Commentary: HSUS defeated on Election Day

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Editor's note: The following is a commentary by - Keeping a watchful eye on the Humane Society of the United States.

click image to zoom While the winners of a few races from Election Day are still unclear at this point, one thing is clear: the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) lost big.

HSUS’s lobbying arm, the Humane Society Legislative Fund (HSLF), made incumbent Rep. Steve King, R- Iowa, its major target. Filings from the Federal Election Commission show HSLF spent more than $750,000 to oppose King, insinuating he supported dogfighting.

Wayne Pacelle, HSUS CEO, also launched scurrilous attacks against King’s character, apparently in retaliation for the Congressman pushing pro-farmer legislation that would undo HSUS gains in increasing the cost of eggs and other food products from animals.

The result? Steve King won re-election handily, and HSUS’s lobbying arm added to the egg on its face with a complete whiff.

HSLF also spent $100,000 to try to defeat U.S. Senate candidate Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and failed, and also failed in its bid to unseat Tennessee Rep. Scott DesJarlais.

In North Dakota, HSUS went in heavy behind Measure 5, a ballot initiative to make certain forms of animal cruelty a felony. HSUS and HSLF poured in more than $675,000 to support the measure, which dwarfed the contributions to the opposition campaign.

However, the farming and ranching community in North Dakota didn’t like HSUS’s involvement—it knows all about HSUS’s anti-farmer agenda—and was joined by a number of local veterinarians and animal welfare advocates. They also questioned the wording of the initiative and proposed a legislative solution for next session that will pass similar laws (without HSUS at the table). And they won—by a whopping margin of 65 percent to 35 percent. Further, a pro-farming constitutional amendment passed in North Dakota by a similar two-to-one margin, dealing another blow to any future HSUS designs for the state.

And let’s not forget the ballot measures that never came to be. HSUS dropped its planned initiative in Oregon to attack egg farmers after the main national egg trade group agreed last year to pursue federal “compromise” legislation—which has gone nowhere. And HSUS strangely abandoned its “Your Vote Counts” Missouri initiative this spring, possibly fearing another bit of bipartisan blowback in the Show Me State, after it had pumped several hundred thousand dollars into the campaign—again, money that donors likely thought was being used to help animals, not fund a political campaign to tweak legislative vote requirements.

We also noticed that the Humane USA Political Action Committee has now apparently folded. Humane USA, whose board included HSUS board members and staff, apparently filed a termination report with the FEC in October. Humane USA PAC’s website now redirects to a donation page for HSLF.

On a final note, HSUS state director Sarah Speed lost her bid for Pennsylvania state house. She wasn’t running on an animal rights platform, but obviously she would have been an open door for HSUS in the legislature.

In all, HSUS and its legislative arm spent bundles of money and came up empty. And for homeless animals in need, it’s a lost opportunity.

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Terry Ward    
Pa  |  November, 08, 2012 at 03:33 PM

L'il Abner done spoke.

kansas  |  November, 09, 2012 at 09:50 AM

Gee Terry Ward, such hateful bigotry and intolerance coming from the morally superior. "L'il Abner"? I guess, in your tiny, bitter echo-chamber world is an awful insult to the intelligence of we rubes, whom you feel free to denigrate and demonize. However, I don't think it means what you think it means, as in this wiki description: "Abner was a country bumpkin Candide — a paragon of innocence in a sardonically dark and cynical world." Emphasis on the latter... "Dark and Cynical world", which is a pretty good description of, well, Terry Ward's world. So, keep up the great work of exposing HSUS trolls and accolytes as the nasty, hateful, vicious, bigots and liars they are! You do a great job Terry, and Wayne should be proud.

Jersey Shore  |  November, 09, 2012 at 03:12 PM

L'il Terry says: You evil factory farmers would love for HSUS to spend money on pet shelters, rather than address the root causes of cruelty and set moral standards for the little people. Shelters are just bandaids on a gushing wound, while legislation and lobbying for humane leaders like Jim Moran (whose son was just fired from daddy's campaign for educating the little people on how to commit voter fraud. LAnd let's not forget former Legislator of the Year, John Ensign, who resigned after a sex scandal. At least 2 states just passed right to hunt/tell HSUS to STFU initiatives. Sports hunting is up 11%, reports USA Today. And HSUS's critics are "threatened" by their effectiveness at changing public policy. Has HSUS officially jumped the shark?

Terry Ward    
Pa.  |  November, 11, 2012 at 06:53 AM

" The HSUS won’t go away; in fact it has gained strength" Pork Magazine November 7, 2012 Y'all spent HOW MUCH on Rick Berman and the HSUS still ain't goin away???? Oops.

Terry Ward    
pa.  |  November, 11, 2012 at 08:07 AM

Not that it is anyone's bidness but my grandparents were simple, plain ,unsophisticated Arkansas farmers. REAL farmers. They did not keep their livestock in metal cages or their chickens in sardine cans. They did not eat their horses or breed and peddle dogs like rabbits. They practiced real old-fashioned animal husbandry. I am unbelievably proud of my farming heritage. The Humane Society was not invented for people like my grandparents. Nor was it invented for my amazing modern and sustainable neighborhood REAL family farm.. So keep ranting that real farms are not possible. Keep caterwauling about the Humane Society. Keep denying reality. The more you rant the less people listen. .

manhattan, ks.  |  November, 13, 2012 at 06:04 PM

Terry, Youre right real farms are everywhere but they aren't your version of what a farm should be, if you want to go back to 40 acres and a mule thats your right so go do it. I much prefer to run a sustainable farm that supports my family and 155 other people using modern technology. I don't keep my livestock in metal cages and I don't know of any chicken breed that fits in a sardine can, we don't eat our horses either but I won't judge anybody who does eat horsemeat either. Don't know any "factory farms" who breed dogs like rabbits either. As usual you have it all wrong but you did get one thing right, "The more you rant the less people listen". HSUS never had any credibly to begin with.

Il  |  November, 20, 2012 at 02:31 PM

Terry Ward does not and never will understand that one bad apple doesn't spoil the whole bunch. Terry Ward does not understand that today's farmer is well-educated and works with modern technology. Terry Ward does not understand that it makes no ecomomic sense to keep animals in poor condition. Terry Ward DOES understand how to be snide and how to belittle people to whom she feels superior.

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