Look into their big, sad eyes and how can anyone deny that these lawyers need your support—“For just $19 a month, you can join the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) in our fight to hire more lawyers,” the video says.

So goes the message in a 2:30-minute video from the Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF) and HumaneWatch.org that spoofs familiar HSUS television ads that feature abandoned and abused dogs and cats.

The point is to continue to get the word out that HSUS is not the umbrella group for local animal shelters as most Americans believe, says Justin Wilson, CCF senior research analyst. He points out that HSUS’ 2010 tax documents show that it presented just 1 percent of its $126 million budget with pet sheltering organizations nationwide. In that same year “HSUS employed around 50 lawyers,” according to CCF.

HSUS’ approach involving such things as voter referendums, legislative initiatives and court filings against animal agriculture require lawyers. Hence CCF focused on that aspect in its video parody about HSUS fund-raising.

In response, Matthew Prescott, food policy director with HSUS, directed Pork Network to the HSUS website, and the group’s activities involving animal rescue and emergency response efforts, as well as “operating emergency shelters” and “a vast network of spay and neuter clinics.”

Regarding CCF’s HSUS parody video, “it is having enormous viral spread,” Wilson says, and he’s hoping more people share it.  

“So many people have seen the HSUS ads and both animal shelters and ordinary Americans are frustrated and annoyed with them and the misleading messages,” Wilson says. He points to CCF’s analysis that reports 85 percent of the animal images in HSUS ads and fund-raising materials are dogs and cats. “Less than 1 percent of their TV commercials have a disclaimer that says they’re not associated with animal shelters.”

CCF has implemented other such campaigns addressing HSUS funding. A billboard in Times Square in New York City that features a dog and cat with large eyeglasses with the message—“Read the fine print, HSUS is not associated with your local pet shelter” ran through April, whether it remains up beyond that is yet to be determined.