Why did HSUS misinform us––and you?
by Steve Hindi, president, Showing Animals Respect & Kindness
On Monday, January 15, 2018, I sent an email to Humane Society of the United States president Wayne Pacelle demanding a copy of all HSUS documentation regarding live pigeon shoots around the country. I copied Anna West and Heidi Prescott, as both are employed by HSUS, and are mentioned in the January 15 email to Pacelle.
I demanded documentation from Pacelle because HSUS is not telling the truth about the status of pigeon shoots. In September 2017, Heidi Prescott gave assurances to Animals 24-7, via West, that pigeon shoots in Maryland had been stopped.
“On behalf of Heidi Prescott, senior vice president of campaigns at The Humane Society of the United States,” wrote West, “We have stopped [pigeon] shoots in California, North Carolina, Ohio, and Texas — and most recently secured an attorney general’s opinion in Maryland that will prevent live pigeon shoots from occurring there.”
SHARK videotaped pigeons being shot
On January 15, 2018, SHARK investigator Stu Chaifetz went to a Maryland canned hunt club and filmed the aftermath of a pigeon shoot from a day earlier. Stu also recorded a club employee discussing the shoot at some length, even as the employee went about killing shoot survivors.
This is not the first time that HSUS has put out false information. In the same September statement wherein Prescott claimed HSUS stopped Maryland pigeon shoots, she makes the same claim about North Carolina. But pigeon shoots in North Carolina didn’t stop – they expanded.
HSUS operatives have a long history of making false claims. They often claim credit for either the accomplishments of others, or for “victories” that never occurred at all, as in the case of these pigeon shoots. Other times, HSUS misleads supporters by claiming victories that are in fact backward steps in the effort to improve the treatment of animals.
If HSUS will not tell the truth about pigeon shoots in Maryland and North Carolina, there is no reason to believe the organization about pigeon shoots in California, Ohio and Texas.
“Victories” must be real
SHARK is as happy as any group to proclaim a victory, but it is important that the victory be real, and supporters/donors shouldn’t be lied to. In the case of the pigeons, claiming that shoots have ended when they have not means that concerned groups and individuals move on, while the pigeons continue to be slaughtered.
Mr. Pacelle has predictably not responded, and this is further cause for concern If HSUS has nothing to hide, why not let another organization have a look at their documentation? After all, SHARK has had much more success fighting pigeon shoots than has HSUS or any other group.
SHARK knocked out all pigeon shoots in Illinois, knocked out a few shoots over the past few years in Pennsylvania and recently put so much pressure on PA pigeon shoots that they went into hiding altogether. We can’t even find them now, and interestingly, HSUS won’t take part in the search.
Pennsylvania pigeon shoots more secretive than dogfights
Even before driving Pennsylvania’s shoots underground, we had largely won. Through relentless exposure, SHARK forced live pigeon shoots from all day slaughters that occurred in the open with more than a hundred attendees, to relatively brief events with perhaps a dozen killers.
Pennsylvania’s pigeon shoots today are more secretive than dogfights. We have exposed the rich and powerful, and in spite of the shooters’ political connections and their protection by corrupt law enforcement, we’ve sent the killers running for cover.
In 2017 we forced Oklahoma Senator Jim Inhofe to end his live pigeon shoot fundraisers. By repeatedly doing our job of exposing Inhofe’s egregious killing, we dominated a powerful sitting senator in his own state.
But HSUS just helped to give Pennsylvania pigeon shoots legal cover
Some years back I was a substantial donor to HSUS. Then I wised up. Even after that, for years SHARK and I still tried to work with HSUS, but the enormous level of empty talk versus real action was too much to deal with. Now, I just want HSUS to get out of the way, so we can move forward. Instead, HSUS recently helped push through a law in Pennsylvania that actually gives pigeon shooters legal cover.
Anyone who knows about SHARK knows we don’t have marketers and publicists, or even offices. We don’t wear suits, and we don’t spend our time, money and efforts on galas and parties. We are field investigators, or journalists if you will. We are documenters who have had enormous successes on a shoestring budget.
SHARK wants to end live pigeon shoots, and the pigeons want to live, so there’s no time to waste. We want HSUS documentation so we can cut through the propaganda, and see what still needs to be done to usher live pigeon shoots into the dustbin of history.