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Muck Boots Keeps Stepping In The Muck On Social Media

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Muck Boots is in hot water with its agricultural customers on social media over a fundraiser for HSUS. Here is an update on the company’s response to the online uproar.

Muck Boots, the agricultural community has an important question for you: do you or don’t you support the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS)?

Last week, a series of events got the boot company in some seriously hot water with its customers, and it’s still unclear what the company’s position is regarding HSUS. If you missed all the drama, here’s the short story:

On Facebook, Muck Boots announced details of an employee fundraiser in memory of the loss of “one of their own,” which raised $2,000 for HSUS. When folks called them out on supporting the anti-agriculture group, Muck Boots responded that the recipient wasn’t HSUS but a local shelter, the Humane Association of Northwestern Rhode Island (HANRI). Shortly after that, however, HANRI said it hadn’t received such a donation from Muck Boots.

READ: Muck Boots Fires Up Aggies On Facebook

Later, some confusion arose over exactly who the fundraiser was for. Early reports alluded to a deceased employee, others referenced a pet. Then there were the photos from the fundraiser posted on Facebook which show employees smiling, hiding behind boots pretending to be “lost,” and acting somewhat inappropriately for a fundraiser supposedly meant to honor a death.

 

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Here’s the latest public comment from Muck Boots on the controversy:

A few days ago we made a series of mistakes here and on our other social media channels. Words can’t express how sorry we are that we’ve caused so much disappointment in our brand. There’s been a lot of speculation as to what happened, and clearly our initial statement caused even more confusion.

While we’ve been quiet here, please know that we’ve been reading every one of your comments and I want to personally address your concerns.

Here’s exactly what happened…we suffered the loss of a colleague a few months ago. Our colleague had a long fight with cancer and had a cat that was by his side until the very end. Because of that, his family requested that -- in lieu of flowers -- donations by employees, not the company, be made to a local animal shelter in his honor. The Humane Association of Northwestern Rhode Island (HANRI) was identified as our local shelter; it’s about ten miles from our office in Smithfield, Rhode Island.

Here are the mistakes we made: first, we posted photos on our Facebook page and on Instagram of an employee-sponsored collection effort in our warehouse, which was disrespectful to our colleague and completely inappropriate. Despite our good intent, we should never have used these corporate channels for what was a private matter. Then, we incorrectly tagged Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) in the posts, when the money was actually intended for our local animal shelter. And finally, when the statement went up in an attempt to clarify the events, the money hadn’t yet been delivered, because the funds were still being collected. Cash and personal checks were hand-delivered yesterday by the same employees who raised the funds.

READ: How Charity Navigator Knocked HSUS Down A Peg Or Two

Needless to say, our entire team has learned some hard lessons this week.

We know it is you, our customers, who have helped build the Muck Boot brand to what it is today. We would never intentionally alienate you, and we sincerely apologize if we have done so this past week. We’ve worked hard over the years to build quality footwear and to build a brand that is broadly trusted – we hope that you’ll give us a chance to earn back that trust.

Farmers, outdoor enthusiasts and sportsmen are among our most loyal customers and at the core of what we do and why we do it. You can continue to count on us for the very best footwear and to never forget who we work for – you, our customers.

— Sean O’Brien, director of footwear, Muck Boots.

Frankly, I’m still skeptical that the company is being straightforward with us. Unfortunately for Muck Boots, people are calling them out on their constantly changing story and misinformation. I’m going to continue to keep a close eye on this and will report updates as I see them. In the meantime, we’re still waiting for an answer from Muck Boots -- do you or don’t you support HSUS? Come on, Muck Boots, we’re all dying to know!

What do you think about the situation? Was it just an unfortunate series of events, or is the company really trying to secretly support HSUS? Will it affect whether you do business with Muck Boots in the future?

The opinions of Amanda Radke are not necessarily those of Beefmagazine.com or the Penton Farm Progress Group.

