HSUS: Fools, and Limbaugh, rush in

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He calls himself “America’s No. 1 Truth Detector,” but conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh must not have researched the Humane Society of the United States very well before he recorded two “statements of support” for the animal rights lobbying organization.

The first public service announcement lauds the HSUS effort to bust dog fighting rings and the other focuses on the group’s outreach to churches. You can find links to both on his homepage, www.rushlimbaugh.com.

Remember the cries of “flip flop, flip flop” that rang out on the floor of the 2004 Republican National Convention? The same might be said of good ol’ Rush. A year ago, according to Philadelphia Inquirer political reporter Amy Worden, Limbaugh “was assailing Democratic candidates Barack Obama and Joe Biden as leftist liberals for the HSUS endorsements they received in the U.S. Senate.”

Now, he sounds like Doris Day in his ringing praise of the radical group in sheep’s clothing.

Rush, repeat after me: The Humane Society of the United States does not speak for nor have any link to local unwanted pet shelters or humane societies. The Humane Society of the United States is a group that pushes — hard! — for an end to hunting, for an end to use of meat animals for food, and for an end to all “animal-based foods”.

Like Rush, country music artist Carrie Underwood also recently got snookered into thinking HSUS was about animal rescue and animal charity. She’s donating a portion of the sales of her new digital single, Home Sweet Home, to the Humane Society of the United States. “… We felt it was important to tie the release into an amazing animal charity like the HSUS,” Underwood says on her Web site.

Well, that amazing animal charity raised an estimated $34 million in the wake of Hurricane Katrina to help pet owners in that region find their displaced pets. Yet, according to The Center for Consumer Freedom, public disclosures of the dispersal of that $34 million add up to less than $7 million. That’s not an animal charity, that’s a fundraising, lobbying, agenda-setting public relations powerhouse.

Here’s the thing: We are all concerned about animal welfare, and all of us, farmers and consumers like, should be concerned about how livestock are handled. It is a social, ethical value that none would argue. However, we will remain firmly on opposite sides of the aisle because the animal rights activists believe raising animals for food is morally wrong.

Here’s the Earth Day message from the Humane Society of the United States: “… if we really want to put our concern for the planet into practice, we can make a huge difference by simply enjoying more plant-based foods.”

That’s not an animal welfare message, that’s a push for vegetarianism, plain and simple

(And once again, I repeat, I’m not against those who choose to be vegetarians. It is a choice, and I support your freedom to make that choice.)

Rush and Carrie, please support family farmers, not mega-money raising machines that would ultimately hurt family farmers.

Readers, I encourage you to voice your opinion to Rush himself, and ask him to reconsider his support of HSUS. You can e-mail him at ElRushbo@eibnet.com. My letter went out last week.

Related articles:

The three Rs of the HSUS agenda (4/2/2009)
Humane Society: Ohio, here we come (3/5/2009)

About the Author

Farm and Dairy Editor Susan Crowell has been with the paper since 1985, serving as its editor since 1989. Raised on a farm in Holmes County, she is a graduate of Kent State University.You can follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/scrowell and follow Farm and Dairy at http://twitter.com/farmanddairy. You can also find her on Google+ and Facebook. More Stories by Susan Crowell

16 Comments

  1. US Taxpayer says:

    “…before he recorded two “statements of support” for the animal rights lobbying organization.” HSUS is a 501(c)(3) organization, meaning they can do only MINIMAL lobbying. If you and/or your readers would like to protest the use of taxpayer money to fund their lobbying efforts, check out http://www.irs.gov/charities/article/0,,id=139029,00.html There’s an online complaint form, with “excessive lobbying” as an issue. HSUS shouldn’t be allowed to abuse its tax status, and the IRS should investigate this abuse.

    Oh, and aren’t most farm animals ultimately “plant-based?” They eat plants to survive, don’t they? :^)

  2. ErnestBell says:

    Actually, Susan, The HSUS policy on animals raised for food is more nuanced than your column suggests. and it is entirely consistent with the interests of family farmers. And here it is:

    The HSUS is deeply concerned about the ways in which farm animals are treated in modern agricultural systems. The total sum of suffering of these animals greatly exceeds that of any other category of domestic animals. The vast majority of meat, eggs, and dairy products sold in American grocery chains and restaurants come from animals raised in intensive-confinement systems (so-called “factory farms”) that do not provide for many of the animals’ most basic behavioral needs and that impose significant stress on the animals in pursuit of efficiency. The result is that living creatures are being treated as biological “machines.”

    The HSUS is also concerned about commercial fishing and fish production practices. The proliferation of massive fish farms raises basic questions about their welfare. And commercial fishing practices continue to deplete many fish populations in dramatic ways and result in the by-catch of extraordinary numbers of non-target animals, including marine mammals, birds, and other fish.

