Sunday, November 30, 2014

Friday, November 28, 2014

News Briefs and Updates November 28, 2014

Dear SAOVA Friends,

Have you visited the SAOVA website recently?  We would like to remind you that our website has a variety of information, data, and tools to assist your research and work on legislation.  Each year we track and analyze a number of bills at both the Federal and State level.

As part of the effort to monitor and expose the animal rights agenda, we have the HSUS TAFA Conference Special Report posted as a page which can be shared or downloaded as a PDF file.  The HSUS Timeline not only outlines the history of HSUS and its many radical campaigns, but includes links to samples of the propaganda aimed at our children, court cases including the Feld Entertainment RICO lawsuit, and other documentation of the HSUS agenda.

Extensive information is posted exposing the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF), their non-stop lawsuits and long campaign to establish animal abuser registries.

The site includes a “Hound Hunting Fact Sheet” and a new 2-page handout “HSUS – The Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing” for your use and distribution.

In the SAOVA Archives, we have tracked the history of HSUS federal legislation to license in-home, retail dog breeders and sellers, beginning with former Senator Rick Santorum’s Puppy Protection Act 2001 and continuing through the Puppy Uniform Protection and Safety Act (PUPS) 2013.

We plan to make a number of additions to the site in the coming year.  SAOVA works for you; remember to visit the site occasionally to see what is new.

Thank you for reading.  Best Wishes to you and your families for a Happy Thanksgiving weekend.

Susan Wolf
Sportsmen's and Animal Owners' Voting Alliance
Working to identify and elect supportive legislators

There are new rules in place for importing live dogs from any part of the world into the continental United States or Hawaii for purposes of resale, research, or veterinary treatment. The dog must be accompanied by an import permit issued by APHIS and be imported into the continental United States or Hawaii within 30 days after the proposed date of arrival stated in the import permit. The final rule went into effect Nov. 17, 2014. USDA Animal Care posted a new factsheet that explains the requirements for individuals seeking to import live dogs into the United States.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also has regulations on the importation of dogs and cats into the United States. Importers who bring dogs to the United States must make sure that their dogs are adequately vaccinated against rabies before arrival. In general, dogs must be vaccinated against rabies at least 30 days prior to entry, except for dogs originated or located for 6 months in areas considered to be free of rabies. Puppies must not be vaccinated against rabies before 3 months of age, so the youngest that a puppy can be imported into the United States is 4 months of age.  Importers may need to obtain a confinement agreement from the CDC, for puppies prior to U.S arrival.  Entry may be refused if dogs/puppies arrive without this agreement or vaccination.  Visit the CDC web site at for more information on their regulations.

A report on the Red Wolf Recovery Program in eastern North Carolina is highly critical of various aspects of the nearly 30-year old effort to re-introduce the endangered animal into the wild. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) contracted out the report to evaluate the program. Currently about 100 red wolves live in a five-county area in and around the Alligator River National Wildlife refuge. The USFWS spends more than $1 million per year on the Red Wolf Recovery Program. The report is part of a larger effort to evaluate it and determine its future. Coyotes have interbred with the wolves and some wolves, mistaken for coyotes, have been shot. A ban on hunting coyotes in the five-county area was recently lifted. A decision on the fate of the program is expected in early 2015.  Report:

The ALDF, Center for Biological Diversity, Project Coyote, Natural Resources Defense Council, and Animal Welfare Institute, and a local Mendocino resident filed a lawsuit against Mendocino County in the Superior Court of California, County of Mendocino, for violating the California Environmental Quality Act. The lawsuit challenges the county’s failure to conduct the legally-required environmental review of its $142,356 taxpayer-funded contract with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s Wildlife Services. The contract authorizes use of the Wildlife Services lethal predator control program to address livestock-predator issues.

