Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Jolley: Five Minutes With David Martosko & RICO, The HSUS Dog

Cattle Network 02/23/2010 07:46AM

It was a busy Monday, much like any other Monday this winter. The old bones were aching from clearing the driveway of the output of still another snowstorm. I was thinking a couple aspirins and a nap might be a good idea when Rob Cook perked things up. He had just forwarded a press release to me.

“Did you get this?” he asked in his email.

I looked at the headline: ”Racketeering Lawsuit Fingers Humane Society of the United States?.”

Now that’s an attention grabber. A vision of the ever dapper Wayne Pacelle, the top gun at HSUS, decked in prison stripes instead of Armani, flashed through my head. “Who,” I thought, “was giving HSUS the finger?”

Turns out it was Ringling Brothers, those kindly circus folk that HSUS and a few other animal rights organizations hammered with an animal cruelty charge a few years ago. In October, 2008, Federal Court proceedings began in a case involving a 2007 lawsuit filed against Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus, claiming their famous elephants were subjected to ‘cruel and inhumane treatment.’

The suit alleged that the circus staff “routinely beat elephants, chain them for long periods of time, hit them with sharp bull hooks, break baby elephants with force to make them submissive, and forcibly remove baby elephants from their mothers before they are weaned.”

After some top flight lawyers on both sides of the issue fought it out in court, ‘mano a mano,’ Ringling Bros was exonerated. On January 27, the Entertainment Law Digest reported “A federal judge dismissed for lack of standing an animal cruelty lawsuit against the owner of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey, saying the lead plaintiff, a former elephant caretaker, had received nearly $200,000 in illegal payouts from animal rights advocates.”

It didn’t take long for Barnum lawyers to strike back with that RICO suit, did it? Uncovering the existence of the suit were the folks at Center for Consumer Freedom who posted a link to the papers on their just opened web site www.humanewatch.org. David Martosko, one of the more outspoken folks at CCF and their Director of Research, was my first call.

“Would you be able to respond to a few questions?” I asked. Damn right, he would. Here’s the story from his side of the fence.
Interview at link ..

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