PETA’s video report on the abuses in horse racing

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PETA released the following report this week, with undercover video concerning the horrors of horse racing. The New York Times focused on the news as well.

When profit motives are mixed with animals – most notably here with animal racing – the outcome is routinely horrible for the animals.

Now is the time to ban horse racing and greyhound racing. For every day that passes, horses and dogs are dying at alarming rates, while countless more are suffering.

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Smithsonian Video: Young Rhino recovering after being shot by poachers

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This video is from 2010, but I just received it in an email today. And it is very much worth sharing, as brutally evil poachers are trying to wipe rhinos off the face of the Earth – in the name of GREED.

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Clueless commentary misrepresents the animal-welfare movement

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Once again, we find someone trying to justify the abuse of animals – as somehow something that should be protected as freedom.

An individual named Michael Rubin produced an editorial for Commentary Magazine, which was posted on March 19 under the headline – “Are Animal-Rights Activists Really Concerned About Animals?”

The writer jumps into two huge propaganda strategies often used by those who wish to defend the abuse of animals. He calls it “animal rights” and he attacks PETA.

In reality, the movement is about animal welfare and yes, we feel animals should be protected from abuse. If he wants to call that animal rights, fine. But anyone suggesting animals should not be protected from abuse is way over on the extremist end of the scale.

And look, PETA is PETA. It sometimes uses provocative means to draw attention to animal abuse. No matter what opinion anyone might have about PETA, talking about it does nothing to alter the reality animal abuse.

But Rubin goes beyond these two diversions to defend the use of animals – particularly elephants – in circuses. First, the use of hooks to train elephants is terrible. Secondly, elephants belong in their natural habitats.

He claims elephants are “healthy and stimulated” in circuses and “often become bored and depressed” when their entertainment days are over. And he uses the typical greyhound-racing defense in calling them working animals. And then he attempts to make two wrongs into a right by suggesting the dangers of poaching means it’s okay to pull them from their habitats for circus entertainment.

The far better option is putting the full effort into protecting the habitat from poaching.

Rubin certainly has a right to express his opinion in a commentary, but this doesn’t mean he can get away with misrepresenting the animal-welfare movement. And certainly he needs to educate himself in the area of animal suffering and self-awareness.

And getting back to the headline, he does nothing to show “animal-rights activists” are not concerned about animals.


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Confusing story out of Arizona, concerning proposed animal-cruelty laws

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I’m not quite sure what to make of an article posted March 11 on the Arizona Daily Sun website – under the headline: “Lawmakers create cruelty exceptions for farm animals.”

The story starts out as reporting the state legislature had created special exceptions in regard to acts of animal cruelty, for farmers and ranchers. (Translated – “factory farms.”)

So apparently two provisions were removed, so that factory farms could be protected. But then we read that one of the provisions removed would have stripped the power from police departments to investigate acts of cruelty on the farms. The power would have completely fallen under the Department of Agriculture.

If that provision had remained, police would not have been able to investigate the abuse of the horses, goats and sheep in back yards. But then the article suggests new language was added to allow police to investigate and alert the Department of Agriculture.

But the we read where:

Also gone is a mandate that anyone with a video, photograph or other evidence of cruelty must turn that over to the Department of Agriculture within five days or risk jail time and a fine.

It seems to me allowing police to investigate animal cruelty on farms and removing ag-gag regulations would be opposed by factory farms and would not be considered as exceptions for factory farms.

The one aspect reported from the new bill that does go easy on farmers is one that set a penalty of six months in jail and a $2,500 fine if the act of abuse is inflected on a farm animal. The article notes:

Existing laws make many forms of abuse of any animal, farm or domestic, a felony with potentially two years in state prison and a $150,000 fine.

But then the articles notes the measure might not gain passage unless the concerns of farmers and ranchers are addressed, as if they are not yet getting any special treatment in the bill.

So is it that the farmers and ranchers want complete immunity from charges if they are found to be abusing animals and do they not even like the lesser charges included in the bill, even though the story seems to indicated they are getting exceptions?

