By Steve Hindi
February 14, 2017
The effort to ban the brutally cruel practice of use bow and arrow to slaughter cownose rays continues to move forward. That’s the good news. On February 13, the Associated Press ran a story that included the following:
"Animal rights organizations, including the Humane Society and the Save the Rays coalition, say the contests are inhumane and harmful to the environment." (LINK)
One thing needs to be made perfectly clear. The Humane Society of the United States has never participated in documenting the ray slaughter. Two groups were involved in documenting the slaughter - SHARK and Fish Feel. It was SHARK cameras that filmed the slaughter from a rented boat the first year, with SHARK and Fish Feel personnel at the weigh stations where more images of gore were shot.
The second year, a SHARK team on our new boat the Bob and Nancy (obtained thanks to Bob Barker) shot new documentation with the aid of the Angels - SHARK’s camera-equipped drones. Again, it was SHARK and Fish Feel (and also Last Chance for Animals President Chris DeRose) who were actually there, even though HSUS and other groups were invited to join in. I guess the HSUS folks didn’t want to mess up their fancy suits.
There was a similar situation a few years ago when a SHARK investigator’s footage of horse tripping in Oregon started a movement to ban the practice statewide. When the law passed, HSUS attempted to take the credit and raise money off our work.
These are examples of the HSUS noise machine at work. All the big, corporate animal protection groups have them - HSUS, PETA, ASPCA, and many others. Smaller groups with an eye on growth have them also. The problem is that groups focused on getting the job done are overshadowed by groups whose noise machines co-opt, and then fundraise off the work of smaller organizations who actually get the job done. Woefully ignorant donors have been falling for this nonsense for decades.
As a result, smaller organizations that actually do the work are able to do less of it. SHARK, for instance, is able to continue this year only because I raided my own retirement money. HSUS, meanwhile is bringing in about two million dollars a week. HSUS president Wayne Pacelle gets paid more each year than SHARK’s annual budget.
So long as donors continue to be clueless and uninformed, it is the schemers within animal protection that will grow at the expense of moving the issues forward.
Drop a boulder in the water, and you will get a big ripple effect that can carry for a very long distance. SHARK and other frontline organizations are the boulder. The big groups and their noise machines ride the ripple and cash in.
So long as the parasitic big groups get away with obscuring and overshadowing the work of frontline organizations, the progress of the animal protection movement will continue to move forward at a snail’s pace - just a tiny fraction of what is possible if the people who actually do the work had the money they need to get the job done.