Category Archives: Animal Issues

Would you trust a meat company to sell you a new heart?

But first …

Best buds: Lilac and Cece. pic: R.T.


By Dr. Emily Trunnell

Recently, Smithfield Foods, the world’s largest purveyor of sausages, bacon, hot dogs and other artery-clogging pig flesh, announced a new venture: It wants to sell organs from the pigs it raises and kills for use in pig-to-human transplants.

In case the irony is lost on anyone, let’s break this down. A company that, for 80 years, has sold pig flesh to humans to eat—contributing to heart disease—now wants to sell pig hearts to replace human hearts that have given out after years of consuming unhealthy fare like Smithfield’s.

It’s beyond ironic; it seems almost devious—like if cigarette companies started marketing artificial lungs, or if booze producers got into the liver-replacement business. And if this plan ever comes to fruition, it will cause massive suffering—for animals who will be treated like warehouses for spare organs as well as for humans who will be exposed to the serious risks associated with receiving nonhuman transplants.

Pigs who are raised on Smithfield’s factory farms spend their short lives in cramped, filthy warehouses. These clever, loyal animals—who can play video games using joysticks and have been known to save their human families from fires and other dangers—are taken away from their mothers when they are as young as 10 days old. They are castrated, their tails are chopped off and the tips of their teeth are broken off with pliers—all without painkillers. Many are scalded alive in slaughterhouses.

Cruelty is rampant in this industry, as it is whenever animals are treated as commodities. A PETA eyewitness investigation of one Smithfield supplier revealed that workers were hitting and jabbing pigs in the face with metal gate rods, dragging injured animals and depriving them of veterinary care.

Years of eating the flesh of these and other abused animals take their toll on people’s health. Cholesterol, which is found only in meat and other animal-derived foods, such as eggs and milk, is a major contributor to heart disease: Each additional 100 milligrams of cholesterol that someone consumes adds roughly five points to their cholesterol level. When too much cholesterol builds up inside a person’s coronary arteries, the heart loses some of its blood supply, putting the person at risk for a heart attack.

Granted, not everyone awaiting a heart transplant is in that situation because of what they eat. But whatever the reason, transplanting organs from one species into another is a reckless move. Xenotransplantation, as this practice is called, comes with the risk of infecting patients with dangerous animal-borne pathogens and potentially puts the public at risk for epidemic outbreaks. This is particularly worrying knowing the Smithfield “donor” animals would be housed on factory farms, which are cesspools of infectious agents, contaminants and superbugs. In addition, recipients of nonhuman organs would need to be administered higher levels of anti-rejection medication in order to facilitate the transplant, making them more vulnerable to other infections or even cancer.

Thankfully, we don’t need to resort to “Frankenscience” or entrust our hearts to companies that profit from peddling unhealthy products. We can get human organs to patients who desperately need them right now through a simple change in the law.

In Belgium, France, Sweden and other countries that have passed presumed consent laws—which presume that organs are available for donation upon one’s death unless an individual has opted out—or mandated choice laws—which require adults to choose between donating their organs or not—the number of organs available for donation has increased dramatically. Since changing its law in the 1970s, France, for example, has seen organ donations shoot up nearly 5,000 percent.

Breakthroughs in science and technology also hold hope for people awaiting transplants. Advances in sophisticated 3-D bioprinting now allow scientists to grow human tissue with precision and consistency. 3-D organs-on-chips are providing insight into diseases and offer the hope of personalized medicine by eventually allowing drugs and other therapies to be tested on a patient’s own cells.

The other living beings who share our planet aren’t organ factories, and trying to use them as such is cruel, misguided and dangerous. Pigs — and people whose lives depend on receiving healthy, human organs — deserve better.

This Memorial Day weekend let us honor our “Atomic Vets” and praise the Veterans Service Dog Program

Jett, this a.m. He definitely lacks the service dog temperament. pics: R.T.

Lilac so lacks the work ethic …

Bipartisan McGovern Bill Supports Veterans Service Dog Program

$25 Million in Funding Supports Service Dogs for Veterans with Disabilities

This week, U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA) reintroduced the bipartisan Wounded Warrior Service Dog Act in the House of Representatives.

