- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 26, 2002

Last Wednesday's column dealing with a hotel chain and what many in the sport hunting community consider its unholy alliance with an animal-rights group produced the expected. A reader named Philippe sent an e-mail that said, "I have just written Economy Lodge a thank-you note for their support of the Humane Society. Thanks for providing the address, you anti-animal jerk."
(Actually, Philippe, it's not your local county's Humane Society fine folks who'll try to find owners for homeless pets that we mentioned. No, we wrote about the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), an animal-rights group that isn't known for animal shelter operations but rather its work to halt all hunting and laboratory testing of animals that could result in saving very ill humans.)
Then came Ketchum Advertising Agency flack Mike Breslin, who has been hired by Accor Economy Lodging parent company of Motel 6, Red Roof Inns, and Studio 6 to address the avalanche of criticism his clients have been swamped with since announcing they would support several HSUS programs. Breslin wrote, "Your column contained information regarding Accor Economy Lodging and its relationship with the Humane Society of the United States that contained certain misperceptions and mistaken implications on the part of those quoted. To address these misperceptions, we are providing the following statement.
"Accor 's agreement with the HSUS is limited to two specific programs:
"Pets for Life, a program designed to keep pets and their owners together, and stem the tide of pets being surrendered to shelters by helping people solve the problems that threaten their relationships with their pets, [and]
"The HSUS's disaster recovery efforts, aimed at helping people to safeguard their pets in the face of or aftermath of a disaster.
"Accor has never been involved in any other areas of HSUS operations."
Breslin also quoted Carol Ann Kirby, executive vice president of the Accor group, who said, "We entered into the relationship with the HSUS to highlight the longstanding pet-friendly policies at our Motel 6, Red Roof Inn and Studio 6 properties. Unfortunately, this support has been misconstrued by some people as opposition on our part to hunting, fishing and other outdoor sports activities. This is not the case. Accor respects the rights and opinions of all our guests, and we don't want the traveling public to develop an incorrect impression of the company. Over the years, we have welcomed outdoorsmen and women and their companion pets. We look forward to doing so in the future."
Unfortunately for Accor and its advertising agency mouthpieces, there are no misperceptions and mistaken implications as far as the hunters are concerned. The motel people simply don't get the point of the hunting/fishing community's objection to all this, so let's try to help them by way of a comparison.
If you sent a goodly sum of money to Red China with the sole purpose of, say, feeding children in a communist orphanage, you'd be doing a good deed, but you'd also risk being viewed as having "gone to bed" with an oppressive communist government that could easily use the money to counteract democratic movements anywhere in the world.
The hunters of America, helped with a U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance-led campaign that hopes to stop the motel chain's dealings with the HSUS, simply say that when you support an organization, you support everything it stands for, not just some of the things you believe to be good and wholesome. Since the HSUS promotes the cessation of hunting and the end of other forms of animal use, hunters want people to stay away from the HSUS and anybody else who supports the animal rightists.
The result: There'll be a certain number of sleepy guests who will seek accommodations elsewhere at least until Accor Economy Lodging changes its tune. It's as simple as that.
Talk about a payday Bass fisherman Sam Newby, of Pocola, Okla., fished in the FLW Forrest Wood Open last Saturday on Lake Champlain (New York and Vermont), and when the day was done he brought in five bass that weighed 16 pounds, 1 ounce. That catch won the tournament and a check for $210,000. Not a bad payday, wouldn't you agree?
Incidentally, Newby won that fat check by beating well-known touring pro Dean Rojas, of Lake Havasu City, Ariz., by a single ounce. Rojas received $105,000 for second place. On Sept.11, Newby will be invited to compete in the $800,000 Wal-Mart FLW Tour Championship on Cross Lake in Shreveport, La. The winner of that event receives $260,000 the biggest championship award in professional bass fishing.
Look for Gene Mueller's Outdoors column every Sunday and Wednesday, and his Fishing Report every Friday, only in The Washington Times. E-mail:gmueller@washingtontimes.com.

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