Sarah McLachlan asks Canadian PM to halt seal clubbing cruelty

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One of my favorite all-time musical artist, Sarah McLachlan, has written a letter to Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, calling for an end to the country’s annual seal hunt. The the so-called ‘hunt’ is actually the clubbing of baby seals – the brutal beating of defenseless baby seals.

The Globe and Mail notes Russia banned the import of seal fur last year, joining the European Union and the United States with bans. Russia was buying 95 percent of Canadian seal fur. But the cruelty continues despite these facts.

McLachlan wrote – “This business is about as lucrative as an eight-track tape factory.”

But Harper is a full-blown supporter of this cruel and barbaric industry. The Globe and Mail also reported back in February on the PM’s trip to China, when he was set to make it priority to promote the sale of seal products.

At the time, Harper was quoted as saying – “Our government will continue to vigorously defend this humane and highly regulated industry and to seek new international markets for Canadian seal products, including China.”

So he gets a major-league Pack of Putrid Punditry Award. “Humane?” – really? No one with the ability to form even a tiny sliver of logical thought would call clubbing baby seals to death a “humane” act. This guy was really elected as the Canadian Prime Minister? Do they vote on that in Canada?

Sarah McLachlan, on the other hand, is officially awarded a Pack of Justice Award and a Pack of Compassion Award and a Wow Isn’t She Fantastic Award. (Okay … I just made that last one up, because it’s Sarah McLachlan we’re talking about here.)

Florida reverses 45-year ban on dyeing small animals

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Florida legislature and Gov. approve dying of animals for Easter sales: A Pack of Putrid Punditry Award goes out this morning to the Florida State legislature and Governor Rick Scott, who took part in passing a law which reverses a 45-year ban on artificially dyeing birds and other small animals.

It is amazing what some people will do for profit. While we need to be working on improving animal welfare, elected officials in Florida are looking to promote the sale of artificially colorful chicks and bunnies during holiday seasons. These folks are clueless as to what happens to so many of these “pets” a little later in their short lives.

And they are clueless as to what happens in some of the animal mills that breed these pets for sale to the public.

The Animal Rights Foundation of Florida had asked Governor Scott to veto the bill.

What is it with Florida? The state seems to be perpetually in the news – and not in a good way – from being the greyhound racing capital of the US – to the 2000 election debacle – to the Casey Anthony trial debacle – to the investigation controversy in the Trayvon Martin case – to pulling back important animal-welfare regulations.

Come on Florida, get it together. A few oddballs in your state are damaging your overall reputation – in a huge way.

Pets have health benefits for the elderly

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Sorry folks. I’ve been slammed of late with other writing projects, so I have been woefully off line when it comes to the blog.

To get back into gear and back on my daily blogging pace, we have the results on a study about the health benefits pets offer to the elderly. File this one under the heading – “We Knew That, But it’s Great to see the Science Backing it Up.”

Pets Benefit Aging Adults’ Health, MU Researcher Says from MU News Bureau on Vimeo.

I received a press release this morning from the News Bureau of the University of Missouri, which states, “Having a pet can lower the stress hormone, cortisol, while increasing oxytocin, prolactin and norepinephrine, hormones related to joy, nurturing and relaxation.”

And the following is really important – “Rebecca Johnson, an associate professor in the University of Missouri Sinclair School of Nursing and in the College of Veterinary Medicine, says long-term care facilities should follow the lead of others in their industry such as TigerPlace, an independent living community in Mid-Missouri, that enable residents to have pets.”

I hope this study will enlighten more facility managers and families as to the great connection people in general have with pets and certainly how much this connection means to older people.

Johnson is also director of MU’s Research Center for Human-Animal Interaction (ReCHAI).
“Research suggests older adults live longer, healthier, happier lives when they interact with pets on a regular basis,” Johnson said through the release. “Pets provide companionship and unconditional love that improves the overall health of aging individuals.
“Caring for animals gives older adults responsibility and more reasons to get up in the mornings.”

Video: Soldier welcomed home by his very excited dog

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I will never get tired of seeing video like this one, where a soldier returns home to a fantastic welcomed by his kids or in this case, by his dog.

Just a quick thought on birth control

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We all know the responsible thing to do is spay and neuter when it comes to our cats and dogs. In this regard, birth control is the responsible way to go.

