Saturday, October 23, 2010

Do the right thing, Missouri!

- Do the right thing, Missouri!
- Going green segment: Solar power!

Transcript of this week's episode of The Web-DVM:

Welcome back my friends to The Web-DVM. I am your host, Dr. Roger Welton, practicing veterinarian and Veterinary News Network Reporter. Solar energy will be my going green topic later in the broadcast, but first, let us discuss a very important ballot measure up for vote in Missouri next month.

Before we get into the specifics of the legislation up for vote in November, let me first provide you with a little background about Missouri and the abysmal puppy mill industry. For as long as I can remember working in the veterinary industry, as far back as my days as an 18 year old kennel boy, Missouri has been a safe harbor state for some of the most cruel and detestable puppy mill operations, due to their self imposed lack of oversight and the willingness of their politicians and citizens to look the other way in the face of the cruel reality of puppy mills. Considering that they lead the US by far in the number of large scale dog breeding operations with over 3000, their stance on puppy mill abuse has long been abhorred by most in the veterinary industry. Specifically, many of these puppy mill operations subject the breeding females to repeated litters of puppies without rest for their entire lives, they deny breeding animals access to regular exercise and basic veterinary care, and provide them with the minimal nutrition necessary to keep pumping out litters to feed the pockets of the owners. As a result, many breeding animals have musculoskeletal deformities brought on by malnutrition and never stepping outside of a cage. Not caring to engage in responsible breeding, many puppy mills have no problem inbreeding, a practice that saves the puppy mill owner money since he/she does not have to seek out or purchase other non-related breeding animals, but one that leads to skittish and aggressive temperaments and a high incidence of congenital disease in the puppies.

The story is always the same. A na├»ve or ill-informed pet owner that made the mistake of purchasing a puppy from a pet store, the biggest patrons of puppy mills, brings the puppy in to be checked out. I warn the pet owner that pet store bought puppies support an abysmal industry, but also such puppy mill puppies also carry a high likelihood of developing any number of inherited diseases as the result of rampant inbreeding in the industry. The owner who either did not know about this or was talked out of their concern by a good salesmen informs me that I need not worry, that this pet store only buys from breeders. To this, my question is always the same, “Does that breeder happen to be based in Missouri?” The astonished owner then says, “How did you know that?”

Folks the reason I know that, is because almost ALL pet stores purchase from puppy mills in Missouri. It is a safe haven for puppy mills, so they remain the puppy mill capital of the country!

Finally, some measure of regulation has come forward as a ballot measure known as the Puppy Mill Act, or simply as Prop B. In this law, large scale canine or feline breeding operations will be limited to 50 breeding animals. All animals must be allowed access to daily exercise, be provided adequate nutrition and regular wellness veterinary care, and submit to regular inspections to ensure compliance. Folks, these premises to me are all no brainers! Providing exercise, health care and decent food for animals should be a given. In my estimation this law falls quite short in further defining what is considered reasonable health care, exercise, and nutrition, and does nothing to combat inbreeding. But, it is a start. In a state where puppy mill cruelty is the status quo, perhaps passing such a law will create better awareness among citizens of Missouri of the real problem of puppy mills in their state, create a culture of greater compassion, and lead down a road to more comprehensive puppy mill reform in the future.

Amazingly, the passage of this law is facing a strong opposition to its passing led of course by the party that can always be counted on to side with profits at all costs, and oppose any legislation that has compassion at its core, the Republican Party. Yes, the GOP of Missouri argues that regulating puppy mills is just another big government move on business, that this really is a secret agenda of animal rights activists to pave the way for livestock regulation that will hurt the bottom line of farmers. That is such a load of crap I can smell it all the way here in Florida. From the party of no that opposed healthcare reform of any kind, Wall Street Reform, and even opposed the BP escrow fund for timely payout to oil spill victims, I am not surprised.

But Missouri likes these clowns for some reason, a red state to the core, even went for Bush-Cheney the second time for crying out loud. And make no mistake no mistake, I am not asking you to change you mind – go ahead and vote GOP until you are red in the face. But on this one measure, find it in your hearts to vote against their rhetoric and instead for what it most humane. Take the first step in no longer being a safe haven for puppy mill pushers, and prove to the rest of the country that Missouri is not the cruelty capitol of the nation.

For my going green segment tonight, I am showcasing solar energy. Solar energy utilizes our powerful and consistent energy source, the sun. This technology harnesses energy in the form of light photons that are absorbed from the sun via through solar modules mounted on the roof of your home. An inverter converts this absorbed solar DC power into AC electrical current that is stored in an electrical utility grid that is parceled out as the home needs electricity for its various appliances. Perhaps the coolest aspect of modern solar systems is the electrical utility meter, which measures how much electricity is produced in excess of the needs of the home, for that excess electricity will flow back into the electric utility power grid and provide you financial credits on your power bill. So not only are you pretty much eliminating your electric bill, from giving the power company back electricity generated by your solar system, you will be reducing your bill on other utilities, such as natural gas. And the best part, it is clean, renewable, green energy.

Never again will you have to feel guilty about leaving your TV and ceiling fans all the time. Like to air condition your house to the point that you can see your own breath vapor, no problem, in doing so you will no longer be gouging your electric bill, nor compounding your carbon footprint.

Okay, so what is the downside? I mean, there has got to be a reason that only a minority of Americans are utilizing this wonderful source of clean renewable power. The major obstacle to date has been cost, but this is no an insurmountable problem. Costs of solar power installation are at an all time low, with the average system costing $7800 after factoring government rebates. Most companies offer reasonable financing that does not cost more in most cases, than the electric bill would have been, and financing programs can last between 3-5 years, after which time, you will no longer have an electric bill, while significantly lessening you carbon footprint.

