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Letter: Ayotte is cracking down on animal abuse

The Humane Society of the United States expresses its thanks to Sen. Kelly Ayotte for her work to crack down on animal abuse.

Ayotte introduced the Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act, S.1406, to protect Tennessee walking horses from the gruesome practice of “soring” – deliberately inflicting of pain to horses’ front hooves or legs to produce an exaggerated gait known as the “Big Lick,” rewarded in some show competitions. Reps. Carol Shea-Porter and Annie Kuster are cosponsors of the companion bill in the House, H.R. 1518.

Often, caustic chemicals are used to blister horses’ legs, hooves are cut painfully short, and torturous mechanical devices are applied – making it extremely painful for these graceful creatures to walk. A Humane Society undercover investigation of Hall of Fame walking horse trainer Jackie McConnell exposed how he abused horses for the sake of a blue ribbon. Ayotte’s bill upgrades a federal law against soring that has not been updated in four decades. Stopping cruelty to animals is the right thing to do. Animal advocates are grateful to Ayotte for leading the way on this crucial legislation to protect horses, so that we can finally stamp out cheating and cruelty at Tennessee walking horse shows.


Washington, D.C.

(The writer is president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States.)

Legacy Comments4

I too applaud Ayotte, Shea-Porter and Kuster for their work to prevent the heinous process of soring. I am not, however applauding Washington lobbyist Wayne Pacelle for trying to hitch his wagon to their star. HSUS not an organization one should contribute to who actually cares about animals. They are a political organization who seeks to foist an anti-hunting, radical animal rights agenda upon this country. They are more concerned with using contribution monies to purchase large tracts of land and close them to hunting and other recreational pursuits. They are not terribly concerned with animals, either individuals of any species or those species as a whole. I urge you to educate yourself, go to if you want to know the real story behind HSUS. And, If you truly care about animals, donate to your LOCAL shelter. Don't give a dime to HSUS.

Bravo Hunter Dan. You truly care about Animals. Donating to you local shelters is the answer.

Dan, hunting, like religion, is a matter of personal conscience. You have the right to follow yours, but so do those who conscientiously disagree, whose interests the Humane Society purports to represent. Humane Watch’s “About Us” link does not disclose who it represents. Instead: “HumaneWatch is a project of the Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF). Both are the creation of corporate lobbyist Richard Berman, who attacks charities on behalf of the industries that anonymously fund his campaigns. CCF fights against the public interest groups that expose unhealthy, unsafe, or inhumane practices. They have opposed Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the Center for Science in the Public Interest, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), among others. CCF refuses to disclose who is funding these attacks on legitimate charities. It’s a heinous abuse of nonprofit tax laws: Berman shields his ‘donors’ by concealing their identity, yet in 2008 (the most recent year tax filings were available), CCF paid 92% of its revenue to Berman and Company, Berman’s wholly-owned, for-profit PR firm. Berman reaps the benefits of tax exempt status, but bypasses the restrictions on nonprofits by funneling those tax exempt dollars into his for-profit company. CCF is incorporated as a 501(c)(3) charity, yet engages in no charitable activity, has no employees, is run out of Berman and Company’s offices, and has earned millions of dollars in profit for Richard Berman.”

Since we're playing "follow the money", would you mind telling me just how many lobbyists the "charity" known as "Humane Society of the United States" employ? I'll give you an example of an HSUS lobbyist. Her name is Katie Hansberry, the HSUS state director for Maine. She's a Boston lawyer - not even from Maine(though she does claim to have "summered" there.) It seems Katie was recently fined by the Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices after they discovered she failed to properly file monthly reports on her lobbying activity for HSUS, in accordance with state law. Another tidbit about Ms. Hansberry - she runs the HSUS front group "Mainers for Fair Bear Hunting." Their mission? To get a question on the ballot that would ban certain forms of hunting and trapping. This is what bothers me about the animal rights crowd. Aside from their arguments being completely subjective and based on feelings, not facts, they are conniving and underhanded. I wonder how many other lobbyists like Ms. Hansberry HSUS employs, and how many of them have true ties to the communities they supposedly serve. Yet another reason in my opinion to support your local shelter - or your local hunter, angler, trapper, logger, farmer, maple-syrup producer . . . and not groups like HSUS.

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