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

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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Pack Line Headlines: Puppy mills; breeding regulations; NASCAR driver promotes animal welfare

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West Virginia state senator wants all breeders to be regulated: Senate Bill 406 in West Virginia would regulate dog breeding in the state, but current language in the bill exempts hunting, tracking, show dog and greyhound breeders.

Thankfully, Sen. Karen Facemyer of Jackson County is pushing to cut these exemptions out of the legislation, so that all dog breeders are covered. There can be no doubt that all breeding needs to be regulated. Exempting some breeders and not equitable on the one hand and simply doesn’t make sense in terms of protecting animals.

The Bad News: West Virginia Public Broadcasting reports Facemyer’s amendment unfortunately was rejected.

NASCAR driver tours North Carolina animal shelter: NASCAR driver Cory Joyce toured the Cleveland County Animal Shelter in Shelby, NC on Thursday.

The Shelby Star reports Joyce is a spokesman for the North Carolina Shelter Project and has a logo for  spot for the Humane Society on the hood of his car.

Lawsuit filed against Chicago-area pet store chain: Happiness is Pets is facing a lawsuit by a half-dozen individuals who purchased sick puppies.

Judge rules puppies found crammed into van can go back to abusers: The two men who were caught transporting puppies in a van, from Iowa to various pet stores around the country, can continue on their way – after a judge ruled on the case.

The pair will have to pay the costs the local shelter incurred in caring for the dogs.

But this case serves as another pieced of evidence that in most states animal-welfare laws are far too weak.


Pack Line Headlines: animal cruelty; puppy mills; legislation

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Idaho bill could increase cruelty to felony: A bill to make a third offense of “intentional and malicious animal cruelty” a felony is headed to the full Senate in Idaho, with some not-s0-great provisions.

One downside, as reported by the Spokesman-Review, is that all agricultural practices would be exempt.

But I really like this quote from the article: “” Sen. Les Bock, D-Boise, asked, “If somebody’s capable of committing horrific acts against animals of whatever sort, why don’t we go straight to the felony?” “”

Bill in Utah seeks to halt undercover videos exposing animal cruelty: ‘How dare someone expose any on-going cruelty on factory farms.’ – This seems to be the translation on statements made by those seeking to outlaw the practice of shooting undercover video or photos on farms.

The Deseret News reports HB187 would make “agricultural operation interference” a crime – a class A misdemeanor on the first offense and a third-degree felony on the second offense.

Rep. John Mathis (R-Vernal), who is a veterinarian and part-time farmer, is quoted as saying, “It’s farmers, not animal rights activists, who know best what their animals need to be healthy and happy.”

Note to self: Come up with a term to best describe this sort of twisted statement. What should we call a statement that is totally devoid of logic or common sense or reality?

So people who run factory farms, where pigs are crammed into tiny cages, where turkeys are kicked around like footballs, where chickens have their beaks cut off before being crammed into tiny cages and where injured cows are pushed around with heavy equipment know best about what animals need to be healthy and happy?

As John Wayne would say – “Not hardly.”

Puppy mill bust highlights call for new legislation in NC

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The recent rescue of 160 dogs from an alleged puppy mill in Stokes County, NC has prompted more calls for improved legislation in the state.

The Times-News notes North Carolina requires a license for breeders who sell to stores and research facilities. “” But about 90 percent or more of the state’s breeders sell directly to buyers through newspaper or Internet ads, said Ann Church, vice president of state affairs for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. “”

The Humane Society of North Carolina estimates there are between 250 to 300 commercial dog breeders operating in the state. In 2009, a bill that was basically a compromise – that no one could logically claim was overreaching – failed to make to the governor’s desk.

The typical players are still speaking out against regulations on breeders – from the American Kennel Club to hunting groups to agriculture organizations such as the N.C. Pork Council.

The concerns expressed by these groups usually cross the line into the completely absurd and unreasonable. The AKC for example always tries to claim that rules to require reasonable cage sizes and regular vet care and regular exercise for breeding dogs will hurt good breeders. But the good breeders already engage in these practices, which makes the push-back against new standards look like a move to protect those who don’t.

Let me be clear about this. Any group opposed to bringing all breeders up to the standards and practices the good breeders use is doing noting more than protecting the bad breeders and therefore are extending the suffering of the dogs housed in puppy mills.

