13 Things You Didn’t Know About HSUS

MrWhiskers1) HSUS scams Americans out of millions of dollars through manipulative and deceptive advertising. An analysis of HSUS’s TV fundraising appeals that ran between January 2009 and September 2011 determined that more than 85 percent of the animals shown were cats and dogs. However, HSUS doesn’t run a single pet shelter and only gives 1 percent of the money it raises to pet shelters, and it has spent millions on anti-farming and anti-hunting political campaigns.

2) Six Members of Congress have called for a federal investigation of HSUSIn April 2011, six Congressmen wrote the IRS Inspector General showing concerns over HSUS’s attempts to influence public policy, which they believe has “brought into question [HSUS’s] tax-exempt 501(c)(3) status.”

3) HSUS’s own donors feel deceived. A 2012 poll of over 1,000 self-identified HSUS donors found that 80 percent of HSUS’s own donors think the group “misleads people into thinking that it supports local humane societies and pet shelters.” A second poll, conducted last year, found that 84% of donors think “HSUS misleads people into thinking that it supports local humane societies and pet shelters.”

4) HSUS receives poor charity-evaluation marks. CharityWatch (formerly the American Institute of Philanthropy) has issued several “D” ratings for HSUS in recent years over the group’s wasteful spending practices. CharityWatch , finding that HSUS spends as little as 50 percent of its budget on its programs. CharityWatch now gives HSUS a “C-minus” grade for being slightly less wasteful. Additionally, the 2013 Animal People News Watchdog Report discovered that HSUS spends 55 percent of its budget on overhead costs.

5) HSUS regularly contributes more to its own pension plan than it does to pet shelters. An analysis of HSUS’s tax returns determined that HSUS funneled $16.3 million to its executive pension plan between 1998 and 2009—over $1 million more than HSUS gave to pet shelters during that period.

6) The pet sheltering community believes HSUS misleads Americans. According to a nationally representative poll of 400 animal shelters, rescues, and animal control agencies, 71 percent agree thatHSUS misleads people into thinking it is associated with local animal shelters.” Additionally, 79 percent agree that HSUS is “a good source of confusion for a lot of our donors.”

7) While it raises money with pictures of cats and dogs, HSUS has an anti-meat vegan agenda. Speaking to an animal rights conference in 2006, HSUS’s then vice president for farm animal issues stated that HSUS’s goal is to “get rid of the entire [animal agriculture] industry” and that “we don’t want any of these animals to be raised and killed [for food].”

8) Given the massive size of its budget, HSUS does relatively little hands-on care for animals. While HSUS claims it “saves” more animals than any other animal protection group in the US, most of the “care” HSUS provides is in the form of spay-neuter assistance.  In fact, local groups that operate on considerably slimmer budgets, such as the Houston SPCA, provide direct care to more animals than HSUS does.

9) HSUS’s CEO has said that convicted dogfighting kingpin Michael Vick “would do a good job as a pet owner.” Following Vick’s release from prison, HSUS has helped “rehabilitate” Michael Vick’s public image. Of course, a $50,000 “grant” from the Philadelphia Eagles didn’t hurt.

10) HSUS’s senior management includes a former spokesman for the Animal Liberation Front (ALF), a criminal group designated as “terrorists” by the FBI. HSUS president Wayne Pacelle hired John “J.P.” Goodwin in 1997, the same year Goodwin described himself as “spokesperson for the ALF” while he fielded media calls in the wake of an ALF arson attack at a California meat processing plant. In 1997, when asked by reporters for a reaction to an ALF arson fire at a farmer’s feed co-op in Utah (which nearly killed a family sleeping on the premises), Goodwin replied, “We’re ecstatic.”

11) HSUS’s senior management includes others who have voiced support for terroristic acts. HSUS chief policy officer Mike Markarian has written that “A perfect example of effective rebellion is an Animal Liberation Front raid on a laboratory.” HSUS food policy director Matt Prescott, meanwhile, has written that “I also believe in the actions of the ALF and other such groups.” (Prescott is a former PETA activist.)

12) HSUS is being sued under federal racketeering law. Feld Entertainment sued HSUS and two of its in-house lawyers under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act for allegedly participating in a scheme to pay a witness who lied in court. Court documents indicate that HSUS sent at least four payments to one of the witness-paying vehicles in the alleged scheme.