The bill, H.R. 2625, would create a competitive grant program for nonprofits that train service dogs for use by veterans.

It defines the term “assistance dog” to mean a dog specifically trained to perform physical tasks to mitigate the effects of a disability.

This bill authorizes $25 million over the space of five years.

“With so many veterans returning from war bearing both physical and emotional scars, we must do all we can to provide treatment that works,” Congressman McGovern said. “I have been honored to work with NEADS and so many other partners to support the extraordinary work they and others are doing to help veterans in need. It is my sincere hope that through this program, we can better connect our veterans with service dogs in an effort to ease their transition into civilian life.”

In recent years, Congressman McGovern has made several visits to the nonprofit National Education for Assistance Dog Services (NEADS) campus in Princeton.

On these visits, Congressman McGovern has learned about how service dogs are helping to treat veterans with physical disabilities as well as individuals who suffer from post-traumatic stress.

Assistance dogs are helping service men and women lead more independent lives, assisting with mobility and balance, retrieving and carrying objects, responding to sounds, getting help, and providing social interaction and companionship.

Trained dogs also offer many therapeutic benefits to soldiers and veterans with post-traumatic stress disorders (PTSD) by elevating their moods, building confidence, and reducing stress, all of which ease the transition back into civilian life.

Through the Appropriations process, this program has already received $11 million over the past three years. With this money, nonprofit groups like NEADS have trained over 200 service dogs and paired them with veterans in need.

If passed into law, the Wounded Warrior Service Dog Act would fund this program for the next five years.

The Director of Development at NEADS, Cathy Zemaitis, commented, “The Wounded Warriors Service Dog legislation will enable legitimate Service Dog providers the opportunity to better serve the veteran community. This important program will allow veterans with physical disabilities as well as those diagnosed with PTSD realize increased independence and the opportunity to increasingly engage in their community. This legislation will bring about a positive impact on all veterans who require the assistance of a highly trained Service Dog.”

The bill has 29 original cosponsors, including U.S. Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC). It has been endorsed by the American Legion and the Animal Welfare Institute.


More news from Congressman Jim McGovern:

McGovern Profile Photo 1ab(1)
Go, Jim, go!

McGovern, Markey Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Honor Veterans

Bill Recognizes “Atomic Veterans” Exposed to Radiation in Nuclear Weapons Tests

This week, U.S. Representatives Jim McGovern (D-MA) and Tom Emmer (R-MN) and U.S. Senator Edward J. Markey (D-MA) reintroduced H.R. 2754, the Atomic Veterans Service Medal Act, a bipartisan and bicameral bill that would authorize the award of a military service medal to members of the Armed Forces who were exposed to ionizing radiation as a result of participation in the testing of nuclear weapons or under other circumstances.

Between 1945 and 1962, about 225,000 members of our Armed Forces participated in hundreds of nuclear weapons tests.

These GIs became known as the Atomic Veterans.

They were placed in extremely dangerous areas and constantly exposed to radiation in performance of their duties.

Sworn to secrecy, they could not even speak of their service.

Presidents George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton recognized their valiant service, and acted to provide specialized care and compensation for their harrowing duty.

“America has a responsibility to honor all of our veterans and the sacrifices they made to serve our country. Tragically, many of these Atomic Veterans have already died, without receiving recognition. They kept a code of silence that likely led to many passing away too soon,” Congressman Jim McGovern said. “It is long past time for the Defense Department to honor their unique service with a medal recognizing all that they and their families have done to keep us safe. This bipartisan bill will help us to finally right this wrong and I urge Congress to pass it.”

“Our veterans are the best our nation has to offer,” said Congressman Tom Emmer (R-Minn.). “They dedicate their lives and sacrifice so much to protect our freedoms and liberties, so the least we can do is show them our immense gratitude. Unfortunately, we have since lost many of our Atomic Veterans, but I am honored to work with Congressman McGovern and Senator Markey to ensure these brave soldiers get the recognition they deserve.”

