Personal profit

Opinion
Jun 4, 2010

Do you ever wonder how the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) would do in China? Perhaps not so well, considering there are dogs on the menu in many restaurants. HSUS has been getting a lot of press lately and I’m sure it's press they would prefer not to have.

Over the past few months, HumaneWatch, an extension of the Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF), has been running a series of ads exposing the truth about the HSUS agenda. Full page ads have appeared in USA Today, New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal and Variety, the gossip sheet of the entertainment business. Does this seem like a low blow to an organization that has been spending less than 1 percent of its funding for helping animal shelters? Not in my book. It’s keeping them straight.

David Martosko, CCF’s director of research and the writer behind the HumaneWatch blog, said, "HSUS raises tens of millions of dollars annually from Americans who believe their donations are filtered down to help local pet shelters, directly improving the lives of dogs and cats. Instead, their donations help support a huge staff of lawyers and lobbyists, bloated executive pension plans, exorbitant fund-raising expenses, and PETA-style propaganda campaigns, Animal lovers should start holding the group to a higher standard."

Apparently what got HumaneWatch going with the advertisements was a survey they conducted showing that 70 percent of the population thought that most of their donations were going to local animal shelters when only one-half of 1 percent was going to the shelters.

It’s becoming clear that HSUS is all about the money and less about helping unwanted dogs, cats and other wayward animals find a new home. An annual budget in excess of $100 million is being used to fund the paychecks of HSUS lobbyists who are working in Congress to pass a legislative agenda that will put you out of business.

HumaneWatch has to be a thorn in the side of HSUS CEO Wayne Pacelle, but we have yet to see much of a response from the organization. In his last blog, Pacelle was picking on the egg industry again, not just about battery cages, but about salmonella issues. It almost sounds like they are expanding their scope of business to include food safety. Anyone with an ounce of common sense knows that you need to cook an egg. Perhaps HSUS is starting to lay a goose egg of their own. HumaneWatch is going to help them lay that goose egg.

So did the ads work? I suppose that depends on who you talk to. HumaneWatch says that the respected non-profit charity rating service Charity Navigator has officially downgraded HSUS to a lower level than the crazy people at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. And charity watchdog American Institute of Philanthropy gives HSUS a C- overall rating. We understand that HumaneWatch plans another round of ads around the Fourth of July.

It’s good to have a little balance in the battle for public opinion and HSUS has had a pretty easy road the past few years. Now the argument is shifting to one about integrity and honesty, and HSUS has not had a great history in that department.

Now that HSUS has been publicly discredited for failing to direct much in the way of aid to animals and pet shelters, who are they? They are peddling influence to politicians and attempting to create food policy in America. A variety of agriculture markets have popped up in recent years catering to the HSUS food agenda, and that’s fine, but they should absolutely not be in the business of establishing food policy or establishing laws and penalties for people who do not share their philosophy.

HSUS thinks HumaneWatch is a group that is funded by big business, which is evil in today’s political environment, but make no mistake about it, HSUS is out to put animal agriculture out of business. From where I sit, it is pretty clear that the group will continue to mind your business until the easy money is gone. — PETE CROW

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