The Weekend Telegram story about The Humane Society of the United States, featuring Canadian Sealers Association executive director Frank Pinhorn, got it on wrong on a number of points. We at The HSUS are proud of our work to end the abuse of animals wherever it occurs — whether on a puppy mill, a California slaughter plant, a dogfighting operation or an ice floe. Guidestar’s Philanthropedia experts have ranked HSUS as the highest impact animal protection organization and we receive high ratings for charitable accountability from Charity Navigator and the Better Business Bureau.
The court ruling did not let Ringling Bros. off of the hook on the question of whether it mistreats elephants in its circus. In fact, the court never decided the case, in which HSUS was never even a party, finding instead that the plaintiffs lacked standing to sue to protect elephants. The judge left unchecked the abusive training and control methods, such as the bullhook, typically utilized by circuses. A bullhook is a pointed spike with a hook at the end, which is used to poke, prod, strike and hit animals in order to “train” them — all for a few moments of human amusement.
There is growing momentum against the use of abusive methods to train elephants. A court in Los Angeles recently prohibited the use of bullhooks on elephants at the Los Angeles Zoo. Last fall, the U.S. Department of Agriculture hit Ringling Bros. with a $270,000 fine — the largest penalty ever leveled under the federal Animal Welfare Act.
Mr. Pinhorn’s enthusiasm notwithstanding, there’s nothing there. The countersuit referenced, which dates back to 2007, is a civil action, and there are no “charges” and no law enforcement involvement at all. It’s simply one disgruntled corporation suing to silence its critics — which is hardly a new or unexpected tactic.
Feld Entertainment filed a grudge suit, and a principal defender of Canada’s great shame, the massive seal slaughter, thinks it’s great. That’s not news.
president and CEO
The Humane Society of the United States