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Puppy Power!!



Puppy Power!!

An Editorial By David L. Howard

            The nation’s attention has been riveted on the just completed congressional elections – but just under the radar the humane movement in this country is getting more and more politically active.

            Wayne Pacelle, chief executive officer of the Humane Society of the United States, is transforming the nation’s largest group of animal lovers into a significant force in congressional elections.  This year’s HSUS, for the first time in its 50-year history, is supporting and trying to elect Congressional candidates who support its animal welfare agenda.

            That support is coming both in terms of political donations and voting power.  HSUS has 10 million members, which equates to 23,000 in each of the 435 house districts in this country.  The National Rifle Association, which is considered one of the most effective single-issue campaign organizations, has less then half that many members.

            The HSUS began their political operation two years ago by creating two offshoots from the organization to comply with tax and election laws.  Since that time they have spent $3.4 million on ballot initiatives and congressional elections, more than Exxon Mobile Corporation or Halliburton.

            The Humane Society has endorsed more than 300 candidates for congress but has only spent money in approximately 25 races where Mr. Pacelle believes he can swing five percent of the vote, enough to insure victory.  One of his leading targets was Montana Senator Conrad Burns because he opposed the horse slaughter bill in the senate.

           For the record, Senator Burns was defeated by Democratic challenger John Tester 198,302 votes to 195,455 – a margin of less than 3,000 votes – less than one percent of the popular vote.

            Pointing out that almost 70 percent of households in this country have pets, Mr. Pacelle told a crowd of followers, “We can be an incredibly influential political organization, as powerful as the Chamber of Commerce.”

            Columnist George Will put things in perspective with a Nov. 9 column in which he pointed out that $2.6 billion was spent in the 468 house and senate races this year. “Scandalized? Don’t be. Americans spend that much on chocolate every two months.”

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