When a kid in Malibu, California forced the rest of her classmates to miss out on a day at SeaWorld because she was misled by Blackfish, it made national news.  Awesome Ocean, a group of educators, Marine Mammal veterinarians and trainers, are learning that children of all ages are rejecting the radical agenda being shoved in their faces and asking for alternatives. Not only are they analyzing the source material the school is presenting to them, they're demanding they be allowed to think critically by hearing both sides of the issue, which is a victory for anyone interested in education.

Their website has stories of kids who are standing up to radical activists and demanding that they hear the full story and learn the truth. 

AUSTIN, TX.  When one of Austin's teachers announced that they would be required to watch Blackfish in school, Austin stood up and demanded that they allow a SeaWorld trainer from SeaWorld San Antonio to come in afterwards to comment about the film. The teacher responded, "We don't have time for that." Austin quickly countered, "Then we don't have time for Blackfish." The teacher agreed and the class was spared 80 minutes of out-of-context YouTube clips and propaganda.  Read more at Awesome Ocean

An independent investigation into Kentucky Representative Ed Whitfield found there is “substantial reason to believe” that the legislator unethically facilitated the lobbying efforts of his wife, who is a registered lobbyist for the legislative arm of the Humane Society of the United States.

The House rules prohibit this brand of spousal scheming, explicitly forbidding lawmakers’ staff “from making any lobbying contact…with that individual’s spouse if that spouse is a lobbyist…for the purpose of influencing legislation.” But accusations against Rep. Whitfield contend that the Congressman and his wife violated these guidelines.

According to a report by the Board of the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE), Connie Harriman-Whitfield allegedly contacted her husband’s congressional staff “on numerous occasions,” scheduling “as many as 100 meetings with other congressional offices” through his staff. The 26-page OCE report quotes email exchanges in which Harriman-Whitfield appears to use her unique access for calculated professional gain. In one such email, for example, Harriman-Whitfield details the legislative advantages of her marital situation: “Neither HSUS or HSLF [the legislative arm of HSUS] will be able to do well setting up meetings with Republican offices…That is why Ed’s office was so crucial in setting up meetings between Republicans and third parties.” According to the Board Report, this use of “Ed’s office” was particularly important in gaining Republican support for HSUS-backed anti-horse soring legislation—a bill sponsored, incidentally, by Rep. Whitfield. More at Humane Watch

Whitfield’s chief of staff Cory Hicks, who navigated the delicate ethics issue involving his boss' wife, resigned to take a communications and public affairs position at a Fortune 500 company. Hicks left Whitfield's office this month amid the probe over interaction between the office and the congressman's wife, a registered lobbyist. He had served as chief of staff since January 2013 and moved up through the ranks of Whitfield's office starting with an internship in 2003. (Source: Legistorm)

The Humane Society Legislative Fund (HSLF) reported total contributions of $125,500 to House Democrats and $74,000 to House Republicans this election cycle.  Recipients receiving the highest donations were Jeff Denham (R, CA) and Tony Strickland (R, CA) with $10,000 each.  Strickland did not win election.  Second highest donation of $7,500 went to Nancy Pelosi (D, CA).   Direct campaign contributions to Senate Democrats were $63,000 and to Senate Republicans $17,000.  HSLF Independent Expenditures to date total $1,018,108 with an amazing $640,923 going to support the campaign of Gary Peters (D, MI) and $133,301 to Jeff Merkley (D, OR).

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Don't Believe Everything You See

The animal rights extremist group Mercy For Animals is known for making false accusations against farmers and agri-businesses. With their “undercover investigations,” they typically lie to gain employment and then secretly film ordinary farm operations. After a little time spent editing and doctoring their footage to make normal animal care look like abuse, they announce to the world that they have discovered another farm that abuses animals. Their goal is always to try to deter people from using animals. Their ideal of “compassionate food choices” means they don't want you to eat meat. That's why they have a vegan Thanksgiving menu  headlining their web site at the moment.
The group recently released one of their videos attacking the broiler chicken industry and Koch Foods. According to MFA and their video, screened for reporters in Mercy For Animals' hometown of Chicago, “live chickens were slammed into crates, dumped in scalding hot water to remove their feathers, and killed by having their chests and throats cut open.”

