and then come back.
It's a short video. I'll wait.
All done? Hopefully you got to see it.* If you did, and you've been paying attention to things that I and other animal welfare types have written, it won't surprise you. The multi-million HSUS, the "Humane Society of the UNITED STATES", does not in fact run, operate or even support one single actual animal shelter in the entire United States.
This WILL, however, be news to most of the well-meaning people who donate to HSUS. Who maybe don't read animal welfare blogs but who DO watch the evening news. And who thought all their hard-earned dollars were going to actually help feed and shelter animals in need.
*But you might not have gotten to see the video. See, this was a story broadcast by ABC Channel 2 in Atlanta over a week ago. After broadcast, the video was up on the station's web site and also on YouTube.
A few days later, the video was mysteriously pulled from both the station's web site and from YouTube. Other web sites (here's another one) which had the video or a transcript posted were contacted by the station and asked to remove them.
However, in none of these communications did the station indicate that there was any mistake. They didn't issue a retraction or a correction or an apology, which is the normal course of events if a mistake is made.
HSUS hasn't denied any of the allegations made in the video.
But perhaps they have managed to intimidate the station into removing the video anyway?
Today I got this email from PetPac:
Today the ABC Atlanta news story exposing the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) questionable fundraising practices became even more controversial when the station contacted PetPAC demanding we take down the transcript of the story.
The story appeared on Channel 2 in Atlanta over a week ago and soon after HSUS apparently initiated a campaign to cover up the story from being told.
The video of the news story was mysteriously taken down from the station’s archives and You Tube, most likely the result of HSUS demands.
Why the cover up? The investigative report exposed how HSUS raises hundreds of millions of dollars but contributes virtually nothing to help support local animal shelters as their solicitations often seem to imply.
Here’s a transcript of the news story sent to us by a member. We believe the United States Constitution guarantees our freedom of political speech to send this to you.
The power of an organization which raises hundreds of millions of dollars like HSUS is immense. If they are trying to cover up this story, we simply would like to know why. We look forward to hearing their side of the story, but to date they have not issued a denial of the investigative report exposing their suspect fundraising practices.
We will continue to keep you informed.
The plot grows ever thicker. But they can't come after us all - although I don't know how to embed the video, here is a transcript I made so you can see what all the fuss is about in case the video gets pulled from the link above:
Where Humane Society Donations Really Go
Posted: 4:03 pm EDT May 14, 2009Updated: 4:20 pm EDT May 14, 2009
ANCHOR: "A Channel 2 investigation is looking into millions of dollars in donations given to the Humane Society of the United States.
A national consumer organization says HSUS solicits pet-lovers for money, but little to none of that money ever goes to help local shelters.
Channel 2's Amanda Rosseter is here now with more."
ROSSETER: "Well John, HSUS admits the majority of its money does not go to shelters but says it does a lot more to help animals in other ways around the world.
Critics say HSUS intentionally misleads consumers just to get donations."
Narration from HSUS ad: "These dogs survived the wretched conditions of a puppy mill."
David Marposko of the Center for Consumer Freedom:"It's very deceptive."
HSUS Ad Narration: We are the voice for those who don't have one of their own."
Rosseter over the ad narration: This is the HSUS, the Humane Society of the Untied States, reaching out for donations from animal lovers.
HSUS Ad: "For just 19 dollars a month, you can..."
Trey Burley of PAWS Atlanta: “They do their marketing very well, that's for sure.”
Rosseter: "But you might be surprised to learn there's virtually no connection with your local humane society.
Critics say the national organization takes advantage of people who think they are giving to local shelters. DeKalb's PAWS shelter says there is certainly no regular funding help from the $100 million HSUS budget."
Burley: “I think that some of the folks who donate to the national organizations may be under the false pretense - by no fault of their own - they may be under the false pretense that that money is going to a local cause.”
Rosseter: "And while the HSUS does work to stop puppy mills like this one in Tennessee, it also gets media coverage and donations doing it; but the puppies then go to local shelters who then have to pay and care for them."
Richard Rice, GM of the Atlanta Humane Society:“They may have the resources to initialize a rescue, but again the animals go into a local shelter somewhere in the country.”
Rosseter: "Critics say HSUS also takes advantage of high-profile events. After hurricane Katrina, HSUS CEO Wayne Pacelle promised on national television to reunite pets with their owners—and raised $34 million for the cause; but public disclosures of where that money went add up to less than $7 million.
The Louisiana attorney general launched an 18-month-long investigation, and then ended it when HSUS offered to build the state a new shelter.
The HSUS annual report for 2007 showed $120 million in revenue, including $5.4 million just from online donors.
Then there's $112 million in expenses -- most of which appears to have gone to legislation for animal rights bills. Here's that list as well, it includes raccoons, mice, wild horses, burros and primates.So where does all the money go?"
Marposko: “It goes to lobbying, it goes to political contributions, it goes to pay huge staff salaries and benefits."
Rosseter: "So we went to a local HSUS meeting to find out, and the two hour discussion was about activist plans and lobbying. The Georgia director for the HSUS agrees that’s mostly what she does."
Cheryl McAuliffe, Georgia Director for HSUS: “I think that in all of our literature, it is very explicit as to what our campaigns are and what we are doing. We help where we can and focus on our programs, which are national and international.”
Rasseter: "McAuliffe said there are just too many local shelters to help."
McAuliffe: “I always tell people, contribute to your local shelter first.”
Makes you wanna go "hmmmmmmm....."