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Fw: Corruption in "Good Ol" North Carolina?

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  • Cynthia Hendrick
    ... From: Alexandra Yurkiw, Date: Sat, 25 Jun 2005 23:31:36 -0500 Corruption in “Good Ol” North Carolina? PETA has been involved with trying to improve
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 25, 2005
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      -----Original Message-----
      From: Alexandra Yurkiw, Date: Sat, 25 Jun 2005 23:31:36 -0500

      Corruption in “Good Ol” North Carolina?

      PETA has been involved with trying to improve animal welfare conditions
      in parts of North Carolina for some time. A few years ago PETA launched
      a campaign against Yadkin County officials who continuously ignored
      “the dire living—and dying—conditions for the unwanted animals
      whose care and custody they are charged with”. PETA went public with
      their concerns causing Yadkin officials to received numerous letters of
      concern. This angered Yadkin officials and they refused PETA’s help to
      build a shelter. Instead they took $15,000 for a shelter from a sleazy
      lobbyist and front group for the tobacco, restaurant, alcohol and meat
      industries called The Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF). CCF has been
      attacking PETA for years calling the organization “terrorists”. CCF
      is also the outfit behind the “petakills” website. It is very
      confusing why Yadkin County, NC refused PETA’s money for animal
      welfare improvement but took The Center for Consumer Freedom’s (which
      hates PETA) money. Since when does a lobbyist who represents industries
      such as tobacco, meat, alcohol and restaurants care about animal
      welfare? Has there been an accurate accounting of how Yadkin county
      officials used all the donations they received to build the shelter?
      What is even stranger is the behavior of the media not only in the USA
      and Canada but abroad. They are interviewing CCF for articles regarding
      animal welfare. Makes you wonder, is there some collaboration and
      corruption going on between the “good ol’ boys”; CCF and some
      North Carolina officials?

      For PETA’s work regarding Yadkin County, North Carolina, please read

      http://www.peta.org/feat/yadkin [http://www.peta.org/feat/yadkin]

      Despite the efforts of the local humane society and animal advocates
      throughout the U.S., Yadkin County officials continue to ignore the dire
      living—and dying—conditions for the unwanted animals whose care and
      custody they are charged with. Commissioners don’t seem to consider
      their county’s unwanted animals as worthy of anything more than the
      county landfill adjacent to the animal shelter.
      Many of you remember lending your voices to the lost, stray, and
      abandoned animals of Yadkin County, North Carolina. Complaints about the
      county “shelter”—a dilapidated collection of cramped wire-and-wood
      cages with metal roofs offering little to no protection from the
      elements—have been flooding PETA’s headquarters for years. These
      animals still need your help.

      [http://www.peta.org/feat/yadkin/page/ys20-hi.jpg]PETA and many
      concerned citizens have attempted—in vain—to help Yadkin County
      improve the deplorable conditions at its shelter. In 1996, county
      officials rejected an offer to pay the difference in cost between
      intravenous injections (the most humane method of euthanasia) and the
      gas chamber. In May 2002, after receiving increased pressure from PETA
      and local residents, Yadkin County commissioners finally voted to put
      $75,000 toward the construction of a new shelter if the community could
      raise an additional $75,000. PETA offered to donate $15,000 toward the
      construction of the shelter if the county would ensure that certain
      humane standards were met. The commissioners never bothered to respond
      directly to PETA (but Commissioner Thomas Wooten had the audacity to
      tell the media that the offer was “not as much as [he] would have
      liked” and that each of PETA’s 750,000 members should be willing to
      donate $1! And in January 2003, commissioners turned down an offer by
      the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) to visit the shelter and
      make suggestions for improvements for free. Why? County Manager Cecil
      Wood told the local paper, the Elkin Tribune, “We’re already aware
      of the problems we have over there. We’re focusing on a new

      [http://www.peta.org/feat/yadkin/page/ys21-hi.jpg]It is now nearly a
      year later, and nothing has changed for the needy animals in Yadkin
      County. Not only has a new shelter not been built, little if any effort
      is being made to find land to build it on, either! And the animals are
      paying the price, often with their lives.

