Berman: HSUS’s investment portfolio is beyond animal ag

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Rick Berman Rick Berman The federal “Egg Bill” caused a lot of hardboiled feelings between United Egg Producers and its supporters on one side and others in the livestock industries, including some egg farmer dissenters, on the other. UEP insisted it’s the only way forward. But there’s new proof that UEP only made a deal with the devil.

At last month’s Animal Rights 2013 conference in northern Virginia, HSUS vice president Paul Shapiro revealed that HSUS is investing donor money in companies producing and providing replacements for animal products. HSUS is invested in VeggieGrill, a vegan restaurant chain. HSUS is “heavily invested” in Beyond Meat, which produces fake chicken. And, according to a Shapiro’s statement at the conference, HSUS is invested in Hampton Creek Foods, which owns the “Beyond Eggs” brand.

The goal of “Beyond Eggs,” at least in the short term, is to replace the 33 percent of the egg industry that is used in sauces, mayo, baked goods and other food products. But the ultimate goal is to “take the animal out of the equation” and make the egg industry “obsolete,” according to its CEO. A current HSUS employee with its farm-animal division is a co-founder of the company.

Read that again.

So we have Wayne Pacelle and HSUS telling the egg industry and the public that they are looking out for the economic viability of egg farmers in the long term. And now, we have HSUS caught on camera admitting to secretly funding efforts to destroy the egg industry.

Let’s draw some conclusions:

1. There is no bargain that anyone in agriculture can cut with HSUS. The goal of HSUS is beyond “humane” chicken, eggs, beef, pork, dairy—which adds up to no more animal agriculture. “Beyond eggs” says it all.

2. HSUS has $37 million in hedge funds and $200 million in assets. That’s a lot of money that it could put into these firms that want to make animal agriculture obsolete.

3. Chad Gregory, head of the UEP, is the industry Neville Chamberlain. Chamberlain, over the warnings of some in Parliament, met with Hitler and claimed to have secured “peace in our time” with the Fuhrer—but instead was given a worthless ruse. Gregory finds himself in a comparable situation. Plenty of people told him not to trust HSUS, but he didn’t listen.

4. It’s time for a broader education offensive against HSUS.

The entire agriculture industry needs to adopt an alliance against HSUS. It’s not enough to wait while HSUS beats up on one sector, like eggs, while others wait until the threat reaches their front door. It’ll move on to another sector next—pork now, and probably poultry next. (A spokesman recently stated that "Chickens are probably the most abused of all animals. It's not even close.")

HSUS produces nothing agricultural. It is in the “conflict industry,” ginning up one propaganda campaign after another. These guys aren’t farmers, ranchers, or vets. They’re a bunch of complaining vegans sitting in offices in D.C. and suburban Maryland, raking in money that people think is going to help pet shelters and using it to attack farmers and ranchers.

Here are ways to fight the battle:

1.      Do more retailer outreach. You may already be doing some. Do more. HSUS is trying to build relationships; whoever its activists are talking to about sow housing, they’ll reach back out to them about antibiotics, poultry stocking density, controlled atmosphere killing, dehorning, etc.

2.      Go on the offensive against HSUS. HumaneWatch has documented how HSUS is scamming the public out of dollars. If these dollars were actually sent where people think they are going (local shelters), then HSUS’s political and propaganda capabilities will be severely diminished. If you like our ads and want to see them in your area, contact us. Otherwise, write a letter to your local paper pointing out that only 1% of the money HSUS raises goes to pet shelters.

3.      Email me at for more specifics. There are things that grassroots activists like you can help with.

Ask yourself this question: If HSUS will collect millions and use the money to work against you, will things get better from here if you do nothing?

The answer of course, is no. This is a perfect time to repeat an old adage, namely that “you’re either part of the solution or part of the problem.” Pick one.

Rick Berman is the Executive Director of the Center for Consumer Freedom, a nonprofit coalition supported by restaurants, food companies and consumers to promote personal responsibility and protect consumer choices. Visit to learn more.

