The movement to hide animal cruelty on factory farms

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More articles and editorials are streaming into the Pack News Wire every day on this topic of banning undercover video that exposes animal cruelty on factory farms. A number of state legislatures have taken steps to criminalize the act of photographing or shooting animal-cruelty video on farms.

In Utah, Rep. John Mathis has sponsored a bill to criminalize the use of hidden cameras on farms. The Daily Activists quotes him as comparing it to “a neighborhood watch group that goes into your home and hides cameras because you may one day do something to your kids.”

The comparison is full of holes. The factory farming industry has a history of mistreatment of animals. As farming in this manner has gone from family-owned businesses to massive operations where animals are crammed in by the thousands to meet the desired profit margins, abuse has been the trend.

The Daily Activist post also quotes Suzanne McMillan of the ASPCA as saying, “Bills like this only serve to heighten suspicion that the agricultural industry has something to hide.” – Exactly.

Iowa might be the first state to reach the milestone of legally protecting cruelty and hiding it in the shadows and at the same time turning those who want to expose cruelty into the criminals.

In response to the videos we’ve seen from factory farms, elected officials should be working overtime to increase penalties for animal cruelty and set up a better system of surprise inspections.

Animal welfare groups are urging Iowa Governor Terry Branstad to veto the bill. But the measure had such a huge vote disparity in both houses, this might not happen.

The Star Tribune quotes Nathan Runkle of Mercy for Animals as saying – “Iowa has some of the weakest animal cruelty laws in the nation. Lawmakers should be focusing on strengthening these pathetic laws, not silencing whistleblowers who expose animal abuse or other serious issues involving the safety and security of the American food supply.”

One farmer in the article suggests that using dramatic music can twist a video into making a bad impression. Really? An animal being severely beaten or bludgeoned on video, without music, is not so bad???? We have to keep reminding ourselves that people with no defense for their actions have to come up with something – no matter how nutty it is.

 

New Series: Wacky Mentality

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When I find stories that are over-the-top crazy – or wacky – they will henceforth fall into the new series category – Wacky Mentality.

Today, we have a story of man out to shoot a raccoon trapped inside a cage. Divine intervention stepped in to protect the innocent animal.

Opposing Views reports his first shot ricocheted off of the cage frame and struck the shooter in what was described as “the lower abdomen area.” He then dropped the gun and it discharged again, with the second shot hitting him in the same area.

The man will recover, but hopefully his family will take away his gun permit and any weapons he still has.

And the article notes the following – “” The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is investigating, likely to make sure that the man is telling the truth and that the raccoon did not somehow wrestle the gun away from the man and shoot him itself. “”

And then we have the news that an artist in Kansas wants to bring more attention to the plight of chickens – by displaying them in coops at locations across Lawrence – before publicly slaughtering them.

Slaughtering chickens to show how terrible their lives are just doesn’t quite make compassionate sense to me.

Dog Fighting: Ring busted in NC as Pennsylvania looks to strengthen laws

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An Atlanta-based security firm is being credited with aiding a dog-fighting bust in Maxton, NC. In a Saturday-night raid, 27 people were arrested at a home there and 18 dogs were rescued.

11Alive.com reports spectators where on the scene from as far away as Maryland and Ohio. A host of organizations cooperated on the bust – including special agents from the North Carolina Alcohol Law Enforcement Division, the North Carolina Highway Patrol, North Carolina wildlife officers, the North Carolina Department of Corrections, the North Carolina Air National Guard and the Federal Bureau of Investigation – and they seized drugs, guns and tens of thousands of dollars.

For more information, go to HelpStopDogfighting.com.

A dog fighting ring in Pennsylvania was busted Friday night, as CBS Pittsburgh reports efforts in the state legislature are underway to improve the animal fighting laws there.

 

Pack Line Headlines: puppy mill raid; dog fighting raid; undercover video bans

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Raid on puppy mill frees 88 animals: A woman in Sac County, Iowa faces 93 counts of animal neglect after 88 animals were taken from her home back on January 25.

The Pilot Tribune reports “” … five dead puppies in crates on the farm, and live animals crammed up to five per cage, reportedly underfed, marred with waste from animals stacked above them, with matted fur and in some cases deformed paws from standing on cage wire or eye/ear infections “” were found on the site.

Authorities suspect she was breeding without a license.

Dogs rescued from fighting ring near Pittsburgh: The Humane Society of the United States rescued a dozen dogs Friday from a suspected dog-fighting ring in Wilkinsburg, Pa.

Some of the dogs were in the basement of the home while others were chained in the backyard. Sounds like proper housing for the criminals involved in dog fighting – but not for the dogs. On second thought, living chained to a tree is too soft a punishment for those who abuse animals in this way.