“As part of our country’s nuclear program, hundreds of thousands of brave U.S. servicemembers – our Atomic Vets – participated in atmospheric tests, exposing themselves to grave risks, without true recognition for their sacrifice,” Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) said. “Many of these brave patriots suffered from radiation-related diseases and other health issues. As a nation, we must honor their sacrifice, and this legislation takes an important step in that direction.”

Keith Kiefer, the Director of the National Association of Atomic Veterans commented, “The National Association of Atomic Veterans has worked hard to achieve acknowledgement of the consequences of exposure to the invisible bullets of radiation exposure. We thank Congressmen McGoven and Emmer and Senator Markey for spearheading our cause in the 2017 legislative session.”

Joining Congressmen McGovern and Emmer as original cosponsors of the House bill include Representatives Walter Jones (R-NC), Katherine Clark (D-MA), Betty McCollum (D-MN), Seth Moulton (D-MA), Keith Ellison (D-MN), and Rick Nolan (D-MN).

Worcester news you can use🌼🌼🌼




From the Worcester branch of the NAACP:

Please join us at our next Community/Membership meeting …

… Monday, May 22

6:30 pm

at the YMCA – Central Branch, Main Street, Main South – Worcester.


Supporting Foreign-Born Populations of Worcester

In recent meetings, our membership has voted to seek out ways to support immigrant and refugee communities in Worcester.

Dr. Thomas Doughton, Member at Large of our Executive Committee, is leading this effort and is seeking to work with local organizations and individuals to support and empower foreign-born residents.

Dr. Doughton will be presenting his research “The Foreign-Born Population of Worcester, Massachusetts: Assessing the Challenges and Contributions of a Diverse Community.”

Updates on Ongoing Work of Committees

Economic Development

“Songs of Hope” – Musical Event

Candidate Forums

Organizational Changes within the National Headquarters of the NAACP
The NAACP is changing leadership and direction to remain relevant, and to push back against the Trump administration. Please read The New York Times article for more information:

If you are interested in volunteering, please come by. I look forward to seeing you all Monday!





pic: R.T.

Community Consultation Forum on Immigration Law

Are you part of a family that has recently immigrated to the United States?

Are you concerned about the changes in immigration law, and do you have questions about how they might affect you?

Come to a Community Consultation Forum where you will hear from Immigration Law Attorneys and have the opportunity to ask them your questions.

This Community Consultation Forum will be held on:

Thursday, May 25

6 PM – 9 PM

at Ascentria Care Alliance,
11 Shattuck St., Worcester

Translators in several languages will be present at the forum.

Shepard – GreaterThanFear

❤There will also be a Training for Front Door Providers Who Work with Families on the Recent Changes in Federal Immigration Policies (to prepare us all to help the families we serve)

Thursday May 25

3:30 – 5 pm
at Ascentria Care Alliance (downstairs)
11 Shattuck St.

*This meeting will take place before the 6 pm scheduled Immigration law Community Consultation Forum

Please RSVP to








😘Brad Wyatt!

Reading the sweetest letter:


Just read your note, and the latest (last) [issue of] InCity Times. I wanted to thank you for delivering a community paper. Especially now that I’ve sold the Osgood Bradley Building, and my ties to the Canal District are less and less, I really enjoy all the references to my old stomping grounds.

I still enjoy bringing my kids to Golemo’s and buying the pickled beets that taste like my grandmother used to make, and letting them pick out a chocolate treat that you wouldn’t find in the large, corporate stores.

And, at Christmas, going to QuoVadis and visiting the PNI.

Your paper was always a terrific, welcome reminder in a busy world, of my Polish heritage combined with family memories of the canal district – trips with my grandmother to Maurice the Pants Man and the Broadway diner, among others.

I wish you the best in your future endeavors,

Brad Wyatt

Our editor replies:

Thank you, Brad!


Worcester news you can use …🌷🌷🌷🌷

De-escalating Interactions between the Police and People with Mental Illness who are in Crisis

May 16 – from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

The Bridge of Central MA

4 Mann St., Worcester

Lead by Sergeant William Chanis, Officer James Hodgerney and Officer Angel Rivera – The Worcester Police Department Crisis Intervention Team (CIT)

Families, Friends and People Living with Mental Illness will learn:

Overview of the Crisis Intervention Team (CIT)

How the CIT partners with the community

What families, friends and people living with mental illness can expect

The Worcester Police Department is a partner with NAMI Massachusetts Criminal Justice Diversion Project (CJDP) aims to prevent the unnecessary arrest and detention of individuals with mental illness.

