HSUS Closes Wildlife Center, Pours Millions into Banning Bacon

With the Humane Society of the United States recently laying off 55 staffers due to a serious financial shortfall, it’s a time when the organization’s true priorities show. And emerge they have. HSUS, which claims in marketing materials to care for more animals than any other U.S. group (we still doubt this claim) is opting to shut down an animal care center that provides direct care for 2,000 animals a year while continuing to plow money into lobbying campaigns.

HSUS has made a disturbing decision to shut down the Cape Wildlife Center in Barnstable, Massachusetts on November 18th of this year, while at the same time the organization has put over $2 million into a ballot measure that would ban most eggs and pork in Massachusetts. This shutdown may come as a surprise to many of the employees of the Wildlife Center (it appears three have been fired in HSUS’s recent purge of 55 employees).

Michael Markarian, Chief Operating Officer of HSUS, announced the decision to close the facility amidst what he described as a time where HSUS is “balancing economics with strategy.” This new strategy by HSUS seems to include an increase in animal suffering, as many in the area believe the closure will leave a massive void that will overburden nearby wildlife centers —the closest being 43 miles away.

Stephanie Ellis, the executive director of Wild Care, a facility that specializes in smaller animals and birds, suggested that her facility simply does not “have the facilities or space to accommodate the larger species.” Katrina Bergman, executive director of the New England Wildlife Center, added to this dreary picture when she described the closure of the Cape Wildlife Center as a terrible loss for wildlife that will increase animal suffering.

The devastation could be catastrophic for animals in the area as transportation isn’t an effective alternative either as according to Charles Lewis, senior animal control office for the town of Barnstable, “Unfortunately, nine out of 10 times, the animal would likely die en route if we have to go to Weymouth.”

In a fundraising letter—which included free shoelaces—Fund for Animals/HSUS exec Mike Markarian begged for money on the promise to care for animals:

These centers, as well as our Cape Wildlife Center in Massachusetts, which cares for nearly 2,000 imperiled animals each year and trains veterinary students from around the globe, plus all our other life-saving programs, exist thanks to the generosity of animal lovers like you, kind people who make financial contributions so that we can offer sanctuary and rehabilitation to as many animals as possible.

More two-faced fluff has surely never been spoken.

The center only cost $750,000 a year to keep open. HSUS has put $150 million into “investments” in the Caribbean in recent years and has 42 employees who earn six-figure compensation packages.

HSUS could keep this wildlife care center open if it wanted to. But it’s clear that Wayne Pacelle wants to focus on politics and lobbying. Animal care and staff jobs are expendable.





Posted on 10/28/2016 at 10:39 am by HumaneWatch Team.

Topics: Fundraising & MoneyGov't, Lobbying, PoliticsWildlife


  • Zazu22

    That’s the end of my support. This is disgusting.

  • Michael G Chapman

    Talking about misplaced priorities. Over the years, I have been a big supporter of HSUS, but for the past year or so,I no longer support them. This is just the kind of stupidity that makes me nto want to support them.

  • Karen Cooksey

    Mr. Pacelle, you have forgotten your priorities. Don’t think you’ll see any $$ coming from my direction until you fix this. You are doing a grave disservice to those who trust you to advocate & protect the vulnerable & homeless!

  • MisterCadet

    I couldn’t agree more with all the comments posted so far regarding this evil and indefensible decision. The Cape Wildlife Center was established before Wayne Pacelle took over as CEO. Pacelle has destroyed everything he has touched since 2004. His business strategy of “mergers” with other animal groups were never about greater efficiency and effectiveness. They were about consolidating power and monopolizing the animal welfare/rights field with Pacelle as the leader and spokesMAN for the entire humane movement. HSUS betrayed, hurt, and angered the founders of AVAR (Association of Veterinarians for Animal Rights, which merged with HSUS) by partnering with the United Egg Producers on the “Rotten Egg Bill.” HSUS wasted 2 years and $10 million on that failure. Wayne wrecked whatever was good about The Doris Day Animal League (Spay Day, which HSUS uses to take credit and money for pet sterilizations that HSUS neither performs nor funds) and the Fund for Animals (direct care work). Fund for Animals founder Cleveland Amory grew to loathe Wayne Pacelle for his opportunism and ego-driven bad decisions. HSUS took over the Remote Access Veterinary Services program, used it as a cash cow, and then politicized it, leading the RAVS founder to leave and return to running the program in a university setting. Pacelle took over the Genesis Awards program, which was classy and celebrated worthy journalism, and turned it into a fundraiser for HSUS that now attracts D list celebs.

    HSUS will sell the land housing the Wildlife Center for $1.3 million – land that was donated to HSUS to save wildlife. How can an organization that still begs low income people for money (and then preys on the ones that donate) plead poverty while stashing $150 million in Caribbean hedge funds since 2012? It’s not that donations are down, it’s that spending is out of control! Is the current situation at HSUS any different than thuggish CEO’s blowing tens of millions a year on cocaine, fancy cars, travel, gambling, and $6000 shower curtains?

    Spending millions on a worthless ballot initiative in Massachusetts while closing a grade A direct care program in Massachusetts is a travesty and a tragedy. For a good summary of the Ballot Initiative, a must read is: “When Size Ultimately Doesn’t Matter: Cages” by Emilia Leese on ecorazzi.com.(October 24, 2016). Leese is an vegan. HSUS has responded to critics here on Humane Watch and in the wildlife rescue and rehab communities in Massachusetts by…blaming Humane Watch. When that didn’t work, the no-hit wonders commenting on HW FB argue that HSUS has done more for farm animals than any other organization and that lobbying for legislation is more important than direct care (code for women’s work).

    Where is the HSUS Board of Directors in all of this? The Board is supposed to approve structural changes like this. The President of the HSUS Board is Eric Bernthal. A very wealthy lawyer.

  • Su Neuhauser

    I appreciate the lobbying that HSUS does, but six figure salaries etc are going to their heads. Wildlife are ALWAYS the lowest priority…low cost- benefits etc…we must tell louder!!!

  • Bill

    Never donate to HSUS!