An animal rights wolf in sheep’s cloth­ing

A lib­eral group dis­guises its rad­i­cal val­ues to beg from con­ser­va­tives

The Washington Times Daily - - OPINION - By Richard Ber­man Richard Ber­man is the pres­i­dent of Ber­man and Com­pany, a pub­lic af­fairs firm in Washington, D.C.

Imag­ine if Planned Par­ent­hood launched a re­brand­ing cam­paign to get con­ser­va­tives to sup­port its mis­sion. “We’re all for limited gov­ern­ment — we want the gov­ern­ment out of pri­vate lives,” the group pleads in this fic­tional sce­nario.

Any­one with an IQ above For­rest Gump’s would un­der­stand this as mean­ing­less syco­phancy by a group that would throw con­ser­va­tive agen­das un­der the bus at their ear­li­est fu­ture con­ve­nience. Yet just such a cam­paign is about to be launched by the Hu­mane So­ci­ety of the United States. It is de­but­ing a “Con­ser­va­tive Ad­vi­sory Council” to sweet-talk right-lean­ing in­di­vid­u­als to sup­port its ve­gan-animal lib­er­a­tion agenda.

It’s the clas­sic case of a wolf in sheep’s cloth­ing. The Hu­mane So­ci­ety of the United States (HSUS), not re­lated to lo­cal animal shel­ters with sim­i­lar names, has the same goals as PETA (Peo­ple for the Eth­i­cal Treat­ment of An­i­mals): Get rid of meat, cheese, ice cream, cir­cuses, zoos, aquar­i­ums, pet stores, hunt­ing and ba­si­cally any other way an­i­mals are used com­mer­cially or in­sti­tu­tion­ally. The CEO of HSUS, Wayne Pa­celle, has said, “I don’t want to see another cat or dog born.”

HSUS’ po­lit­i­cal arms have spent $4.6 mil­lion (80 per­cent of its PAC money) try­ing to de­feat Repub­li­can can­di­dates. They en­dorsed Hillary Clin­ton for pres­i­dent. They just en­dorsed lib­eral state Sen. Ray­mond Les­niak for the New Jer­sey 2017 gu­ber­na­to­rial race. The vol­un­tary board of HSUS shows a de­cided bias to­ward Democrats in its po­lit­i­cal giv­ing. Mr. Pa­celle once ran for of­fice as a Green Party can­di­date.

Need to know more? Leg­isla­tively, HSUS wants the gov­ern­ment to tell you what you can and can’t buy at the su­per­mar­ket. The group has spent mil­lions lob­by­ing for bal­lot mea­sures ban­ning the sale of con­ven­tion­ally raised eggs and pork prod­ucts. HSUS lob­bies to ban pet stores from sell­ing cats and dogs even if the animal comes from any pedi­gree dog breeder. HSUS lob­bies against hunt­ing and for bans on the use of com­mon am­mu­ni­tion in hunt­ing; it op­posed al­low­ing con­cealed carry in na­tional parks on the com­i­cal grounds that let­ting peo­ple carry hand­guns for pro­tec­tion would in­crease poach­ing.

In short, HSUS has de­clared war on Mid­dle Amer­ica just as Barack Obama did with his en­vi­ron­men­tal agenda. But in­stead of go­ing af­ter coal min­ers in West Vir­ginia and Ken­tucky, HSUS is go­ing af­ter farm­ers, ranch­ers, dog breed­ers, rodeos, cir­cuses, small busi­nesses, and any­one from Ohio to Texas to Mon­tana who eats ba­con.

De­spite its ap­par­ent ap­peal to con­ser­va­tives, HSUS doesn’t care one whit about the Con­sti­tu­tion, lib­erty, limited gov­ern­ment or other con­ser­va­tive val­ues. It is pals with the in­sti­tu­tional left, with Mr. Pa­celle ac­knowl­edg­ing, “We would be fool­ish not to unite with peo­ple in the en­vi­ron­men­tal com­mu­nity, and [la­bor] unions.”

HSUS is hold­ing an Earth Day fundraiser in Hol­ly­wood to raise money for its anti-animal agri­cul­ture cam­paign. Lib­eral Obama wannabe Sen. Cory Booker will re­ceive an award. Ev­ery fall, HSUS hob­nobs with New York City’s elite, from Michael Bloomberg’s daugh­ter to the state’s lib­eral at­tor­ney gen­eral. San Fran­cisco, Palm Beach and the Hamp­tons are also in the mix.

It’s no dif­fer­ent from other left-wing ac­tivist groups. They hit up wealthy ur­ban lib­er­als. They then spend the money try­ing to kill the liveli­hoods and up­set the lives of the rest of us.

So what’s the disin­gen­u­ous pitch that HSUS is giv­ing con­ser­va­tives?

Re­cently, it’s been that it’s pro-free mar­ket. Non­sense. The free mar­ket is one in which peo­ple can choose to buy fur coats or faux. Choose to buy reg­u­lar eggs or cage-free. Choose to buy a dog from a pet store or adopt from a shel­ter. Choose to buy a real ham­burger or a pro­cessed soy “burger.” Yet HSUS is spend­ing mil­lions lob­by­ing to re­strict con­sumer choice and busi­nesses.

HSUS also talks about things that are non­con­tro­ver­sial — say, a bill on animal fight­ing — and leaves out its rad­i­cal be­liefs. “Ev­ery­one be­lieves in animal wel­fare, so join us,” HSUS will say. Yes, ev­ery­one does be­lieve in animal wel­fare — but doesn’t mean they’re on­board with most of HSUS’s be­liefs.

A few thought lead­ers on the right have been at­tracted by philo­soph­i­cal ar­gu­ments about an­i­mals, while ap­par­ently not (yet) un­der­stand­ing that HSUS is locked at the hip with the rad­i­cal PETA loonies. But as usual, there are a few Bene­dict Arnolds pro­mot­ing HSUS who re­ally ought to know bet­ter. One is GOP fundraiser Lisa Spies. Another is sup­pos­edly con­ser­va­tive colum­nist Kathleen Parker, whose son is on the HSUS pay­roll.

The bot­tom line is the Hu­mane So­ci­ety of the United States has as much in com­mon with con­ser­va­tives as PETA, Green­peace or Emily’s List do. Shame on any free-mar­ket con­ser­va­tive who thinks other­wise.

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