The Westminster Kennel Club, is proud to announce they have partnered to sponsor a puppy in training with the Valor Service Dogs program. A Golden Retriever puppy named Betty joined the program this year to undergo 18-24 months of training before being placed as a service dog with a military veteran or first responder in need. Following a Valor Service Dog tradition, this retriever was named after a notable military service member, the late Betty White, who reportedly served in the American Women’s Voluntary Services during WWII.
The Westminster Kennel Club’s support of the puppy in the Valor Service Dog program continues the organization’s longstanding history of giving back. Throughout its 146-year history, Westminster has supported military and service dogs through donations to the American Red Cross during World War I, Dogs for Defense during World War II, and more recently, Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind, and the Warrior Canine Connection.
The Valor Service Dog organization trains puppies as mobility assistance and PTSD service dogs for military veterans and first responders. These highly trained companions help their owners regain their independence and reintegrate into their communities.
Betty, the Golden Retriever pup, will appear at the 146th Annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, held at the Lyndhurst Estate in Tarrytown, New York. To follow Betty’s journey, follow @WKCDogShow.
“Smithfield Foods, Inc. today announced that it will cease all harvest and processing operations in Vernon, California in early 2023 and, at the same time, align its hog production system by reducing its sow herd in its Western region,” the company said in a statement.
Smithfield also plans to reduce its sow herd in Utah and exit its farms in Arizona and California.
Instead, the company will serve California customers with its Farmer John brand and other brands and products from current facilities in the Midwest.
“Smithfield is taking these steps due to the escalating cost of doing business in California,” the company explained.
The company, owned by Hong Kong-listed WH Group Ltd., said that workers at the plant will be offered financial and transition assistance, including the option to relocate to other Smithfield facilities.
Jim Monroe, vice president for corporate affairs of Smithfield, said two main factors drove the company’s decision: high costs and overregulation.
“The cost of doing business in California is significantly higher than other states where we operate. Utilities, for example, are 3.5 times per head higher than our other location where we do the same work. Taxes and other costs are significantly higher,” he told The Epoch Times.
Meanwhile, it’s also challenging to operate in the Golden State because of the red tape.
He cited Proposition 12, a state law passed by voters in 2018, as a prime example.
Propositions 12—an animal protection bill backed by the Humane Society—mandates factory farms to give hens, sows, and veal calves enough room to stand up, lie down, turn around, and stretch their limbs without hitting the sides of a cage.
The law also implements a sales ban against noncompliant animal products including eggs, pork, and veal, from out of state.
An animal shelter in Thousand Oaks, CA, is requiring would-be pet parents to reveal their views on gun control.
The Shelter Hope Pet Shop decided to “stop adopting out animals to those who oppose certain restrictions on gun ownership,” People reports.
Kim Sill, owner of the shelter, was quoted stating: “We do not support those who believe that the 2nd amendment gives them the right to buy assault weapons. If your beliefs are not in line with ours, we will not adopt a pet to you.”
Sill enacted the policy following mass shootings in Uvalde, TX, and elsewhere.
Amy Hunter, spokeswoman for the National Rifle Association, told NBC News that the policy was an “asinine political litmus test” that “comes at the expense of needy and homeless dogs and cats.”
Happy the elephant may be intelligent and deserving of compassion, but she cannot be considered a person being illegally confined to the Bronx Zoo, New York’s top court ruled Tuesday.
The 5-2 decision by the state Court of Appeals comes in a closely watched case that tested the boundaries of applying human rights to animals.
The zoo and its supporters warned that a win for advocates at the Nonhuman Rights Project could open the door to more legal actions on behalf of animals, including pets, farm animals and other species in zoos.
The court’s majority echoed that point.
The decision written by Chief Judge Janet DiFiore said that “while no one disputes that elephants are intelligent beings deserving of proper care and compassion,” a writ of habeas corpus is intended to protect the liberty of human beings and does not apply to a nonhuman animal like Happy.
The decision affirms a lower court ruling and means Happy will not be released to a more spacious sanctuary through a habeas corpus proceeding, which is a way for people to challenge illegal confinement.
Extending that right to Happy to challenge her confinement at a zoo “would have an enormous destabilizing impact on modern society.” And granting legal personhood in a case like this would affect how humans interact with animals, according to the majority decision.
