Living the Scientific Life (Scientist, Interrupted)

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Yellow Tail wines are produced by Casella Wines Pty Ltd., based in Yenda, Australia. The Casella family produced wine in their native Italy since the 1820s, but moved to Australia to pursue a better life. But Yellow Tail has failed in their goal to pursue the better life in at least one way: they donated $100,000 to the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). This was a huge mistake, Yellow Tail. If you’d done your homework, you’d know that HSUS is not the same as your local humane societies.


HSUS seeks to abolish animal agriculture — Mr Casella, what do your clients typically eat while drinking Yellow Tail wines? Steak, perhaps? Fish? Not only that, but Yellow Tail wines fell for the HSUS rhetoric: HSUS scams millions of dollars from the well-meaning public by claiming they use the funds to help animals by funding shelters for them. WRONG. If you check your facts, you’d find that HSUS is a lobbying organization whose CEO, Wayne Pacelle, and his minions pocket millions of dollars annually by perpetuating upon the public the illusion that they actually care for and about animals. But if you examine their 2008 Federal Income Tax return, for example, H$U$ only sends one-half of one percent (0.5%) — NOT one percent (1.0%) of its annual income — on actual hands-on animal WELFARE groups (the video below makes a mistake where it claims that 1% goes to local shelters).

HSUS is an enemy of people because it turns a blind eye to Animal Rights terrorists. In fact, HSUS tacitly agrees with AR terrorism by employing people such as homegrown American terrorist, John Goodwin, who is a proud member of Animal Liberation Front (ALF), which is formally recognized as a domestic terrorist threat by the United States Department of Homeland Security.

Don’t get me wrong: I am not against agriculture per se. I grew up in a farming and ranching community, so I know first-hand that there is plenty wrong with the practices followed by a diminishing number of people attempting to raise ever-larger numbers of animals for food, but the best way to reduce horrible ranching practices is to (1) have a relationship with a local farmer so you know the practices they follow to raise the meat that you eat and (2) reduce the amount of meat you eat to just one serving per week (or better yet, become a vegetarian). Most Americans and Europeans eat far too much meat and it is this tremendous and growing demand that fuels the battery farming and cruel slaughter practices that put meat on your plates.

Also, don’t think that I am endorsing the use of guns, either (I grew up amongst hunters and gun-nuts too, and my experiences with them made me conclude that nearly everyone who possesses a gun shouldn’t). However, I am acutely aware that the use of guns in this message makes a rather powerful point, don’t you agree?

Further, if you would like to express your dissatisfaction with Yellow Tail wine’s stupid fact-checking abilities by no longer purchasing their wines, let me suggest a wonderful American (red) wine instead of Yellow Tail (okay, okay, Yellow Tail finally did reverse their position — eventually, and only under tremendous pressure). I encourage you to try my favorite American wine label that produces tasty and affordable red wines, Liberty School. I welcome other people’s suggestions as well (especially for affordable cabernet and syrah/shiraz wines that I can get in Germany).

NOTE: my wine choice is, like everyone’s, based on my own opinions and tastes. I have no connection whatsoever with Liberty School, which is a Californian winery that doesn’t even know I exist.

Comments

  1. #1 Tabor
    March 4, 2010

    Veeery interesting!

  2. #2 J-Dog
    March 4, 2010

    Plus Yellow Fail Wines are TERIBLE!!! My local wine store was trying to sell them at 2 for $5.00!!! How bad is that???

  3. #3 "GrrlScientist"
    March 4, 2010

    having bought a few of Yellow Tail’s red wines, i agree with you. i also thought they were terrible.

  4. #4 --bill
    March 4, 2010

    I take it your reference to HSUS `call to abolish animal agriculture’ is to document ? Where, in that document, is a call to abolish animal agriculture?

  5. #5 JThompson
    March 4, 2010

    So we’re back to linking to the Center for Consumer Freedom to prove how bad the HSUS is again?
    When they attack The Center for Science in the Public Interest, are they still a trustworthy organization? Are they trustworthy when they claim trans-fats aren’t unhealthy? Was it still trustworthy when they “proved” smoking isn’t a health risk?

    While I’d agree the HSUS are pretty slimy as a group, the amount of people that supposedly deal in evidence that gleefully take things on faith when they happen to agree with them is kind of staggering.

