Politicians love receiving awards, so when a member of Congress turns down the chance to be honored, it raises a few eyebrows.

That was the case last week on Capitol Hill, where Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) rejected an attempt by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) to bestow upon him one of its congressional Humane Awards for 2010.

According to an HSUS spokesman, Young did not reject the same award for 2009, which makes his stiff-arm all the more puzzling.

In Young’s case, the HSUS cited his sponsorship of H.R. 844, a series of Marine Mammal Rescue Assistance Amendments.

Whatever the reason, this year Young wasn’t having it.

“[The Humane Society of the United States] has absolutely nothing to do with animal welfare,” Young said in a statement on the award. He went on to call the HSUS an “extremist organization” with “manipulative ways and [a] misguided agenda.”

Harsh words for the furry-little-friends lobby.

Young also pointed to the group’s “anti-hunting and anti-trapping campaigns,” which understandably aren’t much of a hit in Alaska.

As for why the HSUS was willing to overlook Young’s environmental voting record (he scored 20 out of 100 on its annual scorecard), a spokesman told ITK on Monday, “We disagree with [Young’s] views on most animal-welfare policies, but we also believe in giving credit where credit is due and recognizing positive actions.”

A spokeswoman for Young declined to elaborate on the lawmaker’s change of heart, but noted that the congressman supports local animal shelters, which do “excellent work.”

Young did not attend last year’s HSUS awards reception either, which was held March 3.