What you will notice about the Pack Mentality Blog

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As you see in the previous post, I am very open to discussion about the topics I am covering. As long as the folks who are commenting don’t use offensive language or issue threats against others, I will not delete comments.

I want open discussion about animal welfare. Anyone with an opposing view is welcome to offer their take on the topics, as long as we can debate without crossing the lines into personal attacks and offensive stuff.

The individuals who commented in the previous post stayed within the margins. I appreciate that. Some of the comments weren’t based on the evidence at hand, but that’s okay. They’re all entitled to their opinions.

Just wanted to toss this out, as I’ve read that some other blogs delete anything the blogger disagrees with. I’m for open debate. I’m that positive that my positions are firmly based on reason and compassion.

Thanks everybody.

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Interesting comments in support of breeder are actually a challenge to puppy-mill practices

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The case where a group of Old English Sheepdog (edit – Bulldog) puppies were taken from a home-breeder in Waukegan, Ill. has drawn a lot of national attention. It seems the breeder was violating a local ordinance, but now the rescue group holding the puppies and city staffers (including the police) have received threats of violence.

On Chicago Now’s “Raining Cats and Dogs” blog, the comments are all over the map. So I jumped in this week in the comment section to offer my take.

The following sums up some of my input:

Comments concerning puppies actually support bans on selling puppies before they are ready to leave their mothers.

It is interesting to read the comments from those who support the breeder in the story, where concern is expressed for separating puppies from moms at too young an age.
But if anyone introduced legislation to ban the sale of puppies before the age of 10 to 12 weeks or so, the AKC and other breeder organizations would scream and lobby heavily against it.

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Rescue groups and shelters often have no choice. They either take in puppies dropped off at shelters at a very young age or take in puppies from a rescue case.

But it is time to ban the sale of puppies before they are ready to leave their moms, where they learn important social skills and gather other benefits. And the breeders should not be allowed to separate them from the moms.

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Actually, there are behavioral concerns. Puppies learn social skills from their moms and litter mates.
All dogs are actually wolf-hybrids and in the wild, wolf puppies stay with their moms much longer – of course.

And as far as breeding goes overall, there are real concerns out in the real world. I regularly note that there are good breeders, but far too many are not at all concerned with breeding with concern for long-term health.

I’ve heard too many stories of young dogs getting cancer. I’ve had too many people tell me about their purchased dogs that ended up with serious knee deformities or cancers or hip problems or behavior problems.

We have been talking to one person of late who purchased a pair of puppies just four years ago. One had both knees operated on and the other had liver problems and is now dead due to an oral cancer.
One family we know adopted four ex-racing greyhounds and all four died young from osteosarcoma.

We need far better regulations on breeders, so that only the quality breeders are operating. Who wants a bunch of substandard breeders – not only harming dogs but giving good breeders a bad name?
Who could support a system like that. which is what we have now?

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Clearly, there are good and bad breeders. We all know that. I have no problems with the breeders are researching and working with concern for quality breeding. These breeders are not the problem.

I’ve clearly stated that we need to weed out the bad breeders (puppy mills, etc) so that only the quality breeders remain.
That is clearly a logical position that everyone should support. Who would support bad breeding?

The issue has been the breeders who fail to engage in research and continue to breed dogs with health issues.
We also know there is a problem with purebred dogs because of the rise in specific breed rescue groups. People tend to too often site numbers from municipal shelters without taking into account the purebred dogs up for adoption in rescue groups.

Yes, irresponsible pet guardians are a problem, along with irresponsible breeders. We should address both. I often do.
Last year, I spoke at a meeting for a local shelter and told the attendees that while they debating over the particular issues of care within the shelter (very important) I was watching dogs and cats coming in the door.

We must debate these topics knowing it is a complex issue. We can’t let bad breeders off the hook because bad people are taking in pets.
I don’t want to see people dumping their pets or not caring for them and I don’t want to see bad breeders continue to operate.

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Good breeders already comply with the provisions in every proposed anti-puppy mill bill I’ve read. But we continue to see opposition to shutting down the bad breeders.
And yes, I have visited breeding operations where the dogs were housed properly and had access to play yards and clean food and water.

Again, why would anyone want bed breeders to continue to operate?

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In my home state, breed rescues have seen huge growth over the last 15 years. We’ve always had bad pet guardians. But in the last 15 years, the homeless problem has gotten worse, with even purebred dogs.

