Topic: Humane Education

  • Washing ‘Humane’ Confusion Out to Sea

    UPDATE (5-13-11): Atlantic Publishing has confirmed that it does not currently contribute to HSUS, but it does give generously to community-based animal shelters, rescue groups, and animal parks. Atlantic has also created a new donation page emphasizing that its donations go to local animal shelters. The publisher says this new page will appear in all new books and reprints. Thanks to Atlantic, and to all you HumaneWatchers who took action.

    One of the themes that keeps coming back to HumaneWatch is that the Humane Society of the United States isn’t what most Americans think it is. According to national opinion polling we commissioned, most Americans think HSUS is a pet shelter umbrella group, that it gives most of its money to groups that care for dogs and cats, and that HSUS is affiliated with their local humane society pet shelter. None of these things is true.

    In short, a lot of educating needs to be done so that all Americans are caught up to speed on America’s richest, and perhaps most deceptive, animal rights group. Here’s a new opportunity for HumaneWatch readers (that’s you) to do just that.

    A recent message on the “petlaw” listserv (hosted by Yahoo!) from Carlotta Cooper, author of the upcoming book The Complete Guide to Raising Pigs, caught our eye. Cooper writes:

    I’ve been working on a book about pigs for a few months.  I sent the last revised version of the manuscript to the editor a couple of months ago and all was well … So, today I get a box of books delivered to my door and I'm completely delighted with them … until I open the book up and right among the front pages is a full-page ad for HSUS!  Not only that, but the publisher and his wife are pledging a percentage of the proceeds from the sale of the book to HSUS.  This is just terrible but I really don't have any control over it, except to tell people don't buy the book.

    It’s ironic that a book about raising pigs would feature an advertisement for an animal rights group that wants to completely eliminate the raising of animals for food.

    Maybe it’s time to clue in Atlantic Publishing.

    You can find a copy of the publisher’s ad on Google Books in a different work.

    We noticed that the HSUS logo on the ad is old—from at least four years ago. So it’s possible that Atlantic has simply been running the same ad for years. We wonder if the publisher realizes how radicalized the group has become since Wayne Pacelle took over in 2004.

    Atlantic Publishing can be reached by phone at (800) 814-1132, or by email at [email protected].

    You’ll probably recall that passionate supporters of HumaneWatch and pro-agriculture groups were able to educate Pilot Travel Centers, Jordan Winery, Yellow Tail Wines, Precious Cat kitty litter, Hill’s Science Diet dog food, and Mary Kay cosmetics.

    There’s no reason we can’t help Atlantic Publishing learn about HSUS too. Just be sure to do so politely and let the facts speak for themselves.

    Posted on 05/13/2011 at 2:56 am by The Team.

    Topics: Humane EducationPets


  • What's an Animal Care Expo without Any Animal Care?

    Once each year the Humane Society of the United States holds an Animal Care Expo at a fancy resort—what it calls “the premier educational and networking conference for animal care professionals and volunteers.” The 2011 event took place last week in Florida, at Disney’s Coronado Spring Resort.

    The exhibit booths and educational workshops comprise (unfortunately) one of the very few ways that HSUS interacts with hands-on pet shelters, but it’s a start.

    Still, it’s aggravating to know that the Expo is a money-making enterprise for the already-wealthy HSUS. Some of the event’s promised seminar topics seem tailor-made for HSUS revenue generation. For instance:

    • “Why You NEED to Have Retail at Your Shelter” (because it will help you earn the money we won’t give you…)
    • “Managing and Leading Change” (which you can accomplish by joining our expensive National Federation of Humane Societies trade association…)
    • “Transforming Your Shelter Step-by-Step” (after you pay us $25,000 to tell you what’s wrong…)

    You get the idea. Admission to the conference can cost up to $250. HSUS cleared more than $222,000 in profits from its 2009 Animal Care Expo. And last week’s event included everything from a Wayne Pacelle book signing to a lecture on “Female Leadership in Animal Protection.” (The title? “Queen Bees.”) About the only thing it lacked was … well, actual animals.

    HSUS’s chosen Disney resort allows only seeing-eye dogs and other service animals. “All other animals must be boarded.” And although convention-goers could listen to a lecture about “executing wildly successful mega-adoption events,” no one was actually demonstrating one.

    It doesn’t have to be this way. One competing Pet Expo held a few weeks earlier—3,500 miles away—just might be a better model.

    The World Pet Association’s “America’s Family Pet Expo” was held April 15 – 17 in Costa Mesa, California. This year a record number of animals—682— were adopted out at the event. These animals mostly came from southern California rescue organizations. Since 1996, the World Pet Association has helped adopt more than 7,000 pets.

    That’s 7,000 more than all of HSUS’s trade shows combined.

    This is a great example of the difference between people who roll up their sleeves and political organizations (like HSUS) that limit themselves to a birds-eye view of animal issues.

    HSUS talks the talk, but that’s where it seems to end. It’s not just the millions of dollars Wayne Pacelle and company have sunk into their own pension plan. (All that money could be helping pets in shelters at this very moment.) But it’s also the millions it pumps into politics and lobbying every year.