The CJDP supports police departments and other first responders in engaging with individuals experiencing mental health crisis, and fosters connections between law enforcement, behavioral health providers, and other community stakeholders.

Parking in back entrance of The Bridge of Central MA

NAMI members will greet you at the door.

Questions: email


Lip Sync Battle flyer(1)

At the Edward M. Kennedy Community Health Center in Great Brook Valley:

19 Tacoma St., 3rd Floor Conference Room

Refugee Health Groups in ARABIC

Thursday, May 18

At 11 a.m

Important information to keep you and your family healthy!

This group will discuss healthy tips for the summer and summer programs for youth.

Arabic interpreter available

Bus passes provided

Please call Sousn Imam for more information:
508-852-1805 TTY 800-439-0183

This program is sponsored by Edward M. Kennedy Community Health Center. This program is funded by the Office of Refugees and Immigrants Massachusetts Refugee Health Promotion Program.


The Greater Worcester Community Foundation is now accepting applications for the Youth for Community Improvement (YCI) Class of 2017.

This is a great opportunity for young people…

In its 18th year, YCI is a youth led program focused on creating change through Worcester County through grantmaking in their communities.

High school sophomores and juniors from across Worcester County sit on a youth committee of on average 18 youth, in which they solely decide upon how to distribute funds provided to them of about $20,000 in grants to support community initiatives.

Which programs and how much funding each program will receive is determined by the committee.

Throughout the program, teens enhance and develop skills in leadership, facilitation, negotiation, teamwork, and critical thinking skills.

Committee members are in charge of facilitating conversations, researching community assets and challenges, developing a request for proposals and evaluating applications, and together reaching decisions on how to best utilize their grant dollars.

From the beginning of the program to the end, participants gain a better understanding of grantmaking, redefine their own definition of community, and develop a new passion for work in nonprofits and philanthropy.

This is a great opportunity for any sophomore and junior interested in service, leadership, nonprofits and fundraising, and who is looking to expand their network beyond their school.

We encourage students of all skill and experience level to apply.

We do have limited spots available for this upcoming year and an application and interview are required.

Applications must be received by Friday, June 2.

YCI meets every Wednesday once a week from 4-7pm from September- December at the GWCF office in Worcester.

As the advisor to this program, I am happy to chat and answer any questions! Many thanks for your time and assistance in helping connect YCI with our talented and passionate future leaders!

-Sarah Shugrue, Program Officer



An Irresistible New Guide to Vegan Love and Dating!

Have you recently adopted a vegan lifestyle? A new book by Maya Gottfried explores the intricacies of the love-and-dating side of things. This guide explains everything about vegan dating, from whether you should crush on a nonvegan, to where to go on a first date. Vegan Love: Dating and Partnering for the Cruelty-Free Gal, With Fashion, Makeup & Wedding Tips is the tool you need to navigate the world of vegan relationships!

Vegan Love is a practical guide for single vegan women who are looking for love, but it’s also a means of support for those already in committed relationships. However, the deeper purpose of the book is key: It will help you develop the skills to give love, compassion, and respect on every level, and this will spill over into your romantic life. Plus, Vegan Love includes guides to shopping for vegan and cruelty-free makeup and clothing.

In the book, author Maya Gottfried discusses the personal health crisis that led her to realize that going vegan would save both the lives of animals and her own. Insights from animal rights filmmakers and authors are featured throughout the text. Some of the bright minds who weigh in include Marisa Miller Wolfson of the film Vegucated, as well as Jasmin Singer, author of Always Too Much and Never Enough, and Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, author and host of the Food for Thought podcast.

This weekend! Meet the artists! Buy art for Mom this Mother’s Day!

Spring Sale & Open House this weekend!

