Today, The HSUS has a full-page advertisement in the Santa Barbara News-Press urging California Gov. Jerry Brown to sign AB 711, a bill to require the use of non-lead ammunition in sport-hunting. With steel, copper, and other forms of less toxic ammunition widely available to sport hunters, there’s no reason for California or any other state to tolerate all of the collateral wildlife poisoning that is associated with lead. We’ve removed it from gasoline, paint and other commonly used products, and it’s time to eliminate it from hunting ammunition.
The full-page ad, featured in the Santa Barbara
News-Press, urging Gov. Jerry Brown to sign
AB 711 into law.
I am always amused at our critics in the sport hunting lobby and agribusiness who tell us we should not spend time or money trying to halt their abuses or to get them to honor their self-professed commitments to conservation (hunters) and animal care (agribusiness). They imply somehow that The HSUS misrepresents itself as a pets-only organization while conducting hard-hitting campaigns on lead ammo, captive hunts, gestation crates, seal killing, tail docking of dairy cows and so many other problems.
The reality is, we at The HSUS and our affiliates shout from the rooftops about our work to protect all animals – whether it’s in the form of our advertising, the content of All Animals magazine, my blog, or the other communications tools we use. Indeed, it’s been that way since the 1950s when our founders specifically determined to work on all issues and to raise public awareness about animal cruelty wherever they found it. So many of our donors support The HSUS precisely because we work to protect all animals. I tell the critics, go look at our website, get our e-mail and you’ll see the breadth of our work conveyed in all of our communications.
The latest nonsense chatter comes from the National Pork Producers Council. The Iowa-based trade group says we are wasting money on lawsuits against them (even though our in-house attorneys are handling the case without incurring legal fees), and trumpeting a preliminary win in round one of the case. We discovered that the NPPC was the recipient of a $60 million windfall from the pork check-off program, as a result of its phony sale of the “Pork: The Other White Meat” slogan that was developed with the producers’ own money before it was “sold” back to them. The HSUS joined with an independent pig farmer and Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement to sue the U.S. Department of Agriculture about this improper diversion of funds, which NPPC uses to lobby against sensible animal-care policies throughout the country.
Last week, a federal judged said the plaintiffs don’t have standing to sue. We disagree with the judge’s finding that pig farmers cannot sue to prevent the misappropriation of their own money, and we have already filed an appeal. A companion lawsuit to compel the USDA to produce documents concerning this shady deal is being filed later this week.
But who could possibly think The HSUS hides its work to stop abuses in the pork industry? Right now, we are running TV ads and talking to our members throughout New Jersey to ask legislators to vote their conscience and override a veto by Gov. Chris Christie of a bill to ban gestation crates. The bill passed 60 to 5 in the Assembly and 29 to 4 in the Senate, and Christie vetoed it for some strange reason. We’ve made more than 50 announcements with major American food retailers within the last 18 months that they’ll be phasing out their purchase of pork from operations that confine the sows in crates that immobilize the animals for years. If that’s hiding something, we’re obviously not very good at it.
Americans don’t just support The HSUS for our remarkable work for companion animals – whether it is our work against puppy mills and dogfighting, or the free veterinary care we provide in underserved communities, or efforts to promote adoption and spaying and neutering; they support our broad work for all animals. And that’s work we’ll continue to do in the months and years ahead – taking on the biggest, toughest fights and driving transformational change for all animals.