      Animals at the shelter are killed in a crude, windowless metal box
      pumped full of carbon monoxide. Even adequate carbon monoxide equipment
      can fail, subjecting fully conscious animals to the horror of watching
      and hearing others struggle and suffer as they succumb to the fumes. But
      makeshift chambers, like the one used by Yadkin County, are virtually
      guaranteed to subject animals to suffering and to a prolonged, agonizing
      death. PETA is told—and video footage
      animals are crammed into the box one on top of another and that live
      animals are thrown in, layer after layer, on top of dead and dying ones.
      A shelter employee allegedly once bragged about being able to stuff more
      than 80 animals into the tiny “kill box” at once.

      Yadkin County’s Annual Animal Control Report for January 1, 2003,
      through October 11, 2003
      [http://www.peta.org/feat/yadkin/pdf/Yadkin%20County%20stats.pdf], shows
      that out of 1,933 animals killed, only four puppies and four kittens
      were euthanized by a veterinarian. This means that the rest of the
      animals—including the old, young, and sick ones, who are particularly
      susceptible to gas-related trauma because they breathe and circulate
      oxygen and other gases differently than healthy adult animals—were
      crammed into and died inside the chamber that has been used to kill
      animals at the shelter for years. (News reports indicate that Yadkin
      County commissioners have spent nearly $7,000 on a new gas chamber,
      which they refuse to hook up until a new shelter is built. So the new
      chamber sits unused.)

      [http://www.peta.org/feat/yadkin/page/ys28-hi.jpg]Yadkin County budget
      reports for 2001 through 2003 show that not one cent was slated to be
      spent on training for the animal control staff or on veterinary fees.
      One complainant wrote to PETA to say that on one occasion, an adult dog
      had "a large flap of skin and muscle [lying] down over his left hip,
      exposing bone. He lay from Wednesday until Friday on kill day. He had
      numerous other wounds, and the hip injury was teeming with maggots."
      PETA's file on Yadkin County is full of similar heartbreaking accounts.

      The General Statutes of North Carolina, specifically § 130A-192, state
      that impounded animals who are not reclaimed can only be destroyed by
      “a procedure approved by the American Veterinary Medical Association,
      the Humane Society of the United States [HSUS], or … the American
      Humane Association [AHA].”

      The AVMA panel states that “inhalant agents [should] not be used alone
      in animals less than 16 weeks old except to induce loss of
      consciousness, followed by the use of some other method to kill the

      The HSUS states, “It is unacceptable to use [carbon monoxide] for the
      euthanasia of dogs and cats who are … [o]ld …; [u]nder the age of
      four months; [s]ick or injured; or ([o]bviously) pregnant.”

      The AHA considers euthanasia by injection of sodium pentobarbital to be
      “the only acceptable method for euthanasia of dogs and cats in animal
      shelters” and states, “American Humane considers the use of any
      other lethal method for dogs and cats in animal shelters unacceptable,
      including use of carbon monoxide ...”

      The AVMA also specifies in its panel that when carbon monoxide is used,
      the “chamber must be of the highest quality construction and should
      allow for separation of individual animals … [and] the chamber must be
      well lit and have view ports that allow personnel direct observation of
      animals …,” neither of which is followed by Yadkin County.

      Moreover, Yadkin County has a mandatory kill policy, prohibiting
      adoptions, supposedly because of a fear of rabies. However, the county
      dedicates no resources to enforcing North Carolina law requiring that
      animals be vaccinated against rabies. The excuse? Money, which, of
      course, would be collected if violators of the state rabies law were
      fined as warranted!

