HSUS–no connection with your local humane society–is the richest animal rights organization in the world, with assets north of $200 million. It doesn’t pitch the animal rights dogma, but works assiduously to attack and undermine animal industries. Sometimes HSUS finds genuine abuses, which should be corrected no matter how they are uncovered, and sometimes its charges are specious. But it seems to me that it’s ultimate goal is not “welfare,” e.g. using animals for human benefit of i humanely, but “rights,” e.g. an eventual end to animal domestication. With its head honcho, Wayne Pacelle, and other HSUS leaders coming out of explicitly animal rights backgrounds, its stated opposition to the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, and its role in putting pregnant pigs into the Florida Constitution, its “animal protection” veneer seems more a tactical approach than an explicit commitment to animal welfare philosophy.
An opinion article in the Des Moines Register provides further evidence to validate my theory. From the column, “It’s not all about saving puppies at the activist Humane Society” by David Mastio:
Humane Society funds People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, according to its most recent IRS disclosure forms posted on the group’s Web site. PETA openly campaigns to stop the consumption of meat. “Meat is Murder,” you know.
And let us not forget PETA’s odious Holocaust on Your Plate campaign that equated meat eating with Nazi death camps. PETA is unequivocally an anti human organization (Ingrid Newkirk stated she wishes humans had never appeared on the planet) that promotes animal rights dogma far and wide. Funding PETA, unless based in ignorance, means one is pro animal rights. Pacelle and his crew are not ignorant. Hence, he and HSUS can only be described as pro animal rights.
The group raises money implying it runs pet shelters by showing abused cats and dogs. But as Mastio shows that this is far less than it seems. HSUS doesn’t own a single pet shelter and gives very little of its budget to fund bonafide shelters. Mastio gives this example from Iowa:
Even the money that gets sent to local animal shelters is dubious. For instance, the largest grant from the Humane Society of the United States in Iowa, disclosed in the latest IRS forms, is $9,044 to a shelter in Fairfield. According to the shelter’s Web site, the money was used to give Humane Society-produced propaganda to grade school teachers for use in classrooms. Among other things it asks children to pressure their schools to use only cage-free eggs and write to their congressional representatives. Turning kids into little lobbyists isn’t direct animal care. Paying a local animal shelter to distribute literature encouraging political activism isn’t supporting the shelter. And that’s the Humane Society of the United States – politics hiding behind precious little actual charity.
And that political advocacy is based on ideology, and that ideology is not animal welfare, but animal rights.