(One commenter took the typical route of those opposed to breeding regulations, by suggesting there are no definitions to the phrase – puppy mill. I had one ready for them.) –

A puppy mill is any breeding operation that —
A) Houses dogs in dirty cages too small for them to freely move about – and does not contain clean bedding.
B) Does not allow the dogs daily time for exercise in a safe, outdoor play area.
C) Denies the dogs regular veterinary care.
D) Does not offer the dogs proper food and water.
E) Separates the puppies from their mothers at too young an age.

These are the typical provisions contained in proposed anti-puppy mill bills and laws. Want a definition of a puppy mill? It’s any breeder who does not comply with the above.

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We have too often seen even inspected operations finally exposed as puppy mills, because the current regulations are far too weak.
Let’s weed out the bad breeders and puppy mills and leave breeding to quality breeders. Who could oppose that?

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Obviously, the puppy mills are not being inspected – as for one thing there are too few inspectors.
We’ve also seen where inspectors allowed horrible conditions to go on – through multiple inspections.

Only recently has legislation been proposed to cover all breeders, those who sell to commercial operations and over the internet.

We need to make sure the dogs get regular play time and clean housing and clean food and water. Sadly, too often this is not happening.

The USDA license is too often – sadly – not worth the paper it’s printed on and it will be until the regulations are improved.

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Sea Shepherd vessel pulling another huge gillnet from southern ocean

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I just received another press release from Sea Shepherd, concerning a second expansive gillnet. This effort could save countless marine animals from become trapped in these devices.

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SEA SHEPHERD COMMENCES RECOVERY OF SECOND “MONSTER” GILLNET

Within two hours of successfully recovering the 25 kilometre-long illegal gillnet abandoned by the Interpol-listed poaching vessel Thunder, the Sea Shepherd ship Sam Simon reported that it has located a second, “monster” gillnet.

The second illegal gillnet was found on the December 29, 2014 at 62˚ 20′ South, 081˚ 18′ East, just a few miles from the first net, inside the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) area of management.

Using photographic evidence, Sea Shepherd has been able to confirm that the most recent gillnet is also the property of the Nigerian-flagged, Thunder, which fled from the region on December 17.

The crew of Sam Simon has commenced a recovery operation to remove the illegal gillnet from the Antarctic waters. Captain of the Sam Simon, Sid Chakravarty, said, “With more streamlined and efficient operations in round two, I am confident that we will recover the entire length of this net in just a few days. Thereafter I will move on to scout and clear the Banzare Bank of any other nets laid down by the Thunder.”

Based on the the first 24 hours of the retrieval operation, it is expected that the haul of the “monster” gillnet is twice that of the previously confiscated 25 kilometre-long gillnet.

Captain Chakravarty said, “This monster net has entangled and suffocated marine life, killing them in the most undignified way imaginable. My decks look like a battlefield with many of the recovered creatures in advanced stages of decomposition. The large number of dead animals that we have documented is proof of the wide-spread destruction that the Thunder has wreaked over its decade-long onslaught on the Southern Ocean. ”

Sea Shepherd has reported the second retrieval operation to the relevant law enforcement authorities, including Interpol, CCAMLR, the Australian Fisheries Management Authority and the Australian Federal Police. The confiscated equipment will serve as physical evidence of the Thunder’s illegal activity and will be handed-over to authorities to aid in prosecution of the Thunder.

A known poaching vessel, the Thunder was issued with an Interpol Purple Notice following a joint effort by Norwegian, New Zealand and Australian authorities, and is currently included on CCAMLR’s black-list of Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing operators.

The use of gillnets has been outlawed by CCAMLR since 2004, and the Commission has specifically expressed concerns regarding the impact of this fishing method on the marine ecosystems of Antarctica.

The Sea Shepherd ship, Bob Barker, has been in pursuit of the Thunder for seventeen days and is now in the South Indian Ocean, having escorted the poachers out of the CCAMLR region on December 29. During this time the Thunder has been unable to engage in any further illegal fishing.

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PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Sea Shepherd ship pulls huge illegal gillnet from Southern Ocean

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This release is from Sea Shepherd. Another great effort from this organization.

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SEA SHEPHERD RETRIEVES 25 KILOMETRES OF ILLEGAL GILLNET FROM THE SOUTHERN OCEAN

In an operation that lasted for five days, the crew of the Sea Shepherd ship, Sam Simon, has successfully completed the retrieval of an illegal gillnet, abandoned by the poaching vessel, Thunder. The outlawed fishing gear was located at 62˚ 16’ South 081˚ 14 East, inside the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) area of management, in the Southern Ocean.