      Conditions for animals before they are destroyed are equally cruel. The
      rundown structure that animals are housed in offers little to no
      protection from harsh wind, freezing or scorching temperatures, rain,
      and snow and more often than not is covered in urine and feces. Small,
      weak animals are housed in cages with aggressive large animals, who
      bully the smaller animals and prevent them from eating or drinking. Food
      bowls are not used at the facility, so food is simply thrown on the
      ground, contaminated by feces, urine, dirt, and water, creating a
      disgusting health hazard for the animals. The water buckets provided for
      the animals appear to be too tall for small dogs to reach, and the water
      is often foul and black with mold and filth
      [http://www.peta.org/feat/yadkin/page/ys32-hi.jpg]. Cats are forced to
      sit on wire in small cages

      On November 4, 2003, Yadkin County Humane Society President Alice Singh
      spoke to the House Interim Committee on the Prevention and Disposition
      of Unwanted and Abandoned Companion Animals in Raleigh—formed last
      August by the Honorable Speakers of the North Carolina House of
      Representatives to address the overpopulation crisis and related issues
      in the state—about dire conditions at the Yadkin County shelter. Singh
      shared with committee members heart-wrenching photos of the facility,
      and graphic video footage of gas killings shot in 1997 (the same gas box
      is still in use) by a North Carolina School of the Arts student
      The following day, County Manager Cecil Wood advised humane society
      members that they were no longer welcome to use the county planning
      building for their monthly meetings as they had been doing for nine
      The humane society is the only hope that these animals have.

      Please help. Commissioners must get their heads out of the sand and
      immediately improve the deplorable conditions that the animals have and
      continue to be subjected to right now. Construction of a shelter
      hasn’t even begun and won’t be completed overnight once it does.
      There’s a long list of simple things that the county can and must do
      [http://www.peta.org/feat/yadkin/change.html] to make the shelter comply
      with minimum national standards.

      Please contact Yadkin County commissioners and urge them to stop
      shirking their legal, moral, and financial responsibilities to their
      county’s lost, abandoned, and unwanted animals. Ask that they provide
      these animals with the least they deserve: a painless, peaceful death
      administered by a licensed veterinarian at least until caring
      individuals can be trained. Please push for immediate improvements to be
      made at the current facility. Animals shouldn’t have to wait for
      fundraising and construction efforts before having their basic needs

      Yadkin County Commissioners

      Cecil Wood, County Manager
      Yadkin County Commission
      P.O. Box 146
      Yadkinville, NC 27055
      336-679-6005 (fax)
      cwood@... [mailto:cwood@...]

      Roger Evans, Commissioner
      6052 Aquilla Creek Rd.
      East Bend, NC 27018

      Kim Clark Phillips, Commissioner
      1139 Knoll Dr.
      Yadkinville, NC 27055

      Allen Sneed, Commissioner
      2511 Rockford Rd.
      Yadkinville, NC 27055

      D.C. Swaim, Commissioner
      2553 Swan Creek Rd.
      Jonesville, NC 28642

      Brady Wooten, Commissioner
      3540 Arnold Rd.
      Hamptonville, NC 27020

      James Graham, County Attorney
      P.O. Box 625
      Yadkinville, NC 27055

      Please keep all correspondence and calls polite. Thank you.

      For information about The Center for Consumer Freedom, please read


      ConsumerFreedom.org: Tobacco Money Takes on Activist Cash

      by Sheldon Rampton and John Stauber

      Full page advertisements in Newsweek magazine are expensive, so who
      footed the bill for an attack ad aimed at Greenpeace that ran in the
      January 28 issue? The Center for Consumer Freedom, which produced the
      ad, isn't saying.

      At first glance, with its photo of a diving whale in the ocean, the ad
      looked like it might have been placed by Greenpeace itself--until, that
      is, you read the nasty quote from Patrick Moore, identified as a
      "Greenpeace Co-Founder," calling his former colleagues "a band of
      scientific illiterates who use Gestapo tactics."

      The advertisement featured a web address, www.ConsumerFreedom.com
      [http://www.ConsumerFreedom.com], which belongs to the Center for
      Consumer Freedom (CCF). Like the advertisement itself, the name is
      misleading. CCF doesn't represent consumers. It's just the new name for
      lobbyist Rick Berman's latest front group.

