Your Vote Counts: Humane Society, Grover Norquist Backing Missouri Initiative

pacelle.jpg
Wayne Pacelle: The Humane Society is backing a new initiative in Missouri.
​As the CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, Wayne Pacelle, told us last week, his organization plans to back a constitutional amendment on the 2012 ballot in Missouri called Your Vote Counts.

And Pacelle wasn't kidding around. Campaign finance records show that the Humane Society has already channeled $64,957 in resources toward the Your Vote Counts campaign -- making it the effort's biggest donor to date.

So what is Your Vote Counts? Technically, it has nothing to do with cats and dogs. But it has everything to do with a controversial piece of legislation involving the Humane Society last fall: Prop B, or the anti-puppy mill initiative.


In November 2010, the Humane Society and its allies eked out a hard-fought win at the ballot box, persuading the tiniest plurality of Missouri voters to enact strict new regulations on dog breeders here. But that victory was quickly undone in the Missouri Legislature, which approved a bill gutting everything the voters had just approved. When Governor Nixon signed into law the "Missouri Compromise," many of the harshest restrictions approved by voters were nowhere to be seen.

Enter Your Vote Counts. As Pacelle admits, the Humane Society decided to back the constitutional amendment in direct response to what happened to Prop B. If approved by voters in November 2012, the initiative would mandate protections for future citizen initiatives -- the Legislature would no longer be able to undo the will of the people without mustering a three-fourths majority.

In preliminary paperwork for the committee pushing the new initiative, the Humane Society's fingerprints are clear: Not only is the committee's treasurer the same guy who performed that role for the Prop B campaign, Bradley Ketcher, but Humane Society cash has already been rolling in.

To date, Your Vote Counts has reported $25,000 in contributions, all of it from the Humane Society, and $47,214 in "in-kind contributions," with the lion's share of that ($39,957) coming from, yes, the Humane Society.

The only other in-kind contribution reported to date, valued at $7,257, is from "Citizens in Charge," a Virginia-based group that fights to protect the initiative and referendum process.

Other backers for Your Vote Counts include some frequent Humane Society allies (the ASPCA, Best Friends Animal Society), one group we've never heard of, but whose position we can hardly argue with (Stop Child Predators), and the populist low-tax wing of the conservative movement (Grover Norquist's group Americans for Tax Reform and the National Taxpayers Union).

So, in other words, it's just your everyday run-of-the-mill coalition of animal welfare groups and right-wing activists. Ought to be very, very interesting indeed.


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12 comments
Adevarul
Adevarul

The founding fathers and the patriots of this country wanteda Republic where issues would be decided by vote.  Somewhere along the way heavy handedgovernment decided that vote outcomes no longer mattered.  The only legislation that would stand waswhat they decided would stand and they began to subvert, pervert and blatantlydeny the will of the voters - you know, their constituents.  Your Vote Counts is FAR bigger than oneanimal rights issue.  That's because theMissouri legislature, backed by special interests, has tweaked or shredded farmore than legislation than involves just HSUS. It's time to take back our power of the vote.  In fact, I'd support an amendment that calledfor legislative investigations of willful manipulation of initiatives after thepeople have voted them up or down.  Legislators& commissions who participate need to be outed.

John E Melton
John E Melton

The voter's wishes should be followed, but if change is needed put it to another vote after modifications as needed? And I'd leave Norquist out of it if I were them--he's not a popular man with many groups. He has done more to create gridlock in Congress than about any other man in the US.

BerksBound
BerksBound

Oh, the paranoid delusions of Humanewatch strike again!

HSUS wants to end all animal agriculture? Yeah, right. That must be why they're created a coalition of livestock farmers to talk about humane livestock standards. That must be why they're helping humane livestock farmers market their products, also, right?

The myth that HSUS is part of a sinister Vegan Conspiracy to wipe out all use of animals is part of the CCF's scare tactics. CCF and some ag industry groups oppose the HSUS because it:

- exposes unsafe, unhealthy, and inhumane practices in factory farms- promotes legislation that requires humane treatment for animals- encourages members to "eat with conscience", avoiding inhumanely farmed products

All three of these anger agricultural operations that cut corners on animal welfare to increase their profits.

But the truth is that the HSUS opposes cruelty and abuse in the ag industry -- not the ag industry itself. The HSUS has supported legislation to eliminate intensive confinement systems, specifically battery cages, gestation crates, and veal crates.

These are cruel methods of restraining an animal for its entire life, confining them to a space barely larger than their bodies. They cause a host of physical and psychological problems in the confined animals who literally go mad with frustration and pain. Worst of all, it's a wholly unnecessary practice that inflicts needless suffering on the animals in order to increase profits.