The thirty-strong crew, made up of volunteers from fifteen nations, worked 24 hours a day to retrieve the illegal gillnet, which measured a total of 25 kilometres in length.

Over 200 targeted Patagonian and Antarctic toothfish were found dead in the gillnet, the largest approximately 1.6 meters long. Scientists on board the Sam Simon confirmed that a number of the dead toothfish were females of a reproductive age, and were carrying eggs.

Non-target species including rays, jellyfish, crabs and a staggering number of grenadiers were also found dead after being caught in illegal fishing gear. A majority of the crabs caught in the net were still alive, and were able to be released back into the Southern Ocean.

Captain of the Sam Simon, Sid Chakravarty, said, “With the confiscation of the illegally laid gillnet set combined with the pursuit of the Thunder by the Bob Barker, Operation Icefish has achieved what it had set out to do in less than a month from when it was kicked-off. The shadowlands of Antarctica, used by this wasteful and destructive industry, are being cleared of their illegal vessels, and the marine life of this pristine ecosystem is being given the protection they deserve.”

He added, ““Having hauled in the illegally-set gill net continuously for 5 days, the Sam Simon crew has given the world a chance to observe first-hand the destruction caused by this fishing method. Never has any conservation movement seen the recovery, confiscation and documentation of such length of gear. The onus is now on the relevant international authorities to use this evidence to prosecute the Thunder.”

Starting tomorrow, the Sam Simon will continue to scout the region around Banzare Bank on the lookout for more gillnet sets laid out by the Thunder.

Captain Chakravarty has reported the salvage operation to the relevant authorities, including Interpol, CCAMLR, the Australian Fisheries Management Authority and Australian Federal Police. The confiscated equipment will be kept as evidence of the Thunder’s illegal activity, and handed-over to the relevant port authorities to aid in the prosecution of the vessel.

A known poaching vessel, the Nigerian-flagged Thunder was issued with an Interpol Purple Notice following a joint effort by Norwegian, New Zealand and Australian authorities, and is currently included on CCAMLR’s black-list of IUU fishing operators.

The Sea Shepherd ship, Bob Barker, has been in pursuit of the Thunder since the vessel first fled on December 17. Yesterday, the conservation ship escorted the poachers out of the CCAMLR region.

The use of gillnets has been outlawed by CCAMLR since 2004, and the Commission has specifically expressed concerns regarding the impact of this fishing method on the marine ecosystems of Antarctica.

Operation Icefish is Sea Shepherd’s 11th Southern Ocean Defence Campaign, and the first to target IUU toothfish fishing operators in the waters of Antarctica Sea.

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PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

All nations should ban unjustified animal testing

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I realize there have been reports of strides made in both human and veterinary medicine, as a result of laboratory testing on animals.

But we know for sure that in too many case animals have been abused – within the tests where the reported strides have been made and in completely unnecessary experiments.

My fear for a long time has been that some testing is going on where either all possible results were uncovered long ago and/or the only justification for continuing the studies is merely to keep the lab open.

A recent Reuters news story supports these fears. A group of US Congressmen are challenging research being conducted on monkeys at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) facility in Poolesville, Md.

The article notes macaques are being bred to study maternal deprivation, as some are “reportedly subjected to fear, stress, and pain-inducing tests.” This study has been going on for 30 years.

A letter was sent the NIH director that included the statement – “prominent experts . . . have raised questions about the scientific and ethical justification of these particular experiments.”

Yes, 30 years is far too long to be abusing monkeys in this way. If the researchers involved have not seen the results they’re looking for, they long ago stretched beyond the scope of their individual capabilities. We need to study human cases and help those humans who are suffering directly. I feel what the facility is doing is misguided and counterproductive to directly helping people in need.

Mental health issues have a reached a crisis point in the United States. We need people looking for real solutions.

No true scientist would be involved in any animal experimentation where the health and welfare of the animals is not being properly taken into account or where unnecessary experiments are being conducted. Anyone found to be engaged in activity counter to these guidelines should have their license to conduct research pulled and should face prosecution for animal cruelty.

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Report: Pope to speak out with concerns about climate change

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I am not Catholic and I don’t agree with everything Pope Francis has stated over his stint as the church’s leader. But on so many issues, he is making tremendous strides for people everywhere.

