The Kirkpatrick Foundation probably does not ring a bell for you unless you live in Oklahoma. However, many Oklahoma residents will recognize this family’s name from the Kirkpatrick Bank and the Kirkpatrick Oil and Gas Company.
Our concern with the Kirkpatrick Foundation is their participation and financial support of radical animal rights groups. Christian Keesee, the President of the Kirkpatrick Foundation, is on the National Council for the Humane Society of the United States, an animal rights group with far-reaching tentacles.
Animal rights groups seek to end animal agriculture and animal ownership. Animal rights groups are well known for harassing 4-H and FFA kids, causing major disruption at county fairs and pushing legislation that hurts farmers, ranchers, pet breeders, and horse lovers. They also push legislation that impacts hunters and anglers and even zoos and private organizations that are involved in education and species preservation.
In Oklahoma, agriculture contributes over $6 Billion to the state economy. The horse industry contributes another $1.6 Billion to the state GOP. The estimated economic impact of hunting and fishing in Oklahoma is an additional $1.8 Billion. We believe the people of Oklahoma need to be aware of what’s going on right in their own state that threatens agriculture, zoos, horse ownership, 4H, FFA, hunting and fishing and animal ownership in general.
To learn more about the difference between animal rights and animal welfare: https://protecttheharvest.com/what-you-need-to-know/animal-rights-vs-animal-welfare-there-is-a-difference/
To learn more about animal rights organizations: https://protecttheharvest.com/what-you-need-to-know/overview-of-animal-rights-organizations/
A History of Philanthropy and Good Works in Oklahoma City
The Kirkpatrick Foundation was started in 1955 by John E. and Eleanor B. Kirkpatrick with an initial contribution of $10,000. This contribution has since expanded into a domain of philanthropy, contributing $67 million in grants through their foundation and $80 million in grants through their affiliated Kirkpatrick Family Fund. Their early work focused on building the community, educating children, establishing museums, and the support of the arts and animal welfare.
Animal Welfare – Oklahoma City Zoo
Joan E. Kirkpatrick, the 2nd generation of leadership with Kirkpatrick Foundation, had a strong focus towards animal welfare. The Oklahoma City Zoo named their state-of-the-art veterinary hospital after her when the foundation gave $1 million to help build it.
The Foundation’s Shift to Animal Rights Ideology
Through Christian Keesee’s involvement with the Humane Society of the United States National Council, the third generation of leadership at the Kirkpatrick Foundation has taken a dramatic turn away from animal welfare and supporting Oklahoma agriculture. As a council member, Keesee must know that the HSUS has been relentlessly attacking animal agriculture and promoting an animal rights agenda for some time.
The Humane Society of the United States former CEO, Wayne Pacelle, wrote a book titled “The Humane Economy” which reads like a manifesto against animal agriculture. Pacelle also previously worked for other radical animal rights groups. The Humane Society of the United States has a long history of pushing legislation and regulations that are harmful to animal ownership. The current CEO of the HSUS is Kitty Block, a past PETA employee.
In 2016 when Oklahoma 777 – Right to Farm was on the ballot, the Kirkpatrick Foundation launched a campaign against it. Oklahoma 777 – Right to Farm would have protected Oklahoma Farmers and Ranchers from the activities of animal rights ideologues. The Kirkpatrick Foundation website has a section titled, “Right to Farm or Right to Harm?” Just like with their ANIMAL conference listed below, on the surface, the information about Oklahoma 777 appears to be fair, even stating, “…Kirkpatrick Foundation provided these non-partisan resources to help with voter education” and by sharing links to viewpoints from both sides. After a closer examination of their video and materials available on the website, the influence of animal rights ideology is more than evident.
In addition to contributing over $150,000 to the Humane Society of the United States, they are also contributing significant funding to even more radical anti-agriculture groups like Mercy for Animals.
To learn more about Mercy for Animals: https://www.activistfacts.com/organizations/mercy-for-animals/
Using Financial Donations for Animal Rights Platforms - The Oklahoma History Center
The Kirkpatrick Foundation donated over $1 million to the Oklahoma Historical Society. Since September 2018, the Oklahoma History Center has been displaying an exhibit titled, “Where They Went: A Photographic History of Oklahoma Animals”. This photographic exhibit, made possible by the Kirkpatrick Foundation’s support, included not only images of Oklahoma animals from the Center’s archives, but placards and banners announcing the triennial conference, The ANIMAL, hosted in part at the center by the Foundation. The conference was held in October 2018.
The Kirkpatrick Foundation’s ANIMAL Conference
Who doesn’t like animals? Everyone loves animals, and a conference for those who love animals would be a wonderful thing. However, the unsuspecting name and beautiful imagery of the conference materials and promotional items do not reveal the true agenda. The focus of the conference was not animal welfare. Instead, animal rights groups were the main focus of this event and were involved in multiple breakout sessions.