 

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Discuss this Blog Entry 18

Randy Janssen (not verified)
on Aug 11, 2014

This is the type of publicity stunt the HSUS does to get people to donate to the HSUS and not local shelters that really helps animals. Like most HSUS stunts, there is a lot of verbiage and no proof. The HSUS is an urban concentrated vegan cult that wants to change our eating habits and how our food is produced. It raises over 150 million dollar by pretending to take care of dogs and cats while it spends less then 1 cent on the dollar to feed and shelter cats and dogs. The HSUS is being investigated for fraud for the ways it raises money and how it is spent. ( http://protecttheharvest.com/oklahoma-attorney-general-scott-pruitt-want... ) It complains about AG Gag bills but it was convicted of racketeering in Flor for paying someone to lie about animal abuse. The HSUS IS AGAINST RODEO AND HUNTING. IT IS FOR A VEGETERIAN LIFE STYLE AND AGAINST EATING MEAT. ( This was posted on a report about a statue of Gandhi that the HSUS helped pay for. “ God bless Sadhu Vaswani and the HSUS for taking this opportunity to promote Mahatma Gandhi's vegetarian philosophy!”) The HSUS says it spends 79% of its money on “animal welfare programs”, but it does not say what they are. (You probably can assume some of the money went to make a statue to Gandhi) The HSUS has been accused of paying employees to abuse animals and videoing the abuse as proof that meat production should be stopped. The HSUS wants to stop seal hunting, contending someone should pay the hunters to stop, but it will not use any of the 20 million dollars it stashes off shore to pay the hunters. The HSUS is bad for America so don't applaud its lackeys. If you want to support something think about giving to the child fund, St. Jude, the Wounded Warriors, or you local food bank. If you want to help animals, give money to you local animal shelter. Giving money to the HSUS is throwing money away on a bloated bureaucracy that waste it on salaries and litigation. It claims to do good but if you really look at what it does, it only piggybacks on the work of local organizations.

calfdoc (not verified)
on Aug 11, 2014

Thank for the update. I still have not heard enough from Muck Boots to make me not buy my next pair of boots from someone else. Doug

SA Anonymous (not verified)
on Aug 11, 2014

YES, I will NOT be doing business with MUCK BOOTS again!!!

Ed (not verified)
on Aug 11, 2014

MUCK boots are trying to lie about the whole thing. No one from the company has said "we do not support HSUS". So they are not open or honest. I have bought my last MUCK boots until I hear them come clean. The money from this ranch will not go to any company or person supporting HSUS.

Ed (not verified)
on Aug 11, 2014

NO more MUCK boots on this ranch. We will buy a different brand who does not support HSUS

Anonymous1 (not verified)
on Aug 11, 2014

Absolutely.

wynne (not verified)
on Aug 11, 2014

We will not support anything or anyone that supports HSUS, a propaganda organization that lies about supporting local animal shelters and spends the money on false advertising and huge salaries. What a farce it perpetrates on good intentioned individuals!

D. L. (not verified)
on Aug 11, 2014

How is Muck Boots continuing to step in the muck on this issue? They clarified that the money was not going to HSUS and the money is not going to HSUS. How is this still an issue? How are there still lingering questions on this matter?

I think continuing to hammer on this issue after Muck Boots Co. explained the issue damages the credibility of the anti-HSUS movement. Granted, they could have done a better job with their social media in terms of (1) not mistakenly linking HSUS's page and (2) not showing pictures that should have remained internal to the company. However, in an attempt to prove a point that HSUS is crazy, the anti-HSUS movement is coming off like a bunch of paranoid crazies. Why would any company have a dialogue with someone about why not to support HSUS when the reaction to a simple mistake on social media to launch a campaign against the company and then double down on that campaign with paranoid innuendo after the company responds with something that should allay any concerns that the company supports HSUS.