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Lewis Bollard    
New Haven, CT  |  July, 18, 2013 at 09:23 PM

Talking of groups that rake in money while sitting in offices in DC, do you know who Rick Berman is? Before taking this guy's advice -- or worse yet giving him money -- check out this website from Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington: Or see why his son describes him as "a sort of human molester" here: However you feel about HSUS, think whether you want to support a guy who's spent his life taking money from special interests to go after doctors, teachers, and even Mothers Against Drunk Driving. There's an honest debate to be had about animal welfare -- and one that the public desperately wants to hear. But by funding Berman's anti-HSUS front groups, the pork industry is only avoiding that debate. It's time to honestly engage the public and to ditch Berman.

Chris B    
California  |  July, 19, 2013 at 12:29 AM

If Rick Berman ever touched Gary Francione I think it would create a paradox that would unravel the fabric of the universe.

doug williams    
usa  |  July, 19, 2013 at 10:30 AM

You may not like Berman but you cannot deny the truth in his statements. HSUS is a vegan organization that is OBVIOUSLY out to destroy the agricultural portion of out nation and if they thought they could the world..HSUS is a scam and the two words "conflict industry " could not be more true. HSUS preys on the little old ladies and gentleman that send them money thinking they are helping to save "puppies and kitties" while the HSUS is trying to make their food prices skyrocket and choices lessened. HSUS cares nothing for humans.. and everything about the almighty dollar find ONE place where they advertise that they don't beg for money. Berman gets my vote and my money .. my grandmother agrees. she is a SMART little old lady.. make sure yours is too.. Friends Don't let Friends Donate to the HSUS

Alice H    
Arlington, VA  |  July, 19, 2013 at 02:03 PM

Doug is right on. It is not just the "little old ladies and gents" though giving to HSUS. It is many younger people who willingly drink the AR kool-aid. They live in "Disneyesque" worlds where animals are people and they don't know how to think for themselves. And the worst of it is these misinformed young people are going into vet and law schools and go after the AR agenda with a vengence when they come out. Berman and Humane Watch have been they only reliable voice of dissent -- we need to listen and act as he recommends. Especially since HSUS has successfully infiltrated USDA - neither food nor pet people have anybody fighting for them.

NW Indiana  |  July, 22, 2013 at 12:47 PM

I was reading along with interest whenl the author brought in the big H(itler). Using the big H as a discussion point marks any author or speaker with my suspicions. As in; hay, you have a hidden agenda in your pocket?

Charlie Powell    
Pullman, Washington  |  July, 24, 2013 at 09:15 AM

To counsel there is nothing to negotiate with HSUS or any other challenger is very shortsighted advice. The reason why is likely not what you think either. Such advice presumes there are only two players; industry and HSUS. There's a third player at the table and they are our collective stakeholders which includes our current customer base, prospective customers, packaging, shipping, retailers, QSR, advertising, marketing, and ancillary industries. The animal industries' overall goal should be airtight stewardship of consumers and the rest of our stakeholders; not bloodying the nose or shunning any organization that challenges business. HSUS has significant pull with our stakeholders through retail. Just remember the leverage brought to bear on egg producers by McDonald's; we can't control that. But we can and absolutely should, more aggressively steward our stakeholders. Our messaging for product production from conception to the fork must be honest, open, complete and truthful. Our push must be sustained, redundant across all media platforms and we must show a willingness to fund research, accept results and make changes where appropriate on a timeline that is economically achievable for most competent producers. It will be a type of broad, hard, expensive work unfamiliar to most producers. Funding should not be on the backs of producers only but should include funding from any stakeholder that profits from our industries. And like other industries, some will go out of business as changes come. Our goal should be to continuously groom every stakeholder to willfully choose our products in the face of ANY criticism because they trust in us as producers and our products as valuable.

Terry Ward    
Pa.  |  August, 03, 2013 at 02:10 PM



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