Two new billboards in New York City’s Times Square are alerting the public to certain facts about the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) that some people do not know. The billboards highlight the fact that HSUS shared only 1 percent of its $126 million budget with pet sheltering organizations nationwide in 2010, according to HumaneWatch.org, a project of the nonprofit Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF) and sponsor of the billboards.
The billboards remind Americans to “read the fine print” and not let “HSUS disguise itself as a local pet shelter.” Recent public polling by ORC International, indicates that 71 percent of Americans mistakenly believe that the HSUS is a pet shelter umbrella group and 68 percent wrongly believe that HSUS gives most of its money to local pet shelters, according to HumaneWatch.
“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. “Our Times Square billboards are educating Americans about HSUS to ensure their donations go to support the cause they intended. If they want their dollars to aid cats and dogs in their community they should give directly to local pet shelters.”
HSUS’s advertisements routinely employ the images of abused or unwanted dogs and cats to tug at the heart strings and wallets of America’s pet lovers. However, according to the animal rights group’s own tax documents HSUS spent $47 million in fundraising-related costs and parked $32 million in hedge funds, says HumaneWatch.
“HSUS should know full well that the American public experiences ‘humane society’ brand confusion, yet it continues to mislead the public with multi-million dollar ad campaigns,” Wilson added.