The HSUS loves lawsuits, I mean REALLY loves lawsuits! They currently have 58 pending cases on their legal docket, with most of them concerning chickens and cows. So it was no surprise that Wayne Pacelle announced on his blog yesterday the HSUS has launched a lawsuit against the The National Pork Producers Council and lovingly dubbed it the “Ham Scam”.
The HSUS alleges that the National Pork Board struck an unlawful backroom deal with the National Pork Producers Council for the purchase of the iconic “Pork: The Other White Meat” slogan. The deal allowed $60 million in pork producers’ money collected for marketing purposes to be diverted into industry lobbying efforts aimed at harming animal welfare and small farmers. You can read the full court document here.
Finally, Wayne writes;
“While we can’t force NPPC to care about animals or family farmers, through this lawsuit we can work to stop money from being unlawfully funneled straight to its lobbyists who work to kill essentially any legislation aimed at preventing cruelty to animals.”
Oh, the irony.
The HSUS knows all about “unlawful”, don’t they? I’m surprised that news of the HSUS, Fund For Animals, ASPCA, Animal Welfare Institute and the Animal Protection Institute (Born Free USA) being civilly charged under the Racketeer Influence and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) went over so quietly.
So why RICO charges? I thought that kind of stuff was only reserved for mobster types and other dubious characters. Over ten years ago, all the above mentioned animal welfare organizations banded together to sue Ringling Brothers, owned by Feld Entertainment, over the treatment of their elephants. Their star witness was a man by the name of Tom Rider who worked in the elephant barn.
- Rider was a paid plaintiff, which he did not disclose during court proceedings. He was covertly paid by the law firm Meyer Glitzenstein and Crystal on behalf of the HSUS, FFA, ASPCA, AWI & API. Over nine years of litigation he received $190, 000 which was his sole source of income.
- Rider had been cited three times of animal abuse while under the employment of Feld Entertainment.
- While Rider worked for Feld Entertainment and never once complained to management, veterinarians or legal officials about the elephants being poorly treated.
- There was photographic evidence of Rider using a “bull hook” on elephants with a subsequent employer. His alleged distress of the Feld elephants being mistreated was dismissed by the court.
With the court case dismissed, Feld Entertainment filed a court case against the HSUS, ASPCA, AWI, API and others that included allegations of Mail Fraud, Wire Fraud, Bribery, Money Laundering, Illegal Witness Payments & Obstruction of Justice.
This July, U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan dismissed the Mail and Wire Fraud charges, but ruled that the court case alleging the rest of the RICO violations could proceed. Interestingly enough, Judge Sullivan also agreed with Feld Entertainment’s accusation that members of the public were victimized since donors may have been improperly induced to make donations based on the manufactured lawsuit in question.
Feld Entertainment is looking to recover 20 million dollars it spent on court and attorney fees over the past ten years and there is a very good chance that they will win.
So that’s where some of those HSUS, ASPCA, AWI & API donation dollars go. Wasting the US courts’ time for ten years with a fabricated lawsuit and paying liars for false testimony. Money that could have directly helped animals was wasted on ten years of fruitless litigation. 20 million dollars that could have gone to helping animals will be flushed down the toilet if Feld Entertainment wins their court case.
The 2011 “Total Support and Revenue” for the HSUS was 167 million dollars, yet they operate NO shelters for domestic dogs and cats. They do operate 2 horse sanctuaries and 4 wildlife sanctuaries.
Here’s another head scratcher that has been plaguing me for a while. At the beginning of the month the HSUS “helped” rescue 250 animals from a South Carolina puppy mill. During that rescue, PetSmart charities donated $90K of supplies to help with the rescue effort. It makes me wonder what donation monies are actually paying for? Animal rescue administration? The HSUS has enough money, they could have dug into their own pockets.
The 2011 “Total Operating Support and Revenue” for the ASPCA was 147 million dollars. They operate ONE shelter for dogs and cats in New York City.
This case will take years to resolve, but it will most certainly be “The Greatest Show On Earth”.