Fund for Animals - HSUS Merger
- Dear friends,
I am writing to you on the impending merger of the Fund for Animals into
the Humane Society of the United States, and what cost this may have to
wild animals in our nation and worldwide.
Before writing this, I tried to obtain as much information as I could on
the issue, and I even spoke with major players within the Fund itself.
At no point do I question their honor or integrity; indeed, it is
because of these things that my concern is so great, for it is within
HSUS that I see that the problem exists.
The pro-merger argument is an attractive one; the joining of two groups
to form a greater organization, the pooling of resources, streamlining
of bureaucracy - it all sounds like a dream come true. After careful
thought on the subject, however, I believe that the dream risks becoming
The clear and overwhelming facts are that HSUS's views on hunting are in
opposition to those of the Fund for Animals. This is no ambiguous issue;
I've dealt with both the Fund and HSUS for more than a decade, and my
love for the former is equal of my disdain for the latter. Therefore, to
have either the Fund dissolved directly into HSUS, or to have the Fund
become some appendage or affiliate, creates a serious conflict based on
both philosophy and action.
Some of you may remember the notorious time when an HSUS director
actually supported and voted for a deer hunt in New Jersey, but there is
a more recent example of how diametrically opposite HSUS is to the
principles of the Fund.
New Jersey Governor James McGreevey defended his decision to hold last
years black bear hunt by saying that he was working with HSUS on a birth
control plan; obviously he was using HSUS and the "humane" card for
political cover. I reached out to Wayne Pacelle, who now leads HSUS, and
implored him to join with us (we had our own sterilization plan) and
state that if the Governor held the hunt we would not work with him on
reproductive control. The point, which I explained to Wayne, was that by
removing McGreevey's political cover, we undercut his strength and
deliver a blow that could shake him and may, with all other efforts,
force an end to the hunt.
The response I got back was "we do not want to burn any bridges". HSUS
did not change their position, and neither did McGreevey. Carnage
followed. I do not know that if HSUS had done what we asked, it would
have changed anything, and therefore I do not cast blame for the hunt
upon them. What I do know, and what everyone who cares about wild
animals must know, is that HSUS acted not on behalf of the bears, but of
their own political benefit; they would not risk offending the Governor.
To not risk offending is to capitulate before the battle has even begun.
To not risk is to condemn wild animals with no hope of appeal. HSUS
will never risk. The Fund has and would, but soon the Fund, as it is
now, may be no more.
There is more on HSUS's position on bear hunting, which, again, provides
a startling example of how different they are from the Fund. In an
(www.hsus.org/ace/21503) that promotes the ballot question in Maine,
which would ban certain forms of bear hunting, but not touch the act
itself, Wayne wrote the following: "Once the majority votes "yes" on
Question 2, sound and sporting management approaches will take hold in
Maine, as they have elsewhere."
Sound and sporting management? HSUS declares the brutal slaughter of
innocent bears to be "sound and sporting". It goes even further: to
assure that HSUS's efforts will not only not decrease hunting, but will
help ensure that more hunting licenses will be sold, Wayne writes
"Despite pre-referendum fear-mongering to the contrary, bear hunting
continues in each of these states [that banned baiting], and in fact
wildlife officials are reporting some unusual stats: record numbers of
hunting licenses being sold, additional revenues from hunter tourism,
and stable total kills."
This then is the culmination of HSUS's policies and ideology; not only
are they not against hunting, but they defend their actions because it
will lead to the promotion of more hunting. And they have even gone so
far as to declare that shooting bears is both "sound and sporting".
I believe the Fund's motives in the merger are completely honorable, but
I do not believe it is the same for those in power at HSUS. HSUS is
clearly the most corporate of all the animal-interest groups, and the
over-riding purpose of corporations is to make money. The numerous,
ravenous, six-figure salaries that feed out of HSUS's coffers speaks
volumes on this point. Further, large corporations do not merge with
smaller ones for philosophical reasons; they do it to absorb that
entity's capital. According to the Fund's 2003 annual report, the
organization was worth nearly $20,000,000. This is indeed a mighty prize
to be had, and I fear that on the HSUS side it will prove to be the
heart of the matter.
HSUS is a machine that needs constant influx of massive amounts of cash.
They get this solely by taking weak, mainstream positions on animal
issues. They offend no one, and therefore take everyone's money. Those
who wield true power at HSUS, those who are not seen, not heard, but
count and pocket the coins, will never allow anything to disrupt the
flow of capital. They will never allow HSUS to take a strong
And because of this, those employees of the Fund who have strong ethical
beliefs on hunting will either be muzzled by HSUS directors or, more
realistically, since I do not think these people will allow themselves
to be muzzled, they may be removed from their jobs. Consider this; HSUS
already has a wildlife department and employees who are obedient to the
organizations positions. What would they even do with all these extra
Fund people who are certainly unaligned to the status quo? Perhaps they
will have jobs initially, to make the picture look kind, but I have no
faith that they will not be terminated - not only for philosophical
reasons, but for the money saved - either in mass layoffs or one at a
time, over time, to make the directive seem unpremeditated. In the same
way that the hunter does not "merge" with the fallen stag, but instead
consumes him, it is my opinion that HSUS seeks to devour the Fund, take
her assets, and continue on as it always has.
Cleveland Amory created the Fund because HSUS would not strongly oppose
hunting. Nothing has changed. It is shocking, heartbreaking, and surreal
that this great power and defender or wildlife may become a part of, and
therefore subordinate, to HSUS.
The decision on the merger is now before the Board of the Fund, and a
vote will be held this Wednesday. If we express our wishes to the Board,
perhaps they will move to stop the merger. This is just two days from
today, so there is little time to act. (see info below)
I have taken this stand because of my respect and admiration of the Fund
for Animals and all her employees. I ask you, if you too do not want to
risk her possible loss, to join me in making sure that the Fund remains
a flourishing, independent anti-hunting organization that has all her
***Important*** Please be kind and considerate with your calls and
letters. It is our respect and love for the Fund that we want to show to
the Board. We are not dealing with enemies here; let us not treat them
The Fund for Animals Board:
At this time, I only have a phone and email for the Board Chair, Marian
Please contact Ms. Probst and ask her to pass your concerns to the
The following are the other board members. If anyone knows these people
personally, please forward this letter to them.
Mrs. Reginald Brack, Jr.
Mrs. Enrico Donati
Mr. Neil Fang
Mrs. Peter Max
Mrs. Edward Ney
Mr. Edgar Smith
Ms. Kathryn Walker
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