      Until January, the CCF called itself the "Guest Choice Network." Its
      name change coincided with the launch of a second website, called
      ActivistCash.com [http://www.activistcash.com], which purports to reveal
      a vast, left-wing financial conspiracy among major foundations and
      nonprofit public interest organizations.

      Berman's specialty as a lobbyist is what he calls "shooting the
      messenger": attacking activists who criticize his clients. PR Watch
      first exposed Berman & Co. in our First Quarter 2001 issue, detailing
      his work for the restaurant, tavern and alcoholic beverage industries.
      Since then, we have uncovered new information documenting his ties to
      Philip Morris.

      Although ConsumerFreedom.org isn't saying who funded its attack
      advertisement against Greenpeace, Philip Morris is a distinct
      possibility. The tobacco giant is also now the largest food company in
      the United States. Greenpeace is one of the international leaders in the
      fight for safety and environmental testing of genetically engineered
      foods, and recently Greenpeace targeted Philip Morris Kraft for its
      sales of such products.

      Ploys 'r' Us

      ActivistCash.com and ConsumerFreedom.org are merely the latest in a
      string of organizations that Berman has created to advance his clients'
      interests. Another Berman front group, the Employment Policies Institute
      [http://www.epionline.org/] (EPI), calls itself a "non-profit research
      organization dedicated to studying public policy issues surrounding
      employment growth." In reality, EPI's mission is to oppose increases in
      the minimum wage so restaurants can continue to pay their workers as
      little as possible. EPI also owns the domain names to MinimumWage.com
      [http://www.minimumwage.com] and LivingWage.com
      [http://www.livingwage.com], a website that attempts to portray the idea
      of a living wage for workers as some kind of insidious conspiracy.
      "Living wage activists want nothing less than a national living wage,"
      it warns (as though there is something wrong with paying employees
      enough that they can afford to eat and pay rent).

      Some of Berman & Co.'s most visible lobbying has been waged against
      efforts to lower the legal blood-alcohol limit for drivers. It runs the
      American Beverage Institute [http://www.abionline.org/], which was
      organized in 1991 with the stated mission of promoting "responsible
      alcohol consumption," but actually represents restaurants and retailers
      that sell alcohol. The ABI's arch-enemy is Mothers Against Drunk Driving

      Following the Money

      ActivistCash.com claims to expose the funding behind groups like MADD,
      Action on Smoking and Health, and the Center for Science in the Public
      Interest. In reality, none of the information that it "exposes" has ever
      been hidden. It is available in public foundation reports and IRS tax
      statements that non-profit organizations provide to anyone who asks.
      Most of the information in the ActivistCash database can already be
      found in public libraries or the Internet. Non-profit organizations are
      not obligated to disclose the names of specific individual or
      institutional donors, but most of the groups attacked by ActivistCash
      have gone beyond the requirements of the law in providing the
      information that ActivistCash is now using to attack them.

      It is hypocritical in the extreme, of course, for ActivistCash.com to
      "expose" the funding of others, while keeping the details of its own
      finances hidden to conceal the fact that its funding comes from the very
      industries that share a vested interest in attacking activists.
      Fortunately, some information about the funding of Berman's operations
      can be found as a result of lawsuits against the tobacco industry, which
      have forced the disclosure of internal industry documents.
      Correspondence between Berman and Philip Morris reveals that the Center
      for Consumer Freedom (then called the Guest Choice Network) was founded
      in 1995, with initial funding coming entirely from the tobacco

      "I'd like to propose to Philip Morris the establishment of the Guest
      Choice Network," Berman stated in a December 11, 1995 letter
      [http://www.prwatch.org/documents/berman/berman600k.gif] to Barbara
      Trach, PM's senior program manager for public affairs. "The concept is
      to unite the restaurant and hospitality industries in a campaign to
      defend their consumers and marketing programs against attacks from
      anti-smoking, anti-drinking, anti-meat, etc. activists. . . . I would
      like to solicit Philip Morris for an initial contribution of $600,000."