One of the mini opening sessions included meeting Clare Bland one-on-one. She is the Director of Development at The Good Food Institute, an animal rights organization working to end all animal agriculture. She has also previously worked for the radical animal rights organization, Mercy For Animals. If that wasn’t bad enough, she also spoke about how to fundraise for animal rights organizations during another breakout session.
The Good Food Institute also sent Executive Director and Co-Founder Bruce Friedrich to the event. Friedrich worked for PETA from 1996 to 2009 and is not shy about his push for veganism. His breakout session was titled, “Healthy and Humane Innovation in the Food Supply”, but the only healthy and humane option that The Good Food Institute envisions is a world without animal agriculture.
The Oklahoma State Director of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) Cynthia Armstrong joined a panel session regarding Oklahoma Pet Breeding Laws. It doesn’t get much more animal rights oriented than the HSUS and their stance on wanting to end all pet breeding.
To learn more about HSUS ex CEO Wayne Pacelle: https://www.activistfacts.com/person/3366-wayne-pacelle/
To learn more about the HSUS and their ideology:https://protecttheharvest.com/what-you-need-to-know/overview-of-animal-rights-organizations/#HSUS
To learn more about Mercy for Animals: https://www.activistfacts.com/organizations/mercy-for-animals/
Joe Maxwell was also at the event. Maxwell has deep ties to the HSUS and other radical environmental groups like the Elephant Project and Socially Responsible Agricultural Project (SRAP). SRAP provides pro bono legal work and helps form local committees that engage in the harassment of farmers. Among many things, this group provides resources and legal advice to financially ruin family farmers with nuisance lawsuits. Maxwell has held several positions with the HSUS including, Director of Rural Outreach, Vice President of Rural Outreach and he was the Senior Political Director for the HSUS’s Legislative affiliate, the Humane Society Legislative Fund. Maxwell is now the Director for the Organization for Competitive Markets, and Founder and President of Family Farm Action, a group that uses an advisor Amin Steel, the Executive Director of Real Food Challenge. Real Food Challenge is an organization that partners with the Organization for Competitive Markets (OCM) and radical animal rights and eco-groups like Farm Forward and Friends of the Earth.
To learn more about Friends of the Earth:https://www.activistfacts.com/organizations/123-friends-of-the-earth/
To learn more about the Socially Responsible Agricultural Project: https://protecttheharvest.com/news/socially-responsible-agricultural-project-threatens-agriculture/
The breakout session Maxwell was involved in focused on “the extreme confinement and suffering of farm animals”. That seems like an unfair topic for someone who worked for an organization that believes any confinement of animals causes suffering and is seeking to end animal agriculture.
The ANIMAL Conference, in 2018, also had a session that featured Ann Olson, the founder of Animal Folks, which is an anti-pet breeding organization from Minnesota.
Also of note: Hanna Thompson Weeman of Animal Agriculture Alliance reported that the Kirkpatrick Foundation only served vegan food at the ANIMAL conference. A sure sign of the true agenda. Here’s a link to a radio interview about the conference on Oklahoma Farm Report: http://www.oklahomafarmreport.com/wire/news/2018/12/media/01240_Beef_Buzz_12102018.mp3
The 2015 ANIMAL Conference
The event takes place every three years. A quick glance at the speakers from 2015 shows more animal rights influencers. Some of the animal rights speakers during that conference were:
• Cynthia Armstrong from the HSUS.
• Jonathan Balcombe who has worked for the PETA; the HSUS, and Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PRCM). PRCM is an animal rights group that promotes a vegan lifestyle and actually only has a tiny percentage of doctors as members.
• Tim Harrison who is the director for Outreach for Animals but also has worked directly with the HSUS.
To learn more about the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine:https://www.activistfacts.com/organizations/23-physicians-committee-for-responsible-medicine/
The Oklahoma Animal Study – A Deeper Look Into the Kirkpatrick Foundation’s Animal Rights Agenda
After our reviewing information about The ANIMAL Conference, we then discovered a research project the Kirkpatrick Foundation conducted. This study was published in 2016 in attempts “to better understand the interconnection and complicated human-animal relationship”. To do this, they conducted 114 interviews with scientists, veterinarians, animal behavior experts, animal welfare advocates, and animal protection organizations. They also used many other sources ranging from interviews, shelter surveys, scientific articles, government sources, etc.
The first red flag is the advisory council used for this study. There were some legitimate animal welfare advocates included on the council. However, the list of animal rights extremists involved as both members of the advisory council and in interviews shows a biased approach. Cynthia Armstrong, the Oklahoma State Director for the HSUS and Tim Harrison the Director of Outreach for Animals, who has close ties with the HSUS, were both on the council. There were also 4 interviewees that were aligned with animal rights ideology:
• Lora Dunn – Staff Attorney, Animal Legal Defense Fund Criminal Justice Program
• Cynthia Armstrong – Oklahoma State Director, Humane Society of the United States
• Che Green, Executive Director, Faunalytics
• Bernard Unti, Senior Policy Advisor, Humane Society of the United States
While there is no way of knowing how much these extremists affected this study, we can be sure that having them involved in interviews and on the council makes the results and recommendations of the study highly suspect.
