HumaneSociety of theU.S. exposed
I pride myself on being a very active advocate for agriculture. In my mind, if I don’t speak out against extremist environmental and animal rights groups and work to connect with consumers on a regular basis, then my future in agriculture — not to mention the future of my forthcoming kids and grandkids — doesn’t look good.
When I speak to agricultural groups, I always make sure to mention the hidden agenda of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) — which is to abolish animal agriculture and eliminate meat, dairy and eggs from the dinner table. It never surprises me that even in agricultural crowds, some folks simply don’t realize that HSUS isn’t an umbrella organization for their local pet shelters, and even more disturbing, I’ve run into many farmers over the years who have donated to the very organization that wants to put them out of business.
Take, for example, my grandma. A few years ago, I walked into her farmhouse and was shocked to see a pair of HSUS gardening gloves sitting on her counter. Horrified, I asked her where those came from, and she informed me that they were a gift after she had kindly sent a donation into the organization. She, like so many others, had fallen for the emotional pleas of an HSUS commercial she had seen on TV and wanted to help those poor dogs and cats. Feeling like I had failed to advocate to my own family about the true intent of this organization, I realized that there’s still a lot of work to be done.
The Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF) is aiming to spread the word about HSUS. The non-profit CCF has a project called Humane Watch, started in 2010, which is working to slow down the donations going to HSUS and encourage folks to donate to their local shelters instead. Over the years, the organization has pointed out the many ways HSUS has duped well-intentioned Americans out of millions of dollars.
Most recently, CCF ran a commercial which aired on FOX News for a week in mid-April. The advertisement script reads as follows:
“HSUS wants you to believe they are like this — everyday thousands of innocent animals are used, neglected, starved and often put to death.
“But they are really like this — over 85 percent of animals shown in HSUS TV ads are dogs and cats, while only 1 percent of their $131 million in donations it received last year to local shelters.
“In 2014, HSUS put $55 million into off shore accounts and spent $49 million on their own salaries and pension plans — 150 times the amount they gave to local pet shelters to help care for animals.
“So when the HSUS CEO Wayne Pacelle tells you, ‘You can help save the life of one desperate animal right now,’ he would rather put donations in the Cayman Islands than your local pet shelter.
“If you want to help pets, donate to your local shelter, not to HSUS. To learn more visit HumaneWatch.org.”
The advertisement can be viewed at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UonvGPQ7vAM
Will Coggin, CCF director of research, said the commercial was aired on two FOX News’ programs — The O’Reilly Factor and The Kelly File, two of the highest-rated programs in the cable news category.
“We wanted to reach conservative viewers, especially the proverbial old lady who watches the show, sees the HSUS commercial and sends the organization a check,” said Coggin. “HSUS is a big fundraiser for the GOP and Pacelle is working hard to make headway with the Republican party. Of course, animal welfare isn’t a political issue, so their support comes from both sides of the aisle. It seems like when people see those dogs and cats in the HSUS commercials, they are ready and willing to write a check.”
Coggin added that CCF has received a lot of positive feedback on the commercial.
“We did get some calls and emails from the ad,” he said. “People seem to appreciate receiving this information and were glad to see the information since many are becoming more aware of the HSUS scam. This commercial was made in-house, and I’m pleased with how it turned out and the message it shares.”
Coggin said Humane Watch evaluates HSUS’ tax returns to learn about how the organization really spends the millions of dollars in donations they receive each year.
“All of our information comes from HSUS documents,” he said. “We just package the information in a way that the general public can understand it and realize the many misconceptions about this group. HSUS spends $40-50 million each year on marketing itself in a very misleading way. When folks see the commercials, they assume HSUS is a good group; however, most folks don’t realize that it’s not pets the organization is focused on, it’s animal agriculture.”
Although HSUS has been relatively quiet in Washington, D.C. this year, HSUS has been in the middle of plenty of ballot initiatives, legislation and litigation over the years. The organizations activities include targeting gestation crates, poultry housing and horse slaughter, all in an effort to increase production costs and ultimately raise prices of meat, dairy, and eggs so they are no longer affordable menu items for many Americans.
“Pacelle just released his new book, ‘The Humane Economy’ last week, so he’s been busy in D.C. making the rounds in conservative circles, promoting his book, and trying to get his hooks into people,” said Coggin. “It’s time for animal agriculture to rattle HSUS’ cage. HSUS, along with folks like Dr. Oz and the Food Babe, are misleading consumers about food production. We are going to continue to push back.”
While HSUS rakes in millions, local shelters must rely entirely on public donations. For example, in recent years, the Sioux Falls Area Humane Society, was featured on KELOLAND TV asking for donations of canned dog and cat food. The shelter is located on 3720 E. Benson Road, Sioux Falls, SD, and although the non-profit shelter received a record-breaking $35,800 donation from Schulte SUBARU of Sioux Falls in 2015, the organization is trying to keep up with the expenses that go with an increased number of pets at the shelter, along with the corresponding vet bills, food, spay and neuter fees, and shelter costs.
According to Pacelle, HSUS doesn’t run animal shelters; the organization is an animal welfare advocacy group. However, he said in an interview with FOX News that HSUS has donated $43 million in grants to other animal welfare groups in the last four years.
In that same interview, Pacelle commented on the agricultural industry’s criticisms of HSUS in recent years, saying, “We consider it the highest compliment because it demonstrates beyond a shadow of a doubt that we’re the most effective organization in the field of animal protection, and one that industries that have something to hide are most worried about.”
As a cattle rancher, I certainly don’t have anything to hide, and it’s alarming to know that such a powerful organization has a target on the backs of the nation’s livestock producers. As an industry, we need to work collectively to spread the word about HSUS, so people like my grandma and others like her who might fall for those deceptive and emotional HSUS commercials don’t send their hard-earned money to put ranchers out of business.
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