Defining the Humane Society

To the editor:

There’s confusion about what the so-called “Humane Society” really is.

Most hunters and trappers know that the Humane Society of the United States is a powerful, wealthy, politically active animal rights organization that opposes any use of animals.

To the general public, the Humane Society is a group of dedicated animal lovers – nice people who run the local shelters that take in and care for dogs and cats.

Here’s where the confusion comes in – confusion the HSUS deliberately created and exploits for profit. Many people make contributions to the HSUS thanking they are helping local animal shelters. In reality, they are being ripped off. The confusion comes from the fact that two completely different organizations that have different agendas are using the same name.

HSUS is the largest and wealthiest animal protection group in the United States. They are the ones that fund much of the lobbying and legislative efforts to stop animal use. In particular, they use ballot referendums to stop regulated hunting and trapping.

The ballot fight in Michigan to stop bear hunting failed in 1996. It was backed by the Fund For Animals headed by Wayne Pacelle who was their President. He is now the President and CEO of HSUS.

In 2008, The HSUS was behind the ballot initiative to stop dove hunting which was successful.

Now they are back trying to stop wolf management. So far, they have been frustrated. That frustration is reflected in numerous newspaper letters.

These emotionally driven protests are truly righteous unreason.

The figures below, provided by a watchdog group called Humane Watch, are based on HSUS’s 2011 IRS Form 990, which non-profits have to file. It shows their 2010 activity.

Total revenue: $148.7 million.

Grants for aiding pet shelters: .25 percent of their budget.

Fundraising expenses: 38 percent of their budget.

Added $2.4 million to its pension plan, bringing the total to $17 million since Wayne Pacelle became CEO in 2004.

Pacelle’s 2012 annual compensation: almost $300,000.

HSUS claims a “constituency” of 11 million, giving it considerable political clout. But in 2010, their magazine, All Animals, which is included with a $25 membership, had a circulation of only 530,000. That’s their true size.

The HSUS is an enormous fundraising machine that cares little about animals. The wolf is their poster child that is used in an emotional and dishonest campaign to stop animal use.

John Hongisto