Monday, April 27, 2009

HSUS lobbying in North Carolina

Troy and Stacy had some wonderful comments on various topics today! HSUS in North Carolina really seem to hit home for me. While in college (working on my BS as I have two degrees) I spent my three summers in North Carolina. Two of those summers I worked for the North Carolina State Government Horticulture Crops Research Station. When I went in to see if they had any jobs open the end of May 1980, I was surprised they were excited to have an Agriculture Major requesting a job. They even offered to set me up with Sam Houston State for me to receive an internship. I never pursued it. Essentially, I was an intern though. I couldn't believe there were no NCSU Horticulture majors working at the Station. Only Aggies ever were able to get positions on Texas Research Stations. Their primary crop was and still is blueberries. I did every conceivable thing one can do to a blueberry. No computers to run the statistical analysis and I ran them all by a calculator. Lots of time in the green houses watering the plants and reporting on any problems or fixing the irrigation system when it went down. The list of what I did during those two summers is long. Yet, I learned so much about research and production agriculture. I think the most interesting experiment was a group of Grad Students and two professors had a test plots for new varieties of carrots. They were grown at this research station as the soils were very close to soils in Central Africa. When the carrots were ready for harvest, we spent the morning with the Grad students pulling carrots. Very back breaking work. They had been taking weights, measurements, etc. Just like I would do with the blueberries each week a test plot was picked. I came down a row with a full bucket of carrots from one plot after we had been harvesting for two hours. The Grad Student I set it down by looked at me and said I would get to taste a carrot from that bucket. I asked, 'Your not weighing first?' The reply, 'Nope!' So I walked over to a facet, washed a carrot off turned around and took a big bite, and nearly choked to death. That was the most GOD AWFUL CARROT I had ever tasted! I remember him laughing at me. I'd spit that thing out and ran back to the facet to rinse my mouth. He then told me every plot had been that way. Dejected the team returned to Raleigh to start completely over. There is one thing the research work made me realize, I didn't want to do it for a career. At least for Horticulture it was slow as molasses. By the start of my second summer I knew I was going to stay in school for a Masters and by the end of my summer I was positive I'd rather not do a Thesis. So I have a terminal degree. I can say again, I loved the work though. I really enjoyed the statistical analysis the most. I suppose it is why I have my degrees in Agriculture Economics. Crunching numbers for trends or to find a way to save money on the ranch is intriguing to me.

I have family in North Carolina and Larry's ancestry traces to Pender County. Along with those two things and the two summers meeting so many professors in the Horticulture Department at NCSU drew me to the article Troy found in the Charlotte Observer, Bill stirs battle - over dogs, or meat? I urge you to read the post. I found for the most part the author Mark Johnson attempted to show both sides of the issue. Better then most articles, but he too, fell a little short. I'd point it out but I think I have in other posts on my blog. What I did find out was what seemed to be the HSUS owned sanctuaries. Mr. Johnson used the term "operated" instead of owned. I'd always heard HSUS didn't own any shelters or sanctuaries. The one that disturbed me the most was one in Texas. So I set out to find out who actually owned the ranch. As I began my search I found out some interesting things. The Black Beauty Ranch outside of Athens, Texas was founded by Cleveland Amory a children's author. The Black Beauty Ranch's Partners according to the website is The Fund for Animals and HSUS. The Fund for Animals according to Wikipedia at the link for Cleveland Amory founded The Fund for Animals. In 2005 HSUS formed a "Corporate Combination" with The Fund for Animals. What the heck was that? You'd think I could pull it from the recesses of my mind since I have a minor in General Business. So searched yet again. I found this on the web and I'll let you read it at All Business. So the end result is I'm still not sure who owns Black Beauty Ranch. I do know one thing, I will not go to the ranch and will not give dollars to the ranch and will do everything I can to keep others from giving to the ranch directly.

Now I'm off to email Mark Johnson to correct him on some points in his article. I'm also going to email my aunt and uncle in Greensboro to encourage my aunt and uncle to call their state representative and senator of the North Carolina Legislature.


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