Is the HSUS really humane? Is it a group designed to solicit millions from animal lovers and at the same time destroy ranchers and farmers who own and care for most American animals? Watch this short film for the facts. Brad
Is the HSUS really humane? Is it a group designed to solicit millions from animal lovers and at the same time destroy ranchers and farmers who own and care for most American animals? Watch this short film for the facts. Brad
Use extreme caution in hiring
By Drovers news source | Tuesday, June 22, 2010
The Animal Agriculture Alliance urges farm managers to be watchful for a number of individuals who have been found responsible for some of the latest undercover activist videos released to the media and public in the past year. The alliance recommends that all producers ensure high standards of animal welfare by following approved industry guidelines. Operators should also review their hiring practices, train employees on proper animal handling according to company policy, and hold all workers accountable for their actions.
The activist tactic of obtaining illicit employment at a farm or processing plant in order to acquire video intended to malign the reputation of farmers and ranchers is becoming increasingly common. While animal abuse in any shape or form is never condoned by the agriculture industry, activists use highly-edited images of violence and neglect to prey on the emotions of the public. It is hard to determine the authenticity of the images. Too often, the activists wait for weeks or even months before turning the video over to the proper authorities. By waiting for the most politically opportune time to ‘go public,’ they allow any alleged abuse to continue.
The following individuals have been connected to a number of recent undercover video campaigns.
It appears one individual is responsible for undercover videos taken at Quality Egg of New England, Bushway Packing Inc, Maine Contract Farms, Wiles Hog Farm, Hodgins Kennels, C.C. Baird, and at least one other dog breeding facility. It is probable the same individual is responsible for undercover videos taken at Gemperle Farms, Norco Ranch, DeCoster Egg Farms, and Hy-Line’s Spencer Iowa hatchery.
According to credible sources, the person who worked undercover at these facilities was born in Houston, Texas, as Christopher Parrett. Some of the other names given to employers include Jason Smith, John Knoldt, and Chris Paxton. When employed by Maine Contract Farms, the person claimed to be Jason Smith but used a social security card belonging to John Knoldt, originally Christopher Parrett.
The social security card of the individual who worked as Jason Smith identifies his social security number as ending in these last four digits: 0852. His driver’s license is from North Carolina (picture shown at right).
Smith also was found to have led an undercover investigation of a Minnesota dog breeder in 2009.
The Alliance suspects that this same individual is also known as “Pete Romoland,” whose picture appeared in a TIME magazine article accompanying an interview with him on March 6, 2009 (shown below). However, the sunglasses shown in the photos make it difficult to confirm if they are indeed the same person.
In the TIME magazine article, “Pete” indicated that he had legally changed his name twice. “Pete” also indicated that he is a vegan and specifically stated, “…I do not believe that under any circumstances we should raise animals for food.”
In the same interview, “Pete” stated that he operated as an unlicensed investigator and had contracted with the anti-modern farming group Humane Farming Association and the vegan animal rights group Mercy for Animals. He proudly boasted that video footage he was responsible for procuring had been featured in at least two HBO documentaries, including Death on a Factory Farm. In July 2007, video obtained by Smith (who went by Knoldt) was used in a trial against an Ohio hog farm. He said that he had used his real name and a false address when he was hired. Video was obtained using a buttonhole camera.
Possibly the same, but without confirmation, another individual was hired by Country View Family Farms. The name provided was Jimmy Carlson, supposedly from Sag Harbor, NY. The individual was in his twenties and had his hair cropped short in a buzz cut. Sources confirmed that Carlson was also responsible for the January 2010 video taken at Willet Dairy in New York for Mercy for Animals.
In a National Public Radio interview that has since been taken offline, an individual took credit for conducting the Hy-Line undercover operation. He stated that he worked for Mercy for Animals. In the radio interview, this individual asked the reporter to call him “James.” He said that since he often had to use his real social security card with his picture ID, he couldn’t reveal his real name when giving interviews.
In all cases, the undercover videos were provided weeks or months after the individuals had left employment, and the videos were initially provided to either the media or the USDA — not directly to the businesses involved.
