We think that Darci Adams "doth protest too much" when she attempts to defend the Humane Society of the United States as an organization concerned about animal care.
The only thing she got right in her recent editorial (July 7, "Humane Society responds to critics) is when she admits that the HSUS is not your local Humane Society that takes care of stray dogs and cats.
We applaud the work of the local humane societies. They truly are heroes in the effort to make sure pets have good homes.
The HSUS, on the other hand, is a multi-million dollar lobbying effort aimed at eliminating animal agriculture in all forms and turning us all into vegans.
For Adams to claim that the organization is concerned about animal well-being is simply not supported by the facts. For example, according to reports filed with the Internal Revenue Service, HSUS shares less than one-half of 1 percent of its budget with hands-on pet shelters.
This is an organization whose 2008 Federal IRS form reveals 555 employees and an annual payroll of $37,792,786.
This is the organization that had a RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) suit filed against it on February 16 for bribery, fraud, tax evasion, obstruction of justice, and money laundering.
The HSUS is the group that plants one of its own as an employee within a farm operation to stage instances of "animal abuse" to be videotaped.
These staged videos are then artfully edited to "prove" that animal abuse is rampant on farms and ranches across the country - only to be discounted later when third-party investigations reveal the truth.
HSUS is the group that at first took credit for helping with the dog raid in Turner County last September, but then became strangely quiet when it turned out the raid was illegal.
Perhaps that is why the HSUS is currently under a Congressional and IRS investigation to determine whether its wide-ranging lobbying efforts violate its 501(c)(3) charity status.
There are also questions about the apparent conflict of interest in Michael Markarian's role as head of HSUS's lobbying arm -the Humane Society Legislative Fund) -and his positions as HSUS Vice President and Chief Operating Officer.
HSUS takes credit for passing a total of 470 new state laws in the last seven years, including 121 new laws last year alone.
Adams' diatribe is an insult to South Dakota farm and ranch families who often sacrifice personal comfort to ensure the well-being of their livestock.
Animal scientists, veterinarians, and those who depend on healthy, comfortable livestock are in a far better position to determine animal well-being than a Washington, D.C. lobbying machine intent on pushing a financial and political agenda.
By all means, support in any way you can your local humane society. Donate. Volunteer. Adopt a pet. But don't fall into the clutches of an organization that confounds the truth about its true mission.
This article was written by:
SCOTT VANDER WAL
President, S.D. Farm Bureau Federation.
Executive Drector, S.D. Dairy Producers Assn.
President, S.D. Pork Producers Council.
Executive Director, S.D. Cattlemen's Assn.
Executive Director, Ag United for South Dakota.