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December 12, 2008

Talk Back: United Front

Here at The Humane Society of the United States, we are so fortunate to have such a powerful base of passionate supporters. Millions strong, we are joined together in the fight for animal protection, driven by your devotion to the cause and your hope for the future. Your feedback from the past few days is a testament to this; today I wanted to share some of your comments. 

A number of you weighed in on my post about our political opponents declaring The HSUS their number one threat:

Wayne, if you're lucky, you'll actually make it to the list of scary monsters and bogeymen. The truth will prevail—this is why Prop 2 passed in California. Scare tactics and the politics of fear don't work as well now as they did the last eight years. People are waking up, and they're seeing that compassion, patience and open-mindedness are the true path to progress. —Lisa J.

I think it is pretty obvious that these extremist organizations are getting worried. And the industries that just see animals as commerce are fearing that, heaven forbid, they'll have to treat living creatures a little more humanely. Many attitudes and beliefs in our society, thank God, are changing. Even though I'd like to see animal welfare become a priority with everyone, things are definitely swinging our way, slowly but surely. The popularity of hunting, for instance, has dropped a great deal in the last few years. A lot of us are considering what we eat, and the impact it has on the lives of animals as well as the environment. The treatment of animals used in sporting events is being evaluated. The media is giving more attention to puppy mill raids and incidents of animal fighting. Laws are finally being passed because so many people are horrified by what they see on the news. So, yes I would say that these people who make money off the victimization, exploitation and killing of innocent animals are sweating. —Barbara

Yes, we have run across the Center for Consumer "Freedom" and its websites like this that make the Internet research so pathetic. They do not protect anyone; they only spread misinformation and confuse people even more than they already are. It is very important that you are writing an exposé such as this to educate people about the false face that this organization is all about. Thank you for all that you do. —Erlyn, Mark and Kaitlyn Garrison

This post represents what I've seen in any number of blogs representing animal sport industries and practitioners. I've seen deliberate mischaracterization of The HSUS across the board, and I'm grateful for your persistent efforts in the face of such opposition. As one who has witnessed many acts of animal cruelty, across all manner of business and "sport," I cannot imagine a world without a strong and consistent voice for those who deserve our unqualified protection. Thank you. —Jafig

Many of you also responded to my piece about taking on industrial animal agriculture's major impact on global climate change. Among your comments:

What a well-written piece. You do wonderful work and the important information that you have written on in this blog is at the heart of worldwide ethics. Thank you for all that you do… your determination is making important change happen. —Erlyn, Mark and Katie Garrison

We're being made into people who turn a blind eye to the obvious suffering around us so that others can make a buck. We're being force-fed just like the ducks, herded to slaughter like the cows, and knocked out with inefficient captive bolts. The more people who stand up for what is right, the less able big agribusiness, USDA and our government will be able to ignore what is true: we need to change our habits before it's too late. —Lisa J.

And, finally, in response to my Thanksgiving post:

This write-up couldn't have come at a better time. I highly relate to: "Not a day goes by when I am not shaken and confounded by acts of indifference and malice." I always wonder how folks who run the large animal protection orgs keep going. Every time I'm about to give up, I get inspiration at the right time: "But it is time to rededicate ourselves to our mission." We MUST carry on for those who are defenseless and can't speak for themselves. —Deedee D.

People are complicated, irrational creatures when it comes to how they view animals. For my magazine article writing class, I'm doing an article on animals and the law. It's fascinating. Every single person I've talked to has told me that they care about animals. Some of them were animal rights activists and some of them owned confined animal feeding operations. I've come to the conclusion that all people are basically good, and that goodness rebels against cruelty to animals. Therefore, people convince themselves that anything they do is not cruel to animals. I don't think they even really completely buy their rationales, but they cling to them anyway. Believing something false to clear your conscious is easier than changing your lifestyle to do so. —Mindy Quittem

Dear Wayne and all those involved in the HSUS: I wish I were as strong as you. I, for one, cannot bare to even watch a video of animal cruelty, much less physically confront it, which is why I donate to those that can. Thank you for your strength. I don't have a lot of money, but I give what I can. I wish I could do more—I am very thankful for you. As you say to me in all of your emails, "Thank you for all you do for animals". —Mary

Hi Wayne, I'm thankful for you, your hard work and sacrifice. HSUS has really thrived and expanded its' good works and influence under your leadership. A wise supervisor I once had told me that all organizations take on the demeanor of their leader—for better or worse. I know you have impacted HSUS for the better. I'm so glad you have put the spotlight on farmed animal issues, puppy mills and marine life, among the many others. I live in Maryland and I've been thinking a lot about the dogs living in wire cages in puppy mills with the weather being so cold. I pray for them and I make calls and write letters from the Stop Puppy Mills website. —Jenny Saccenti

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