HSUS – The Original Wolf In Sheep's Clothing
By Larry S. Moore
Throughout our history, Buckeye Firearms Association has worked to expose organizations that would deny our rights and freedoms, but who operate in such a manner that unsuspecting gun-owners or sportsmen might be fooled. The American Hunters and Shooters Association is one such group. Another, larger and much older organization, is the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).
HSUS has been on the scene for many years working to outlaw sportsmen activities such as trapping and hunting. They are the largest, best organized and best financed anti-hunting organization in America. They have aggressively merged with or acquired other smaller organizations such as The Fund For Animals and The Doris Day League. Increasingly the anti-hunters who would deny our rights are uniting under one very large and very dangerous umbrella.
They are a "wolf in sheep's clothing" because their very name confuses many people into thinking they are the same as local humane societies, which rescue animals and operate shelters. HSUS operates no animal shelters. They further play on the unsuspecting public through the sales of calendars with photos of cute dogs and cats. Many people, including some who hunt, "feel" they are doing the right thing by buying the calendars or other merchandise without knowing the true agenda of HSUS. They are masters at disguising their true identity and mission.
Their size, an income of almost $125 million, an operating budget well over $90 million, and the ability to bring sister organizations under their umbrella makes them the strongest threat to sportsmen's ability to hunt, trap and fish today. But it is not just size that matters. Their membership and volunteers are never afraid to take the fight to the courts or the public. Unlike many gun owners and sportsmen, they don't spend time preaching to the choir. They are taking their message to local governments, public forums, and especially to the education of youth today. They leave no stone unturned in their efforts to eliminate the hunting, trapping and fishing heritage of sportsmen.
Just as we must fight the anti-self defense and anti-gun organizations, so must sportsmen fight the anti-hunting organizations led by HSUS. We need to stick together whether you currently hunt, are a trap shooter or handgun competitor. Fortunately there are some great partners leading the fight against HSUS and anti-hunting organizations. National organizations including the NRA and the US Sportsmen Alliance are leading efforts to combat HSUS.
Some ask, is this a gun issue? Yes, it is very much a gun issue, even if you do not hunt. If the HSUS could end hunting today, what does it mean to gun owners? Certainly the "sporting use" of firearms would be diminished and the anti-gunners would be emboldened by such success. Additionally, HSUS would need some cause to continue their existence and entry into the anti-gun arena could provide such an opportunity. They certainly will not fade away.
Others suggest that the anti-hunting community is on the retreat with the conviction of animal rights activists as domestic terrorists. Never underestimate the power of the opposition. HSUS claims 10 million members and constituents. That is about 2.5 times greater than the NRA membership. Charity Navigator gives them a 4-star rating with a capacity for growth and over $200 million in net assets as of 12/2005. (Editor's note: Charity Navigator rates charities primarily on financial management and program strength. They do not recommend on good or bad charities. The US Sportsmen Alliance is Charity Navigator rated as 5-star, which is the highest rating. Check them at www.charitynavigator.org)
HSUS is huge in terms of assets, fund-raising capabilities and memberships. Fortunately they have not effectively brought those forces to bear on legislation. That is only a matter of time. Meanwhile they continue to fool people about their true agenda and are stockpiling assets.
Outdoor writer and hunter education instructor Larry S. Moore is a Region Leader for Buckeye Firearms Association and winner of the 2005 USSA Patriot Award.
- A woman with short hair and glasses stands on a chair in a small meeting room on the first floor of the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill. She's reading off the names of states and senators, directing dozens of people to meetings starting at 11 AM.
When she's through, most people listening leave to start their lobbying efforts. The rest converge on a table of food provided by the natural and organic grocery store Whole Foods.
Monday was the last day of the annual Taking Action for Animals Conference. After a weekend featuring speakers and group gatherings, this day is designated for lobbying.
"It's a very pragmatic and mainstream effort to encourage change in society to protect animals," said Nancy Perry, vice president of governmental affairs for the animal protection group, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).
...But National Animal Interest Alliance Director Patti Strand said the weekend's gathering in Washington is a prime example of a radical animal rights agenda. Strand's group is an animal welfare organization that works with industry groups and stands against what it considers extremism on both sides of the animal rights debate.
Strand said she considers the HSUS to be extremist.
"They wear business suits. They're articulate. They're fairly well-educated. They avoid the sort of in-your-face protests," said Strand. "So they're able to move the thinking, public opinion incrementally in the direction of radical change in some cases."
David Martosko, director of research at the food industry funded Center for Consumer Freedom, was even less flattering to those attending the conference.
"They're entitled to lobby just like everybody else" he said. "But we trust our elected representatives to recognize the tinfoil hat brigade when they see it."
Martosko said the legislative agenda being pushed by the HSUS is anything but mainstream. He considers there to be little difference between the controversial People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and the HSUS as far as their end goals.
"When they use the word 'humane,' that's code for vegetarianism," said Martosko. "They're not lobbying against dog fighting up there. They're lobbying to do away with hog agriculture and to outlaw veal and foie gras."
- The USSA (U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance) won't let them hide their anti-hunting skeletons in the closet however and recently pointed out the aforementioned examples of HSUS's anti-hunting shenanigans, especially since the animal rights group began sucking up to Microsoft.
The software giant has committed $100,000 to the HSUS, which now wants to represent itself as a non-controversial, "mainstream" group that won't hurt the computer business. We've got news for them — being a pasty, whiny anti-hunter isn't mainstream. It's not popular and the millions of red-blooded hunters and outdoorspeople in the United States and around the world are outraged.
Microsoft should be re-thinking its support of animal rights extremism and consider the public perception that eco-terrorism (very dangerous) and animal rights (dangerous) go hand in hand. It's going to hurt business.
The USSA is encouraging outdoors people to contact Microsoft and demand that its financial support of HSUS's anti-hunting antics be terminated. You can contact Bill Gates, Microsoft's Chairman at: Microsoft, 1 Microsoft Way, Redmond, WA 98052. Phone: (425) 882-8080. Fax: (425) 936-7329.
- The Humane Society of the United States is trying to dodge the spotlight that is illuminating its anti-hunting agenda.
The U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance (USSA), the nation’s premier sportsmen’s advocacy organization, exposed the group’s agenda when it called on Microsoft to end an enormous fundraising project that will finance HSUS campaigns to ban hunting.
In the wake of controversy over Microsoft’s donation to the animal rights group, HSUS Executive Vice President for External Affairs Michael Markarian made claims that his group has no agenda to eliminate hunting. He all but said such a stance would be unpopular as he highlighted his organization’s healthy membership base and said, “you don’t build that type of support unless you have a mainstream mission.”
The Humane Society of the United States tries to market itself as a ‘mainstream’ organization to which every dog and cat owner should belong, but the USSA won’t let HSUS hide the anti-hunting skeletons in its closet. Here are some recent examples of the Humane Society of the United States’ anti-hunting position:
· Led a 2006 ballot campaign to ban dove hunting in Michigan (contributing $1.6 million to the effort);
· Successfully lobbied for the cancellation of the 2006 New Jersey black bear hunt;
· Opposes hunting on National Wildlife Refuges and is a plaintiff in an ongoing federal lawsuit to ban hunting on federal lands;
· Took the lead in a 1994 ballot campaign to ban cougar hunting and bear hunting in Oregon, and has opposed recent efforts to allow hunting to control these wildlife populations;
· The organization’s Wildlife Land Trust Program permanently bans hunting and trapping on properties that come under its control.
...“The Humane Society of the United States invests millions of dollars in efforts to ban hunting and trapping, and it’s time that companies like Microsoft stop adding to the warchest,” said USSA President Bud Pidgeon.
- Ban dove hunting in Michigan – check. Outlaw trapping in California – check. Prohibit black bear hunting in Colorado – check. Sue to stop hunting on federal lands – check. Merge with other anti-hunting groups to form multi-million dollar mega animal rights group – check.
This is how the Humane Society of the United States plans to pick off your hunting and trapping heritage – and it is only getting started. A recent online message from HSUS President Wayne Pacelle spells out what aspects of the traditional lifestyle are next on the hit list.
...Right off the bat, the HSUS has its sights on the Families Afield campaign. ...The HSUS falsely claims the program "places children in unnecessary danger." It hopes to feed on the public’s weariness of children with firearms, but sportsmen must accurately convey the message that youth hunting is safe.
