We know a good deal about HSUS's past, including its early support for legal "rights" for animals, its founding by a communist organizer, and its alliance with some players in the environmental movement. But there's apparently no end to what we have yet to discover.
Thankfully, someone connected to HSUS has shared some older documents with us. Among them are a set of HSUS’s IRS tax filings from 1980 to 1986 (we had never seen them before), along with the 1983-1986 IRS returns of an HSUS front group called the "National Humane Education Center" (NHEC).
These documents are now posted in the ever-expanding HumaneWatch Document Library.
A few things in these tax returns caught my attention. Obviously, 30 years ago HSUS—and its web of "affiliates"—was considerably smaller than the $100 million juggernaut it is today. But the types of groups that HSUS was financially supporting back then tell a fascinating story. The list includes the National Anti-Vivisection Society (which wants to ban all medical research on animals, even the life-saving variety), the “Society for Animal Rights,” and the “Animal Rights Network.”
Pet shelters? Yeah, HSUS neglected them in the 1980s too.
Together, we can build an honest history of HSUS, brick by brick (or document by document), for the general public to see. And we can do it without HSUS-funded spin. (Hear that, Bernard Unti?) As always, feel free to share any HSUS-related paperwork you come across via the HumaneWatch Anonymous Dropbox or via e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org).
We're grateful to the person who shared these with us, but we won't be sharing the person's identity. The treasure trove of documents that s/he shared is quite extensive, though, so you may consider these few tax returns to be the tip of a heavy, musty, library-smelling iceberg.