The video is introduced and narrated by Sam Simon, creator of “The Simpsons,” who has established an animal rights foundation bearing his name. In the video, chickens seem to be mishandled by employees (kicked, thrown into crates), and the narration claims that the birds are regularly bled out and scalded while still conscious and sentient at the Koch processing plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Other shots purport to show that the barn and processing facilities are filthy and infested with maggots and cockroaches.

A spokesman for Mercy for Animals said, “This is sickening animal abuse that no company with morals should support,” and they denounced Chick-fil-A for buying their chicken from Koch.

There are just a few problems with the narrative that Mercy for Animals is selling here.

First, Chick-fil-A hasn't bought chickens from Koch Foods since April of 2013. Whoops. Second, we happen to have firsthand knowledge of some of the farms that raise chickens for Koch Foods and they are nothing like the scenes presented in this video. Koch Foods has strict inspection practices and requirements regarding feed, facilities, and their birds. We have visited one of the farms dozens of times and found it clean and well-run. There has never been any sign of animal abuse or anything like what is suggested in Mercy for Animals' video.

Third, we have even been to the processing plant in Chattanooga a couple of times and, while a processing plant may not be a fun place to visit, it's run professionally and efficiently and does what it is supposed to do without abuse.

According to the National Chicken Council, animal welfare expert Temple Grandin reviewed the footage in this particular video and said there was “no overt animal abuse” at the plant.

Koch Foods replied to the video:

The hidden-camera video released Wednesday by the Mercy for Animals organization is an example of “inaccurate and out-of-context depictions of its chicken processing plant” in Tennessee, Koch Foods said in a statement.
“The chicken processing business is a highly regulated industry … and our company works hard every day to ensure our employees and contractors follow strict regulations … and guidelines from the National Chicken Council (NCC),” said CEO Joe Grendys.
The statement noted that the company has been in the poultry business for more than 25 years and that the Tennessee facility featured in the video has 16 inspectors on each production shift. Independent contract chicken catchers the company uses also must adhere to the NCC’s Animal Welfare Guidelines, the same standard for the Chicago-based company's employees.
“Koch Foods is also regularly audited on its animal welfare practices by an independent auditor. The Chattanooga facility last completed such an audit in September of this year. The auditor found no violations of animal welfare practices in the live or processing operations for the Chattanooga complex,” the statement said.
“As the CEO of the company, I take these allegations very seriously, as I should. The company will not stand for a violation of the important processes and standards that we have in place. Koch Foods will remain vigilant to ensure it continues to operate in a humane, clean, and safe manner,” Grendys is quoted as saying.

I don't have any problem eating chicken after I visit the farm where they are raised. If anything, I have a greater appreciation for what goes into raising the birds.

Mercy for Animals has harassed Butterball Turkeys (multiple times), dairy farmers (multiple times), hog farmers, duck farmers, and many other farmers over the years. The next time they announce to the world that they have found horrendous animal abuse at a farm, stop and consider the source before you believe them.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

News Briefs and Updates October 24, 2014

Dear SAOVA Friends,

Campaign financing information has been released by the Federal Election Commission (FEC) that includes contributions through September 30.  We have a few notable updates for you from these figures. The Humane Society Legislative Fund (HSLF) spent a total of $78,493 supporting the campaign of Congressman Gary Peters (D) to win the open Senate seat race in Michigan against challenger Terri Lynn Land (R).  A close second is Senator Jeff Merkley (D, OR) where HSLF has contributed $75,150 to assist his re-election.

We reported previously that HSLF had contributed $41,794 to the campaign of Tony Strickland (R) in the California district 25 open Congressional seat race against Steve Knight (R).  Rounding out the list of top expenditures is the HSLF contribution of $50,941 to Congressman Bruce Braley (D) challenging Joni Ernst (R) for the open Iowa Senate seat.  

