Watchdog Report: Humane Society of the United States Shortchanges Hawaii Pet Shelters

article top

Washington, DC – Today, a project of the Center for Consumer Freedom, released its annual 50-state report, “Not Your Local Humane Society,” highlighting the failure of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) to significantly share its multi-million dollar budget with local hands-on pet shelters.

The report once again finds HSUS spends millions on fundraising, lobbying, and advertising, while stiffing pet shelters in Hawaii.


You can see the full report here:

HSUS’s advertisements promote the public misperception that it serves as the national umbrella group for local dog and cat shelters. However,’s new report finds HSUS did not provide grants to any Hawaii shelters and rescues in 2011 to support pet sheltering.

Nationally, HSUS shared less than 1 percent of its $127 million budget with sheltering organizations in 2011. In the same year, HSUS spent nearly $50 million on fundraising-related expenses, which is 100 times more than it did on grants to support shelter aid. HSUS also socked away $2.4 million into its pension plan. “Not Your Local Humane Society” includes an accounting of HSUS grants for the years 2009, 2010, and 2011. The data is drawn directly from the pet rights group’s tax returns.

“The Humane Society of the United States is a ‘humane society’ in name only,” said J. Justin Wilson, CCF Senior Research Analyst. “The vegan group actively misleads Americans into believing it provides significant monetary support to local hands-on shelters, but its financial records tell a very different story. In reality, HSUS sucks millions out of communities that could go to support local pet shelters and rescues that are struggling daily to just keep the doors open.”

An April 2012 poll of over 1,000 self-identified HSUS supporters found that 90 percent of HSUS’s donors were unaware that HSUS gives just 1 percent of its budget to local pet shelters. Additionally, recent public polling by ORC International determined that 71 percent of Americans mistakenly believe that HSUS is a pet shelter umbrella group, and 68 percent wrongly think that HSUS spends most of its money on pet shelters. To combat this donor confusion, a number of shelters going as far as changing their names, distancing themselves from the HSUS.

“With $183 million in assets HSUS can clearly afford to tackle the biggest problems faced by pet shelters, but it appears the organization has other priorities, such as pushing a PETA-like vegan agenda,” continued Wilson. “Diverting valuable funds from American shelters is hardly humane.”

Submitted by  – The Center for Consumer Freedom is a nonprofit coalition supported by restaurants, food companies, and consumers, working together to promote personal responsibility and protect consumer choices.





  1. This is no "watchdog report".

    HumaneWatch is a multi-million dollar smear campaign run by the "Center for Consumer Freedom", an industry front group funded by animal abusing industries — fast food chains, puppy mill supporters, horse slaughterers, seal clubbers, furriers, etc. — to attack the HSUS and other animal protection charities.

    It's a strategy that CCF has used against Mothers Against Drunk Driving (paid for restaurant and bar associations and liquor manufacturers to attack drunk driving penalties), the CDC (where they downplay the dangers of eating mercury contaminated fish on behalf of the seafood industry), and the Center for Science in the Public Interest (downplaying the dangers of obesity on behalf of fast food and cola companies), to name a few.

    The people of HSUS are motivated by their love of animals. The people of HumaneWatch are motivated solely by greed. Nearly every person on HW has a financial motive for supporting them. Some are irresponsible breeders who resent HSUS-led legislation to curb commercial breeding practices. Some are factory farmers who resent HSUS investigations into farm animal abuses, and HSUS-supported legislation like California's Prop 2 that reins in those abuses.

    HumaneWatch lies, and what little facts they do offer are cherry-picked to present the worst possible image. They never tell the whole truth, just the parts they think can be used to discredit HSUS — because that is the reason for the group's existence.

    Get the real facts on Berman's anti-animal schemes at

  2. This pathetic hatchet piece is riddled with misinformation and half-truths. Let's insert a few facts so the unsuspecting reader is fully informed as to the (extremely) questionable source of this robust fiction masquerading as authority:

    FACT: The Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF) does not care about consumers or their freedom.

