Thursday, December 31, 2009

Unpacking the HSUS Gravy Train

Consumer Freedom December 30, 2009
There are only two things certain in life, as the saying goes, and a byproduct of one of them requires nonprofit organizations to file paperwork with the IRS. So now that the deceptively named “Humane Society” of the United States (HSUS) has submitted its "Form 990" for 2008, we thought it was time to take a close look. The tax filing itself is a bit more detailed than ones in the past, thanks to some new IRS rules. And more detail equals a clearer picture of exactly what HSUS is doing -- and what it's not doing -- with all its money. [Click here to view the full document.]

HSUS reported spending almost $20 million on “campaigns, legislation, and litigation”—enough to worry any livestock farmer or hunter looking to keep their chosen lifestyle alive. The group collected over $86 million in contributions, and spent more than $24 million on fundraising, including $4 million on professional fundraisers. Think about it: 28 cents of every dollar contributed to HSUS goes back out the door to raise more money. HSUS even paid a single “lockbox” company more than $4.2 million to count and process its cash hauls. We won’t comment on that company’s curious "ALF" initials (for Arizona Lockbox & Fulfillment).

The bottom line is the same as it ever was: HSUS rakes in millions from unsuspecting Americans who may confuse the animal rights group with an unaffiliated local humane society. And with all this cash flying around, it’s no surprise that 41 HSUS employees made at least $100,000 last year. All told, HSUS paid out over $30.9 million in salaries, wages, and other employee compensation.

HSUS CEO Wayne Pacelle earned more than $250,000 in salary and benefits in 2008. We wouldn’t begrudge him a large salary, of course: He runs an animal-rights business “charity,” after all.

But the real trouble lies in where most HSUS money doesn’t go: to pet shelters. In contrast with the group’s extravagant spending on people, HSUS’s total grant allocation was less than $4.7 million. And of that, almost half went to a political campaign committee called “Californians for Humane Farms,” the main lobbying organization responsible for California’s “Proposition 2” ballot initiative.

For all the cute pictures of puppies and kitties on HSUS paraphernalia, you’d think it would operate a pet shelter, or at least give a substantial portion of its money to one. But HSUS has lobbying to do, a PETA-inspired agenda to push, meat eaters to stigmatize, and livestock farmers to put out to pasture. Lobbying? Oh, yes. HSUS takes four full pages to detail its lobbying activities on the state and federal levels.

With all the politicking going on, the animals—remember them?—seem to get lost in the shuffle. We added up the totals, and HSUS gave only a little more than $450,000—that’s just half of one percent of its total budget—in grants to organizations providing hands-on care to dogs and cats. That’s less than 11 percent of what it paid “ALF” (see above) just to count its money.

We’re musing today about HSUS’s next big self-marketing blitz, and some new slogans it might want to use. Our favorite? “HSUS: Feed the lawyers, save the fundraisers, screw the pets.” Link

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Attorney: PETA worker neglected snakes in his care Posted on Wed, Dec. 30, 2009 06:44 AM
Attorneys for an exotic animal dealer have accused an employee of intentionally neglecting animals to further his work as an undercover investigator for an animal rights group.

Howard Goldman could have done more to provide food, water and care for the animals that he said were being mistreated, said Lance Evans, an attorney for Jasen and Vanessa Shaw, the owners of U.S. Global Exotics.

Instead, Goldman secretly took photos and made daily reports to send to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Evans said.

"He was more concerned about helping PETA achieve its goal of putting U.S. Global out of business than actually aiding any animals that he felt were in distress," Evans said. Goldman worked at the Arlington facility for seven months.
Full story ....

Monday, December 28, 2009

HSUS loses 4-year battle against USDA

Turkey slaughter lawsuit won't fly, judges rule ...
A federal appeals panel says the Humane Society did not have the standing to sue the USDA for asserting that a 1958 congressional act mandating humane slaughter does not extend to poultry.