As of October 23, HSUS/HSLF contributed approximately $2 million to Mainers for Fair Bear Hunting, headed by HSUS state director Katie Hansberry, in support of their ballot initiative.  Question 1 on the November ballot would ban the use of bait, dogs and traps for bear hunting in the state. The current report from the Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices shows only one percent of the campaign funds raised by supporters of Question 1 actually came from Maine donors. In addition, HSUS/Mainers for Fair Bear Hunting filed a lawsuit in September requesting an injunction against the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife to prevent them from speaking out publicly against Question 1 and to have all content opposing Question 1 removed from their website.  

Last week Superior Court Justice Joyce Wheeler rejected the injunction request.  “Restricting speech on contested public issues is directly contrary to the public interest, which favors a robust and dynamic public discourse,” Wheeler said in her 15-page decision. “It is [for] the voters, not the plaintiffs or the courts, to assess the relative merits of conflicting speech.  Judge Wheeler continued, “The public interest would be adversely affected if plaintiffs’ request for a temporary restraining order were granted when DIF&W’s speech is on topics squarely within its competence as governor of statutory directives from the Legislature.”   HSUS/Mainers for Fair Bear Hunting plans to appeal the decision.

Please read and share the rest of our updates. The world not only belongs to those who show up, it's controlled by the best informed and most motivated.  Make your vote count on November 4th!

Susan Wolf
Sportsmen's and Animal Owners' Voting Alliance -
Working to identify and elect supportive legislators

San Francisco — On October 16, the national nonprofit Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) filed a formal rulemaking petition with the California Air Resources Board to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from animal agriculture, as it does for the energy and transportation sectors. The petition calls on the agency to require “factory farms” to report greenhouse gas emissions to the Air Resources Board, which will “cap” these emissions. California’s groundbreaking cap-and-trade program stems from the state’s 2006 Global Warming Solutions Act.  ALDF’s first-of-its-kind state petition asks the Air Resources Board to include animal agriculture in that program. California uses more than 25 million acres of land for agriculture. “Animal agriculture is systematically responsible for cruelty to millions of animals, pollution of natural resources, and health problems in our state,” said ALDF Executive Director Stephen Wells. “Our state agencies should regulate pollution from the animal agriculture industry like they do for cars and trucks.”

The inaugural “Humane Filmmaker” award will be presented this month to Director Darren Aronofsky for using computer-generated images instead of animals in the movie “Noah”.  According to HSUS the film shows that animals can be a large part of entertainment production without risking their welfare. “As more directors like Aronofsky choose digital alternatives in film, TV, and advertising, animal actors could become as obsolete as celluloid film” said Debbie Leahy, HSUS Manager of Captive Wildlife Protection.

October 13, 2014.  Perdue Farms, Inc. and The Humane Society of the United States are pleased to announce the settlement of two federal cases in New Jersey and Florida concerning Perdue's "humanely raised" claim on its Harvestland chicken labels. The settlement requires the plaintiffs to dismiss their claims with prejudice, in exchange for Perdue agreeing to remove the "Humanely Raised" label claim from its Harvestland chicken packaging.

The proposed class action cases were filed in 2010 and 2013 by individual consumers who contended that Perdue's "Humanely Raised" claim on the packaging of its Harvestland brand chicken was misleading. Perdue vigorously opposed plaintiffs' claims.

"We are pleased to see the claim removed from Harvestland's packaging, which we view to be misleading," said Peter Petersan, Director of Animal Protection Litigation for the HSUS. "We will continue to work to protect both animals and consumers."

"Perdue rejects the plaintiffs' allegations and maintains that its labels are not misleading in any way. Nonetheless, it has agreed to discontinue the labeling claim at issue," said Herb Frerichs, General Councel for Perdue Farms. "Perdue is committed to treating animals with respect and to ensure their health and safety. We are pleased this lawsuit has been resolved."
Source: HSUS press release

Burlington County Superior Court Judge M. Patricia Richmond awarded $25,000 in legal fees on October 16 to Clifford Mintz of East Windsor N.J. to be paid by plaintiffs Donna Roberts and Dawn Abrams. The fee decision comes four years after Richmond granted summary judgment dismissing Roberts' and Abrams' claims against Mintz. 

