The familiar “circus train” animal cracker box

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PeTA) is hyping the success of its recent effort to persuade Nabisco, the maker of Barnum’s Animal Crackers, to redesign the snack’s package by removing the circus cages that formerly appeared on the box. The radical animal rights group, famous for its pointless publicity stunts, hasn’t explained how the new package design will enhance the lives of elephants, lions or giraffes in the wild.

An August 21 story in the New York Post reported that Nabisco agreed to redesign the box “to keep this brand modern and contemporary.” PeTA’s pitch to Nabisco highlighted the “egregious cruelty” inherent in caging animals.

If anybody understands egregious cruelty, it’s PeTA. For the past several years, the organization’s gratuitous euthanasia of “rescued” cats and dogs has been a national scandal. Since 1998, PeTA has killed more than 36,000 pets that supposedly were being taken to PeTA-operated shelters for placement in adoptive homes. Instead, most of the animals were euthanized within 24 hours of being seized by PeTA employees.

The website “” reports one highly publicized incident in 2014, when PeTA staffers actually seized a pet chihuahua from a family’s backyard. The family  protested, only to learn that the dog already had been euthanized. The family sued PeTA, and the PeTA employees were charged with larceny.

It’s ironic that Nabisco would buy the “egregious cruelty” argument from an organization that has killed more animals over the past 20 years than any zoo or circus in existence. Somebody at Nabisco failed to do their homework. We wouldn’t be surprised if a few people quit buying Barnum’s Animal Crackers just to make that point.

The new “cage-free” box






Members of the public will have a unique opportunity to tour several Florida greyhound tracks and their on-site kennels under a program announced by the National Greyhound Association (NGA) today. The two-hour guided tours are free with advance registration.

NGA Executive Director Jim Gartland said the tours are designed to promote transparency and educate the public about the care of greyhounds at the track, as well as stewardship of the breed.

“Tour guests will get an intimate understanding of the facilities, sleeping spaces, feeding, care and daily routine that racing greyhounds experience,” Gartland noted. “It’s a great opportunity for people to separate fact from fiction about the lives of these canine athletes.”

Gartland said one of the goals of the tour program is to show people the similarities between how racing greyhounds and family pets live their daily lives. “The tour guests will see that greyhounds eat, sleep, work and play in a way that correlates very closely to the world of our family pets,” he said. “That’s one of the reasons why racers make such great pets when they retire.”

More than 95 percent of all racing greyhounds are either retired back to the farm or placed in adoptive homes when their racing careers end. Over the past three decades, more than 150,000 retired racers have transitioned into lives as beloved family pets. Greyhounds are known for their gentle, loving dispositions, and they are accustomed to being around people and other dogs, so they are well suited to life in homes with children and multiple pets.

Derby Lane, located in St. Petersburg, and the Palm Beach Kennel Club, located in West Palm Beach, are the first two tracks to open their doors under the NGA program. The Daytona Beach Kennel Club will also offer tours on dates soon to be announced. Derby Lane tours are available on selected Saturdays in September and October. Palm Beach Kennel Club tours are available on selected Thursdays in September and October.

A complete tour schedule and online registration is available at





The NGA has responded to an August 14 article in the Washington Post that was chock-full of misinformation, courtesy of Grey2K. Here’s the full text of the NGA letter to the Post, which was submitted over the signature of NGA Executive Director Jim Gartland.


The August 14 article about the proposed Constitutional amendment to ban greyhound racing in Florida contained some serious factual errors, many of which can be traced back to the radical animal rights groups behind this initiative.

For example, it is untrue that greyhound racing has been “banned” in 40 states. In the vast majority of states, greyhound racing never existed in the first place because these states never authorized pari-mutuel wagering on dogs. Only one state has ever passed a statewide voter referendum to ban greyhound racing.

Contrary to Grey2K claims, greyhounds are not given performance-enhancing drugs. Drug testing by Florida officials over the past 10 years found only 71 out of 440,586 urine samples where miniscule traces of drugs were present, likely due to environmental contamination.

Animal rights claims about greyhound injuries also are groundless. Qualified veterinary research has found that the injury rate in greyhound racing is less than two-tenths of one percent. Most greyhound injuries are minor, allowing the greyhound to resume racing after a few weeks or retire into a loving home.

These misrepresentations are nothing new, but they could do serious harm in Florida. Nearly 13,000 workers are employed, directly and indirectly, in greyhound racing in that state. Track employees, kennel workers, and workers in the small businesses who supply goods and services to greyhound racing will lose their jobs if the greyhound ban passes.

We can only hope that Florida voters base their votes on common sense and not on false animal rights claims.

s/Jim Gartland, Executive Director, National Greyhound Association



The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) is under attack–again–by for spending over half its annual budget on fundraising materials, including “mass-produced trinkets from China…which will supposedly bring in more money from naive and gullible donors.”