      The purpose of the Guest Choice Network, as Berman explained in a
      separate planning document
      [http://www.prwatch.org/documents/berman/gcplan1.gif], was to enlist
      operators of "restaurants, hotels, casinos, bowling alleys, taverns,
      stadiums, and university hospitality educators" to "support mentality of
      'smokers rights' by encouraging responsibility to protect 'guest

      According to a yearend 1995 budget
      [http://www.prwatch.org/documents/berman/budget.gif], Guest Choice
      planned to spend $1.5 million during its first 13 months of operation,
      including $390,000 for "membership marketing/materials development,"
      $430,000 to establish a communication center and newsletter (which
      Berman promised would have a "60% to 70% smoking focus
      [http://www.prwatch.org/documents/berman/gcplan2.gif]"), $110,000 to
      create a "multi-industry advisory council," and $345,000 for "grassroots
      network development/ operation."

      The tobacco company complied with Berman's initial funding request
      [http://www.prwatch.org/documents/berman/pm600k.gif] for $600,000 and
      pitched in another $300,000 early the following year. "As of this
      writing, PM USA is still the only contributor, though Berman continues
      to promise others any day now," wrote Philip Morris attorney Marty
      Barrington in an internal company memorandum
      [http://www.prwatch.org/documents/berman/pm300k.gif] dated March 28,
      1996. No further information is publicly available about Guest Choice's
      finances or activities until its public launch two years later, in April
      1998, sporting an advisory board comprised mostly of representatives
      from the restaurant, meat and alcoholic beverage industries.

      In 1999, Berman continued to combine tobacco flackery with his role as a
      restaurant lobbyist, as his American Beverage Institute published a
      study titled "Effects of 1998 California Smoking Ban on Bars, Taverns
      and Night Clubs." The study surveyed bar owners and managers, asking
      whether business increased or decreased after January 1, 1998, the date
      the California bar ban went into effect. It claimed to find that
      business declined an average of 26.2%, but no hard numbers were used to
      arrive at this percentage. Rather than look at actual sales receipts,
      the ABI survey merely surveyed the opinions of bar owners. Numerous
      other studies have examined the effect of smoking bans on the
      hospitality industry, and studies that actually look at taxable sales
      receipts show no significant impact.

      As a private company, Berman & Co. is not required to disclose its
      finances. However, two of its front groups--the Guest Choice Network and
      the Employment Policies Institute Foundation--are registered as
      tax-exempt non-profit organizations, and they are required to disclose
      some financial information to the Internal Revenue Service which is
      publicly available by inspecting their IRS Form 990s.

      The IRS Form 990 [http://www.prwatch.org/documents/berman/epi990.gif]
      for the Employment Policies Institute Foundation shows that it received
      revenues of $1,237,566 during the 1999 calendar year. Of that amount,
      $508,173 went to Berman & Co. for "consulting services." Another
      $163,026 in salary and benefits went directly to Rick Berman as EPIF's
      executive director, a job on which he reportedly spent 28 hours per
      week. EPIF secretary Thomas Dilworth (sometimes described in news
      stories as the organization's "research director") worked an average of
      8.5 hours per week and received $32,863 in salary and benefits for the

      The Guest Choice Network claims to represent "more than 30,000 U.S.
      restaurants and tavern operators." However, the IRS Form 990
      [http://www.prwatch.org/documents/berman/gc990.gif] which it filed for
      the the six-month period from July to December 1999 (prior to changing
      its name to the Center for Consumer Freedom) shows that almost all of
      its financial support came from a handful of anonymous sources. Its
      total income for that period was $111,642, of which $105,000 came from
      six unnamed donors. It received no income from membership dues. Some of
      its funding apparently comes from one of Berman's other organizations,
      the American Beverage Institute, which "contributes monthly amounts to
      the Guest Choice Network to assist with media expenses." The Guest
      Choice Network did not report paying salaries to any of its employees,
      who were presumably paid by other sources.