  6. #6 Dan S.
    March 4, 2010

    Hey, that video’s pretty funny. And you should always be careful who you let your wallaby hop into bed with – for example, I wouldn’t let mine into a menage a troise with the agribusiness industry, “the U.S. Sportsman’s Alliance” and industry front group the Center for Consumer Freedom… but ymmv. Since, y’know, that’s who behind the Yellow Tail Fail effort . . .

    www[dot]ussportsmen[dot]org/Page.aspx?pid=2292
    cofarmbureaublog[dot]wordpress[dot]com/2010/02/19/yellowtail-backs-off-hsus-donation/

    And of course, there’s the current smear campaign against the HSUS being run by the CCF with the support of the agribusiness industry, along with hunting groups, puppy mill owners, etc. – people in the field say it seems to have been HSUS’ role in getting California’s Proposition 2 passed (it “requires that calves raised for veal, egg-laying hens and pregnant pigs be confined only in ways that allow these animals to lie down, stand up, fully extend their limbs and turn around freely,” with “exceptions made for transportation, rodeos, fairs, 4-H programs, law ful slaughter, research and veterinary purposes,” and as therefore cuts into the industry’s bottom line) that set it off.

    But yeah, it is a funny video. Hats off to the “Cob Squad,” which if one does their homework (ie, clicks on the obvious link – they’re not trying to conceal anything) is part of the Nebraska Corn Board. (Ok, that’s kinda cute. Cob Squad!)

    If you’d done your homework, you’d know that HSUS is not the same as your local humane societies.

    Absolutely – and it’s never claimed to be. The homework here is simply looking at their website! Local humane societies/shelters and rescues are awesome – although I’m biased, as I work in one) and if you’re interested in helping out pets in your local area, definitely go ahead and donate! (although it’s really best to find out basic stuff about their policies & practices first). The HSUS is a national organization that works to advocate for animals through legislation, education, investigation, etc. (Where did the HSUS spokesperson from the earlier thread go? Can I get them to reimburse me?). This isn’t a secret – they go on and on about it.

    HSUS seeks to abolish animal agriculture —

    As mentioned above, a source would be nice. The film quotes John Goodwin (see below) saying “

    ": HSUS scams millions of dollars from the well-meaning public by claiming they use the funds to help animals by funding shelters for them.”

    See their About Page humanesociety[dot]horg/about/overview/ and decide for yourself

    If you check your facts, you’d find that HSUS is a lobbying organization
    Or just check their webpage, to find that they do indeed focus on legislation!

    Whose CEO, Wayne Pacelle, and his minions pocket millions of dollars annually…
    (“Minions”- Awesome!) Interesting. Let’s see – if we look at the 2008 tax return (on the HSUS website), we find that Pacelle made $228,981 plus $22,252 in deferred comp & nontaxable benefits, for a total of $252,540. That ain’t nothing, to say the least, But giw does it compare with other charities? Well, playing around with charitynavigator[dot]org, we find National Audubon Society pres, John Flicker feathering his nest to the tune of $315,000 (Flicker? You’re kidding me, right), ASPCA pres. Edwin Sayres making $446,860 (on ’07), American Humane Association pres Marie Wheatley getting $230,000 – that’s the (quite respectable and venerable org) praised in a post Orca linked to in comments here a few posts back. Certainly there are others who make less (hey, Ingrid Newkirk only gets $35,462, but that’s as PETA pres., so . . . yeah.), but for major national organizations if seems kinda standard. Check out your favorites . . .

    (The CCF also goes -vaguely – on about pensions. Yeah, organizations who pay into their employees’ 401ks – how evil.)

    … by perpetuating upon the public the illusion that they actually care for and about animals.
    Well, – for? – they do have a large sanctuary or two, but not hundreds of shelters – but then again, they don’t claim to.

    About? Well, again, the whole point of the organization is advocating for animals, and the thing is, while you can certainly disagree with their targets, aims, judgement, procedures, priorities and performance, if you so choose . . .that’s what they do. (Charity Navigator’s expense breakdown finds 82.7% going to program activities (and about 17% to fundraising and admin).

    Have you been reading the comments to your posts, grrlscientist, or clicking on the links at the CCF’s anti-humane blog (including one of your posts – congrats!), or just googling around? There’s an outpouring of fury towards the HSUS from advocates for hunting, factory farming, puppy mills, etc. (that comment a few posts back angry about “cultural practices” and game birds? They’re talking about cockfighting). There are some folks angry for other reasons, sure, but this comes through loud and clear – why do you think there’s this whole smear campaign to begin with?! It’s not because the HSUS is s all just sitting around eating vegetarian caviar – it’s because they spend a ton of time and money making life difficult for folks involved w. puppy mills, factory farming, internet&canned hunting, etc. Now, people can disagree about any aspect of this, and nobody’s obliged (or is being forced) to donate; again, if you want to give to your local shelter instead – or also – that’s awesome. And the fact that they fight puppy mills and such doesn’t mean they don’t have other problems. But of course, this is all totally consistent with’caring about animals,’ though I’m interested to hear other suggestions. Unsure how you support your contention that they don’t care about animals.