Wow. We need some clarification here.


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Idaho ag-gag law challenged by ACLU

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The ACLU is rightfully challenging Idaho’s new ag-gag law, recently signed by Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter.

It’s troubling to consider that the response from the Governor and state legislature, to the release of undercover video showing farm animals being abused, was an effort to protect those who are abusing animals.

It is also now against the law in Idaho to capture images of livestock damaging public lands through grazing. So the supporters of this law want to ban the taking of photos or video on public property.

It is unbelievable. Are we Russia or the United States? Do the citizens of Idaho actually want to protect those who abuse animals? Does this state really want us to move back into the 1700s?


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Editorial in support of greyhound racing goes off the rails

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A recent, fantastic blog post by fellow greyhound supporter Ironicus Maximus, exposed the off-the-chart comments by a supporter of greyhound racing.

The editorial referenced by Ironicus appeared Thursday on the all-propaganda, all-the-time website – Grey2K Lies. It was written by Amy Cochran, who claims to have been anti-racing before learning more about dog racing and becoming an advocate of the industry.

There are three possibilities here:  Either it’s sort a Stephen Cobert twist on her thoughts or she somehow uneducated herself or she was really never anti-dog racing. No reasonable person could learn more about this industry and then move into the direction of supporting it.

While Cochran features a number of errors in her post, she loses all credibility with the following:

They are exercised every day either in the sprint pen or on the track.  I guarantee you, these dogs are in better shape, physically, mentally, and emotionally, than your pet greyhound.

So dogs caged for around 20 hours per day and deprived of the typical play time and freedom and companionship of our dogs are happier? This is complete nonsensical nonsense developed through nonsense.(Did I mention nonsense?)

We’ve adopted six rescued greyhounds over the last decade-and-a-half. Some came to us with emotional problems such as sleep aggression. In all of them, we witnessed the transformation, from troubled and unsure to healthy, happy dogs.And then get this:

And sadly, I’ve seen pet greyhounds that just lay on the couch, head down, and eyes closed. Sorry folks, that dog, that pet, is depressed and he’s moping.

Sorry Amy, I think that’s called – “resting” or “sleeping.”

And later, she talks about the needs, wants and desires of greyhounds and then asked the dog lovers among us to “stop anthropomorphizing them.” The red flag of propaganda goes to the top of the pole when people on that side toss out the anthropomorphizing phrase, one they really don’t understand.

Dogs and other animals do experience emotions and do suffer both physically and emotionally. To discuss our common emotional traits is not anthropomorphizing. A basic understanding of animal cognition and self-awareness could go a long way to helping Cochran understand animals and animal welfare.

There are so many misconceptions in her post. I was completely stunned by it. I realize the pro-racing side has to defend itself and there is really nothing reasonable about this industry. So I guess this sort of misinformation is all they have. I get it.

She claims the tracks are better than you because they have vets on hand. Yet, I’ve seen many dogs go to adoption groups with untreated fractures in their legs, for example. And of course, as I’ve noted so many times, the breeding practices are horrible.

If the care is so great inside racing, why do rescue groups talk about having to give flea and tick treatments to the dogs immediately and address other medical needs?

Other twists from her editorial:

– She claims the crates are great because she can fit inside them. (Not that she would want to spend any time locked in.) And she says the bottoms are lined with either “luxury” pieces of carpet or “a mountain of fluffy newspaper strips.” (Maybe it really is all tongue-in-cheek. She can’t really believe this stuff, can she?)

– She talks about euthanasia and cries that other dogs are euthanized and makes comparison with shelters. But it is indefensible to kill the number of dogs that greyhound racing has killed, merely because they could no longer make money for industry insiders. Cochran fails to mention this side of the industry.

– Then she somehow claims the effort to shut down racing, an act that will save many thousands of greyhounds from injury and death, will put the dogs “in the line of fire.” Again – completely nonsensical.