      For The Center for Consumer Freedom suspicious contribution please read


      Center for Consumer Freedom Trumps PETA on Animal Shelter Contribution

      PETA's Links To Domestic Terrorism Sink Their Standing In Yadkin County,
      North Carolina

      Washington, DC - The Center for Consumer Freedom is contributing $15,000
      toward construction of a new animal shelter in Yadkin County, North
      Carolina, after commissioners rejected a similar offer from People for
      Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) at a county commission meeting last
      month. The $15,000 offer from PETA was rebuffed by County Commissioner
      Brent Hunter, who led dissenters in rejecting the offer, in light of
      recent revelations that PETA has links to active domestic terror

      "While construction of the county animal shelter is a priority, I
      cannot, in good faith, accept an offer from a group like PETA when they
      support and finance groups that engage in arson, harassment and
      vandalism in the name of their political agenda," Hunter said. "The
      Center for Consumer Freedom's offer is very generous and timely in
      meeting the needs of our county while sticking to our principles."

      PETA has a long history of financially and philosophically supporting
      the Earth Liberation Front (ELF) and Animal Liberation Front (ALF),
      organizations that the FBI has labeled "the largest and most active
      U.S.-based terror group." Since 1996, ELF and ALF have caused more than
      $43 million in property damage resulting from over 600 attacks including
      arson, assault and massive vandalism.

      The Center for Consumer Freedom's research into PETA's 1995-2000 IRS tax
      filings found:

      · In April 2001, PETA gave a direct contribution of $1500 to the North
      American Earth Liberation Front (ELF) to "support their program
      activities." Among its long list of crimes, ELF claimed credit for the
      1998 firebombing of a Vail ski resort, resulting in $12 million in

      · In January 1995, PETA gave a $45,200 contribution to the "support
      committee" of Rodney Coronado, a convicted arsonist who firebombed a
      research facility at Michigan State University. PETA also gave an
      unreturned $25,000 "loan" to Rodney Coronado's father in 1994.

      · In January 2001, PETA gave $5000 to the "Josh Harper Support
      Committee." Josh Harper is an ALF-affiliated criminal arrested numerous
      times and convicted for assaulting a police officer. In 1998, Harper
      told an Oregon newspaper "we're going to continue to be confrontational,
      we're going to continue to be militant. If people see that as extreme,
      then so be it."

      · In August 1999, PETA gave $2,000 to David Wilson, a Utah-based
      animal-rights extremist who was then a national "spokesperson" for ALF.
      Wilson has bragged, "We started with animal rights, but we've expanded
      to wildlife actions like the [1998 arson] in Vail." PETA's financial
      contributions to these criminals are matched by their extreme rhetoric.
      At the Animal Rights 2001 Conference, PETA spokesperson Bruce Friedrich
      delivered the following chilling message to his captive audience: "It
      would be a great thing if all of these fast-food outlets, these
      slaughterhouses, these laboratories, and the banks that fund them
      exploded tomorrow."

      Richard Berman, Executive Director for Center for Consumer Freedom, said
      that his organization's donation to Yadkin County is a symbol of its
      efforts to bring information about the backgrounds and motivations of
      many activist groups (like PETA) to their unsuspecting supporters.

      "PETA collects millions of dollars in contributions every year from
      people who intend to support the humane treatment of animals," Berman
      said. "However, many of these well-intentioned individuals are likely
      unaware that since 1988 PETA has spent four times as much money
      defending criminals and domestic terror groups as it has in support of
      animal shelters. We will continue to educate and urge those who support
      just causes to ensure that they know whether their money is going to the
      right place -- a dollar given for animals should be spent on animals,
      not on terrorism."
      The new Pro-Animal-Rights group -
      MY NEW GROUP -

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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