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Posted: 5/7/2004 5:37:43 AM EST
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Doug Jeanneret (614) 888-4868 ext. 212
May 5, 2004 Beth Ruth (614) 888-4868 ext. 214
Florida Bill Hands Taxpayer Dollars to Anti-Hunters/Anti Fishermen

The U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance, the nation’s leading sportsmen advocacy organization, is calling Florida sportsmen to action to stop legislation that would provide funding to the nationÂ’s largest anti-hunting group, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).

During the rush before the legislature’s adjournment on May 1, Senate Bill 2020 was amended to include an “Animal Friend” special license plate. The funds from the special plate will go to HSUS.

The bill was amended and passed by the House and Senate within a five day period, between April 26 and April 30. The rush did not allow sportsmen’s organizations to provide information to legislators about HSUS.

The Humane Society of the United States is the nation’s largest animal rights organization. Although it is often confused with local dog and cat shelters, it does not operate a single such facility. Its primary function is to change public policy with regard to animal use issues through legislation, litigation and ballot issue campaigns. The organization’s website reads, “The HSUS strongly opposes the recreational hunting and killing of wild animals, as the sport is fundamentally at odds with the values of a humane, just, and caring society.”

“Sportsmen are Florida’s greatest conservationists,” said Rob Sexton, U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance vice president for government affairs. “Through license fees and taxes on firearms, ammunition and fishing tackle, hunters and anglers invest nearly $50 million annually in conservation programs in the state.

“The legislature must not have known that they were providing taxpayer funds to an organization that wants to destroy the wildlife management system that has resulted in thriving wildlife and abundant recreational opportunities,” said Sexton.

Charity watchdog groups recently gave HSUS bad marks for spending too much of its contributors’ dollars on fundraising activities. Charity Navigator ranks HSUS on its top 10 list of inefficient fundraisers. The American Institute of Philanthropy gave the group a D rating for spending over 50 percent of its expenses on fundraising.

The U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance is calling on Florida sportsmen to take action immediately. Contact Gov. Jeb Bush at (850) 488-4441 to ask him to veto SB 2020 because it provides funding to animal rights groups.

The U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance protects the rights of hunters, anglers and trappers in the courts, legislatures, at the ballot, in Congress and through public education programs. For more information about the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance and its work, call (614) 888-4868 or visit its website, www.ussportsmen.org.
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