In most cases, employers realized — after the fact — who the former undercover employee had been. They also recognized — after the fact — many behaviors or actions demonstrated by the undercover employee that allowed them to have access to the animals and to produce videos — whether of real or staged animal mistreatment.
Some of the behaviors included:
The alliance urges producers to use caution when hiring new employees. Operators should keep these photos on hand and follow the recommendations in the Alliance’s Farm & Facility Security Recommendations Report, which is available on the members section of the Alliance’s website. Operators must make certain that they hire people who are there for the right reasons- to help produce a safe and nutritious food supply.
The agriculture industry must be wary – activists have shown that they will work every angle in their quest to put all farmers, ranchers, and meat processors out of business. The first step for every farm operator is to ensure that top quality animal care is provided at all times. It is also critical that those in the industry take extra security precautions to prevent getting targeted by animal rights groups looking for video to aid in their fundraising efforts and political campaigns.
By The Associated Press | Tuesday, March 09, 2010
GENEVA — The result was emphatic: Swiss voters don’t think abused animals need to have their own lawyers.
It’s a proposal that would never even come near a referendum in other countries, but the measure’s defeat Sunday disappointed animal rights advocates, who say Switzerland’s elaborate animal welfare laws aren’t being enforced.
Opponents of the proposal, including key farmers’ groups and the government, had argued that existing laws are sufficient and appointing special lawyers to act on behalf of animals would be unnecessarily expensive for taxpayers.
“The Swiss people have clearly said our animal protection laws are so good we don’t need animal lawyers,” Jakob Buechler, a lawmaker for the centrist Christian People’s Party, told Swiss television SF1.
Official results showed that 70.5 percent of voters cast their ballot against the proposal to extend nationwide a system that has been in place in Zurich since 1992. Some 29.5 percent of voters backed the proposal, with turnout at just over 45 percent.
According to the country’s only animal lawyer, Antoine F. Goetschel, public prosecutors are often unsure about animal rights and shy away from pursuing cases even if there is clear evidence of abuse. He said the cost of Sunday’s measure would have been less than 1 Swiss franc ($1) per person a year.
Tiana Angelina Moser, a lawmaker for the Green Liberal Party, said animal rights advocates would look for other ways to make sure laws against animal abuse are properly applied and those who hurt animals receive appropriate punishment.
“It’s definitely disappointing, I thought it would have been a closer vote,” said Moser. “I don’t think it’s a ‘no’ to animal protection, but a ‘no’ for this particular measure.”
Switzerland tightened its laws two years ago and now has among the strictest rules anywhere when it comes to caring for pets and farm animals.
The country’s 160-page animal protection law states exactly how much space owners must give Mongolian gerbils (233 square inches) and what water temperature is required for African clawed frogs (18-22 degrees Celsius; 64-72 degrees Fahrenheit)
It stipulates that pigs, budgies, goldfish and other social animals cannot be kept alone. Horses and cows must have regular exercise outside their stalls and dog owners have to take a training course to learn how to properly look after their pets.
Like in other countries, the law also forbids killing animals in a cruel fashion or for fun.
Swiss daily Tribune de Geneve reported earlier this year that a woman who decapitated four chickens and left their heads on the doorstep of her love rival received a 90-day suspended sentence.
Goetschel said he represents about 150-200 animals annually in Zurich, while in other cantons (states), only a handful of cases go to court each year.
Most of his clients are dogs, cows and cats, Goetschel told The Associated Press in a recent interview. Many cases involve the serious abuse of animals, such as deliberate wounding, rape and neglect.
But in one high-profile case last month, Goetschel represented a dead pike after an animal protection group accused the angler who caught it of cruelty for taking 10 minutes to haul the fish in.
The angler was found not guilty.
Copyright © 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
Source: The Associated Press
In a landmark RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act) lawsuit certain to have far-reaching implications for the animal rights movement, Feld Entertainment and the Ringling Brothers circus sued the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), its lawyers, and several other animal rights groups last week.
The nonprofit Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF) unearthed the lawsuit in federal court records today. CCF is making the lawsuit available online at its newest Web site, www.HumaneWatch.org.
