The article first appeared at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, December 24, 2014:
Thanks to the Humane Watch team, it is now known what the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) is doing with its members' contributions: just one percent goes to support those pet shelters. Local humane societies, despite having a similar name, are not affiliated with HSUS at all, leaving it free to invest in its extreme animal rights agenda.
After reviewing its 2013 tax return, Humane Watch learned the following:
$26 million was sent to the Caribbean and Central America, specifically in Cayman Island and Bermuda banks;
HSUS paid $7 million to a direct mail firm that was just fined $25 million by New York's attorney general for running a charity scam; and
$5 million went to lobbying expenses, including $600,000 that went to a Maine front group pushing a ballot measure to restrict bear hunting.
When California legislators learned that egg producers were keeping their hens in tiny cages, the HSUS worked behind the scenes to help pass Proposition 2 which now requires them to give their hens upgraded living quarters, requiring that “egg-laying hens … be confined only in ways that allow [them] to lie down, stand up, fully extend their limbs and turn around freely.”
These “freedoms” are the same Five Freedoms for Farm Animals first proposed by animal rights groups back in 1965 and enacted into law by the European Union in 1999.
When it was clear that Proposition 2 was going to impact egg producers negatively due to the costs of retrofitting and upgrading their facilities, the California legislature passed a law in 2010 amending it to require that all eggs sold in California had to come from farms with the same upgrades.
This so outraged Attorneys General in egg-producing states that they filed suit last February, claiming violation of the Commerce Clause of the US Constitution. This is one of the few enumerated powers the states gave to the national government: “to regulate commerce … among the several states.” As noted by the Journal of the american Bar Association, the onerous impact on out-of-state egg farmers means that “the Golden State is effectively regulating interstate commerce in violation of the Constitution….”
It was clear from the beginning that it was a protectionist measure to keep out-of-state egg producers from undercutting California's own producers. As the California State Assembly's own Committee on Appropriations noted:
The intent of this legislation is to level the playing field so that in-state producers are not disadvantaged.
California professor emeritus at San Francisco's Hastings College Calvin Massey agreed:
[Other cases] have identified the Commerce Clause as a device to guarantee a national free trade marketplace.
Thus, a state's desire to … protect local enterprise from outside competition is … an illegitimate objective.
When the initial lawsuit was thrown out of court, a spokesman for Missouri's Attorney General Chris Koster, responded:
We disagree with the federal court's opinion that Missouri lacks standing to defend its businesses and consumers against burdensome economic regulation imposed by out-of-state legislatures….
[The lawsuit is] about whether elected officials in one state can regulate the practices of another state's citizens, who cannot vote them out of office.
For the HSUS, the success of Proposition 2 and the failure of the AGs' lawsuit to gain traction were causes for celebration. It knows that for years California has taken the lead in the green movement, and, as Cally Carswell noted last month in Modern Farmer: “California has long been to environmental law what New York is to fashion: It leads, others follow.”
For example, California's draconian vehicle emissions laws in the 1960s have now been adopted by the federal government, with further demands that average vehicle mileage reach 50 mpg inside the next ten years.
In a moment of clarity, HSUS Vice President Miyun Park explained what the organization's real agenda is. The improvement of egg-laying hens is just a small step towards elimination of the domestic animal industry:
We have a very active cage-free campaign. Are we saying that cage-free eggs are the way to go? No, that's not what we're saying. But it's a step in the right direction.
And what direction would that be? Park explained:
We don't want any of these animals to be raised and killed.
Its real goal is to get everyone to become a vegan:
A number of organizations, including the Humane Society of the United States … work on promoting veganism.
Over the last year the price of a dozen eggs has climbed more than 30% in anticipation of the reduction in egg-laying hens in more expensive quarters, thanks to Proposition 2. Best estimates are that, come January 1, when the law is fully implemented, the price will increase by another 25%.
The New American: Coming Egg Shortage Will Tax Family Budgets
The ABA Journal: California's ban on standard-caged birds poses a chicken-egg problem
The New York Times: U.S. Judge Dismisses 6-State Suit Over California Egg Law
Modern Farmer: When California Changes Its Chicken Laws, It Affects Everybody
Governing.com: States Fight Over Chicken Treatment
Civil Eats: What a Difference a Cage Makes: California's Humane Egg Battle
The Washington Post: California could be on the verge of a severe egg shortage, and it will affect the whole country
Impacts of Banning Cage Egg Production In the United States August 2009
California's 2008 Proposition 2
Commerce Clause of the US Constitution
Humane Watch: More Irresponsible Spending from H$U$
Humane Watch: Unpacking the HSUS Gravy Train (2014 Edition)