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 SFGate.com. 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?

 

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

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.

 

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

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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PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Sled Dog Racing: A new level of misinformation out of the Idiot-rod

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No, that is not a spelling error. I call the Iditarod race – the Idiot-rod. I do this to bring more attention to the plight of the dogs.

But what I read this morning, in an article about the event, took stunning to a whole new level. The piece ran on the Daily Barometer website, out of Oregon. It ran under the unfortunate headline – “Science behind the Last Great Race on Earth.”

I realize this phrase is what the race organizers use to promote the race. But in reality, there is nothing great about putting the lives of dogs at risk to win a prize. It’s not right or moral in greyhound racing and it’s not right or moral in sled dog racing.

And then placing the word “science” in the headline is inappropriate, without noting that applying science would mean the event would be banned forever.

But it gets worse. The writer goes from this:

Temperatures are lower than zero degrees, winds can hinder any visibility and the dangers of traveling through long hours of darkness are constant.

To this:

The dogs are happy in the colder temperature because they are so well insulated. The cool helps them not to get overheated. If the temperature rises to 15 degrees, like it has this year, it is tough on the dogs, according to Craig.

Craig is Morrie Craig, a professor of toxicology in the College of Veterinary Medicine at Oregon State University – and author of the book – “The Care of the Racing Greyhound: A Guide for the Trainers, Breeders and Veterinarians.”

What Craig, who is there to drug test the dogs, should be doing is speaking out for the full ban of dog racing – greyhound and sled dog. But getting back to the quote above, I find it hard to believe that someone would suggest that dogs would be better off with temperatures below 15 degrees.

And put this quote together with the one above it, and we have a wide conflict in terms. And does Craig know these dogs typically live much of their lives tethered on a short chain to small dog house? Never – ever – should dogs be forced to live this way – period!

The article reports he is testing for 300 types of drugs. This fact alone doesn’t say much for the past history of this event. Is it so bad that a full 300 drugs are on the list he’s looking for?

And at one point, Craig is quoted as saying:

“One simply cannot ask me how many teams we have caught. Every major sporting event as long as it’s been around has always tested for drugs. We leave it private as to how many we catch and the penalties because this is a non-profit group of racers, and we aim to maintain the integrity of the race.”

Whaaat??? So it maintains the integrity of the race to keep it a secret how many teams are cheating and putting the health of their dogs at risk? And where in the hell does Craig get the notion that every major sporting event has always tested for drugs, going back to the beginning of any major sport?

I think, as a journalist, I would have asked him to provide proof of his statement.

And then it reported that the temperature could drop to 30-below zero. Where is the concern for the dogs in this temperature?

I am stunned by reading so many troubling paragraphs within one article. I realize some publications wrongfully promote the Idiot-rod as a sport, but we have to make sure articles have some basis in facts. If I wrote an article about baseball spring training, it would be inappropriate for me to blindly quote a manager as saying crack cocaine is good for young players. I would need to offer a counter to a wildly false statement such as that.

Journalists should be held to the same standard in reporting on dog racing.

 

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Video: Polar bear vs the Keystone XL Pipeline

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Spokesman for the polar bear speaks out against the Keystone XL Pipeline – through music.

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Open Letter to the President: Reject the Keystone XL Pipeline

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The odds that President Obama will read the following blog letter addressed to him are extremely slim – probably the same odds that I will be elected President of the United States during any future election.

But I’m going to post it anyway. Who Cares? – Right? It’s the joy of blogging.

Mr President,

One of the key questions on the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline goes to who do you trust and who should the American people trust?

A) – We can trust the science – in both the impacts of pollution on our air – and on our water from the frequent spills we will certainly see. And we can trust the science on climate change.

Or B) – We could trust Big Oil and its lobbyists and CEOs and non-scientists.

The B option has the poorest of track records. Remember before the Gulf Oil Gusher, when the propaganda from politicians and Big Oil was telling us off-shore oil drilling was soooo safe and spills rarely, ever happen? After the one of the biggest man-made disasters in world history unfolded in the Gulf of Mexico and after we found out the level of coverup that transpired, we found out that leaks and spills were commonplace in the Gulf and the equipment is anything but safe.

The lives of so many people were impacted and of course the suffering for wildlife was extreme. We should never forget the images of animals covered with thick layers of sludge or the individuals who died on the rig. Had the Federal Government and the Minerals Management Service not so fully trusted and bowed down to Big Oil, maybe that disaster could have been prevented.

Sure – we need jobs and energy is vital to our society. But why should we continue to live in the 1930s? Even by the 1960s we had a government that pushed innovation. President Kennedy called for a man on the Moon by the end of the decade and the effort proceeded forward like a stampede, until the goal was reached.

Now, as a nation, Big Oil would have us believe we need to back up into the 1950s. We are four decades beyond Neal Armstrong’s first footprint on the moon. Where is the same level of governmental push for innovation on energy, that we saw with space exploration back in the 1960s?

What we, the people, see from the outside looking in seems to be the stifling of energy innovation, from the rather large boot of Big Oil. The strategy seems from my viewpoint to be – slow down real energy innovation until they’ve sucked as many barrels of oil out of the ground as possible. Why? – Because oil still in the ground is lost profit, when some clean, great energy source rolls into the forefront.

So again I ask – Who should you trust and who should the American people trust? In whose hands should we place our future? Should Big Oil get its way or should the health and welfare of our environment and therefore the health and welfare of the American people take the highest level of concern?