13) CharityWatch found that HSUS violated IRS rules for three years. The watchdog group pointed out in its Fall 2013 issue that HSUS had improperly inflated its revenue. HSUS has since revised its revenue figures.

Posted on 03/28/2014 at 3:21 pm by Humane Watch Team.

Topics: MainThe Best of HumaneWatch


  • BorisBulldog

    You think they’re bad you should check out the scam going on at Wounded Warrior!

    • WORSEKarma

      Wounded Warrior is the H$U$ of veteran’s assistance “charities”.

      • MM237

        I think theyre better than you want to think. But they should help vets from all wars.

  • Lola Montez

    Thank you for bringing this important message to the public! HSUS is a sham organization. They do nothing to help local shelters and rescues.

    Sadly I have relatives who donate generously to them, PRECISELY because of the “sad doggy” commercials that they run, and those relatives really think they are helping dogs. If they knew they were supporting a criminal, anti-meat PETA type of group, they would be horrified.

    • Qhaveat Pharaohs

      Show your relatives this piece and then they’ll know the truth 😉

  • sam


  • Karen Baynes


    • MisterCadet

      HSUS may fight for anti-cruelty laws, but HSUS spends tens of millions of dollars a year lobbying for said laws, which is ILLEGAL for a tax-exempt CHARITY. HSUS cooks the books to hide the lobbying, but it is easy to dissect the phony numbers with a cursory reading of it’s 990’s.
      The Humane Society Legislative Fund was created a decade ago, supposedly as the lobbying arm of HSUS, or as Pacelle modestly called it, “the lobbying arm of the animal welfare movement.” Michael Markarian stated that HSLF would soon spend at least $15 million a year on lobbying. That never happened – just look at the HSLF’s tax returns for proof. The HSLF is just a front so people like you can point to it as proof that HSUS is on the up-and-up.
      I am a proud, long-time supporter of the most effective and ethical farm animal advocacy group in the U.S. – the Humane Farming Association. HFA operates the largest farm animal sanctuary in the country. HSUS operates none, and it’s “corporate combo” affiliate, the Fund for Animals, does not have a farm animal sanctuary either. The Fund has other sanctuaries that it raises money for and spends (some of that) money for (food, buildings, repairs, etc). HSUS is really double dipping, since it’s tax returns reveal no funding for their affiliates’ sanctuaries. That may even be illegal, like many other HSUS practices.
      The Humane Farming Association has 250,000 members and is highly rated by all of the charity watchdogs. HFA uses zero professional fundraisers, and it’s members renew year after year. HSUS spends tens of millions on sleazy fundraisers that send sweatshop-manufactured “free” dreck every month to guilt people into giving. A huge number of these victims do not renew, just as overworked cows end up spent after being exploited and breeder dogs get sick after living in puppy mills. If you believe the HSUS’s claims of 11 million members, check page 2 of their tax returns. You’ll be in for a shock.
      Most importantly, read what The Humane Farming Association and MANY other farm animal groups think of HSUS’s farm animal legislation – especially the sleazy deal Pacelle made with Chad Gregory of the United Egg Producers. It’s called the “Rotten Egg Bill” for a reason and it was defeated in large part because of effective campaigns against it by the legitimate animal rights community. Even PETA opposed it. HSUS wasted millions of dollars on it (HSUS, not HSLF). If you want to throw your money into enhancing Pacelle’s political career and celebrity, it’s your (poor) choice.
      I receive solicitations from the Humane Farming’s ACTION FUND when the group is lobbying for and against federal, state, and local laws. My money is well spent. HFA respects the IRS rules by separating it’s lobbying from it’s charity work. It is clearly stated that donations to their 501(c)(4) are not tax deductible and that is why it is more difficult to raise money for legislative advocacy. Despite this, HFA and HFAF are thriving, because they deserve to be. HFA wasn’t built on lies. HSUS was and is.
      Any questions? I’ll be happy to reply.

    • MNM59

      You are One of the reasons why I will fight you every step of the way….
      What type of Shoes do you wear….what about a belt???
      If you EVER wear ANYTHING out of fur or leather you are a frigging idiot….Someone had to kill an Animal for your leather…

      Do you use a purse….better Not be a LEATHER one!!!!!

