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April 20, 2012

Defenders of Cruelty Distort the Truth

In our field, we are used to seeing the defenders of cruelty go to great lengths to obscure the facts, to justify their misconduct, or to turn black into white. As it happened, this trait was on display this week in spades.

Hens in battery cages at Kreider Farms during an HSUS egg investigation
The HSUS
Birds at Kreider Farms during our investigation.

First, there was, to put it charitably, the eyebrow-raising claim by the U.S. Zoological Association’s Joe Schreibvogel that Terry Thompson―the man who released his exotic animals in Zanesville, Ohio, and then killed himself―was murdered. Schreibvogel suggested that Thompson, the perpetrator of one of the worst tragedies in the history of the captive exotics issue, was actually the victim of a vast plot designed to advance stronger legislation. This ludicrous idea got the response it deserved.

Then, there were the serial self-contradictions from spokespersons for Kreider Farms about The HSUS’s investigation into the cramped confinement of hens at its Manheim, Pa., factories. Whether it concerned the evidence of salmonella in its facilities, the nature of inspections at Kreider, or the simple fact of whether or not The HSUS had actually placed an investigator at the company, Kreider couldn’t seem to find its way to the truth. We helped, as our press statement made plain.

And finally, there was the discomfiting news that the American Kennel Club was throwing in its lot with trophy hunters and others in California seeking to defend the inhumane and unsporting practice of hunting bears and bobcats with packs of radio-collared dogs. At the end of the day, hounding is cruelty to bears, bobcats, and dogs, and it’s just Orwellian for an organization that seeks to “advocate for the purebred dog as a family companion, advance canine health and well-being, work to protect the rights of all dog owners and promote responsible dog ownership” to condone it. But AKC has done still worse, insisting in a letter to legislators that hounding “enhance[s] the bond between humans and canines.”

In these and similar cases, one sees a persistent theme―the idea that the cruelty and misery are concoctions of a great conspiracy or scheme, rather than the consequences of heartless people taking liberties with helpless animals or making excuses for those who do.  

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