HSUS keeps contributors in the dark

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According to a recent poll by the Opinion Research Corporation, 71 percent of Americans believed that the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) “is an umbrella group that represents thousands of local humane societies all across America.” And 68 percent believed that HSUS “contributes most of its money to local organizations that care for dogs and cats.” Both of these statements are false.

HumaneWatch.org reports that recent research has also uncovered another disturbing finding: HSUS’ own donors are confused about where their money is going. The release states, “A September 2013 poll of 1,050 self-identified HSUS supporters found that 87 percent of HSUS’s donors were unaware that the organization gives just 1 percent of its budget to local pet shelters. When informed of this fact, 83 percent of HSUS’s own donors agreed the group “misleads people into thinking that it supports local humane societies and pet shelters,” and 59 percent were less likely to support HSUS.

Most fundraisers are unaware that in 2012, the most recent tax year for which nonprofit IRS filings are available, only 1 percent of HSUS’s budget was spent on grants to support pet sheltering.

This report was sent to Matt Prescott of HSUS for comment, but he failed to respond. Prescott sends PorkNetwork all news releases that tell of companies that take a stand against individual maternity pens for sows, but he has yet to respond to questions regarding funding or other concerns that have been raised against HSUS.

Money is Used Against Animal Agriculture
In the past three years, HSUS has spent $356 million, yet grants to shelters consistently make up 1 percent or less of HSUS’s budget. The majority of the money goes toward salaries, lobbying against animal agriculture practices, pension plans, advertising, fundraising, and other non-pet-shelter-related budget priorities. According to its tax return, HSUS spent nearly $50 million on fundraising-related expenses in 2012, or about 50 times more than it did on grants to support shelter aid. HSUS also put far more money into its own pension plan—$2.4 million—than it put into these grants.

“Local shelters are well aware of the confusion most Americans have between national groups like HSUS and similarly named but unaffiliated local groups,” notes the HumanWatch report.  “A recent poll of 400 animal shelters, rescues, and animal control agencies found that 84 percent of respondents agree with the statement that ‘fundraising by HSUS and the ASPCA makes it harder for my shelter to raise money,’ with 71 percent agreeing that ‘HSUS misleads people into thinking it is associated with local animal shelters.’”

HSUS can clearly afford to help local shelters, but, in the words of CEO Wayne Pacelle, “we have other issues we want to work on.”

Political Battles
HumaneWatch.org reports that in Iowa last year, HSUS made a single grant to support animal sheltering, but the organization’s lobbying affiliate spend nearly $1 million in a failed attempt to defeat a Congressional incumbent. In addition, it spend 86 times more on its Ohio political front group in 2009 than it did on Ohio pet shelters, and in 2011, HSUS spent 90 times more on ballot initiative groups in Missouri than it spend on sheltering grants.

Hurricane Help – for HSUS
The organization raised $2.2 million in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, but in reality, only one third of the money was actually spent on hurricane relief (view the documents here). HumaneWatch continues: “This isn’t the first disaster that has raised questions about HSUS’ fundraising. Louisiana’s attorney general investigated HSUS following Hurricane Katrina, closing the investigation only after HSUS agreed to build a new shelter in the state. A 2009 WSB-TV report discovered that out of the $34 million HSUS reported raising after Katrina, only $7 million could be publicly accounted for.”

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PorkNetwork invites readers to print this article and share it with others. The more consumers know about how their funds are used, the better informed they’ll be on how to allocate their charity dollars in the future.

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Terry Ward    
Pa.  |  December, 16, 2013 at 07:33 AM

You do realize that everyone outside your little covey knows humanewatch is a joke, yes? And after years of spewing their nonsense nobody is listening, yes?

Wi  |  December, 16, 2013 at 11:58 AM

Terry, you can't possibly back that statement up, any more than you can refute the FACTS that HSUS is all about lining the pockets of their staff and persecuting hardworking American farmers, ranchers and everyone else that dares to try to make a living breeding, raising, training or working with animals. Their stated agenda has nothing to do with their real agenda, and that is to make the keeping of any animals illegal in the US and to promote a forced vegan diet in this country and around the world. Like all supporters of HSUS, PETA and ALF,you are full of smoke and wind, but short of logic and facts. Clearly people are listening, and reading these things, and I for one re post items like this for both sharing and general consumption by the unaware on FB. We are in the middle of a war here, and if animal lovers, trainers, breeders and livestock producers don't win, then we are all going to be in a world of hurt.

Iowa  |  December, 16, 2013 at 08:59 AM

Terry, if you have information that negates the results of these surveys, or of the other facts presented, please share it. We often get comments from HSUS supporters in which they show indignation or anger, but they have yet to counter with proof to show the studies are inaccurate.

NOT in the ward  |  December, 16, 2013 at 02:15 PM

Who let Terry Ward out?

December, 16, 2013 at 06:55 PM

And yet no one is listening... Repeating the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. No one is listening. No one pays ANY more attention to this brainless nonsense than they do to the proselytizing vegans. Give it a rest.

Iowa  |  December, 17, 2013 at 07:12 AM

I wish you were right. Unfortunately though, a lot of people do believe the ruse - why else would they be able to solicit the huge number of contributions? Why would they have enough support to pass legislation to determine how animals are raised? Why would they be able to convince food companies to take stands against production practices simply based on what HSUS and other activist groups have told them? Unless agriculture - collectively as well as individually - takes a leadership role and tells people the facts, the public will believe the rhetoric. I'm not saying there isn't room for improvement in what we do, but when HSUS and other groups take statements out of context and spend millions to dictate how animals are raised, it's our obligation to share what these groups are doing and encourage action. HSUS would love for us to give it a rest. I'd welcome your ideas on how we do get people to listen and respond.

Terry Ward    
Pa.  |  December, 17, 2013 at 08:34 AM

The first thing you might do is stop calling your customers stupid. This tends to make us cross.

connie cunningham    
December, 17, 2013 at 09:38 AM

One thing we -as producers- could do is stop giving the HSUS reasons to attack the livestock industry at every chance. Stop allowing ag-gag laws to be put into place. Stop having so much to hide and be ashamed of. American consumers are not stupid. So when corporate "farms" stop creating a hostile environment with them by allowing abuse of animals, creating food products that aren't even food, stop ignoring concerns about over-use of antibiotics, end promoting those things the public has been yelling about for years like GMOs and quit with the attitude that the consumer is dumb to expect more from their food system, you just MIGHT get more people to look closer at HSUS's misappropriated funds. Til then, we always look like we have something to hide and the HSUS always looks like they have something to show about that. And they do. The ag industry doesnt get to stick it's head in the ground AND ALSO cry foul every time the HSUS displays it's ugliness. Dont want the HSUS to have such power? Stop serving it to them on a silver platter.

Steve Baker    
MO  |  December, 17, 2013 at 09:47 AM

HSUS is simply another business masquerading as a charity. I don't have the figures handy, but there are only a dozen or so real charities out there. At Christmas time they all come out of the woodwork using emotional appeals to manipulate the public. It works well because many, like HSUS, use this as a time to line their pockets by making spurious attacks on the food producers. Go with those charities that don't line their pockets. At Christmas, the Salvation Army is a good one with very low overhead and none of the organizers lining their pockets.

Rarotonga  |  December, 17, 2013 at 10:54 AM

Sheila, You are confused. Animal lovers are not "breeding", or "producing livestock". Loving animals would never result in killing them, eating them, or using them for profit. Do you honestly believe that makes any sense at all? Wake up-because of views like yours, we (the animals) are living in a nightmarish "world of hurt "right now. Smoke and wind, indeed.

Chris Hitch    
Guymon, OK  |  December, 17, 2013 at 11:26 AM

I love animals, but I also eat them. They are not mutually exclusive.

SD  |  December, 17, 2013 at 12:20 PM

One of the serious problems family farmer/ranchers like myself have in attempting to keep animal RIGHTS activists reasonably honest is those in our business who choose to attack people using conventional, scientifically researched methods of raising our animal as "factory farms". They claim we do not treat animals right, when the fact is, animals will not produce well if they are not treated properly. There are well researched methods of animal husbandry which the vast majority of people raising food animals adhere to. What some of you choose to call "ag-gag' laws are quite the opposite, simply laws to keep animal RIGHTS promoters from setting their PERSONAL desires for animal care as law, as opposed to care methods truly best for the animals. And to keep those making (and often manipulating!) videos of animal abuse, usually holding them for the opportune time to enhance fundraising, rather than reporting suspected abuse immediately. No one who begins with the premise that animals should NEVER be used as food for humans does not deserve consideration. They have an agenda and will listen to reason.

Rarotonga  |  December, 17, 2013 at 01:46 PM

Maxine, Wow, what blatant entitlement, and clearly, what an agenda YOU express (although not at all convincingly) I believe you don't "deserve consideration" for your self serving beliefs. You're right about one thing. I will "listen to reason" as you claim, although I see none expressed here. I maintain that no one who professes to "love" animals kills them and eats them. That's just a crazy insidious disconnect.

Maryland  |  December, 18, 2013 at 08:27 AM

Use dairy and beef checkoff money for a national ad pointing out what PETA and HSUS is all about.

OH  |  December, 18, 2013 at 09:32 AM

I see Barbara just admitted she is not about treating animals well. She is about eliminating raising animals for food.

OH  |  December, 18, 2013 at 09:34 AM

So do the supporters of HSUS think it is OK for them to put 2.4 million per year into pension plans instead of using it for their causes?

Colo  |  December, 18, 2013 at 03:27 PM

HSUS, the ASPCA, Peta and the rest of their ilk have NEVER been about the animals - they have ALWAYS been about the money. Any natural disaster is used as a publicity stunt for the sole purpose of conning good hearted people. After spending their loot on lobbyists, a phalanx of lawyers, petition drives, ballot initiatives, advertising, pensions for the CEOs plus a generous salary for same, and the stock market, then they finally turn their attention to animals. Less than 1% of their attention. They should be brought up on charges of fraud and stripped of their non-profit status.

December, 19, 2013 at 10:23 AM

Read the Bible and you will have your answers on God's plan for our food. Animals were put on earth to be cared for by us but to also nourish our bodies.

Cindy Rullman    
United States  |  January, 07, 2014 at 03:39 PM

The dairy industry wouldn't be working so hard to discredit and vilify an animal protection organization unless that animal organization was exposing the horrendous truth about factory farming. If you weren't doing anything wrong, you wouldn't create a smokescreen to hide the truth and divert attention off of your industry's wrongdoings. Only the guilty live in fear of being found out. If you were as transparent as HSUS, you wouldn't fear exposure. Your article is a big, red flag that the factory farming dairy industry has something to hide.

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