“America’s farmers, ranchers, hunters, fishermen, research scientists, fashion designers, and restaurateurs have seen for decades how the animal rights movement can behave like a mobbed-up racket,” said CCF Director of Research David Martosko. “But it’s still shocking to see the evidence laid out on paper. In a treble-damage lawsuit like this, a jury could actually do the humane thing and finally put HSUS out of business completely.”
In its Feb. 16 lawsuit, Feld leveled bribery, fraud, obstruction of justice, and money laundering charges against HSUS and two of its corporate attorneys; three other animal rights groups; the Washington, D.C. law firm of Meyer Glitzenstein & Crystal; and all three of that firm’s named partners.
On Dec. 30, 2009, Federal Judge Emmitt Sullivan ruled that these defendants collaborated to pay more than $190,000 to Mr. Tom Rider, a former Feld employee who was an elephant “barn helper” for two years in the late 1990s, in exchange for his impeached testimony against Feld in an earlier lawsuit–testimony Judge Sullivan declared “not credible” and disregarded in its entirety. That lawsuit was dismissed.
Feld is also suing Rider and a nonprofit “Wildlife Advocacy Project” charity, claiming that Meyer Glitzenstein & Crystal used it to funnel money from their plaintiff clients to Mr. Rider. These clients included the Fund for Animals, which merged with HSUS in 2004.
“The new HumaneWatch website is the only place the public will be able to read this lawsuit,” Martosko said. “We’re publishing a treasure trove of information about the Humane Society of the United States, including lots of surprising documents that HSUS would rather remain hidden from its contributors.”
Last week CCF launched HumaneWatch.org, an online watchdog project dedicated to analyzing HSUS’s activities and keeping the group honest. It includes a blog, an interactive document library, and a growing body of information about HSUS-related organizations and staff.
Source: Center for Consumer Freedom
By JESSE McKINLEY, New York Times | Published: February 21, 2010
SAN FRANCISCO — California may soon place animal abusers on the same level as sex offenders by listing them in an online registry, complete with their home addresses and places of employment.
The proposal, made in a bill introduced Friday by the State Senate’s majority leader, Dean Florez, would be the first of its kind in the country and is just the latest law geared toward animal rights in a state that has recently given new protections to chickens, pigs and cattle.
Mr. Florez, a Democrat who is chairman of the Food and Agriculture Committee, said the law would provide information for those who “have animals and want to take care of them,” a broad contingent in California, with its large farming interests and millions of pet owners. Animal protection is also, he said, a rare bipartisan issue in the state, which has suffered bitter partisan finger-pointing in the wake of protracted budget woes.
“We have done well with these laws,” he said.
In 2008, voters in the state passed Proposition 2, which forced growers of hens, calves and pigs to provide more room in their cages. That law has upset many in the California egg industry and prompted some producers to even move out of the state. As a result of the new laws, cost for egg production has increased and more eggs are shipped to California from neighboring states and Mexico.
Under Mr. Florez’s bill, any person convicted of any felony involving animal cruelty would have to register with the police and provide a range of personal information and a current photograph. That information would be posted online, along with information on the person’s alleged offense.
The bill was drafted with help from the Animal Legal Defense Fund, an animal-protection group based in Cotati, Calif., north of San Francisco. The group has promoted the registry not only as a way to notify the public but also as a possible early warning system for other crimes.
“We believe there’s a link between those who abuse animals and those who perform other forms of violence, like sex offenses” said Stephan Otto, the group’s director of legislative affairs. “Presumably if we’re able to track animal abusers and be able to know where they live, there will be less opportunity where those vulnerable to them would be near them.” People could move away to different areas.
In addition to sex offenders, California lists arsonists in an online registry, and the animal abusers would be listed on a similar site, Mr. Florez said. Such registries have raised privacy concerns from some civil libertarians, but Joshua Marquis, a member of the defense fund’s board and the district attorney in Clatsop County, Ore., said the worries were unfounded.
“Does it turn that person into a pariah? No,” Mr. Marquis said. “But it gives information to someone who might be considering hiring that person for a job. They won’t find employment.”
He added: “I do not think for animal abusers it’s unreasonable considering the risk they pose, much like the risk that people who abuse children do.”