    Accordingly, The HSUS pursues the reduction of animal suffering in the raising, housing, care, transportation, and slaughter of animals raised or caught for food. Furthermore, we seek to ensure that animal production systems are humane, sustainable, and environmentally sensitive.

    The HSUS supports those farmers and ranchers who give proper care to their animals, act in accordance with the basic ethic of compassion to sentient creatures under their control, and practice and promote humane and environmentally sustainable agriculture.

    Furthermore, the use of plant crops to support the rearing of food animals and the use of fish meal in the intensive “farming” of carnivorous fish, and the subsequent inefficient conversion of plant protein to animal protein, are wasteful uses of limited resources. Research has also indicated that eating excessive quantities of meat, eggs, and dairy can be detrimental to human health.

    Considering the foregoing abuses of animals, degradation of the environment, and detriment to human health, The HSUS promotes eating with conscience and embracing the Three Rs—reducing the consumption of meat and other animal-based foods; refining the diet by eating products only from animals who have been raised, transported, and slaughtered in a system of humane, sustainable agriculture that does not abuse the animals; and replacing meat and other animal-based foods in the diet with plant-based foods.

  3. Thank you for commenting, Ernest. The problem is that the use of phrases like “factory farms” is very subjective and infers that all confinement farms are bad. They are not. They are operated by family farmers like my friend, Bill. Bill is milking more than 600 head (a number some might think is large or a “factory farm”). But Bill can walk through his well-ventilated freestall barn and identify most of his Jerseys by name, not by number. He stops to scratch their heads and talks to them when he thinks no one is looking. He works hard to raise his two sons to respect nature and all the farm’s livestock, and has worked closely with the local soil and water conservation district to be sure that his cows’ manure is being managed and applied properly. I have heard the break in his wife’s voice when she talks about a cow they had to humanely euthanize because she went down and no efforts by them or their vet could help it.

    If HSUS is successful in spreading its anti-ag message, it’s farmers like Bill who are hurt.

    We agree that agriculture needs to practice more humane measures, as well researched by Dr. Temple Grandin in Colorado. But to replace meat and other animal-based foods with plant-based foods means that some animals could eventually become extinct (Grandin: “The cattle I have eaten would have never lived at all if we had not raised them.” http://www.grandin.com/welfare/animals.are.not.things.html)

    And eating “excessive quantities” of anything is detrimental to my health, so I must respectfully say that that comment is meaningless.

  4. Carlo says:

    I don’t think it’s accurate to say Carrie Underwood was fooled into supporting HSUS. She’s a vegetarian, so I assume she knew exactly what she was doing.

  5. pork chop says:

    The Importance of Being Ernest…says:
    “The total sum of suffering of these animals greatly exceeds that of any other category of domestic animals.” Whoa.. wait a minute.. the last H$U$ mailer I got begging for money said “puppy mills” cause the greatest suffering of domestic animals… so which is it??”factory farms” or ‘puppy mills” ( both terms made up by the HSUS). hmm the HSUS cannot decide..but as long as you send the BIG BUCKS they really don’t care..
    “Friends Don’t Let Friends Donate to the HSUS”
    Animal Rights = No Animals Left…

  6. My response to Susan Crowell’s article – BRAVO!! There is a lot wrong with non-profit animal groups. Large organizations like HSUS, ASPCA, and PETA have become far too political. If they were really interested in the welfare of animals, we would not have a shelter on every corner that goes begging while those groups raise millions. I know one little shelter where the director uses his own money to keep the cats fed!

    ASPCA is a NY group, with one shelter and a hospital. Yet they boast that they have LOBBYISTS around the country helping to get animal laws passed. WAKE UP AMERICA, these are not laws that are in the best interest of animals. They are in the best interest of HSUS, ASPCA, and PETA.

    While President Obama is having things investigated, lets ask him to investigate these groups. They don’t just rake in millions and influence laws. ASPCA looks more like a marketing group, selling everything from T-shirts to Pet Insurance. How in the world can they be non-profit while competing with business in the for profit sector?

    Try doing an investigation of any of these groups on the internet. You will be surprised at what you find out.

    There is only one way for citizens to stop them, and that is find a way to cut of their bank account.

  7. Terry M says:

    Good for you! As a hobby dog breeder of 40 years, I am personally fighting the HSUS anti-dog bills across the nation – all designed to eliminate dogs and cats from our lives entirely. The HSUS is the worst enemy of agriculture, sportsmen, and animal breeders of all species in America. Their power is enormous and only by banding together can we preserve our rights. The silence about Rush’s endorsement from the media is deafening considering how many livestock and sportsmen folks have gotten envolved.

