Johnny Depp dog story has multiple bad actors

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Johnny Depp is in a spat with government officials in Australia over the screen actor’s two dogs, who he reportedly brought into the country without quarantining them for the required time period.

So now the dogs are being threatened with euthanasia if Depp does not take then back to the US.

Depp certainly carries his share of the blame for not addressing the requirements and therefore putting the dogs and others at risk. He should know better.

But Australia is a nation that allows greyhound racing and the government is still closing its eyes to the history of abuse and the current scandal over the use of live baiting in the so-called training of the dogs.

So Australia – if you really want to do the right thing for animals, show us some real steps. Announce tomorrow that due to the preponderance of evidence, greyhound racing has been immediately banned – forever.

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Greyhound racing breeder challenges common practice of breeders

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Possibly without realizing he was doing it, a supporter of greyhound racing in Australia is challenging a common practice of many breeders across the world.

Anthony Jeffress, a breeder, was quoted Feb. 20 in an article by Australian Racing Greyhound. He was concerned about the dogs been taken by authorities during the investigation concerning live baiting.

The article reports at least two mother dogs were “separated from their respective litters aged 12-14 weeks.” And then Jeffress was quoted as saying:

“There are a lot of greyhound trainers who believe mothers should be left with their pups for as long as six months,” Jeffress said.

“Those two were weaned off but it’s not just about the feed, it’s about the socialisation.”

So here is an area where I can agree with dog-racing breeders. Puppies need extended time with their mothers. The training and socialization is vitally important for all puppies, not just greyhounds.
Too often, breeders are selling puppies at 6 to 8 weeks old. I believe this is one reason why we see dogs with behavioral problems later in life.
But any concern for the welfare of greyhounds expressed by anyone who participates in dog racing is hollow, as the industry regularly kills and injures dogs.
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More stunning news out of Australia, dogs covered by investigation could be allowed back at tracks

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Hope is dwindling already for greyhounds in Australia. I can’t get one post wrapped up before another alert flashes in on the Pack News Wire. We are just days from the exposure  of extreme cruelty in live baiting and already the pressure to keep the dogs on the tracks is too much for the regulators there.

The Herald Sun has reported that all of the dogs in the investigation will be allowed to race, “if their owners signed statutory declarations which stated they had not been trained with live bait.”

How will we ever know? If the dogs were found at a facility or had visited a facility but many of them were not seen on videos, the owners can just claim they didn’t really train with the methods used at that facility? Or is it that they might have trained with live-bait trainers but they can claim the live-bait trainers didn’t use the method on their dogs? Is that right?

But here is the key paragraph from the article:

Animal welfare groups slammed the backflip and independent politician Andrew Wilkie said they had “completely and utterly destroyed the integrity of the races and the associated gambling”.

And yet people will continue to blindly bet their money on these races, without even knowing if dogs are being trained at illegal facilities that were not even uncovered by the investigation. It is amazing what some people will fall for.

The two big questions now are: Will the current investigation result in any real impact at all on dog racing in Australia or elsewhere. And if the impacts are minimal, what would it really take for greyhound racing to be banned?

How bad would it have to be before the government there and the people of Australia demand that the industry shut down forever?

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

No surprise here; horrors of greyhound racing in Australia swept under the rug

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It keeps happening in regard to animal welfare and environmental issues. But it’s hard to imagine why it’s seems okay to some, to produce a study, without covering the main topics involved in the particular issue at hand.

In what is being called a “parliamentary inquiry into the greyhound racing industry,” the producers of the study have conveniently omitted key facts that cover the suffering the dogs endure. The rug has been lifted, however, in a Sydney Morning Herald article published March 30.

Reportedly, any mention of the massive number of greyhounds killed each year by the industry was removed from the report. This comes even in light of a racing insider admitting in a hearing that 3,000 dogs are killed each year.

The article also states other problems, such as the “mistreatment of dogs, loopholes in drug testing inadequate animal welfare standards and the absence of lifetime tracking” were “glossed over.”

And the article ends with this: “Mr Borsak said the panel found that the incidence of greyhound cruelty and neglect was minimal.” Robert Borsak is the select committee chairman and Shooters and Fishers MP.

