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The HSUS Shell Game, Duped Again and Again… and Again

Daryl Kirby | October 26, 2007

It’s been almost 10 years since I found myself wandering through a local arts-and-crafts festival in the north Georgia mountains. To say it wasn’t where I wanted to be on a beautiful Saturday afternoon would be an understatement. It was pay-back of sorts — after two nights in a tent, a couple of days of watching me thrash the water to a froth with a flyrod, I owed her.

I was in that tag-along mode when I came across a booth. The hand-drawn, poster-board sign hanging in front of the table read simply, “Humane Society.” As you can imagine, that got my attention.

There was a nice, elderly couple behind the table. I stopped to talk. They were asking for donations, and I asked about this “Humane Society” and what the donations would be used for.

They responded that they volunteered for their county’s local humane society animal shelter. As I pulled out my wallet to make a donation, I told them I wanted to make sure they weren’t representing the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), because I didn’t want to donate money to the most-active, best-financed anti-hunting, animal-rights group in the world.

I half-expected a response from them in defense of HSUS that would make me put my wallet back in my pocket. Instead, I got a 10-minute, heart-felt, emotional education about how difficult it was for them to raise money for their local shelter because so many of the people interested in helping animals said they had already given money to the “Humane Society.”

I wonder how many folks who give money to HSUS think they are helping their local shelter? I wonder how many sportsmen would never give money to their local shelter because it’s named the Humane Society of such-and-such County?

The term Humane Society began being used by local animal shelters in the late 1800s. It’s a term folks know and associate with their local shelter, you know, stray dogs, stray cats.

In 1954, a faction of early pioneers of the modern animal-rights movement founded The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). By hijacking the name Humane Society, the group garnered instant credibility with a public that didn’t bother to recognize the difference between this new animal-rights group and their local shelter. It was just “Humane Society.”

The HSUS quickly got to work. They got federal legislation passed that regulated “humane slaughter” of farm animals, and they’ve never looked back.

According to a recent Washington Post article, the 2006 budget of HSUS was an astounding $103 million. The revenue generated in 2005 alone was $145 million! The new leader of HSUS is Wayne Pacelle, a radical anti-hunter who once gave an anti-hunting speech in Georgia at a teacher’s conference — even got his picture in GON. Pacelle told the Washington Post that he attributed a surge in contributions to the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

That a radical anti-hunting, animal-rights group saw a surge in contributions after a disaster that left PEOPLE dying in the streets speaks volumes about what we as sportsmen and conservationists face.

“I think our goal is to accumulate greater strength so we can be more effective. We want to show policy leaders and lawmakers we’re a formidable entity,” said Pacelle in the article.

Mission accomplished, Mr. Pacelle.

Now that you have the attention of Washington lawmakers, which type of hunting are you going to get banned?

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