  8. HSUS wants a vegan America says:

    ErnestBell,
    Maybe you should clarify another Wayne Pacelle and HSUS (Humane Society of the United States) statement: “Replacing meat and other animal-based foods in the diet with plant-based foods”. Hmm, sounds like HSUS and Wayne Pacelle want a vegan America. They are sold bold to now offer vegetarian recipes on their web site. Wow and I thought they wanted money for all the cute dogs and cats they plaster all over their fund raising mailers. But I did the math on their 2007 IRS tax return (posted on their web site) and they spend more money on staff travel expenses than shelters, rescues, and local humane societies. HSUS and Wayne Pacelle are nothing more than domestic terrorists. I will decide what I will and will not eat. HSUS will lose their tax exempt status VERY soon with their terrorist agenda.

  9. Stacy says:

    Read Matthew Scully’s book-watch undercover videos on the HSUS or PETA websites of abuse on factory farms. I am a registered republican, graduate of Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University (‘christian conservative’ for those who are confused) and avid Rush listener. Strip this issue down to the bare bones and it is simply about right and wrong. You don’t want to give up your meat? Are you decent enough to know where that animal came from? What it endured? What it was deprived of? Let me help you out-confinment so intense that muscles athrophy to the point where often times the animal cannot walk to slaughter, animals in enclosured that never allow them to feel the sunlight, sick/injured/half dead animals dragged by chains to slaughter, hogs boiled and skinned alive, cows hung by their legs, throats slit to bleed out while still thrashing in agony and terror. This is only a taste. The HSUS works to make the lives of these animals more natural, less deprived, more humane. If you have a problem with that then please don’t call yourself a Christian-you are not. The bible says “Blessed are the merciful, they shall obtain mercy”. If you can sit here and rant about your “rights” to eat meat without a thought, kill without remorse, disrespect God’s creatures with vile contempt, then pray that Matthew 5:7 doesn’t apply to you.

  10. indychris says:

    Stacy-

    Are you seriously proposing that Matt 5:7 pertains to animals? If so, I think it’s high time paid another visit to your hemeneutics class from undergrad.

    The sermon on the Mount deals entirely with how we deal with God and with our fellow man. I assure you that at the same time Jesus was preaching on the mountain, the priests were fulfilling the commanded duties of offering animals as sacrifices.

    Rather than Biblical Interpretation, it sounds to me like you received your Biblical studies in your “naturalism 101′ course. :-p

  11. HSUS Equals A Vegan America says:

    I dropped my Bank Of America credit card as soon as I confirmed they offered a HSUS credit card. BOA made a seriously bad move supporting the American terrorist group known as the Humane Society of the United States. Bank of America supports the HSUS vegan America, not me, that is why they are losing customers left and right. Great move BOA! Are you that stupid???

  12. Brandy says:

    Stacy
    While you are quoting the Bible did you know that Genesis 1:26 says this, Then God said “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” Also Genesis 1:28 says the same thing. Yes I do agree that there are issues with the way a lot of the animals are being handled but do you think everyone should be punished for it? Cell phones cause more accidents, lets ban all cell phones. how does that sound.

  13. Sue says:

    I was vegetarian for over two decades and I never liked groups that tried to push that on anyone. Throughout my non-meat eating years, I always supported humane hunting and farming. Groups like PETA, Earth First and HSUS are so narrow in their viewpoint. Why is a horse better than the human that takes care of it?

  14. Nathan says:

    Is it only me or does anyone else look at the anatomy of our bodies compared to other animals. Humans are made to be omnivores. Like lions and dogs and other carnivores we have 1 stomach. Look at a cow’s anatomay and it has 7 different areas that are specifically designed to digest plants. We are designed BY GOD to eat meat. Eat what you choose I raise chickens in cages for their own benefit, not for mine.

  15. Thom says:

    Stacy,

    I am convinced by your comment that the only farm you have ever been on was via youtube. While isolated abuses can be found in any profession, I sincerely doubt that you could show me a farm that practices the type of treatment to animals you claim exist. Why? Because any farm that would treat it’s animals in that way would be broke within the first year.

  16. Pookie says:

    Thom,

    I think you are wrong. I’ve seen people make a living though they treat their animals badly. It’s just a fact.

    The HSUS is just a bunch of scam artists. They are misery pimps, selling lies to the kind-hearted and well-intentioned donors who think they sent money to an animal shelter.

    So the HSUS isn’t the solution, but unfortunately I don’t know what is. I can’t think of one single national organization that is interested in humane fa, rm animal care that is not also infested by the animal rights whack-a-doodles. I can’t support the groups that want to make everyone into vegetarians, but I also refuse to support practices I think are cruel.

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