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Yellow Tail Finally Makes Right Call on HSUS Partnership

As previously reported, the USSA immediately contacted the American distributor of Yellow Tail as soon as it became aware that the wine company was preparing to donate $100,000 to HSUS.  After hearing no response, the USSA issued an action alert that was picked up by numerous sportsmen groups, farming organizations, and individuals.  This set off a flurry of online activity throughout social media sites including Facebook.  This put significant pressure on Yellow Tail to revise its decision to partner with HSUS.

At first, the American distributor, W.J. Deutsch and Sons Ltd, issued a blanket statement that the donation was to be targeted “to support The HSUS’ Animal Rescue Team, which rescues animals in peril whether from natural disasters or large-scale cruelty cases.”  As the USSA indicated at the time, that response was inadequate since Yellow Tail’s actions were helping HSUS appear as a mainstream organization and also funding its attacks on sportsmen nationwide.

After enduring several additional weeks of protest against their product at the hands of thousands of outraged American sportsmen and farmers, Yellow Tail wine made the right decision and pledged not to work with political lobbying groups like HSUS. According to a letter sent February 19 to the Animal Agriculture Alliance, an advocacy group focused on animal farming issues, Yellow Tail stated:

“[yellow tail] is committed to the plight of animals in need, and we know that animal welfare groups work in different ways to advance their cause. We are interested in the welfare of animals, and in financially supporting animal welfare causes that provide direct care services to help animals, not on taking positions on any animal lobbying issues. We pledge to you that any future support for animal welfare will go to organizations specifically devoted to hands-on care, such as rescue, sterilization, feeding, or disaster assistance.”

This statement represents a major victory for sportsmen.

“Though the USSA is disappointed HSUS received the donation, Yellow Tail’s pledge to not support similar efforts in the future is important,” said Bud Pidgeon, USSA president and CEO.  “The USSA expects that this will serve as a reminder for corporations to do their homework before staking their reputation and money on HSUS.”

The campaign against the Yellow Tail donation also highlighted the growing power of social media websites to impact corporate decisions.  At no point did the effort become a major news item in mainstream media such as major metro newspapers or nightly news telecasts.  Instead, the entire effort took place online among advocates looking to defend themselves from HSUS.

According to Doug Jeanneret, USSA’s vice president of marketing, “This should be an eye opener to sportsmen around the country that social media matters and that it is an important tool to make your voice clearly heard, even by companies on the other side of the world.”

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