30 Sep 2012 - Lookout, Here Come the Lawyers

Look out! Here come the lawyers! There were two lawsuits in the news this week that caught my attention and both involved the Humane Society of the United States. That is the organization that wants to eliminate animal agriculture in this country and works very hard every day to do just that.

The Humane Society filed a suit against the National Pork Producers Council, claiming the Pork Check-Off ‘scammed’ pork producers out of $60-million to fund their lobbying efforts. The other lawsuit was filed against the Humane Society of the United States by Feld Entertainment, parent of Ringling Bros. Circus. A little bit of history on this one. It was back in 2000 that HSUS filed a suit against the circus, claiming mistreatment of circus elephants, an endangered specie. As that lawsuit moved through the court system the judge learned that a leading witness against the circus had been paid approximately $190,000.00 for his testimony, and the judge threw that case out of court.

Well, Feld Entertainment decided not to let it rest there and the circus company took the opportunity to go after HSUS, after ten years of defending itself against manufactured claims. So, the parent of Ringling Bros. Circus sued HSUS under RICO, Racketeer Influence and Corrupt Organizations Act, stating it caused the circus serious harm. They want their legal fees, already $20-million, and damages from the Humane Society of the United States. I commend Feld Entertainment for filing the lawsuit and I wish them success in the court room.

Now, back to the lawsuit against the Pork Producers Council, and in effect, against all other Check-Off programs. I have long been an advocate of Check-off programs because it directly involves producers in the promotion and research of their products, using their money to advertise ‘Pork, the Other White Meat’, ‘Beef, It’s What’s for Dinner’ and ‘The Incredible Egg’. But those dollars go far beyond those advertising campaigns to do research to produce better quality, more nutritious food for the nation’s consumers and to find even more humane ways to treat livestock, which HSUS says is its goal.

And when it comes to talking about ‘scams’, I think HSUS should look in a mirror. As you watch their TV ads, don’t you get the feeling that nearly every dollar you send them goes to your local animal shelter to care for abandoned, mistreated, sickly pets? Well, talk to your local animal shelter and ask how many checks they have received from HSUS. I already know the answer to that one. And I also know who the big winners will be in both these cases…the lawyers!

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