Proponents of HB 1412 Criticize the Humane Society of the United States' Tactics
The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) is facing criticism for its recent campaign tactics regarding the Indiana Canine Standards of Care bill (HB 1412). The organization has come under fire by proponents of HB 1412 for utilizing imagery and information to oppose legislation aimed at improving the welfare of dogs in pet stores.
In a recent incident, HSUS used an image of a deceased puppy in its efforts to rally opposition against HB 1412. It is reported that the dog died from accidental choking at a Petland pet store where an alleged undercover activist, employed by HSUS, was working. Following the incident, the puppy was placed in a freezer, per the instructions of a licensed veterinarian, to undergo a necropsy.
Both the veterinarian and local animal control authorities concluded that the pet store had acted in accordance with procedures from the Georgia Dept of Agriculture. An inspection of the store by Georgia Department of Agriculture days later found no violations.
Elizabeth Kunzelman, Vice President of Legislative and Public Affairs for Petland said, "HSUS is exploiting a tragic puppy choking death from 6 years ago by plastering the picture of the deceased puppy across social media. They are using this to urge legislators to say no to bill that raises accountability for pet stores. They will stop at nothing to further their agenda. They have continued to bring up breeders from 10 years ago or incidents that happened in the past that have absolutely nothing to do with passing high standards of care in Indiana. They are purposefully blurring the intent of the bill with irrelevant stories with as much 'shock value' as they can find because they don't have a valid argument against regulations and breeder standards. It's disgraceful and unacceptable."
"Upon reviewing the inspection report and conducting our own investigation with Petland it was disappointing to see this imagery used out of context and in this manner." said Jonathan Lawler, Public Policy Director, Indiana Council for Animal Welfare (ICAW).
These criticisms come in the wake of HSUS's use of photos depicting kennels located outside of Indiana. According to ICAW, several of these facilities would not meet the standards for selling puppies to pet stores under this proposed legislation. Critics argue that HSUS's tactics are intentionally deceptive and aimed at misleading the public and policymakers.
"It is interesting to note that the Humane Society of the United States is aligning itself with substandard breeders, breeder groups, and pet stores who oppose this bill." Lawler said. "Their (Pet Stores and breeders) opposition appears to stem from a desire to avoid regulation and inspections of their kennels, rather than a genuine concern for animal welfare and the fact that the Humane Society of the United States is okay with that is mindboggling. Shirky's Principle of 'Institutions will try to preserve the problem to which they are the solution.' Is glaringly obvious in this case with the Humane Society of the United States."
The Canine Standards of Care bill seeks to establish comprehensive regulations including Purdue's Canine Care Certified Program to ensure the humane treatment of dogs in commercial breeding facilities and pet stores. Proponents argue that such legislation is necessary to combat animal cruelty and improve the overall welfare of dogs.
In response to HSUS's campaign, advocates for the Canine Standards of Care bill are calling for a focus on factual information and constructive dialogue.
"We urge all stakeholders to engage in honest and transparent discussions about the Canine Standards of Care bill," emphasized Lawler. "Misleading tactics and sensationalized imagery only serve to undermine the integrity of the debate and hinder progress towards meaningful reform."
As discussions regarding the Canine Standards of Care bill persist, it is essential for all stakeholders to emphasize the welfare of dogs and collaborate on measures that advance responsible breeding practices and humane treatment.