Art eerily imitates life in filming of HBO series “Luck”

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UPDATE 8:15 p.m.: Reports indicate that HBO has halted all filming on the Luck series.

A third horse has died on the set of the HBO series “Luck,” a show about the world of horse racing. It happens in reality in horse racing, due to injuries on the track and for untold numbers of horses who no longer make the grade and end up in slaughterhouses.

This is the hidden underbelly of horse racing and greyhound racing. It’s the horrible aspect of these industries that insiders don’t want you to know about.

In a statement released Tuesday and quoted in an ABC News article, the American Humane Association has “immediately demanded that all production involving horses shut down”on the Luck set.

HBO has halted filming scenes with horses. I have not watched the series because I feared it might glorify the horse-racing industry. Now I am of the opinion that HBO should shut down the series, completely.

Four troubling animal cruelty stories in one Pack News Wire report

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Four news accounts of animal cruelty crossed the Pack News Wire this morning. The first thoughts that came to mind are two of our regular awards – the Wacky Mentality Award and the Haley Barbour Soft-on-Crime Award.

Man charged with dragging puppy: A Chicago man has been charged with dragging a puppy down the sidewalk, leaving a trail of blood. The Chicago Tribune reports the man told police – “This is how you teach a dog to walk.” – Wacky Mentality Award

Police officer cited for beating death of cat: A police officer in Maryland was given just a $50 fine for beating an injured cat to death with his nightstick. – Haley Barbour Soft-on-Crime Award

Tennessee man accused of torturing dog for four hours: A charge of aggravated animal cruelty is out for a man accused of torturing a four-pound dog for four hours. He allegedly threw the dog down a staircase, tried to drown her and then put her in a clothes dryer for several minutes, during the long process of killing her.

Man shoots dog; doesn’t know where he lives: An Idaho man shot a stray dog on his property and was charged with animal cruelty and discharging a firearm in city limits. He called KPVI News 6 to offer his side of the story, which involved admitting he didn’t call animal control because he didn’t know he lived within the city limits.
And because he didn’t know he lived within city limits, he didn’t know he’d be charged with firing his gun there. The local media should ask him if he recalls paying city property taxes at any point in time.

Injured Marine seeks to save and adopt injured military service dog

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This is one of those stories that all at once can leave you somewhat upset and touched and perplexed.

An injured former Marine is trying to adopt the service dog she worked with in Iraq, but bureaucratic roadblocks seem to be in the way. Over two tours of duty, Corporal Megan Leavey and German shepherd Sergeant Rex hunted IEDs. The pair was injured when a roadside bomb exploded near them in 2006.

Rex was recently diagnosed with facial palsy at Camp Pendleton and will be released from service, but the fear is that he will be euthanized before the way is cleared for Leavey to adopt him. This is one of those cases where clearly the better option is to allow Leavey to adopt Rex, even it means standard procedures are tossed out the window. The two heroes deserve to be together.

Senator Charles E. Schumer is trying to help, through a letter sent to Michael B. Donley, secretary of the Air Force.

Satire Saturday: Big Oil CEO says “Frack This”

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Because blogging about serious topics such as animal cruelty cases, greyhound racing, dog fighting and puppy mills can be all too serious at times, we will meet here on the weekends for Satire Saturdays (and sometimes Sundays). On occasion, we could all use a little lighthearted relief.

Headline: Big Oil CEO defends oil spills

The Story: Oily Wellian, the CEO of Big, Rig & Gig Oil Company stepped before the microphones for a Saturday-afternoon press conference, to defend the proposed Keystone Pipeline and drilling onshore, offshore and anywhere there’s bare spot on the Earth’s surface.

In front of a huge sign with the company slogan, “Where There’s a Drill, Get Out of the Way,” Wellian opened the proceedings with a strong statement.

“Oil is natural and it’s clean and it has gotten a bad wrap for far too long,” Wellian said. “Hell, I shower in 10W-40 three times a weak.”

It didn’t take long for the subject of natural gas fracking to gush from a reporter’s mouth, in particular the health hazards of fracking chemicals.

“Our studies have indicated that fracking fluid is actually great for reducing cholesterol,”  Wellian said. “And do you have heartburn? Well, why not fight fire with fire – by downing a flask of fracking fluid before having a smoke.”

A CNMSNFX reporter quickly broke in to challenge Wellian’s claims, asking, “Would you suggest from your opening statement that the Gulf Oil Spill was good for the skin of the animals trapped in the muck? You couldn’t be that uncaring of the animals, could you?”

“I can be as uncaring as the best of them,” Wellian shot back. “But trying to use flattery won’t change how I feel about you media types.

“To answer your question, yes – and we’re trying to get some of the major human cosmetic companies and canine product manufacturers to distribute our skin-care line. One I’m really excited about is X-On Hair Conditioner.”

The press conference ended abruptly when ice crystals began to form on the floor of the auditorium, seconds after Wellian shouted, “I’ll admit oil spills are bad for wildlife and humans when Hell freezes over.”

Sea Shepherd cheers as Japanese ships end whaling season far short of projected kill numbers

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The Sea Shepherd fleet of anti-whaling vessels has managed to disrupt the Japanese whaling operations again and this time the whalers are limping back home with less than a third (267) of the marine mammals they had hoped to brutally kill (reportedly 900).

