Last Thursday Wayne Pacelle, head of the Humane Society of the United States, threatened “protests in the street, from Reno to Washington” if the Department of the Interior went forward with a proposed management plan for the surplus of wild horses out West that includes culling some of the herd. But this promised stampede of protesters appears to be a bluff, if HSUS’s record is any sign.
Recently HSUS held a protest outside the headquarters of the USDA in downtown DC. Surely an organization that has boasted “11 million members and constituents”—questionable in its own right—could turn out a lot of concerned citizens, right? But it seems the people who bothered to show were largely paid to.
A picture of the “protest” shows maybe two-dozen people, including a number of HSUS staffers, such as CEO Wayne Pacelle, Sara Amundson, and John Goodwin (former spokesman for the FBI-designated terrorist group Animal Liberation Front), a Hollywood actress who supports HSUS, and a couple of Members of Congress. Did anyone from the general public show up?
We’d say this is more bark than bite—but it’s really more like a wheeze.
The issue at hand was over the USDA decision in January to withhold and remove the public reporting of animal welfare inspection records. The agency cited privacy concerns, and others are concerned that the reports make people look guilty until proven innocent because they contain allegations without a chance for the accused to respond. In contrast, groups like HSUS and PETA like the records because the personal information they contain allows them to harass individuals (as well as for any hardcore activist to go further with threats). Animal rights activists sued over the removal and lost round 1 in court last week, as the USDA is already re-posting some records after internal review.
As for HSUS, there’s always a rent-a-mob.