But weren’t all of us baby boomers taught by our parents that being careful as human adults was the responsible thing to do? Weren’t we taught that unwanted pregnancies were a bad thing and that we needed to use birth control to avoid any surprises?

Yeah. It’s called being responsible – for married or unmarried couples or pet guardians. At this point in Earth’s history and with the current level of booming human population growth and the overpopulation of homeless pets, birth control IS the responsible way to go.

I’ll brace for being called to the carpet for comparing puppies and kittens to babies, but I’ll take that heat to make an important point.


Great News: Cloverleaf Kennel Club greyhound racing facility being torn down

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The Cloverleaf Kennel Club greyhound racetrack in Colorado has been closed for some time now, but the facility is finally getting its once-and-for-all demise. Work crews are demolishing the buildings where greyhounds once suffered day after day after day in racing.

Three cheers for the work crews. I wish I was there to take part in this great occasion. Of course, the article on the Coloradoan failed to mention the suffering of the dogs and it failed to report the actual reason for the track shutting down.

We know that over time more and more people are becoming aware of the plight of the dogs and they would prefer to gamble on less inhumane activities. Thankfully, the trend is taking hold in horse racing. But the pace of the spreading of this awareness just needs to grow exponentially.

The article left it at this – “” It blamed Internet gambling, limited stakes wagering in Black Hawk and Central City, and a state tax system that track officials said favored casinos, for its demise. “”

And let’s go to our judges for a ruling ….

BUZZZZZ – Oooohhh … yeah that’s a wrong answer there. Somebody grab the fire extinguisher and put out those pants for the person who offered up that excuse. Whew, that smell is really bad. Gotta open a window or two.


Basset Hound dials emergency number and saves his own life

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George the Basset Hound, a resident of West Yorkshire, England, got tangled up in a telephone card last weekend and in his panic to free himself, he dialed 999 – the British equivalent of our 911 system.

The operator could hear nothing but heavy breathing and gasping, so emergency personnel were sent to help. A neighbor had a key and the responders inside the home, where their found George wrapped in the cord – according to a story by The Sun.


The rescue of Fiona: If this video doesn’t touch you, you can’t be touched

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Fiona was found last year in South LA – sick, blind, covered in filth and infested with fleas. A kind rescuer took her in and nursed her back to health.

And after surgery, the little girl can see from one of her eyes.

This is terrific story, one with a very sad beginning but a great finish. I pity anyone who can watch this video without tears welling up or without at least a smile on your face at the end.

And while we’re on the topic of horse racing, let’s keep pushing for an end to greyhound racing

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This GREY2K USA video makes a strong case for banning dog racing.

WARNING: The video does contain a scene where a dog is severely injured during a race.

Extremely troubling and important article paints the horrible reality of horse racing

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FINALLY! A major media outlet has stepped out of the bubble to rip the curtain off of horse racing. A quartet of New York Times writers produced an article that was published Saturday under the headline – “Mangled Horses, Maimed Jockeys.” The lead headline reads – “Breakdown | Death and disarray at America’s racetracks.”

The following couple of sentences – among others from the article – jump off the page: “” On average, 24 horses die each week at racetracks across America. Many are inexpensive horses racing with little regulatory protection in pursuit of bigger and bigger prizes. “”

And then there is this – “” Since 2009, records show, trainers at United States tracks have been caught illegally drugging horses 3,800 times, a figure that vastly understates the problem because only a small percentage of horses are actually tested. “”

And the New York Times reports that since 2009, 6,600 horses broke down or showed signs of injury.

The deeper you dig into the article, the more troubling the picture becomes. Over the last three years, approximately 3,600 horses died as a result of races or in training for races at state-regulated tracks.

And this number represents only the tragic deaths on the tracks. What about the untold numbers that are shipped off every year to slaughterhouses?

Put all of this together and you have an industry that should be shut down. It is 2012. It is the 21st Century. We live in an era where most Americans detest cruelty. Most Americans detest the abuse and torture of animals.

How is it that in this era, thousands of horses are being illegally drugged each year at racetracks, as the players try to gain an edge over the competition? How is it that in this era, the industry itself seems to have done very little to change its policies and practices as 3,600 horses died over the course of just three years?

Couple these numbers with the horses sold to slaughter each year and the phrase ‘horrible blood sport’ does not seem quite harsh enough. And as the article points out, the dangers to the jockeys are substantial as well.