Undeterred, Unbowed in Seeking Reform for All Animals
With Thanksgiving upon us, I’m grateful to so many people for supporting The HSUS and its bold vision to help all animals in society, including those caught up in major use industries throughout the world. While we face the grim reality that animals still suffer at the hands of humanity in so many ways, it is also undeniable that we are making extraordinary progress on so many fronts.
In recent weeks, I’ve written about enormous gains in the fight to end the use of battery cages, with major retailers (including Taco Bell, Jack in the Box, Panera Bread, and McDonald’s) and major producers saying that cage-free production is the only way forward. I’ve talked about how a growing number of nations (Australia, France, and soon the United States) will restrict imports of African lion trophies, how Washington voters approved a sweeping ballot initiative against wildlife trafficking, and how more than 40 airlines said they’ll not ship trophies from lions and other species in their cargo holds. I’ve given you the blow by blow on how we have now ended the era of the use of chimpanzees in invasive experiments and are seeing the transfer of these long-suffering creatures to sanctuaries. I’ve told you about a series of six lawsuits we’ve won that validate the right of cities and counties to enact ordinances restricting the sale of puppy mill dogs in their communities.
We know that one important measure of our success is that we inflame those invested in these forms of exploitation. Factory farmers, puppy millers, seal clubbers, and others fear The HSUS, and they want to diminish our ability to keep making gains.
A number of these enterprises fund Rick Berman, a Washington, D.C. operative I’ve written about before. Through the years, he’s enriched himself by taking a leading role in defending smoking, drunk driving, the use of trans-fats and tanning beds, and many other practices and behaviors that are a threat to public health. But while the campaigns have been numerous, his wins have been few.
In the decade or so that I’ve been CEO, he’s spent tens of millions of dollars trying to tear The HSUS down. But it’s been a dead end for him, as we’ve driven reform across the board on animal issues and experienced dramatic growth as an organization.
Lately, he’s been writing to state charity regulators, either the attorney general or the secretary of state, and making the argument that The HSUS should direct a far larger share of its money to animal shelters. The HSUS works hard to support animal shelters, but it’s never been about that for Berman and his funders. The reality is, they don’t want us to spend any money fighting institutional abuses of dogs, farm animals, wildlife, and animals used in testing, since it’s in those domains where so many animals are at risk. And it’s where they make their money.
One only needs to take a quick look at HumaneSociety.org, A Humane Nation, our video channel, and our magazine, All Animals, to determine the broad nature of our work. And one only needs to look at the raft of tangible accomplishments to see that The HSUS turns donor support into sweeping social change.
But Berman has persisted and lawyered up to make his flim-flam case. It’s been nice to see that this route has gotten him nowhere.
He pinned his most recent hopes on his case in Colorado, where he asked to have our charitable status revoked. The secretary of state there is the most recent charity regulator to swat away his request. “All of the materials we reviewed presented the HSUS as an organization with multiple purposes and programs, including direct operation of a limited number of shelters, placement of animals in other shelters, lobbying for legislation to prevent cruelty to animals and support and training for independent pet shelters,” Abbas Montoya, an investigator with the charitable fraud and gaming division, told the Colorado Springs Gazette.
There were similar findings in Tennessee, where the secretary of state said, “no evidence of any violation of the Act by HSUS was found.” North Dakota’s attorney general made a similar finding in an exculpatory letter, indicating that The HSUS is concerned with “animal rescues, advocacy, campaigns to change animal cruelty laws, issues concerning agricultural animals, etc.”
The HSUS fights for dogs, cats, horses, farm animals, and every other kind of creature. We’ll continue to do that work, and as we celebrate Thanksgiving as a nation, we are thankful that so many Americans share our gusto for this broad vision and want to change the world for animals in fundamental ways. We look forward to stepping up the fight in the years ahead and to building a truly humane society.
Keep fighting the good fight, Wayne! We’re with you!
Huge thanks for what the HSUS continues to do for animals. I’m confident that qualities like integrity, compassion and dedication that are consistently displayed by the HSUS will eventually be the permanent downfall of the cretin, Berman.
God bless you and your staff, and Happy Thanksgiving to you all.
Church leaders/Christians should be a force in teaching and practicing compassion for God’s Creatures. Unfortunately, most follow the norm of the world’s standards – supporting factory farms, fur farms, animal research, even the Heifer International who sends animals around the world to countries who can’t even feed and water themselves. It’s a crazy world under the control of the evil one. Our government, ‘one nation under God’ really doesn’t care about animals and all of their contribution to world hunger, pollution, etc.
Jan, Pres., God’s Creatures Ministry
Itruly believe if we as a nation do not stop the killing harm done to all animals become violent blood thirsty future.
Iwas in college 1990’s we protested a lab using dogs cats fish, cows whatever was not wanted. they were taking 3 a week from the pound to use and then destroy. i wrote a paper on this topic because BEHIND CLOSE DOORS VIOLENCE IS.
Any violence, we don’t show graphic images to hard to watch will not can not look at sometimes, people don’t know or care to know to busy in thier lives. SHOWING the world this what is going ON. We as a nation and world can stop violence and sick ways poor sweet innocent animals are treated. Thank u God Bless America JUstice for All Ainimals
Those who have fallen for Berman’s untruths and his efforts to drive a wedge between local shelters and the HSUS would do well to consider that the HSUS has a duly elected board of directors, voted into office by HSUS membership, voted in to oversee the work of the HSUS. Local shelters, at keast the ones I am familiar with, concentrate their efforts on homeless cats and dogs. Thus if the HSUS doesn’t put its resources toward reducing the suffering of other species, who will?
Before I started reading Wayne Pacelle’s blog, I was one of those people who couldn’t bear to look at the evidence of all the many forms of animal cruelty. Then I read his blog and had my eyes opened by what he made so obvious–don’t hide from the horror, systematically and intelligently fight to reduce the suffering. So every day now I make some time to look at research provided by HSUS and so many other wonderful organizations, to sign petitions, write my own letters to corporations and government leaders, and talk to my community members about animal protection and cruelty-free products. I share on social media and in person both the heartwarming things I learn about animals and the tragic things we should not accept, and I let people know to go to HSUS and their allies to support them and get more information. These actions have helped me deal with the despair I have long felt over animal cruelty, and to hear Wayne Pacelle say we are not giving in, and we are not giving up, is heart-saving. I can never thank him enough for his vision, his leadership, and his courage to help animals, which in turn, of course, helps people and the environment.
Keep up the good work for the Animals. There are so many who suffer so much so needlessly. No one should profit off from the misery of animals.