In his regular hunting column, Mike Schoonveld essentially reprinted parts of a press release from an Ohio-based hunting industry organization, the U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance, criticizing Microsoft for including The Humane Society of the United States in its instant messaging campaign, the i'm Initiative ("Microsoft becomes animal soft," June 14). By joining the i'm Initiative, users have their choice of charities they want to support, from many worthy groups such as the American Red Cross, UNICEF, Boys and Girls Clubs of America, Sierra Club and The Humane Society of the United States.
The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal welfare organization, with nearly 10 million supporters -- one of every 30 Americans. We work to protect dogs and cats, but also farm animals and wildlife, too. We have campaigns to combat factory farming, dogfighting and cockfighting, Canada 's notorious killing of baby seals, and puppy mills. We also maintain several sanctuaries for abused or abandoned animals, serve as the lead disaster relief agency for animals, and operate a veterinary services program that provides no-cost services for tens of thousands of dogs and cats in rural regions throughout the country.
We work to curb the worst hunting abuses, and that's what has led us most recently to campaign vigorously against canned hunting, Internet hunting and the use of steel-jawed leghold traps -- practices that many rank-and-file hunters and the Humane Society undoubtedly agree are abusive and unacceptable. If readers want to find out about our programs, they can go to humanesociety.org to learn more or to get involved in our work.
Michael Markarian, Executive Vice President, The Humane Society of the United States, Washington, D.C.
Editor's note: Mike Schoonveld is a former freelance columnist of The Times.