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Legislation Update: Greyhound racing, puppy mills and animal cruelty

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There has been some positive movement around the map of late, on greyhound racing to animal-cruelty laws.

South Dakota finally joined the ranks of the states with felony animal cruelty laws, becoming the 50th state to enact more serious punishment for severe acts of cruelty to animals.

Thanks to the recent passage of SB 46, cockfighting also becomes a felony in South Dakota and the HSUS reports it is now a felony in 41 states.

GREY2K USA’s Carey Theil reviewed recent legislation on greyhound racing in his Saving Greys blog. Colorado officially banned dog racing this month and West Virginia could cut racing subsidies by 10 percent.

The Iowa State House could hopefully vote soon on a bill to decouple dog racing from the two casinos in the state and in Florida, a bill could help reduce the number of races there. And thankfully, we’re seeing injury reports in Florida that should shine more light on the horrors taking place.

The West Virginia legislation will cut “infrastructure, thoroughbred development, greyhound racing and the racetrack modernization fund” by 10 percent, according to Thankfully, the bill passed in a big way.

It’s a small step in the right direction But we need to see a complete ban. This most-recent move was prompted by budget concerns. The state could move closer to a balanced budget and end the suffering for the dogs by completely banning dog racing.

In Virginia, at last report, Baily’s Law is only waiting for Governor McAuliffe’s signature. The bill would require pet dealers to reimburse particular veterinary fees within 14 days, for pets they have sold who later require care. And pet stores will be required to reveal the identity of the breeders they use.

Another good step to cut down on puppy mill breeding, but why not ban the sale of pets in stores and why not require breeders across the board to cover veterinary care in cases where a puppy or kitten is found to have genetic problems or health problems that are a result of breeding practices?


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Very informative article digs deeper into Iowa greyhound racing

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The negative news out greyhound racing continues to roll out at a fast pace, for an industry already buried under decades of negative news and information. How any state could allow this sort of activity within its borders is beyond belief.

The Des Moines Register’s latest article on Iowa dog racing, published Wednesday, contains the following, from an interview with Mystique (Casino) General Manager Jesus Aviles:

Aviles said in an interview he views Iowa’s greyhound industry as being controlled by a handful of people that are reaping huge rewards from greyhound races that are no longer attracting race fans or wagers. He provided statistics showing that the top 10 purse recipients in Iowa are pulling in an average of $712,413 annually and that $5.6 million in annual purse payments are leaving the state of Iowa.

Pretty stunning, isn’t it. But there’s more. Rick Dickinson, president of the Greater Dubuque Development Corp. is saying the industry is stalling on a proposed deal with the states casinos. The casinos want to drop the state-mandates to hold dog races. The racing insiders want a deal and some payout and to be allowed to open dog tracks elsewhere in the state.

Dickerson is quoted as saying, “They want to play “rope-a-dope” until the end of the session and then start over again next year.”

If only enough members of the state legislature would just vote to ban dog racing altogether, the could come to a wonderful end for the dogs.

But get this, the article reports Iowa’s two casinos are hemorrhaging around $13.5 million per year, in losses coming from subsidizing the two dog tracks. The casinos have offered to pay the dog-racing industry $70 over seven years, in a deal shut down the racing.

The racing side wants $95 million. It’s crazy. A payoff is hanging over the heads of the dogs. If the industry gets even $70 million, it should be forced to pay for the costs of medical care and boarding for the dogs, as they are transported to rescue groups.


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March 16-22: National Poison Prevention Week

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I received the following release from Pet Poison Helpline, as it relates to National Poison Prevention Week.

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Stocking a Pet First Aid Kit and Poison Prevention Tips from Pet Poison Helpline

MINNEAPOLIS – March 11, 2014 – National Poison Prevention Week is March 16 – 22, 2014, and while much of the focus is on educating parents of small children, Pet Poison Helpline says to remember that pets can be just as vulnerable! Dogs and cats have insatiable curiosity and tend to get into trouble investigating new things by licking or tasting them. This is because some foods, medications and other household items that are safe for humans can be devastating to pets. The veterinary and toxicology experts at Pet Poison Helpline offer two important tips for keeping pets safe:

1)  Keep Dangerous Items out of Reach

Most homes have hidden dangers in medicine cabinets, purses, kitchens and garages. Pet owners should familiarize themselves with things poisonous to dogs and cats, and keep them stowed out of reach. The best resource for information, including a comprehensive list items dangerous to pets, is Pet Poison Helpline’s website and mobile app.

2)  Stock a Pet First Aid Kit

In the event of an unfortunate mishap, a properly stocked Pet First Aid Kit can contribute to a much happier ending. Here are recommended contents:

For Potentially Poisoned Pets:

Phone number for Pet Poison Helpline: 1-800-213-6680
Hydrogen peroxide 3 percent used to induce vomiting in dogs– make sure it’s not expired
Oral dosing syringe or turkey baster – for administering hydrogen peroxide
Teaspoon/tablespoon set – for measuring appropriate amount of hydrogen peroxide
Liquid hand dish washing detergent, such as Dawn or Palmolive
Rubber or latex gloves
Triple antibiotic ointment, like Neosporin™
Vitamin E (a small container of oil or several gel caps)
Diphenhydramine tablets 25mg – with NO other combination ingredients
Ophthalmic saline solution or artificial tears
Can of tuna packed in water or tasty canned pet food
Sweet electrolyte-containing beverage
Corn syrup (1/4 cup)
Vegetable oil (1/2 cup)
For Injured Pets:

Phone number for local emergency veterinary hospital
Gauze roll and pads
Medical tape
Ruler or other rigid material for splint
Scissors and tweezers
Thermometer and sterile lubricant, like KY™ jelly
Rubber or latex gloves
Towel or blanket
Muzzle (for dogs)
Cone collar (for cats)
Triple antibiotic ointment, like Neosporin™
Ophthalmic saline solution – make sure it does not contain any cleaners or soaps
Store the items in a plastic or other waterproof container, and in a location out of the reach of pets. Especially when poisoning is suspected, it’s imperative to call Pet Poison Helpline or your veterinarian prior to administering any therapies at home. They will first help you determine if the item ingested was poisonous to begin with, and will then advise what the treatment or antidote is and whether or not inducing vomiting is recommended.

“It’s really important to be wary of ‘home remedies’ found on the Internet when treating a potentially poisoned pet,” said Ahna Brutlag, DVM, MS, DABT, DABVT and associate director of veterinary services at Pet Poison Helpline. “We hear it all – pet owners who, after Googling their situation, hope to resolve it by giving the pet milk, burnt toast, raw eggs, peanut butter, or table salt. These remedies simply don’t work and can cause additional undue stress for the pet and owner.”

The Case of Penny

Pet poisonings usually happen when least expected, and are often caused by seemingly harmless events. For example, earlier this year, Penny, a three year-old, 13 pound, Jack Russell terrier consumed 10-12 children’s gummy multivitamins. Within hours, Penny started vomiting, became unsteady on her feet, and collapsed at home. She was then rushed to the veterinarian. After her initial examination, she was found to have very low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). While she improved a little after starting her on IV sugar source (dextrose), the veterinarian ended up calling Pet Poison Helpline for further treatment advice.  It was found that the vitamins Penny consumed contained an extraordinarily large amount of xylitol, a common sweetener ingredient that can be poisonous to dogs. Penny had ingested enough to cause fatality. The following day, Penny began to develop liver problems but, thankfully, after two days of intensive treatment, her liver began to recover and she was eventually released from the hospital in excellent condition. In this case, the pet owner could have given Penny 1/4 cup of corn syrup from a Pet First Aid Kit to help raise her blood sugar while being transported to the pet hospital.

Accidents can and do happen, but outcomes are much better when pet owners are prepared. When adverse situations arise, don’t hesitate to call a veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline at 1-800-213-6680.
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