I really like this Pope.

Now, reports indicate he will be speaking out about the dangers of climate change. People of all religions should be concerned with what is happening to the planet. Those who believe God created the Earth – in whatever form their religion places God – should be very concerned with the level of pollution being dumped into the air, water and ground.

Selling our environment off to Big Oil, Big Gas and other polluting corporations, to support greed, is far from the teachings of any true religion I’ve ever heard about. I think the Pope understands that Jesus would be horrified to the degree to which greed is damaging our planet – the creation.

Denying the impact of greed only supports the greed. So thanks Pope Francis. Please continue to speak out for those in need and for the planet.

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Dr. Laura makes some unfortunate comments about pit bulls

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During a recent segment of her national radio show, Dr. Laura Schlessinger suggested bluntly that all pit bulls in shelters should be “put down.”

She claimed that 95 percent of the dogs at a shelter she visited recently were pit bulls or pit bull mixes and nobody wants them.

A Huffington Post article notes Schlessinger chuckled before sayings, “people are grinding out pit bulls and dumping them… So don’t walk around with a pit bull because no one will talk to you.”

There’s so much wrong with her comments. Where do I start? First – her comments are irresponsible in terms of claiming 95 percent of the dogs in the shelter she visited were pit bulls or pit mixes. She is obviously far from being an expert on dogs. So how is she able to identify a mix-breed dog?

I’ve seen a lot dogs identified as a pit bull mixes that just look a little bit like maybe the physical characteristics slightly match a pit bull.

Purebred dogs of nearly all varieties are becoming homeless every day. The countless breed-specific rescue groups for all of these breeds, all over the nation, are evidence of this fact. Rescue groups don’t form to merely sit around with nothing at all to do.

The reason she allegedly found so many pit bulls and mixes in that shelter, was probably the fact that the purebred homeless dogs in the area are being cared for by rescue groups.

And of course, not all pit bulls are dangerous at all. You don’t see animal lovers claiming all talk-radio shows should be banned because some hosts make uneducated remarks on a regular basis. We don’t do that to her; why should she make a similarly-broad statement about dogs?

And then there is the key element of how misguided Dr. Laura is on this topic. Why not speak out strongly against the people responsible for the number of homeless dogs she saw that day?

Why blame the dogs with a death sentence and let the guilty wander around free to produce more homelessness and death?

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Video adds more proof of animal self-awareness

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The incredible video out of India, showing one monkey desperately trying to revive another, who had been electrocuted, is both heartwarming and scientifically important.

The rescuer attempts multiple means to revive the injured monkey, including pushing him or her, picking them up, biting and dunking in water.

Finally, as the Telegraph reports, the injured monkey awakens. His friend seems very relieved and pats them on the back.

This is not some sort of canned response by the rescuer. Clearly, they are concerned with the condition of the other monkey. This shows a level of compassion, concern, intelligence and thought.

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Thankfully, permit for US hunter to kill black rhino remains stalled

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The twisted claims that selling trophy hunts to kill rhinos will save rhinos are nothing more than excuses for individuals to gleefully show off their evidence that they’ve killed an endangered species.

The news about the auction held last January for the permit spread around the news and Internet sites. Hopefully, the negative blow back has helped to stall the permit from going through.

CNN’s update on the story notes the auction was sponsored by the Dallas Safari Club and that and the club and the Namibian Ministry of Environment and Tourism claimed the funds raised would be donated to “conservation and anti-poaching efforts.”

A permit to transport the body parts – as so-called “trophies” – back to the United States. But the article reports some great news. Over 15,000 comments, opposing the permit, were received by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, within the 30-day comment period.

There are only an estimated 5,000 black rhinos left on the planet. Killing them to save them makes little sense. I know the claim is that only older members of the herd are selected for this sort of auction. And I noted the claim that they are no longer of value to the herd.

But these claims apparently come from people who actually put little value on the lives on animals. These rhinos are living, feeling animals who experience emotion and have the capacity to suffer.

And of course, the primary question to ask is this: If the mission is to save the rhinos, why not just donate the funds and travel there to photograph a rhino, rather than kill them?

Jeffrey Flocken said it best in the article:

“They need to be protected, not sold to the highest bidder,” said Jeffrey Flocken of the International Fund for Animal Welfare.

“It’s a farce to say that this is being done for conservation,” Flocken said. “It’s saying the rarity of this animal is worth more dead than alive.”

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic