Here’s a picture from an HSUS raid in Hawaii in 2009. Based on what you see, doesn’t it look like the Humane Society of the United States’ team is choking this pup?
Certainly, it looks bad. With enough footage of stuff like this, we could probably make a video portraying HSUS’s animal rescue team as an animal abuse team.
Do you see where we’re going with this?
Looks can be deceiving—or they can be manipulated. The device being used around the dog’s neck is a restraint pole that has a cable noose. It’s a tool that can be used safely to restrain a dog by tightening the noose around the dog’s neck and guiding the animal. As far as we can tell, there’s nothing wrong with using it, and apparently this kind of restraint is fine with the Humane Society of the United States, too.
Yet when it comes to another animal-control tool, you see the Humane Society of the United States screaming bloody murder. That was on display recently in Los Angeles when HSUS and PETA lobbied the city council to ban elephant guides, also known as ankuses, effectively banning the circus.
The proper use of elephant guides is supported by the American Veterinary Medical Association and the American Association of Zoo Veterinarians. But HSUS, PETA, and other animal liberation groups—they are not veterinary groups—have an ideological agenda and oppose having animals in the circus, and so they have used elephant guides as a wedge issue to attack the circus. The guides are needed because elephants are huge animals and trainers need a way of giving cues. But HSUS and PETA have seized on a few instances of apparent misuse to harass the circus.
The AVMA is clear in condemning the misuse of the guides. But misuse of something is no reason to ban it. The dog-snaring rod, or even a leash, could be abused by yanking a canine around by its neck. It’s not logical to ban snaring rods and dog leashes, however—nor is it logical to ban cars because of drunk drivers, for another example.
The issue of elephant guides has been something the HSUS- and PETA-type zealots have long tried to bludgeon the circus with. Activists sued Feld Entertainment in 2000, arguing that the elephant guide amounted to illegal harassment of an endangered species (that is, Asian elephants in the circus). Activists lost that suit after a decade of litigation, and it emerged in court that activists had been paying the key witness in that case, Tom Rider, a former Ringling Bros. employee, whom the court found to have “lied” and to be “not credible” and a “paid plaintiff.” Court records show an HSUS check, signed by CEO Wayne Pacelle, going to an alleged vehicle in this witness-payment scheme. Feld has filed a RICO suit against the parties in this previous lawsuit, as well as HSUS, alleging bribery and illegal witness payments.
As for the photo above, if you’re curious about the raid in which the above photo was taken, you can read more about the circumstances here. HSUS employees were actually sued following the raid, but the lawsuit was dropped.
The racketeering lawsuit against HSUS, however, goes on. After all, an elephant never forgets.