https://www.activistfacts.com/organizations/136-humane-society-of-the-united-states/ (below is just part of what is on the ACTIVIST Facts!!!)
HSUS is big, rich, and powerful. While most local animal shelters are under-funded and unsung, HSUS has accumulated $195 million in assets and built a recognizable brand by capitalizing on the confusion its very name provokes. This misdirection results in an irony of which most animal lovers are unaware: HSUS raises enough money to finance animal shelters in every single state, with money to spare, yet it doesn’t operate a single one anywhere.
Instead, HSUS spends millions on programs that seek to economically cripple meat and dairy producers; eliminate the use of animals in biomedical research labs; phase out pet breeding, zoos, and circus animal acts; and demonize hunters as crazed lunatics. HSUS spends more than $4 million each year on travel expenses alone, just keeping its multi-national agenda going.
HSUS president Wayne Pacelle described some of his goals in 2004 for The Washington Post: “We will see the end of wild animals in circus acts … [and we’re] phasing out animals used in research. Hunting? I think you will see a steady decline in numbers.” But Pacelle may have more ambitious anti-hunting goals. In 1991, while he was the National Director of the Fund for Animals, Pacelle told the Associated Press: “[I]f we could shut down all sport hunting in a moment, we would. Just like we would shut down all dog fighting, all cock fighting or all bull fighting.”
More recently, in a June 2005 interview, Pacelle told Satya magazinethat HSUS is working on “a guide to vegetarian eating, to really make the case for it.” A strict vegan himself, Pacelle added: “Reducing meat consumption can be a tremendous benefit to animals.”
Shortly after Pacelle joined HSUS in 1994, he told Animal People (an inside-the-movement watchdog newspaper) that his goal was to build“a National Rifle Association of the animal rights movement.” And now, as the organization’s leader, he’s in a position to back up his rhetoric with action. In 2005 Pacelle announced the formation of a new “Animal Protection Litigation Section” within HSUS, dedicated to “the process of researching, preparing, and prosecuting animal protection lawsuits in state and federal court.”
HSUS’s current goals have little to do with animal shelters.
The group has taken aim at the traditional morning meal of bacon and eggs with a tasteless “Breakfast of Cruelty” campaign. Its newspaper op-eds demand that consumers “help make this a more humane world [by] reducing our consumption of meat and egg products.” Since its inception, HSUS has tried to limit the choices of American consumers, opposing dog breeding, conventional livestock and poultry farming, rodeos, circuses, horse racing, marine aquariums, and fur trapping.
A True Multinational Corporation
HSUS is a multinational conglomerate with regional staff operating in 33 states and a special Hollywood Office that promotes and monitors the media’s coverage of animal-rights issues. It includes a huge web of organizations, affiliates, and subsidiaries. Some are nonprofit, tax-exempt “charities,” while others are for-profit taxable corporations, which don’t have to divulge anything about their financial dealings.
This unusually complex structure means that HSUS can hide expenses where the public would never think to look. For instance, one HSUS-affiliated organization called the HSUS Wildlife Land Trust collected $21.1 million between 1998 and 2003. During the same period, it spent $15.7 million on fundraising expenses, most of which directly benefited HSUS. This arrangement allowed HSUS to bury millions in direct-mail and other fundraising costs in its affiliate’s budget, giving the public (and charity watchdog groups) the false impression that its own fundraising costs were relatively low.
Until 1995 HSUS also controlled the Humane Society of Canada (HSC), which Paul Irwin (HSUS president from 1996 to 2004) had founded four years earlier. But Irwin, who claimed to live in Canada when he set up HSC, turned out to be ineligible to run a Canadian charity (He actually lived in Maryland). Irwin’s Canadian passport was ultimately revoked and he was replaced as HSC’s executive director.
