The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) knows that Americans love their pets. That is why the group features cats and dogs in their fund-raising advertising, according to Dr. Wes Jamison, associate professor of communication, Palm Beach Atlantic University.

“Most Americans view farming through the prism of pet ownership,” according to Jamison. The fact plays a significant role in how livestock practices are viewed by consumers. “Most Americans view animals differently than the way (livestock producers) do.”

According to Jamison, the HSUS seeks donations based on Americans’ affections for pets. “The (HSUS) knows the issue, knows their target, their message and their strategy,” said Jamison. “The message is easy to understand and repeated over and over.”

According to HumaneWatch.org, an HSUS watchdog group, “An enormous majority of the animals in HSUS’s seemingly ubiquitous commercials are cats and dogs,” However, “very little money given to the Humane Society of the United States will ever reach a pet shelter.”

“HSUS’s message is simple, easy to understand and easy to repeat,” Jamison says. However, while HSUS advertising features pets, many of their funds are committed to efforts against animal agriculture, he says.

According to HumaneWatch, HSUS’s 2009 tax return showed less than one percent of HSUS’s budget (0.8 percent) consisted of grants to pet shelters.

The watchdog group sponsored a consumer alert television commercial that aired during the recent Academy Award presentation.