That's unacceptable to most Americans. When the issue has been presented to voters -- as it has been in California, Florida, Oregon, Maine, Michigan, and Arizona -- they overwhelmingly vote to ban these inhumane practices.

The large ag corporations like Cargill, Tyson, and Smithfield are not happy about being confronted on this dirty little secret. Intensive confinement systems are indefensibly cruel, and ag corporations recognize that Americans are opposed to the practice. Because they cannot defend the practice, they rally behind the myth that HSUS is not merely eliminating cruelty, but is "attacking agriculture" and our very way of life.

While HSUS promotes vegan eating as a way to reduce the suffering of animals, it does not force that choice on anyone -- including its own employees. The mythical Vegan Conspiracy is a convenient boogeyman used to distract Americans from the real issues.

HSUS is only "attacking agriculture" if you believe that cruelty and torture are a necessary part of agriculture. What ag groups are defending is not agriculture, but cruel practices that sacrifice the welfare of the animals for profits. And that's the complete opposite of what good farmers represent.

Fortunately, cruelty and agriculture are not inextricably linked. Humane farming operations like Fulton Farms (which raises sustainable, grass-fed beef) are applauded by HSUS. HSUS also supports the Certified Humane label and the new Global GAP standards of animal welfare.

EmmaGH
EmmaGH

Regardless of what you think of HSUS or Prop B, it shouldn't be so easy for the legislature to overturn the will of the people/citizens' initiative. There are other examples: minimum wage, concealed carry (although I'm sure all of the anti-HSUS people are carrying ....)

The point is that someday the initiative may be something *you* care about, and legislatures change. The problem is that the 75% threshold is too high - it should be 80% (or higher) to start, to prevent imprudent immediate action, but then decrease somewhat in subsequent years to allow reversal of unintended consequences.

SB133 *did* gut Prop B - stop kidding yourselves, but neither HSUS nor anyone would ever stop animal agriculture in Missouri. Listen to the legislature for 5 minutes and that is clear.

Devered
Devered

If HSUS would use their money to help the pets of Joplin who were left homeless by the tornadoes, I would have soe respect for them,  The $60,000+ they have spent on trying to change Missouri state lasws makes no sense.  Does any officer of HSUS live in Missouri? I don't think so.

HSUSisTaxFraud
HSUSisTaxFraud

What's good for the goose... It should be required that no voter initiative may be passed without a three fourths majority too.

Legalize Liberty
Legalize Liberty

Your article "Your Vote Counts:  Humane Society, Grover Norquist Backing Missouri Initiative" is yet more deception on Prop B and the VPA (Voter Deception Act).

You state:

"In November 2010, the Humane Society and its allies eked out a hard-fought win at the ballot box, persuading the tiniest plurality of Missouri voters to enact strict new regulations on dog breeders here. But that victory was quickly undone in the Missouri Legislature, which approved a bill gutting everything the voters had just approved. When Governor Nixon signed into law the "Missouri Compromise," many of the harshest restrictions approved by voters were nowhere to be seen."

Did you ever read Prop B?  SB113?  SB161?  I think that it is your responsibility to do so, before you take the word of the likes of Wayne Pacelle, whose agenda is far removed from "cute little puppies".  Please READ THE BILLS. 

Prop B offers no protection for dogs.  Instead it falsely defines "pet" as "any domesticated animal".  Obviously this means "any domesticated animal", it does not mean "dog".  The unconstitutional quantity and other restrictions placed upon "pet" would clearly destroy animal agriculture in Missouri.  If that were not his intent, then Wayne Pacelle would see that as an oversight and be joyfully eager to correct it, would he not?

SB161, insisted upon by Gov Nixon in return for his signature on SB113, does not correct SB113, nor retreat toward Prop B.  It intensifies SB113.  Even Democrat Gov Nixon saw that SB113/SB161 answered, not gutted, the will of the people.

The WILL OF THE PEOPLE in Missouri was to protect dogs, not to destroy animal agriculture.  SB113 corrects the mess left by the deceivers who promoted Prop B.  SB113 redefines "pet" as "domesticated dog, canine familiaris", it removes the irrelevant and unconstitutional count of 50, provides for punishment for actual problems and provides a mechanism for funding.  Prop B did NONE of this.  Prop B enforcement is entirely by attrition and fear mongering via the threat of endless civil litigation.  Prop B does not protect dogs, but SB113 does.  SB113 does not violate the will of the people, but Prop B does.  DID YOU READ THOSE BILLS?

SB113 did not "gut everything the voters had just approved".  Unless you somehow believe that the will of the people was to destroy animal agriculture.  When you say "When Governor Nixon signed into law the "Missouri Compromise," many of the harshest restrictions approved by voters were nowhere to be seen", what is this based upon?  DID YOU READ THE BILLS?  You clearly have NO IDEA of what restrictions were allegedly there, what was removed, nor of what SB113 added!