The Sprinkler Factory
38 Harlow St., Worcester


Find the perfect Mother’s Day Gift
right here in Worceste! Fire Works Studio will be opening their doors to the public for an Open House & Spring Sale.

Come chat with the artists and purchase unique pieces.

Find the perfect Mother’s Day gift among the mugs, bowls, potted plants … and various other artists who will be set up in the lobby!

Pinch Pots by Wendy Popple
Available at the sale

This Weekend!

Friday, May 12

4 pm to 8p m

Saturday, May 13

10 am to 6 pm

Congressman McGovern: Trumpcare a Disaster for Millions of Americans

McGovern Profile Photo 1ab(1)
Congressman Jim McGovern

(editor’s note: I’ve made some sentences bold. – R.T.)

GOP Claim that Trumpcare Covers Pre-Existing Conditions is a Lie

Secret Negotiations, Backroom Deals and Bribes are Shameful

Congressman Jim McGovern, the senior House Democrat leading debate on the House floor against the American Health Care Act, slammed House Republicans yesterday for trying to steamroll the disastrous bill that would take healthcare away from millions of Americans.

“Pathetic. That’s the word to describe this process and this bill. If the American people could sue Congress for malpractice – my Republican friends would be in deep trouble. How could you do this? How could you do this to the people you represent?

You are taking away essential health care protections. You are allowing insurance companies to discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions. You are supporting a bill that will throw 24 million people off of their health care and cut Medicaid by $880 billion to give a $1 trillion dollar tax break to the very wealthy. What is wrong with you?

The American people were justifiably outraged – and they showed up by the thousands at town halls to express their anger. I guarantee you – your constituents are going to figure this out. And they will not be happy. And let me say to my colleagues, to claim or imply that this Republican plan covers pre-existing conditions, is a lie.

“Let me also say a few words about the process that has been used to bring this bill to the floor. It has been a disaster from start to finish with secret negotiations, backroom deals and bribes to buy off factions within the Republican conference. There have been no hearings on this bill whatsoever. And the Republican leadership couldn’t even slow down long enough to receive a score from the CBO.

“Are Republican leaders jamming this bill through to appease President Trump? Are they concerned that a new CBO score will confirm what we already know is true – that this bill would be devastating to the people of this country, force even more people to lose health care, especially older, sick and low-income Americans?

We’re supposed to fix problems and help people – not merely settle for political cover that can be used in a press release. I urge my colleagues to vote no on this bill. Or better yet, do what they did a couple weeks ago and pull this disastrous bill.”

Full Text of Congressman McGovern’s Speech:


“That’s the word to describe this process and this bill.

“If the American people could sue Congress for malpractice – my Republican friends would be in deep trouble.

“How could you do this? How could you do this to the American people? How could you do this to the people you represent?

“You are taking away essential health care protections. You are allowing insurance companies to discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions. You are supporting a bill that will throw 24 million people off of their health care and cut Medicaid by $880 billion to give a $1 trillion dollar tax break to the very wealthy.

“What is wrong with you?

“Today’s rule self-executes three of the newest Republican amendments to the Republican health plan. This means, without any sort of debate or discussion whatsoever, the Palmer, MacArthur and Upton amendments will magically pass the House. What I find so hard to believe about this latest backroom deal is that it actually makes this bill worse! I didn’t think that was possible.

To shore up support among this chamber’s most conservative faction, Representative MacArthur and others made a deal with President Trump to gut protections for individuals with pre-existing conditions and to eliminate essential health benefits like maternity care, mental health treatment, and prescription drug coverage, just to name a few. These are among the most popular provisions of the Affordable Care Act.

“The American people were justifiably outraged – and they showed up by the thousands at town halls to express their anger. And there were some on the Republican side who actually got it. They listened to their constituents and they had the courage to stand up and say no.

“But, when Republican leaders once again came up short in their whip count, Representative Upton ran to the White House and concocted a deal with President Trump to try to win back votes. His amendment adds a measly $8 billion spread out over 5 years in a futile attempt to soften the devastating impact that this bill will have on millions and millions of Americans with pre-existing conditions.