Mintz had been ranting on his blog against Roberts and Abrams, accusing them of running a puppy mill.  According to reports the dispute began when Mintz purchased a second dog from the breeders. Mintz claimed he thought the dog was another purebred, but that it turned out to be an unhealthy mix-breed.   Roberts and Abrams claimed they told him the dog had been rescued from a pet owner who could not care for him.

Roberts and Abrams compared the blogging attacks to cyber-bullying and after two years filed a defamation suit against Mintz; however, the suit was dismissed on First Amendment grounds by Superior Court Judge Patricia Lebon.  HSUS had joined the lawsuit in defense of Mintz, arguing the suit was designed to stop him from warning the public through protected speech about the unscrupulous business practices of dog breeders.

John Thompson, executive director of the National Sheriffs' Association (NSA), believes animal abuse is too common.  So if we can stop a case of animal cruelty, we may intercept violent crimes against people as well”, says Thompson.

The NSA was instrumental in working with the FBI to have animal cruelty offenses, including animal neglect, listed as a separate category in the Uniform Crime Report (UCR), the prime source of information on crime in the U.S.  Animal cruelty crimes will now be classified as distinct Group A offenses, joining other major crimes such as arson, assault, and homicide, and will require the reporting of both incidents and arrests. The reported crimes will be categorized as simple/gross neglect; intentional abuse and torture; organized abuse; and animal sexual abuse.

NSA in partnership with ICE BlackBox and the HSUS have launched a new feature within the ICE BlackBox app to report animal abusers. The ICE BlackBox app not only records the abuse, but also notes the GPS coordinates.  When someone begins recording an event, the recording is uploaded to the NSA secure servers in Alexandria VA to its National Law Enforcement Center on Animal Abuse (NLECAA).  Kaema Akpan is heading up that effort as the center's attorney and will filter the videos to the right police agencies.  According to the NLECAA website, HSUS-funded agents will be used to assist in alerting local authorities and district attorneys.

Thompson noted that local law enforcement departments taking part in pilot programs tied directly to ICE BlackBox would instantly receive recordings of animal abuse from local citizens.

In the HSUS press release Thompson said: “We encourage everyone who has a smartphone and cares about protecting animals and our communities to download this new app.”  Thompson added, “We want to give special thanks to Cesar Millan and the Cesar Millan Foundation for their contribution in the public service announcement video that was shown at the news conference.” This PSA is the first in a series on reporting animal abuse with the ICE BlackBox App.

The app originally developed for the National Neighborhood Watch program was modified to allow the public to report animal abuse.

Sources: ABC News; AL.Com; HSUS press release
National Sheriffs’ Association website
National Sheriffs’ Association media contact: Susan Crow

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

SAOVA updated 2014 election website

The Sportsmen's and Animal Owners' Voting Alliance (SAOVA) today unveiled its updated 2014 Election website at

The site contains our endorsements of more than 250 candidates running for Congress in the elections on November 4, 2014. In addition, we have provided our analysis of candidates in several state legislative contests. SAOVA ENDORSED candidates understand the anti-hunting, anti-animal ownership threat of animal rights ideology, and have voting records or exceptionally strong values that demonstrate their commitment to protecting our interests and not burdening us with unnecessary, restrictive regulation. Animal Rightist Endorsed politicians are the problem. They are formally endorsed or highly rated by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), and they consistently vote for legislation to strip us of our rights to hunt, fish, and own pets and livestock.

