The Humane Society of the United States has at least one (that I know of) full-time employee whose sole function is to communicate the organization’s message using social media. That’s it! Be an evangelist for the cause using the constantly evolving Internet as a tool. The existence of that job represents their commitment to reaching out to a whole new generation of people. They also have an entire division (attorney’s included) focused exclusively on advancing their agenda through the courts. Now think about how many people work for your favorite pet owner advocacy group. I’ll guess ten. A dozen, maybe. Fifty, tops. I often wonder how many hats people in those organizations must have to wear and how effective they can be when constantly switching back and forth between roles.
The HSUS, PETA, Defenders of Wildlife and other radical animal extremist organizations like them are large, well-funded, well-organized and, most of all, driven by a common goal that is kept on track through its leaders. Most of them have been around for a long time and have had plenty of opportunity to create a solid base from which to operate. Their leadership consists of affable personalities who focus exclusively on their agenda. As much as I dislike his message, Wayne Pacelle is doing a lot of things right to further his organization’s agenda. Don’t get me wrong, though. I despise his ideas. His organization is one of the worst things to ever happen to animals and their responsible owners. But he believes them and he is focused on seeing them become a reality. While his beliefs are dangerous to every responsible pet owner it is his ability to get others to also believe that makes him the threat that he is. It’s his leadership and the orchestration of the teams of people behind him that makes him dangerous to pet owners of every kind. I hate to be the bearer of bad news but the advocates of responsible pet ownership are woefully inadequate by comparison. The leaders of the organization’s that trumpet our causes are largely invisible and unknown to a world that needs to hear them. The longer we go without comparable focus, cohesion and leadership the closer the country will move toward HSUS’ goal of ending pet ownership for everyone.
The HSUS expertly uses lies and misinformation to extract almost $200 million each year from a misled American public. Their benevolent sounding name is the cornerstone of their fantastic lie and they have a sympathetic media and most of the Democratic party on their side. If a single pet-ownership advocacy group has 15,000 members who give $50/year they will still only have $750,000 in revenue. Who would you like to bet on? An organization running on a shoestring budget with a react-only game-plan or the financially successful and laser-focused machine with educated and articulate leaders orchestrating the attack from multiple fronts? It’s not really a competition, is it?
The target of interest for both sides of this fight is the pet. Animal extremists want to ‘protect’ animals by putting an end to pet ownership. They believe that the very best way to protect animals is for them to not exist as pets. Extremists attack the exceptions to the majority of us who properly care for and respect our animals. They use the sensational as ammunition to push their agenda and feel justified in limiting the rights of everybody in order to address the irresponsible few. They twist facts, perpetuate irrational fear and wordsmith information in order to lead people to false conclusions. And they are good at it. In contrast, pet owners just want to be left alone to enjoy their pets. This means that most pet owners have not sufficiently developed a fighter’s mentality. They are standing unwillingly in the ring, hands down, being punched repeatedly in the face by the animal extremism juggernaut. And they take it, punch after punch, reeling with each blow. Without money, leadership, better organization, and well-marshalled volunteerism, the eventual fate of the pet owner seems obvious.
To all the responsible pet ownership groups out there: Do a better job of leveraging your support base. Don’t just ask them for their money; ask them for their time and their skill. There is an army of responsible pet owners out there.
And to all the responsible pet owners out there: Pick a group to support. Reach out to them. Give them money if you want to; no doubt they need it. But you also need tell them your skill and let them know you want to help support the rights of pet owners with more than just money. For now, be willing to give your time freely, in support of the cause. It is quite probable that your payment will never be money. It will come in the form of your right, and your kid’s right, to keep the pet of your choosing. That’s worth a lot more than money, don’t you think?