LETTER: Humane Society is not being honest with its donors



It’s mind-boggling for HSUS CEO Wayne Pacelle to dismiss the 150-plus complaints that have been filed with the Federal Trade Commission against his group. Dozens have come from people who have given money to HSUS.

For Pacelle to act like it’s all part of a disingenuous ploy is indicative of his arrogance and disregard for his own donors. (Humane Society’s mission is to help all animals, Feb. 28)

If anybody is playing games, it’s Wayne Pacelle and HSUS. They claim to represent an 11-million-strong “constituency,” yet HSUS’s actual membership (by its own admission) is just 10 percent of that figure.

Pacelle hides behind Charity Navigator’s 4-star rating of HSUS, but that website performs scant analysis. A more thorough review by the American Institute of Philanthropy finds that HSUS has high fundraising costs (up to 49 cents to raise every dollar) and poor spending on programs (as little as 49 percent of its budget). Overall, HSUS earns a “D” grade from AIP.

I haven’t seen any rebuttal from HSUS to AIP — probably because HSUS has nothing. It’s much better at mudslinging than arguing on the merits.

Further, Charity Navigator doesn’t even address advertising content — so the fact that Pacelle would attempt to use the Charity Navigator rating as a rebuttal to the FTC complaints (which revolve around misleading advertising) is yet more flim-flam in his attempt to pull the wool over readers’ eyes.

But he can’t fool all of the people all of time — which is one reason six Congressmen recently called for a federal investigation of HSUS.

More and more Americans are learning the sordid truth about HSUS and its agenda to end animal agriculture. Join them at HumaneWatch.org, and help turn this animal-rights attack dog into a paper tiger.

Rick Berman

Executive Director, Center for Consumer Freedom

Washington, D.C.

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  1. Thanks for keeping the pressure on the HSUS and their misleading fund raising tactics. I have followed this group with disgust for years.

  2. More and more Americans are learning the sordid truth about Mr. Berman’s pathetic corporate propaganda.

    • Terry Ward– open up your mind– and LEARN!!! Whose puppet are you?

      The OTHER “Terry” — the one with a functioning intelligence and open eyes…

    • Terry Ward- Does it REALLY matter WHERE the truth comes from? The TRUTH is in the H$U$’s own IRS forms, which, as a 501c3 non-profit, they are required to make available to the public upon request. HOW is it Mr. Berman’s fault that H$U$ only spends 0.47% of their income on REAL, in-need animals, but instead spend almost 50% of their $100+ million in fund raising?

  3. Thank you Humanewatch and Mr. Berman for the work you do. I am tired of the HSUS being sited as “experts” on animals both in agriculture and wildlife. We need to stop legitimizing the HSUS and helping them to make their millions, and promote their radical animal rights agenda.

  4. You are sounding very much like Fred Phelps…
    Anonymous, by the way, is a credible source of nothing.

    • “Anonymous” is the SMART way to avoid stalkers and psychos who cannot tolerate ANY view point but their own. The federal and state documents are the credible source, should anyone seeking the TRUTH actually care to verify it.

    • What is your actual name because you go by “Terry Ward”, “Sam Ryan”, “Little Black Dogs”, “Nina Schiperke” and a host of other names in order to continue to spout nonsense once you’ve been banned from various animal welfare sites. Isn’t that the same thing as being “anonymous”?

  5. Terry Ward,
    Still no factual rebuttal of anything in the article. Only attacks and red herring statements.
    Get on topic please!

    • Anyone can file a complaint against a company or organization–many people have filed complaints about the Center for Consumer Freedom and HumaneWatch.

      Neither means anything. What means something if there’s legal action, and there’s been no legal action.

      Berman waves around one charity ratings service and dismisses the other, only because he agrees with the one and not the other. That just shows a credibility problem. At least with Charity Navigator, we can see the criteria the organization uses for its rating–we can’t with the other unless we sign up for membership.

      He mentions something about advertising, but this statement borders on incoherence, so I have no idea what he’s talking about.

      He didn’t mention that of those six (out of 535 members) congressional members who have complained about HSUS, five are from my state, Missouri, and are the worst of CAFO/puppy mill supporters.

      Frankly, I would consider their negative comments to be a compliment.

      Actually, a great compliment.

  6. terry ward is an HSUS shill pay no attention to her.Soon AmyK will show up and then John Doppler Schiff.. all HSUS puppets.. they will insult you, correct you spelling and make pathetic attempt to mock you personally BUT the one thing they cannot do is tell the truth. Thanks Rick Berman.. for getting the word out about this animal rights group

    • While you’re at it you might send Mr. Berman a little note thanking him for doing everything in his power to stop the Americans With Disabilities act.

      • “The new Americans With Disabilities Act contains ridiculously vague and broad language that will encourage a new round of expensive civil-rights litigation for years to comes.

        The ADA in its present form will cost our industry untold millions in added construction and labor costs. All existing restaurants, bars, and other food-service establishments, regardless of size, would have to take steps to accommodate the disabled if those steps are “easily accomplished and able to be carried out without much difficulty or expense.”

        All new construction (including work areas) and major renovation would have to be fully accessible to the disabled, no matter what the cost. Work schedules and jobs would have to be modified to meet special needs.”

        Nation’s Restaurant News, Oct 9, 1989 by Richard Berman

      • An article in the December 15,1999 copy of the Cleveland Plain Dealer describes Berman’s support for Uniroyal, the company that produces Alar(tm), slow-ripening chemical (deminozide) used on apples to delay ripening until the markets paid higher prices. Through his Guest Choice Network (currently the Center for Consumer Freedom) Berman published a newsletter that minimized the risks of Alar to children. The newsletter stated, “According to the Environmental Protection Agency, one would have to eat 50,000 pounds of apples a day over a lifetime to contract cancer from Alar.” In response, EPA spokeswoman Denise Kearns said, “The EPA never issued that kind of statement.”
        In the end Berman admitted that the source of his information was a statement made by Uniroyal.
        Alar has since been banned due to cancer risks. In 1989, the EPA decided to ban Alar on the grounds that “long-term exposure” posed “unacceptable risks to public health.” However, in June 1989, before the EPA’s preliminary decision to ban all food uses of Alar went into effect, Uniroyal agreed to voluntarily halt all domestic sales of Alar for food uses. [

    • “The predicted flood of lawsuits proved to be imaginary. Almost 90 percent of the cases brought before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission are thrown out. And only about 650 lawsuits were filed in the ADA ‘s first five years – a small number compared to 6 million businesses, 666,000 public and private employers, and 80,000 units of state and local governments that must comply. The American Bar Association recently conducted a survey and learned that, of the cases that actually go to court, 98 percent are decided in favor of the defendants, usually businesses”

      • You’re going to cite a quote in 1989 that really just expressed an opinion? I didn’t note any opposition to ADA by Mr. Berman. On the other hand, here’s a quote from 1993…much more recent.

        “… One generation and out. We have no problem with the extinction of domestic animals. They are creations of human selective breeding.” Wayne Pacelle, Senior VP of Humane Society of the US, formerly of Friends of Animals and Fund for Animals, Animal People, May, 1993

  7. According to Wikipedia – The Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF), formerly the Guest Choice Network, is an American non-profit firm that lobbies on behalf of the fast food, meat, alcohol and tobacco industries. It describes itself as “dedicated to protecting consumer choices and promoting common sense,”[2] and defending “the right of adults and parents to choose how they live their lives, what they eat and drink, how they manage their finances, and how they enjoy themselves.”[1]

    CCF was set up in 1995 by Richard Berman, executive director of the public affairs firm Berman and Company, with $600,000 from the Philip Morris tobacco company to fight smoking curbs in restaurants. Berman told The Washington Post that CCF is now funded by a coalition of restaurant and food companies as well as some individuals;[2] according to the group’s website it is supported by over 100 companies and thousands of individual consumers.[1] Sponsors are reported to include Brinker International, RTM Restaurant Group (the owner of Arby’s), Tyson Foods, HMSHost Corp, and Wendy’s.[2]

    • Mr. Berman is no different from any other big-city lawyer/PR gun-for hire other then the fact that no one will admit to hiring him.
      A respected PR firm proudly displays a roster of their clients.

      Respected being the operative word here.

      • So…what’s so bad about letting people choose what they want to eat or drink, or if they want to smoke?

        Are you one of those people who want to ban salt, trans fats, happy meals, sugary cereal, etc?

    • and so what does any of that have to do with the HSUS? absolutely nothing ODA.. do you think adults should NOT have the right to live their lives as they see fit?
      Why should a PR firm list their clients?/ really who cars who their clients are?
      Thanks Rick Berman for outing this false “charity”

  8. It is really too bad that people do not alize exactly what the vegan animal rights movement really is and how it began in the USA. Picture a world where there is no reresearch in human or animal health and all animals roamed in nature and not in the hands of human intervention and care. Mother nature is not kind to animals that live in the environment and being the lowest of the food chain. As usual these misguided folks don’t think about the future and the possibilities of their actions on the future. They must really believe that the world will be a better place. I presume that the HSUS way of thinking is the best way and being forced on everyone but fortunately America was born on free thinking, free from religious persecution, political persecution and now we have an organization that tells the USA and Fish and Wildlife what to do. Who have a seat as NGOs in the World Trade Organization and the United Nations, all to push their moral values but maybe Berman has the moral values of freedom of choice. That is what the USA was founded upon. This movement is reminisent of Hitler’s animal rights, anti smoking campaign, do it because I say so and we know what happened to many in society at that time. Wake up folks, it is a more sinister movement that saving those little scared puppies and kitties and cows that have their weigh laying on their legs and can’t get up. Just one reason for downer cows – nerve damage from laying too long…but HSUS wants one to believe that for every cow laying down they have captured in pictures that it represents a risk to humanity. The HSUS ought not to lie so much and tell the truth.

  9. Let me clarify – The Center for Consumer Freedom runs media campaigns which oppose the efforts of scientists, doctors, health advocates, environmentalists and groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving, calling them “the Nanny Culture — the growing fraternity of food cops, health care enforcers, anti-meat activists, and meddling bureaucrats who ‘know what’s best for you.'” This D.C.-based corporate shill is just another example of how Big Agribusiness is pursuing a strategy aimed at misleading the public. The CAFO supporters cannot win on the merits of the debate—whether factory-farmed animals should merely have enough room to turn around and extend their limbs—so it is bringing in industry front groups notorious for their lack of interest in the truth.

    • The only reason “CAFO supporters” cannot win on the merits of the debate is because people as a group would rather listen to misleading emotions than facts and reason. People who support agriculture need help to make the general public understand that we know what we’re doing and we know what’s best for animals. There are always shady areas when you get to a federal level, I’m sure CCF and HSUS are no exceptions. The difference in this case is that HSUS and their supporters do not actually know what is best for the animals, they are treating animals the way they would treat people. Agribusiness is NOT trying to mislead the public, the public is just so far removed from agriculture that they don’t understand what needs to be done to have healthy animals AND feed the world population predicted for 2050. You’re foolish if you think “Small Agribusiness” is more truthful than “Big Agribusiness.”

  10. So, what’s the Charity Navigator rating for Center for Consumer Freedom? Oh, there is none?

    How about its rating at the American Institute for Philanthropy? What’s that? We can’t tell because the Institute only shows its rating, and reasons for a rating to those willing to pay a rather hefty fee?

    I’ll stick with the charity rating service that is transparent, thank you. One that I can fact check, not one that is out to separate me from my money.

    And what Charity Navigator tells me is that HSUS is doing a pretty darn good job with its money. But I can see that for myself, just by going to the HSUS site and reviewing its 990 filings and financial reports.

    What Charity Navigator doesn’t tell us is anything about the Center for Consumer Freedom. No, we have to go to SourceWatch for that, and boy, do we get an eyeful.

    Like HSUS or don’t like HSUS, it’s your choice. But don’t change your mind about HSUS because of the word of a man who runs corporate fronts designed to, in my opinion, dupe people. (Well, in a _lot_ of people’s opinion.)

    So, think for yourselves. Read the charity rating. Look at the financial reports. And then check out Berman and his cute little organizations. I think a rational person will be able to tell who is the real skunk.

    • It’s clear you don’t like Rick Berman but you and the entire HSUS propoganda machine has not been able to prove what he’s saying is false. Which is why it’s so easy for me to educate a couple of people every single week to drop their support of HSUS. Got one more convert today :) Had two yesterday :)

  11. So Shelley: A “hefty fee”? Which is $3 for all the ratings. The American Institute for Philanthropy also states that this is necessary to provide INDEPENDENT ratings. You know like Consumer Reports where you have to pay (a lot more than $3) to see ratings. Why are you trying to hide their track record?

    • $40.00 for a membership is more than I want to spend just so I can check their criteria for one non-profit. Any kind of paywall limits transparency and, to me, limits credibility.

      They do offer a single issue, for free. I believe it takes 6 weeks. But it still doesn’t change the fact: if people can’t freely check the criteria it uses for a rating, you can’t check whether you agree or not–and hence, it’s not useful.

  12. Shelley is another HSUS shill from MO who worships at the altar of Wayne Pacelle.
    This is a farm and dairy site. HSUS claims to support “humane farms and dairies” show me one place on the HSUS website that has a recipe for anything that uses a meat, dairy or egg product? They have many recipes especially around the holidays.. all of them are vegan.
    no matter how “humane” you may be in your farming practices it will never be “humane” enough for the HSUS.. if it were they would be recommending using those products.. they don’t and they won’t
    Friends Don’t let Friends Support the HSUS in any way

    • And then people reading your comment must ask themselves, “How does he recognize these names? Is it because he’s a shill for the Center for Consumer Freedom”.

      When the only comment you can make is completely irrelevant and a personal attack, you’ve lost.

      • Dear Shell or is it Shill?
        Find any recipes with meat dairy or eggs.. on the HSUS site.. let me know when you do.. oh and pigs will fly

  13. geez what does Uniroyal have to do with the HSUS.. talk about trying to change the subject..but while we are at it.. HSUS holds the patent on and encourages (at 500 per dose) the use of PZP a known pesticide that is used on hoses and deer . This pesticide has to be handles wiht rubber gloves.. and is so dangerous that is has to be tracked if a dart is lost while shooting wild animals with the drug.
    Let’s face it .If HSUS benefits it is no problem.. if they do not.. then BIG problem..they are a group that ‘creates a crisis” and then uses that crisis to raise money.. can you say factory fundraising?
    Friends Do Not Let Friends ( or enemies ) Donate to the HSUS

  14. He was right about the ADA.. I don’t see him opposing it at all.. just stating that it would ( and it did) cost billions of dollars..and he was also correct about the lawsuits.. there were many and they were and still are costly.. all true..

    • Maybe you might want to share that with my disabled mom, and all the other folks in wheelchairs.
      But hey, they can’t fight back.
      I will assume that you are simply a bully, and not speaking for other farmers.

  15. Oh booohoo my Mon was in a wheelchair too for years until she died..so you can assume nothing..the comments made by Berman were true.. had nothing to do with not supporting ADA act

    • “Boo Hoo your mom is disabled”?

      Well that about sums it up, doesn’t it?

      With such disregard for humans, no wonder animals need protection.

      We did not create the HSUS, you did.

      And with every comment like this, you make the HSUS stronger.

  16. Very well said, Terry. Gandhi said “You can judge a society by how they treat their weakest members.”

  17. The PZP drug is what the HSUS came up with. They are forceing it on the BLM to use it on the “wild Mustang mares” to stop reproduction,,this drug is costing us tax payers 500 a pop..HSUS says gelding is too expensive(a load of BS from HSUS)and cruel(more BS).The HSUS is the ones makeing the money off this drug. In my opinion gelding would be more productive and safer and cost less,also this will will stop the mares from reproduceing,yes but they will still come in season and the studs will be killing each other over it.The HSUS wants this done to 1500 maress from every band of Mustangs each year,,add it up up your self,,oh then they say there are only a few left because of the roundup’s,,i think that is pretty funny. The HSUS don’t care about animals unless they can make a profit from them.

  18. ODA animals are not members of our society.. but at least you quoted him correctly

    definition fo society:
    a. The totality of social relationships among humans

  19. oh come on Terry you can sure dish it out.. and now look at you.. all mortified etc.. would you like me to find a few of your less than kind comments about many people..
    let’s look at this way.. many more people will be disabled and sick and die in the future if HSUS has its way and stop all animal testing.. heck maybe if they and their sister organization (PETA) didn’t exist neither you Mom not mine would have needed a wheelchair..

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