“$8 billion over 5 years sounds like a lot, but when we are talking about an entire country, it really isn’t. But don’t take it from me. Robert Graboyes from the conservative Mercatus Center said ‘the $8 billion amount is a pittance … spread over five years, it’s a fifth of a pittance.” This is not a left-wing organization. This is an organization funded by Koch Industries, the Koch brothers, my Republican friends love the Koch brothers.

“What’s more, some analysts have already estimated that an additional $200 billion will be needed over a decade to adequately fund high-risk pools, so this amendment is billions upon billions of dollars short. As the Center for American Progress points out, the Upton Amendment ‘will have almost no effect.’

“My colleagues who have been won over by this should be ashamed of themselves. We’re supposed to fix problems and help people – not merely settle for political cover that can be used in a press release. $8 billion to cover a $200 billion shortfall? Back where I come from, we call that being a “cheap date.”

“I guarantee you – your constituents are going to figure this out. And they will not be happy.

“For the so-called moderate Republicans who have contorted themselves this week to find a fix to the damage being done to people with pre-existing conditions, I have breaking news: I have a magic bullet fix if Republicans really want to protect people with pre-existing conditions. Are you ready? Brace yourselves. Don’t change the law! Everyone is already protected by the Affordable Care Act – including people with pre-existing conditions and those who struggle to find affordable care.

“And let me say to my colleagues, to claim or imply that this Republican plan covers pre-existing conditions, is a lie. Plain and simple.

“Let me also say a few words about the process that has been used to bring this bill to the floor. It has been a disaster from start to finish with secret negotiations, backroom deals, and bribes to buy off factions within the Republican conference. There have been no hearings on this bill whatsoever. And the Republican leadership couldn’t even slow down long enough to receive a score from the CBO.

“I have one simple question: What’s the rush? Wait a week and get a CBO score. Why is that such a radical idea?

“Are Republican leaders jamming this bill through to appease President Trump? Are they concerned that a new CBO score will confirm what we already know is true – that this bill would be devastating to the people of this country, force even more people to lose health care, especially to older, sick, and low-income Americans?

“Or maybe, Republican leaders are worried that their colleagues will go home over the week long break and hear from their constituents who overwhelmingly oppose this effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

“Honestly, I don’t know how my Republican friends can defend this terrible, closed, authoritarian process. It is an absolute disgrace. So I urge my colleagues to vote no on this bill. Or better yet, do what they did a couple weeks ago and pull this disastrous bill.”

Let us pray …

The much loved Our Lady of Mount Carmel church is slated for demolition this month. pics: R.T.

From MPS head Mauro DePasquale:

Why the apparent need to close or merge so many Catholic Churches? It has been reported that perhaps billions of dollars are needed to address legal settlements for pedophile cases. However, there are also stories like the following. Could this be, in part, why there may be pressure to close and merge churches?

Why merge Our Lady of Mount Carmel with a Parish that has over $600,000 in debt?


January 11 posted:


The church was neglected by the Diocese of Worcester who had a fiduciary responsibility to assure its maintenance, knowing that viable solutions to repair and sustain it are available and at hand.

It is scheduled for demolition in May, 2017.

Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church is a community anchor, an iconic, irreplaceable, historically significant cultural center, as well as a centerpiece for Worcester’s large Italian American population.

It was also awarded the distinction as one of the top seven historic resources in Massachusetts.

The Mount Carmel Preservation Society is working diligently to save Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church. It is unjust to see this historical treasure demolished unnecessarily.



Do you read the same old arrogance from opposition or the misinformation that is reported without any real investigative reporting?

Although Mount Carmel is a significant architectural and irreplaceable sacred space, and also one of the top 7 most endangered historical resources in Massachusetts, parishioners are fighting for justice. If love of a building were the simple case, why have any church buildings at all here or at the Vatican?



Thank you and God Bless.

photo submitted by Mauro DePasquale

Racing industry should release NFL-styled injury report for Kentucky Derby

By Kathy Guillermo

As the Kentucky Derby approaches, Las Vegas gambling venues and the racing industry should take a lesson from the National Football League.