As is the case in the United States and elsewhere, some politicians will make any wacky statement, no matter how far it is from reality. Why? – Because some people will believe anything that crawls from their mouths and in too many cases, national media outlets let them get away with it.
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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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

Pack of greyhound racing news

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The needle is moving in the positive direction in greyhound racing, as more news about the odds of shutting down the horrible industry in Iowa comes out. And hopefully, the Florida legislature will follow suit. The Herald-Tribune out of Florida ran an editorial yesterday about the decoupling effort, a move that could drop the requirement to hold dog races at casinos in the state. The next legislative session begins March 4. The editorial notes 12 of the 21 greyhound tracks in the country are in Florida. And then there’s the following tidbit about gambling dollars on dog racing, which have dropped:

… by 72 percent in Florida between 1990 and 2013. During the same period, taxes and fees paid by tracks and collected by the state dropped by 98 percent.

Again, I can’t say this enough: How could any taxpayer support the massive way a few of states have specifically supported this industry, with huge handouts and a requirement that it exist. What other business in the country gets this sort state backing – with a handouts and a guarantee they won’t be shut down, no matter how incredibly deep the losses go.

More good news is coming out of Australia, where the headline on the Young Witness website actually plays the news of greyhound racing’s decline as a bad thing. It’s seems there are ongoing funding cuts and talk of “now it’s all falling down around us” and “alleged mismanagement of the sport by GRNSW.” We can only hope the whole industry falls down – soon.

In some disgusting news out of Great Britain, a trainer is supporting a track in Wimbledon through a “Show of Passion” campaign. How about a show of “compassion” for the dogs by shutting down the industry for good.

And a great headline from Iowa ran Wednesday on TH Online website – “Negotiations would immediately end dog racing in Dubuque.”

Hopefully, an agreement is on the way that will allow both casinos in the state to end racing – with an end to the state mandates there.

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Big month for greyhound racing news

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Iowa could take a big step in the direction of ending greyhound racing in the state. The Newton Daily News reports the Dubuque City Council will ask the state government to drop the mandate on holding dog races at Mystique Casino.

The article includes this paragraph:

But since then, city officials said, the greyhound racing industry has fallen into a “death spiral,” turning the once lucrative track into a financial drag.

Certainly, the racing greyhounds across the nation face a death spiral every day. But the article also notes $4.5 million in subsidies was handed over to the state’s racing industry last year and over the last three decades, $55 million has been diverted from “charitable organizations and the city’s capital projects fund.”

The state pulled money earmarked for charities and gave it to the dog-racing industry? Who could do something like that?

At the Mardi Gras Casino in Charleston, W.Va., allegations are out concerning a track employee abusing greyhounds. The accused told a commission he was having a bad day.

The Charleston Gazette reports:

… 4,700 greyhounds were injured at the state’s two dog-racing tracks within the past five years. More than 1,400 of those injuries were catastrophic, career-ending injuries, according to the study.

In Australia, the news is extremely horrible. The Illawarra Mercury ran an article Monday concerning the disappearance of thousands of greyhound puppies each year. In 2011 alone, 3,440 puppies were born but went missing before they were named.

This has been the fear about dog racing for many, many years – that puppies are “culled” before even being given the chance to survive. It is estimated that 28 percent of the Australian racing dogs are killed as puppies.

And then there is the following from the article:

Other submissions told of abuse of dogs kept in bare paddocks with little care and no socialisation. Some were kennelled in darkness to control barking and had Velcro attached to their paws to stop them making noise.

The article suggests injured dogs or those deemed too slow for racing are killed by the thousands each year.

The stories out of New Zealand are horrible as well. A Yahoo Sports article from Nov. 15 quotes an animal-welfare advocate as saying dogs there are killed when they are no longer of value to the industry.

And yet – somehow – greyhound racing continues. And states such as Florida and Iowa are not just ignoring the horrors, the elected officials there are in full support, requiring the industry to exist.

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Another dumb idea: Shark Culling

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It seems any time a problem arises where animals are involved, all some people can come up for a solution involves killing the animals.

It’s simplistic. It takes very little thought, or little more than a tree stump can develop. And of course, for those who enjoy killing things as a pastime, it’s right up their alley.