LA Times: By Victoria Kim November 26, 2009

Ruling on a four-year legal battle over the regulation of poultry slaughter, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals last week threw out a lawsuit challenging the government's position that a half-century-old congressional act on humane slaughter does not extend to animals of the feathered kind.

The lawsuit, filed in San Francisco three days before Thanksgiving 2005 by the Humane Society of the United States, contended that the U.S. Department of Agriculture's position leads to shoddy slaughter practices and jeopardizes food safety. It was sparked by a 2005 USDA notice that "there is no specific federal humane handling and slaughter statute for poultry."

The plaintiffs contended that the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act of 1958 -- which requires that "cattle, calves, horses, mules, sheep, swine and other livestock" be rendered insensible to pain before slaughter -- should be read to include poultry.

Attorneys for the USDA accused the plaintiffs of attempting "revisionist history," saying that without taking into account Congress' intent, the phrase "other livestock" could be read to include "fish, ants, guinea pigs, cats or dogs bred for sale, bees."

After hearing oral arguments the week of Thanksgiving 2007, U.S. District Judge Marilyn Hall Patel ruled in favor of the USDA, saying lawmakers' intent to leave poultry out was clear.

In the decision entered Friday, a three-judge panel decided that the plaintiffs did not have standing to sue in the first place. Judge George H. Wu wrote that a legal ruling on the meaning of the act would not have any effect on poultry slaughter practices because it is dependent on "a number of political and legal factors quite independent from this court's determination." Full story ....

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

It’s all about numbers

Recently HSUS aired an announcement on their website congratulating Wisconsin Governor, Jim Doyle, and the state legislature for enacting a law “to regulate large scale puppy producing operations, known as puppy mills.” AB 250 regulates anyone who sells more than 25 dogs or 3 litters a year. In HSUS language, this separates small-scale breeders from puppy mills.

HSUS continues by stating, “In addition to Wisconsin, bills to regulate puppy mills were enacted by the 2009 state legislatures in Arizona, Connecticut, Indiana, Maine, Nebraska, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Washington.” WRONG! In their zeal to pat themselves on the back and keep the momentum alive for potential success in their multi-million dollar campaign to regulate dog breeders, HSUS forgot how to count! It seems they also forgot to check the results as posted on their own website. Arizona bill HB2517, sponsored by Rep. Nancy Young Wright (D, 26), failed as did Nebraska LB677 sponsored by Sen. Ken Haar (District 21).

In an unprecedented drive, HSUS introduced 33 commercial breeder/regulation/licensing bills across the country from late 2008 thru 2009. Of these 21 died, 8 passed; 4 are pending – due to either the legislatures still in session or bills qualifying to be held over for 2010. Full listing is available on the SAOVA website

Numbers played a huge role in the drafting and promotion of the HSUS commercial breeder/regulation/licensing bills – a long name to use but I am loathe to call them “puppy mill” bills even long enough to write this commentary.

What is the definition of commercial or large scale dog breeding? The answer according to HSUS appears to depend on what the region can be convinced to believe. To crack down on alleged puppy mills in Washington State, HSUS determined 10 intact females was the magic number; Tennessee, Montana Minnesota, and others used 20 as the beginning point for licensing; North Carolina’s commercial breeder bill was set at 15, and in Illinois HSUS determined that only by licensing breeders beginning with 3 intact females would the state be saved from being overrun with puppy mills. One HSUS state director recently explained – a hobby breeder is someone with 6 who breeds only one or two litters a year; anything more than that is a commercial breeder/puppy mill.

Another strategy in the HSUS legislation is to limit breeders by placing caps on ownership. A 25-dog magic number was proposed in legislation this year as the limit of breedable dogs one could own in Colorado, Delaware, Oregon, Massachusetts, and Washington.

There is no logic to the idea that an owner can care for 25 dogs but not 26, or even 100. Ownership caps are nothing more than a limitation of personal rights and the ability to build a breeding program, run a business, or earn a living.

To keep legislation moving, it is always useful to have a crisis at hand.

