It's Real Simple: HSUS is a Scam

We received word recently—from many sources, thanks to all who wrote us—that Real Simple magazine listed the Humane Society of the United States as a charity worthy of donations in its most recent issue. In the blurb, Real Simple claims that HSUS’s mission is to “care for animals and protect them from cruelty” and that a “$100 donation provides an abused cat or dog with medical care and shelter while it awaits adoption.” (Click here to view the blurb.)

This is, at best, a recklessly misleading picture of what HSUS does. Given that the American Institute of Philanthropy calculates that up to 50 percent of HSUS’s budget is overhead, half of that $100 donation would go towards unscrupulous and deceptive factory-fundraising practices or to things like HSUS’s pension plan.

How could Real Simple be so simply mistaken? A subscriber reached out to Real Simple and asked where the magazine got its information from and passed along the reply. Real Simple said: “all the specific information about the charity was researched and fact-checked directly with the charity.” (Emphasis added.)

So did HSUS mislead Real Simple? Based on that reply, it would seem so.

HSUS doesn’t run a single pet shelter. HSUS is not affiliated with any pet shelters. And HSUS gives just 1 percent of the money it raises to pet shelters. Yet somehow Real Simple – after its fact-check – was left with the impression that donations go to help care for pets and adopt them out.

Moreover, while HSUS says its program spending is about 80% percent of its budget, that’s a bunch of baloney. That figure includes millions of dollars of fundraising expenses classified as “program” spending. This is legal, but grossly misleading to donors. People don’t want to fund doodads and direct mail campaigns. While Charity Navigator and the BBB gloss over this inconvenient accounting truth, other independent watchdogs don’t.

Along with the American Institute of Philanthropy calculating that up to 50 percent of HSUS’s is overhead—which earns HSUS a “D” grade, by the way—the animal rights watchdog Animal People puts HSUS’s overhead spending at 46 percent of its budget. Whether it’s 46 or 50 percent, that’s a far cry from 20 percent.

And the money that HSUS does spend on programs often goes to push a PETA-like animal rights agenda. Let’s not forget that HSUS’s Food Policy Director has compared livestock farmers to Nazis.

Real Simple has been duped. But they’re not alone—many HSUS donors have been duped, and a number have filed complaints with the Federal Trade Commission about HSUS.

Contact the editors of Real Simple and let them know—politely—how you feel about their thumbs-up for HSUS and why they should reconsider. You can fill out a form here or email [email protected].

There’s one place Real Simple should be advising animal lovers to give this holiday season: Their local pet shelters. Those groups could use the money a lot more than HSUS.

Posted on 11/16/2012 at 10:55 pm by HumaneWatch Team.

Topics: Fundraising & Money


  • ricotorpe

    Thank you for keeping the spotlight on these cockroaches.

  • Sandy

    This is such sad news, that people would not use this money for animals people
    with big hearts want to help, shame on you HSUS

  • dennisg40

    In a country like the United States it allows such a scummy bunch of people to operate when they should be in jail. JMO.

  • Bob Cummings

    I suspected they were a scam after watching their tear jerking tv ads, I have never seen one of their trucks anywhere never seen anyone wearing their t shirts never sen any of their shelters anywhere I wouldnt piss on them if they were on fire

  • Quimper

    People who are emotionally driven are the easiest targets. Animal lovers are very very easy targets. Not all, but most think with their hearts only.

  • George McBride

    PETA is another scam also. 99% of animals given to them are murdered. Some immediately
    in their pick up vans. NEVER give money or animals to these scum. Support your local
    rescue groups.