A July 16 Humanewatch blog called attention to recent HSUS fundraising mailings that contained cheap plastic calculators, notepads and pens, and tote bags. is a consumer advocacy website that monitors HSUS activities and reports on the organization’s finances and programs.

More significantly, the blog noted that the “cheap and gaudy knicknacks” aren’t the only examples of HSUS financial mismanagement. According to the column, “HSUS has over $50 million stowed away in offshore Caribbean accounts, and pays annual salaries in excess of $100,000 to around 50 staff members. Only 1 percent of the HSUS budget is given to pet shelters.” The HSUS budget was $132 million in 2016.

The July 16 blog built on a December 17 post in which Humanewatch analyzed HSUS’ 2016 tax returns to determine where the organization is spending its millions. The returns showed that HSUS spent $69 million–more than half of its budget–on fundraising, $4.25 million on lobbying, and $2.9 million in compensation for 13 executives.

“You’d think HSUS could find better uses for the thousands of dollars it wastes on cheap fundraising give-aways,” said AGC Communications Coordinator Jim Gartland. “Most of us can get by without a one-buck plastic calculator or tote bag. I’m sure a lot of pet shelters and greyhound adoption groups could put those dollars to much more productive use to benefit the animals HSUS claims to care about.”


In response to the loss of one of its major funding sources, the American Greyhound Council (AGC) has made several changes to its long-standing adoption grant program in order to stretch limited resources to benefit more groups.

Previously, all grants were for a standard amount ($1,250). Under the new program, grant amounts will vary depending on the organization’s needs, the number of greyhounds served and other factors.

In addition, prize funds previously allocated to the discontinued GAPY Award program have been transferred to the adoption grant budget to increase the total amount of funds available to other organizations.


The Board of Directors of the National Greyhound Association (NGA) has adopted a policy defining as “unacceptable” the export of greyhounds to jurisdictions where animal welfare standards cannot be verified, and authorizing enforcement of the full range of NGA sanctions against individuals who violate the policy. The full text of the policy, which was adopted at the NGA Spring Meet last week, is as follows:

Policy Regarding International Sales or Export of Greyhounds from North America

The NGA is aware that certain jurisdictions in the world are finding it increasingly difficult to obtain greyhounds for racing or breeding purposes. Some of these jurisdictions have animal welfare standards which are unverified. Unconfirmed reports suggest that greyhounds exported to these countries are denied basic welfare rights. While the NGA recognizes that it is not illegal to export greyhounds to such locations it strongly recommends that exports are only made to countries with recognized welfare standards, structured around strong legislation.

The care and well being of greyhounds is at the core of NGA’s conviction to provide robust regulation for licensed greyhound racing and ensuring the highest standards of care for all greyhounds that fall within its responsibility. Involvement in the export of greyhounds to jurisdictions where welfare standards cannot be verified is not acceptable and the NGA will employ the full powers available to it to prohibit individuals from deliberately undermining the good reputation of licensed greyhound racing in the North America.

Information relating to the sale, advertisement, or social media requests offering to purchase or acquire greyhounds in unusual circumstances should be passed on to the NGA.


In the wake of a sexual harassment scandal that drove CEO Wayne Pacelle out of the top job at Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), the group has now lost its accreditation as a charity from several of the nation’s leading charity rating groups, including the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and Charity Navigator. is reporting that the BBB’s charity oversight arm, the Wise Giving Alliance (WGA), has revoked HSUS’ charity status, and Charity Navigator has downgraded its rating to 2 out of 4 stars, with a 1 for poor financial management at the animal rights organization. The news was also reported by several agriculture groups, including Michigan Farm News, Drovers Online, Dairy Herd Management, and Protect the Harvest.

Another oversight group, Animal Charity Evaluators, rescinded its recommendation of HSUS, saying that “ethical leadership and a healthy work environment are critical components of an effective charity.”

Since news of the sexual harassment scandal broke in January, HSUS has struggled to regain its footing. A March 23 story in the Washington Post reported that sexual harassment allegations are not new to HSUS. The woman who succeeded Pacelle as CEO, Kitty Block, was a young lawyer at HSUS twenty-three years ago, when she and a colleague sued her boss, David Wills, then the organization’s Vice President for Investigations, for sexual harassment. Wills was fired as a result of the complaints.

The Post story also reported that some of HSUS’ six-figure donors are outraged that HSUS funds have been used to pay legal settlements related to sexual harassment claims.   At least one of those donors, according to the report, is encouraging others to withhold financial support “until a full internal investigation has been completed and all current board members resign except those who voted to remove Pacelle.”




