Ohio Attorney General called on to investigate HSUS

HumaneWatch.org , a project of the nonprofit Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF), petitioned Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine to investigate the deceptive fundraising practices of the animal rights group Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). HumaneWatch.org released a full report today exposing HSUS’s misleading telemarketing, direct mail, and television appeals. The new analysis reveals that the animal rights group’s fundraising activities might be more than just dishonest, speculating that these tactics could violate some charitable solicitation or consumer protection laws in the Buckeye State.

The new report delves into years of HSUS’s direct mail, telemarketing, and television appeals, which actively perpetuate the misperception that HSUS’s primary focus is to care for abandoned and abused cats and dogs. However, a look through the group’s tax returns reveals just 1 percent of its multi-million dollar budget goes to local hands-on shelters and rescues. That’s a surprise to many of HSUS’s own donors. Recent public polling by ORC International determined that 71 percent of Americans mistakenly believe that HSUS is a pet shelter umbrella group, and 68 percent wrongly think that HSUS spends most of its money on pet shelters.

“HSUS is a factory fundraising machine, sucking valuable dollars out of local communities with its advertisements that mislead donors into believing a majority of its budget benefits local cats and dogs,” said J. Justin Wilson, CCF’s Senior Research Analyst. “HumaneWatch’s new report clearly demonstrates that HSUS is fully aware of its deceptive fundraising tactics.”

The report documents multiple occurrences of HSUS misrepresenting its work, including an appeal for donations in 2010 that begs donors to “please send your best new membership gift of $8, $12, $15 or as much as you can give to protect and save precious puppies’ and kittens’ lives.” However, HSUS doesn’t run a single pet shelter and local shelters aren’t seeing much of HSUS’s donations, with several local organizations going so far as to change their names in order to prevent donor confusion.

“The truth is HSUS knows what opens American’s wallets and it’s not photos of HSUS’s sad-looking lawyers and lobbyists,” continued Wilson. “If HSUS wants to spend its donations funding its PETA-like agenda, it shouldn’t be doing it on the backs of America’s needy pet shelters and by misleading Americans.”

Deceptive Fundraising Practices of HSUS

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4 thoughts on “Ohio Attorney General called on to investigate HSUS”

  1. What has happened to our news that has allowed journalists (and believe me in this case, I use the term loosely) to reprint press releases from public relations firms and present it as news? Readers assume that what is read as news is factual, has been researched and vetted. Quite the contrary with this attack piece, from Richard Bermans Humanewatch. Humanewatch is the creation of a shill in a suit, an infamous Washington operator, known among lobbyists as Dr. Evil. Why has Berman targeted such an effective, well regarded organization as the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS)? The answer is apparent once one knows who funds Bermans attack campaigns. Berman creates front groups masquerading as citizen groups to attack organizations who are perceived as a threat to the profits of corporate entities within a given industry. These are vicious, well-funded attacks and Berman admits that his mission is to discredit the organization being attacked. Lies and misdirection are Bermans stock in trade. Corporations hide behind Berman, hide their funding of this particular type of PR, known within the industry as dark PR. Berman has attacked the Center for Disease Control on behalf of his funders from industrial agriculture, Mothers Against Drunk Driving on behalf of the liquor industry, and attacks teacher unions, labor unions and the minimum wage on behalf of hidden corporate sponsors. For more on Berman and his industry funded campaigns, please google bermanexposed, humanewatchinfo., or see Rachel Maddows interview with Berman on youtube, or view the 60 Minutes expose of Berman on youtube. For the truth about the HSUS, look at their website or facebook page. Their financials and their victories are documented.

    • suzyelecracuted: While I respect your passionate and eloquent response to this article I can’t help but disagree with your main premise that HSUS is an honest organization. It is a fact that most of their donations go to pushing legislative lobbying on behalf of the animal rights community. Wayne Pacelle’s goal with HSUS is not to protect puppies and kittens but to eliminate meat from store shelves in America. By attacking American farmers like myself he uses misinformation as well as the well known fact that most americans don’t have a clue how their food is raised to generate large donations. As a cow-calf producer on a 6th generation farm I see HSUS as an assault on my family, my community, and my way of life. Animal agriculture has existed for thousands of years and is one of the main reasons we can even be having this conversation instead of being hunter-gatherers. Before you blindly support animal rights groups please take the time to talk to the people who actually produce your food like myself. I would be happy to discuss this matter with you through email as to not clutter up this comment section. If you are interested please email me at gannett.2@osu.edu . Thank you.

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