SHARK, as well as a number of our supporters, recently contacted the Humane Society of the United States requesting information about live pigeon shoots, as HSUS spokespeople claim to have information about these spectacles in Ohio, California, Texas and perhaps other states. Unfortunately, HSUS is refusing to share the information.
SHARK has requested this information so that our investigators can review the sites for themselves. While HSUS maintains that these sites have already discontinued pigeon shoots, SHARK notes that HSUS spokespeople have on numerous occasions falsely claimed that pigeon shoots had been stopped when they had not - most notably in North Carolina and Maryland.
Eric Bernthal, HSUS Board Chair, has now responded. Bear in mind, Mr. Bernthal and the majority of the HSUS board voted to keep former HSUS CEO Wayne Pacelle in power at HSUS after he was accused of sexual harassment by multiple women. It was only after public and donor outrage over the board’s vote that Pacelle was forced to resign.
The HSUS board, which is still headed by Mr. Bernthal, was publicly humiliated. The board, and HSUS generally, has damaged its credibility and we can’t take what they say at face value.
Recently a few self-described SHARK supporters have indicated they are withholding donations because we spoke out against Donald Trump. Allow us to respond as clearly as possible.
SHARK is not a political organization. We work to end animal cruelty. If politicians are involved in animal cruelty, such as when US Senator Jim Inhofe held live pigeon shoot fundraisers, we speak out against them.
It matters nothing to us what the political stripe of the individual happens to be. When appropriate, SHARK has pursued Democrats (such as corrupt Berks County, Pennsylvania District Attorney John Adams), Republicans, Independents, etc. We even took Senator Bernie Sanders, the darling of the progressive movement to task for his kind words for Senator Inhofe - an individual who is as corrupt as he is cruel and cowardly.
SHARK personnel have spoken out against Donald Trump, and we will continue to do so. Our concerns regarding Trump have nothing to do with his party, or anything the media produces relative to him.
Our opposition to Trump stems from Trump. We have heard the words that come out of his mouth, and have chosen not to ignore them. Bragging about sexually assaulting women, racist remarks, anti-gay and anti-transgender policies and making fun of the disabled are just some of his appalling acts.
In addition to Trump's words, we have looked at his policies. As president, Trump has given incredible power to anti-animal politicians such as Scott Pruitt (Trump’s head of the EPA), whose anti-environment and anti-animal record is clear. We also note that the Ryan Jackson, Inhofe’s former Chief of Staff (and someone who we fought against for the pigeon shoots) is now Chief of Staff for the EPA. The environment, and the humans and animals who live in it, are suffering dearly for this already, and will suffer much more going forward. Check out Ryan Jackson lying to protect Inhofe's cruel and illegal pigeon shoot in this video:
Karel Minor is the Executive Director of the Humane Society of Berks County. Mr. Minor currently serves as board chair of the Pennsylvania State Animal Response Team, is a board member of Federated Humane Societies of Pennsylvania, and is a member of the HSUS Companion Animal Advisory Committee.
On August 14, 2017, Minor posted an attack against SHARK and me personally on the HumanePA website. You can read his full post here: http://blog.humanepa.org/?p=1650 Since removed.
In his attack, Minor makes a lot of snide comments and numerous outright false statements. Rather than go chasing after every nonsensical remark, I will address the real issue. Minor and his associates at the Federated Humane Societies of Pennsylvania (FHSP), and its ally the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), are tired of being criticized by me for being no-shows at Pennsylvania’s pigeon shoot killing fields.
First, the issue under discussion - live pigeon shoots. In a live pigeon shoot, hundreds to thousands of animals will be shot at in a single day. You can view pigeon shoot footage here:
When Donald Trump was campaigning for president, a lot of left-leaning people couldn’t believe Trump supporters would sucker for the outrageously over-the-top promises of their candidate, or fall for his ridicules alternative facts, or swallow his self-serving bluster. It is indeed amazing that so many Americans support an egotistic, boorish, incompetent, narcissistic buffoon, whose innumerable flaws and failings could literally put the world economy/order/peace at great risk.
What is equally amazing however is that many of the same people - particularly animal lovers - who are so dumbfounded by the self-destructive mindset of Trump supporters, are equally blind when it comes to some of their own decisions in supporting animal protection organizations.
Contemporary animal protection organizations have devolved from entities of a compassionate social movement to an industry supported by mind-numbed donors. Laziness, incompetence, credit grabbing, lying, and in many cases outright fraud have become commonplace among many supposed animal protection organizations, but no matter how many times some of these groups are exposed for bad performance and/or ethical lapses, supporters apparently incapable of independent thought continue to send money like hypnotized members of a religious cult.
Meanwhile, groups and individuals who are busting their tails to faithfully execute their mission statements to protect animals operate at the point of bankruptcy for lack of support. It should not be a financial liability for a sincere organization to focus on its mission instead of marketing and fundraising schemes. Many productive organizations have ceased to exist for lack of funding.
Over the past few months, in comments on YouTube and other sites, SHARK has been criticized by some claiming to be involved in animal protection. The criticism is related to the number of negative experiences SHARK has with police as we work around the country.
SHARK wants to support the police, and looks forward to working with good cops at every opportunity. That said, and with the acknowledgement of good cops that there are plenty of bad apples out there, we do not back down to corruption just because its minions sometimes wear badges.
I suspect that a lot of these self-proclaimed “animal activists” are actually from various animal abuse industries. SHARK has a lot of enemies among animal abusers, and I consider that to be a good thing - a badge of honor. Whoever these nameless, faceless critics are, they inadvertently raise a very good question.
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.
In early December, SHARK investigator Mike Kobliska and I joined water protectors at the Standing Rock Native American Reservation in North Dakota for what was anticipated to be the imminent showdown between the protectors and police working for corporate interests connected to the Dakota Access Pipeline. Media reports had shown dogs used by pipeline security personnel, who set them against people and horses. We were told that one horse had died. There was a strange story of buffalo being penned up by the government in cruel conditions. We saw reprehensible behavior by law enforcement - something with which we are all too familiar in our own animal protection efforts.
Every day I thought about the scope of change that would occur if the animal protection movement had one-tenth the dedication of Standing Rock’s water protectors.
A serious confrontation was inevitable, and with inadequate coverage by the corporate media, Mike and I headed to North Dakota to use our high-powered video and still cameras, as well as our Angel drones and other equipment to document and expose bully tactics by the authorities. We arrived a few days before the arrival of military veterans who also supported the water protectors.
Aerial view of Oceti Sakowin Camp near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation from SHARK's Angel drone (click to enlarge)
There were perhaps a couple thousand people in camp when we got there. Some of these folks had been there for months, living in conditions that would be difficult in the best of times - something a North Dakota winter is not. Nevertheless, and in spite of being a very diverse group, people worked and lived together in a way that was both remarkable and admirable.