The new leader later hauled HSUS into court to answer charges that Irwin had transferred over $1 million to HSUS from the Canadian group. HSUS claimed it was to pay for HSC’s fundraising, but didn’t provide the group with the required documentation to back up the expenses. In January 1997 a Canadian judge ordered HSUS to return the money,writing: “I cannot imagine a more glaring conflict of interest or a more egregious breach of fiduciary duty. It demonstrates an overweening arrogance of a type seldom seen.”
From Animal Welfare to Animal Rights
There is an enormous difference between animal “welfare” organizations, which work for the humane treatment of animals, and animal “rights” organizations, which aim to completely end the use and ownership of animals. The former have been around for centuries; the latter emerged in the 1980s, with the rise of the radical People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).
The Humane Society of the United States began as an animal welfare organization. Originally called the National Humane Society, it was established in 1954 as a spin-off of the American Humane Association (AHA). Its founders wanted a slightly more radical group — the AHA did not oppose sport hunting or the use of shelter animals for biomedical research.
In 1980, HSUS officially began to change its focus from animal welfare to animal rights. After a vote was taken at the group’s San Francisco national conference, it was formally resolved that HSUS would “pursue on all fronts … the clear articulation and establishment of the rights of all animals … within the full range of American life and culture.”
In Animal Rights and Human Obligations, the published proceedings of this conference, HSUS stated unequivocally that “there is no rational basis for maintaining a moral distinction between the treatment of humans and other animals.” It’s no surprise, then, that a 2003 HSUS fundraising mailer boasted that the group has been working toward “putting an end to killing animals for nearly half a century.”
In 1986 John McArdle, then-HSUS’s Director of Laboratory Animal Welfare, told Washingtonian magazine that HSUS was “definitely shifting in the direction of animal rights faster than anyone would realize from our literature.”
The group completed its animal-rights transformation during the 1990s, changing its personnel in the process. HSUS assimilated dozens of staffers from PETA and other animal-rights groups, even employingJohn “J.P.” Goodwin, a former Animal Liberation Front member and spokesman with a lengthy arrest record and a history of promoting arson to accomplish animal liberation.
The change brought more money and media attention. John Hoyt, HSUS president from 1970 to 1996, explained the shift in 1991, telling National Journal, “PETA successfully stole the spotlight … Groups like ours that have plugged along with a larger staff, a larger constituency … have been ignored.” Hoyt agreed that PETA’s net effect within the animal-rights movement was to spur more moderate groups to take tougher stances in order to attract donations from the public. “Maybe,” Hoyt mused, “the time has come to say, ‘Since we haven’t been successful in getting half a loaf, let’s go for the whole thing.’”
HSUS leaders have even expressed their desire to put an end to the lifesaving biomedical research that requires the use of animals. As early as 1988 the group’s mailings demanded that the U.S. government “eliminate altogether the use of animals as research subjects.” In 1986 Washingtonian asked John McArdle about his opinion that brain-dead humans should be substituted for animals in medical research. “It may take people a while to get used to the idea,” McArdle said, “but once they do the savings in animal lives will be substantial.”
McArdle realized then what HSUS understands today — that an uncompromising, vegetarian-only, anti-medical-progress philosophy has limited appeal. At the 1984 HSUS convention, he gave his group’s members specific instructions on how to frame the issue most effectively. “Avoid the words ‘animal rights’ and ‘antivivisection’,”McArdle said. “They are too strange for the public. Never appear to be opposed to animal research. Claim that your only concern is the source of animals.”
In a 1993 letter published by the American Society for Microbiology, Dr. Patrick Cleveland of the University of California San Diego spelled out HSUS’s place in the animal-rights pantheon. “What separates the HSUS from other animal rights groups,” Cleveland wrote, “is not their philosophy of animal rights and goal of abolishing the use of animals in research, but the tactics and timetable for that abolition.” Cleveland likened it to the difference between a mugger and a con man. “They each will rob you — they use different tactics, have different timetables, but the result is the same. The con man may even criticize the mugger for using confrontational tactics and giving all thieves a bad name, but your money is still taken.”
