(Editor’s Note: The end of a Year is a good time to take inventory – to reflect – to learn -and to avoid the mistakes of the past. Most importantly, it provides an opportunity to chart a wise and productive course in the coming year. The intent of this series of articles is to provide the necessary information to do just that ).
REPRINT – HSUS EQUINE PROTECTION VP KEITH DANE TRIES TO “SPIN” THE PAST ACT NOT RECEIVING A FLOOR VOTE IN THE HOUSE OR SENATE – “HSUS IS ANATHEMA TO THEM (Republicans)” CONNIE-HARRIMAN WHITFIELD – OCT. 19, 2013
Posted on December 31, 2014
THETA, TN – On the last day of 2014, a spokesperson for Mr. Wayne Pacelle’s, The Humane Society Of The United States, finally ventured forth to put a public face on the PAST ACT not getting a Floor Vote.
And to further attempt to “spin” the HSUS failure to go all out to see that it did.
Here is what Mr. Keith Dane had to say.
I hope you’ve all had a wonderful and joyous holiday season. I’d like to take this opportunity to wish you a very happy New Year, and to thank you for your ongoing, unwavering support for (and work to secure passage of) the PAST Act.
Of course, it was terribly disappointing ““ to me personally, and to all of us – that despite all of our best efforts, the PAST Act was never brought to the floor for a vote in either house of Congress. We never underestimated the resolve of those who wanted to maintain the status quo of abuse in the Tennessee Walking horse show world, and block the bill ““ nor the clout of the small handful of lawmakers who represent them. But we have right on our side ““ and we and all those who support the PAST Act are clearly in the majority. We worked to gain an extremely rare, wide majority of cosponsors in both the House and the Senate, and have raised an unprecedented amount of exposure on the issue of horse soring and the need for PAST.
I’m mindful of the fact that few bills are passed in Congress on the first attempt, and passage of some of the biggest successes in animal protection legislation have taken several sessions. We cannot ever weaken in our resolve to succeed, or tire of the work needed to achieve it ““ no matter how long it takes. And we won’t. Each and every one of us is needed to win this fight, and we will not be denied. We must stand and work together, for the good of our horses.
Often, we have to spend a great deal of time, energy and resources just to protect and retain our hard-won gains, and 2014 was no exception. For the past several years, we have succeeded in securing annual increases in USDA funding for enforcement of the Horse Protection Act. The HPA funding increases of FY14 were carried forward into FY15, with an appropriation of $697,000 ““ despite the current federal belt-tightening environment.
While we didn’t achieve everything we set out to accomplish in 2014, the Chinese Year of the Horse, we must recognize that significant progress was made to protect our beloved equines, and all of our previously-gained progress was retained.
In difficult times, with formidable adversaries, holding our ground and edging the marker forward can and should be viewed as success. I take comfort as the year draws to a close in knowing that we have reduced the suffering of horses in America, increased
public awareness of their plight, and laid a solid foundation for further gains in 2015 and beyond. I sincerely hope that you do, too.
Best wishes to all for a very happy New Year.
Yours in compassion for animals,
A FEW OBSERVATIONS
Mr. Dane has been on a number of personal vacations since July 2013, so it is interesting to see him now back in the saddle on New Year’s Eve trying to “spin” the PAST ACT not getting a Floor Vote in either the U. S. House or Senate. At least, it’s better than the “Deafening Silence” by the HSUS when the PAST ACT was expiring in early December 2014, then the hokey foolishness of a Friday afternoon letter (Dec. 5) to Congressman, followed by a wild goose chase attempt (Dec 10) to blame an “Unidentified Senate Republican” for blocking the PAST ACT.
MR. PACELLE’S GAMBIT WAS SHADES OF “THEY WENT THAT-A-WAY”
Some of Mr. Dane’s remarks deserve clarification:
- despite all of our best efforts – the best effort would have been to do what Mr. Dane’s boss Mr. Wayne Pacelle suggested – use his “INs” with lame duck Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to put the PAST ACT on the Senate Floor, then invoke Cloture to shut off debate, pass it overwhelmingly, and then send the PAST ACT to the House of Representatives for a Floor Vote. Mr. Pacellle’s two requirements, 50 Senators and approval by the Senate Commerce Committee, occurred on March 13, 2014 and April 9, 2014, respectively. Then Mr. Pacelle didn’t do diddly about Cloture because Congressman Whitfield and his employee Connie Harriman-Whitfield were the subjects of an Ethics Probe, and Mr. Pacelle made the decision it would be in the best interests of the HSUS not to be entangled in it any more than it already was.
- “some of the biggest successes in animal protection legislation have taken several sessions” – Mr. Dane doesn’t seem to have any more awareness of the timing necessary to “win” than he did when he was handling the ill fated attempt to defeat the draconian TWHBEA By-Law changes. Mr. Dane must not be aware that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was elected for a six year term. And no version of the PAST ACT has ANY chance as long as Senator McConnell is the Senate Majority Leader.
