HSUS Gets Greedy

Posted on 04/19/2009

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April 13, 2009

Animal Activists Jump to Pump Doggie Dollars Out of “Bo”bama

Six-month-old “Bo,” the long-awaited First Dog, will finally move in to 
his new home tomorrow – but not without some controversy. Despite 
campaign pledges that he would adopt a rescue dog, Obama’s latest 
addition to the family did not come from a pet shelter. To ease the 
disappointment, the First Family will reportedly make a donation to a 
Washington, DC “humane society.” But the White House has yet to clarify 
an important detail: Which DC humane society? If the San Francisco 
Chronicle and a handful of others are correct in interpreting this to 
mean the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), homeless dogs and 
cats in our nation’s capital are getting a tough break.

As we told reporters last week, hands-on pet rescue shelters see 
shockingly little of the millions of dollars donated to HSUS every year. 
According to the group’s most recent tax return, HSUS passed less than 4 
percent of its $91.5 million operating budget through to local shelters 
in 2007. And news of the Presidential pup’s arrival has provided HSUS 
with the latest opportunity to do what it does best: capitalize on the 
misunderstanding that it is an umbrella group for local adoption shelters.

Yesterday, the animal rights giant put out a press release 
congratulating the Obamas, and warning Americans about a growing 
euthanasia crisis in shelters across the country. HSUS also announced 
that it is launching a big-budget Ad Council campaign to encourage 
shelter adoptions. But if HSUS is so concerned with the plight of 
homeless shelter animals, why doesn’t it divert more of its lobbying and 
advertising dollars towards helping them?

The answer is simple: Helping America’s real hands-on shelters isn’t 
going to raise HSUS’s profile or help fatten its purse. And it certainly 
won’t do much to convince Americans to quit hunting, stop going to the 
circus, or abstain from milk and meat.

As long as HSUS can associate itself with your local adoption center, 
well-meaning (but naïve) pet lovers will presumably keep the gravy train 
flowing. Let’s hope the First Family is wise enough to make its 
donations elsewhere.