What’s So Great about David Vitter?

The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) spends less than 1/2 of 1% of their money on animal shelters (which is where most Americans think the money goes).  The remaining 99 and 1/2% goes to a variety of other places, including political campaigns.  The largest recipient of HSUS cash in the current election cycle is Senator David Vitter (R – LA).

Currently, Sen. Vitter is perhaps best known for refusing to debate his opponent while facing a serious ethics complaint from a non-partisan watchdog group (pdf here).  The complaint involves Sen. Vitter’s alleged office expense account being used to inappropriately funnel cash to a legislative aide who oversaw women’s issues for the Senator, and was arrested for attacking his former girlfriend with a knife.  The current complaint may re-open the investigation into the Senator’s years of use of the DC Madam’s prostitution services.

Apparently considering himself an authority on the sanctity of marriage, Sen. Vitter supports amending the Constitution to prevent same sex couples from marrying, even comparing marriage equality to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.  He has embraced and then attempted to wriggle out of various wacky conspiracy theories from President Obama being a secret Kenyan to health care reform legislation being a secret ploy to institute government death panels.  When BP recklessly filled the Gulf of Mexico with oil this summer, Sen. Vitter sought to cap BP’s financial liability and thus limit the amount of compensation his constituents could receive in damages from the oil monster.

For me, it’s hard to figure out where the appeal of David Vitter lies.  But apparently for HSUS, the fact that he’s co-sponsoring the PUPS bill is enough to open the cash floodgates.  Maybe the PUPS bill is good, maybe it’s not.  I can’t say I’ve looked into it enough yet although I am generally in favor of enforcing existing animal welfare laws (which we continue to fail to do) before we pile on new additions.  Regardless of the merits of the PUPS bill though, I just have to ask – is David Vitter really that great of a politician that HSUS should push so much money at him?  Especially considering the facts that Sen. Vitter has consistently outraised his opponent by a wide margin and leads in the polls by double digits?  In other words, David Vitter doesn’t need any money or support from HSUS.  So why are they spending more money to support his campaign than anyone else’s?

12 thoughts on “What’s So Great about David Vitter?

  1. Very well-written recap of Vitter’s glittering resume. You covered a lot of ground in one tight little package. Nice writing!

    It never fails to amaze me how Wayne Pacelle and the HSUS can justify supporting such people as Vitter and Vick. Truly, to Pacelle,the ends do justify the means.

    I’m not naive wanting my heroes squeaky clean; I just think there are times when a person or group needs to take an ethical stance on important issues. Apparently to Pacelle, there is no ugliness he can’t wrap his wealthy arms around.

    Vick as a spokesman for dog humaneness? To Pacelle that must be his way of outreach to poor black kids in ugly parts of inner cities. In reality all they see is their blinged-out hero stepping out of a limo with a white dude following behind. To me, it’s just another crusading white guy looking like a jackass to me. As an outreach minister trying to help people in the inner city long ago, people who were unreachable by standard efforts, I sure saw my fair share of this by government and church groups. For every kid HSUS reaches 1,000 new ones take his place. Not much bang-for-the-buck in that in my opinion.

    As for Vitter and HSUS’ obvious desire to enact a landmark case for the cause, I think the same results will be achieved here as with Vick. In the end we’ll probably just end up with some lame, unenforced law (as you alluded to) which only serves to “regulate” these atrocities.

    With all its power and influence, why isn’t HSUS looking for a place to implement a true ban of these “businesses?”

    I realize it’s often a matter of a small step at a time, but dear God! can’t we go for the throat just once? Puppy/Kitten mills should be such an easy target somewhere in the US. I’d be willing to bet even the NRA and sportsmen’s groups can’t scream louder than simple graphic pictures of these death camps.

    Well, good for you. Tough subject. Being political and legal it’s not a popular one to write about. No fluffy bunnies here, right? Thanks for a thought-provoking effort.

  2. HSUS is rotten – y’know things can not have gotten so wrong without the help of huge money special interests..thank you for your good work…I remember the quote from Thurgood Marshall (the great supreme court justice)

    “I am tired, tired of trying to save the white man’s soul.”

    that quote applies now only insert HSUS, ASPCA the usual suspects topped of course by Animal Control.

  3. We’ll have to follow both politicians…Vitter and Pacelle, and maybe the answer will reveal itself.

    “Follow the money” is a popular saying in politics…lets see how much Vitter spends on behalf of animals in the coming weeks, and months.