HSUS claims there are more than 10,000 large, puppy mills housing 200,000 to 400,000 breeding dogs producing up to 4 million puppies a year. If Americans add approximately 8 million dogs to their households a year and HSUS also claims nearly 50% of these come from friends, is HSUS saying the other 50% come from substandard sources?

In Tennessee before the commercial breeder bill was enacted, HSUS claimed 10,000 puppies were for sale every day in the state. In North Carolina, HSUS claims their previous estimate of 200 puppy mills was in error – the number is actually 400 and growing as the state is becoming home to breeders fleeing states where regulatory laws have been passed. Illinois voters were urged to enact Chloe’s Bill before the onslaught of puppy mills could become a blight on the State's reputation.

The same sound bites are distributed in every state with a pending breeder bill and the proclaimed crisis of abuse or overpopulation is NOT new.

In “The Humane Society of the U.S.: It's Not about Animal Shelters” Daniel Oliver writes:

“HSUS promotes restrictions on pet breeding and ownership that would sharply limit the supply of pets and ultimately deny many responsible pet owners the pet of their choice. It maintains that there is a ‘raging pet-overpopulation crisis . . . an appalling overabundance of dogs and cats caused by human carelessness and irresponsible breeding.’ Because an estimated 4.5 million dogs and cats are euthanized each year in the U.S., HSUS has called for the elimination of large dog breeding kennels and the enactment of mandatory pet sterilization laws.”

Oliver continues that in 1993, HSUS proposed mandatory pet sterilization laws and high license fees to deal with alleged pet overpopulation. HSUS called on local, county, and state legislators to enact either voluntary or mandatory dog and cat breeding bans and to initiate mandatory pet sterilization laws, including a two-year moratorium on all breeding. For each puppy or kitten born in violation of the moratorium, the owner or person possessing the animal would pay a penalty of $100.

To quote Washington, D.C. analyst Steve Kopperud, “The problem we have has almost doubled because we have allowed the activists to define us; we have allowed the activists to tell the public what we do and how we do it and frankly, we’re sitting back and continuing to allow that to happen.”

We are the experts and must take back that role. We must get our message back to the public and to our legislators. We can no longer afford to have HSUS and animal rightist philosophers frame the issues, labeling us as exploiters and legislating away our rights. The battle will begin again in 2010 and we need to be ready.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Don’t Blame Cows for Climate Change

December 7, 2009

Despite oft-repeated claims by sources ranging from the United Nations to music star Paul McCartney, it is simply not true that consuming less meat and dairy products will help stop climate change, says a University of California authority on farming and greenhouse gases.

UC Davis Associate Professor and Air Quality Specialist Frank Mitloehner says that McCartney and the chair of the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change ignored science last week when they launched a European campaign called "Less Meat = Less Heat." The launch came on the eve of a major international climate summit, which runs today through Dec. 18 in Copenhagen.

McCartney and others, such as the promoters of "meatless Mondays," seem to be well-intentioned but not well-schooled in the complex relationships among human activities, animal digestion, food production and atmospheric chemistry, says Mitloehner.

"Smarter animal farming, not less farming, will equal less heat," Mitloehner said. "Producing less meat and milk will only mean more hunger in poor countries."

Mitloehner traces much of the public confusion over meat and milk’s role in climate change to two sentences in a 2006 United Nations report, titled "Livestock's Long Shadow." Printed only in the report's executive summary and nowhere in the body of the report, the sentences read: “The livestock sector is a major player, responsible for 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions measured in CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalents). This is a higher share than transport.”

These statements are not accurate, yet their wide distribution through news media have put us on the wrong path toward solutions, Mitloehner says.

Full story ..

Friday, December 4, 2009

An Obituary For Words by Cindy Cooke

Once again Cindy Cooke, Legislative Specialist, is right on target with this essay. Cindy notes that our acceptance of the animal rightist term puppy mill was a mistake and "it’s rapidly becoming fatal today." I recently attended an HSUS Lobby Seminar where the HSUS Director used the terms commercial breeder and puppy mill interchangeably, and stated that anyone with more than 6 dogs or who bred more than one/two litters a year was a commercial breeder/puppymill.

