Friday, January 29, 2010

SPECIAL REPORT: Terrorism Grand Jury Subpoenas HSUS Lawyer

You might remember the 2004 animal-rights attack on a University of Iowa animal laboratory, carried out by the terrorist Animal Liberation Front (ALF). Here’s the scene: 55-gallon drums filled with acid-soaked research documents, 401 “liberated” laboratory animals, the continuous harassment of researchers, and a warning to “stop or be stopped.” So what does a former PETA lawyer who works for the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) have to do with this? That’s likely the question a prosecutor has for HSUS attorney Leana Stormont, who was subpoenaed Monday to testify before a federal grand jury about the raid.

Who exactly is Leana Stormont? The former animal control worker graduated from the University of Iowa Law School, and went on to become the Midwest Coordinator of Stop Animal Exploitation Now, a group that (according to the Los Angeles Times) provides research to the rest of the animal rights industry -- including HSUS and the misnamed Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine -- with suggestions about who's ripe for targeting.

While enrolled at the U. of I., Stormont helped lead the Iowa Law Student Animal Defense Fund. She was a third-year law student when the ALF lab attack occurred. About two months afterward, Stormont’s group hosted animal rights radical Steven Best, who spoke in defense of the ALF terrorists, saying he’d sacrifice the life of a stranger to save his dog.

Best was a co-founder of the North American Animal Liberation Press Office and has been listed as a “press officer” for the ALF alongside the murder-endorsing Jerry Vlasak. Despite this shady résumé, Stormont writes that Best is “a courageous and provocative thinker.”

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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

HSUS: Another Disaster, Another Payday

From the Center for Consumer Freedom January 18, 2010

The earthquake that left Haiti in ruins last week is an unspeakable tragedy that calls for the support of humanitarians around the world to rescue and rebuild. But some “charities” may not have the most honest of goals. Human rights journalist Anai Rhoads writes that the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and other groups are engaging in deceptive fundraising by overstating the number of animals in need:

HSUS also claimed that there are companion animals. “…a large stray dog population, an untold number of companion animals.” This is really tough sell, in an area so poor that scanning trash for food was the norm. It would be utter suicide for the more than 80 percent of those are poor in the country to house and feed a companion animal.

Rhoads also points out that also much of the livestock and pet populations in Haiti were ravaged following strong storms in 2008. Another observer in Haiti reports that he didn’t notice any stray cats just six days before the quake. As Rhoads puts it, HSUS is raising money to help “a mass number of animals, which don’t seem to exist.”

Not that such technicalities have historically mattered to HSUS. If a boatload of donations is left over when it leaves Haiti, the money can be commingled with the other tens of millions in assets HSUS already has in the bank. From there, it can be spent on anything HSUS wants, from PETA-inspired lobbying to putting farmers out of business. Just don’t expect too much of it to go to hands-on dog and cat shhelters.

This latest situation is another chapter in HSUS’s history of questionable fundraising ploys.
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Thursday, January 14, 2010

Activist Notes: OFB urges other states to set up livestock boards

(1/14/2010) Rod Smith

Representatives of the Ohio Farm Bureau (OFB), addressing the 91st annual meeting of the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) this week, related their experience last year in winning Ohio voters' approval for the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board and urged other state farm bureaus to consider setting up similar standards boards in their states.

OFB president Brent Porteus said Ohio's farmers and ranchers moved quickly last year to establish the Ohio board after the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) indicated its plans to compel producers to change animal handling practices the way it has via ballot initiatives or legislation in other states.

"In our opinion, HSUS did not have (the best interests of) Ohio farmers, Ohio consumers and even Ohio animals . . . at heart," he said.

OFB executive vice president Jack Fisher and senior director of legislative and regulatory policy Adam Sharp said OFB worked with all farmers in the state and a number of consumer, business and political interests organized as Ohioans for Livestock Care to pass legislation proposing the board as a constitutional amendment and then win voter approval. The board was approved by 64% of voters (Feedstuffs, July 13 and Nov. 9, 2008).

Voters "took to the message" that Ohio producers follow humane practices and produce high-quality, safe food and that it's important to keep Ohioans in charge of Ohio agriculture, Fisher and Sharp said. "Ohio consumers didn't want someone from Washington, D.C. (like HSUS), telling them what to do," Sharp said.

Fisher and Sharp said the Ohio group is now working to get implementation legislation passed by the Ohio General Assembly, after which the board members will be appointed and put to work codifying humane animal handling practices for Ohio livestock and poultry producers.

At least two other states, Idaho and Missouri, are considering state livestock care standards boards.
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Monday, January 11, 2010

Farmers fight back against animal rights groups

The Humane Society of the U.S. has shepherded laws in at least six states to ban cramped cages for farm animals and persuaded some of the country's largest fast-food restaurants and retailers to make at least a gradual switch to cage-free eggs. The group last year championed a ban on tail docking at California dairies.

Jack Fisher of the Ohio Farm Bureau implored farmers in other states to be proactive and take similar steps of their own. He noted that the Human Society has turned its efforts toward regulating so-called "puppy mills" and dog breeding operations and urged farmers to join forces with that industry in educating consumers.

Posted: Jan 11, 2010 7:31 AM EST
Updated: Jan 11, 2010 8:51 AM EST
Associated Press Writer

SEATTLE (AP) - It's little wonder that farmers fret about the future of the livestock industry. In the past two years, feed costs skyrocketed, pork and dairy prices plummeted, and animal rights groups stepped up efforts to improve living conditions for farm animals.

Some farmers are hoping to strike back with proactive efforts to ward off unwanted legislation and boost the struggling industry.

"A line must be drawn between our polite and respectful engagement with consumers and how we must aggressively respond to extremists who want to drag agriculture back to the day of 40 acres and a mule," said Bob Stallman, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation.

"The time has come for us to face our opponents with a new attitude," he told some 5,000 members gathered in Seattle for the group's annual convention Sunday. "The days of their elitist power grabs are over."

Several segments of the livestock industry found 2009 to be a rough year. Everyone suffered with higher feed and energy costs. Pig farmers endured slow pork sales that were triggered in part by the H1N1 flu virus, also known as swine flu, even though the U.S. Department of Agriculture has said swine flu cannot be transmitted by eating pork products.
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