    The CCF is a front group bought and paid for by corporate entities which have a vested interest in attacking unions, safety regulations and laws (such as drunk driving legislation), groups that advocate for food safety for consumers, and any organization that seeks to create a more humane world for animals.

    (In CCF's world of "personal responsibility" uninsured drunk drivers should have the personal choice to speed through school zones while they snacked on mercury-infused fish sandwiches, washed down with chemical-infused sugary drinks. )

    Any organization, whether they are promoting local food, sustainable farming, improved living conditions for farm animals, or eliminating companion animal abuse, is fair game for the CCF – because the success of such an organization directly threatens the profits of CCF's corporate backers.

    Not surprisingly, an organization that promotes unrestricted corporate greed at the expense of the weak and helpless would have something of a problem garnering public support for their causes.

    Which explains why CCF presents a smoothly smiling face of "protection" under the guise of various innocuous-sounding names. For example, one of their front groups, Humanewatch (cited as the source for the "facts" quoted in the article), has spent a number of years dogging the Humane Society of the United States, in a vain effort to dismantle HSUS and put an end to their life-saving work.

    Furthermore, the CCF, dressed in its sheep's clothing as "Humanewatch", deliberately engages in deceptive advertising and branding to dupe thousands of unsuspecting animal lovers into becomong "supporters" of Humanewatch.

    FACT: The IRS is currently investigating the CCF and its director, Richard Berman, for violating IRS rules for nonprofits. Berman, a notorious Washington D.C. PR hack, runs the firm which sets up the front groups for CCF, and is also a CFF employee.

    It's a pretty sweet deal. On behalf of CCF, Berman reviews the invoices submitted by Berman & Co. to CCF. If Berman decides the invoices are "reasonable", he instructs CCF to pay the invoices.

    In 2010, CCF paid Berman and Co. $1.7 million in compensation for management services, or about two-thirds of its total spending for the year. Meanwhile, the group gave out a whopping $1,700 in grants.

    (SEE: )

  3. Here are a few more facts:

    FACT: The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) makes no secret of its mission as an advocacy organization focused on protection for ALL animals. The organization's mission is clearly stated on their website, and reiterated in their fundraising materials.

    In part, HSUS states on its website: "…We help animals by advocating for better laws to protect animals; conducting campaigns to reform industries; providing animal rescue and emergency response; investigating cases of animal cruelty; and caring for animals through our sanctuaries and wildlife rehabilitation centers, emergency shelters and clinics."

    Nowhere does HSUS claim to operate a municipal animal shelter, in any state or municipality in the United States.

    Furthermore, (a detail left unmentioned by the article's author), the term "humane society" is not trademarked by HSUS (or any other organization). This means that ANY organization can use the term in its name – and many have done so over the years.

    Berman, himself, took advantage of this when he formed his latest front-group to attack HSUS, the deceptively-named Humane Society for Shelter Pets (HSSP).

    Not surprisingly, HSSP is not a society of concerned animal lovers, does not rescue any shelter pets, does not run a single animal shelter or sanctuary,and does not provide operating resources or hands-on help to any animal shelter, rescue, or adoption effort. In short, the "Humane Society" for Shelter Pets does absolutely nothing to help shelter pets.

    In fact, the sole (and poorly-concealed) reason for HSSP's existence is to attack the HSUS.

    (SEE: )

    FACT: The HSUS makes its tax returns and financial statements freely available for download on its website. you don't even have to give an email address. Just click and become fully informed, at your leisure.

    (SEE: )

    FACT: The "public poll" cited in the article above was paid for by CCF. CCF claims the poll's results show HSUS supporters are unaware of how HSUS allocates its annual budget. Yet CCF fails to mention the thousands of HSUS supporters who regularly thank HSUS for its tireless efforts in combating animal abusers. Clearly, many HSUS supporters are not at all confused about the work HSUS does.

    Recent HSUS successes have included work towards humane legislation to combat huge commercial dog breeding operations (aka "puppy mills"), increased criminal penalties for participating in dogfighting activities (including encouraging children to participate), improving living conditions for farm animals, and stopping horse slaughter operations, among others.

