade here, but that law needs strengthening in order to be effective. AB 96 closes the loophole that allows the illegal ivory trade to continue to flourish and adds real enforcement teeth to the law so California can do our part to end the slaughter.”

“Elephants and rhinos are being slaughtered and mutilated at an unprecedented rate and driven to extinction due to demand for their tusks and horns,” said Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens). “If we are serious about protecting endangered species and ensuring that they will be here for future generations to appreciate, California must take a decisive step in stopping, once and for all, the sale or trade of ivory and rhinos horns.”

International, federal and state laws are all being strengthened to protect iconic species from cruelty and extinction. The states of New York and New Jersey recently enacted strong prohibitions on intra-state ivory and rhino-horn commerce and the federal government has proposed strengthened ivory trade and import regulations.

In a new report commissioned by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Elephant Ivory Trafficking in California, USA, the investigator examined more than 1,250 ivory items offered for sale by 107 vendors in Los Angeles and San Francisco. He found that up to 90% of the ivory for sale in Los Angeles and approximately 80% in San Francisco was likely illegal under California law—much of it advertised as antiques and/or crafted to look older so it would appear legal, though the pieces were more likely from recently-killed elephants. Additionally, the incidence of what appears to be ivory of recent manufacture roughly doubled from approximately 25% in 2006 to about 50% in 2014.

AB 96 would prohibit a person from purchasing, selling, offering for sale, possessing with intent to sell, or importing with intent to sell elephant ivory or rhinoceros horn, except as specified under very limited educational and scientific circumstances, and would make this prohibition enforceable by the Department of Fish and Wildlife.

The bill would make a violation of this provision a misdemeanor subject to specified graduated criminal penalties.  In addition to the specified criminal penalties, the bill would authorize the department to impose a civil penalty of up to $10,000 for a violation of this provision or any rule, regulation, or order adopted pursuant to this provision.

AB 96 is supported by a host of community, environmental, and animal protection groups including the NRDC, The Humane Society of the United States/Humane Society International, Wildlife Conservation Society, California Zoo & Aquarium Association, Oakland Zoo, and the Asian Pacific Alliance for Wildlife & Sustainability. Additionally, nearly a dozen state lawmakers including wildlife policy committee chairs in both the Assembly and the Senate have already signed on as co-authors of AB 96.

The provisions of AB 96 would become operative on July 1, 2016.

What others are saying:

“We are grateful to Speaker Atkins and Senator Lara for pursuing closure of the loophole in California’s decades-old ivory ban that has allowed this pernicious trade to flourish in our state,” said Jennifer Fearing, a consultant with The Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society International. “Californians don’t support trade here in products that put elephants and rhinos in jeopardy of cruelty and extinction.”

“It’s shocking how much ivory is being sold in California. Up to 90% of the ivory being sold in Los Angeles and 80% in San Francisco is likely illegal, according to an independent study commissioned by NRDC, with much of it being altered to look older so that it will appear legal,” said Elly Pepper, an NRDC wildlife advocate. “Too much ivory is slipping through the cracks. It’s time for California to do more to protect the lives of elephants, and we are thrilled to see the California legislature take this huge step.”

Said John Calvelli, WCS Executive Vice President for Public Affairs and Director of the 96 Elephants campaign: “The Wildlife Conservation Society and the 96 Elephants campaign praises Speaker Atkins and Senator Lara for their leadership in moving toward passing a statewide ban on ivory. We are driving these magnificent animals toward extinction across Africa unless we stop the killing of an estimated 96 elephants each day, stop the trafficking and stop the demand for ivory. As long as demand for ivory remains high and enforcement efforts are low, the legal trade will continue to serve as a front for criminal syndicates. A California ban on ivory sales is an important step forward in this global effort to save elephants.”

“Research shows that Asian Pacific Americans are among the strongest supporters of conservation and environmental protection. On behalf of Asian Pacific Americans everywhere, the Asian Pacific Alliance for Wildlife & Sustainability (APAWS) is proud to support Speaker Toni Atkins’ AB 96 to close down illegal ivory trafficking in California that contributes to the cruel global decimation of elephants and other precious wildlife,” stated Judy Ki, chair of APAWS.

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PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic