Why Didn’t HSUS Stop This Rhino Hunt?

200329011-001The Humane Society of the United States has been indignantly complaining in the media recently about an auction that occurred on Saturday. The Dallas Safari Club auctioned off a permit to hunt a black rhino, an endangered species, in Namibia for $350,000.

Sound troubling? At first glance, probably. But consider the situation:

  • A few rhinos a year are shot by the government of Namibia as a part of population management;
  • The rhino will be older and not capable of breeding;
  • Older, non-breeding rhinos can harm younger, breeding rhinos;
  • The money raised is going towards anti-poaching efforts (poaching is a major threat to the rhinos).

Given these facts, we think most reasonable people would find the auction practical. Yet HSUS has maintained strident opposition to the auction, and the auction has even spawned death threats from the animal rights fringe.

HSUS, like PETA, is ideologically against hunting, and some moderate people might still be uneasy about shooting an endangered animal. So there seems to have been an easy option: HSUS could have outbid everyone and chosen not to shoot the animal. Not only would HSUS have spared an endangered rhino, it would have given over $350,000 to anti-poaching efforts.

That just makes too much sense, though. It’s far easier—and cheaper—for HSUS to complain and get quoted in the press. In fact, the record shows that HSUS, with $200 million in assets and a $120 million yearly budget, apparently isn’t doing much to help rhinos at all.

According to HSUS’s 2011 tax return, it only made $39,000 in grants to sub-Saharan Africa. None of that money appears to have helped rhinos. In 2012, HSUS only made $40,000 in grants to sub-Saharan Africa. Again, none of this money appears to have gone to help rhinos.

HSUS spends about $50 million a year on fundraising costs alone—if it could spare more for rhinos, we might take its cries more seriously. Instead, its priorities are clear: Make noise, create conflict, and then move on to another issue while raking in the dollars.

The way it stands, $350,000 was just raised for anti-poaching efforts that will help an endangered species. It’s a net gain for a situation in which the animal was going to be taken already. And it’s yet another case where HSUS has crocodile tears, but no practical solutions.

Posted on 01/13/2014 at 1:51 pm by Humane Watch Team.

Topics: Main


  • Guest

    HSUS is a scam.

  • MisterCadet

    This reminds me of HSUS’s obsession with ending horse slaughter, while doing nothing to help mitigate the unintended consequences of the bans they push. Their charter specifically mentions “the immediate relief of suffering,” not years and years of lobbying and litigation.

    In 2007, HSUS succeeded in helping to close the two remaining horse slaughter plants in the U.S. Pacelle boasted that they were close to the finish line in winning a complete ban, but their legislation failed to pass both houses of Congress. In 2011, the Obama administration did not renew the suspension of funds for USDA inspection of horse slaughter plants. Now HSUS is suing and lobbying to prevent new ones from operating. Even if they succeed, they are essentially back to the drawing board and their odds of abolishing the transport of horses to Mexico and Canada are slim to none.

    Countless millions of dollars have been spent on these failed efforts, as well as horse slaughter themed fundraising. HSUS and it’s sleazy direct mail and telefundraising companies have made a fortune off the issue. That money could have funded humane euthanasia for tens of thousands of horses since the 2007 suspension. The cost ($250 a horse) is out of reach for horse owners in this economy. Those millions could have been shared with overwhelmed sanctuaries. So many have closed, while others have had to formally apply to HSUS for measly $5,000 grants.

    If HSUS’s leadership cared about the immediate suffering of horses, they could have alleviated enough of the misery to actually improve the odds of banning slaughter. The major argument of the opposition (which includes Temple Grandin) is that there is not enough money to care for and/or humanely euthanize the $100,000+ horses who have endured far worse cruelty in Mexico and Canada ever since the 2007 closings. HSUS argues that they are not a grant making organization and are addressing the root causes of horse abandonment and overpopulation through legislation. In doing so, Pacelle has been brazenly and grossly violating IRS regulations for lobbying by tax-exempt charities. All he cares about is political theater, pontificating, moralizing, demonizing, begging for money, and hogging the media. He has no problem giving false numbers to the media and legislators and his arguments are self-serving and hypocritical.

    Wayne Pacelle doesn’t love horses or think they are cute. HSUS is a morally bankrupt organization that has done far more harm than good on this and so many other issues.

    • Laura Curry Loding

      What is sad.. Horse meat is a good quality low fat meat that could go to help feed the hungry. But no…. HSUS would not want these animals to suffer so instead they are most likely shot and buried.

      • Katrina

        Horses in the US, because they are not raised specifically raised for human consumption, are often given medications that never clear their systems which are dangerous and carcinogenic to humans. Never the less, these horses are often shipped, with fabricated health certificates, to Canada and Mexico, slaughtered there, and exported. So no, they are neither routinely shot and buried, and they are not a source of good quality meat.

      • healthclubshawaii

        Horse meat is not for human consumption! Give me a break! Anyone who could eat a horse could just as easily eat a human in my opinion. Same difference to me!

      • Nancy Arnwine

        you can’t take horses that have been slaughtered and eat them unless they were raised with the intention of being used for food. most horses that have belonged to individuals or used for racing have been exposed to drugs that are not allowed to be used on food animals. a lot of these horses are old & sick, would you want to eat meat from them? i wouldn’t. But the HSUS puts their 2 cents worth in and had the slaughter houses shut down. Now we have lots of animals that are just being left to die out in their pastures because it’s too expensive for people to euthanize and disposed of them, which to me, seems like a much worse fate for the horses. So, all things considered, was this a better solution? I would much rather see the slaughterhouses re-opened and monitored to make sure that the animals are being killed as humanely as possible rather than having them die out in a pasture of starvation or exposure or sent out of this country to slaughter in Mexico where they are anything but humane. The HSUS is just another big business making money under the guise of helping animals. They only do just enough to make them look good.

  • njcatlover

    Wouldn’t be great if Pacelle, being opposed to this
    hunt – the proceeds of which will be donated to rhino conservation – would offer
    to instead donate an equal sum from HSUS’s massive coffers to the conservation

  • gma14

    Ever hear of Agenda 21?? HSUS goes right along with that travesty!! Rule the world at the expense of others and it doesn’t matter who gets hurt they still get the almighty dollar.