      If your not COMPLETELY VEGAN then you are a HIPPOCRIT. ..
      Because….IT’S ALL ANIMAL ASSOCIATED otherwise….

      Get a grip honey….oops….you can’t even have honey…..that’s a byproduct of an animal/insect….A bee!!!


    • Jennifer Morris

      Geez she must love giving her money away!

    • Shaden17

      you just helped buy a new yacht for their CEO. You really are stupid if you want to donate donate to your loccal shelter. most of the money will be used for it’s intended purposes. You don’t see many local shelter workers with a new anything do you?

  • Howard Houston

    Karen, you need to investigate the lies that HSUS puts out. I to use to think they were working on behalf of animals but that is not the case. They want all domestic animals to become extinct and recommend euthanasia of healthy animals and new born puppies and kittens. They want to control our food supply so they can profit from this control not to enhance the lives of animals. For example they push against gestation pens that prevent the mother pig from crushing her babies which if you ever lived or worked on a farm you would know that every morning before gestation crates farmers would have to pick up and bury the crushed piglets. Everyone thinks pigs are so smart but they make no effort like dogs or cats to see to it that their babies are out of the way before lying down in a pen. I have seen them purposely lie on their babies even though they have plenty of other spaces in which to lie before the introduction of the gestation pen. Even with the piglets screaming under their mother’s bodies these sows do nothing to get up and you have to force them to stand in order to release their babies. HSUS knows this and yet they have through lies and propaganda vilified the use of the pens which prevent the deaths of nearly 65 percent of the litter produced by each sow. I worked with the HSUS before I knew better and they left caged pets on the dock and flew off once they got their videos for raising money. If the local volunteers had not fed or watered and taken care the HSUS who made no effort to see to that care when there and left them for dead afterwards showed me what these people are really like. As for humans becoming strict no meat vegans that is beyond stupid. All species eat another species to survive and the human brain requires ACTIVE VB12 to regenerate the cells and to think rationally. Without active VB12 you will in a few years lose your ability to think rationally. Plants only have Inactive VB12 which prevents ACTIVE VB12 from doing its job. So far 30 children in the UK and the US have died from malnutrition following their parents enforced strict vegan diet. These people are radicals and a danger to all our children as they buy their influence in congress and locally. HSUS has 350 million dollars of which they spend less than 1% on the direct care of any animal. Instead they harass elderly women and injured veterans who raise pets to keep from living in poverty. To get their laws passed they run a scam of harassing these people who take care of their animals and get them raided and in the news. While nearly 89% of these people who have been falsely charged get their charges dropped in court or win their cases. HSUS knows this so they started including in these laws that the unknowing push for thinking they are helping animals the right to take the public’s pets and animals to sell or kill before these people have even had their day in court. ITS time we stopped these nazis. Remember your money is not being used to help animals its being used to up your food prices, and push all domestic animals toward extinction. PeTA kills 98% of all animals that come into their care. They pretended to veterans returning to duty that they would care for their animals until they returned or find them new homes. Instead these evil doers killed every single pet before they even left the home of the veterans they were caught dumping these dead pets in dumpsters behind a shopping mall. They were caught and tried in court for illegal dumping of dead animals. These are real experiences with PeTA and HSUS not just reading the propaganda they put on the internet. You are paying them to kill and take away the rights of the public to own a pet. You should be ashamed of your self. But you have fallen into the hands of a cult and scam charity organization.

  • Howard Houston

    I use to think HSUS was working on behalf of animals but that is not the case. They want to end all use of domestic animals as pets. They want a vegan only society. All species eat another species to survive and the human brain requires ACTIVE VB12 to regenerate your brain cells and without ACTIVE VB12 your brain cannot think rationally. Plants only have Inactive VB12 which prevents ACTIVE VB12 from doing its job. Remember HSUS is not a government entity and as a charity it is illegal for them to lobby your representatives.

    • Charities can lobby, it just has to be very limited.

    • Nick

      B12 is a product of bacteria in the soil. You’re awfully fervent for someone who has absolutely no idea what they’re talking about.