  4. I suspect their thinking must be that if they throw money at politicians who are willing to work for animals, other politicians will see that, and recognize that animal welfare needs to be a more important issue and jump on the bandwagon. Hard to believe this is the best they could find to support, though HSUS does some good, and also harm, in my opinion, so I don’t support them financially. They are big and wealthy, though, and they are not going away any time soon, so it is important to get vocal w/ them about decisions they make that you don’t like. They want our financial support, they are big and can get things done, so the public should make sure they know what WE want to see done.

  5. @ Thomas Cole:
    There’s one big problem with your wish to “shut down puppy mills” (btw–there is no such thing, truly, as a kitten mill–cats are too hard to breed in large numbers and there is not enough money in it). Define “puppy mill”. In HSUS’ definition, anybody who breeds a dog is a puppy mill. Do you define it by numbers? There are plenty of people who have multiple animals and take great care of them (google “cat house on the kings” for an example); and plenty who take lousy care of just one. Is it conditions? There are already laws on the books that define acceptable conditions–the problem is enforcement, and the fact that most of the worst perpetrators are not licensed or regulated and fly under the radar. If there were more USDA inspectors……….

    In the end, I believe we will always have large scale dog farms in this country. If Nathan Winograd’s dream comes true and every savable shelter animal is placed in a new home, there will still be 10 million plus households looking on top of that looking for a new pet every year. Existing Show dog and cat breeders could not possibly meet that kind of demand, so there will always be a market for large scale dog breeders.

  6. Janipurr – it’s is obfuscation like yours that makes these issues so slippery and tough to deal with. You walk in here and throw your magic fairy dust in our eyes and try to convince us this isn’t really a problem and that it’s already being dealt with.

    The answer is not MORE ENFORCEMENT – the answer is clearly SHUT THEM DOWN. You’re incredibly naive or unfamiliar with “commercial breeding.” Very few in this country are decent operations. I’ll match my first-hand knowledge of this subject with yours any day! I live in Minnesota, one of the top 3 worst states for allowing these animal sweat shops to exist.

    These brutal “businesses” are an affront to everything decent about humans. Animals by the millions suffer every year in these atrocious, hideous production mills.

    We do not need more breeding right now – at any level. You want fancy-ass inbred sick animals, fine. Keep your shitty AKC kennels. We need, for the next 10 years at least, to shut down all breeding to allow the system to catch up.

    Hear me clearly: This is not about numbers, however. Puppy AND KITTEN mills virtually torture beautiful little animals because they are just part of making money. MONEY and greed is what this ugly industry is about.

    Stop spreading the word that the problem is enforcement. It will never work! Right now California is sending a loud and clear message to the rest of the United States of America that the War On Drugs has never worked and never will work. They’ve given up on enforcement (on marijuana) and are trying a new approach because enforcement has failed so miserably and cost so much – and destroyed so many decent lives in the process.

    Get rid of these ugly, shameful things – and they are easy to identify when you see them. There’s no mystery involved. We don’t need any breeders right now. But I’m like most animal welfare people – we want the ugliest ones shut down, not regulated. Find a freakin’ better way to make money.

    Go somewhere else and represent that ugly industry.

    1. “We do not need more breeding right now – at any level. You want fancy-ass inbred sick animals, fine. Keep your shitty AKC kennels. We need, for the next 10 years at least, to shut down all breeding to allow the system to catch up.”

      I love it when people who know nothing about breeding any kind of animals pretend to know best.

      Shutting down all breeding for a decade would result in extinction for most breeds, and mixes (assuming you can manage to stop accidental litters, too) as well. The genetic base would be so depleted that the dogs bred at the end of that decade would be inherently unhealthy simply due to gene loss. You think purebreds are “inbred sick animals” now, stop breeding them for a decade then try to start again.

      Unless, of course, that is what you want.

    2. In 2006, the CDC reported that nearly 300,000 dogs were imported into this country. Over 10,000 came directly over the border from Mexico (I believe that to be a low estimation—living in LA, i think there were at least twice that). Of that, 25% were too young or simply failed to be vaccinated for rabies, leading to the first two cases of rabies to be diagnosed in a dog in several decades.

