The Humane Society of the United States held a fundraising benefit last Thursday at the fancy Club Colette in posh Palm Beach. We had been educating residents, via a mailing and a TV ad, that HSUS gives only 1% of its budget to pet shelters, that it gets a “C-minus” grade from the independent watchdog CharityWatch, and that it is in federal court facing a racketeering lawsuit.
We decided it would be best to show up in person to the event, too.
We had packets of information about HSUS pertaining to its alliance with convicted dogfighting kingpin Michael Vick (HSUS’s CEO said Vick “would do a good job as a pet owner”) as well as what other animal advocates have had to say about HSUS. We encouraged people to give to their local humane society or pet shelter, not HSUS.
HSUS was clearly scared. HSUS had at least six staffers outside the event blocking us off from guests who were trying to enter. We still were able to give many guests our material—only for HSUS to literally snatch it out of their hands. (We still got a few, anyway.)
HSUS doesn’t trust people to be able to make decisions for themselves, it seems. HSUS would prefer they just hand over money, not ask any hard questions, and shut up. That’s no way to treat a potential donor—unless you have something to hide.
As one would expect for a Palm Beach venue, the guests drove (or were driven in) Ferraris, Bentleys, Mercedes, and other uber-fancy cars. Ironically for a vegan event, most of these vehicles appeared to have leather seats. And HSUS itself seemed to spare no expense—along with renting out a super-fancy club, we saw one of HSUS’s staffers flying first class on our return flight. (So much for the animals.)
We saw two guests of note. The first was Nanci Alexander, whose foundation has given millions to PETA and the PETA-linked Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. The second was Arthur E. Benjamin, who founded and ran ATI Enterprises for several years, a company that recently shut down after it was sued by the U.S. Justice Department for defrauding the government. The alleged improprieties happened under Benjamin’s watch. There’s more on this fine chap, but we’ll save it perhaps for another day.
These two may already be all-in on HSUS, but HSUS’s actions in taking information away shows it’s not very secure in its position. We certainly won’t be silenced. In fact, we have a new video today cutting through the heart of HSUS’s fundraising. Maybe it’ll be on Palm Beach TV.