    HSUS also regularly supplies organizational resources and personnel for emergency operations when local entities call on them for help. This year HSUS assisted in hands-on animal rescue operations and in an organizational capacity during tornadoes, flooding, and most recently, in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

    I doubt whether Mr. Berman's poll asked the "self-identified HSUS supporters" if they had a problem with HSUS using donation monies to fund any of these efforts, or any of the myriad initiatives HSUS runs to help animals, and the people who care about them.

    (SEE: )

    FACT: J. Justin Wilson, CCF Senior Research Analyst, needs to brush up on his research and analysis skills. HSUS promotes reduced meat consumption as an ethical, healthier, and more sustainable way of eating. Nor is being vegan a condition of employment at HSUS. The staff runs the gamut from omnivore to vegan, and everything in-between.

    Informed supporters of animal welfare find this sort of hysterical shrieking about the "vegan agenda" simply laughable. Keep in mind that the same people making this accusation also like to proclaim that a vegan diet leaves one malnourished and weak. Too weak, one would think, to enact this mysterious, nefarious "agenda"…

    (For more information on the HSUS and the myth of "the vegan agenda, see: )

  4. And a few more:

    FACT: Animal welfare issues have to be addressed on both a local and a national level. Berman and his minions like to present animal welfare support as an "either/or" proposition: to support national animal welfare initiatives means puppies and kittens die in local shelters.

    In fact, HSUS initiatives such as the legislative efforts aimed at unscrupulous breeders and puppy mills, help to save lives, by removing the profit motive for flooding the market with thousands of poorly-bred animals foisted on unsuspecting consumers.

    What happens in animal welfare at the national level affects the pressures faced at the local level. HSUS supporters understand this, and many HSUS supporters donate to HSUS and their local shelters or rescue groups. They are not the gullible hayseeds CCF makes them out to be. CCF's efforts to discredit and defund the work of the HSUS is despicable and devisive.

    Furthermore, while quick to point the finger at HSUS, the fact remains that not one of CCF's front groups benefits animals in any way. Or that CCF does not donate a single dime of its considerable assets to saving the lives of shelter pets – or, indeed, of any animal at all.

    Yet the CCF, while not using ANY of its funding to stop animal suffering and prevent animal cruelty, presumes to present itself as an authority on how the HSUS should best carry out its mission. Even worse, CCF seeks to divide and confuse animal lovers who support efforts for a more humane world for all animals.

    To paraphrase Mr. Wilson, "Diverting valuable funds from saving lives, just to line the pockets of greedy, ruthless, fat-cat corporate executives, is hardly humane."

  5. Does the Hawaii Reporter simply print any astroturfing it receives, without checking into the source?

    HumaneWatch is a notorious front group for industries that exploit and abuse animals. The shameless lobbyist behind HumaneWatch and other scam "watchdog" groups has been exposed on ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS and MSNBC, as well as in the New York Times, USA Today, LA Times and numerous other publications. Perhaps the Hawaii Reporter ought to do some research before publishing grossly misleading propaganda. Particularly given that HumaneWatch's parent organization is currently being investigated by the IRS, according to Bloomberg News:

  6. malia,there is so much chatter from this group or that is my solution.ask all these special interest groups to stop lobbying the gov't. for this or against that etc.the more any group of people seek the favor of the STATE, be careful of the consequences.the more you want the gov't to take "your side' if politicians see an advantage some where else,theywill go where the money flows.or they will pander.

  7. "Nor is being vegan a condition of employment at HSUS. The staff runs the gamut from omnivore to vegan, and everything in-between.

    Informed supporters of animal welfare find this sort of hysterical shrieking about the "vegan agenda" simply laughable. Keep in mind that the same people making this accusation also like to proclaim that a vegan diet leaves one malnourished and weak. Too weak, one would think, to enact this mysterious, nefarious "agenda"…"

    really?/ then why this??
    "The good news, and what is really going to help immensely, is the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) just passed their vegan policy. They are seen as the mothering organization for the SPCAs,
    shelters and animal control agencies. And the fact that they have adopted a vegan policy may just be the major breakthrough to bring others along. All HSUS expos, trainings, conferences will be vegan. It is huge." Kim Sturla, SATYA Nov/Dec 04

    check put the HSUS "recipe page".. see even ONE recipe with meat ( humane or not) , dairy, eggs or poultry and fish.. no and you won't because HSUS is a VEGAN organization that promotes veganism.. Veganism for children can cause illness and even death but the HSUS is more concerned with "baby animals" than real babies..don't be fooled by their posts here.. all of the above posters are shills for the HSUS.. trolls and sock puppets.