Targeting Meat and Dairy
In 2004 HSUS promoted long-time vice president Wayne Pacelle to the position of President. Along with Pacelle’s passionate style and his experience navigating the halls of Congress, HSUS got its first strictly vegan leader.
One of Pacelle’s first acts as HSUS’s new chief executive was to send amemo to all HSUS staffers articulating his vision for the future. HSUS’s new “campaigns section,” Pacelle wrote, “will focus on farm animals.” For Americans accustomed to eating meat, eggs, and dairy foods, the thought of an animal rights group with a budget three times the size of PETA’s targeting their food choices should be unsettling. And Pacelle has hired other high-profile, unapologetic meat and dairy “abolitionists” since taking over.
In 2005, former Compassion Over Killing (COK) president Miyun Park joined HSUS as a staffer in its new “farm animals and sustainable agriculture department.” Around the same time, HSUS hired COK’s other co-founder, Paul Shapiro, as manager of its derogatorily named “Factory Farming Campaign.” COK’s former general counsel Carter Dillard joined shortly afterward, as did vegan doctor and mad-cow-disease scaremonger Michael Greger. Like Pacelle, these new HSUS hires are all self-described vegans. Their arrival in the world’s richest animal-rights group signals that HSUS is giving anti-meat campaigns a prominent place.
In October, just a few months before he became an HSUS staffer,Shapiro told the 2004 National Student Animal Rights Conferencethat “nothing is more important than promoting veganism.” And Shapiro noted during an August 2004 animal-rights seminar (hosted by United Poultry Concerns) that after just 10 weeks at the helm, Pacelle had “already implemented a ‘no animal products in the office’ policy … You know, they’re going to have actual farmed-animal campaigns now, where they’re going to be trying to legislate against gestation crates and all this stuff.”
Americans who enjoy meat, cheese, eggs, and milk may soon come to regard HSUS as a new PETA, with an even broader reach. Shortly after taking office, Pacelle announced a merger with the $20 million Fund For Animals. The combined group estimated its 2005 budget at “over $95 million” and also announced the formation of a new “political organization,” which will “allow for a more substantial investment of resources in political and lobbying activities.”
It takes tens of millions of dollars to run campaigns against so many domestic targets, and HSUS consistently misleads Americans with its fundraising efforts by hinting that it’s a “humane society” in the more conventional sense of the term. Buried deep within HSUS’s website is a disclaimer noting that the group “is not affiliated with, nor is it a parent organization for, local humane societies, animal shelters, or animal care and control agencies. These are independent organizations … HSUS does not operate or have direct control over any animal shelter.”
For instance, a 2001 member recruitment mailing called those on the HSUS mailing list “true pet lovers,” referring to unspecified work on behalf of “dogs, puppies, cats, [and] kittens.” Another recruitment mailing from that year included “Thank You,” “Happy Birthday,” and “Get Well Soon” greeting cards featuring pets such as dogs, cats, and fish. The business reply envelope lists “7 Steps to a Happier Pet.”
A 2003 recruitment mailing also included those “Steps,” as well as free address labels with pastel pictures of dogs and cats. The fundraising letter subtly substituted the animal-rights term “companion animals” for “pets.”
“Our mission is to encourage adoption in your neighborhood and throughout the country,” reads another HSUS fundraising appeal. “Even though local shelters are trying their best to save lives, they are simply overwhelmed.” That last sentence, at least, is true. But don’t count on the multi-million-dollar conglomerate HSUS to do anything about it. HSUS doesn’t operate a single animal shelter and has no hands-on contact with stray or surplus animals.
In 1995 the Washington (DC) Humane Society almost closed its animal shelter due to a budget shortfall. HSUS, which is also based in Washington, DC, ultimately withdrew an offer to build and operate a DC shelter, at its own expense, to serve as a national model.
In exchange for running the shelter, HSUS wanted three to five acres of city land and tax-exempt status for all its real estate holdings in the District of Columbia. The DC government offered a long-term lease,
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