An Obituary For Words by Cindy Cooke
You can’t really ban a word. In fact, an attempt to ban something often backfires, particularly in the United States, where we don’t like people censoring our speech. So I’m not going to tell you not to say “puppy mill”. I’m going to give you some very good reasons for not using that phrase.

I speak to a lot of dog clubs and frequently hear dog breeders supporting so-called “anti-puppy-mill” laws. When I ask these people to define “puppy mill,” invariably the definitions given include:

• People who “overbreed” their dogs;
• People who don’t take care of their dogs;
• People who have too many dogs;
• People who breed dogs “just for money”; and
• People who don’t take health issues into account when breeding their dogs.

Let’s look at these definitions in turn. What is “overbreeding”? In the wild, most canids can only reproduce once a year. Most domestic dogs can have two litters a year. When I first became a dog breeder, it was almost a religious belief that no female dog should be bred more than once a year. We were told that it was important to “rest” the uterus between litters. Today, however, thanks to advances in veterinary medicine, we know that an uterus is actually damaged by the elevated progesterone levels that occur in each heat cycle, whether the dog is pregnant or not. Veterinary reproduction specialists recommend that dogs be bred on their second or third heat cycle, that we do more back-to-back breedings, and that we spay the dogs at around age six.

The “overbreeding” argument also treats reproduction as something that female dogs wouldn’t do if they had a choice. Dogs aren’t people - female dogs actually want to be bred when they’re in heat and, with few exceptions, enjoy raising their puppies. It’s not an unwelcome event for dogs.

Full editorial ..

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Animal lovers should stop sending money to zealots

Spokane Review, November 12, 2009

By Rich Landers

I took a beating in the letters-to-the-editor pages a few weeks ago for pointing out the threat national-scale animal rights groups pose to the sports of hunting and fishing.

Now I’m turning the other cheek.

Readers shouldn’t assume that the published letters were the only reaction.

Nor should they think the threat these groups pose is limited to hunters and anglers.

The published letters came mostly from one group of Spokane-area animal rights activists and Wayne Pacelle, the national figurehead for the Humane Society of the United States.

But many phone calls and e-mails called for more scrutiny of these groups and the moral fascism they are trying to impose on society’s use and enjoyment of animals.

One veterinarian pointed out that these groups are clawing their way through legal and legislative channels toward giving pets individual rights rather than leaving them designated as the property of their owners.

The vet said that, among other problems, this would have huge repercussions in the costs of veterinary care and liability.

“Can you imagine the costs of routine pet procedures if we have to run unnecessary tests and insure ourselves for protection against possible multimillion-dollar lawsuits?” he said.

Full story ....

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

NAIS opponents seek to end program

Animal ID opponents still seek end to program
by North Platte Bulletin Staff - 11/23/2009

A 100-group coalition -- in letters to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and to Congress -- urges that the National Animal Identification System be dissolved completely and that all 100 organizations look forward to working with USDA “…to enhance our nation’s animal disease preparedness in a manner that builds upon our past successes and respects the interests of U.S. livestock producers and consumers.”

In the 2010 Agriculture Appropriations Bill, Congress reduced NAIS funding to $5.3 million, but did not specify how those funds were to be allocated.

The letter to Congress, sent Nov. 18, asks to “…support the limited use of NAIS funding to shut down the program, and to refocus the agency on measures that truly improve animal health.”

The 100 groups recommend that USDA:

-- Formally withdraw all pending rulemaking initiated by the agency to advance NAIS and pay the associated costs;

-- Pay all existing contractual obligations and NAIS-related costs that USDA incurred prior to Sept. 30, 2009;

-- Pay all costs associated with transferring the computer hardware acquired by USDA as part of NAIS to state animal health agencies, to enable state agencies to improve their ability to communicate among agencies in the event of a disease outbreak; and,

-- Pay all costs associated with providing the people of the United States and Congress with an official, comprehensive report on all of the testimony USDA received at each of the NAIS listening sessions held throughout the country in 2009.

“We urge this course of action because, contrary to its stated purposes, NAIS will not address animal disease or food safety problems,” the letter states. “Instead, NAIS imposes high costs and paperwork burdens on family farmers and create incentives for corporate-controlled confined animal feeding operations and vertically integrated systems.”

Full story and coalition list ...

Friday, November 20, 2009

Researchers ask: Are caged chickens miserable?

Earlier this year The Agriculture and Forestry Ministry (MAF) released its findings from a survey of 60 poultry farms around New Zealand. It found both caged and cage-free egg farmng had advantages and issues. Feather loss was worse in cages; however mortality rates were more prevalent in all non-cage systems. Stress levels were similar regardless of the housing system.

In June of this year, a Clemson University animal behaviorist announced the beginning of research on the impact cages and other confinement have on the development and well-being of hens.

More studies are underway which may help counter attacks on producers by HSUS and other zealots.

Researchers ask: Are caged chickens miserable?The Associated Press
Date: Friday Nov. 20, 2009 9:48 AM ET

DES MOINES, Iowa — Are cramped chickens crazy chickens?
Researchers are trying to answer that question through several studies that intend to take emotions out of an angry debate between animal welfare groups and producers.

At issue are small cages, typically 24 inches wide by 25 1/2 inches deep, that can be shared by up to nine hens. About 96 per cent of eggs sold in the United States come from hens who live in the so-called battery cages from the day they're born until their egg-laying days end 18 to 24 months later.

Public opinion appears to side with those who oppose the cages. Voters in California approved a proposition last year that bans cramped cages for hens. And Michigan's governor signed legislation last month requiring confined animals to have enough room to turn around and fully extend their limbs.

Peter Skewes, a Clemson University researcher, is leading one of the studies comparing how different housing affects egg-laying hens. He said there are plenty of "emotional" opinions about whether the cages are inhumane, but few are based on facts.

"Hopefully we will contribute something so decisions can be made based on science and knowledge about how we house birds and the implications for different systems," said Skewes, who is in the early stages of a three-year study funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

full story .....

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Illinois: RC offers proposals to protect livestock

Policy draft recommends IDOA animal jurisdiction

Martin Ross
Published: Nov 12, 2009

The Illinois Farm Bureau Resolutions Committee seeks to bolster health and educational resources and policy protections for an already-beleaguered livestock industry.

Amid concerns about state ballot initiatives and local efforts aimed at restricting livestock activities, RC proposals support granting Illinois Department of Agriculture jurisdiction over care of all livestock and companion animals statewide. IFB producer delegates will review policy proposals at the organization’s Dec. 5-8 annual meeting in Chicago.

The RC proposal is aimed at providing strong, ag-based guidance in the face of pressure from activist groups such as the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). RC Ag Policy-National Issues Subcommittee Chairman Kent Mellendorf noted the prospective impact of California’s recently passed, HSUS-backed Proposition 2 on West Coast egg producers.

Ohio voters by a nearly two-to-one margin recently supported establishment of a new Farm Bureau-backed Livestock Care Standards Board that will recommend guidelines for the care of the state’s livestock. Oklahoma and Michigan have passed legislation prohibiting local governments from enacting livestock rules or ordinances that are more restrictive than state ag regulations, the latter with support from the American Humane Society.

The RC also proposed commodity groups pool resources in a “direct concentrated effort” to educate consumers on use of best management practices especially in livestock production. As activists mobilize to restrict production practices, livestock, dairy, and mutually reliant crop groups are recognizing the value of pooling resources to “target one area at a time, vs. each one trying to do a little bit on their own,” Mellendorf said.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Issue 2 and Beyond

From our friends at the Animal Agriculture Alliance:

Issue 2 and Beyond

November 5, 2009 - On November 3, Ohioans showed their overwhelming support for local farmers and food safety by voting in support of Issue 2. The proposed Livestock Care Standards Board passed with more than 63 percent of the vote thanks to an inspiring grassroots effort by farmers and ranchers, agriculture organizations, veterinarians, and consumers to protect Ohio's agriculture industry. These individuals should be commended for effectively reaching out to the public to share the importance of animal agriculture within their state. Full press release ...

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Ohio voters overwhelmingly pass Issue 2

Congratulations to Ohio voters who had the wisdom to place animal husbandry under the guidance of those with hands-on experience instead of philosophers with a counter productive agenda.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Ohio voters overwhelmingly pass Issue 2
by Susan Crowell

COLUMBUS — Unofficial voting results indicate Ohio voters gave their approval to Issue 2, the ballot measure to amend the state constitution and create a livestock care standards board.
With 99.99 percent of the precincts reporting, the unofficial tally saw 63.65% of Ohio voters (1,958,646 people) voting for Issue 2, while 36.35% or 1,118,484 voters, voted “no.”
The constitutional amendment will create a state Livestock Care Standards Board. The 13-member board, comprised mostly of farmers, veterinarians and agricultural industry leaders, will create and implement livestock care guidelines.

The ballot measure was triggered by conversations between the Humane Society of the United States and Ohio ag leaders last February, in which the HSUS hoped to create out a working relationship to develop livestock care standards like those negotiated in Colorado (and most recently in Michigan this fall). More specifically, HSUS said it wanted to ban the use of poultry cages, veal crates and gestation stalls in the Buckeye State.

If Ohio ag groups chose not to work with the HSUS, the activist group leaders said they would take the battle to legislators or work to pass a ballot initiative in 2010.

Ohio ag leaders, however, quickly moved to push the idea of a constitutional amendment to create the livestock care standards board, feeling the proactive approach would have a stronger ag foundation than that pushed by the Humane Society of the United States.

As it looked like the state’s voters had approved Issue 2, John Lumpe, president of the Ohioans for Livestock Care Political Action Committee (PAC) said it was clear that voters understood “that a board of experts is the appropriate entity to make decisions on behalf of animal agriculture and food production in our state.”

“Voters agree with Ohio’s farm community and our diverse base of supporters — decisions about food and farming should be made in Ohio, by Ohioans,” Lumpe said in a prepared statement.

Full story:

Saturday, October 31, 2009

HSLF and League of Humane Voters of New Jersey Praise Corzine

Incumbent Governor Jon Corzine has a clear history of animal advocacy according to the Humane Society Legislative Fund: "During his first term as governor, Corzine signed several animal protection policies into law, including bills to prohibit the inhumane and unsporting shooting of live animals over the Internet, to tax the sale of fur clothing, to require the inclusion of animals in disaster planning, and to impose a moratorium on the harvesting and possession of horseshoe crabs."

"Most notably, he worked with the Department of Environmental Protection to stop the controversial trophy hunting season on New Jersey’s small population of black bears, and instead, Corzine and the DEP implemented a comprehensive plan to reduce bear-human conflicts using non-lethal and humane management."

The Humane Society goes on to relate "In stark contrast, Corzine’s opponent, Chris Christie, has stated that he supports bear hunting. The fate of New Jersey’s bear population could be decided in the November 3 election!"

"Further confirmation of Christie's stand is his endorsement by the New Jersey Outdoor Alliance. NJOA council members include New Jersey State Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs, National Wild Turkey Federation, United Bow Hunters of New Jersey and New Jersey Trappers Association to name a few. "

The 2009 gubernatorial election is the first in which Lieutenant Governor will be on the ballot. The Humane Society says "Corzine’s running mate for Lieutenant Governor, state Senator Loretta Weinberg, has been one of the leading advocates for animal protection in the New Jersey legislature."