The answers are abundantly clear.

 

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

February’s “Duh” Quote of the Month

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This one is really worth noting.

Let’s say you’re a police officer and you pull someone over for going 50 MPH in a 35 zone. They challenge the ticket and it goes to court. The speeder’s attorney puts you on the stand and asks you if you are anti-speeding.

You respond – “Of course.” So the attorney says – “A-hah, you are not credible because you’re out with your radar gun and you want everyone to stop speeding.” (Of course, no credible lawyer could do this.)

Well … that’s basically where one greyhound racing supporter went late last month. American Greyhounds Council PR specialist, Marsha Kelly was quoted in an Orlando Weekly blog as saying:

“GREY2K is out to eliminate the industry and abolish the industry, so I’m not sure they’re a credible source of information on the issue.”

So if you’re against something, you’re not a credible source of information on that issue? If you want to abolish something horrible, then she doesn’t believe you can be a credible source of information on that issue?

It’s just one of those silly statements with no real meaning. The blogger rightfully noted the information presented by GREY2K comes from reports off the Florida greyhound tracks.

And then the writer, Fred Lambert, goes on to quote an industry lobbyist, who says he doesn’t want to compare greyhounds to children and then proceeds to compare the deaths of greyhounds to the deaths of abused children. He tries to justify the deaths of racing dogs by saying a higher number of children died.

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Misleading headline of the day

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When the headline – “Iowans divided on future of greyhound racing” – popped up on the Pack News Wire this morning, I had a sinking feeling. Why would support for dog racing be on par with those who support animal welfare?

But then I read the Des Moines Register article. While the numbers are far from where they should be, I wouldn’t use the phrase “divided” to describe the results. The anti-dog racing side won the poll – 50 to 33 percent. In an election, this would be considered a huge win for Candidate Compassion.

The bad news comes in the fact that only 50 percent support animal welfare in this poll. Apparently, a lot of people are not well-informed on the issue. Must …. keep … focusing … on … education.

The battle goes on.

 

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Video: World Wildlife Day 2014

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This is World Wildlife Day. But we can’t let a day go by without working toward a goal of protecting animals from abuse, poaching, neglect and any other horrors they face – be it wildlife or domestic animals or farm animals.

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Sea Shepherd: More whales horribly slaughtered within sanctuary

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Sea Shepherd has some sad news to report this morning. The full media release follows:

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MORE WHALES SLAUGHTERED IN WHALE SANCTUARY

Sunday March 2, 2014 – Melbourne, Australia — Today, at approximately 10:05 AEDT, Sea Shepherd located the factory vessel of the Japanese whaling fleet, the Nisshin Maru, at 74°23’ S, 178°55’ W inside the Ross Sea Dependency, with a dead, protected Minke Whale onboard, and blood running from the side of the ship. Slabs of whale meat were also photographed on the deck, along with the severed head of a recently butchered whale.

The factory vessel was located by The Steve Irwin’s helicopter, which has found the whaling fleet on four occasions this season. The Steve Irwin and The Bob Barker are now closing in on the factory vessel.

Captain of The Bob Barker, Peter Hammarstedt, said, “Each time we have located the Nisshin Maru, the Sea Shepherd Fleet has been attacked by the whalers in night time ambushes. With darkness just a few hours away, as we close the distance to the slipway of the Nisshin Maru, we are well aware that we are soon likely to have harpoon ships crossing our bows towing steel cables, and the strong possibility that our ships could become disabled in the treacherous and frigid Antarctic waters. After sustaining two grueling assaults, we believe a third attack by the whaling fleet is imminent. We have thirty-eight Australians and three New Zealanders on board the Sea Shepherd ships. We call on the governments of Australia and New Zealand to stand up to the Japanese government and send a clear message that they will not tolerate another unprovoked attack on their citizens upholding international law.”

It is the second time this whaling season that Sea Shepherd has documented the Japanese whaling fleet in the act of poaching whales within the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. On January 5, Sea Shepherd released damning images and footage of the Nisshin Maru with three dead, protected Minke Whales killed in the Sanctuary. The blood-stained decks of the factory ship were smeared with the remains of a fourth whale, including a head and spinal column.

It is the second time in six days that Sea Shepherd has located the Japanese whaling fleet. The whalers have remained outside their preferred self-allocated hunting grounds of the Ross Sea due to Sea Shepherd’s relentless patrolling and monitoring of the region. Sea Shepherd believes that, at the first opportunity that the whalers have had to resume operations, they have successfully interrupted whaling once again.

In July 2013, the governments of Australia and New Zealand challenged the legality of Japan’s so-called “scientific research” whaling at the International Court of Justice. A decision on case is pending.

Captain of The Steve Irwin, Siddharth Chakravarty, said, “It is not enough for the politicians, whose obligation it is to keep these whales alive and protected, to ignore their international responsibilities and the wishes of their constituents. I urge the Australian Environment Minister Greg Hunt and the New Zealand Minister of Foreign Affairs, Murray McCully, to look at this dead Minke Whale, brutally killed in an internationally recognised Whale Sanctuary that both Australia and New Zealand claim a commitment to uphold, and ask themselves if they truly believe that they and their governments have done everything within their power to stop this illegal slaughter.”

Sea Shepherd remains the only organisation in the Southern Ocean committed to upholding the sanctity of the Whale Sanctuary, directly intervening against the illegal operations of the Japanese whaling fleet.
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PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic