Many who read this site know I often draw inspiration from Twitter in addition to media and other blogs. The appeal of Twitter lies in the capturing of real-time responses to a wide-variety of conversations and thoughts by individuals and organizations across the broad spectrum of perspectives related to the human-animal relationship.
This is why I found it so fascinating that the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) was within my first dozen followers on Twitter. It was as a direct result of the attention of the HSUS on Twitter that I followed them back, my first experience with the fact that if you talk about the HSUS then they will monitor you. The HSUS Twitter presence shows patterns, like any individual or organization, and it is these patterns that I find as interesting as what HSUS does or says.
Last night on Twitter, the HSUS tried to go back in time, to the days before the WSB-TV investigation into how HSUS raises funds and how the funds are really used. The HSUS tried to go back to the days where they could try to claim their most vocal critics all had an industry-funded agenda while the mysterious efforts to eliminate all traces of the WSB-TV report continue unabated. (See here for the latest group affected)
In this flashback, Wayne Pacelle takes the position that “our political adversaries” fear the HSUS “more than any other animal protection group because of our blend of political power, investigative and public relations capabilities, strategic thinking, and mainstream appeal.” Even in December 2008, when this article was written, there were massive problems with this position. The problems with this position have only increased since then.
- Problem 1: The HSUS has political adversaries? Doesn’t this go straight to the heart of the questions raised regarding the validity the HSUS’ tax-exempt status?
- Problem 2: The adversaries of the HSUS INCLUDE members of animal protection groups. Some of the strongest advocates of the No-Kill movement have been extremely vocal and public in their disapproval of HSUS policies and methods. Animal protection groups that work with ‘pit bulls’ have been in despair over repeated HSUS recommendations that increase the number of animals killed, including weeks-old puppies (See here, here and here for examples)
- Problem 3: The HSUS continues to attack reputations of its opponents instead of demonstrating inaccuracy with facts. This blog is a direct example of this. I openly add corrections if I find or am notified of a demonstrable inaccuracy in my information. I am extremely careful, but still human. HSUS monitors the articles here regularly yet they have never once come forward to indicate that any information is demonstrably incorrect. If it was, I would happily correct it and publicly note the correction.
As a devoted animal person, rescue volunteer and an unswerving supporter of responsible animal management, I would love to be in a position where I could side with the HSUS. I would love to be able to say that the Humane Society of the United States is still dedicated to the welfare of animals, but I can’t. I can’t support an organization that:
- Throws its weight behind mandatory spay/neuter (MSN) legislation in the face of statistical evidence that MSN increases killing of healthy animals instead of decreasing it. In fact, I don’t know of a single location that has implemented MSN legislation where killing has gone down. In addition, there can be serious health risks associated with spay/neuter that are completely disregarded.
- Throws its weight behind Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) in the face of evidence that BSL increases killing of healthy animals instead of decreasing it, even after the HSUS participation in the Las Vegas No-Kill Conference where there was an agreement to revise HSUS policies with respect to breeds associated with BSL. (See here)
- Throws its weight behind changes to agricultural legislation that has resulted in increased disease, injury and accidental death to chickens (See here) while demonizing family-run farms with terms like ‘factory farms’
- Throwing their weight behind ‘puppy mill’ legislation while refusing to acknowledge that their data is based on including EVERY dog breeder as a ‘puppy mill’ as demonstrated the HSUS campaign in Virginia in 2007.
Despite Wayne’s love of positioning the HSUS as the embattled underdog, it simply isn’t the case. The embattled underdog is the one the HSUS has a history of having silenced: through legal pressure and character assassination if human, through lethal injection if dog. There is an old saying, “Power corrupts”. The more power the HSUS has gained, the more they seem to have lost their way.
Copyright 2009 by Erica Saunders http://AR-HR.com
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