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Rush Limbaugh incurs the wrath of hunting rights groups for supporting the Humane Society in PSAs

April 28, 2009 |  6:18 pm

Limbaugh When conservative talk-radio icon Rush Limbaugh decided to record a series of public service announcements for the Humane Society of the United States, many animal lovers on both sides of the political aisle applauded. 

After all, the topics Limbaugh spoke about in the PSAs, like opposing dogfighting, hardly seemed controversial.  "Opposition to cruelty and the embrace of the human-animal bond are universal values," Humane Society president Wayne Pacelle wrote, adding that his group's aims were "in step with those of all good people" regardless of political affiliation.

But a coalition of 28 hunters' rights groups are furious with Limbaugh for aiding and abetting the group that, as U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance president Bud Pidgeon puts it, "is the number one opponent of sportsmen in America today."  The groups, which include the Sportsmen's Alliance and Ducks Unlimited, fired off an angry missive to Limbaugh calling on him to sever all ties with the Humane Society. 

"It is our hope that once Mr. Limbaugh hears from American sportsmen and women he will understand how his endorsement aids [the Humane Society] in its quest to to destroy American freedoms such as hunting, fishing and trapping," Pidgeon said. 

Despite the fact that the PSAs don't address hunting or fishing at all, the Sportsmen's Alliance says Limbaugh's allegiance will be exploited for financial gain by Pacelle's group.  The Humane Society, according to Pidgeon, "uses seemingly harmless campaigns like the ones endorsed by Mr. Limbaugh to raise funds for the organization to advance its controversial mission." 

For his part, Pacelle says he's "embarrassed" for the hunters' groups for politicizing animal welfare causes like the anti-dogfighting campaign.  "I think the folks that are criticizing it are unbelievably knee-jerk -- I guess they want to provide comfort to dogfighters? It just doesn't make any sense.... There are certain things that civil society should agree on," Pacelle told the Washington Times.

From the Washington Times:

Scott Sutherland, director of governmental affairs for Ducks Unlimited, which has 630,000 members, said, "Supporting HSUS implies an endorsement of an anti-sportsman agenda."

In their letter, the groups say that Mr. Limbaugh's collaboration amounts to "implied endorsements" for the Humane Society that are "a real coup for their cause."

"With America's most prominent conservative spokesman on board, they have the opportunity to make inroads into a new cross section of our country. You are helping them to mainstream their image in the minds of reasonable people. Your collaboration furthers the anti-hunting and anti-fishing agenda of HSUS, which will undermine the great success of conservation and threatens the economies of small towns and rural states across our nation."

As for Limbaugh, he's remained uncharacteristically mum on the topic.  In a recent interview with Fox News' Greta von Susteren, the pundit played dumb about the country's most prominent animal protection group:

VAN SUSTEREN: Who do you admire and why?

LIMBAUGH: In what, in politics?

VAN SUSTEREN: Anything -- politics, theater, music, anything.

LIMBAUGH: Oh, gee! You know, this is when I have brain freezes. It's like asking me what my favorite movie is. Who do I admire and why? Well, you know, I...

VAN SUSTEREN: You like the Humane Society.

LIMBAUGH: Who?

VAN SUSTEREN: The Humane Society.

(LAUGHTER)

LIMBAUGH: Well, now, you're getting into politics. ...

Environmental blog Ecorazzi speculates that opposition from the hunters' groups may be getting to Limbaugh:

Hmmm…one thing I thought we were supposed to take away from these PSAs that respect of animals is neither left or right — but just good, common sense? If Limbaugh won't even back up his support of HSUS in an interview, could it be that he’s feeling the pressure?

So far, no comment from Limbaugh's beloved cat, Punkin -- but can it be long before even she enters this heated political fray?

-- Lindsay Barnett

Photo: Rich Arden / Associated Press

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