D. Trahan: Don't be confused by HSUS's mission

Soon, the Humane Society of the United States will initiate its signature-gathering effort against bear trapping, hounding and baiting. If members are successful in gathering the nearly 60,000 signatures necessary to place the question on a referendum ballot, the debate will begin in earnest and at certain times will be very emotional on both sides.

Our organization will oppose their efforts.

It is important the public does not confuse the actions of HSUS with local animal shelters and the important work they do for animals.

The HSUS is a national animal-rights group that specializes in litigation and using the referendum process to promote its agenda. It raised $130 million last year and gave just pennies back to actually support local animal shelters.

The HSUS uses its money for mostly political purposes. Conversely, local animal shelters do the work of angels, caring for abused and neglected animals. My wife volunteers at one of our local shelters and we support them financially.

It is very important that people continue to support animal shelters and do not confuse the two organizations.

It is likely that $5 million will be spent during the referendum campaign, most of that by HSUS.

If I had one wish during the campaign it would be that the HSUS would abandon its referendum efforts and donate the millions to animal shelters. The positive difference that money could have on the lives of thousands of abused animals is endless.

David Trahan, Augusta

Executive director, Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine

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 's picture

These is an update to this

Some years ago Federal regulations required that steel shot replace lead in shotgun shells used in Federal waterfowl hunting. Now its being recognized that the lead in bullets (some 3,000 tons used yearly) is killing millions of birds each year. So the NRA has added Zoos and environmental groups and others to its enemies list and developed a website to defend lead bullets even though there is no evidence that switching from lead to steel hurt waterfowl hunting (but there clearly is a difference in the characteristics of the shot) and every manufacturer has alternatives to lead already.
That groups wrongfully mischaracterize group because of a position they hold would hardy be surprising. Its been done to Planned Parenthood, ACORN, and many others for purely political purposes and it suggests arguments opposing the organization's position on a specific subject like Bear trapping are weak and instead the opponents must resort to character assassination.
Oppose a referendum on Bear trapping, I will. But keep the debate on target. Don't try to invent personal enemies.

what are you talking about?

What on earth does the composition of bullets have to do with HSUS and bear baiting?

Unlike the Republican attacks on PP and ACORN, the reports about HSUS are not false. They run ads that give the impression the support animal shelters, when less than 1% of their money goes to shelters. And considering they spend 83 cents to raise a dollar, that means 0.17 cents per dollar is going to shelters.

Even the shelters they supposedly support are against them. Shelters hear constantly from people "I donated to HSUS so I'm supporting you." Their former director of education reports that, sure, they rovide services to shelters -- if the shelters PAY them for the privilege. Wow, how generous. I actually have no position on bear baiting because I know nothing about the practice, so that has nothing to do with my opposition to the organization. Nor because I and sick sick sick of hearing Sarah McLachlan's whiny voice accompanied by puppies and kittens in awful, terrible condition. It is because, unlike them, I actually support my local shelters who are saving those kittens and puppies.

It's not a matter of being against what they stand for. It's about being against the fact that they don't actually stand for what they claim to stand for. It is fraudulence, in my book. It is in the same category at the environmental organization that collects donations by telling the people they are soliciting that Acadia National Park is going to start giving land away to commercial developers ANY MOMENT unless they act now. They don't mention that no one else -- park officials, local developers, not even Governor LePage -- has even suggested that this is in the realm of possibility (I don't recall the name, but they've done this two years in a row).

So the take-away, and the point the letter is making, is that the HSUS is not who they want you to think they are. To support a national humane organization that actually does help shelters, donate to the American Humane Society.

 's picture

Not according to the Republicans

"Unlike the Republican attacks on PP and ACORN, the reports about HSUS are not false. The Republicans would tell you everything they have falsely said about PP and ACORN is true. Just as you feel that everything in this letter about HSUS is true. Maybe it is. I don't think so, but may be it is. Still what does this characterization of an organization have to do with Bear trapping. Nothing. What does attacking this organization and its motives have to do with Bear Trapping. More to the point will the attacks help or hurt the effort to kill their referendum. I don't think so. The attacks are a sign of weakness not strength.

ERNEST LABBE's picture

It would

It would be interesting to know the saleries of the top officials of the HSUS.

According to a report from

According to a report from Charity Watch, "HSUS salaries are among the highest in the animal rights field, ranging from $253,000 to $289,000. Two organizations that merged with HSUS, the Doris Day Animal League and Fund for Animals, also show high salaries compared to other animal rights groups."

 's picture

Mr. Trahan's characterization of the Humane Society

Not surprisingly, is very wrong. But his point is right.
The question of bear hunting should be answered only by scientific evidence, bear populations, and public safety. Its not political nor is it appropriate for referendum. I hope everyone will refuse to sign.

It is in fact correct...

And I don't think he went far enough to explain the contrast between the HSUS and the legitimate animal protection organizations with whom it hopes you confuse its name.

The HSUS has been frequently panned for its misleading fundraising ads (you know the ones with Sarah McLachlan and pictures of damaged animals that force many to change the channel right away) that imply that their money goes to shelter animals, when in fact most of its activities involve lobbying state and federal legislators and and advocating an animal "protection" philosophy similar to PeTA's (though, fortunately, not with the publicity stunt that make PeTA a joke). It regularly receives a "D" from Charity Watch for its poor performance with regard to salaries and fund-raising efficienty (costs 78 cents for every dollar raised).

Which is why, if HSUS advocates it, I will tend to run the other way. On its surface, prevention of animal cruelty and advocating for their protection is a fine goal, but the HSUS's real goal is more money for its operators. Lots of detail here: http://www.humaneforpets.com/the-problem/

And he is absolutely correct that it has no relation at all to your local Humane Society nor the American Humane Society, which *is* affiliated with many shelters and performs many functions directly related to helping abused and neglected animals, is the owner of that logo at the end of any film with animal actors, and has Red Cross like services that help abandoned animals in disaster areas.

 's picture

What is going on?!

You said this to me, now I have to say it to you.

It kills me to say this, but I agree with Wayne.


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