Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Over-Regulation and HSUS Carlotta Cooper

In these days of government over-regulation it still might surprise you to learn that a government agency could determine the next puppy you get. But if the Obama Administration and Tom Vilsack at USDA have their way, that's exactly what will happen.

The USDA's APHIS (Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service) agency announced a proposed rule in May that would devastate small-scale purebred dog breeders who raise dogs in their homes. This includes most breeders of show dogs, people who breed K9 search and rescue dogs, police dogs, and protection dogs, many hunting dog breeders, and people who breed dogs for the disabled, as well as people who produce good pet dogs.

The rule proposed by APHIS would result in a serious change in direction to the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) which they administer. The Animal Welfare Act was originally passed in the 1960s to protect laboratory animals and it was later altered to allow USDA to oversee the care of breeding animals in large commercial facilities. For the past 15 years the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and other animal rights groups have been seeking to change the Animal Welfare Act so that it covers more than animals raised by wholesalers as it does currently. They have been trying to stretch the act to cover retailers, which would include breeders who raise a litter at home and sell directly to a buyer.

The Doris Day Animal League, which has since been subsumed by HSUS, sued USDA (DDAL vs Ann Veneman (Secretary of Agriculture) in 1997 in order to try to force USDA to apply wholesale breeding regulations to retailers, i.e., to treat home breeders the same way USDA treated large commercial breeders. DDAL initially won in court but the case was reversed on appeal by the Washington DC U.S. District Court of Appeals.  http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-dc-circuit/1362167.html One of the things that's so interesting about this case is that USDA opposed the animal rights position at this time. They claimed that the Animal Welfare Act should not be applied to retail breeders, who are typically small-scale breeders. According to USDA at this time, it would be a waste of the agency's inspectors and other resources to try to oversee these entities.

But things change and with the Obama victory in 2008, regulations were seen as the way to accomplish many things that could not be accomplished legislatively. Today USDA is supporting the animal rights position and trying to force small-scale breeders, as retailers, to live under commercial breeding or wholesaler regulations.

HSUS, which is NOT the same as your local humane society or animal shelter, has been trying each year to pass repressive legislation against pet breeders. So far they have failed, despite the fact that they have lured many first term congressmen to support the PUPS bill (Puppy Uniform Protection and Safety, Senate Bill 707 (S.707) and House Bill 835 (H.R. 835)  which would apply onerous restrictions to small-scale dog and cat breeders. Even some Republicans who should know better are supporting this bill which would do many of the same things that the proposed APHIS rule would do. It would label many small-scale breeders as commercial breeders and they would be forced to become USDA-licensed and inspected.

Just to make sure you get the picture, we are talking about your Aunt Susie who has a few Yorkies and raises some puppies. She would have to get a USDA license and have inspectors come to her home. But, it's not that simple. In order to become USDA-licensed, she would have to make her facilities (her home) USDA-compliant. That means having non-permeable surfaces that can be cleaned at temps of 180 degrees, proper ventilation in the areas where the dogs are kept, drainage for that cleaning water, insurance as a commercial business, possible approval by her homeowner's association, zoning approval, and a host of other requirements under AWA rules. She would go from being a hobbyist to a small business, whether she liked it or not. It's kind of hard to do these things if you're a small breeder living in the suburbs. And that's where many of our best home-raised puppies come from. When you want a good, home-raised puppy, you go to someone like Aunt Susie. But Tom Vilsack and the USDA would like to have small breeders put their dogs in kennels so they can make everyone be USDA/AWA compliant. Or, perhaps it's safer to say that USDA would like all of us small breeders to just disappear.

Are you wondering why the Humane Society of the United States would support the PUPS bill or the proposed APHIS rule when they would send our home-raised dogs out to the kennels? Aren't they the folks who are supposed to care so much for animals? Despite the ubiquitous ads with sad-faced kittens and puppies, HSUS does not support local shelters. The money they raise goes for lobbying on animal rights issues; lawsuits against agricultural interests; and their own salaries and pensions. Less than 1 percent of the money they raise goes to the animals. It would suit HSUS just fine to get rid of small hobby breeders who have been resisting them. The Humane Society of the United States opposes all animal breeding. It is easier for them to control breeders if they have breeders thoroughly regulated under the APHIS proposed rule and/or PUPS. They have won over USDA to a great extent now, at least under Tom Vilsack. HSUS, through it's lobbying arm the Humane Society Legislative Fund, is a contributor to the campaign of Vilsack's wife, Christie Vilsack, running for Congress in Iowa. And HSLF has contributed more than $100,000 to oppose Christie Vilsack's opponent, none other than Rep. Steve King, who has been a vocal opponent of HSUS-sponsored bills in Congress. http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2941250/posts Earlier this fall, eight Iowa TV stations refused to air Humane Society Legislative Fund ads against King because of their sensationalism and dishonesty. The ads had to be re-worked before stations would accept them. When's the last time you heard of TV stations refusing ads? Well, PETA comes to mind.