Furthermore, to advocate that we now essentially destroy the Missouri Constitution because the Missouri Assembly, both Republican and Democrat, and the Democrat Governor of Missouri corrected this vile piece of deception, preventing Wayne Pacelle and sugar daddy George Soros (yes, we know that HSUS has nothing to do with the real Humane Society, and we know how HSUS is funded) from getting their way by deceiving Missouri voters by the "tiniest plurality" [your words], is not acceptable.  It is absurd and dishonest to call this deception, approved by the "tiniest" margin of voters deceived by Wayne Pacelle, George Soros, HSUS and Robin Carnahan "The Will of the People" (Trumpets!!!!!!!)

Consider for a moment what is at stake here.  This VPA would make impossible the correction of any initiative passed by the "tiniest" margin.  Any deception could be employed, and the voters blurb produced by the Secretary of State is often just that.  If fact, such unasailability will encourage a flood of dishonest "initiatives" promoted by illegitimately rich elitist establishment insiders.  Any ill-worded garbage, accepted again by the Secretary of State, would leave zero recourse for correction.  What if the bill did exactly the opposite of the blurb from the Secretary of State, which is what the voters use to decide?

Couldn't happen?  IT JUST DID!  Prop B is exactly that case, and now it is being used as a cause celebre to make all such destruction permanent, every single time someone like you says or publishes falsehoods like:  "But that victory was quickly undone in the Missouri Legislature, which approved a bill gutting everything the voters had just approved".  The voters did NOT approve the limiting of all Missouri cattle, goat, sheep, pig, chicken, rabbit, goose and duck ranches to 50 head!  They were lied to, by you and your buddies, and did not know it.  These were the only "harshest restrictions" to be removed, a false definition and an unconstitutional count limit.

I give you the opportunity to correct this by telling the strict truth about Prop B, SB113, SB161 and the "Voter Protection Act", which in truth should be called the "Voter Deception Act", or perhaps the "Constitution Destruction Act".

We will spread the truth far and wide.  You have made yourself public.  You may now decide whether you will stand with the truth and the true Will of the People, or whether you intend to continue to push a false,  destructive and hateful cause and GUT the Missouri Constitution. 

The Beach Dog
The Beach Dog

The Missouri legislature took the awful bill the the HSUS wrote that reduced the care the mill dogs were required to receive and made it in to a good compromise. They also included a funding mechanism, which HSUS didn't bother to include in their version. When there is no funding, there is no enforcement - and there have been several large-scale, substandard breeding facilities shut down thanks to this new funding.

You would think that HSUS would be overjoyed that animals living in filth and squalor are being seized - but they aren't. HSUS tried to slip in wording that would have applied to how much livestock or poultry you could have kept, and placed an arbitrary number on the number of animals you could own, regardless of how well they were cared for. This was NEVER about animal welfare, but more about HSUS getting a foot in the door to start limiting the number of animal you could own.

All of the more stringent provisions of existing law were maintained. The HSUS provisions which allowed for a lesser standard of care were removed. The law has funding for enforcement. This is not about the welfare of animals, it never is for HSUS. This is about winning an extreme animal rights agenda.

bayleigh
bayleigh

This mans goal is to end animal agriculture as we know it.  No more cuddly pets to snuggle up with, no more zoos, and no more meat to eat.  Tthey have already gone after the biggest circus in the world, Barnam and Bailey s Circus owned by the Feld family.  This man is relentless in his quest.  He has some 2500 ballot initiatives in the U.S. alone, not to mention overseas.  I can't believe that the IRS hasn't revoked his 501c.  Citizens have sent thousands of registered letters and there are several Congress people and Senators who have also sent the Dept of the Treasury sign letters on the Humane Society of the United States.  Are we, Missourians, going to allow this person the right to waltz into our state and write our laws?  This doesn't have anything to do with the protection of voters rights.  This has everything to do with control and another way to bypass our legislators who make illegal bills, legal.  We live in a republic people and this is why we vote people into office so they can take the initiatives that people like him bring into our state and make them right.  Everyone needs to wake up before all of our constitution rights have been taken away from us.  Keep this creep out of our state!!!!!!!!!!

sickofhsus.
sickofhsus.

I want to punch that guys smile off his face. he should be ashamed of himself putting out about a 1000 people out of work, and potentially signing about off about 10,000 dogs deaths.  When will people wake up and realize what HSUS's true agenda is?  Next they will go after the St. Louis Zoo's and Shriners circus. 

Lewis
Lewis

There are already laws on the books to protect animals from cruelty.  The problem is that they are not being enforced -- not that we need a bunch of new laws.

Lewis
Lewis

The Humane Society of the U.S. (HSUS) money is used for lobbying -- just like the example in the article.  The state Humane Societies actually use money to help animals.

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