"...How do we get to that long term future?
This isn't a question of alternatives (for the future), it is a question of means. At one level the answer is clear enough: We need a whole lot more people who understand what's going on. That's the "Got 50?" campaign-- the idea that each of us who DOES know should recruit 50 more who equally understand and who equally would NEVER give money to HSUS or any of the others. AND who will in their turn go out to find 50 more.
Of course there's a lot of other recruiting stuff going on, as has been true since long before that label was applied. But recruiting takes time and while it proceeds we have to play defense. We aren't going to win all the battles but we can definitely slow down the AR advance. The more we do that, the less total damage our country and our animals will sustain.
So talking about what needs to be done now, that's it: Recruiting and defense. Sure, if you see an opportunity to fix a law affirmatively, then do it, but such opportunities will be rare. It's easy to see why you are casting about for something easier: exotic animals may be the most difficult defense project of all. But there is no 'easier.' Ultimately we will win because each loss of an animal use, even each encumbrance, raises costs or reduces income for our nation AND catches more people in the web of bad laws. (The greatest favor Wayne has done us in the last couple of years was to start seriously attacking farmers ...) But if 'ultimately' is two decades off, the price is going to be very high.
Five years to the crest of the tsunami would be a lot better than twenty, and I think that's about what will happen. HSUS can't slow down because what they're doing is like the running of the bulls: Both the more militant part of the AR movement and the rapidly awakening animal users are right on their heels. If they falter or slow down ...SPLAT!
Remember that HSUS's business is strip mining the good will the organization built up 1950s-1990s when it actually did some good. Now they claim only to 'protect' animals, by which they mean make animal ownership and use more difficult. People THINK they actually feed or care for animals with donated money but actually they just lobby and litigate. As the American public catches on to that, HSUS is going to be in trouble.
Of course almost any action from the IRS is going to be a serious problem for them.
SEND THOSE LETTERS!
Spreading the word that HSUS does NOT help animals as we fight each new proposal for a bad law is what we need to do now. ..."
A tip of the hat goes to Walt Hutchens.