October 14, 2007
HSUS ‘“ The Original Wolf In Sheep's Clothing
By Larry S. Moore
Throughout our history, Buckeye Firearms Association has worked to expose organizations that would deny our rights and freedoms, but who operate in such a manner that unsuspecting gun-owners or sportsmen might be fooled. The American Hunters and Shooters Association is one such group. Another, larger and much older organization, is the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).
HSUS has been on the scene for many years working to outlaw sportsmen activities such as trapping and hunting. They are the largest, best organized and best financed anti-hunting organization in America. They have aggressively merged with or acquired other smaller organizations such as The Fund For Animals and The Doris Day League. Increasingly the anti-hunters who would deny our rights are uniting under one very large and very dangerous umbrella.
They are a "wolf in sheep's clothing" because their very name confuses many people into thinking they are the same as local humane societies, which rescue animals and operate shelters. HSUS operates no animal shelters. They further play on the unsuspecting public through the sales of calendars with photos of cute dogs and cats. Many people, including some who hunt, "feel" they are doing the right thing by buying the calendars or other merchandise without knowing the true agenda of HSUS. They are masters at disguising their true identity and mission.
Their size, an income of almost $125 million, an operating budget well over $90 million, and the ability to bring sister organizations under their umbrella makes them the strongest threat to sportsmen's ability to hunt, trap and fish today. But it is not just size that matters. Their membership and volunteers are never afraid to take the fight to the courts or the public. Unlike many gun owners and sportsmen, they don't spend time preaching to the choir. They are taking their message to local governments, public forums, and especially to the education of youth today. They leave no stone unturned in their efforts to eliminate the hunting, trapping and fishing heritage of sportsmen.
Just as we must fight the anti-self defense and anti-gun organizations, so must sportsmen fight the anti-hunting organizations led by HSUS. We need to stick together whether you currently hunt, are a trap shooter or handgun competitor. Fortunately there are some great partners leading the fight against HSUS and anti-hunting organizations. National organizations including the NRA and the US Sportsmen Alliance are leading efforts to combat HSUS.
Some ask, is this a gun issue? Yes, it is very much a gun issue, even if you do not hunt. If the HSUS could end hunting today, what does it mean to gun owners? Certainly the "sporting use" of firearms would be diminished and the anti-gunners would be emboldened by such success. Additionally, HSUS would need some cause to continue their existence and entry into the anti-gun arena could provide such an opportunity. They certainly will not fade away.
Others suggest that the anti-hunting community is on the retreat with the conviction of animal rights activists as domestic terrorists. Never underestimate the power of the opposition. HSUS claims 10 million members and constituents. That is about 2.5 times greater than the NRA membership. Charity Navigator gives them a 4-star rating with a capacity for growth and over $200 million in net assets as of 12/2005. (Editor's note: Charity Navigator rates charities primarily on financial management and program strength. They do not recommend on good or bad charities. The US Sportsmen Alliance is Charity Navigator rated as 5-star, which is the highest rating. Check them at www.charitynavigator.org)
HSUS is huge in terms of assets, fund-raising capabilities and memberships. Fortunately they have not effectively brought those forces to bear on legislation. That is only a matter of time. Meanwhile they continue to fool people about their true agenda and are stockpiling assets.
Outdoor writer and hunter education instructor Larry S. Moore is a Region Leader for Buckeye Firearms Association and winner of the 2005 USSA Patriot Award