The National Greyhound Association (NGA) and the American Greyhound Council (AGC) today issued a brief statement regarding the matter of international greyhound sales. The text of the statement follows:

Concerned members of the greyhound racing community have notified the National Greyhound Association (NGA) that several racing greyhounds from the United States have been sold to Chinese interests for breeding purposes. While this activity is not illegal and there are no current restrictions against the practice, we are in the process of gathering more information about these transactions.

Later this month, the Board of the NGA will be reviewing its policies with regard to international sales and breeding of registered U.S. greyhounds at its semi-annual board meeting. The board will explore various policy options for addressing the matter, and discuss possible changes or additions to NGA by-laws at that time.




The fallout continues in the wake of HSUS CEO Wayne Pacelle’s February 2 resignation amid allegations that he engaged in sexual misconduct with at least three former employees, and had allegedly failed to take action against other senior HSUS staff accused of similar inappropriate behavior.

The Washington Post reported that HSUS had hired a law firm to conduct an independent investigation of the charges. The inquiry revealed that the nonprofit “offered settlements to three former employees who said they were dismissed or demoted after telling their co-workers about Pacelle’s alleged misconduct.”The investigation also found that Pacelle had been warned about his conduct by senior women within the organizatin.

According to media reports, Pacelle’s resignation came the day after the HSUS Board voted to ignore the accusations and keep him in his job, leading to what the Post described as “a revolt by major donors and a walkout threat from employees.” Several board members resigned after the vote to retain Pacelle.

While Pacelle denied all the allegations, he wrote in an email to HSUS staff that he was resigning “to put aside any distractions, in the best interests of all parties,” the Post reported. The board has named an acting CEO, attorney Kitty Block, who previously worked with the organization’s international affiliate.

There are indications that Pacelle’s resignation may not be the end of HSUS’ troubles. In a February 6 letter to the Post editor, HSUS activist and donor Gillian McPhee wrote, “…The HSUS board of directors needs a serious overhaul. The board’s job is to hold the chief executive accountable, and the board failed to do that.

“Instead, board members were apparently all too willing to overlook accusations of improper behavior, based on the calculus that Mr. Pacelle was too valuable to the organization’s mission and fundraising.” The letter concludes, “The tone at any organization starts at the top. Until the HSUS board can show it understands that, the future of HSUS remains at risk.”, a well-known HSUS watchdog group, is reporting that the scandal could affect HSUS fundraising. One of th nation’s major charity rating services, Charity Navigator, has dropped its HSUS rating from four stars to two, and to one star in the financial area.  Another, Animal Charity Evaluators (ACE), has rescinded its HSUS recommendation completely, citing the importance of “strong, ethical leadership and a healthy work environment” as critical components of an effective charity. A third charity, CharityWatch, has repeatedly given HSUS C and D grades for wasting donor money.










The Kansas City Star has published NGA’s response to an HSUS attack on greyhound racing in Kansas published in the January 7 edition. The op-ed piece by HSUS legislative director Kelly Kultala opposed the re-authorization of greyhound racing in Kansas.

NGA Executive Director Jim Gartland responded that Kultala’s column was misleading and made “outlandish claims” about greyhound racing. Here’s the full text of the letter as edited by the Star and published on January 25.

Racing dogs

A Jan. 8 op-ed made several misleading references to “subsidies” for racing greyhounds. (7A, “Dog racing not the answer for Kansas’ budget”). The money allocated to purses in Kansas, as in several other states, comes from special-purpose taxes imposed on gambling dollars and specifically dedicated to racing purses.

It also makes outlandish claims as to the operation of greyhound farms and kennels. It should be obvious that greyhounds must receive the best possible care to perform at maximum potential on the track.

Greyhound breeding farms and kennels are operated at, and held to, extremely high standards. We not only have to meet state and local regulations, but we also enforce our own rigorous standards through unannounced inspections. We ban violators for life.

It cites injury numbers that are absurdly inaccurate. The fact is that injuries occur in less than one-half of 1 percent of all racing starts nationwide, and the majority are minor enough to allow the greyhounds to return to racing in a matter of weeks.

Even when an injury prevents a return to racing, the greyhounds can transition seamlessly to life as a pampered family pet. In fact, more than 95 percent of all racing greyhounds are either placed in adoptive homes or returned to their owners as pets when they retire.

Studies show that reopening Kansas racing facilities would generate some 4,000 jobs, about $200 million in annual wages and $23 million in annual state and local revenue while piping much-needed money to ranchers, farmers, horse and dog breeders and the services they use and employ. It is a win-win situation for Kansas.

Our legislators should not let extreme animal-rights propaganda get in the way of bringing these huge benefits to the people of our state.

James Gartland

Executive Director

National Greyhound Association

Abilene, Kan.