Key incumbents endorsed in this election include:

Mike Coffman (R-CO 6)
Rick Scott (R-FL Governor)
John Barrow (D-GA 12)
Pat Roberts (R-KS Senate)
Lee Terry (R-NE 2)
Kay Hagan (D-NC Senate)

Important SAOVA candidate endorsements include:

Dan Sullivan (R-AK Senate)
Steve Knight (R-CA 25)
Brian Nestande (R-CA 36)
Cory Gardner (R-CO Senate)
Bruce Rauner (R-IL Governor)
Mike Bost (R-IL 12)
Bobby Schilling (R-IL 17)
Joni Ernst (R-IA Senate)
Bill Cassidy (R-LA Senate)
Steve Daines (R-MT Senate)
Alex Mooney (R-WV 2)
Evan Jenkins (R-WV 3)

There are also ballot initiatives for voters in several states.  Maine voters must decide on Question 1, the Bear Referendum – an HSUS initiative which would ban the use of bait, dogs or traps in bear hunting.  The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, Maine’s Bear Biologists, and Maine Game Wardens are opposed to Question 1 based upon over 40 years of scientific research conducted by state wildlife biologists in Maine.  The state already has one of the largest bear populations in the country, estimated at over 30,000 bears.  Vote NO on Question 1.

Right to Hunt and Fish Amendments will be on the ballots in Alabama and Mississippi to ensure the continuation of hunting, fishing, and trapping traditions for future generations. If passed, Alabama and Mississippi will join 17 other states in ensuring constitutional protections for their citizens.

Please take the time to visit and study our analyses. We make no pretense of evaluating candidates' positions on national security, taxes, education, medical care or social issues. To the degree that hunting and animal ownership are important to you, we offer this review to be combined with other, personal considerations to determine your vote on November 4, 2014.

The world not only belongs to those who show up, it's controlled by the best informed and most motivated.  Vote on November 4th!

Cross posting is encouraged.

Susan Wolf
Sportsmen's and Animal Owners' Voting Alliance -
Working to identify and elect supportive legislators

Tuesday, October 7, 2014


For Immediate Release
October 7, 2014

The Sportsmen’s and Animal Owners’ Voting Alliance (SAOVA) today endorsed Joni Ernst for U.S. Senate in Iowa.  SAOVA’s Director Susan Wolf announced that Ernst shares our concerns regarding the need to protect our traditions and livelihoods from overzealous regulation. Ernst grew up on a hog farm and remains strongly connected to Iowa’s agricultural community.  As a member of the Iowa State Senate, Ernst had a proven record supporting the interests of animal owners in all sectors as well as the state’s sportsmen. Ernst will be a strong voice in Congress for hunting sportsmen, animal owners, and livestock producers. 

Make a difference in Washington.   Vote for Joni Ernst on November 4.

Contact Susan Wolf

The Sportsmen's and Animal Owners' Voting Alliance (SAOVA) is a nationwide, nonpartisan group of volunteers seeking to elect supportive legislators. Our members hunt, fish and own livestock, dogs, cats and other pets. For more information about SAOVA visit

Monday, October 6, 2014


For Immediate Release
October 6, 2014


The Sportsmen's and Animal Owners' Voting Alliance (SAOVA) today endorsed Alex Mooney for West Virginia’s second congressional district. SAOVA’s Director Susan Wolf noted that Mooney is a candidate who could make a substantial difference in Washington effectively advocating for agricultural producers, sportsmen, and animal owners. “Today these sectors are under attack from over-zealous groups and agency regulation that would severely restrict many of our existing rights and traditions.”  Wolf continued, “Mooney, a hunter and outdoorsman, has a proven voting record in support of sportsmen and still took the time to complete and return our candidate survey.   It is clear that Mooney understands our concerns and will be a strong voice protecting our interests in Washington.”

“I am honored to have the support and endorsement of the Sportsmen’s and Animal Owner’s Voting Alliance,” said Alex Mooney. “I am proud to stand alongside SAOVA in fighting for the traditions and values that many West Virginians have had for generations. In Congress, I will work to halt the federal government from continually growing and controlling more of our everyday lives so that our sportsmen, animal owners, and agricultural community can continue our mountaineer traditions.”

Contact Susan Wolf

The Sportsmen's and Animal Owners' Voting Alliance (SAOVA) is a nationwide, nonpartisan group of volunteers seeking to elect supportive legislators. Our members hunt, fish and own livestock, dogs, cats and other pets. For more information about SAOVA visit