Utah House votes to protect those who abuse animals: The Utah State House voted Friday to overwhelmingly approve HB187. The Deseret News reports the bill would “make it a class A misdemeanor to hide a recording device on a farm and class B misdemeanor shoot video or photos after being asked not to or record while trespassing.”

I get the trespassing issue – although in some cases the videos are shot by people who are employees of the farm. But this ban and other similar proposals are not all about trespassing or hiding cameras. They are about hiding the abuses going on within the factory farming industry.

What we really need are new regulations that allow for regular, serious, unannounced inspections of factory farms. So that abuses can be prosecuted, leading to improved and humane conditions in these facilities. But I’d venture to guess industry insiders would push back strongly against against this proposal as well.

 

Sports editor drops the ball in understanding animal-welfare movement

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I just happened across an editorial on “Animal Rights” by the sports editor of the Abilene Reflector-Chronicle out of Kansas. I don’t want to slam another writer too hard, but it is apparent that while he must know sports, on the topic of animal welfare …. well… not so much.

Of late, some folks on the other side of this topic have been attempting to define “animal rights” versus “animal welfare.” Too often the goal seems to be to hold off any efforts to improve animal welfare at all, by claiming it’s all an effort by animal rights extremists.

In reality, too often the fight against improved animal-welfare laws comes from those who want animals to have no more protection from abuse than a living room sofa.

Tim Horan writes – “”” Because greyhounds are so well regulated within the NGA and its inspection program headed by Abilene’s Craig Randle, the greyhounds raised to be registered with NGA are exempt from Kansas laws that regulate puppy mills. “”

That is really NOT the reason racing greyh0unds are exempt from puppy mill laws. Can you say lobbyists and special interests?

Horan obviously doesn’t know about the greyhounds that never make it out alive. He doesn’t know about the racing greyhounds taken in by rescue groups in poor health. He doesn’t know about the closed system the NGA operates under. He doesn’t know about the alarming rate of cancer in racing greyhounds.
And I wonder if Horan would eat in a local restaurant knowing that it had never been inspected by the health department and instead was merely being inspected by the owners of the restaurant?
Horan cries that if greyhound breeding did fall under USDA regulations, the cost would be too great for the breeders. Not for other breeders; just for greyhound breeders.
But if their breeding practices are so great, as he tries to claim, then they should fall well within the minimum standards of the USDA – right?
And he wraps up the piece by defining welfare vs. rights, noting animal welfare is defined by the American Veterinary Medical Association as being “a human responsibility that encompasses all aspects of animal well-being, including proper housing, management, disease prevention and treatment, responsible care, humane handling, and, when necessary, humane euthanasia.”
Exactly! That is why greyhounds and other animals should be protected from harm. Allowing an industry to self-regulate just won’t cut it. Allowing breeders who sell directly to the public to operate outside the necessary protections and regulations won’t cut it. Laws that merely catch the abusers after their victims have suffered for months and years won’t cut it. Laws that catch only the puppy mills that happen to be exposed by consequence or luck won’t cut it.
People can type out the definition of animal welfare, but it doesn’t help much if they really do not understand it. To insure that animals have “proper housing, management, disease prevention and treatment, responsible care and humane handling” is to insure they have basic rights to protect them abuse and neglect. Unfortunately, we are not there yet.
Because the other side doesn’t have a logical counter-argument, they routinely toss out tin-foil-hat claims that suggest people will be arrested for killing ants or maybe cats will get the right to vote if animal lovers get their way. We need a reasoned debate on animal welfare, as opposed propaganda.

Video: 24 young horses saved from slaughter

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Thankfully, 24 young horses in Oregon were saved recently, most likely from heading to a slaughterhouse. The Horse Plus Humane Society saved the horses by purchasing them at auction or on the way to auctions for $50 each.

The Horse Plus Humane Society is looking for donations to help care for the horses and for new families to adopt them.

Cat saves woman from seizure hours after being adopted

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A woman in Sturgeon Bay, Wis. might owe her life to a cat she adopted just hours prior to suffering a seizure on February 8.

The Green Bay Press Gazette reports Amy Jung adopted a cat from a local shelter and later in the day she suffered what is described as an insulin reaction. Pudding raced in, stood on her chest and then began swatting her face and biting her nose.

Jung finally woke up and called out for her son. When her sleeping son did not respond, Pudding raced into his room to alert him.

The evidence continues to mount. Animals are more than instinctive machines with no feelings or emotion or cognitive abilities. Science and case studies and the facts and logic tell us animals are much more.

It’s time for the non-believers to move into the 21st Century. It’s time for our state and federal legislatures to move our animal-welfare laws into the 21st Century.

