Indiana state legislators asked their state Attorney General to investigate the Humane Society of the United States, “accus[ing] the group of deceptive fundraising practices, saying its advertisements mislead Hoosiers into believing that donations will benefit abandoned pets at local humane society shelters, which are not affiliated with the national group,” as reported on indystar.com.
Indiana would be the second state to investigate the HSUS over its allegedly misleading advertising campaigns. In 2014, “Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt issued a consumer alert against the Humane Society of the United States on Wednesday just hours before an organization with a history of antagonism toward the animal rights group launched a week-long advertising campaign in the state,” as reported on tulsaworld.com.
“The alert says the attorney general’s office has received complaints that HSUS mislead donors after last year’s Moore tornadoes by telling them their money would go to help local shelters and dislocated animals.”
In response HSUS “sued Pruitt, accusing him of harassing the group for political reasons because he doesn’t agree with the organization’s goals.”
The HSUS response to Indiana’s requested investigation is similar:
This is an obvious political attack from politicians who stand in the way of protecting animals from captive hunts, puppy mills, and factory farms,’ said Erin Huang, the Humane Society’s Indiana state director. ‘The Humane Society of the United States is transparent in our work and our track record of protecting all animals from cruelty.’
Indiana State Sen. Brent Steele and five of his fellow Republican senators stated in their letter to the Attorney General:
Hoosiers would be well-served to know that their donations may go to high-powered lobbying and public relations experts of a national organization that has attacked institutions, traditions and practices that are part of Indiana’s heritage, such as farming, ranching and hunting . . .
Apparently, HSUS frequently objects to agricultural bills introduced or supported by Steele, possibly including Senate Joint Resolutions that (1) provide that the right to hunt, fish, and harvest wildlife is a valued part of Indiana’s heritage and shall be forever preserved for the public good (SJR 2); and (2) that would provide that the Constitution of the State of Indiana guarantees the right of the people of Indiana to engage in diverse farming and ranching practices (SJR 12).
It is not unusual for HSUS to target legislators that they endorse or reject. In Rhode Island HSUS has recently announced that it plans to go after state Senator V. Susan Sosnowski because she did not support a bill that would require egg farmers to provide what the state’s Livestock Welfare & Care Standards Advisory Council determined “space ‘far in excess of any standard set forth in any state without any evidence to support that this increase improves hen welfare.’” The National Association of Egg Farmers also warned that such a law will result in higher-priced eggs.
According to the Providence Journal.com, HSUS “says Sosnowski is doing the ‘bidding of animal abusers,’ [and that] it plans to run print and television ads about her in the coming weeks and asserts that her opposition to the bill is what brought the General Assembly to a halt last week.”
Notably, Senator Sosnowski raises poultry.