So at least hundreds more in the Antarctic waters have survived. Captain Paul Watson is quoted on the Sea Shepherd website as saying, “It has been a successful campaign. There are hundreds of whales swimming free in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary that would now be dead if we had not been down there for the last three months. That makes us very happy indeed.”

The Sea Sea Shepherd Conservation Society will launch another mission later this year, if the Japanese whaling fleet heads back to the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. The mission will be called “Operation Cetacean Justice” and will include four ships, two helicopters, four drones and 120 volunteers.

“If the Japanese whalers return, Sea Shepherd will return. We are committed to the defense of the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary,” Watson said. “No matter how long it takes, no matter how risky or expensive. The word “sanctuary” actually means something to us and that something is worth fighting for.”

Japan’s commercial whaling-killing operation is run by – get this – the “Institute of Cetacean Research.” That would be like the Syrian government declaring that in bombing cities, they are only testing the effectiveness of their bombs. It’s only research.

A CNN blog reports there was a confrontation four days ago between the Japanese ships and the Sea Shepherd’s “Bob Barker.”

The battle against animal welfare

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As the movement grows to protect animals from cruelty, the push back against proposals for animal welfare regulations seems to be growing as well.

I’ve got a couple of links below to highlight the effort to hide or protect those engaged in cruel acts. But first up today, I introduce a new award – the Haley Barbour Soft-On-Crime Award. It is dedicated to the Mississippi Governor who recently pardoned a number of convicted criminals – including murderers.

The Winston-Salem Journal reports the Stokes County district attorney and Stokes County Animal Control have agreed to drop 27 misdemeanor animal-cruelty charges against the owners of a breeding operation where 150 dogs were seized in February.

The charges were dropped on several conditions, including the order that the couple cannot “own and operate any animal breeding or animal sales businesses for two years.” – Just TWO YEARS. Animal welfare officials will have the right to inspect the property to make sure they are not breeding over this span.

The county manager was quoted as saying he wants to make sure no one operates a puppy mill in his county. Or did he mean to say that he wanted to make sure no one operates a puppy mill for the next two years.

Weak punishment only sends a message to other puppy millers that even if they are exposed, the end result will be a slap on the wrist. So for this decision, Stokes County gets the Pack Mentality Blog’s first Haley Barbour Soft-On-Crime Award.

In Missouri, a bogus bill has been introduced to make sure animals never get human rights.

The Dairy Herd Network quotes the bill:

The laws of this state shall not confer upon any animal a right, privilege, or legal status that is equivalent or that exceeds a right, privilege, or legal status as that which this state confers by law upon a human being. This provision shall not be construed as limiting laws that protect the welfare of animals in the state.”

Horrors!!! – Animals might get property rights or the right to vote. The state representative is quoted as saying his mission was to keep animal-rights organizations from coming into his state to impose new protections for animals.

Translation: “We don’t want anyone coming into our state uncovering cruel acts against animals. Some of us hate sunshine and we don’t really like animals either.”

He does stress that the new law would not weaken existing animal-welfare laws. That’s not very comforting for the animals who are living with the current level of very weak animal-welfare regulations. The bill is really designed to block any new protections.

The goal of every new proposal I’m seeing across the country is to protect animals from abuse and neglect. How is this being twisted into a claim that we want animals to have equal rights to humans? Yes, it’s true – we want both humans and animals to be protected from abuse and neglect. No reasonable person could oppose that – right?

On the other side of this issue, The Canadian ran an editorial on March 4 headlined: “Iowa bans coverage on Animal Cruelty — America’s march to Fascism.” People are calling the ban on undercover videos and photos on factory farms “Ag-Gag” laws.

In an article posted today on the Weekly Times Now website out of Australia, Joe Maxwell, the HSUS director of rural development and outreach is quoted as saying – “Anytime you try to block whistleblower-type activity, I think you wind up with horrendous outcomes and in this case, for the animals on the farms it could be, as well, for the environment or worker treatment.”

 

Video: Photographer working to save endangered species

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Everyone needs to hear the messages stated in this NBC News video – the message that all of the creatures of the Earth have value and do not deserve to be wiped off the planet.

The photographer featured in the piece is trying to use his camera to save endangered species.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

New York Times studies the demise of greyhound racing

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Maybe demise isn’t a strong enough term. Greyhound racing is in a collapse. I just wish, for the sake of the dogs, the collapse was coming at a faster pace.

The New York Times headline Thursday morning was – “Greyhound Races Face Extinction at the Hands of Casinos They Fostered.”

The key points:

A – The races are losing money at a rate of millions per year. But despite this fact, the tracks in Iowa (and in other states) are required to hold a set number of races per year.

B – Legislative movements are underway to cut the requirement that tracks hold races, leaving the gambling to the tables or slots that cannot feel emotional or physical pain and suffering.

C – The general manager at the Horseshoe Council Bluffs casino in Iowa calls greyhound racing “a dying sport.” (Although as a point of fact, it is NOT a sport).

D – Council Bluffs can hold 6,500 in its stands, but the New York Times reports only about 70 regulars were there for a race day last week. Only about 70 fans? That’s about the same number of people who actually look forward to the musical guests on Saturday Night Live each week.