  • WORSEKarma

    You two little Tools Do realize that the H$U$ spends NO MONEY ON ACTUAL ANIMALS, right? Oh, and Carol, winkiepoopyums? The so-called “Ag-Gag” law made it illegal for AR Jihadists to WITHHOLD INFORMATION FROM LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICIALS. Maybe you should actually read it, rather than taking the word of psychotic religious fanatics who want to outlaw all human/animal contact and commit mass genocide on all domestic animals.

  • MNM59

    Read my reply above to Karen…

  • Andrew L

    I’m a long time HSUS supporter, and I came to this site looking for a reasonable argument and alternative viewpoint, but I have to say that the comments on here are so emotional and unfounded that’s it hard to feel like that can actually happen here. What I’m gathering from this article is that we should be appalled that the HSUS has programs for farm animals and wildlife instead of just pet shelters. The HSUS doesn’t run pet shelters but has campaigns to end puppy mills and support adoption services. I don’t think they claim to directly run any animal shelters. There are local shelters that are associated with the Humane Society but are not run directly under them. Meanwhile, the other initiatives, such as their support of California’s Prop 2, are important steps towards humane food production. I don’t know why such a great cause is something at which I should get upset?
    As far as the claim that the HSUS has a vegan agenda, I can say that that’s simply not true. PETA does have this mission, but in the number of HSUS events I’ve attended, I can tell you that a large part of their constituency are meat eaters, and even hunters, who believe in the humane treatment of animals when it comes to farming or hunting.
    Finally, recent reports show somewhere in the 80% range of their budget going towards their causes.
    If you think I’m misinformed here, tell me. However, I’ll ask that you not resort to calling me names, and that you cite any information you’re going to give me. I’m open to changing my mind–in fact, if they are not a worthy organization, I urge you to change my mind. But any illogical, uncited, or insulting replies will lead me to the conclusion that most of the claims here are baseless.

    • The 80% statistic is misleading. There’s an accounting practice that allows charities to classify fundraising costs as “program spending” (i.e. spending towards their causes). Basically it allows charities to count millions of dollars in direct mail costs as “educational” program spending. In HSUS’s case, the watchdog CharityWatch calculates that, once you take out accounting tricks, HSUS’s program spending is as low as 55% of its budget. That’s a whole quarter of HSUS’s budget. More info: http://charitywatch.org/articles/tricks_of_charity_trade.html

      As to the vegan claim, HSUS has a official vegan policy for events and its key leadership is vegan. A VP said that “We don’t want any of these animals to be raised and killed” for food and that “a number of organizations including the Humane Society of the United States, we work on promoting veganism.” HSUS’s food policy director used to work for PETA and has compared farms to Nazi concentration camps. That’s not the kind of person you have run your food policy department if you’re a moderate group.

      More info/evidence:


      • Andrew L

        Thanks, that’s an interesting loophole you give there for the accounting. It seems like this is indicative of a lack of transparency across the entire non-profit sector.
        It’s true that the events are vegan, which makes sense because it would feel a little odd to serve meat at an animal welfare event. And I don’t doubt that most of its leadership is vegan. I’m just not sure that it’s a key objective for them, although they certainly encourage it, as Park says in that quote. I recognize that the Nazism quote is not reflective of a moderate stance, which is typical of someone who used to work for PETA, but I’m still not sure that the Humane Society is looking to force the country into a vegan lifestyle. If I’m reading correctly, he was with PETA when he made that statement. I’m not sure it’s fair to quote him representing PETA and then generalize that this is an HSUS stance. HSUS discusses its stance on eating here: http://www.humanesociety.org/issues/eating/
        That’s a stance I can get behind, but if someone disagrees, then sure, this isn’t the organization for you.
        Thanks for your info.

      • themoog

        I don’t want to sound insulting, but do you have any credible sources besides yourself to cite? I’m currently looking for more information about HSUS, but I can’t really find that much out here.

  • blackorwhite

    wow! thank you very much for this information!!!! I had NO idea!!! Keep up the good work!

  • Jennifer Morris

    Thank god someone gets it!

  • Jennifer Morris

    The only place for HSUS is in Jail!

  • Jennifer Morris

    Why don’t you start a farm? You seem to know a lot about farming?