on Aug 11, 2014

Good work on abusing the power of the press with your theories on the matter. It's one thing to call out a business who has been proven to make conflict of interest decisions, but to purposely reflect negatively on a business who has publicly acknowledged their mistake and apologized. Yes, maybe they should have handled things a little quicker, but they didn't. You honestly question if a company who's bread and butter market is agriculturist and hunters is lying about their accidental Facebook credit to HSUS? The same company who has cleared the air and made the donation to the local shelter they said should have been credited? Be realistic. Whatever employee posted the picture wasn't up to snuff on what was really going on that day, and caused the company a lot of problems - which includes your continual beating of a dead horse. Human error happen, mistakes happen, no one is perfect. I encourage you to read this link: http://www.dairyherd.com/blogs/Sjostrom-An-apology-to-The-Original-Muck-... ...and rethink your strategy of making the agricultural community look like a pitchfork carrying lynch mob. Your words influence others on the outcome of a business and the job security of many employees and families. Personally, I respect Muck Boots for fully taking the heat and clearing the air, and will continue to use the brand in the future.

Anna (not verified)
on Aug 11, 2014

Frankly, I'm getting rather tired of all the "does this or doesn't this business support HSUS? If so, I'm never buying from them again!". While I don't care for HSUS and wouldn't support a company who blatantly supports HSUS, I don't find this case to be that big of a deal. They screwed up, they're trying to fix it (though clearly could've done better at it).

To keep harping on this and make them say they don't support HSUS just seems like we're itching for a fight and doesn't exactly look good to outsiders watching.

on Aug 11, 2014

I personally don't think we need to keep harping on Muck - they realized an employee made a mistake and they corrected it. I used to work for a company that works very closely with Muck, and it's a super company that makes a very good product. I will continue to buy Muck boots and support their brand.

MSc Ag from Canada (not verified)
on Aug 11, 2014

I think this issue reveals a couple of important points: 1. HSUS clearly uses 'humane society' as part of its name IN ORDER TO BE CONFUSED with legitimate humane societies, in the hopes that those confused will mistakenly donate to HSUS and not the real intended humane society. 2. Social media in general has an important flaw, based in the 'short communication' aspect of the technology(ies). I am not surprised that the hsus tag was erroneously connected to Muck Boots, because it is easy to misspell and quickly click to accept spelling suggestions when the 'auto-fill' option is enabled on media tools. Both the humane societies in question here, have 'humane society' as the first words.
Social media (including twitter, texting, etc.) facilitate 'quick-and-dirty' communication and do not encourage people to slow down, read and re-read what they have written, before sending or posting. Carelessness has negatively impacted Muck Boots today. How will carelessness impact you and me tomorrow?

on Aug 11, 2014

All,

I just received this response from Muck Boots, which I really appreciate.

Hi Amanda,

Sorry for not responding sooner, I just came across your post now. As I’m sure you can imagine, it’s been a trying few days.

I did want to take the opportunity to respond to your reporting of the situation and hopefully clarify some of the details.

First, let me say The Original Muck Boot Company has never made a corporate donation to the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and does not support the organization. That being said, we made a number of mistakes for which we’re extremely sorry. First, we shared news of an employee-wide charity collection for a recently deceased co-worker on our social channels – completely inappropriate. Next we mistakenly identified HSUS in our posts versus a local animal shelter, which the family of our colleague asked that employee contributions be contributed to. Finally, we inferred that the rightful recipient of the donation — the Humane Association of Northwestern Rhode Island (HANRI) — had received the money, when in fact we were still collecting individual contributions. The donation was delivered yesterday morning by one of our employees and the organization — which mainly serves as a no-kill cat shelter — was happy to receive it.

Muck Boots have enjoyed loyal support from farmers and ranchers since its introduction in 1999. The last thing we ever intended to do was alienate our core consumers. With that, I wish to sincerely apologize on behalf of the brand.

Best,

Sean O'Brien Director of Footwear Muck Boots

on Aug 11, 2014

I still wonder, even being the person who posts after the Muck Boot explanation.