- “holding our ground and edging the marker forward can and should be viewed as success” – No Mr. Dane, it cannot be viewed as a success, because it was a colossal failure. Golden opportunities only come along every now and then. The PAST ACT will not come close to replicating the number of co-sponsors in either the House or the Senate in the 114th (2014-2015) Session of Congress than it did in the 113th (2013-2014). The ERA amendment came close, but didn’t make it.
- “we worked to gain an extremely rare, wide majority of cosponsors in both the House and the Senate” – As reflected by the emails below from Ms. Connie Harriman-Whitfield, many Republicans “hate” the HSUS. It is offensive that Mr. Dane self serving attempts to take sole credit for the HSUS putting together the 308 House co-sponsors, and the 60 Senators, and most importantly, the 118 Republicans to satisfy the “Hastert Rule”. Shame on Keith Dane for even trying to claim credit for the HSUS making a difference with the Republicans.
- “we have reduced the suffering of horses in America” – When you have a chance to eliminate the pads and chains to end the sore Big Lick, and you do not go all out and use your influence with lame duck Democrat Majority Leader Harry Reid to invoke Cloture to pass the Bill, and then you place the other interests of the HSUS above going all out to pass the PAST ACT because an employee who answers directly to Mr. Pacelle is being investigated by the Office of Congressional Ethics, then you cannot truthfully say you have reduced the suffering of horses in America.
Mr. Dane seems to forget that the All American Walking Horse Alliance refused to accept any financial support from The Humane Society Of The United States in the historic “WALK ON WASHINGTON” because as Connie Harriman Whitfield told Mr. Keith Dane and other HSUS officials on October 19, 2013, not everyone loves them:
CONNIE HARRIMAN-WHITFIELD – “To pass this in the House we need at least 50 more Republican co-sponsors. Sadly, HSUS is anathema to the majority of them. “This is the delicate tightrope we walk”. “With Republicans, Ed and I emphasize that it is an industry-backed bill (AVMA, AAEP. AHC, etc) we don’t even mention animals welfare groups though they do appear on our list of supporters. “(Congressman Ted) Yoho told Congressman Whitfield and me that the HSUS is evil because, ‘They want to give ALL animals the exact same rights as humans have.’ He HATES HSUS.”
And Mr. Dane, who likes to control things, clashed with Congressman Whitfield’s Press Secretary Marty Irby over Irby’s desire to set up “Republican Meetings” for Sound Horse advocates and have them accompanied by some representatives of the American Horse Council, AVMA and ASPCA because the are not viscerally disliked by many members of Congress who loathe the HSUS. Irby had the political smarts to know what was needed to win, and Dane was blind to the fact that in many quarters being associated with the HSUS is the quickest way to lose.
Am example of this was when Priscilla Presley came to Washington and Irby forbade Mr. Keith Dane from accompanying her into the meetings with the various Representatives/Senators. Dane was not happy with the situation, so for some unknown reason, the following picture of Priscilla Presley meeting with Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS) ended up in the Washington Post. To say that it was counter-productive and detrimental to the interests of passing the PAST ACT would be an understatement. It was a grand standing tone-deaf move most likely motivated by HSUS fund raising possibilities.
Nephew Eugene would say it was just plain stupid.
Helena Andrews is the co-author of The Reliable Source. Follow her on Twitter @hele
Marty Irby to Keith Dane Jan 14, 2014 – “Like it or not, the Humane Society does not seem to be popular with Republicans, and in light of recent events with the Ethics Committee and word around the bill with I think we need to look more at what works best.” Irby expressed frustration and said he thought letting the ASPCA know who was coming would help the PAST ACT cause.
Keith Dane to Marty Irby Jan 14, 2014 – “Marty, we worked to get these folks to agree to come. If you need help scheduling or attending their meetings, I don’t think it’s appropriate or reasonable to ask AHC (American Horse Council), AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association) or ASPCA (American Society For The Prevention Of Cruelty To Animals). If you need help, please let us know with what, and ask – us. We have enough people to accompany folks during the week of the 25th”
Basically, HSUS official Keith Dane was trying to “hog” the credit for HSUS, and put a “turf battle” ahead of what would be in the best interests of #PASSTHEPASTACT. Marty Irby was integral along with other non-HSUS aligned Sound Horse advocates that the PAST ACT got as many House Republicans as it did.
Members of the All American Walking Horse Alliance understood the stigma and dislike of the HSUS when they made their appointments to lobby House and Senate members. If they mentioned an Association with the HSUS or if one was imagined by many Senators and Congressmen, the lobbying meeting was essentially over.
Keith Dane is a likable fellow, a consummate “yes” man and a loyal employee. His shining moment was his part in the Jackie McConnell undercover investigation which led to the ABC Nightline expose’.
But he whiffed badly on this Year End “Spin Job”.