It looks like a well-known animal rights organization has a new enemy in the fight for animal welfare. According to paperwork filed with the Federal Election Commission, an organization based in Iowa dedicated to battling, what they are calling, “the radical animal rights movement” has launched a new super PAC. Super PACs (Political Action Committee) can solicit unlimited contributions legally to produce political advertisements, but only if their spending is not coordinated with a candidates’ campaigns.
The Protect the Harvest Political Action Committee is a “social welfare” nonprofit that seeks to teach the public about “the benefits of farming, ranching and hunting” and to advocate “for the right to conduct such activities.” Their intentions have been made clear to the elections lead that they will be raising funds in “unlimited amounts” to support the election or defeat of federal candidates — they are looking to protect their rights, freedoms and way of life through legal safeguards for farmers, sportsmen and animal “owners.”
Between October 2011 and December 2012, tax records show about $927,000 raised by Protect the Harvest. However, as a “social welfare” nonprofit, they are not required to publicly disclose donors.
Protect the Harvest says on its website, “the animal rights movement in America, led by the Humane Society of the United States, has evolved into a wealthy and successful attack group determined to end the consumption of meat, threaten consumer access to affordable food, eliminate hunting, outlaw rodeos and circuses and even ban animal ownership (including pets) altogether.”
This statement did not go without response.
“That’s baloney,” said Joe Maxwell, vice president of outreach and engagement, the Humane Society of the United States. He also says his organization is “leading efforts to ensure that we have good stewards of the land and the animals on our farms.”
Maxwell goes on to say that Protect the Harvest is “nothing but a front group” that is “in bed with industrialized agriculture.”
Image source: U.S. Department of Agriculture/Flickr