The 146th Annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show will expand television coverage in 2022 with an 8-hour live simulcast of the Group and Best in Show competitions on FOX Deportes. This is the first time that the premier competition held at the Lyndhurst Estate in Tarrytown, NY, will appear on FOX Deportes, the longest-running Spanish sports network in the United States. Renowned Spanish-language journalist and host Jorge Viera will serve as host alongside dog show expert and analyst Johan Becerra-Hernandez to bring the sport of dogs to nearly 20 million new homes Tuesday and Wednesday evening, June 21-22.
Tuesday’s four-hour broadcast kicks off at 7:00 PM ET on FOX Deportes while the next night will premiere live in Spanish on the FOX Sports App. FOX Deportes airs the final day of competition on Thursday, June 23 at 6:00 PM ET.
FOX Deportes’ simulcast is in addition to the 17 hours of live coverage on FS1 and FS2 during Westminster Week. Viewers can tune in to FOX for the Masters Agility Finals airing on, Sunday, June 19, and the Highlight Show Presented by Purina Pro Plan airing on July 9, 2022. Daytime judging of over 200 breeds, the Masters Obedience Championship, plus agility and junior showmanship preliminaries will be streamed live at westminsterkennelclub.org.
Originally from Venezuela, Johan Becerra-Hernandez has been in the dog show world for over four decades, beginning with his Great Dane in 1980. He is a veterinarian and a dog handler, breeder, and judge. As a handler and breeder of Basset Hounds, his success is proven with more than 80 Best in Show awards and international champion titles. Becerra-Hernandez is approved to judge all breeds in North and South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and Oceania. Becerra-Hernandez’s prestigious judging assignments are two previous assignments at the Westminster Kennel Club dog show.
Born in Puerto Rico, Jorge Viera is an experienced broadcaster with over two decades of experience. He has served as a national and local news anchor for Univision as well as working as a news correspondent in places such as Latin America and Russia. He is currently the founder and CEO of TV broadcasting company “La Calle TV.”
As the second-longest continuously held sporting event in the U.S., the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show will return to the Lyndhurst Estate in Tarrytown, NY, for the second year. History was made in 2021 as the events were held outside of New York City for the first time due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Westminster Week attracts nearly 3,500 dogs in three different competitions. The week kicks off with the 9th Annual Masters Agility Championship at Westminster on Saturday, June 18, 2022, followed by the iconic all-breed dog show, including the Junior Showmanship competition from June 20-22, 2022. The 7th Annual Masters Obedience Championship will also be held on Monday, June 20, 2022.
The U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Natural Resources voted on the Big Cat Public Safety Act (H.R. 263), introduced by Reps. Quigley (D-IL) and Fitzpatrick (R-PA), and passed committee by a vote of 25-17. This bill—and its U.S. Senate companion bill (S. 1210) led by Sens. Blumenthal (D-CT), Collins (R-ME), Carper (D-DE) and Burr (R-NC) — would prohibit keeping tigers, lions, leopards and other big cat species as pets and ban direct contact between big cats and the public. We call on House leadership to schedule a full chamber vote on the bill without delay.
The Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society Legislative Fund released the following statements on the vote:
Kitty Block president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States: “Our undercover work has exposed the tragic reality of big cats in the U.S. for years. Behind each deceptive tiger cub selfie and cub-petting attraction is an ugly money-making scheme that tears newborn cubs away from their mothers. Their infancy is then spent being passed around as objects by the paying public until they are too large to handle. The abuse doesn’t end there. Some of these big cats end up in roadside zoos where they pace in bare and filthy cages, while others end up as exotic pets, living unnaturally in a house or led around on a leash, posing safety threats to communities. How can we continue to put these animals and the public at serious risk? We can’t. The cycle of big cat breeding, objectification and cruelty must end now.”
Sara Amundson, president of the Humane Society Legislative Fund: “Wild animals, including tigers bred for their cubs, are exploited endlessly for profit by scofflaws in this cruel industry. The recent money laundering charges against Doc Antle, who is also facing wildlife trafficking and animal cruelty charges, underscore the unscrupulous nature of the characters involved. In captivity, lions, tigers and leopards are entirely dependent on our mercy and good judgment, and the Big Cat Public Safety Act is the down payment on what we owe them. Congress needs to seize the moment to pass this bill and shut down every Doc Antle or Joe Blow exploiting big cats and their cubs now.”
