I’ve written before about the phony Center for Consumer Freedom
(CCF).

In its early years, CCF made money as a front group for Big Tobacco,
the alcohol industry, and other corporations working against public
health. In recent years, CCF has expanded its business model to
represent factory farmers, seal clubbers, cockfighters, and puppy
millers.

The Humane Society of the United States is now CCF’s number one
target. A couple weeks ago, CCF assailed our humanitarian relief
mission in Haiti, despite the remarkable work of our people on the
ground. Now, these animal cruelty apologists say they will step up
their attacks on us this week.

Will you make a special gift today and show CCF that those who care
about animals won’t back down?

The shills at CCF have one thing right: The HSUS is indeed the
largest, toughest, and most effective animal protection organization,
and we have the power, like no other group does, to effect major
changes for animals. Just listen to how our opponents talk about us:

“HSUS is clearly the nine-million-pound gorilla. They are
powerful, sophisticated and rich and they are good at what they do.
They are good at building the agenda, good at framing issues, they
know how to talk about issues, which is why they are effective.” – Wes Jamison, Meatingplace.com

“Fifteen years ago we were confronted by about 150 animal rights
organizations, subject to infighting and competition. Today, the
movement is defined by the Humane Society of the U.S.” – Steve
Kopperud, Cattle Network

“With the passage of California’s Proposition 2, more
people have come to realize the evolving threat of the power,
influence, and growing wealth of the Humane Society of the United
States (HSUS). Ballot initiatives and legislation similar to Prop. 2
will soon be introduced in more states. HSUS’s massive budget,
unwarranted positive public reputation, and deep-pocketed Hollywood
friends will only become a greater threat to industry in a
post-Proposition 2 business environment. It is crucial that a key
broad cross-section of agriculture leaders start managing this
nationwide threat now, before it is too late or too expensive to match
HSUS dollar for dollar.” – Rick Berman, CCF

If you don’t recognize the name of Rick Berman, let me provide a
proper introduction. He’s the type of individual — I know
you’ve heard of them before — who will literally do anything
for money. Back in the days when the tobacco lobby was still denying
that smoking caused lung cancer, men like Rick Berman attacked doctors
and other anti-smoking advocates who had the courage to speak the
truth. For his ultimately unsuccessful efforts, Rick Berman grabbed a
first fistful of cash (about $600,000 for starting the precursor to
CCF), and learned he could build a business by attacking
“do-gooders” and acting as hit man.

Right now, Berman is making the circuit of businesses and
organizations that profit from the status quo in the treatment of
animals, promising them they can dry up public support for our work
and pledging to step up assaults against The HSUS beginning this
week.

He will not slow us down. But here is something he will do. Beginning
now and for the first time in his public life, Rick Berman is going to
start helping animals. We’re going to see to it — you and I.

In response to CCF’s new mudslinging campaign, I’m asking
you to join with me, in raising $200,000 — $100,000 to help feed and
care for animals at the network of five animal care centers The HSUS
owns and operates, and $100,000 to add to our campaign to take on
factory farming.

Please make a special gift today to support our
animal care work and our campaigns against factory farms:

Here’s why I’ve chosen these two programs. We provide
permanent homes to 1,572 animals and treat another 14,000-plus injured
animals each year — the largest such sanctuary system in the United
States (and that’s just one small part of our direct-care
portfolio). Yet, Berman and company say we don’t do enough
hands-on care, and I want to underscore how painfully wrong he is by
allowing him to help us pay for the feeding and vet care of these
creatures for just a few days.

And second, we want to raise additional funds to fight factory farming
because it’s that type of work (whether passing
California’s successful Proposition 2 or shutting down
slaughterhouses violating the law with our undercover investigations)
that CCF and its corporate backers really want us to stop.

They’d love it if we spent all of our money on direct animal
care, and never addressed the causes of large-scale, institutionalized
cruelty and how animals get into a crisis situation to begin with.

As a reminder, we’ve employed this “counterpunch”
strategy once before. When the extremist U.S. Sportsmen’s
Alliance (USSA) worked to nix a $5,000 corporate gift to The HSUS for
our emergency grants to help pets affected by the foreclosure crisis,
we asked you to show the USSA that its activism against The HSUS would
backfire. We tried to raise more than USSA’s campaign cost us —
and we’d apply half of the money for our pet foreclosure fund
and our other efforts to protect pets, and the other half for the
programs that drive the USSA crazy, such as our anti-bear baiting or
anti-canned or captive hunts campaigns. It worked. We raised $170,000,
and sent the group a message that whenever they attack, we’ll
engage in a form of political jujitsu and flip the fundraising
equation on them.

Today, in our new counterpunch campaign, I’ll start with a
personal donation of $1,000. I hope you’ll make a contribution
today and show Rick Berman and the shadowy corporate interests that
line his pockets that any time they attack The HSUS, our supporters
will rise to the occasion to make sure our critical work to protect
animals not only continues, but is enhanced:

When we hit our goal, I’ll notify you and explain how
we’ll spend the money. Also, as we allow from time to time, the
donor who raises the most in this campaign gets naming rights to one
of our animals at the Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch. The winner
can pick, of course. But it’s my fond hope to be greeted by a
wild ass (actually, a donkey, but allow me this embellishment this
time) named “Rick Berman” next time I visit the ranch. It
will be a reminder in the winter of 2010 of the good he finally did
for someone other than himself.

Sincerely,

Wayne Pacelle
President & CEO
The Humane Society of the United States

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