Another solution to reduce cost is to form homeowner’s co-ops, where a significant participation of a homeowner’s association membership provides group discount which, depending on participation, can reduce the cost of solar power installation by 15%-30%.

Thank is my show for this evening. Thank you for watching, and be sure not to miss my live radio call-in show 9PM EST at blog at, with this show, as well as its transcript is also posted along with bonus content.

Don't forget to catch my live call-in radio show Wednesdays 9PM EST. Listen via podcast live or archived here:

Special guest 10/27/2010: Ted Rheingold, creator/owner of,,, and

Blog Talk Radio

Bonus content:

Link to video reporting dog with 31 nails in its stomach:

CNN Reports: Dog Eats 31 Nails and survives.

Dr. Roger Welton is the President and chief veterinarian at Maybeck Animal Hospital in West Melbourne Florida, as well as CEO of the veterinary advice and health management website

Friday, October 15, 2010

Has Michael Vick redeemed himself?

Has Michael Vick redeemed himself?
- Going green segment: Energy smart lightbulbs.

Transcript of this week's episode of The Web-DVM:

Hello again pet lovers, and welcome back to The Web-DVM. I am your host, veterinarian Dr. Roger Welton. Ladies and gentlemen, I am still in a cloud with the birth of my baby girl, Scarlett Isabella Welton, on September 30 2010. She is our second child, and I can tell you from experience, a new baby never gets less exciting. I am thrilled to be back with all of you, however, and I have some more good news. Just the other day, I had the good fortune of being named an official veterinary reporter for the Veterinary News Network, also known as VNN. Aside from giving me a fancy new title, my new affiliation enables me access to a huge stream of relevant news stories and production tools that all of my subscribers will benefit from. By all means make sure you stay tuned, as this new opportunity stands to make my broadcasts increasingly more informative and media savvy.

As for my topic today, having been the recipient of a lot of media attention given his stellar quarterback play for the Philadelphia Eagles as of late, perhaps playing the best football of his career, I return to our old friend Michael Vick. For those of you that did not see my previous pieces on Michael Vick, I was pretty hard on him last season, as well as critical of those who were so quick to cheer for him so soon after he completed a slap on the wrist sentence for the gravity and heinousness of the crimes of animal cruelty he committed. I had concluded that although the time he served did not fit the crime, he had served the time as deemed appropriate by our criminal justice system, and that the man should at least be allowed to work in the only profession he knows: professional football. And while I still despised the man for the cruelty he was responsible for, a second chance is what our justice system mandated, and we might as well have him working and paying taxes. But cheering and revering him as a hero because of a few fancy plays on a football field? That to me was too far, way too soon!

So now we have Michael Vick one year later saying all the right things and exhibiting extraordinary humility as he performs his craft not only to the best of his ability, but to a level never before seen even in his previously brilliant football career. Has the time come that we should feel okay about cheering him, putting him into hero status again? Has he redeemed himself to a point that he deserves such adulation for what he can do on the football field?

My answer is, not yet. Now Philadelphia fans I am sure will disagree with me, but they have proven to turn on their heroes on a dime the moment they may not perform well, while jumping on the bandwagon of any player that offers them the hope of winning, felony convictions notwithstanding. I am convinced that they would cheer Charles Manson if he could win them a Superbowl victory!

For those of us not blinded by the tunnel vision of Philadelphia sports fanaticism, while I can commend Michael Vick for displaying humility and conducting himself well since his return from banishment, he needs to do a heck of a lot more than play good football and behave well for the cameras for me to even consider having any respect for him again. I need to be convinced that he truly is sorry for what he did, that the consequences of his actions have triggered remorse beyond being sorry that he got caught, and that he has earned the second chance at stardom that he is living right now.

To convince me, Michael Vick should be a voice speaking out against cruelty to animals particularly against the blood sport of dog fighting, and use his reinstated stardom to be a voice in support of the animals he once used his fame and money to systemically torture for the jollies of his sadistic cronies. He should be a leader in the fight to end dog fighting and an advocate for animal welfare, and convince me that he means it. The Philadelphia Eagles quickly made a commitment to helping local animal rescue centers to deflect criticism for signing Vick last year, yet Vick himself has yet to make any such overtures. Until he does, he will not have my respect, and he certainly will not have earned the right to have little kids wearing his jersey.

For my going green segment today, I will be showcasing green Energy Smart light bulbs. These spiral shaped light bulbs produce the same amount of light as standard light bulbs while using 75% less electricity. For example, the GE Energy Smart Bulb pictured here is a 20 watt bulb that produces the same amount of light as a 75 watt standard bulb. Even better than a standard light bulb, based on average daily use, these bulbs will last for 5 years, 10 times longer than a standard light bulb.

As you know, most of our electricity is provided by coal fired power plants and the burning of coal is one of the biggest manmade producers of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide. Fitting your household with these bulbs will not only markedly reduce your carbon footprint, but will also save you money on your electric bill, on average, $44throughout the life of each bulb. With the average American home having 45 light bulbs, that is an average savings of just under $2000!

That is our show for this evening. Remember to catch my live call-in radio show Wednesday nights, 9PM EST at where I also embed this video, this show’s transcript, and post bonus links and content. Thank you as always for taking the time to watch.

Don't forget to catch my live call-in radio show Wednesdays 9PM EST. Listen via podcast live or archived here:

Blog Talk Radio

Dr. Roger Welton is the President and chief veterinarian at Maybeck Animal Hospital in West Melbourne Florida, as well as CEO of the veterinary advice and health management website