Why do animal abusers hate the HSUS?

Why do animal abusers hate the HSUS?The HSUS is under attack by animal abusing industries. These industries claim the HSUS is inefficient, ineffective, and incompetent.

But if this was true, why would animal abusers spend tens of millions of dollars annually on dishonest smear campaigns to attack the HSUS? If the HSUS was truly ineffective, wouldn’t animal abusers be perfectly happy to have such an incompetent opponent?

The truth is that the HSUS is the nation’s largest and most effective animal welfare organization, with a staggeringly long list of accomplishments — and animal abusers are terrified of what they’ve accomplished on behalf of the animals.

Here’s a tiny, incomplete sampling of what the HSUS does.
  • HSUS donated $3000 to the first non-lethal deer population management program in Virginia.
  • HSUS played a pivotal role in securing the defunding of horse slaughter for 2014.
  • HSUS exposed Kenneth Schroeder, a “random source” dealer selling dogs to laboratories for cruel experiements. Schroeder’s license was subsequently revoked by the USDA.
  • Two endangered tortoises were rescued and rehomed by the HSUS.
  • Cheesecake Factory commenced the phase-out of gestation crates from its suppliers.
  • Humane Society of Charlotte and the HSUS teamed up to rescue 23 dogs from a North Carolina puppy mill.
  • Glee star Lea Michele and the HSUS ask NY legislature to regulate puppy mills more aggressively. In January of 2014, Gov. Cuomo signs the bill into law.
  • An HSUS investigation exposed 116 Horse Protection Act citations assessed against the board of Tennessee’s Walking Horse Trainers Association.
  • HSUS filed a formal complaint with the USDA demanding enforcement action against more than 50 commercial dog breeders operating illegally.
  • Aubrey Organics joined the HSUS’ Be Cruelty Free campaign to end animal testing for cosmetics.
  • Safeway pledged to eliminate gestation crates from its supply chain.
  • HSUS launched a successful PSA campaign urging citizens to report animal abuse.
  • HSUS provided the USDA with evidence of AWA violations by a research facility in Georgia, culminating in a $26,000 fine.
  • HSUS investigation exposed disease, neglect, and cruelty at unregulated flea markets.
  • Business Ethics Network bestowed two awards on the HSUS for its campaign to reform factory farm cruelty.
  • HSUS successfully presented testimony to prevent the return of a puppy to the pet store owner who abused him.
  • HSUS’ Duchess Sanctuary completed construction on a new hospital barn.
  • HSUS reports exposed inhumane and unsafe conditions in three Maryland roadside zoos exhibiting dangerous exotic animals.
  • Binghamton University joined the Meatless Monday campaign, with great success.
  • HSUS warned consumers about falsely labeled “faux fur” garments containing rabbit fur, sold at Kohl’s.
  • Infamous Chino slaughterhouse and Westland Meat Packing Co. slapped with $155,684,827.00 judgment — the largest animal cruelty penalty ever assessed — following HSUS investigation that revealed abuse of downer cattle at the facility.
  • 40 dogs and 75 cats, miniature ponies, rabbits, and chickens rescued from NC pet mill.
  • HSUS and Red Barn launch a leash and collar drive for pet owners in underserved communities.
  • HSUS and Front Range Equine Rescue filed suits to block horse slaughter plants from opening.
  • 31 dogs seized from dogfighting operations in Alabama thanks to a joint effort between law enforcement, HSUS, and local humane societies.
  • Cracker Barrel shareholders voted to support the HSUS proposal to eliminate gestation crates from the company’s supply chain.
  • Papa John’s pledged to eliminate gestation crates from its supply chain.
  • Prop 204 passed in Arizona, eliminating veal and gestation crates.
  • Prop 2 passed in CA, ensuring that poultry will not suffer in cages smaller than a sheet of letter sized paper their entire lives.
  • 200 pit bulls rescued from the largest recorded dog fighting ring.
  • 43 horses rescued from neglect in Lindale, TX.
  • $600,000 grant from HSUS used to build a shelter in Jackson, LA.
  • Animal Crush Video Prohibition Act of 2010 recriminalized crush videos.
  • 5,700 fighting dogs and roosters rescued from animal fighting rings in 2009.
  • Over forty emergency deployments for large-scale rescue of animals in 2009.
  • More than 10,000 animals rescued in emergency deployments in 2009.
  • 1800 tortoises saved from being buried alive in Florida construction.
  • 1.8 million cows in California will NOT have their tails cruelly amputated without anesthetic this year thanks to the HSUS.
  • 3,000+ puppies rescued from mass breeding facilities in 2009.
  • 461 more pet stores agree to not sell puppy mill dogs in 2009.
  • 50th reward paid for information leading to the arrest of animal fighting rings in 2009.
  • 14 laws to protect wildlife passed in 2009.
  • Cockfighting now illegal in all 50 states.
  • 150+ retailers and fashion designers have agreed to go fur-free.
  • Criminal abuse of cows at Conklin Dairy exposed and stopped.
  • Chino slaughterhouse putting dying “downer” cattle into schools’ food supply, exposed and stopped.
  • 8,057 animals treated for free in under-served areas in 2009.
  • 4,300 homeowners advised on the humane removal of wildlife in 2009.
  • 23,000+ low-cost spay and neuter surgeries in the Gulf Coast in 2009.
  • 120 cats rescued from a hoarder in Tennessee in 2010.
  • 40,000+ pets spayed and a quarter million dollars raised for spay/neuter programs during Spay Day 2009.
  • 90 dogs rescued from a New Jersey puppy mill in 2010.
  • 89 state laws protecting pets passed in 2009.
  • HSUS sends relief personnel to Haiti for disaster assistance in 2009.
  • 1300 animals have found refuge in HSUS’ Black Beauty Ranch.
  • Maine phasing out cruel intensive confinement systems.
  • Michigan phasing out cruel intensive confinement systems.
  • 49 starving horses rescued in West Virginia in 2010.
  • 8,320 animals treated by HSUS veterinarians in 2010.
  • Kraft switched one million eggs to cage-free.
  • Hellman’s adopted cage-free eggs.
  • Subway phasing in cage-free eggs.
  • Carnival Cruise Lines phasing in cage-free eggs.
  • Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines phasing in cage-free eggs.
  • Ohio’s agriculture industry agreed to phase out veal crates and gestation crates by 2015.
  • HSUS transported 100+ dogs from overwhelmed Gulf Coast shelters to NJ and DC.
  • HSUS holds Macy’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Bloomingdales accountable for mislabeling fur garments.
  • 2000 pet rats rescued from a hoarder in Southern California.
  • Truth in Fur Labeling Act signed into law.
  • HSUS information leads to seizure of 100 roosters from a cockfight ring in Dallas, TX.
  • Undercover video reveals horrific conditions at Smithfield Farms.
  • HSUS distributes 30+ grants to equine rescues as part of American Competitive Trail Horse Association’s fundraiser.
  • HSUS exposes Neiman Marcus sale of dog fur labeled as “raccoon”.
  • D.C. Superior Court rules that Neiman Marcus violated the D.C. Consumer Protection Act by falsely labeling fur garments.
  • Pepsi fans overwhelmingly vote to award HSUS a $250,000 grant to provide veterinary assistance to animals in underserved communities.
  • After years of friction, the USDA agrees to appoint an ombudsman and improve oversight of the federal Humane Methods of Slaughter Act.
  • 1,000th pet store joins HSUS’ Puppy Friendly Pet Store campaign, agreeing not to sell puppies.
  • HSUS exposes sale of dog fur labeled as “fake fur” at Barney’s, in NY.
  • Shark Conservation Act signed into law, prohibiting fishermen from cutting the fins off sharks and throwing them back into the water to die horribly.
  • Ace of Cakes star Duff Goldman adopts cage-free egg policy.
  • Federal Court of Appeals upholds an HSUS request to stop the slaughter of sea lions at Bonneville Dam on the Oregon/Washington border.
  • HSUS exposes inhumane conditions at Willmar Poultry Company, the nation’s largest turkey hatchery.
  • HSUS and Multnomah County Animal Services provide 40 animal crates to the American Red Cross’ Emergency Warming Center in Portland, OR.
  • HSUS rescues 2500 rats as part of a hoarder intervention in San Jose, CA. The rescue was featured on Season Three of A&E’s documentary, “Hoarders”.
  • On behalf of the Human Toxicology Project Consortium, HSUS coordinates a national symposium on modernizing the testing of chemicals in laboratories and reducing the role of animal testing.
  • HSUS town hall in Lincoln, NE opens meaningful discussion of agricultural issues with Nebraska farmers.
  • Wheaton, IL adopts non-lethal coyote deterrents instead of trapping and killing.
  • HSUS investigation of Bushway Packing leads to conviction on charges of animal cruelty.
  • 550 prairie dogs resettled, rescued from poisoning in Thunder Basin, WY.
  • 14 turkeys find sanctuary at HSUS’ Black Beauty Ranch in TX.
  • Photographer Robbie Bellon photographs 25 adopted and rescued dogs of 25 celebrities to benefit the HSUS’ Stop Puppy Mills Campaign.
  • St. Vincent Hospital in Green Bay, WI switches to cage-free eggs.
  • HSUS and the Kislak Family Fund present a $25,000 grant to the Florida College of Veterinary Medicine for a program to benefit injured and ill shelter animals.
  • HSUS and Ellen Degeneres celebrate and raise awareness of shelters with the annual Shelter Appreciation Week, held the first week of each November.
  • HSUS’ Cape Wildlife Center expands with the addition of a new animal hospital for wildlife rehabilitation.
  • Prop 109, an anti-animal, anti-voter initiative, is defeated in Arizona.
  • Fred Meyer Jewelers creates the Pawsitively Yours line of jewelry to benefit the HSUS’ Stop Puppy Mills Campaign.
  • HSUS grants help Second Chance Animal Shelter of Brookfield, MA finish renovations after thieves steal building materials.
  • HSUS’ Cape Wildlife Center releases a harrier back into the wild after 8 weeks of care and rehabilitation.
  • The Coats for Cubs program repurposes old fur coats to aid and comfort wildlife.
  • Wal-Mart’s private label eggs are now cage-free.
  • HSUS helps persuade Sara Lee to switch to cage-free eggs.
  • Orphaned raccoons raised and rehabilitated by HSUS’ Cape Wildlife Center are released into the wild.
  • Medford, OR bakery, Harry & David, joins the growing cage-free movement.
  • Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust establishes the Greenspring Wildlife Sanctuary, a permanent, protected, 154-acre wildlife habitat in Ashland, OR.
  • Minnesota cat killer’s felony conviction on animal cruelty is upheld in State of Minnesota v. Ajalon Thomas Corcoran.
  • Virgin America airlines switch to cage-free eggs.
  • HSUS exposes the worst puppy mills in the “Missouri Dirty Dozen” report.
  • HSUS teams up with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, donating forensic investigation equipment to crack down on poaching.
  • Valley Hospital of Ridgewood, NJ joins the national cage-free egg movement.
  • Union Hospital of Cecil County, MD joins the national cage-free egg movement.
  • St. Paul’s School of Concord, NH joins the national cage-free egg movement.
  • Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust establishes a 30-acre permanent wildlife habitat, the Ogden Wildlife Sanctuary, in Leon County, TX.
  • Pennsylvania joins the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact, a nationwide law enforcement network of 36 states to prevent criminal poachers from hunting in other states.
  • Pennsylvania signs HSUS-supported HB1859 into law, introducing felony penalties for poachers who are repeat offenders.
  • HSUS transports 10 pit bulls rescued from Ohio fighting rings to the Washington Animal Rescue League.
  • Barilla becomes the first pasta manufacturer to join the cage-free egg movement, switching 45% of its supply to cage-free in 2011.
  • HSUS investigates and exposes bear baiting in South Carolina, the only state to tolerate this cruelty.
  • Thanks to the efforts of HSUS, Animal Protection of New Mexico, Jane Goodall, Gov. Bill Richardson, and more, 186 chimpanzees were saved from further invasive medical testing in New Mexico.
  • Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission votes unanimously to ban fox penning.
  • HSUS rescued more than 90 dogs from a Montana hoarder.
  • HSUS assisted in the rescue of 118 dogs from a breeder in Pascagoula, Mississippi.
  • On behalf of local residents, HSUS took legal action against the Olivera Egg Ranch for noxious pollution emanating from that factory farm.
  • HSUS and Blaze’s Tribute Equine Rescue took custody of 17 horses formerly destined for slaughter.
  • HSVMA launched a petition urging Congress to phase out the non-therapeutic use of antibiotics in animal agriculture.
  • Loyola Marymount University switched all eggs on campus to cage-free eggs
  • 36 Pet Food Express stores took the “Puppy Friendly Pet Store” pledge.
  • HSUS rescues 170 cats rescued from hoarders in Powell, WY; no reimbursement is requested for the capture, processing, treatment, and transport of the cats.
And that’s just the start.

Don’t fall for misinformation from the ignorant and the cruel. Get the facts from a reputable source. HumaneWatch Defends Cruelty

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Richard Berman: Too unethical for Big Oil

Graphic by Oil Change International

Graphic by Oil Change International

Imagine you are Rick Berman, corporate lobbyist for cruel, polluting, and destructive industries. Imagine you are trying to open up a new line of business with the largest, most profitable industry on the planet. Then imagine you scored a platform to make the pitch of a lifetime to key executives from this industry at one of their annual meetings.

This is exactly what happened to Rick Berman last June, as he attempted to woo Big Oil, Big Coal, and Big Gas as the 2014 Annual Meeting of the Western Energy Alliance in Colorado Spring, Colo.

Representatives from a who’s-who list of energy companies were in attendance, including Anadarko Petroleum, Baker Hughes Inc., BP America, Chesapeake Energy Corporation, Devon Energy Corporation, Halliburton, Pioneer Natural Resources, QEP Resources, and Saga Petroleum, among dozens of others.

But unbeknownst to Berman, one of the executives didn’t like what he heard. So he recorded it in secret and turned over the tape to The New York Times, which yesterday published an expose of Rick Berman’s pitch to the energy industry, along with a full transcript (pdf).

“That you have to play dirty to win … it just left a bad taste in my mouth,” the executive told the newspaper.

In other words, Rick Berman is too unethical even for Big Oil.

In his pitch to oil, coal, and natural gas companies, Berman described his tactics in detail. Most of them our readers have come to know over years of Berman-watching, but a few were new even to us.

Berman starts by differentiating between public opinion and public judgment. Opinion is simply an impression people have of something, but judgment is when they decide to take some kind of action, such as voting.

While public opinion will never be for Big Oil, Berman told energy execs, it can get public judgment, but to do so it has to go on the offense. How do unpopular corporations go on the offense? Berman outlined three ways:
  • Reframing the issue.
  • Repositioning the opposition.
  • Taking away people’s moral authority.

To illustrate these tactics, Berman touted his smear campaign against HSUS:
“We represent a lot of agriculture interests who are being attacked by Humane Society of the United States. The Humane Society of the United States is not connected to your local pet shelters … So repositioning them in the public’s mind by saying, “Hey, give to your local shelter, but don’t give to the Humane Society of the United States because they are not who they say they are,” is an attempt at repositioning.”
Berman had other tidbits of advice, such as:
“Often times we’ll use children or animals. If you want a video to go viral, have kids or animals.”
“We like to use humor because humor doesn’t offend people and at the same time they get the message. If you want to have a really hard-hitting message, that’s fine. … But whenever possible I like to use humor to minimize or marginalize the people on the other side.”
“We have to achieve something that I call common knowledge … That comes from people hearing something enough times from enough different places, people repeating it to each other, that you reach a point where you have solidified your position.”
One of Berman’s statements really caught our eye. A year ago we worked on a series of graphics revealing Berman’s Smear Campaign Tool Kit. These tools include out-of-context quotes, manipulated numbers, legal intimidation, sockpuppet theater, and phony op-eds.

One graphic we never published depicted Berman going after Mother Teresa. We didn’t post it because we thought it was too far-fetched. But we were wrong. It turns out Berman would be happy to go after Mother Teresa – assuming the price is right:
“In diminishing moral authority, sometimes in this case you have to be tougher because you are going after someone that’s got a crown on their head …If you were going to attack Mother Teresa, you better have a very unusual campaign.”

Big Green Radicals

As we wrote about for a blog post in March, the $1 billion a year being spent on front groups that deny climate change has proven too much of a lure for Berman, who has now started going after environmental groups.

At the energy meeting in March, Berman’s vice president Jack Hubbard described their “Big Green Radicals” smear campaign against Sierra Club, NRDC, and Food and Water Watch.
“So we thought how are we doing to kick off this campaign? Take the typical Berman and Company model, in terms of undermining these folks credibility, and diminish their moral authority. … One of the first things we did was, we said, well, let’s make this a little personal. Let’s find out whether these people are practicing what they preach. So what we did was we conducted a whole bunch of intense opposition research digging into their board of directors, and we pulled all of the title information for all the vehicles that they own.”
Hubbard went on to describe environmental groups as “very, very powerful in Washington” with “very, very large budgets.” This is laughable on the face of it. As Hubbard stated in his own presentation, Food and Water Watch’s entire annual budget is $12 million, and the Sierra Club’s is $79 million.

This is a pittance compared to the annual earnings of the corporations in the room. Last year Anadarko Petroleum had sales revenues of $14.87 billion, Halliburton had sales revenues of $29.4 billion, and BP had sales revenues of whopping $242.5 billion.

Hubbard discussed personal research that Berman and Co. had done against Rep. Jared Polis, who at the time was leading two ballot initiatives to limit fracking n Colorado, and hedge fund manager Tom Steyer, whose NextGEN Climate PAC funds political campaigns to influence climate policy.

Hubbard also showed off the Big Green Radicals Colorado page, presumably created for this meeting. And the tactics sound eerily similar to how Berman has gone after animal protection advocates:
“In the right hand column we dig into every group. We list their money. We list their funders. We list their radical positions. And then we have a section on every single activist. Their rap sheets, their criminal records that they have. We’re really making this personal. We’re trying to make it so they don’t have any credibility with the public, with the media, or with the legislators.”

‘Endless war’

Berman went on to describe other tactics he has used against HSUS and other animal protection groups, urging the energy execs to deploy them against environmental groups.

One tactic deals with manipulating emotions. Berman devised the acronym FLAGS to stand for the five emotions he tries to manipulate: fear, love, anger, greed, and sympathy.

The two he said he works most with are fear and anger: “Fear and anger have to be part of this campaign … what you’ve got to do is get people fearful of what is on the table and then you’ve got to get people angry over the fact that they are being misled.”

Regarding budgets, Berman pulled out another tactic he has used against HSUS. “This is an endless war. What I like to do what I come up against some of these organizations … I look at their tax returns, and if they’ve got a pension plan, and it’s a well-funded pension plan, I know that these people are not going away.”

And again Berman emphasized the necessity of playing dirty:
“This offensive campaign that is designed to attack is not a positive campaign. I’ve had clients say to me, ‘Well you know, I don’t really want to attack, that’s not who we are.’ I say, ‘Well, you know, you can either win ugly or lose pretty.’ You know, you figure out where you want to be. But sometimes this is what you need.”

Going viral

Since The New York Times expose broke yesterday, numerous other media outlets picked up the story, and it lit up social media. We are thrilled to see so much exposure of Berman’s dirty tricks to such a wide audience. Read more here:

Bloomberg News: Fracking Advocates Urged to Win Ugly by Discrediting Foes
A Humane Nation: Bootlegged Speech of Rick Berman Shows Deception and Dirty Tactics Off the Charts
PR Watch: Rick Berman Exposed in New Audio; Hear His Tactics against Environmentalists and Workers Rights
Huffington Post: Rick Berman Encouraged Energy Executives To Use These Nasty Tactics On Environmentalists
Climate Progress: Lobbyist Richard Berman To Oil And Gas Executives: Treat PR Campaigns As An ‘Endless War’
Climate Progress: Here’s How Oil Industry Members Reacted When Told To Use ‘Fear And Anger’ To Win Fracking Fight
DeSmogBlog: Oil and Gas Industry’s “Endless War” on Fracking Critics Revealed by Rick Berman
DeSmog Blog: Richard Berman: Tobacco to Fossil Fuels
CREW: AUDIO: Dr. Evil Tells Oil and Gas Industry to Use ‘Fear and Anger’ in Fracking Fight
Food and Water Watch: Frackers in Bed with Dr. Evil: Covers Pulled Off
The Hill: Oil industry advised to play dirty with greens
EcoWatch: Secret Tape Exposes Fracking Industry Playing Dirty
Democracy Now: Lobbyist Richard Berman Caught on Tape Urging Oil Execs to Dig Up Dirt on Environmentalists
Salon: “Win ugly or lose pretty”: Secret tape reveals Big Oil’s sleazy P.R. pep talk
Gawker: Leaked Big Oil Speech: Wage “Endless War” Against Fracking Opponents
Daily Kos: “Win Ugly or Lose Pretty” says Oil Lobbyist in Secret Recording
TruthOut: PR Advocate for Fracking Urges a Dirty War Against Environmentalists
Common Cause: Notorious Corporate Lobbyist Rick Berman Caught On Tape
Crooks and Liars: Hear Corporate PR Scum Richard Berman Make Slimy Pitch To Energy Companies
Southern Beale: Rick Berman: He’s Baaaaaack!
Radio Or Not: Political Tricks & Musical Treats
Colorado Springs Independent: Energy lobbyist in Colorado Springs: ‘Win ugly or lose pretty’
Pennsylvania State Impact: Report: Veteran lobbyist tells industry to ‘win ugly or lose pretty’
Pittsburgh Business Times: New York Times: Consultant tells energy industry it can ‘win ugly or lose pretty’
FireDogLake: Richard Berman Secretly Recorded Telling Fossil Fuel Industry To Wage ‘Endless War’ On Critics
China Topix: Richard Berman’s Energy Industry Speech Advocating Underhanded Tactics Secretly Taped

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Berman rebrands Center for Consumer Freedom, moves into new territory

Rick Berman, former tobacco lobbyist turned shill for corporate polluters.As Stop HumaneWatchers, we have long followed the anti-animal attacks of Rick Berman and the Center for Consumer Freedom.  But we are also aware of his many other front groups campaigning on issues such as teachers unions, the minimum wage, drunk driving, high-fructose corn syrup, and tanning beds.

That’s why we figured it was only a matter of time before Berman moved into the anti-environment arena.  With large corporations and foundations plowing over $1 billion in untraceable dark money each year into front groups that deny climate change, we knew Berman would want a piece of that pie.

Last week our suspicions were confirmed with the appearance of a full-page ad in The Wall Street Journal targeting three environmental nonprofits: Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club, and Food and Water Watch.

Just who was behind the ad?  The ad itself pointed readers to a new website: BigGreenRadicals.com, a project of the “Environmental Policy Alliance” – not to be confused with the Environmental Protection Agency even though it had a similar name with the same initials, a classic Berman ploy.

The website of Environmental Policy Alliance held another clue: its address of 1090 Vermont Ave., NW Suite 800, Washington, DC 20005.  If that address sounds familiar, it’s likely you have seen the tax returns for Center for Consumer Freedom, which list the exact same address.

Berman’s fingerprints

So what exactly is the Environmental Policy Alliance?  This new Berman front group has four campaigns:
  • Big Green Radicals, which bashes the three environmental organizations listed above;
  • Green Decoys, which targets hunting and fishing groups that certain powers think are too environmentalist;
  • LEED Exposed, which goes after sustainable certification in buildings;
  • EPA Facts, which targets the actual Environmental Protection Agency.
All of these sites have Berman’s fingerprints all over them.  Never one for self-reflection, Berman takes the criticisms that opponents have made of his clients and tries to turn them around on his targets.

For example, where environmentalists have charged that the oil-friendly Bush White House muzzled science to fit its politics, Berman’s EPA Facts claims the EPA uses “agenda-driven science.”

Where critics have pointed to right-wing foundation funding for climate-denial front groups like the Heartland Institute, Berman’s Green Decoys claims conservation groups like Trout Unlimited receive funding from what it calls “environmentalist foundations.”

And just as HumaneWatch paints the Humane Society of the United States as having a gigantic budget – never mind that the HSUS’s net worth is 4.6 percent that of Cargill – so Big Green Radicals paints Food and Water Watch as “among the most powerful … voices pushing the green agenda” – despite the fact its budget is 0.0026 percent of Exxon’s.

Who’s footing the bill?

Obviously someone has hired Berman to go after these environmental organizations.  The question is, who?  Berman does not list who funds his smear campaigns on any of his websites, but it’s not hard to figure out which industries are footing the bill, even if we don’t know specifically which corporations.

Green Decoys, for example, seems particularly offended that Trout Unlimited has come out in favor of regulations on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.  TU isn’t against fracking altogether, just against unregulated fracking – but that’s enough to merit a smear campaign from Berman.

Big Green Radicals attacks not just Food and Water Watch’s opposition to fracking, but its campaign to label genetically modified food.  The Sierra Club is also attacked for its campaigns against fossil fuels and GMO foods, as well as its defense of the Endangered Species Act.

And LEED Exposed turns what ought to be a no-brainer – energy efficient construction of new buildings – into a political issue.  Who could possibly be against energy efficient buildings?  As it turns out, plastics, vinyl, and chemical companies that supply inefficient and sometimes toxic building materials don’t like LEED very much — they are behind a push for federal agencies and state governments to ban use of LEED certification.

Just this month, LEED Exposed released a new report claiming that LEED-certified buildings are not as energy efficient as traditional buildings.  That report was covered by Berman’s old friend the Daily Caller in a story made available for free to other outlets, and by the National Review, which is currently being sued for defamation after comparing climate scientist Michael Mann to child molester Jerry Sandusky.

While both outlets happily quoted Berman employee Anastasia Swearingen, neither bothered to mention who her boss is, nor that the Environmental Policy Alliance occupies the same Washington, D.C., offices as the Center for Consumer Freedom.  Fortunately these facts did not escape the U.S. Green Building Council, which refuted the report and linked it back to Berman.

Rebranding

Amidst all of our questions about the new territory Berman is venturing into, one thing caught our eye.  While Big Green Radicals, LEED Exposed and the other new smear campaigns are all projects of the Environmental Policy Alliance, which lists the same address as Center for Consumer Freedom, the Environmental Policy Alliance is itself a project of something we had never heard of called the Center for Organizational Research and Education.

The Center for Organizational Research and Education has no web footprint whatsoever.  Google it, and you will not find a website, or even a mention of it on a parent company site.

That’s because, as noted by Architect Magazine, Center for Organizational Research and Education is the new name of Center for Consumer Freedom.  CCF formally changed its name in a filing with the West Virginia secretary of state on January 30.

Why has Rick Berman taken the extreme step of changing the name of Center for Consumer Freedom?  A couple of possibilities come to mind.

First, Center for Consumer Freedom has been thoroughly exposed as a front group for Big Food and Big Ag by Stop HumaneWatch and others, including pretty much every major media outlet in the country.

When companies’ reputations are damaged beyond repair, they often respond by simply changing their name, such as when tobacco company Philip Morris changed its name to Altria shortly after settling the landmark case over health care costs related to smoking with a group of state attorneys general.

A new direction?

Perhaps Berman plans to take his Center for Organizational Research and Education in a new direction, making the attacks on environmental organizations front and center while pushing the attacks on animal welfare groups to one side.  After all, most major food producers including Smithfield and McDonald’s have already agreed to adopt more humane practices such as phasing out gestation crates.

The National Pork Producers Council may still hate HSUS, but let’s face it: Their budget pales in comparison to Big Oil, Big Coal, and Big Gas, who have a lot of money and a lot of reason to spend it with all the climate change regulations likely to start coming down the pike.

Still, we don’t think HumaneWatch is going anywhere.  As long as someone is paying Berman, he will keep running it, even as he creates new campaigns and hires more Washington operatives willing to sell their souls for profit.  And some players in the Big Ag community seem happy to keep throwing their money at Berman, even though not a single one of his campaigns against the HSUS has had an effect.

Despite all of Berman’s efforts, HSUS donations continue to grow and its programs continue to expand.  The fact is, most people support policies to treat animals with kindness, and the HSUS is the most effective organization in the country at getting these policies put into place.

People also generally like clean air and clean water.  So if Berman truly is changing his emphasis from anti-animal campaigns to anti-environment, we don’t expect him to be any more successful there either.


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Berman’s “Humane Society for Shelter Pets” sinks out of sight

The deceptively named Humane Society for Shelter Pets (HSSP) has filed for dissolution, signaling the death of yet another one of Richard Berman’s schemes to line his pockets while undermining animal welfare.

Diana “Didi” Culp: HSUS ex-employee and co-director of HSSP.

HSSP was founded by Berman to attack the Humane Society of the United States, part of his ongoing strategy to defund the nation’s largest animal protection charity by frightening away donors.  Berman selected disgruntled ex-HSUS employee Didi Culp as the figurehead of the organization.

Culp, a supposed shelter advocate who advises people to “get a better dog” from a breeder, may have seemed the ideal choice for the job.  But when HSSP was exposed as a front group for Berman’s corporate clients, Culp became the subject of an ethics investigation for her improper use of Frederick County Animal Control facilities.   The organization’s leadership fled, and Culp was left at the helm of a sinking ship.

The collapse of HSSP puts an end to Berman’s most recent attempt to deceive animal lovers. Don’t feel too badly for the millionaire tobacco lobbyist, however:  Before the collapse of HSSP, Berman managed to funnel $765,483.00 of the organization’s “nonprofit” donations into his personal and corporate bank accounts.  Berman has not disclosed how much Culp was paid for her services as the organization’s figurehead.

The shelters that Berman and Culp used as pawns received nothing, according to tax forms filed by the organization.


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Stop HumaneWatcher responds to ag industry hatchet piece

Kevin Fulton runs a 2,800-acre grassfed cattle ranch in Litchfield, Neb., where he chairs the first HSUS Agriculture Council.  Photo credit: All Animals / HSUS

Kevin Fulton runs a 2,800-acre grassfed cattle ranch in Litchfield, Neb., where he chairs the first HSUS Agriculture Council.
Photo credit: All Animals / HSUS

Recently an agriculture industry trade journal called Beef Producer, which supplies content to 18 state publications for Farm Progress agriculture information service, ran an opinion piece that drew all its talking points from one source: Rick Berman. Under the headline “HSUS Shows Continued Pattern Of Dishonest Behavior,” editor Alan Newport quoted misinformation from HumaneWatch and compared the Humane Society of the United States to thieves and rapists.

We aren’t going to repeat this travesty of journalism here, but we will repost the response from Stop HumaneWatcher Kevin Fulton, who knows Newport personally and rightly took him to task for the hatchet job he published without bothering to talk to anyone at HSUS or even check their website. Fulton runs a 2800-acre grassfed cattle ranch in Litchfield, Neb., where he chairs the first HSUS Agriculture Council.

Alan,

I must say I was disappointed in your December 13th piece attacking HSUS. It’s one thing to oppose something and substantiate it with facts but when you perpetuate lies to make your position, it suggests that you yourself are untrustworthy based on your very own reasoning! Your rant shows a true lack of integrity and professionalism. Analogies using liars, thieves, and rapists and implying that animal advocates somehow belong in the same category is a delusional thought. It would behoove you to understand that the HSUS is not a group of bureaucrats sitting in an office somewhere but rather millions of supporters at the grassroots level, including farmers like myself. You have unfairly attacked all of us with your absurd implications and we take great offense to that.

You’ve been to my home and toured my farm, and you know that I am a real farmer. I’ve heard all the anti-ag and other rhetoric about HSUS for years, and I’ve thoroughly done my research and investigated the sources. I’ve been to HSUS headquarters and traveled with their leadership on numerous occasions. Do you think I would align with an organization that is against animal agriculture since my sole livelihood depends on that? Ninety five percent of their membership eats animal products! Most of their members and staff own animals yet you claim they are opposed to animal agriculture and animal ownership. How do you possibly reach such idiotic conclusions?

Like you, Wayne Pacelle has also been to my home and toured my farm. I’ve worked with him on numerous projects. My experiences with HSUS leadership are first hand. I was always taught to think for myself instead of blindly following the status quo. Your info comes right from the talking points of Rick Berman, who is a highly discredited lobbying and public relations hack in Washington, D.C. He’s no farmer, and the only connect he has to farming is that he takes money from certain farming interests to try to discredit HSUS. And they are naive enough to fund his smear campaigns instead of standing up and taking ownership in their own problems and addressing the issues. HSUS has a number of farmers working on their staff in leadership positions. Ask Rick Berman how many farmers his bogus organization has on staff.

HSUS makes it plain that it is about protecting all animals, and that it has never served, and never claimed to serve as a pass-through organization for animal shelters. HSUS does do a lot for shelters, but it’s always been more than that. Any 5th grader could find their website and substantiate this.

I’ve been an HSUS member for a number of years now. I get their publications and have seen livestock farmers profiled in their magazine, annual reports, daily blogs, on their website and in brochures and other promotional material. In fact we are promoting several ag related events right here in Nebraska in just the month of February alone where farmers and their products will be showcased. We have Agricultural Councils in six states now with others waiting to be announced in the near future. This is an idea that I brought to the organization in 2010 and they embraced my suggestion. I now proudly serve as chairperson of the first Ag Council which was formed here in Nebraska. These councils are made up of prominent farmers and leaders in the sustainable ag community that you are likely familiar with. Have you bothered to reach out to any of these farmers like any competent journalist would?

You did to HSUS supporters what the most zealous animal advocates do to farmers like me – you misrepresented the situation, either because you’ll say anything to denigrate them, or because you just didn’t take the time to research it yourself. I hope it was the latter case, and I hope you’ll be more rigorous about this in the future. You’ve always struck me as a serious advocate for sustainable agriculture but maybe I have mis-judged you. I’m not fearful of anyone who advocates that animals should be allowed to move and not be imprisoned in a tiny crate. This is basic animal husbandry. Extreme confinement systems represent a fanatical mindset and most farmers like myself do not want to be associated with these operations at all.

Lastly, I will invite you to the upcoming Nebraska Sustainable Ag Conference here in Nebraska on February 13-14th where Wayne Pacelle will be giving the keynote presentation and talking about the importance of farmers and animals in our sustainable farming systems. http://www.nebsusag.org/conference.shtml It will also serve as a gathering for HSUS Ag Council members from various states to kickoff this event. Of course you would have to be open to the truth to benefit from this invitation. That would likely challenge you and push you out of your comfort zone. But any reputable journalist would welcome the opportunity to get the truth.

Sincerely,

Kevin Fulton
Fulton Farms
Litchfield, NE


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