    The Disney-dominated region of Florida has dozens of needy pet shelters. Pacelle calls HSUS “the nation’s leading advocate for animal shelters,” but while he puts his hand out, shelters in Orlando are still waiting for their hand up.

    Better yet, can’t HSUS—with its $192 million in assets—put on this event for free? Or donate all the proceeds to pet shelters? It just might help the group push its shelter-grant total above one percent of its overall budget.

    So why doesn’t HSUS demonstrate some actual “animal care” at next year’s expo. Given the organization’s record, there’s basically nowhere to go but up.

    Posted on 05/11/2011 at 1:26 am by The Team.

    Topics: Humane EducationPets


  • Happy Retirement, Bob!


    An HSUS insider informs us that Robert Roop, the long-time Humane Society of the United States Vice President for Humane Resources—and President of the quasi-official “Humane Society University”—has finally succumbed to "compassion fatigue." He left his post at the end of 2010.

    Indeed, the “University” no longer lists Roop as its president [ see before & after ], and HSUS’s website no longer includes him in its online list of “leaders.”

    We first discussed Roop in the context of wondering how a man whose own Ph.D. came from a diploma mill wound up as President of a degree-granting institution (however unaccredited those “degrees” may be).

    In any event, we’ve updated Roop’s HumaneWatch biography to reflect his retirement. If you’re aware of any other employment changes at HSUS among key personnel—hirings, firings, retirements, resignations, or whatever—please let us know so we can keep HumaneWatch current.

    Good luck in retirement, Bob. And don't spend all your HSUS pension funds in one place. 

    Posted on 01/23/2011 at 11:18 pm by The Team.

    Topics: AnnouncementsHumane Education


  • Back 2 Skewl with Humane Society U.

    UPDATE: For those of you who have asked, it's our understanding that the Humane Society of the United States's "Articles of Incorporation" still forbid the group from operating a private school. (If this has changed, we hope HSUS will let us know.)

    Wayne Pacelle blogged last Thursday about Humane Society University (HSU), HSUS’s “higher education” arm. Although it claims to have been founded in 1999, HSU just awarded its first two graduate certificates last week, following its “one year anniversary.”

    And things get stranger from there.

    The District of Columbia licenses HSU to grant degrees, but HSU warns that its course "credits may not be accepted by other institutions of higher learning—accredited ones, that is. HSU says it’s “seeking” accreditation from one source, but it doesn’t have any at present.

    HSU only began operating in the District of Columbia a few years ago, but HSUS in-house historian Bernard Unti’s curriculum vitae says he was teaching at the institution in 2004. Back then, it “partnered” with Duquesne University in Pittsburgh.

    HSUS’s “Animal Sheltering” website claims the Duquesne partnership still exists. But curiously, HSU’s own website stopped mentioning it in 2007. And at present, Duquesne University doesn’t mention any involvement from HSU (or HSUS) in its longstanding Humane Leadership Major track.

    But no matter. Humane Society University is up and running. And the school's President—long-time HSUS vice president Robert G. Roop—might be the ideal guy to run a quasi-official, kinda-sorta “university” with no legitimate accreditation.

    Why? His own Ph.D came from one.

    Roop received his Human Resource Management doctorate from Bircham International University, a “diploma mill.” His doctoral thesis was a “Strategic plan of the humane society of the U.S.A.”

    This ought to be interesting.

    Bircham International University is based in Spain and Delaware, with offices in the Bahamas, England, Florida, New Zealand, and Taiwan. Only one institution anywhere claims to accredit Bircham’s degrees—a Spanish organization called the Educational Quality Accreditation Commission (EQAC). But EQAC has no more credibility than Bircham itself.

    EQAC sells phony credentials like the “Validation Diploma” and the “Doctor of Excellence.” (Sadly, ”Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure” is not part of the curriculum.) The authoritative Bear’s Guide to Earning Degrees by Distance Learning calls EQAC “the unlocatable and unrecognized accreditor for the nonwonderful Bircham International University.”

    So Bircham, Bob Roop’s alma mater, is not legitimately accredited anywhere. The State of Oregon lists Bircham as an “unaccredited degree supplier” that doesn’t meet state-level standards. Bircham doesn’t show up in the federal Department of Education’s accreditation database either.

    The former head of the FBI’s “DipScam” task force calls Bircham “pure hokum.” Oregon officials call it “totally bogus.” In other words, if you have money, Bircham has a degree. (Similarly, EQAC’s “Doctor of Excellence” degree costs 900 Euros. They take Paypal.)

    Does anyone find this ironic?

    Here’s a video of a Bircham “graduation” ceremony, held in a restaurant. It looks about as prestigious as HSU’s graduation.

    In Texas, Oregon, and at least four other states, it is against the law to use a Bircham degree. The Lone Star State spells it out particularly plainly, listing Bircham under the heading of “Institutions Whose Degrees are Illegal to Use in Texas.”