It’s happening in Hawaii and Australia, where recent shark attacks have government officials turning to mass killing. God forbid any drownings might occur in these regions, or officials will call for the oceans to be drained.

Of course, everyone who enters the Earth’s oceans knows about the risks involved.

An editorial posted on The Conversation website offers some important information, including the following:

So often the argument in favour of a cull comes down to the emotional question of who is more important: a human or a shark. Rather, we need to ask the question, will culling sharks actually reduce the risk of an attack?

The answer is no. In fact, when shark culling was carried out in Hawaii, between 1959 to 1976, over 4,500 sharks were killed and yet there was no significant decrease in the number of shark bites recorded.


PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Australia going after Japan’s whaling operations in International Court of Justic

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Australia is standing up for whales, against Japan’s fake and so-called research loophole it uses to defend its commercial whaling operations.

Specifically, Australia will challenge Japan’s slaughter of whales in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.

Sea Shepherd sent the following press release:

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Sea Shepherd USA Backs Australia in Landmark Legal Case to End ‘Research Whaling’

FRIDAY HARBOR, Wash. – June 25, 2013 – Japan may finally be brought to justice for killing whales in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary under the ‘research whaling’ loophole as a landmark legal case at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague, the Netherlands, begins on June 26, 2013. Following a 2008 order from an Australian Court to end the Japanese whale hunts that ICR has ignored, the Australian government will present its case against Japan’s whaling operations in the Southern Ocean during the three-week-long hearing scheduled to run through July 16, 2013. Australia launched the case in 2010, asking the ICJ to halt a hunt that violates the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling (ICRW) laws’ moratorium on commercial whaling, and was on a scale far beyond the ICRW’s rules on killing whales for research.

Sea Shepherd Conservation Society will be present at the legal proceedings for the duration of the trial. Sea Shepherd has historically been at the forefront of defending whales in the remote Southern Ocean, reducing the effectiveness of Japan’s annual self-imposed kill quota of more than 1,000 whales. During the 2012-2013 hunting season, Japan only managed to kill 103 Minke whales (including pregnant females), the lowest tally to date, as a result of international volunteers led by Sea Shepherd Australia’s non-violent interventions. Since the whaling moratorium was introduced in 1986, Japan has killed more than 14,000 whales under the scientific research clause, according to the International Fund for Animal Welfare — 14,000 whales, during an international moratorium on whaling and in a designated whale sanctuary.

Sea Shepherd USA hopes the outcome of this case will finally bring redemption to the whales and allow the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary to truly serve as the sanctuary it was designated as and not as killing grounds. “Although the battle to defend whales is taking place in the Southern Hemisphere, people around the world are concerned about the ruling of this case – these are not just Australia’s whales, they are the world’s whales and we all have a vested interest in their survival and well-being,” said Sea Shepherd USA’s Administrative Director Susan Hartland. “A loss in the World Court would be devastating to people worldwide who support the efforts to save the whales, and as more than 90% of the planet’s great whales have been wiped out, we need to fight hard to protect the remaining ones from the same fate.”

While the legal battle of Australia vs. Japan will play out in The Hague, Sea Shepherd USA will continue its battle for the whales in a defense against Japan’s Institute for Cetacean Research (ICR) here on home turf. To take advantage of the research loophole and sidestep the international ban on commercial whaling, Japanese whaling vessels are emblazoned with “RESEARCH.” The ICR was given an injunction against Sea Shepherd USA to halt the non-profit’s participation in effective interventions in order to continue to freely kill whales. In early 2012, the lower court originally denied ICR’s injunction; the judges’ ruling acknowledged SSCS USA’s harmless, low-level harassment and recognized its public benefit. However, on December 17, 2012, a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the decision with no supporting laws or details. The court injunction prevents Captain Paul Watson, Sea Shepherd USA, and any party acting in concert with them from interfering with the ICR, requiring a 500-yard buffer from ICR vessels. This extreme ruling came with no opportunity for an evidentiary hearing to plead the case. If the ruling stands, the future of Sea Shepherd USA and the marine wildlife it actively defends could be at risk.

The public hearings from the ICJ will be broadcast live and in full on the International Court of Justice’s website at and will be available on UN Web TV at

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PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic