News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Flashpoint

June 2, 2013

FLASHPOINT: Humane Society does not merit IRS targeting either

TERRE HAUTE — Rep. Blaine Leutkemeyer is right that the IRS should not target any charitable organization solely on the basis of its ideology. Yet that’s exactly what he’s asking the IRS to do in his factually unfounded attacks on The Humane Society of the United States, the nation’s largest animal welfare organization and one that has the highest marks from the top charity watchdog organizations.

Leutkemeyer’s hostility toward HSUS began during the Missouri Proposition B campaign. As a political ally of puppy mill operators, Leutkemeyer didn’t like Prop B’s call for more humane breeding standards. Even though Missouri voters approved Prop B in November 2010, he and other federal and state lawmakers called for its repeal even before it went into effect.

Leutkemeyer also objects to our campaigns to promote more humane and sustainable agriculture — mainly through our efforts to halt extreme confinement of animals on factory farms. We are working with the United Egg Producers, which represents more than 90 percent of U.S. egg production, to provide more space for laying hens, and together we are backing a bill in Congress that Leutkemeyer opposes. The HSUS has also worked with more than 50 major American food retailers — from McDonald’s to Costco to Cracker Barrel — within the last 16 months to announce new policies to phase out their purchases of pork from operations that confine sows in metal gestation crates.

Because he doesn’t like our work to promote the humane treatment of animals, Leutkemeyer has asked the IRS to target the HSUS — the very thing he condemns the agency for doing to other organizations. The fact is, HSUS, like most major charities, is regularly audited by the IRS. It has not gotten a pass from the agency, as Leutkemeyer falsely claims.

Like any 501(c)(3) organization, the HSUS is allowed to conduct some lobbying, but is forbidden from  supporting or opposing candidates for office. We observe those standards with rigor. The HSUS, on average, spends less than 5 percent of its funds on lobbying.

The Humane Society Legislative Fund, an affiliated but separately funded 501(c)(4) organization with a specific mission to promote animal welfare, is allowed to conduct a wider range of expressly permitted political activities. Leutkemeyer conflates the work of HSUS and HSLF, in an unfortunate and, one must assume, intentional misrepresentation.

Another of Leutkemeyer’s willful misrepresentations is that “only 1 percent of the money HSUS raises makes its way to animal shelters at all.” The HSUS is not a grant-making agency, just like the American Farm Bureau does not exist simply to give grants to farmers and the AARP does not exist to give grants to retirement homes.

Here are the facts. The HSUS works to protect all animals from cruelty and abuse. We have the nation’s largest and most robust animal rescue program — working with law enforcement to rescue animals from illegal puppy mills, hoarding operations, dogfights, cockfights and other large-scale cruelties. With its affiliates, the HSUS also runs the nation’s largest network of animal care centers. We have a veterinary division that provides services to animals in the most remote parts of the country and abroad. We run inner-city programs that provide animal-care services to pets and the people who care about them. And we run international street dog management programs that touch the lives of countless people and animals.

Not long ago, the HSUS was rated by its peers in animal protection as the nation’s most effective group in our field. That’s ultimately the reason for Leutkemeyer’s interest in HSUS — that we do too much for animals, rather than too little. His political targeting of animal welfare is disingenuous, wrong on the details, and hypocritical.

Wayne Pacelle is president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States, humanesociety.org.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Flashpoint
Latest News
TribStar.com Poll
AP Video
Joy Fills Streets of Cleveland As LeBron Returns Raw: Israel, Gaza Exchange Rocket Fire Raw: Rebel Leader Weds in Eastern Ukraine Police: Prostitute Linked to 2nd Death Texas Shooting Suspect Collapses in Court Ana Ortiz on 'Devious Maids' Finale Raw: Stunning Timelapse of WC Final Host City Arizona Mom of Missing Baby Released From Prison WH: LeBron's Move a 'Powerful Statement' Raw: Militants, Israelis Exchange Rocket Fire Proposed Bill to Regulate NY Costumed Characters Raw: Protesters, Israeli Security Forces Clash Diaz and Segel Strip Off for 'Sex Tape' Man Flees Police in World Cup Scalping Scheme Death Toll Tops 100 As Israel Offense Continues Raw: Airstrike Creates Chaos on Gaza Streets Israel Widens Attack As Gaza Death Toll Rises Raw: Airstrike Creates Chaos on Gaza Streets LeBron James Says He's Returning to Cavaliers More Immigrants Detained Along Rio Grande
NDN Video
Cleveland welcomes home LeBron Houston Killer Collapses in Court When Read Capital Murder Charges for Allegedly Killing Family of Six Worst Valet Ever Wrecks $500K Lamborghini Glee Star Becca Tobin's Boyfriend Matt Bendik Found Dead in Hotel Aerial fish restocking in Utah ScarJo Channels Marilyn Monroe Obama Responds to Hecklers on Immigration Tiny Hamsters Who Ate Burritos are Back for a Tiny Hedgehog's Party Watch Kelly Ripa Get Soaked! 'Referee' Hands Out Yellow Cards for Social Faux Pas in NYC 2014 Emmy Nominees: 8 Snub Shockers Emma Watson Is Va-Va-Voom in Valentino 7 Infamous Sports Blowouts Argentina tops Holland in World Cup semifinals News flush: Japanese toilet exhibition making a splash Emmy Nominations: What to Watch For 'Game of Thrones' Leads 66th Emmy Awards Nominations Photographic 'Proof' That LeBron Is Leaving Miami - @TheBuzzeronFOX Elephant Pool Party at The Oregon Zoo Must-See! Berry and Fallon Form Human Hamster Wheel
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -

     

    March 12, 2010

activity