Livestock producers often find themselves the target for Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), but this week marked two instances where these organizations were the ones in the crosshairs instead.
First, the Washington Post reports PETA wanted a fake cat video to go viral, but it didn’t exactly turn out as planned.
In the video setup, a gray cat named Rugus is reprimanded by his owner for not performing a command during the taping of a typical “Internet cat video.” PETA intended the video to go on YouTube to draw attention to animal cruelty in circus cats. One small problem—the cat was computer-generated imagery (CGI).
Press Kitchen, a PR company working on PETA’s behalf, asked Mashable to help them make the video go viral, without revealing that Rufus wasn’t real. Instead of running the video, Mashable called them out on the potential deception in a news story. PETA's response (which Mashable added and refuted in the link above) said the organization planned to release the video as a clearly labeled parody. The video is labeled "NEVER RELEASE: Cat Tricks."
Earlier this week, HSUS also got put in its place during a court case where a former donor sued HSUS for breach of contract. For a donation of $1 million over two years, HSUS promised to get screenings of a documentary called “Eating Happiness” for Hiroshi Horiike, CEO of Genlin Foundation, in association with Hong-Kong-based World Dog Alliance and get legislation introduced in Congress. The judge dismissed the case, calling the timeline “premature—even though something like documentary screenings is a timely matter and cannot drag on for the length of a two-year agreement.”
The hit came later in the judge’s ruling: “HSUS is a lobbying organization. Its success is predicated on its ability to maintain and use relationships with lawmakers. Common sense shows that it has an interest in preserving those relationships. Therefore this is not a sufficient basis to establish a triable issue as to the claimed breach.”
That’s when Humane Watch chimed in: “This is interesting. As a 501(c)(3) organization, HSUS is not allowed to be a ‘lobbying organization.’ It has a very limited scope for the amount of lobbying it, and its volunteers, do.”