Getting to know HSUS
By Rick Jordhal, PORK magazine | Wednesday, February 24, 2010, via Drovers
Layer by layer, the facade of the Humane Society of the United States is being peeled back revealing the group’s far-reaching objectives. The world is learning that at the center is an animal rights group with a much more sinister agenda than saving dogs and cats.
Australian wine maker, Casella Wines, learned the hard way. After the company’s commitment to donate $100,000 was roundly criticized by many consumers of the wine makers’ Yellow Tail wine, the company reevaluated their commitment to HSUS.
In exchanges with the Animal Agriculture Alliance, Casella has decided that “future support for animal welfare will go to organizations specifically devoted to hands-on care, such as rescue, sterilization, feeding, or disaster assistance.”
Casella Wines’ wish to aid and support animals seems genuine and the company’s misdirected donation, while unfortunate, is understandable. HSUS fund-raising tactics excel at generating donations from those who are unaware of the group’s extensive agenda.
More layers of the HSUS exterior will be peeled back with last week’s launch of the Web site www.HumaneWatch.org . Sponsored by the Center for Consumer Freedom, the site’s objective is to educate the public about what HSUS is and what it is not. CCF is a non-profit organization supported by over 100 companies and thousands of individual consumers.
Despite the words “humane society” on its letterhead, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) is not affiliated with your local animal shelter. Despite the omnipresent dogs and cats in its fundraising materials, it’s not an organization that runs spay/neuter programs or takes in stray, neglected and abused pets. And despite the common image of animal protection agencies as cash-strapped organizations dedicated to animal welfare, HSUS has become the wealthiest animal rights organization on Earth.
While most local animal shelters are under-funded and unsung, HSUS has accumulated $113 million in assets and built a recognizable brand by capitalizing on the confusion its very name provokes. This misdirection results in an irony of which most animal lovers are unaware: HSUS raises enough money to finance animal shelters in every single state, with money to spare, yet it doesn’t operate a single one anywhere.
“People mistake HSUS for an animal welfare group that manages pet shelters,” says David Martosko, CCF director of research. “Part of the objective of HumaneWatch.org is to correct that misperception.”
Upon removing the top layers, one discovers that HSUS goes well beyond its stated objective of improving the lives of animals. Additional objectives that lie beneath HSUS’ exterior include its attempt to influence peoples’ food choices and promote vegetarianism.
Compassionate television commercials professionally present the appearance of battered and abused animals, when in reality many of the “film stars” are just elderly, and, in fact, have had excellent care.
“Less than one half of 1 percent of HSUS income went to its stated purpose,” says Martosko. “It’s amazing what they get away with just because they are called the Humane Society. It’s a miracle of propaganda.”
HumaneWatch.org also plans to cover HSUS’ efforts on the state level. “Ohio and Missouri are big battlegrounds for HSUS this year and we will be covering them extensively,” says Martosko. “We’re just getting started.”
The site has received a tremendous response from livestock producers, according to Martosko, who will be the keynote speaker at the Ohio Livestock Coalition’s annual meeting in April. “Web site traffic is through the roof,” he adds. “And it’s not just livestock producers. Visitors to the site also include medical research scientists, hunters and fishermen, chefs, pet breeders and others.”
Until HSUS’ full agenda is clear to all, donors will likely continue misdirecting their donations to the group. Meanwhile, HumaneWatch.org will continue to help everyone get to know the real HSUS.
Source: Rick Jordahl, Pork Magazine; Max Thornsberry, R-Calf; Brad Headtel, National Assn. of Farm Animal Welfare.