Horse racing, the only “sport” that comes with whippings and a daily death toll, is spiraling into oblivion. Most people in America have never been to a track and will never go. Derby day brings the only hour in the year when the general public becomes fleetingly aware of Thoroughbred racing.

The reason is simple. Most people don’t want to see horses breaking their legs after they’ve been whipped to make them run around a track. Statistics from the Nevada sports books illustrate this. In 1998, when Real Quiet nearly won the Triple Crown, more than $736 million was bet.

The following years brought high-profile tragedies with the breakdowns and deaths of Barbaro and Eight Belles as well as a series of exposés, including PETA’s video of trainer Steve Asmussen’s misuse of medication, revealing racing’s abuse of horses.

By 2014, when California Chrome followed in Real Quiet’s footsteps and nearly captured the Triple Crown, the total amount wagered had plummeted to $344 million.

The racing industry and sports books like those at Caesar’s Palace and the Bellagio, where bettors can place wagers on races shown on video screens, have the power to make a difference. As the NFL does before Sunday games, sports books should release injury reports on all horses running in the Derby.

Despite being federally regulated through the Interstate Horse Racing Act, these gambling venues fail to disclose information that would affect bettors’ decisions, and the racing industry is complicit in this secrecy. Unlike the NFL, racing has no policy requiring disclosure of such critical information.

This lack of transparency has an unfair impact on bettors, as only select industry insiders know the horses’ physical problems, while the general betting public is kept in the dark.

More importantly, injury reports could protect horses. Although racing leaders would have you believe otherwise, they know exactly why most horses fracture legs on the track. Research funded by the industry shows that 90 percent of horses who break down had pre-existing injuries. It’s common knowledge now that medications can be used to mask injuries and keep injured horses running when they should be recuperating.

Lame horses don’t look lame. They race, they break down and they spend their last minutes of life behind a hastily erected screen on the track. That way, bettors don’t see them dying in the dirt.

The release of records detailing all conditions and medications in the month leading up to the Derby would reveal which horses should not be running at Churchill Downs on May 6. It should begin with the Derby and after that be required for every race in all jurisdictions.

Currently, owners and trainers chasing a big purse or trying to offload horses in a claiming race will risk the animals’ safety. But if medication and injury records were more transparent, there would be no hiding the Thoroughbreds with sore knees and feet who’ve been shot up with painkillers, muscle relaxants, anti-inflammatory medications and performance-enhancing drugs, like thyroid hormone.

Trainers would be exposed if they tried to run a sore or injured horse who was still feeling the effects of multiple medications. Track management could make sure these horses were recuperating and not racing. The release of all these records would also aid racetrack veterinarians in conducting their pre-race examinations. They would know in advance what problem areas to focus on and could scratch high-risk horses.

Right now, owners, trainers and veterinarians who are complicit in the deaths of more than 1,000 horses on tracks every year are getting away with dangerous, irresponsible behavior. Transparency is the first step in ending this abuse.

Bipartisan Group of 46 Lawmakers Calls on Speaker Ryan to Hold Debate on War

McGovern Profile Photo 1ab(1)
Congressman Jim McGovern

Authorization for ISIS and Syria
Largest Bipartisan Coalition Yet Calling for Congress to Exercise Its Role in Approving U.S. Military Operations

(I’ve made some sentences bold. – R.T.)

A bipartisan group of 46 lawmakers – led by Representatives Jim McGovern (D-MA), Tom Cole (R-OK), Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Walter Jones (R-NC) – called on Speaker Ryan this week to begin a serious debate on the authorization for the use of military force (AUMF) against the Islamic State and express that President Trump must seek approval from Congress before taking any further military action against the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad.

The largest bipartisan coalition yet calling for Congress to exercise its constitutional responsibility to vote on whether to approve any future U.S. military operations against ISIS and Syria, the letter includes 7 bipartisan members of House Armed Services Committee, 9 bipartisan members of House Appropriations Committee, and 4 bipartisan members of House Foreign Affairs Committee, including Ranking Member Eliot Engel (D-NY).

“Today, we’re sending a strong bipartisan message that it’s long past time for Congress to take responsibility for the war against ISIS by finally holding a debate and vote on whether to authorize any future military action. With his recent military strike against Syria, we are also declaring that President Trump must not undertake any new military operations without the approval of Congress,” Congressman Jim McGovern (D-MA) said.

