Humane Society's power grows
Animal welfare gaining attention
News Messenger and Gannett News Service reports
WASHINGTON -- Federal bans on animal fighting and the importation of puppies headlined the successes of animal rights advocates in the two-year session of Congress ending this month.
In particular, the Humane Society of the United States demonstrated its growing political reach by:
· Earning congressional attention for these and several other proposals that did not pass, including a ban on the slaughter of horses for meat.
· Spending heavily in several congressional campaigns and claiming a decisive role in earning victories for candidates it supported.
· Funding successful state ballot initiatives, including Proposition 2 in California requiring that calves, hens and pregnant pigs in confinement be allowed to lie down, stand up and turn around.
· Aiding in the passage of a record 91 state laws on animal welfare in 2008.
"We've really amped things up," said society chief executive officer Wayne Pacelle, who is credited with a vast expansion of the society's lobbying power since he took over in 2004. "We are as sophisticated as the other social reform movements out there."
Pacelle estimates the group spent about $20 million this year on political activity -- by lobbying through its recently formed political wing, the Humane Society Legislative Fund; by helping fund the Humane USA Political Action Committee; and by supporting state organizations formed to push ballot initiatives. The group was spending about $1 million a year on political activity when Pacelle took over. Read More
It seems hard for many people in agriculture to fathom how powerful HSUS has become in the political world. With massive budgets and legions of lawyers, they have been very successful in the beginning stages of their attempt at abolishing animal agriculture. While we have lost some of the early battles, the war is just beginning. If you don’t agree with what HSUS is trying to accomplish, then it is imperative that you do something to help stop it. There are many things that all of us can do. You can talk to friends and relatives about agriculture, make sure you are contacting your elected officials so they know your viewpoints, join ag organizations that represent your viewpoint, and always be looking for ways to tell your story.