HSUS Hypocrisy Evident on Undercover Filming

The Humane Society of the United States, which is not related to local humane societies and only gives 1% of the money it raises to pet shelters, has a problem with working with law enforcement authorities to stop animal cruelty. Or so it seems based on HSUS’s strident opposition to laws this year that would help stop animal cruelty.

These bills would require people who record animal cruelty on a farm to report it to law enforcement authorities within 48 hours. These proposals have come up because HSUS and other animal rights activists have gone undercover to film at farms and yet, in some cases, held on to footage of farm-animal cruelty for weeks or months while preparing media campaigns.

You would think that, as a self-billed “animal protection” group, HSUS would be more than happy to give its footage to authorities who can stop abuse. Yet HSUS dubbed these bills “ag gag”—even though there was nothing stopping HSUS from speaking to the media. The proposed laws simply would have gotten law enforcement involved and probably stopped incidences of animal cruelty faster. (And this is hardly a novel concept—a “duty to report” is already in place for other crimes in some jurisdictions.)

HSUS argued that its investigations would be hampered by having a duty to get law enforcement involved. Yet, at the same time, HSUS brags about its work with law enforcement in other investigations.

Last month, HSUS—along with 15 other animal groups, we might add—helped out in a bust of an alleged interstate dogfighting ring. According to HSUS, the investigation took three years, and HSUS was participating in the case “every step of the way.”

That’s probably a bit of puffery and self-aggrandizement, but it raises the question: If HSUS can work with law enforcement on animal fighting investigations, why can’t it also do so in the instances of rogue farm employees committing animal abuse?

Here’s why: Dogfighting is dogfighting. There’s no “humane” dogfighting. But most farming that goes on is humane—by mainstream veterinary standards. However, HSUS thinks all farming that uses animals is inhumane. And HSUS knows that most Americans are not farmers and are unfamiliar with most livestock practices. So HSUS and other tofu warriors can use the rare instance of farm-animal mistreatment as a media opportunity to tar livestock farming generally—especially if they twist reality, or splice footage in a misleading way.

Unfortunately, those priorities are “bass ackwards.” Imagine if a private citizen didn’t report a serial killer because he wanted to “continue an investigation.” It would be totally irresponsible, as is HSUS’s position here.

HSUS’s claim that a duty to report livestock cruelty would hamper investigations is bogus, as evidenced by its ability to work with law enforcement on other investigations. If you want to stop animal abuse faster, you should get law enforcement involved faster. It’s clear to us that HSUS is putting media and propaganda opportunities ahead of animal welfare. And in doing so, it loses moral authority.

Posted on 09/09/2013 at 4:43 pm by Humane Watch Team.

Topics: Main


  • Beverly Haley

    To my knowledge, the HSUS is not any type of law enforcement, so why would they not put a quicker stop to ANY cruelty that they are aware of…. oh, thats right.. there is money to be made.. to hell with the animal as long as we can put a video out that tugs at the heartstrings and brings in yet more money. They make me sick.

  • Douglas

    They didn’t have any moral authority to begin with. These are people who are happy to associate with people who would poison a dog at a dog show, or steal dogs out of people’s back yards.

  • jb

    This is the same group that wants animals to have the same rights as people so that animals can sue people and corporations. So which is it HSUS? Animals should have the rights of people, or we should allow animals to be mistreated, tortured, and killed inhumanely?

  • stelios

    im sorry for my ignorance but can they take a dog from your yard ? with what excuse ????

    • WORSEKarma

      The H$U$ will tell local law enforcement that you’re “suspected of” something, and get them to help stage a Commando-style raid, or get the blessings of local authorities to do it themselves.

      What Douglas referred to was AR terrorists who break into people’s property and vandalize/steal/turn loose, like ALF, ELF, SHAC, etc. They don’t need any excuse, and since the’re criminals, they don’t care whether they “can’ or not, since they view themselves as being above the law.

  • DC

    The belief business is big money. HSUS is able to sell us the belief that we are helping animals by sitting in a chair writing a check. That makes us feel better about ourselves. The check does not get to many animals, though. Spinning the story by naming the laws a rhyming catchy negative, undercuts support for anti fraud and duty to report laws that actually will help animals…unlike the anti freedom laws HSUS writes, promotes and lobbies for.

  • Alexis Kaiser

    I am just happy to see that who these people are, are coming to light.

  • KA

    Am not a financial supporter of HSUS. Not even of my local one. I support with money and time two groups here in town I believe in. HSUS has tons of money that they use to support themselves.

  • Pat Stallings

    My only problem with having to report abuse footage or other evidence right away is that the abuser could be tipped off and by the time authorities arrived no evidence can be found. People who abuse animals are not above paying off inspectors or anyone else who might be inspecting facilities or animals. There should be a time limit for investigations but 48 hours is not long to make a persuasive case in some incidences.