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February 27, 2012

Give ‘Dr. Evil’ a Taste of His Own Medicine

Notorious Washington, D.C. lobbyist Rick Berman is taking aim again at our campaigns to combat animal cruelty. One of his front groups―something he calls "HumaneWatch"aired a TV ad during last night’s Academy Awards attacking The Humane Society of the United States. He doesn’t attack us because we are ineffective―but precisely the opposite, because he knows we are relentless in our campaigns against animal cruelty. He is essentially running something similar to an anonymous, pro-cruelty “Super PAC” against The HSUS, just as he has done against Mothers Against Drunk Driving, labor groups, and other public interest groups on behalf of anyone else who is willing to line his pockets.

Your HSUS is under attack because of our work to prevent cruelty to all animals, and we need your help. That’s why today I am launching the “HSUS Fund to Stop Rick Berman’s Campaign for Cruelty," and I hope you will join me. Whenever he does his worst, we need to do our best in response. So will you join me today and donate $25, $50, or even $100 to help animals in the name of Rick Berman? We’ll put the money to good use. We’ll take the fight straight to his shadowy paymasters and show them that attacking the cause of animal protection will backfire big-time as a business strategy. I’m making the first donation of $500.

North Carolina puppy mill rescue
Diane Lewis
Help us fight puppy mills and factory farming.

We’ll dedicate half the donations for our work against puppy mills, and the other half will boost our efforts to combat factory farming abuses. Your contributions will fund the undercover investigations, litigation, corporate campaigns, and the other work that Berman and his paymasters so desperately hope to stop.

CBS’ 60 Minutes investigated him years ago and dubbed him “Dr. Evil.” He’s like a bad penny―he turns up opportunistically as a corporate hireling to take on any number of common-sense ideas, whether it’s attempts to rein in drunken driving, to place limits on smoking, or to combat animal cruelty.

In this case as in others, he won’t tell you who is paying him millions of dollars to turn on his smear machine. Few moneyed interests, you see, are willing to publicly defend mistreatment of animals. But they are happy to have a front man like Berman.

Though we cannot tell you who is paying Berman, we can tell you who stands to benefit from his dirty work. The worst players in factory farming would like The HSUS to stand down so they can continue practices like confining breeding pigs or veal calves in tiny cages so small they cannot even turn around for essentially their entire lives.

Puppy millers might be banking on Berman. After all, nothing could make them happier than if The HSUS turned its attention elsewhere instead of the lifetimes of misery inflicted on commercial breeding dogs for the sake of high profits in the puppy-selling business.

Is the fur industry chipping in? After all, The HSUS worked to reduce Canada’s seal killing by 85 percent since 2004, and more broadly we are a global leader in promoting faux fur alternatives to trapping or clubbing animals for fur. Or how about dogfighters and cockfighters? They are spitting mad that we have dared to drive them into the criminal underground. The same with those people who want to breed and sell dangerous exotic animals for backyard pets.

It’s high time to send these animal abusers a message and to make the name “Rick Berman” do something to help animals, something real. By donating to The HSUS for this new fund, you can help us expose those who make money from mistreatment of animals.

Donate here to our HSUS Fund to Stop Rick Berman’s Campaign for Cruelty," and we’ll keep you posted on how your donations in Rick’s name are helping animals. As I said, I’m kicking things off with $500 donation, and other members of our executive team at HSUS are chipping in another $2,500. I know with your help we will reach our goal of $250,000—that’s $125,000 to help pets, and another $125,000 to take on factory farming abuses, all thanks to Rick Berman.

Why $250,000? Two reasons: First, we can do a lot of good for animals with that amount. Secondly, $250,000 about equals the price tag of the luxury import car that Berman wheels around town in while raking in hefty fees for attacking people who are trying to fight cruelty and to stop drunk drivers from taking lives.

What could be more fitting than to expose the worst of the practices that Berman encourages, whether intentionally or not, with his smear tactics on us? Thank you so much for standing with us, and for all of your support of our work to stop animal cruelty.

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