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Agriculture Today

HSUS: It’s time to expose who you really are

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Mike Behrens
December 21, 2011 | 2,603 views | 1 comment

By Mike Barnett

Whoa, Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). Enough is enough. It’s time to expose who you really are.

That’s the intent of The Humane Society for Shelter Pets, who launched last week with three ads in USA Today, the Los Angeles Times, and the Chicago Tribune to show Americans the benefits of supporting their local pet shelter. That’s easier said than done with the confusion over which group does what when it comes to finding homes for and taking care of homeless companion animals.

I talked to Jeff Douglas, co-director of The Humane Society for Shelter Pets, about the disparity of what people think the Humane Society of the United States is and what that national group actually does. He said many pet shelters suffer financial problems because of a widespread belief that donations given to national groups, such as the Humane Society of the United States, filter down to local pet shelters. In fact, he said a recent poll from the Opinion Research Corp. showed that 71 percent of Americans believe the Humane Society of the United States is an umbrella group that represents thousands of local humane societies.

Reality, Douglas says, is only 1 percent of the Humane Society of the United States’ $126 million budget goes to help neglected pets. The organization raises funds on the perception they give millions of dollars every year to local pet shelters, using misleading advertising campaigns featuring sad-looking puppies and kittens. Meanwhile, millions of unwanted and homeless pets are euthanized every year to relieve overcrowded conditions in underfunded local animal shelters, humane societies, rescue centers, and local government animal-control agencies.

It’s time for this to stop. The Humane Society of the United States is a master at hoodwinking donors with emotional appeals about animal welfare and neglected pets, then using that money to raise more money for other purposes -- such as lobbying against modern livestock production practices. Yes, the Humane Society of the United States is an expert at raising money; it is not so good at sharing it.

Douglas says The Humane Society for Shelter Pets is not asking you to fund their organization. Their purpose, he says, is to help you swim through the confusion of an alphabet soup of acronyms ... HSUS (Humane Society of the United States), ASPCA (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), HSSP (The Humane Society for Shelter Pets) ... and come to wise decisions on how to best help neglected animals.

Their suggestions:

•Donate to local shelters.

•Adopt a pet.

•Volunteer at a local shelter.

•Encourage your friends to give locally.

It’s about time someone finally served as an advocate for neglected pets. Kudos to the Humane Society for Shelter Pets idea! For more information, visit http://www.humaneforpets.com/.

Mike Barnett is the publications director for the Texas Farm Bureau.

Your Opinions and Comments

David Fuller  
San Antonio, TX  
December 21, 2011 7:40pm

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