Monday, April 5, 2010

HSUS lobbying in your state

Sportsmen's and Animal Owners' Voting Alliance (SAOVA) []

Dear SAOVA friends,

HSUS State Director Kim Alboum has now concluded the Lobby 101 Seminars in North Carolina, holding seminars in 9 cities around the state during February and March. Some seminars attracted less than a dozen listeners while a few did better with attendance at approximately 50. The seminars generated poor interest overall considering HSUS claims to have 240,000 members in the Tarheel State.

With little variation, the message was the same to all those who attended: legitimize the cause; go mainstream; get media coverage; talk to legislators and create relationships.

Alboum advised attendees that to initiate change, HSUS supporters need to mobilize, come together, and be viewed as mainstream. She blamed last year’s losses in the General Assembly on HSUS supporters’ inability to organize effectively. Alboum continued to encourage her audience to meet their legislators face to face; find out where they go to church; what outside groups they belong to; befriend their staff; and use HSUS fact sheets as hand outs for each introduced bill.

Alboum emphasized the importance of getting stories to the media to get their message out and spread the word.


FIGHT AGAINST FACTORY FARMING. A strategy HSUS plans to employ is an alliance with the "local foods" people in the HSUS fight against factory farms and their effort to force veganism on the world. Alboum handed out copies of the 15th Annual Piedmont Farm Tour brochure (April 24 and 25), telling the audience to contact these farmers and ask them to help in the fight against animal agriculture. Alboum stated she has been contacting the farmers, already polarizing them with HSUS propaganda.

Alboum briefly explained that horse processing plants for human consumption had been closed because HSUS had been successful in eliminating funding for federal inspection of the plants. Alboum justified the plant closings by stating that horse slaughter was inhumane, and that the meat was “tainted” and was not good for anything anyway. Now HSUS is fighting to stop all transportation of horses for slaughter outside the U.S. Clearly, Alboum is not well versed in the nutritional qualities of horsemeat, and chooses to ignore the fact there is a thriving international market for horsemeat which is high in protein and low in fat.

SB460, the HSUS “Puppy Mill Bill” unfortunately passed the NC Senate in 2009 by one vote and is currently in House Finance. A call to arms was sent to the audience by Alboum to begin making calls to House legislators and to Julia Howard (Vice Chairman, Finance) in support of SB460 passage in the May legislative session.

Among the many exaggerations presented to justify the bill are claims that the original HSUS estimation of 200 large-scale breeders was wrong and it is likely that figure is double with at least 400 “puppy mills” operating in the state. Noteworthy is the ease with which the terms commercial breeder and “puppy mill” are used interchangeably.

Alboum informed her audience that “puppy mills” should be shut down because they spread Giardia, a “virus” contagious to humans. Again, Alboum is misinforming her listeners. Giardia is not a virus, it is a microscopic parasite found worldwide and is recognized as a common cause of waterborne disease in humans in the United States. The Giardia parasite lives in the intestine of infected humans or animals (e.g., cats, dogs, cattle, deer, and beavers) causing nausea and diarrhea. According to the CDC, anyone can get giardiasis including people who drink from poorly monitored wells, and backpackers, hikers, and campers who drink untreated water.

Alboum continued by stating that puppy millers from neighboring states, such as Virginia and Tennessee, are flooding into North Carolina following passage of regulation there. Did Alboum and HSUS have time to examine real estate records in three states in order to reach this conclusion or is this yet another wild accusation pulled out of thin air to create a crisis looking for a solution? As we have pointed out before, the same sound bites of breeders fleeing from one state to another are distributed by HSUS in every state with a pending breeder bill.

When questioned about why the bill did not include cats, Alboum’s answer was "baby steps, they are next, then birds." Alboum also expressed her disappointment that the original bill had been downgraded to complaint driven inspection rather than annual inspections. Likewise the numbers used to establish a commercial breeder (“puppy mill”) were increased, but Alboum stated that in reality owning 6 females should be the separating line between hobby and commercial breeder. Alboum assured the audience that getting ANY bill on the books was worth the effort as it could be tightened up later on.

HSUS is intent on regulating dog breeders. Alboum did not have specific details, but mentioned that HSUS was working on a plan to assist North Carolina counties with enforcement costs for SB460. Make no mistake - the animal rights agenda has nothing to do with welfare, it is about control. HSUS yearns to become an arm of the government as demonstrated by their previous scheme to be the enforcement agency for USDA kennel inspections and more recent petition to President Obama to appoint a Federal Animal Protection Liaison.

Alboum stated a plan to revive the fox penning bill from 2009 to include coyotes. She stated that the practice of penning originally began to train hunting dogs, but has since evolved into a blood sport that is a cross between a canned hunt and animal fighting. Alboum informed her audience that at fox pens, dogs were turned loose to rip foxes apart. She said there were 150 pens in the state and most people were not aware of this barbaric practice.

HSUS has a history of opposing hunting with dogs, and Alboum’s false statements are in line with the organization’s misrepresentation of training and penning operations and hound hunting in general. Fox pens are regulated and permitted by NC Wildlife Resources, cannot be less than 500 acres; cannot use foxes transported across state lines; must have one approved, inspected, dog-proof escape den for every 35 acres. Although HSUS claims foxes are “live bait” for packs of dogs tear apart, in reality it is considered to be very undesirable to have one of the dogs even harm one of the foxes. The contest is actually between dog owners, trainers and their dogs to see whose dogs were best bred and trained for the specific job of chasing foxes.

Although decline of their natural predator, wolves, has allowed coyotes to expand their natural range from Tennessee, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina, Alboum told her audience that the coyotes populating our state were the result of the breeding of coyotes that had escaped from these pens.

State Senator Neal Hunt (R-Wake) is perhaps number one on the HSUS's most appreciated legislators list for his efforts in introducing the anti-penning bill and his general support of the HSUS anti-breeder initiative.

Alboum expressed appreciation to the wife of Congressman David Price (D, 4) who personally lobbied the NC General Assembly in support of the breeder bill, SB460.

Alboum reported that HSUS lobbyists have met with Senator Kay Hagan to discuss federal legislation. Hagan is a supporter of HR503 which would end transportation of horses outside the U.S. for slaughter, but is not supportive of other HSUS efforts against animal agriculture since this is a major North Carolina industry.

Know thy enemy. Attend the HSUS Lobby Seminar in your own state, learn the upcoming agenda, and prepare for the battle. We cannot afford to have HSUS and animal rightists frame the issues, labeling us as exploiters and legislating away our rights.

The “word” that HSUS sends to the media is generally a mix of misinformation and outright lies. The false, detrimental HSUS accusations cannot go unchallenged. If local media airs biased reports, assist in contacting the writers with facts. Write your own letter to the editor correcting the HSUS propaganda piece.

Coalition Building. Find allies to assist on a given piece of legislation, even if these allies have a slightly different perspective due to their specific area. Stop infighting! Compromise with radical animal rightists on anti-breeder, anti-agriculture animal rights legislation only serves to give them a platform for increased, restrictive regulation of our hobbies, sports, and livelihoods.

Use the ballot box to vote controlling, animal rightist supporting legislators out of office.

Join the campaign asking for an IRS audit of the HSUS excessive lobbying practices and revocation of their nonprofit status.
Send examples of HSUS excessive lobbying to the IRS with a short cover letter for inclusion in the audit.

The world not only belongs to those who show up, it's controlled by the best informed and most motivated.

Cross posting is encouraged.

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

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