For those of
you who follow this blog, you know that public-relations hit man Rick Berman
has raised a lot of money from animal-abuse groups to conduct a brand attack on
The Humane Society of the United States
through his spider web of front groups, including the Center for Consumer
Freedom. We’re not alone among nonprofits in being a target. He’s
attacked anti-smoking groups on behalf of Big Tobacco. He works for the alcohol
industry. For junk food makers. For tanning bed companies. But
given the focus he has on The HSUS, some of
his most lucrative work is no doubt on behalf of animal abusers.
Kathy Milani/The HSUS
One of many dogs we've helped rescue from fighting.
it: it’s perfectly logical that a guy like Berman would attack The HSUS. We are
the greatest threat to animal cruelty. And the people who profit from cruelty
don’t want us to make progress. This just comes with the territory.
unexpected, we won’t hesitate to call him out, or anyone else who stands in the
way of progress for animals. Berman has taken out
dozens of full-page ads in national newspapers and in other publications
attacking us, under the banner of the Center for Consumer Freedom and its
HumaneWatch project (spending millions in the process). It’s all been very
lucrative for Berman, who lives in an enormous mansion and siphons off a huge share of funds directed to his phony “nonprofits” for
himself and his for-profit PR company, Berman and Company.
So today one
of Berman’s groups dropped another $100,000 or so to attack us for putting
Michael Vick to work against dogfighting. He could have put that money
into rewards programs for dogfighting, or rehabilitating fighting animals, or
paying for investigations of illegal animal fighting operations–as The HSUS does every day. But helping animals
isn’t his thing–in fact, it’s just the opposite.
ago, I knew it would be controversial to enlist Michael Vick in our outreach
work in inner-city schools. But today this is hardly news, since I’ve talked
about it on 60 Minutes and ABC's Nightline, wrote a chapter on it in The Bond, and discussed it in so
many other platforms, as a way to raise awareness of the problem of dogfighting
in our society. Since Vick's case came to light, we’ve
upgraded laws against animal fighting in 40 states, and passed a new federal
law to ban possession of fighting animals and to
make it a federal felony.
spoken, together with Vick, to thousands
of inner-city kids about the evils of dogfighting. The point was to have a
guy like Vick, who grew up on inner-city
streets and got drawn into the world of dogfighting, warn these kids away from
the activity. His target was not our base of supporters, but kids and
others who don’t normally get exposed to our messages. Now those kids have become converts to our cause, and many of them are speaking out against dogfighting in inner-city neighborhoods and starting animal protection clubs at their schools.
Now Berman is
trying to make an issue of Vick acquiring a dog for his daughters. The HSUS had
nothing to do with Vick getting a dog, and we didn't know about it until it was reported in the media. But Vick’s probationary period is over, so he is legally allowed to get a dog.
There are thousands of dogs
still suffering in fighting pits who need our attention. The HSUS works every day to put
dogfighters in jail and to protect tens of thousands of dogs chewed up in this
industry, pulling dogs out of fighting rings and working with our partners in the pit bull rescue community to give them care and new homes. We work to protect millions of dogs suffering in the puppy mill trade. And we are working to
end euthanasia of dogs by promoting spay-and-neuter and shelter adoption.
millions of dogs at risk, and we need to focus on them. It’s understandable to be upset about Vick’s
crimes that led to his arrest. What he did was terrible. We were
also outraged, and that’s why we demanded his prosecution. There is nothing more that
can be done with regard to Vick’s crimes, and we need to refocus our anger and
turn our attention to efforts
to help the
millions of animals still at risk due to the ongoing issues of animal cruelty
in our nation.
has opposed our campaigns to end seal clubbing, factory farming, puppy mills,
and just about everything else we do. He’s shilling for corporate entities that
don’t like our agenda to take on the biggest forms of animal cruelty in the
person should get caught up in his con or masquerade. Join us in fighting
ongoing abuses that matter and kick him and his silly little stunts to the