One supporter of the proposed law, Gillian Deegan, an assistant commonwealth’s attorney in Botetourt County, Va., says such a registry could also be valuable in tracking people who run puppy mills and animal-fighting rings, as well as hoarders, who sometimes collect hundreds of animals, sometimes resulting in neglect.
“A lot of times these people will just pick up and move to another jurisdiction or another state if they get caught,” said Ms. Deegan, who has written on animal welfare laws. “It would definitely help on those types of cases where people jump around.” One Web site — Petabuse.com — already offers a type of online registry, with listings of animal offenders and their crimes. If an alleged abuser is listed, then they become a marked person the rest of their life.
Such registries have been introduced in other states, but never passed. In 2008, a similar bill in Tennessee stalled after passing the State Senate.
Opposers to this type of bill believe the owners of animals are more likely to love and appreciate their own animals than an enforcement officer of the state.
That legislation was highly endorsed by the Humane Society of the United States, said Wayne Pacelle, the president and chief executive of the society.
Mr. Pacelle said that the proposed financing mechanism for the California bill, a tax on pet food, was “an extremely controversial idea” and unpopular with the pet food industry.
Taxes are consistently opposed by conservatives and Republicans in California, and that gives Mr. Pacelle doubts about the bill’s prospects.
“The idea of that succeeding in this climate in California is not high,” he said. Although some are for the bill they must realize the cost of enforcement throughout the state. California is strapped for cash.
But the bill’s sponsor, Mr. Florez, who recently helped establish an Animal Protection Caucus, says he is confident that he has the votes to move the measure forward and estimates that the registry would cost less than $1 million to establish. A budget for enforcement staff would create numerous badly needed jobs for the state.
By Rick Jordhal, PORK magazine | Wednesday, February 24, 2010, via Drovers
Layer by layer, the facade of the Humane Society of the United States is being peeled back revealing the group’s far-reaching objectives. The world is learning that at the center is an animal rights group with a much more sinister agenda than saving dogs and cats.
Australian wine maker, Casella Wines, learned the hard way. After the company’s commitment to donate $100,000 was roundly criticized by many consumers of the wine makers’ Yellow Tail wine, the company reevaluated their commitment to HSUS.
In exchanges with the Animal Agriculture Alliance, Casella has decided that “future support for animal welfare will go to organizations specifically devoted to hands-on care, such as rescue, sterilization, feeding, or disaster assistance.”
Casella Wines’ wish to aid and support animals seems genuine and the company’s misdirected donation, while unfortunate, is understandable. HSUS fund-raising tactics excel at generating donations from those who are unaware of the group’s extensive agenda.
More layers of the HSUS exterior will be peeled back with last week’s launch of the Web site www.HumaneWatch.org . Sponsored by the Center for Consumer Freedom, the site’s objective is to educate the public about what HSUS is and what it is not. CCF is a non-profit organization supported by over 100 companies and thousands of individual consumers.
Despite the words “humane society” on its letterhead, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) is not affiliated with your local animal shelter. Despite the omnipresent dogs and cats in its fundraising materials, it’s not an organization that runs spay/neuter programs or takes in stray, neglected and abused pets. And despite the common image of animal protection agencies as cash-strapped organizations dedicated to animal welfare, HSUS has become the wealthiest animal rights organization on Earth.
While most local animal shelters are under-funded and unsung, HSUS has accumulated $113 million in assets and built a recognizable brand by capitalizing on the confusion its very name provokes. This misdirection results in an irony of which most animal lovers are unaware: HSUS raises enough money to finance animal shelters in every single state, with money to spare, yet it doesn’t operate a single one anywhere.
“People mistake HSUS for an animal welfare group that manages pet shelters,” says David Martosko, CCF director of research. “Part of the objective of HumaneWatch.org is to correct that misperception.”
Upon removing the top layers, one discovers that HSUS goes well beyond its stated objective of improving the lives of animals. Additional objectives that lie beneath HSUS’ exterior include its attempt to influence peoples’ food choices and promote vegetarianism.
Compassionate television commercials professionally present the appearance of battered and abused animals, when in reality many of the “film stars” are just elderly, and, in fact, have had excellent care.