    HSUS is an enemy of people because it turns a blind eye to Animal Rights terrorists

    They’re supposed to be . . .what? hunting them down? Would it be ok if they just offered rewards for helping catch them? Cause they, like, have.
    www[dot]hsus[dot]org/press_and_publications/press_releases/hsus_offers_reward_in_ca_arsons_080408.html

    In fact, HSUS tacitly agrees with AR terrorism by employing people such as homegrown American terrorist, John Goodwin
    “Such as”? Given that despite the constant attempts by the HSUS’ enemies to link them to AR terrorism, this is the only name I’ve seen, I’m not sure we’re talking “such as”, but rather “by employing John Goodwin” . . .

    who is a proud member of Animal Liberation Front (ALF)
    And since my understanding is that Goodwin describes himself as a former member who now goes on about how that kind of stuff is really bad, and has not been linked to any such activity for years. If you have info to the contrary, there are people who would be very interested to hear about it.

    I know first-hand that there is plenty wrong with the practices followed by a diminishing number of people attempting to raise ever-larger numbers of animals for food

    So you’re going to hold your nose and support the Humane Society – or another group fighting to fix factory farming that you’re more comfortable with?

    but the best way to reduce horrible ranching practices is to (1) have a relationship with a local farmer so you know the practices they follow to raise the meat that you eat and (2) reduce the amount of meat you eat to just one serving per week (or better yet, become a vegetarian).

    Ah. And this is great important stuff (esp. if you’re lucky enough have the location, money and time to do (1)), and I mean, hey, I’m a vegetarian, so I’m like (2) plus! But you know, these sort of individual, voluntary, labor-intensive efforts, as vital as they are, simply can’t by themselves solve huge entrenched systematic problems. Would you give this sort of advice to people seeking to improve food safety or reduce child labor/sweatshop practices or fight global warming . . .? Perhaps it’s helpful to have big well-funded groups advocating for change, revealing abuses, and supporting legislation? (see Prop 2 above for one very recent example).

    Don’t you wonder why industry front groups, agribusiness spokespeople and puppymill supporters keep urging you to support your local shelter? I mean, I’m sure some of them are kindhearted folks who care about animals, but of course that has nothing to do with this. The thing is, with a few exceptions, local shelters aren’t a threat to them. After all, such places have very limited resources which they need to spend on caring for the endless stream of abused, abandoned, or unwanted animals, perhaps working on local cruelty investigations, etc. It’s a incredibly important thing, and again, if you’re at all interested, help!

    But they can’t carry out major investigations, or big educational campaigns, or do much to push the kind of legislation, except maybe on the very local level, that are vital to reducing the kind of horrible practices you talk about – from ranching to puppy mills to 20 other things. If these aren’t one’s issues or priorities, that’s fine, of course, and nobody should be unknowingly supporting them b/c of confusion. Again – local shelters, etc – very cool, and they need your help. But the more kindhearted and concerned people who can be convinced by industry smear campaigns to do only that rather than donating to the HSUS too (or instead), the less they have to worry about getting caught sending downer cows into the food supply, or be prevented from cramming as many breeding female dogs into a facility as they can, or having to give caged chickens a tiny, tiny bit of room to move around, or . . .

  7. #7 Hart
    March 5, 2010

    These corporate hit jobs against an actual nonprofit are getting old. CCF is a bunch of corporate lobbyists who promote chemicals in food, chemicals in farming, and chemicals in cigarettes.

  8. #8 Dan S.
    March 5, 2010

    Oh ma, I should’ve previewed more carefully! Two quick things:

    “As mentioned above, a source would be nice. The film quotes John Goodwin (see below) saying”

    should be followed by

    My goal is the total abolition of all animal agriculture”” – but it’s unsourced, and.I haven’t been able to find any fuller reference online (through a rather brief and superficial search, to be fair). And of course, Goodwin is the HSUS’s dogfighting guy, so it’s unclear what this even has to do with anything. ”

    And “Orca” = “Orac”. There’s a joke somewhere here about killer whales and alt-med/anti-vax cranks, but I’m too tired to do it . . .

  9. #9 Susan
    March 5, 2010

    Well, here are some FACTS about HSUS that are, in fact, well documented, though I won’t do your Google work for you.
    HSUS direct mail advertisements and TV advertisements prominently feature sad looking puppies and kittens and dogs and cats, but HSUS does not fund or support animal shelters with more than one half of one percent of the funds it raises.

    It is a repeated practice of HSUS to participate in a dogfighting bust, or a puppymill bust, stick around long enough to stand in front of the TV cameras and newspaper cameras, and then skip town, leaving the local shelters and rescues to care with large numbers of animals which need immediate shelter, medical care, food, personnel to care for them — none of which the HSUS provides or assists with.