It’s time to call out those opposed to shutting down puppy and kitten mills. There is no logic and no compassion in allowing so much suffering to continue by blocking new legislation with claims a few breeders might see an increase in costs. Those who can’t meet the minimum standards being proposed in North Carolina and other states really should not be breeding animals.

The dogs MUST be allowed play time outside of their cages, MUST get regular vet care and MUST be allowed ample space to move around in their cages.

Video: Stuff Dog People Say

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West Paw Design produced this video, relating to the Stuff People Say series.

Stuff Dog People Say:

Some in Missouri legislature looking to further weaken protections for animals

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For some elected officials in Missouri, it is not enough that a vote of the people to strengthen the state’s breeding regulation was gutted later by the state legislature; now they want to further weaken anti-cruelty regulations and make it tougher for people to vote for better regulations.

From an Associated Press article posted Saturday on

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Rep. Tom Loehner is backing an amendment to the state constitution that would forbid voter-enacted laws governing how farmers raise cattle, sheep, pigs, poultry, goats, horses and rabbits. He said his proposal is driven by concern that people in urban areas might construe some farming practices as cruel instead of economically necessary.

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That is a troubling statement – “cruel instead of economically necessary.” It’s bad enough to pick and choose where they don’t want the will of the people involved. But to weigh the extreme suffering of animals against what a few will deem as ‘economically necessary’ should sound alarm bells for the animal welfare side and voters in general.
Continue reading Some in Missouri legislature looking to further weaken protections for animals →

Coming Soon: The Mentality Pack

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In an effort to bring some variety to the Pack Mentality Blog, I will be introducing soon a new, regular feature – The Mentality Pack.

This cartoon series will feature new characters and a somewhat more lighthearted slant to highlighting animal-welfare topics. I will still keep hammering away at the evils of the world, but I think it doesn’t have to be all negative all the time.

I’ll be up front in admitting I’m no skilled artist. I’ve done a little drawing over the years, but it’s nothing a 4-year-old Van Gogh would be impressed with. Hopefully I will improve with each passing episode. And hopefully, the topics will be more entertaining and informative than the artwork.


Petfinder playing off Westminister dog show to promote adoption

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Petfinder is using the upcoming Westminster Kennel Cub Dog Show to highlight the fact that purebred and mixed breed dogs are available for adoption all over the country.

From a press release – “” While a total of 185 breeds will compete in the Westminster Show this year, more than 170,000 dogs are available on – 25 percent of which are purebred. “”

“ has just about any pet you can imagine; whether you want a four-legged friend who will snuggle up on the couch with you or a running partner,” said Betsy Banks Saul, co-founder of “And when you tune into the Westminster Dog Show and see magnificent dogs strutting their stuff, remember you can train your adopted pooch too! With a few simple training techniques, dogs will come, sit and pay attention to you – just like the most award-winning ‘Best in Show’ dogs.”

For more tips and tricks on pet training, visit Information about different breeds’ characteristics and temperament can also be found on in the breed directory.

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Pack Line Headlines: Puppy mills; greyhound racing; animal cruelty

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New York dog-breeding facility worries local residents: Residents in Gorham, NY are speaking out about the possible opening of a new dog breeding facility they rightfully worry could be a puppy mill.

Global Animal reports the breeder moved the operation after being cited for animal abuse violations in Seneca County. The owner needs another permit before officially opening. Hopefully, that permit will be denied, because the story indicates the breeder was charged by the USDA with failing to provide veterinary care.

The USDA report also noted – “it does not appear that the facility has enough employees to carry out an acceptable level of husbandry for these animals. This needs to be addressed for the welfare of the animals.”

Violations came between November 23, 2010 and January 5, 2011. So why was this breeder allowed to stay open for that long and why have they been allowed to even get this far in the process of moving to another location?

The Gorham Planning Board unanimously granted the breeder a special use permit to build the facility, for 200 to 600 dogs. It’s unbelievable.

More info on puppy van story: I posted Thursday about a van stopped in Illinois carrying dozens of puppies bound for pet stores. I found a follow-up piece today on that offers more information.

Continue reading Pack Line Headlines: Puppy mills; greyhound racing; animal cruelty →