“Less than one half of 1 percent of HSUS income went to its stated purpose,” says Martosko. “It’s amazing what they get away with just because they are called the Humane Society. It’s a miracle of propaganda.”
HumaneWatch.org also plans to cover HSUS’ efforts on the state level. “Ohio and Missouri are big battlegrounds for HSUS this year and we will be covering them extensively,” says Martosko. “We’re just getting started.”
The site has received a tremendous response from livestock producers, according to Martosko, who will be the keynote speaker at the Ohio Livestock Coalition’s annual meeting in April. “Web site traffic is through the roof,” he adds. “And it’s not just livestock producers. Visitors to the site also include medical research scientists, hunters and fishermen, chefs, pet breeders and others.”
Until HSUS’ full agenda is clear to all, donors will likely continue misdirecting their donations to the group. Meanwhile, HumaneWatch.org will continue to help everyone get to know the real HSUS.
Source: Rick Jordahl, Pork Magazine; Max Thornsberry, R-Calf; Brad Headtel, National Assn. of Farm Animal Welfare.
February 22, 2010
Note: A message to dog owning sportsmen about protecting their traditions, avocations and livelihoods from anti-hunting, anti-breeding, animal guardianship advocates. Forwarding and cross posting, with attribution, encouraged. Forwarded with permission to all animal owners.
Be sure to visit http://humanewatch.org/ The information there is important and needs to be shared.
You may have missed our New Year’s Eve exposé covering the dismissal of a federal lawsuit pushed by a consortium of animal rights groups that included the deceptive Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). The groups alleged that Feld Entertainment (the parent company of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus) mistreated elephants in violation of the Endangered Species Act, but in December a judge tossed out the lawsuit. Now the plot thickens: The circus is suing HSUS, two HSUS lawyers, and a number of other animal rights organizations under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act. (The lawsuit is exclusively available at HumaneWatch.org.)
The original animal rights lawsuit, filed more than nine years ago, was based on information provided by a former Ringling elephant “barn helper” named Tom Rider. After Rider left his circus job, he was paid by animal rights groups to testify about the supposedly “bad” treatment of elephants there. In all, the original lawsuit’s plaintiffs paid Rider more than $190,000-his sole source of income for years-while the litigation made its way through the court system.
Sound a bit like pay-for-play? As Judge Emmet Sullivan noted in his December ruling that dismissed the animal rights groups’ lawsuit: “The Court finds that Mr. Rider is essentially a paid plaintiff and fact witness who is not credible, and therefore affords no weight to his testimony.. [T]he primary purpose [for the payments] is to keep Mr. Rider involved with the litigation.”
Based on Judge Sullivan’s finding, Feld is suing everyone who played a part in this collaborative scheme (hence the “racketeering” aspect). This includes Rider and a nonprofit “Wildlife Advocacy Project” charity that the Washington, DC law firm of Meyer Glitzenstein & Crystal allegedly used to launder money between their plaintiff clients and Rider.
One of these clients putting up dough to support Rider was the Fund for Animals, which merged with HSUS in 2004.
Feld is leveling bribery, fraud, obstruction of justice, and money laundering charges against HSUS and two of its corporate attorneys, three other animal rights groups, Meyer Glitzenstein & Crystal, and all three of that firm’s named partners. It’s an earth-shattering lawsuit. Today we’re telling the media:
America’s farmers, ranchers, hunters, fishermen, research scientists, fashion designers, and restaurateurs have seen for decades how the animal rights movement can behave like a mobbed-up racket. But it’s still shocking to see the evidence laid out on paper. In a treble-damage lawsuit like this, a jury could actually do the humane thing and finally put HSUS out of business completely.
You can read the full, 135-page lawsuit over at HumaneWatch. It’s worth more than a glance. If these allegations are proven true, HSUS employees might be finding themselves walking the same breadline they’ve tried to put so many others in.
The message above was posted to Virginia residents by the Sportsmen’s and Animal Owners’ Voting Alliance (SAOVA).
SAOVA is a nonpartisan volunteer group working to protect Americans from the legislative and political threats of radical animal rightists. It is the only national organization fighting this struggle for both sportsmen and animal owners, natural allies, in these arenas. Visit our website at http://saova.org for this program’s goals, methodology and list signup details.