    • Take a deep breath, Doug, and inhale a dose of Reality. HSUS has adopted a vegan catering policy for their events:

      "In adhering to our mission to create a humane and sustainable world for all animals, The HSUS has instituted a vegan food policy for HSUS sponsored events,… meaning we will be serving food free of animal ingredients. We hope you enjoy the vegan fare and encourage you to learn more about our efforts to protect farm animals by visiting"

      HSUS staff, as I mentioned, run the gamut from omnivore to vegan. Being vegan is NOT a condition of employment at HSUS.

      HSUS is committed to the protection of animals and eliminating animal abuse. Every day,in this country millions of farm animals are raised for food under cramped, crowded conditions that animal advocates (aka "HSUS supporters") find inhumane, unconscionable, and unsupportable. Among the humane initiatives that HSUS pursues are measures that create more humane alternatives for farm animals being raised for food.

      One aspect of this is that, even animals being raised for food, are entitled to a good life, no matter how short that life is. This includes the right to move about freely, to stretch their limbs freely, to lie down freely, and to interact with others of their species.

      Successfully pursuing these objectives for farm animals means that farmers must either (a) provide more room for each animal they raise, or (b) raise fewer animals.

      Reducing the consumption of meat, lowers the demand to meet the available supply. Now we have a consumer-to-market match.

      So it makes sense for an organization that is encouraging farmers to raise fewer animals (using more space), to also encourage consumers to reduce their demands for animal products. This is not some nefarious vegan plot. It's simply common sense marketing.

      But I'm actually more interested in the little (schizo) tidbit you posted below, and I just want to clarify…

      You are passionately opposed to veganism, yet you're promoting Nathan Winograd – who is a vegan and who sells a vegan cookbook?

      Well played, sir; well played.

  8. "They never tell the whole truth, just the parts they think can be used to discredit HSUS –"'LOL.. so John you are saying that parts of what is published are the truth.. how right you are.. CCF tells the facts.. the HSUS shills try to "shoot the messenger". You know all of us out here who are "seal clubbers".. etc are liars, and animal haters.. LOL try to tell the truth once in a while trolls or is that just too much to ask..
    By the way check out Humane Society for Shelter Pets at notice that NO WHERE does it ask for $$$ or a "donation" or "Just 19 dollars per month" to save the puppies and kitties. What they do do is direct you to your LOCAL shelter where you can give your money, time and supplies and know that the money is not going into someones pension fund but rather to actually help animals find new homes
    Think Globally, Give Locally

    • Humane Society for Shelter Pets is owned, bought, and paid for by CCF and Berman & Co. They do ZERO to help animals, including shelter pets.

      They have plenty of corporate money behind them. They don't need your $19/month. Plus, if they took your money, they'd have to account to you for their empty shell game, instead of admitting that they're a front group for animal abusing industries.

      If people want to look for a local shelter to help, HSUS has links to help you do that:

      Or just go to, where they've been helping people connect with pets for years.

      Give Globally & Give Locally.

  9. readers. do a little fact checking of your own.. call your local "humane society" and ask them how much money they received from the HSUS last help the animals in their care. if they are truthful the answer will be ZERO dollars. meanwhile the HSUS spent over 700K trying to defeat a candidate in Iowa.. yup 700 THOUSAND dollars of donor money for a political campaign.. is that where you thought your money was going? no I did not think so. HSUS hopes you will ignore the truth and continue to send them "19 per month to help the puppies" nothing could be further from the truth.
    Friends Do Not Let Friends Donate to the HSUS

Comments are closed.