      What do you think is going to happen if we shut down all the “puppy mills”? (Which you have not provided a definition for, as I asked.). Those imports will explode–from countries that have zero regulation, that have substandard veterinary care even available to them. Missouri *already has* care standards as strict as or stricter than Prop B–they simply do not have enough USDA inspectors to find the unlicensed kennels. And no, I DON’T think every breeder who has multiple breeding animals is a “he’ll hole” that needs to be shut down. And there is NO SUCH THING as a kitten mill! Cats are far too difficult to breed in large numbers, and are not nearly profitable enough to make it worthwhile. I suggest you read up on the difference in feline and canine biology. Pedigreed cats make up about 3-4% of all owned cats in the US–our cat population is mostly fueled by feral and stray cats reproducing–several studies have shown that the birth rate of owned cats does not come anywhere near replacement rate.

      If you could stop parroting the AR line long enough to do a little research, you might find these things out.

    3. Oh, and PS–I’ll take a fancy-ass pedigreed animal over a mixed breed any day. Mixed breed dogs and cats are no healthier than pedigreed ones, and at least I have some predictability about size and temperament. I’ve been a veterinary technician for 25 years, and have come to realize that the AR myth about how unhealthy pedigreed animals vs mutts is probably the most damaging and persistent mistruth they push. Don’t believe the AR kool aid, because it will lead you astray.

    4. Note – “We don’t need any breeders right now” should have included the word “commercial::

      We don’t need any commercial breeders right now.

      Minnesota is easily in the top three states – I clearly wrote about the ugliness, not statistics. My state has shamefully allow some of the worst offenders to peacefully go their merry way. Kathy Bauck is a wonderful example for those responding here who are defending this trashy “industry.” The federal authorities finally had to lend their expertise to convict her and pull her license. Sadly, they left her kennel license intact so she just transferred the operation to her husband and adult daughter. This family cranks out more broken-down animals in one year than most others. They use up their breeding stock and simply destroy them. These are just tools to them, not beautiful sentient beings.

      You anonymous little trolls come on here and make all sorts of remarks defending the status quo. You act like Chicken Little, running around wringing your hands and asking, What do we do? What do we do? The answer is simple. You make it difficult. I suspect you’re all supporters of commercial breeding.

      As for pure breds, you need to watch or read more. There are terrible, terrible results now from all the decades of inbreeding. Many breeds are now suffering terrible physical degradation as a result of breeding – and these are from top-of-the-line show dog kennerls (breeders). Get your heads out of the sand and read something other than trade journals!

      I’m through here with you ranters and supporters of this vile “industry.” You won’t change your thinking, anyway. This is a waste of my valuable time to try to discuss this with you people. Sign your names!

      1. You clearly have no idea how breeding works. You also, STILL, have not defined “puppy mill”. Inbreeding does not produce anything that does not already exist, it simply allows it to appear. Everything that you blame on inbreeding happens to mixed breed mutts, too–we just can’t blame it on human interference because we can’t identify the parents. In fact, *in careful hands*, purebred dogs are often healthier than mutts.

        But, I suspect that you are talking not only about people that are not careful, but are instead purely driven by capitalism. Yes, that scenario can lead to true cruelty. But I don’t believe every commercial breeder is by definition, cruel. I also believe in regulation over complete banishment, and I will tell you why.

        First, I have to bring up horse slaughter. AR groups managed to convince the public through emotion driven campaigns that slaughtering horses in the US was cruel and unnecessary, and managed to ban it. The result is wholesale abandonment of elderly and unwanted horses in the thousands, horribly overtaxed horse sanctuaries, and the ones who do get sold to slaughter get to be trucked thousands of miles to Mexico so they can endure even more suffering and cruelty before being slaughtered in Mexicos almost unregulated slaughter industry. Be careful what you ask for, right?

        So, I keep asking you for a definition of “puppy mill”. Because, if you mean to define it as a subsection of all dog breeders, then that definition matters. Because, otherwise, what you are saying is that you simply want all US dog breeding stopped, period. And that brings me back around to the point of all those imported dogs. You think 30k is a lot? Wait till you see what happens when all breeding is stopped, period……..

  7. Minnesota is NOT in the top 3 for numbers of puppy mills. Missouri, Pennsylvania, Ohio, along with Florida, and Oklahoma, would be at the top of any list (although what order is harder to say). You damage your credibility with your wild claims and lack of common sense.

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