“Every day our brave men and women in uniform are doing their duty, it’s time for Congress to do its duty. Americans didn’t elect us to give a blank check to the White House when it comes to war. Democrats and Republicans are united in saying the time for action is now.”

“The United States has been combating growing global threats with the same Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) since 2003. With American forces engaged against ISIS in Syria, a debate in Congress about the use of force against that enemy in that theatre is long overdue,” Congressman Tom Cole (R-OK) said. “The best way to build support and credibility for necessary military actions is for President Trump to seek for an AUMF from Congress. Congress owes President Trump our counsel and advice as we look to fight our enemies abroad.”

For years now, Speaker Ryan has blocked Congress from debating and voting on an ISIS-specific AUMF. President Trump’s recent unauthorized and illegal military strike against Syria showed the extent to which Congress is simply missing in action. It is past time we repeal the 2001 AUMF blank check for endless war and for the Speaker to allow Congress to do its job,” said Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA). “The Constitution is clear: Congress has a responsibility to debate and vote on matters of war and peace. The American people deserve better than a Congress that abdicates this sacred responsibility.”

“One of our most sacred responsibilities in Congress is that of debating war policy and deciding whether or not we send our service members into conflict,” said Congressman Walter Jones (R-OK). “We owe that to the American people, and we owe that to our men and women in uniform.”

In addition to McGovern, Cole, Lee, and Jones, today’s letter was also signed by Representatives Eliot L. Engel (D-NY), Thomas Massie (R-KY), John Lewis (D-GA), Paul A. Gosar, D.D.S. (R-AZ), John Garamendi (D-CA), Ted S. Yoho, D.V.M. (R-FL), John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI), Justin Amash (R-MI), Louise M. Slaughter (D-NY), Peter J. Visclosky (D-IN), Niki Tsongas (D-MA), Rosa L. DeLauro (D-CT), José E. Serrano (D-NY), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), David N. Cicilline (D-RI), Chellie Pingree (D-ME), Peter Welch (D-VT), Joseph P. Kennedy, III (D-MA), Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Jackie Speier (D-CA), Mark Pocan (D-WI), Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ), Daniel T. Kildee (D-MI), Jamie Raskin (D-MD), Bobby L. Rush (D-IL), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Betty McCollum (D-MN), Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA), Ro Khanna (D-CA), Nanette Diaz Barragán (D-CA), Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-NM), Judy Chu (D-CA), Colleen Hanabusa (D-HI), Maxine Waters (D-CA), Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH), Steve Cohen (D-TN), Ron Kind (D-WI), Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), Collin C. Peterson (D-MN), and Ted Lieu (D-CA).

Full Text of Letter to Speaker Ryan:

April 28, 2017

The Honorable Paul D. Ryan
Speaker of the House
H-232 U.S. Capitol Building
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Speaker Ryan:

We write to you with a sense of urgency and ask that the U.S. House of Representatives immediately begin a serious debate on the use of military force (AUMF) against the Islamic State and express that the President must seek approval from Congress before taking any further military action against the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad. As you know, we represent a diverse group of political views, but on this matter we are united. We believe that Congress has an important role to play, and based on current events, such a debate should occur as soon as possible.

For too long, the United States has conducted military operations against the Islamic State under the justification of the outdated 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF). The U.S. has steadily escalated its role and military presence against the Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq, including additional deployments over the past two months. It is past time for the House to debate and vote on an AUMF that defines the purpose, nature and limits of U.S. military engagement against the Islamic State.

Furthermore, the U.S. has now carried out its first direct military action against the Syrian regime since the country’s civil war began six years ago, again without any authorization by Congress. We believe the President must present a strategy and seek the approval of Congress before any additional military action is taken against the Syrian regime.

We know that you share our respect for the prerogatives, rights and obligations of the Congress as defined under Article I of the Constitution. Congress cannot continue to remain silent and ignore its responsibilities under the Constitution.Engaging in these debates is the minimum we owe the American people and our brave men and women in uniform.