On the surface, the referendum to end bear hunting in Maine seems to be about bear hunting, but it is actually a very strategic step that animal rights activists see as pivotal to create momentum to end hunting, fishing, and trapping across North America.
The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) is spearheading a fight in the state of Maine to end bear hunting. They are gathering signatures to put a referendum on the ballot for November 2014 that would end all bear hunting and trapping. On the surface it appears to be about bear hunting, but really it is much more than that. It has implications for hunters, anglers, and trappers across North America, because what happens in Maine will cause waves throughout the outdoor community that will last for years.
Of the many states that animal rights activists might target, why would they choose Maine of all places, a state where there is such a rich hunting heritage? The answer lies in two areas. One, many people from the East Coast have been moving to Maine to get away from the rat race of the big cities and with them they bring their city attitudes and ignorance about wildlife. In addition, the urban areas of Maine have been growing and most people in those areas are out-of-touch with nature and vulnerable to believing the HSUS’ lies. They feel they can direct a lot of money in Maine and bombard the cities with negative messages about hunting and have a very good chance to win.
Secondly, ending bear hunting in Maine would be a huge cash cow for the HSUS, and after all, this is all about money. If they can win in Maine, they can win anywhere and that’s exactly what they would tell their supporters in order to raise more funds to attack hunting, fishing, and trapping in other states. This is not so much about banning bear hunting as it is about destroying the outdoor lifestyle we all hold so dear.
There are more than 100 outfitters in northern Maine. Hunting and fishing outfitters are keys to the economy in the northern two thirds of the state. Without them, there would be economic collapse. And 40 percent of these outfitters’ business comes from bear hunting. HSUS knows that by ending the bear hunt, they would cripple the entire economy in the northern part of the state and destroy not just bear hunting but put virtually all hunting outfitters out of business in one stroke. By banning bear hunting, they can effectively end the entire hunting and fishing lifestyle.
Who is the Humane Society of the United States?
HSUS has dedicated $3 million to the battle over bear hunting in Maine. Many people think of PeTA when they think of animal rights organizations, but HSUS is much more powerful and effective. Yet they are funded by a money making scam. The figures below, provided by a watchdog group called Humane Watch, are based on HSUS’ 2011 IRS Form 990, which nonprofits have to file. It shows their 2010 activity.
Total revenue: $148.7 million
CEO Wayne Pacelle’s compensation package: $287,786 (up seven percent from 2009)
Employees: 636 (including 30 lawyers), 29 who earned more than $100,000
Salaries and benefits: $36.2 million
Added to pension plan: $2.6 million
Spent on fundraising: $47 million (37 percent of its total budget)
Spent on lobbying: $3.6 million
Grants to other ballot-initiative political front groups: $1.75 million
Grants to pet shelters: $528,676 (0.418 percent of its total budget—less than one percent)
Total expenses: $126.4 million
Net assets remaining: $187.5 million
The respected American Institute of Philanthropy (AIP) analyzes information from a set of charities, including HSUS. To date, AIP has given HSUS six consecutive annual “D” ratings, reflecting its high operational costs, inefficient fundraising, and low percentage of giving to its intended recipients.
Although they have a paid membership of around 500,000, HSUS claims a “constituency” of 11 million, giving it considerable political clout. There’s no doubt that they have an enormous database of names and contact information to approach with its requests for contributions.
One major way HSUS raises money is by asking for money to help animals in shelters. Their deceptive advertising is so effective that polling of those who contributed to HSUS shows that 74 percent gave specifically to help pet shelters, and reduce the number of animals euthanized. A full 90 percent of those polled were completely unaware that HSUS gave less than one percent to shelters annually. They fully believed that by giving to HSUS, they were helping their local shelter. As Kathleen Marquardt says in her excellent book, Animal Scam, “Many people make contributions to HSUS thinking the organization provides money for animal shelters. In fact, HSUS does not run a single shelter. It benefits from the confusing similarity of its name with that of the much older AHA, which was originally called the American Humane Society.”
So you can see why Maine is so important to them. That’s why they have targeted Maine’s black bears to be the standard-bearer for this campaign. If they win this battle, they will look you in the eye—whether you are a grouse hunter, deer hunter, duck hunter, angler, or trapper—and say, “You’re next.” And they mean it. You may have never become active against an animal rights activist campaign or made a donation before, but you can sit on your hands no longer. The bulls-eye is on you and you better fight back. Today.
Help Maine fight the bear referendum
HSUS will spend millions of their contributors’ money to win this one. This will be an expensive fight, and we need your help. To make contributions, go to www.savemainesbearhunt.com and click on the “Donate Today” button.
If you are a non-profit 501 (c) 3 you will need to donate to Friends of Maine Sportsmen. For more information contact Becky Morrell, Operations Manager of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, by phone at (207) 623-4589, or by email at email@example.com.
Published Oct 23, 2013 in OutdoorHub http://www.outdoorhub.com/opinions/maines-anti-bear-hunting-referendum-important/