The upshot is, the Humane Society of the United States is no friend to animals, whether they are pets or in agriculture. Over-regulation and animal rights-supported bills are hurting all of us, even the people who raise pets. Don't be fooled when you hear that something is “good for the animals.” If it comes from HSUS or if it smacks of over-regulation, just say no.

Carlotta Cooper writes for The Cavalry Group. She's a contributing editor for the weekly dog show magazine Dog News. She's been breeding and showing English Setters for 25 years.

Battleground North Dakota: No On HSUS' Measure 5

For Ellie Hayes to accuse North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring of “not being honest” in a recent article in the Grand Forks Herald is something I find not only hypocritical, but most amusing!

The truth is that the author, Ellie Hayes, is the one being dishonest as she speaks to North Dakotans as though she is a long time resident of North Dakota. In actuality, she is a resident of my state of Missouri.  Ellie Hayes (aka, Michelle Hayes)  worked on a ballot initiative campaign, “Your Vote Counts” in 2011 through March of 2012 in my state of Missouri, which was sponsored and funded by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).

Since 1990 HSUS has passed ballot initiatives in 18 states attacking animal agriculture and hunting resulting in onerous new regulations destroying law abiding businesses and families.  

Most recently HSUS spent $4.85 million dollars promoting the 2010 Prop B, The Puppy Mill Cruelty Act, in Missouri only to narrowly win by 2%.  Much like Measure 5, The Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act did nothing to prevent cruelty to animals. Instead, the measure has over-regulated licensed, legitimate dog breeders out of business resulting in the near demise of their industry with an economic impact exceeding $500 Million in lost Missouri jobs and revenue in this year alone.

Measure 5 is an example of this with its promise to “Stop Animal Cruelty,” but unfortunately, when you actually read the details of Measure 5, there is nothing in the measure that actually does anything to stop animal cruelty. The proponents of Measure 5, especially its sponsor, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), is counting on you, the voter, to stay uniformed and “just take their word for it” and blindly support the lies of HSUS.   I mean, who in their right mind wouldn’t vote for a measure claiming to prevent animal cruelty? Interestingly though, under current North Dakota state law, animal cruelty and abuse are already illegal. Do you really believe increasing criminal charges is going to increase enforcement and prevention? So, what is really going on here?

The organization behind Measure 5, the true master of deception, also known as the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).  HSUS pretends to be the savior of distressed animals, but in actuality spends less than one percent of its $140 Million intake of donations for the hands on care of dogs and cats nationwide. The rest of their massive budget goes toward lobbying, funding ballot measures state by state (over $4.5 million in my state of Missouri), pension plans, on staff attorneys, advertisements, celebrity endorsements,  and public stockholding in restaurants, grocery store chains, and pharmaceutical companies. 

With each ballot measure passed, HSUS further regulates farmers, livestock producers and domesticated animal breeders with their  so-called “anti cruelty” campaigns imposing unnecessary onerous, prohibitive and costly regulations.  Regulations at the expense of fewer farms, fewer farmers, higher food prices, and a growing concern of a domestic food shortage.  HSUS has banked on the American public to remain unaware of what is truly behind their proposed measures.

Measure 5 is not out to reduce animal cruelty but to set a precedent to come back and regulate North Dakotan animal owners and animal related businesses who obey the laws and employ thousands of your friends, relatives, and neighbors. 

Ellie Hayes, I suggest you pack your bags and leave North Dakota.  Let North Dakotans write their own laws.  Like Missourians, I am certain North Dakotans don’t like out of state special interest groups influencing their laws.   

Protect your state of North Dakota and Vote NO on Measure 5.

Mindy Patterson co-founder and president of The Cavalry Group, a company working to assist livestock producers, agricultural interests and animal owners nationwide in the fight against the radical animal rights movement.