Humane Watch puts lawyers in cages

In a brilliant parody of the HSUS shelter ads, humane watch has put sad looking lawyers in cages to emphasize that donations to HSUS do not fund shelters.

HSUS is like PETA but with deodorant and suits. Hah! I love it. HSUS is PETA.

It's upsetting that this fake charity has co-opted the reputation of our local humane societies, used ads depicting suffering animals in cages, then taken in millions of dollars from well meaning people to lobby for animal rights causes. Every time I see their ads I get furious. Less than 1% of their take goes to shelters. HSUS is not a humane society at all, it's an animal rights lobbying group.


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You may be right, but animals can't lobby for themselves. It seems odd to get angry about this when your anger should be directed at the fact that animals still need protecting because they are being abused widely.

If all they did was build shelters but no one tried to address the fundamental issues, and get legislation passed, how would that be better?

Until we live in a perfect world, lawyers will be necessary, and lobby groups, and they will need funds. Its disappointing, but that is the way the very imperfect system we have works.

Hey, that's fine. If you want a group to lobby for animal rights that's your right. But when you show a bunch of sad dogs in cages, suggest that your mission is rescue, put "humane society" in your name, then lobby against caging chickens you're engaged in fraud.

Humane societies have excellent reputations as charities, and many millions of Americans interact with them in any given year, either finding lost pets, adopting, or receiving veterinary care like spaying and neutering of pets. By labeling themselves a "humane society", profiting from that connection, showing dogs and cats in cages to reinforce that connection, then spending the donors money on lobbying against farming practices they are engaged in a deception. I'm willing to bet the overwhelming majority of their donors are not aware that they are not giving to an umbrella organization for shelters, and polling data from the CCF suggests that this is correct, people are confused about the mission of the organization.

The reality is that the mission of HSUS would be distasteful to the majority of Americans, especially those like me that believe animals are necessary for research and agriculture and think pet ownership is ok. This in contradiction to stated goals of HSUS and PETA to eliminate animal agriculture, animal research and pet ownership.

So if you want to give money for animal rights that's your business. What I object to is an animal rights lobbying group that appeals to the emotions of those who love their pets using images of rescue animals while donating virtually nothing to rescue, nothing to shelters, nothing to local humane societies, and instead lobbying for things most pet owners would object to. Like owning pets.

As if they were reading my mind humane watch has released a poll showing 90% of HSUS donors don't realize they're not donating to a humane society.

Just 1 percent of HSUS's donors list "farm animal protection" as their primary reason for supporting the group.
Seventy-four percent of donors give to HSUS to either help pet shelters or reduce the number of animals euthanized each year.
Ninetyâyes, 90âpercent of HSUS's donors were unaware that it gives just 1 percent of its budget to local pet shelters.
Knowing HSUS's non-support of shelters, 80 percent of HSUS's own donors think the group âmisleads people into thinking that it supports local humane societies and pet shelters.â
Nearly 50 percent of HSUS's donors say they are less likely to support the group now that they know HSUS gives so little to local pet shelters.

I'm not from the US, so I'm not really sure how misleading the Humane Society US's materials are, and to the extent they are misleading that's not good and attention should be drawn to that.

But you should know that HumaneWatch is an astroturf organization, an outgrowth of the Center for Consumer Freedom, an industry lobby group ( So anything they say should be treated with great skepticism. See

Also where did you hear that the Humane Society US has stated goals "to eliminate animal agriculture, animal research and pet ownership"? According to their Wikipedia page and their website they explicitly do not oppose either animal agriculture or pet ownership; and to say they're in favour of eliminating animal testing is somewhat misleading, since while that's their end goal, they aim to reach that goal through a gradual replacement, reduction, and refinement of animal testing. (Presumably we'd all be in favour of eliminating animal testing if there were equivalent testing methods which didn't harm animals, no?)……

Also as another sign of HumaneWatch's shadiness, I just tried to post a comment to their page that you linked to above ("HSUS is PETA") with a link to the USHS policy page, and a page popped up saying:
"Action Denied: Blacklisted Item Found"

I edited my comment to remove the url, but since I pointed out that HumaneWatch is an offshoot of an industry front group (the Center for Consumer Freedom), somehow I doubt it will make it past the moderator...

Oh yeah, I know. They're a front group, largely for restaurant and agriculture operations. However, they damn HSUS and PETA with their own documents and publish the materials online. They're shady, but I happen to think they're making a cogent argument. Especially in regards to HSUS' dishonest ad campaign.

In terms of their interest in eliminating animal research see their own position on animal research:

As do most scientists, The HSUS advocates an end to the use of animals in research and testing that is harmful to the animals.

Umm, guess what. Biological research requires animals to be held captive, given various chemicals, treatments, have their genes rearranged and ultimately killed. Also animals that provide materials like proteins, antibodies, serum, etc., usually harvest/killed in the process either for the explicit purpose of producing reagents or as a bioproduct of slaughterhouses (BSA, FBS). There is no way to perform research in biology without animals or animal products. Pretty much all biologists agree and also see animal rights advocates as threats to biomedical research. So their opening line "As do most scientists" is an outright falsehood. Yes, in the Star Trek future kind of way that we'll all be communists, have free energy and do research on computers, we'd love to not have to deal with the messy work of animal research. Is this going to happen in our lifetimes? In ten lifetimes? Not bloody likely. Currently even the most extensive use of computational power has difficulty figuring out how even small proteins fold, let alone their function in interaction with the tens of thousands of other genes in an organism. In the meantime, I'm going to continue to study biology using animals and animal derived reagents because frankly the idea that alternatives are around the corner is absurd.

In terms of their goals of ending agriculture there are numerous statements from HSUS members, including former ALF terrorists like JP Goodwin, that suggest their lobbying against various forms of agriculture is with the ultimate goal of eliminating animal agriculture. Google away.

That video was sadly true. While it's true that animals can't lobby for themselves, the HSUS could have done much better things with their money than to produce costly videos. They are misleading as well. The Humane Society doesn't operate or fund animal shelters. However effective they are at what they do, they can't keep misleading us.