Jim Demoruelle (not verified)
on Aug 11, 2014

Just say No to the Animal Rights then where can they go? To Court with its army of lawyers, So What? A free man does not have to ask permission...jimdemoruelle

http://www.humanewatch.org/dismissal-of-another-hsus-lawsuit-upheld/?fb_...

Aug 08 2014

Dismissal of Another HSUS Lawsuit Upheld

While only 1% of the budget of the Humane Society of the United States goes to pet shelters, people often ask us, where does the money go? A lot of it goes to pay the salaries of lawyers. HSUS has dozens of lawyers on staff, including two lawyers who, along with HSUS, recently settled a federal racketeering and bribery lawsuit brought against them for up to $15.75 million. In other words, donations fund legal activism that may bear no fruit.

One such case was a lawsuit against a Florida-based company called Purebred Breeders. Purebred sells puppies online and works with vetted breeders to place puppies with customers. HSUS has backed litigation against Purebred, supporting a lawsuit from some customers who complained that they were allegedly sold sick dogs. That suit was thrown out about two years ago by the Circuit Court for Miami-Dade County, and the plaintiffs appealed. Last week, a court of appeals in Florida upheld the dismissal.

What’s notable is that the circumstances of the dismissal were upheld. Purebred had claimed in its motion to dismiss that the HSUS-backed lawsuit was essentially a P.R. stunt, hemming and hawing without actually making any relevant claims. (After all, in this country, someone accused of a crime or defending a lawsuit is often assumed guilty in the public’s eye before the trial begins.)

More poignantly, Purebred argued in its motion to dismiss that “there is not a single allegation that even one of the puppies purchased by Plaintiffs came from any of the alleged puppy mill breeders named.” The judge agreed with this and other points and tossed the suit.

As we understand it, the plaintiffs are still eligible to refile their claims individually, as they were after the lower court’s dismissal, but they may not file suit as a class. That might be an annoyance to the lead attorney in the case, Florida trial lawyer Ted Leopold, whose specialty is “mass torts.” Translation: A trial lawyer who uses class actions to sue the bejeezus out of people, raking in a hefty cut along the way. Maybe he was hoping to get a new Audi or two out of the suit.

Either way, so far it’s been a swing and a miss—and it’s not the first one for HSUS.

Madison Wagner (not verified)
on Aug 11, 2014

HSUS has been involved in so many cases of misrepresenting themselves and what they do. One place I've found that follows what they -- and other anti-ag organizations -- are doing to destroy our way of life is www.cafoswatchingcafowatchers.com. They are on FB too. I just wish more people knew the truth about the HSUS.

big john (not verified)
on Aug 12, 2014

They donated to a local animal shelter in honor of a deceased co-worker & accidentally tagged hsus. What the h*'ll iseveryone freaking out over? I mean seriously...

I agree, the whole thing should've been kept private, but it's an honest mistake. And I don't think they owe anyone, especially BEEF magazine, an explanation on where they stand & what they do or don't believe in.
What's next, are you gonna press them for their opinions on gay rights, the war in Iraq and what their personal religious beliefs are?

It's a company of hunters & outdoorsmen who make outdoor products for hunters, fishermen, farmers, etc. Where do you think they stand on HSUS's crazy views on farming & hunting?!

So much drama over nothing...

Jtg (not verified)
on Aug 25, 2014

They owe me an explanation if they want me to buy their product. They can make the statement that we support hunters and ranchers and we do not support HSUS. The owe us at least that. If not I am gone forever and will pass it on to anyone I know and will also boycott any stores that sell their product.

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BEEF Daily Blog is produced by rancher Amanda Radke, one of the U.S. beef industry’s top social media “agvocates.”

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Amanda Radke

A fifth-generation rancher from Mitchell, SD, Amanda grew up on a purebred Limousin cattle operation in which she and husband Tyler are active. She graduated with a degree in agriculture journalism...

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