Hurricane Harvey continues to unleash havoc on farmers and ranchers in Texas with flood waters forcing cattle and other livestock to be moved to higher ground.
Texas ranchers in the affected areas are no strangers to severe weather and storms - many began preparing days before Harvey made landfall by moving cattle and stockpiling hay and feed. Many were also prepared to cut fences on Friday in an effort to allow any remaining cattle to get to roadways and higher ground when Harvey arrived.
“The dedication and hard work of farmers and ranchers is evident as we see cattle being herded from flooded fields to streets to avoid the rising water,” said Hannah Thompson-Weeman, vice president of communications at the Alliance. “Now it is time for our farmers and ranchers to receive the help they deserve.”
Several groups are on route to join forces with local organizations to help animals in need. One of those groups is the American Humane Association. It is working with Chicken Soup for the Soul Pet Food “to deliver more than 100,000 pounds of free emergency food to displaced pet owners and frightened, hungry animals separated from their families.”
While animals are being moved to higher ground, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) is moving funds into its account as the animal rights group uses the disaster in Texas to fundraise.
“HSUS is not affiliated with local humane societies and uses only about one percent of its budget to help animals in shelters,” said Kay Johnson Smith, president and CEO at the Alliance. “Instead, they use a significant amount of their funds to lobby against farmers and ranchers like the ones impacted by Hurricane Harvey.
It may seem like HSUS is helping rescue dogs and cats in the Southeast, but the group doesn’t have a good track record. In 2005 after Hurricane Katrina hit Louisiana, HSUS raised $34 million to supposedly help reunite lost pets with their families, but after an investigation was launched, the Louisiana Attorney General found that only a sliver of the money was spent for its intended purpose.
In 2010, HSUS used the earthquake in Haiti to fundraise and when the American Humane Association and American Veterinary Medical Association joined with fourteen other organizations to form the Animal Relief Coalition for Haiti (ARCH), HSUS declined to participate. It instead began marketing itself as the sole provider of animal care to the devastated area and launched a massive advertising campaign to secure donations.
The Alliance encourages people that truly want to help the desperate animals in the Southeast this week to choose to support the State of Texas Agricultural Relief (STAR) Fund, the American Humane Association or local organizations that are actually concerned about helping animals and rebuilding communities.
The Texas Department of Agriculture established the STAR Fund to receive donations that will be redirected 100 percent back to livestock producers who need the help. A few local organizations include: Houston Food Bank, United Way of Greater Houston, Food Bank of Corpus Christi, Houston Humane Society and the San Antonio Humane Society.