At 2,300-acres with 20 barns and over 250 stalls, Adena Springs Farm, offered at $55 million, is one of the largest horse farm operations in the world capable of handling up to 1,000 horses. Built in 2007 to serve the iconic Adena Springs Stallion breeding operation, Adena Springs Farm was meticulously constructed and is located within the heart of the renowned Thoroughbred horse racing empires of the bluegrass and surrounded by some of the world's best and most recognized breeding, training, sales facilities and farms. This picture book property sits on hallowed ground between Lexington and Paris in central Kentucky, the epicenter of global horse racing.
Launched as part of Icon Global's multi-phase marketing approach, the Adena Springs Farms Feature Video offers a glimpse into the internationally renowned property that had been home to legendary and award-winning Adena Springs' champion Thoroughbreds Ghostzapper, Mucho Macho Man and Awesome Again, to name a few.
Although Frank Stronach no longer retains any ownership interest in the farm, the well-earned reputation and imprints of the Stronach legacy is reflected throughout Adena Springs Farm in design, materials and construction as well as in the attention to detail regarding efficiencies of essential farm operation and management," said Icon Global's Bernard Uechtritz. "Interest in the property has been consistent and global in nature since our initial announcement for a variety of end users. We have canvassed the spectrum of equestrian industry disciplines since announcing the intent to sell and as a result we are engaged in various discussions with prospects regarding new ownership. However, my mandate is to first explore and exhaust all interest and opportunities from global racing entities and identities in selecting the next steward."
Icon Global has appointed respected luxury experts Mr. Bill Justice and Ms. Bill Bell of Lexington's Justice Real Estate as local sales representatives.
A congressional report recommends that the Seresto collar should be recalled.
The report connects the flea-and-tick collars to “almost 100,000 incidents and 2,500 pet deaths,” CBS News reports.
The $70 collar is made by Elanco Animal Health. Sales of the product have been barred in Canada.
The report was issued by Committee on Oversight and Reform’s economic and consumer policy subcommittee. Jeffrey Simmons, CEO of Elanco Animal Health, said in a hearing before the committee that the collar has undergone extensive safety studies.
He stated: “Adverse event reports aren’t proof of causation. We haven’t found a single death due to the ingredients in the collar.”
The collar has been blamed for symptoms including skin lesions, lethargy and vomiting.
Bam Bam, a bear who endeared himself to the legendary Betty White in 2018, has died. The administrator of Betty White’s popular Facebook page broke the heartbreaking news to her millions of fans on June 13, writing:
Returning from hiatus with a bittersweet post. This boy has been reunited with this lady, who loved him so dearly. Bam Bam was just a spectacular creature. He will be dearly missed by all those who loved him.
According to The Mirror, Bam Bam and Betty met while filming The First Lady of Television documentary. The bear’s death comes just six months after Betty White, well known for her deep love of animals, passed away just shy of her 100th birthday.
In the documentary she commented on her passion for animals:
“That’s my life. The reason I work, the reason I do anything is for my love for animals.”
RIP Betty and Bam Bam
Last week, the New York State Legislature voted in support of the passage of the Puppy Mill Pipeline Bill which will ban the retail sale of commercially bred dogs, cats, and rabbits. The next step needed to make this bill into law is a signature from Governor Kathy Hochul.
ASPCA President and CEO Matt Bershadker commented on the bill’s passage, stating:
“The Puppy Mill Pipeline Bill will finally end the sale of cruelly bred puppy mill dogs in pet shops across New York state, which has one of the country’s highest concentrations of pet stores that sell puppies.”
High-priced puppies sold at pet stores are typically sourced from commercial puppy mill breeding operations where profits outweigh the well-being of the animals. The breeding operations are known for their high-volume production of puppies and dismal living conditions for the animals in their care. Unknowing consumers pay high prices for these “designer” pups, who are often plagued with poor health.
Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal (D/WF-Manhattan), who championed the bill, said:
“The cute puppies, kittens and bunnies in pet store windows mask a sad reality: these animals are products of horrific neglect in puppy mills. Puppy, kitty and bunny mills use and abuse animals to churn out pets for sale, which are often riddled with congenital diseases, that cost unsuspecting consumers hundreds or thousands of dollars in veterinary bills and incalculable emotional stress. Over the years we have tried to regulate pet stores, but the industry continues to prioritize profits over the welfare of animals. My legislation will finally shut down the pet store-to-puppy mill pipeline once and for all.”
If the Puppy Mill Pipeline Bill is signed into law by the governor, retail stores will no longer be able to sell commercially bred animals, but they can still feature shelter pets who are in need of homes.