    Is Roop committing a crime by referring to himself as “Robert Roop, Ph.D.” on HSUS’s websites? Lots of Texans have web browsers. Scroll to the bottom of this web page for the legal language. Roop is apparently committing a Class B Misdemeanor in Texas when he:

    … uses or claims to hold a postsecondary degree that the person knows is a fraudulent or substandard degree [and] uses or claims to hold that degree in a written or oral advertisement or other promotion of a business; or with the intent to …  obtain a promotion, a compensation or other benefit, or an increase in compensation or other benefit, in employment or in the practice of a trade, profession, or occupation.

    It would be one thing if Robert Roop were just an unremarkable HSUS staffer who slipped a degree-for-hire past the goalies in Human Resources. But as HSUS’s Vice President for Human Resources and Education, he was the chief goalie—going back all the way to 1996 when he joined HSUS as its Director of Human Resources.

    And now he’s in charge of HSUS’s expanding “higher education” program. 

    Bircham’s online list of students included Roop in 2001—when he was already an HSUS vice president. (HSUS later touted Roop’s academic credentials for a book he co-wrote in 2006.) So it’s highly likely that HSUS knew his academic credentials came from a diploma mill. How else could he have known enough about HSUS’s operations to craft its “management plan” as his thesis? (The thesis itself would make a fascinating read. Is it available to the public? Does Bircham University have a library?)

    One clarification: This is quite a different thing from someone who was trained in one discipline and then excels at another. Rahm Emanuel, for instance, studied ballet dancing but is now the White House Chief of Staff. He clearly learned on the job. The same thing goes for Wayne Pacelle, whose only academic degree was in philosophy, not animal care or organizational management.

    Pacelle, after all, did graduate from Yale. But Roop is playing a game of a very different kind, presenting puffed-up and worthless academic credentials to establish a genuine reputation for himself and Humane Society University. if HSUS finds this arrangement acceptable, it’s a far more morally compromised institution than even we imagined.

    Got a comment? Be sure to leave your thoughts below. From August 23 to October 29, 2010 we will be choosing the two best comments each week of 25 words or more, and awarding $100 (each) to the local pet shelters of the commenters' choice. Click here for more information and the official rules.

    Posted on 09/20/2010 at 10:21 pm by The Team.

    Topics: Humane EducationThe Best of HumaneWatch


  • UnKIND Kiddie Propaganda

    There's nothing new about animal rights groups targeting children. PETA constantly hands out gory comic books to kids titled “Your Mommy Kills Animals.” (And that's just for starters.) HSUS, with more of a soft-sell marketing style, puts out a little newsletter once each month during the school year called KIND News. This turns up in classrooms all across the country.

    By our estimation, KIND News is a more insidious publication than anything PETA produces. PETA’s “comic books” don’t pass any parental smell-test, but HSUS's version of kiddie propaganda is cleverly set up to seem perfectly innocuous.

    Last month's edition is a great example. The "Jr. Edition" of KIND News for April (distributed to third- and fourth-grade students) includes an article trashing livestock agriculture, in which HSUS tells its young readers to write to their Congressman, the USDA, and the EPA.

    In other words, HSUS is recruiting unwitting kids to lobby for them, without parental consent or notice.

    One school district in Nebraska has e-mailed its teachers, asking them to halt distribution of this HSUS publication. It's about time.

    Here’s what the Director of Curriculum at Lincoln (NE) Public Schools wrote:

    It has been brought to my attention that you may have teachers who are sending home a newsletter called "KIND News" published by The Humane Society of the United States. I believe that teachers may have received a sample of the newsletter and signed up to receive them to send home with their students.

    The Humane Society of the United States is an animal protection organization that is a political lobbying organization. The stances that they take can be controversial and our Controversial Policy would apply if teachers are sending these home with students. The other side of the issue would need to be presented.

    I can see how something that advocates for being kind to animals might not seem controversial. However, the latest edition on farms being factories is controversial and students are encouraged to write to lawmakers and government agencies. When newsletters are sent home from organizations it appears that the Lincoln Public Schools is endorsing these organizations and we cannot do that.

    If teachers are teaching these issues and both sides are presented then there is a difference. If they are just sent home, then I would ask that you make teachers aware that this is a practice that should be stopped.

    We're glad there's at least one school administrator out there who knows what's what. But who knows how far the reach of “KIND News” is. If you see your kids bring it home one day, a couple of phone calls might be in order.

    Interesting side note: You may remember that a few years ago, two PETA employees were arrested in North Carolina for killing puppies and kittens and tossing their bodies in a North Carolina trash dumpster. Guess what showed up in the police evidence photo of the mobile death van? Yep.

    We know that this blog isn't about PETA, but you just can't make this stuff up.

    Maybe the KINDness didn’t quite rub off the right way. Or perhaps in the animal rights world, it's KIND to snuff out adoptable pets.

    Do you suppose HSUS counts all the children who read KIND News among its supposed “11 million” members and constituents? We wonder.

    Posted on 05/05/2010 at 1:05 am by The Team.

    Topics: Animal AgricultureGov't, Lobbying, PoliticsHumane EducationThe Best of HumaneWatch