|Duane A. Lienemann|
UNL Extension Educator
I was watching television the other night and made note of how many ads were on trying to get lonely, little old ladies or other tender hearted people to send them money. It is no secret that many animal lovers are more deeply moved than normal by the pitiful sights and sounds of American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) commercials. The music of Sarah McLachlan plays in the background, and as strains of “Angel” flow through your living room, images of tortured, horrifically abused dogs and cats fill your vision. Fast forward to another national commercial featuring Wendie Malick. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B9gYL8Qz_cY . This is brought to you by the infamous Humane Society of the United States or HSUS. “If you donate today, lives will be saved!” – or so the advertisement claims. People are moved to open their hearts – and their wallets – for the sake of helping animals in need.
This past couple of weeks has been rather interesting to me considering some news and activities concerning the Humane Society of the United States and the ASPCA. It is sweet music to my ears. I’ve written about HSUS and several other animal rights and animal welfare extremist groups many times over the years, and it’s quite clear to me, and now to many others, that these organizations, and especially HSUS are not friends to animal agriculture and are, in fact, downright enemies to animal agriculture, hunting, fishing and other animal related industries. They have spent millions of dollars to sue, legislate, antagonize and trying their best to cripple or eliminate farms, ranches and agribusinesses. What is even worse is that these despicable organizations try hard to motivate people who may not be able to afford it to reach for their wallet or purse and fork over millions of dollars to corrupt "charities". They have not had a good couple of months!!!
The Humane Society of the United State is finally getting called out for being a “wolf in sheep’s clothing”, which they are! Maybe it’s the fact the organization spends a mere 1% of its $100+ million annual budget on animal shelters, or perhaps it was the $15.75 million settlement following a racketeering and bribery lawsuit. Whatever the catalyst for this change was, I’m pleased to see that not only did Charity Navigator drop HSUS’ four-star charity ranking to a three, but now they have dropped HSUS’ rating altogether, putting the organization on a “Donor Advisory” status. The HSUS has historically bragged about their 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, one of the most trust-worthy charity evaluators in the game. No more! The deceiving game of “bait & switch” has been played for years, with the HSUS and ASPCA inviting misplaced associations between themselves and local animal shelters (sometimes called Humane Societies or SPCA via ASPCA) which they are not involved with, or do they help beyond a small pittance, of in the case of HSUS less than 1% and ASPCA perhaps 11% of their total take. Both a travesty when it comes to the care of animals.
I mentioned an almost $16 million settlement. Well that lawsuit involved HSUS money allegedly paying a witness who lied to a federal court in a ruling that came out recently in favor of Ringling Brothers Circus under the related Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), the same law used to go after mafia. How fitting is that. It may interest you that ASPCA, a co-defender had to pay $9.6 million dollars for a total of $25 million. That is not all, aside from the lawsuit, it has come to light that the HSUS diligently moved money to several funds in the Cayman Islands, calling them "investments". They were caught moving $26 million to offshore accounts in the Cayman Islands. That is called stashing money, and that is shady and just wrong! HSUS uses and deceives people to promote corrupt agendas and the Cayman Island accounts confirm just how rotten HSUS has become. So much for helping all those animal shelters. And to add to that, www.AwesomeOcean.com has a beef with HSUS for the hidden role it played in the inflammatory documentary, “Black Fish,” their fingerprints were all over that documentary and they're currently leading the smear campaign against aquariums to raise money for their own selfish interests and now these groups are suing them. They may have to withdraw more of their money from the Cayman Islands! This is starting to feel like an old fashioned – pile on!
Now for a little more sweetness, add to the list the loss they endured in the Right to Farm Amendments that passed in in North Dakota and more recently Missouri this past month. HSUS and its animal rights/welfare partners pumped hundreds of thousands of dollars into defeating it and the people of both states thankfully saw through them. You probably remember the Yellow Tail Wine episode where beef producers video went viral when they were shown dumping out their wine because of the support of this company of HSUS. I would imagine that most of you are aware of the MUCK Boot Company who have received outrage from farmers and ranchers, and especially social media Ag Tweeters, Facebookers and Bloggers for their support of HSUS and they are backing off or denying it. Thousands of people have signed a petition to ask the IRS to investigate HSUS’s 501(c)3 tax exempt status. BINGO! Keep an eye on that!
The HSUS, PETA and ASPCA have essentially operated under donation-guise where a large portion of their funding comes from people who are clueless about their real agenda. The time has come for American citizens to open their eyes and for those of us in agriculture to educate people to help stop allowing them to misuse their victim’s hard-earned dollars, not for the welfare of animals, but for their own benefits. In the meantime it really fun to see them squirm. To quote Ralph Kramden from the old Honeymooners show, “How sweet it is!” or maybe more appropriate, “To the moon - Alice!”
The preceding information comes from the research and personal observations of the writer which may or may not reflect the views of UNL or UNL Extension. For more further information on these or other topics contact D. A. Lienemann, UNL Extension Educator for Webster County in Red Cloud, (402) 746-3417 or email to: firstname.lastname@example.org or go to the website at: www.webster.unl.edu/home