Outdoors

Nothing humane about it

Second to Bernie Madoff, perhaps, animal rights groups are among the biggest shams in America.

These predators know that nothing milks the hearts and checkbooks of good-hearted people more effectively than reports and pictures of suffering animals.

Nothing is wrong with raising money for the benefit of critters, but animal rights groups tend to bleed the system for publicity, political posturing and ulterior motives while leaving suffering animals no better off.

Sportsman can almost forget how sick these groups can be until it hits them in the face, as it did last week if you picked up The Inlander and read the letter submitted by Chris Anderlik of the local Animal Advocates.

Anderlik correctly points out that various groups are capitalizing on the headlines surrounding wolf management. That point also has been made in this column several times in the past two years

Using current events to stir emotions and open wallets is a classic ploy by fundraisers.

But after urging potential donors to pick groups that will wisely spend their contributions, the letter singles out “conservation” as a word in an organization’s mission statement that should be a “red flag” for wary supporters.

“To me, this is a sure sign that some sort of hunting, fishing, trapping organization is involved,” Anderlik wrote, before verbally sucker-punching the National Wildlife Federation.

Anyone who goes beyond emotion will find clear documentation that hunting- and fishing-oriented conservation groups are North American wildlife’s best friends, as well as the best values.

The American Institute of Philanthropy, which evaluates charities for their efficiency in doing public good with the charitable contributions they receive, gives A ratings to the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Ducks Unlimited and Trout Unlimited.

All of them are devoted to wildlife conservation.

DU alone has raised $2.7 billion – yes, the “billion” number has sort of lost its punch lately, but it’s still a lot of money – to restore or protect 12.3 million wetland acres in North America.

Animal rights zealots, who haven’t conserved enough acreage to give a young Lab a good workout, dismiss those contributions, saying that duck hunters conserve wetlands only so they can kill ducks.

The truth is that ducks are going to die regardless of whether they’re shot. Coyotes and scavengers feast on most of the carcasses.

But the fact that a limited number of ducks can go on dinner tables to feed the families of American sportsmen helps generate passion and money for preserving wetland habitats.

The motivation isn’t to kill ducks, but to assure that healthy duck populations thrive forever in our developing world.

Anyone with a clue knows that ducks are only a small fraction of the species that benefit from the wetlands DU is conserving.

Compare the leading wildlife conservation groups to the nation’s most notorious animal rights organizations: PETA and the Humane Society of the United States.

Both groups raise tons of money and spend an enormous amount of it lobbying to curtail hunting and fishing, yet they contribute almost nothing to wildlife habitat or the preservation of species, or even a fair portion to domestic animal welfare.

Neither of them gets even a good rating from the American Institute of Philanthropy. Indeed, the HSUS rating has hovered around the stinky D level because it’s mostly into publicity, lobbying and fundraising rather than actually helping animals.

For example, the HSUS money hounds jumped on the publicity machine whipped up by the winds of Hurricane Katrina. The group quickly raised $30 million to rescue animals abandoned in the storm.

But the Louisiana attorney general launched an investigation after outraged citizens learned that much of that money was not used to deal with the New Orleans disaster.

For $30 mil, just 10,000 animals were rescued and only 2,000 were reunited with their owners.

What a sham.

It’s important to distinguish between the poorly rated Humane Society of the United States and the older and more worthy American Humane Association, which has received an A rating from American Institute of Philanthropy for its efficient work in assisting shelters and deal with the nation’s epidemic of abused and abandoned animals.

HSUS is little more than an activist animal rights machine that has appropriated and preyed on the identity of a long-established and respected animal welfare organization.

Your local Humane Society is the real thing. Don’t confuse it with HSUS, a national embarrassment of fundraising misuse.

Activistcash.com has published this insight:

“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.”

Stick a red flag up that assessment, animal rights activists.

Wise wildlife lovers will invest their faith and money with dedicated conservation groups.

Contact Rich Landers by voice mail at 459-5577, extension 5508, or e-mail to richl@spokesman.com.

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Rich Landers

Rich Landers

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