By Larry Keane, National Shooting Sports Foundation
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife has announced, that it will be holding its second public workshop on June 3 to discuss the implementation of California’s new lead ammunition ban, signed into law last year by Gov. Jerry Brown after being championed by the Governor’s personal dog walker and Humane Society lobbyist. While this simple public forum may appear benign, this law (AB 711) illustrates the duplicitous work of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).
According to its website, HSUS is “the nation’s largest and most effective animal protection organization.” However, the group is not affiliated with your local shelter or dog and cat assistance agency. Earlier this year Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt issued a consumer alert about the organization’s fund raising tactics even as state residents were discovering their donations made to HSUS would not help animals displaced by the devastating Moore tornadoes.
Despite deceiving their donors into believing that they are supporting animal welfare efforts with their contributions, only 1 percent of its budget goes to local animal shelters. In fact, in 2012, HSUS put $20 million worth of its assets into Caribbean investment funds, as the organization Humane Watch, pointed out in a full-page ad in USA Today. Those assets could see a huge debit if HSUS uses them to fund the $15.75 million settlement it and co-defendants reached last week with Fed Entertainment, parent company of Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus, ending nearly 14 years of frivolous litigation over the care of Asian elephants.
For certain, May will not go into the record books as a good one for HSUS.
Now, NSSF has obtained the HSUS playbook to ban hunting with traditional ammunition across the country. AB711 was the first key step in HSUS’s campaign to effectively ban all hunting through pursuing a ban on traditional ammunition. The playbook says, “We have intentionally chosen to concentrate first on banning the use of all lead ammunition for hunting in California and pursuing a ban on federal lands owned by the Department of Interior in order to build momentum for the campaign and to spur change within the various ammunition manufacturers and state wildlife agencies.”
In its playbook, HSUS also reveals a tactic that should alarm every hunter who has viewed state and federal fish and game agencies as supportive of hunting. Despite the fact that hunter license fees and excise taxes provide the vast majority of funding for these agencies, HSUS brags about infiltrating these agencies and expresses confidence in shaping their policies when it comes to use of traditional ammunition:
The HSUS has close working relationships with state wildlife agencies all across the country. Our wildlife department staff and state directors regularly attend state wildlife agency meetings where they have presented to top level agency officials and developed close working relationships with wildlife law enforcement officers in the majority of states. Our state directors attend department and commission meetings and have developed long-lasting relationships. We are regularly contacted to participate in stakeholder meetings and asked about The HSUS position on pending proposals. In fact, many of our staff serves on state wildlife agency appointed boards and commissions. These existing relationships will go a long way in our campaign to end the use of lead ammunition.
We will be filing a petition to ban the use of lead ammunition for hunting purposes on federal lands owned by the Department of Interior (DOI)—which comprises about one-fifth of the total land area of the United States. We are in a better position than other groups to spearhead this effort given our strong federal congressional and agency relationships, as well as our years of experience working through these types of reforms. We are currently in discussions with the DOI on furthering this goal, and we have great confidence—given our mainstream approach and our knack for strategy—that we will be able to achieve all or part of this goal.
The group claims they are “ushering in a new era of humane management” that will only work to outlaw lead ammunition, not ban hunting. However, in an interview posted this month an HSUS spokeswoman revealed their true agenda: “We are the Humane Society of the United States, so we do not support hunting.”
HSUS can’t camouflage its true motive for its Lead-Free campaign. They see it as a means to ultimately bring an end to the hunting tradition. NSSF will remain vigilant in the states and in Washington, DC to expose HSUS as the anti-hunting, radical animal rights organization it is and to fight against traditional ammunition bans and protect America’s hunting tradition. And hunters should remain vigilant to any indication that the fish and game agencies that are funded by hunter dollars have begun taking their orders from the same group that wants to put them out of business entirely.
Larry Keane is the VP and General Counsel of the National Shooting Sports Foundation. Click here to visit NSSF.