After reading through the almost 200-page study, we found recommendations right out of the animal rights ideological playbook. Even though the research for this study ended in 2015, it is still very relevant for what is happening today.
To learn more about the Animal Legal Defense Fund: https://protecttheharvest.com/what-you-need-to-know/overview-of-animal-rights-organizations/#ALDF
The Kirkpatrick Foundation “Safe and Humane” Agenda for Oklahoma Animals
It appears that this study and The ANIMAL Conference were a direct result of the Kirkpatrick Foundation’s twenty-year initiative called Safe & Humane. The goal of this initiative is to make Oklahoma the most safe and humane place for animals by the year 2032. To ensure this happens, the study outlines recommendations for the state. This study contains a lot of information, much of it good. However, once fully reviewed, we found a big problem. The facts and citations in the study from actual scientists, veterinarians, and animal welfare advocates are overlooked. Instead, the emotional aspects animal rights extremists bring to the table are considered reality. The study is riddled with citations from animal rights groups like the Humane Society of the United States, the Animal Legal Defense Fund, the ASPCA, and Born Free USA. If this study was actually meant to be unbiased and based on facts, then why would it include so many citations from animal rights organizations? These groups believe people should not eat meat, enjoy dairy products, hunt, fish, or even own pets and livestock. These are groups and people that believe owning an animal for food or companionship is slavery.
Below are the most concerning recommendations that we found in this study:
• Support “humane education” in schools and “teach children how to show compassion to all creatures”. This sounds fantastic on the surface; all children need to learn about animals and to be compassionate. However, both PETA and the HSUS have radical animal rights curriculum they are pushing in schools. Since Keesee is on the HSUS National Council, it would be no surprise to see the Kirkpatrick Foundation pushing the HSUS program. To learn more about PETA and HSUS infiltrating schools: http://protecttheharvest.com/news/hsus-peta-influencing-children/
• Phase out and eventually eliminate animal husbandry practices that utilize animal welfare systems such as gestation and farrowing crates and battery cages. Link to information from Protect California Families and Ag Producers: http://protecttheharvest.com/initiatives/protect-california-families-and-ag-producers/resources-and-links/
• Advocate for the use of pain-relieving medications for common animal agriculture procedures like castration, branding, and dehorning.
• Ban the practice of tail docking in cattle.
• Study and educate Oklahoma residents about what the study calls, “canned hunt facilities” and “inhumane forms of hunting such as trapping and hounding”.
• Educate the public on methods of wildlife management that are “less consumptive” by encouraging non-lethal wildlife conflict-resolution techniques instead of killing and trapping. It is important to note that the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation focuses on protecting Oklahoma Wildlife and permits and regulates Nuisance Wildlife Control Operators. To learn more about how hunting supports conservation: https://www.outdoorlife.com/changes-to-pittman-robertson-funds-are-designed-to-save-next-endangered-species-hunters#page-2
To learn more about the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation: https://www.wildlifedepartment.com/
• Discourage the expansion of large modern farms and educate the public about them.
• Reinstate a ban on horse processing in Oklahoma in case it is ever reinstated in this country.
• Updating Oklahoma animal statues by enacting a prohibition on the private ownership of exotic animals and crafting future state legislation following the Animal Legal Defense Fund model. Per this study, The Animal Legal Defense Fund model has been used in Illinois, Oregon, Maine, California, and Michigan.
• Encourage animal research institutions to reduce the number of animals used, refine practices to reduce distress, and replace animal testing with alternative methods. Animals in research receive exceptional care. Practices have already been refined to ensure their welfare. Research animals serve a vital, often life-saving purpose for both humans and animals.
For facts about animals in research, we recommend visiting Americans for Medical Progress: https://www.amprogress.org/animal-research/
Link to Oklahoma Animal Study: http://www.kirkpatrickfoundation.com/uploads/the-oklahoma-animal-study-final.pdf
What Happened to the Kirkpatrick Foundation?
For 64 years via their generosity, the Kirkpatrick Foundation and their affiliated philanthropic organizations have been involved in great works supporting Oklahoma communities.
In the words of John Kennedy, “…Philanthropy, charity, giving voluntarily and freely…call it what you like, but it is truly a jewel of an American tradition.”
There is no doubt that the Kirkpatrick Foundation was truly a jewel in the heart of Oklahoma. However, their website tells the story. The Kirkpatrick Foundation now seems to be almost solely focused on promoting an animal rights agenda. Their support of animal rights runs counter to the Kirkpatrick family legacy as it undermines the very foundation and heart of Oklahoma, its communities, its families and its children.