Philip Brasher's piece in the Sunday, November 12 Des Moines Register should make you smile. It is headed, "Animal activists step up political pressure" and sub-headed, "Lawmakers who don't support certain legislation find themselves targets as groups' clout grows."
"Washington, D.C. - Republican U.S. House members Heather Wilson and Richard Pombo already had enough problems in their re-election races when a new set of opponents surfaced - animal-rights activists.
"The Humane Society Legislative Fund, a new political arm of the Humane Society of the United States, decided in September to actively work for the election or defeat of lawmakers based on issues key to the animal-welfare movement, such as banning the slaughter of horses.
"The group then spent more than $200,000 in the final four weeks of the campaign, most of it targeted at defeating two lawmakers who were in tight races, Pombo in Northern California and Wilson in New Mexico. Win or lose, the Humane Society was sending a message: Lawmakers could pay a price for their votes on issues of animal welfare.
"For a member of Congress such as Rep. Steve King, a Republican from a heavily agricultural district in western Iowa, that's no threat at all. King, an ardent opponent of banning horse slaughter, has little to fear from taking on the Humane Society.
"But to lawmakers who represent urban or suburban districts, the Humane Society is an opponent they could do without. And the livestock industry is alarmed about the organization' s growing financial and political clout."
The article tells us that HSUS has been gaining clout by merging with other groups and it explains, "Unlike its parent, the Humane Society of the United States, the legislative fund is organized under a tax law that allows nonprofit groups to spend money actively campaigning for and against lawmakers. HSUS directs its spending to ballot measures and lobbying."
The piece ends with a quote from a spokesman for the National Pork Producers Council, "
"They are getting into the political game now. ...As big as they are, they are certainly a force to be reckoned with."
You'll find the whole article on line at:
http://desmoinesreg ister.com/ apps/pbcs. dll/article? AID=/20061112/ BUSINESS03/ 611120329/ 1001/NEWS
OR http://tinyurl. com/y6az76