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November 6, 2009

Accusations Easily Dismissed

Center for Consumer Freedom's Claims Ring Hollow

Whether it is attacking The HSUS for its work in the Michael Vick case or the Canadian seal boycott, misrepresenting the philosophy of staff members, attempting to cast doubt on fundraising practices, or making false implications concerning our Hurricane Katrina relief work, there’s one consistent theme when it comes to the deceptive Center for Consumer Freedom. The outfit just can’t get its facts straight, and it doesn’t bother to try – and indeed would have no purpose on earth if it had to tell the truth about cruelty and its support for companies that exploit animals.

By far the most hackneyed of CCF’s assertions comes when it misconstrues our fundamental mandate by suggesting that “HSUS doesn’t help local humane societies save dogs and cats.” The HSUS has addressed this claim many times, and it’s false. In fact, The HSUS does plenty to help local societies in their work of saving dogs and cats. It’s simply the case, however, that The HSUS is not in charge of local animal shelters, just as the National Rifle Association does not run local gun clubs, and just as no single law enforcement agency runs all police departments.

The truth is that we are highly active in the direct care of animals, through our Emergency Services division, the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association, our Animal Care Centers, and the pioneering street dog work of Humane Society International. We’ve sheltered animals in both permanent and temporary operations throughout our history, and that commitment continues today in these programs. In the past two years, our Disaster Response Team has assembled and maintained emergency shelters that provided shelter and care to more companion animals than an average size city animal shelter. That’s sheltering on the run – sometimes in the middle of the night, on short notice, under trying conditions. It’s work only The HSUS could do, and work we and our supporters are proud of.

We are also committed to the professionalization of animal care and control. We conduct evaluations for shelters to help them run better, sponsor a national conference for shelter personnel, and publish Animal Sheltering, a magazine serving the field. We are leaders in the promotion of best practices, in the passage of federal and state legislation that benefits companion animals, in the training of animal care and control personnel, and in pursuit of major initiatives on spaying and neutering. 

The real concern of those who traffic in fabricated charges is not that The HSUS does nothing about dogs and cats, but that we do a great deal about many other things, challenging all kinds of cruelty in line with our founders’ determination to be involved in “every field of humane work—everywhere.” On closer inspection, it’s easy to see why vested interests in canned hunts, factory farming, animal fighting, sealing, whaling, cosmetics testing, and countless other industries in which animals suffer would want to see The HSUS spending all of its time and money on dogs and cats. If we did, it would leave the billions of animals at the mercy of such interests without a strong defender. 

The HSUS’s Commitment to Nonviolence

In May 2007, CCF published a correction concerning its slanderous claim of a relationship between The HSUS and domestic lawlessness. For decades, The HSUS has been critical of individuals and organizations that resort to intimidation, vandalism, or violence in pursuit of animal protection goals. The violence of such people and such groups runs against everything The HSUS stands for, above all its core ethic of promoting compassion and respect for life. We have posted rewards for the prosecution of those who resort to violence.

Despite this unequivocal stance against extralegal tactics—or, perhaps, because of it— CCF’s  David Martosko took a pot-shot at The HSUS during a hearing of the Senate Environmental and Public Works Committee, chaired by Senator James Inhofe (R-OK), in May 2005. In his statement, Martosko attempted to connect The HSUS, through a sort of "six degrees of separation" approach, with radical, pro-violence and extralegal activism. 

HSUS President and CEO Wayne Pacelle immediately sent Senator Inhofe a letter that addressed in detail the inaccuracies of the CCF allegations, and underscored The HSUS’s longstanding commitment to non-violence. This letter set the stage for the CCF’s published correction.


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