Precisely because The HSUS is so effective, it is the target of disinformation campaigns from our political adversaries. That shouldn’t surprise any of you, and it’s perhaps one of the best indicators that we are pressing reform in effective and strategic ways on the biggest issues facing animals – from factory farming to seal clubbing to dogfighting to puppy mills to bear baiting and hounding.
The king of disinformation is Rick Berman, the guy 60 Minutes dubbed “Dr. Evil,” who has created a spider web of phony front groups at his for-profit public relations and lobbying firm to attack The HSUS. He’s spent upwards of $30 million on his brand attack against The HSUS. But despite this onslaught, we’re stronger than ever.
In addition to shilling for animal cruelty interests, he’s fought on behalf of dummy groups, to block reforms to crack down on drunk driving, smoking, tanning beds, trans fats, and consumption of mercury-laden fish by pregnant women. He fights efforts to raise the minimum wage, and much more. What kind of person would compile such a disreputable record?
We expect government leaders to be discerning and not to fall for the claptrap from Berman. Sadly, it seems that Oklahoma’s Attorney General Scott Pruitt is repeating Berman’s false claims and doing so publicly, before he’s even read the materials he’s requested from The HSUS.
Dirty Tricks in Oklahoma
Roger Craver, one of the thought leaders in the realm of non-profit governance, management and fundraising, became concerned about Pruitt’s false claims and took on the issue in his widely read blog, The Agitator. Craver called into question the attorney general’s motives because of his cozy relationship with the Oklahoma Farm Bureau and that organization’s attempts to smear The HSUS as well, largely because of our global work against factory farming. This is the same organization that fought our effort in Oklahoma to outlaw cockfighting, and fought to overturn the state's longstanding ban on the slaughter of horses for human consumption.
Craver’s pieces are worth reading, not only as an answer to the current circumstance, but also as perhaps the most recent example in a sad litany of cases where government leaders have tried to suppress ideas they didn’t like and used their offices to advance their political goals.