End cruel testing on Great Apes

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The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine and celebrity spokesmen such as Alec Baldwin, Ellen DeGeneres, Portia de Rossi, Alicia Silverstone, Woody Harrelson, Kevin Nealon and James Franco are speaking out in support of the Great Ape Protection and Cost Savings Act.

The movement seeks to end the cruel testing on Great Apes.

Animal-welfare headlines from around the globe

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Animal welfare in China gaining ground: Famous Chinese celebrities are speaking out about animal welfare issues and ABC News reports one top animal-welfare advocate notes the affect has been to see the “interest in animal rights snowball in China over the last few years.”

Basketball star Yao Ming has been speaking out against bear bile farming and shark fin soup.

Bear bile farm opens its doors to journalists – not: The Guizhentang pharmaceutical company in China claimed it was opening it doors to one of its bear bile farms to journalists on Wednesday. But like the greyhound racing industry, it was all a scam.

Turns out journalists were not allowed to ask questions during the “show.” And foreign reporters were not allowed in – according to a story posted today on TheWest.com.au.

And the troubling news from this evil industry only gets worse, as the this company plans to increase the number of bears its tortures each and every day from 470 to 1,200.

And then there is this from the The West article, via AFP:

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To extract the bile, bears are often placed in cages so small they cannot move, while tubes are inserted in their gall bladders to extract the bile for extended periods of time, animal rights groups have said.

According to the non-governmental group Animals Asia, official figures state that around 7,000 bears still languish in bile farms across China, but many more could be used in illegal establishments.

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300 elephants slaughtered for their tusks: In northern Cameroon, poachers have killed 300 elephants in the last month. Estimates put the elephant population at only between 1,000 and 5,000 left in Cameroon.

The people who murder these elephants and the people who create the demand by purchasing the ivory or the products are as evil as anyone on the planet. They all should be housed in the worst basements in the dirtiest prisons on Earth.

New sled dog regulations deemed a fail by welfare folks: In Vancouver, BC, animal-welfare supporters are crying foul over new regulations, developed in the light of the horrible sled-dog massacre last year.

The Vancouver Sun article reports the Sled Dog Code of Practice, developed by the B.C. Ministry of Agriculture, contains “instructions on how to humanely shoot unwanted dogs.”

From the story – “” The new document contains detailed instructions on how to humanely shoot a dog, including diagrams, illustrations and advice on restraining and calming the animal before shooting it and what to expect when the deed is done. “”

What in the world were these people thinking? The outrage that led to these new regulations spread far and wide because of the inhumane manner in which the dogs were killed. So in response, the B.C. Ministry of Agriculture decides to develop a how-to pamphlet on inhumanely killing dogs.

This would be like the Catholic Church apologizing for the abuse of children by some priest – and in response issuing a how-to booklet on improperly touching kids, for reduced impacts. No, the church wouldn’t do this because it’s stupid and it’s wrong.

The only humane way to euthanize a dog – or any other higher-order animal – is by injection.

But the article also includes this – “” Another working group member, Nancy Clarke, an animal science professor at the University of British Columbia, said a gunshot can be just as humane as other methods of euthanizing dogs — if it’s done correctly. “”

How could an animal science professor say something like this? I’m floored. The statement is amazingly false. To suggest a gunshot is “just as humane” as injection shows a lack of understanding of self-awareness and state of consciousness.

Lifeforce and the Vancouver Humane Society have called for a total ban on sled-dog tours and races. I fully agree. Too many bad things are happening.

Back at it after battling a really bad cold

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After a few days of hacking and coughing and blowing my nose way too often, the pack of Grady rescue dogs is glad I’m not waking them up from naps quite so much today.

So what’s been going on during my sick leave?

Arizona Senate votes 28-2 to end greyhound racing: GREY2K USA is cheering a 28-2 Arizona State Senate vote today to end greyhound racing at Tucson Greyh0und Park.

Possible signs of ritualistic animal sacrifice found in home: NBC 10 Philadelphia reports a dog’s head was found in  a freezer in a Chester County, Pa. home, along with three dog skulls.

Declaration of dolphin rights: The Daily Mail out of the UK ran a story today about a “coalition of scientists, philosophers and animal welfare groups have come up with a declaration of dolphin rights.”

And the following statements from the article are great:

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Philosopher Thomas White said: ‘Scientific evidence is now strong enough to support the claim that dolphins are, like humans, self-aware, intelligent beings with emotions and personalities.

‘Accordingly, dolphins should be regarded as “non-human persons” and valued as individuals. From an ethical perspective, the injury, deaths and captivity of dolphins are wrong.’

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