Pack Topics: Bogus groups, puppy mill regulations and factory farming

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An editorial by Julia Breaux – the state director for Louisiana of The Humane Society of the United States – ran Friday on the Shreveport Times website. In part, the piece notes the bogus nature of the Humane Society for Shelter Pets. The only real mission of the group seems to be to slam the HSUS.

Breaux writes the HSSP “is just the proxy group from attack-man Rick Berman.” She’s right. And she notes – “The HSUS provided direct care to more than 76,000 animals in 2011 alone. Our Animal Rescue Team deploys in response to natural disasters, working with other organizations to rescue, shelter and reunite lost animals with their families, and we assist law enforcement in saving animals from dogfighting and cockfighting rings, puppy mills, animal cruelty and hoarding cases, and other human-caused crises.

AND- The Florida Times-Union ran a story Saturday about a new Jacksonville, Fla. ordinance that gives the city’s “” animal protective agency more enforcement power over illegal pet sales. That includes the ability to levy fines against breeders, pet shops, flea markets and individuals selling animals. “” Great ordinance.

AND – The restaurant chain Cracker Barrel has joined the parade of national eateries that are at least taking some steps in regard to some of the horrendous practices on factory farms around the nation.
News Channel 5 out of Nashville, Tenn. reports the company wants to move away from pork products that originate from farms that use gestation crates and move toward those that are “crate-free.”

Since I am NOT on the side of the Center for Consumer Freedom or HumaneWatch …

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I posted earlier today about the founding of a new organization – the Humane Society for Shelter Pets. A couple of comments suggested the organization is tied to Richard Berman of the Center for Consumer Freedom and HumaneWatch.org.

So I did some on-line searching and I e-mailed Jeff Douglas of the HSSP about this information and received this official response:

“” “”

The Humane Society for Shelter Pets (HSSP) is a separate entity from HumaneWatch.org, which is a project of the Center for Consumer Freedom, that is managed by Berman and Company. HSSP and the Center for Consumer Freedom are separate 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations.

Berman and Company is the communications firm that was brought on by HSSP during its inception to manage its campaign due to their extensive work in this issue area. HSSP has an independent board and is managed by me–a long-time veterinary advocate–and former director of education for the Humane Society of the United States Diana Culp.

Obviously HSUS will try to paint HSSP as a group run by Rick Berman to avoid answering the real questions about their misleading fundraising practices. And while Rick Berman’s PR firm has helped bring HSSP to fruition, this group is a product of the efforts of a group of individuals with deep ties to the animal welfare community dedicated to improving the well-being of shelter animals across the country. Who we hired as our PR firm should be immaterial to the project.

“” “”

—- End Quote —

And my response to Douglas –

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We MUST have stronger breeding regulations to protect breeding dogs from suffering and to shut down more puppy mills. One of the primary sources for the overpopulation of homeless dogs in this country is the massive number of puppy mills in operation around the country.

Poor breeding practices result in behavioral or physical ailments that lead so many people to dump their pets into shelters or breed rescue groups. I see it all the time. And the end result has become strapped local rescue groups who need the funding you are calling for.

So we all should be working on shutting down these mills and promoting spay/neuter programs and promoting better legislation and helping local rescue organizations and shelters.

“” “”

I was aware of the work Rick Berman, the Center for Consumer Freedom and HumaneWatch.org, but was not aware when I posted this news today that he was tied to this group, even as a PR firm.

For example, the Center for Consumer Freedom opposed Prop B in Missouri. The organization strongly opposed to better protections for puppy mill dogs.

I pulled this quote from Wikipedia –

“” The CCF has challenged the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Union of Concerned Scientists, Center for Science in the Public Interest, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.In late 2006, the company initiated a campaign to downplay the level of mercury in fish; their website encourages pregnant women to eat more fish (which the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have recommended against for years), and calls findings that don’t support their claims “scare tactics.” “”

And this – “” Berman was funded by tobacco giant Phillip Morris to fight the movement to add non-smoking sections in restaurants. “”

I recall clash between Berman and MADD. How can anyone be opposed to MADD or want to fight the addition of non-smoking sections in restaurants, as the Wikipedia site reports? What’s up with all that?

Since I posted HSSP’s opinion on the HSUS, it’s only fair I post this information from HSUS about the Center for Consumer Freedom – LINK.

Promoting donations for local shelters is a noble cause. But I could have suggested a different PR firm, one that has not opposed better puppy mill legislation, among other things.

To be clear again. I support the work of the Humane Society of the US. I won’t speak for the organization, but I have always taken it that it’s focus was on sweeping change, in national and state legislation and in other strategies to improve the lives of animals.

We need all of the great local rescue organizations across the country on the front lines, working at saving every homeless pet possible and on local issues. And we need national organizations like the HSUS and ASPCA, etc to fight the fight on a more national level. The local groups don’t have the ability to pull that off.

Now – let’s get back to work on shutting down mills, putting animal abusers behind bars, shutting down dog fighting, shutting down greyhound racing, protecting the environment and wildlife habitat and protecting wildlife and so much more.

New organization: Humane Society for Shelter Pets

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Today marks the launch of a new organization dedicated to promoting donations for local animal shelters – the Humane Society for Shelter Pets. Three full-page ads appear in USA Today, the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune.

I don’t really want to get into a contest between organizations, but in the spirit of being impartial on these matters, I will include this quote in the press release from Diana Culp, HSSP co-director and former Director of Education for HSUS –

The Humane Society of the United States continues to fundraise on the perception that they give millions of dollars every year to local pet shelters with misleading advertising campaigns. Unfortunately for the dogs and cats in our local pet shelters, that is not the case.”

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