The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Outdoors

August 4, 2012

Don Steese column: Humane society's misleading name

If I were to mention the Humane Society of the United States, what would you think of? They’re the people who run all those animal shelters, right?

Wrong!

That’s exactly what they want you to think but the Humane Society of the United States doesn’t own or operate a single animal shelter anywhere and they’ve traditionally spent less than one percent of the money they rake in funding local animal shelters.

What does HSUS do with all those donations given by all those well-meaning animal lovers? They spend a lot of it on a stable of lawyers ... and they just may need them. HSUS is facing a lawsuit that could cost the organization millions.

The lawsuit is being brought by the parent company of Ringling Brothers Circus. The circus was the target of a lawsuit brought by Friends of Animals (later merged into HSUS), the ASPCA and the Animal Welfare Institute. The suit alleged that Ringling Brothers were mistreating elephants. Ringling Brothers won that lawsuit and brought a countersuit charging racketeering, obstruction of justice, malicious prosecution and other charges. Lawyers for HSUS have until Tuesday to respond to the charges.

The other organizations that brought the original lawsuit against Ringling Brothers could be totally legit, but HSUS is, in my opinion, nothing more than an animal rights organization that promotes itself as an animal welfare organization.

They are very much anti-hunting, and have cost the farming and ranching industry millions of dollars, cost countless jobs in those industries and raised the price of items we see on our grocery shelves every day. However, it is their deceptive fundraising practices which make them so loathsome, in my opinion. At least PETA doesn’t try to pretend they’re something they’re not. HSUS has, in my opinion, been getting away with just that kind of deception for years.

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We were tooling along Route 11 heading toward the bridge into Northumberland when what should swoop down and grab a piece of roadkill from the shoulder of the road than a beautiful fully mature bald eagle.

After scooping up what was apparently going to be his next meal, he veered off over the river and promptly dropped the tidbit into the river. We’ll never know whether he didn’t have a good enough grip or if he was having second thoughts about his menu choice. It was a thrilling sight, though.

The return of bald eagles to the Keystone State has been a real wildlife success story.

Email comments to jdsteese@yahoo.com

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