RFA testifies at congressional hearing on Magnuson

RFA testifies at congressional hearing on Magnuson
Wed, Oct 28, 2009

On October 27, the House Natural Resources Committee, Subcommittee on Insular Affairs, Oceans and Wildlife held an oversight hearing on implementation of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act of 2006 (MSA). Testifying on behalf the Recreational Fishing Alliance (RFA), Herb Moore, Jr. charged the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) with managing the recreational fishing sector using poor statistical data and by attempting to meet arbitrary rebuilding timelines without adequately fulfilling their own commitments.

"Unfortunately, many in the recreational fishing public have come to view our federal government as the enemy - having experienced decades of larger and larger minimum size limits, shorter seasons and smaller bag limits in fisheries that we know are healthy," Moore said, adding "We believe NMFS needs a complete overhaul in how it views recreational fishing and we believe this Congress can help."

Congress mandated extensive improvements to recreational data collection programs in the 2006 MSA reauthorization. "Unfortunately, NMFS has not met its mandates," Moore said. "The problems with MRFSS have been well-documented for years and it took an act of Congress to get NMFS to move on this, but the process has been slow."

South Carolina charter and party boat Captain Mark Brown said "NMFS continues to move forward like a run-away train," and testified that MSA requirements were leading to the draconian management measures on the red snapper fishery. "These measures are due to the mandates of the rigid and inflexible timeframes set forth within the MSA and are being forced upon the fishermen without sound statistics and without a clear understanding of why fisheries managers are forced to accept scientific information that makes absolutely no sense," Brown said, while vocalizing his support for the Flexibility in Rebuilding American Fisheries Act.

Sponsored in the House by Rep. Frank Pallone (HR 1584) and in the Senate by Sen. Charles Schumer (S 1255), this "flexibility" legislation would extend the time period for rebuilding certain overfished fisheries provided that certain conditions are met. Pallone noted that because the best available science is generally uncertain, it creates total allowable landing figures that unduly restrict the fishermen, which contributes to his concerns about the rebuilding targets. "Other factors should be included in determining rebuilding targets besides fishing, for instance are environmental factors such as the development and degradation of estuaries," Pallone said, adding that the best way to address these issues in his opinion is through HR 1584 and S 1255.

"Magnuson is clearly a broken instrument of the law that needs to be fixed to allow for more access, conservation, and rebuilding," said Capt. Brown in his testimony.
For an archived audio version, visit

Thursday, October 22, 2009

HSLF Endorses Dean Florez for California Lt Governor

No surprise here that the Humane Society Legislative Fund has already announced their endorsement for Senator Dean Florez (D-16) in his bid for Lt. Governor. Sen. Florez was a driving force this year on behalf of HSUS/HSLF for legislation against agriculture producers and dog owners. Florez was the author of SB 250 (now inactive) which would criminalize ownership of intact dogs and cats under certain conditions and mandate new local programs for spay/neuter of any impounded dog or cat before release.

In the press release Wayne Pacelle says, “The role of lieutenant governor will continue to prepare him for even more significant leadership opportunities in the future.”

Read more in the HSLF press release

Joined at the hip with HSUS

The legislative arm of HSUS, Humane Society Legislative Fund (HSLF), sponsored a "There Oughta Be a Law" contest asking for input for a new federal bill to help animals. Longtime animal rights supporters Rep. Jim Moran, D-VA and Rep. John Campbell, R-CA joined HSLF as contest judges.

HSLF quotes Campbell as saying, "It is a pleasure to be a part of an effort that encourages legislation originating at the grassroots level. I am happy to be a judge in the 'There Oughta be a Law' contest." Hunters should recognize Campbell as a lead sponsor of the Bear Protection Act, H.R. 3480 of 2009, introduced in July.

In the same HSLF press release Moran stated, "I'm pleased to have an opportunity to judge the first-ever HSLF 'There Oughta be a Law' contest. I'm certain that we'll see terrific ideas for a federal animal protection bill."

At the close of the contest 3,500 entries had been received, a small amount(.03 percent) of interest from the 11 million members HSUS claims to have.