For the sportsmen who work during the week, Sunday may be the only chance they have to sit in a tree stand or try out a new game call, but the anti’s shake their fingers at that as well.
"The Humane Society misrepresents the truth when it claims that ‘hunters have six days a week to themselves in the woods,’ and it calls on the public to oppose Sunday hunting opportunities," said Pidgeon. "The group’s statement gives the impression that Sundays are the only days that non-hunters may enter the woods during hunting season, which is obviously completely false."
The USSA’s Sporting Dog Defense Coalition and the Bear Hunter Rights Coalition were formed as the anti’s threats to the particular hunting activities grew more frequent and more severe. Many bear hunters, houndsmen and sporting dog enthusiasts recognized the plight and have already joined the coalitions, but for those who have not, let this be your wake-up call - HSUS considers your hunting method "unsporting" and it is about to kick efforts to ban the activities into high gear. The elimination of bear baiting is one of HSUS’s top priorities.
- The anti-hunting capital of the world is located at 2100 L St., NW in Washington, D.C. There, under the shadow of the Capitol Dome, is the national headquarters of The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), a multinational conglomerate with 10 regional offices in the U.S.
Standing in front of this edifice filled with people working tirelessly to turn sportsmen into criminals, I began to wonder who funds all this madness. There can`t be that many anti-pet ownership, anti-milk, anti-hunting, left-of-reality, ferret farm-vandalizing, fur-coat-loathing, omnivore-bashing, tree-hugging animal rights activists in the country. After all, Ralph Nader only got 1 percent of the national vote in the 2004 election.
So I knocked on the door.
- America`s sporting heritage is under attack by animal "rights" extremists who want to ban all hunting, trapping and fishing. Recently, two of the most rabid anti-hunting organizations merged. The Fund for Animals has joined forces with the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) to form an anti hunting cabal with a budget of nearly $90 million. (Note: HSUS isn`t the same group that runs your local shelter, just listen to Wayne Pacelle, CEO of HSUS: "If we could shut down all sport hunting in a moment, we would."-- Associated Press, Dec. 30, 1991.)
Until recently, anti-hunters had focused their efforts on winning passage of ballot initiatives and referenda that attacked a specific type of hunting or trapping. This strategy was best explained by Wayne Pacelle himself, "We are going to use the ballot box and the democratic process to stop all hunting in the United States.... We will take it species by species until all hunting is stopped. . . ." Full Cry, October 1990.
Early on these attacks had some success. However, as voters become more educated about the true agenda of these groups they have rejected these ballot measures. In 2004, anti-hunting ballot initiatives were defeated in Maine and Alaska. Both measures would have seriously curtailed bear hunting and threatened the scientific bear management in both states. Also in 2004, voters in Louisiana and Montana approved constitutional amendments protecting the right to hunt, fish and trap, and did so by overwhelming margins. There are now eight states that have protected our hunting heritage with constitutional provisions.
Now, with their efforts at the ballot box defeated, the anti-hunting groups are taking a page out of the anti-gunner`s playbook. They are turning to the courts. Through the combination of trial lawyers and activist judges they hope to enact policies they have been unable to convince legislatures and voters to accept. In 2004 anti-hunters successfully used this strategy in New Jersey to disrupt a bear hunt that state wildlife officials said was needed to control the population.
This new strategy is a major component of the HSUS, Fund for Animals merger. Even before the formal unification of these groups in January 2005, the creation of a new litigation division-The Animal Protection Litigation Section-for the purpose of bringing lawsuits to interfere with hunting and hunter`s rights around the nation was announced. Hunters across the country soon could be at the mercy of activist judges. At very least, it is certain that these lawsuits will tie up valuable dollars of Fish and Game departments in their efforts to fight them. These dollars will come out of the pockets of hunters and will be spent on lawyers and court costs rather than hunter access programs and wildlife management.
The anti-hunting movement-like gun prohibition- has enjoyed great success overseas. American sportsmen should take note of the success of these extremists in Great Britain, where centuries of tradition were uprooted when fox hunting was banned by Parliament in 2004. No sooner had the ban been put in effect than the anti-hunters announced that pheasant hunting was next on their list. Just as anti-gunners have used the success of anti-gun movements in Canada, Australia and the England, to legitimize their positions, the animal "rights" extremists view the United States as their next battleground.