Ad exposes HSUS’s misleading fundraising ad campaigns

 Resize text         Printer-friendly version of this article Printer-friendly version of this article, a project of the Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF), has issued a consumer alert reminding Americans to be wary of the deceptive fundraising practices of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).

The ad, airing nationally on Fox News beginning this week, highlights HSUS’s duplicitous fundraising practices—85 percent of the animals in its fundraising commercials are dogs and cats, yet less than one percent of the money HSUS raises from the public goes to local, hands-on pet shelters, according to a CCF press release. View the ad here.

The ad also encourages Americans to give directly to their local pet shelters to make the greatest impact in their community.

HSUS’s 2011 tax return indicates that many Americans are already aware of the animal rights group’s deceptive practices, according to the release. “HSUS uses emotionally manipulative ads to raise money on the backs of abandoned and abused dogs and cats, yet it gives just one penny of each dollar it raises to local pet shelters,” said CCF Senior Research Analyst J. Justin Wilson. “ wants to ensure that donations go to support the cause donors intend. If they want their dollars to aid cats and dogs in their community they should give directly to local pet shelters instead of inadvertently bankrolling HSUS’s aggressive PETA-like agenda.”

Nationally, HSUS shared less than one percent of its $127 million budget with pet sheltering organizations in 2011, according to CCF. In the same year, HSUS spent nearly $50 million on fundraising-related expenses, which is 100 times more than it did on grants to support shelter aid. HSUS also contributed $2.4 million to its pension plan.

Comments received by Pork Network from HSUS did not specifically address the CCF summary of HSUS’s level of support for abused pets depicted in its television advertising campaign. “Since HumaneWatch launched its campaign, our fundraising and membership have gone up, as has our success in the legislative and corporate areas,” said Matthew Prescott, HSUS food policy director. “Our track record as the nation’s leading voice for pets and wildlife speaks for itself.”

“HSUS knows full well that the American public experiences ‘humane society’ brand confusion, yet they continue to mislead the public with multi-million dollar ad campaigns,” Wilson said. "This holiday season don’t be fooled by HSUS’s misleading fundraising ads; giving directly to your local shelter will do the most to benefit the neediest animals in your community.”

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Matt Prescott (HSUS)    
Gaithersburg, MD  |  December, 20, 2012 at 07:52 AM

It's a shame that the multi-millionaire lobbyist behind HumaneWatch is getting farmers to give him their hard- earned money to wage losing campaigns for them. As noted, in the time he has been campaigning against HSUS, our fundraising and membership have increased, as has our success in the legislative and corporate arenas. Essentially, his business model is to create a straw man that he can use to polarize the industry against HSUS, and take money from farmers to campaign against that straw man in ways that really only resonate with farmers. That's why he loses most of his battles, including this one. The alcohol industry has funded him to fight decreases in the legal blood alcohol limit…and he's losing (the limit is much lower now than it was years ago). Despite his tobacco industry funding, there are now smoking bans popping up nationwide. Despite fast food funding, we're seeing calorie counts being posted on menus nationwide. He took money from the tanning salon industry to fight taxes on their services, yet all tanning salons in the country are now subject to a new tax. This effort is a losing one, and farmers and ranchers would be much better served simply communicating with The HSUS in civil discourse, so that together, we can reach solutions to these problems that work for farmers and animals alike. In a world of increasing division, communication is key. These campaigns are losing efforts that waste money and prevent civil discussion. It's a shame to see the efforts covered in this way.

Thom Katt    
Midwest  |  December, 20, 2012 at 10:17 AM

Mr. Prescott, you spent a lot of words telling us what is wrong with Humanewatch. But you didn't deny a single point in the article. How about it. Does HSUS really spend most of the donated money on rescuing animals in distress? If I want to help local shelters around the country, can I make a donation to HSUS and know that it will be passed through to local organizations that take care of abandoned animals or rescued pets? How much of my donation will go to pay lobbyists to conduct political activity? Will part of my donation be used to pay salaries for lawyers employed full time by HSUS? Now is your chance. Tell is which points in the Humanewatch message are false.

kansas  |  December, 20, 2012 at 06:33 PM

Shame Mr. Prescott? You and your army of lawyers and lobbyists, with your Fat Pensions and Fat Paychecks, have none at all. You lie to your members/donors and lie to the public while subverting the courts and legislatures to promote your quasi-religion of Veganism. Pretending you have the same standing as these other "causes" you list, and that your people are morally superior in some way, is yet another deceit (and conceit) proving you and your organization are truly shameless. Finally, how is your little legal problem with Feld Entertainment going these days? Now that you have been officially accused of being an interstate criminal conspiracy (RICCO), we're all looking forward to seeing the 10s of Millions of dollars in your accounts being awarded to those you've viciously attacked and harrassed. You sir, should be ashamed and hopefully the courts will agree.

SD  |  December, 20, 2012 at 06:54 PM

Its time to tax the non-profits. There is no reason for our economy to support the HSUS twice, one by not taxing the proceeds received by these non-charitable not for profits, and one for granting a tax deduction to its donors. HSUS is a compnay only interested in un-taxed fundraising to continue attracting attention to itself. Given our budget issues in this country, bad actors such as non-profits whose actions don't match their applications for non-profit status should be taxed and penalized for past misrepresentations. Do you belive HSUS received non profit status by telling the IRS they were primarily going to fundraise to influence legislation and run political campaigns, they clearly would not have receive 501(c)(3) exemption. Tax the industry as it should be.

Main Street  |  December, 22, 2012 at 05:25 PM

Matt Prescott: Many progressive policy analysts also opposed the tanning tax. Wayne Pacelle would have opposed it but his tanning sessions are paid for by donors. MADD is not a good group anymore. It is possible to oppose drunk driving while disagreeing with some of their solutions. It is increasingly common to oppose animal cruelty while loathing the HSUS, it's ex-con employees and associates like Vick, and it's criminal fundraising vendors. MADD has low ratings with charity watchdogs and has been involved in some questionable fundraising practices. Info on that is easy to find online. Everything you say about CCF is really true about HSUS. That is part of the HSUS playbook. You can never accuse CCF of lying to the Holocaust Museum in order to obtain sensitive documents. Like HSUS fundraising, you said whatever it took to get what you wanted, with no intention of using it for the stated purpose. When you and HSUS get caught, you resort to lashing out at straw men and defending yourself with more lies. At least the Humane Watch ads are funny. PETA/HSUS's are just sick.

St. Louis, MO  |  December, 25, 2012 at 10:10 AM

Your donation? I find it difficult to believe you have donated to HSUS. HSUS's finances are an open book, which is more than what we can say about HumaneWatch. HSUS spends its money on animal causes, including ones that the pork producers really don't like, such as the fight against gestation crates. And that's where the money that flows to HumaneWatch comes from: CAFO owners who don't want organizations demanding better conditions for livestock. HumaneWatch's 'concern' is so much fakery.


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