    HSUS fundraised HEAVILY to “save” the animals which Katrina left devastated, and then did nothing for those animals until Louisiana raised such a hue and cry that HSUS built an animal hospital with some of those funds.

    HSUS fundraised to help the animals devastated by the Haiti earthquake, and then declared that there were no animals there needing their help.

    HSUS mounted a major fundraising campaign using the plight of a dog named Faye which had been horribly maimed in dogfighting, when in fact (AT THE TIME OF THE FUNDRAISING) Faye was not in their care, they were not contributing ANYTHING for her care, and the parties caring for her desperately needed financial help to try to save her. ONLY after this was exposed NATIONALLY OVER THE INTERNET did HSUS cough up $5000 towards medical care for Faye. Faye didn’t make it. HSUS kept the rest.

    HSUS sent representatives to a court in Wilkes County NC just over a year ago to urge the judge to order the death of nearly 150 dogs, many unweaned puppies, which had been seized in a dogfighting bust. Under oath, HSUS representatives (I have the court transcript) told the judge that the dogs could not be rehabilitated, they misrepresented what it would cost to rehabilitated, and they failed to reveal to the judge that there were organizations clamoring to take the dogs in and rehabilitate them at their own expense. The dogs were all killed.

    HSUS heavily fundraised to save the dogs from the Michael Vick dogfighting operation, and then argued passionately that they should be killed.

    NONE of this is CCF propaganda. It is all fact. Does this sound like a group that an animal lover should send their money to?

    Support your local shelters and rescues.

  10. #10 jOE t wILLIAMS
    March 5, 2010

    Really? Do your research. Wayne Parcell and minions are also against ownership of companion animals. Agreed,puppy mills ned to be stopped, but how can you seperate HSUS agenda from our companion pets? I WAS A VEGGIE, I now eat meat on a doctors orders. I am down to 25% use of both kidneys and vegie protiens do not do the job. I was supposed to go on dalyisis in May 2008 when it was discovered my kidneys were failing. Its ben almost 3 years now and no needles yet. Any dialysis program says meat protien, not veggies.
    Yes,people should do their research, but then HSUS should presents acurate adds when requesting donations, not the bleeding heart crap they do use. Its like smoke and mirrors or bait and switch,all to make the donating public think they are helping shelters. That fact,no one can deny and writing to the contrary makes me think of an HSUS shill.

  11. #11 sara
    March 5, 2010

    Wayne Pacelle and his damage control staff keep citing their high ratings from Charity Navigator and Worth in order to change the subject and divert attention from the ugly truths Humane Watch is sharing with the public. Its like Bernie Madoff defending himself by arguing that the SEC found no wrongdoing in its investigations of his company. Charity Navigator is more of a lapdog than a watchdog because it bases half of its rating on “financial health” (HSUS is in incredible wealth) and does no checking or “calculations” when rating efficiency. If Pacelle tells the accountants to claim 85% is spent on programs, they will do so and Charity Navigator will plug the number into their formula and move on to the next of 7000+ charities they rate each year. Worth Magazine is a shadow of its former self in terms of staff and revenue. In late 2002, they did a six month investigation to determine the 100 best charities and ten worst. HSUS was one of the ten, alongside some really sleazy sham charities, some of whom also cook their books and earn four stars from Charity Navigator. Worth used the far more respected American Institute of Philanthropy and Attorney Generals offices and public records in their research. In 2002, AIP gave HSUS a D, its current grade is a C minus. Worth Magazine changed formats in 2003 and is barely hanging on. Their list of fiscally responsible charities was thrown together by a non-expert who relied on Charity Navigator and HSUS press releases as their major sources. I’m sure they realize they screwed up and I doubt they want to be used as a character witness for a corrupt charity everytime they are exposed (which is every day). Maybe they should be alerted.

    HSUS may put a disclaimer on their website about their role with shelters (even that is misleading) but their target audience (the gullible) that they prey on via endless mailings, “free” gifts, TV ads and begging phone calls,
    are most definitely deceived.

    John Goodwin’s sick ranting can be found by googling “J.P. Goodwin No Compromise Magazine”. The fact that Pacelle not only hired and promoted him but had him sign the disgraceful “Faye” fundraising scam letter sends a clear message: We don’t care what you think, we will do whatever we want. If we are exposed and condemned (mainly by the legitimate animal welfare community, not just Humanewatch), we will just increase the deception, expand the fundraising and sue the whistleblowers.
    Pacelle and the HSUS are a disgrace.

  12. #12 Better Informed
    March 6, 2010

    Science blog??? You don’t follow through with your research. None of your posts have credible sources! I bet you believe the global climate change deniers too. (BTW, did you hear that man and dinosaurs roamed the earth together? It’s in the bible!)

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