Who’s Behind Attacks on the Humane Society?

Who’s behind the spate of billboards and Facebook groups attacking the Humane Society of the US? Essential reading from Wayne Pacelle’s blog.

Rick Berman thinks smoking isn’t bad for you. He thinks there’s no obesity epidemic in America. He thinks Mothers Against Drunk Driving and other groups that try to stop drunk drivers from killing people are too extreme. He thinks the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention engages in pseudo-science.

That just the scratches the surface of his belief system—or, more accurately, the public relations work he does for corporations that pay him.

Berman has been campaigning for years now to eliminate The HSUS. But he typically doesn’t say it outright, just like he doesn’t hand out cigarettes or shots of Wild Turkey to kids in schoolyards. He’s more clever than that, camouflaging his efforts behind innocuous-sounding names (e.g., the Center for Consumer Freedom, HumaneWatch, and the American Beverage Institute) and making arguments that convince some people who are inclined to believe the worst or don’t know any better.

But there’s more to be done in the field of animal protection. And that’s the part that Berman really doesn’t like. Why? Because Berman appears to be on the take from agribusiness, the fur trade, the sealing industry, the puppy millers and the pet trade, circus industry, and other groups that don’t like The HSUS’s efforts to stop animal abuse or exploitation within their industries.

Sorry, Rick, we won’t stop fighting cruelty to all animals, and we won’t restrict our efforts to one arena of activity conveniently removed from the business enterprises that pay you millions.

You see, there are 8 million dogs and cats in animal shelters. Every one of them deserves to have a home. And that’s why we work so hard to see that happen.

But there are so many other animals that need our attention, too. There are 10 billion animals used in the food production system. Tens of millions used in research and testing. Tens of millions used by the fur trade. Millions denied love and veterinary care in puppy mills. Hundreds of thousands of horses globally killed for the meat trade. And perhaps billions of wild animals killed for bush meat, trinkets, trophies, other forms of commerce, or just for convenience.

Animals who enter shelters deserve everything we can give them. But they represent less than 1 percent of the animals at risk. It would be a dereliction of duty to focus  just on them. Just like it would be derelict for us to focus on any one problem, to the exclusion of the others.

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