What Was Up With That Anti-Humane Society Ad That Ran During The Oscars?

If you forgot to mute the commercials during the Oscars last night, you might have seen a strange attack ad about how you should not, under any circumstances, donate money to The Humane Society, because they only give 1% of their donation money to “local shelters.” What the hell was that all about? Isn’t The Humane Society pretty well-regarded for their work helping adorable animals in trouble? Who hates our furry friends enough to run an ad like this, and furthermore, has the money to do so during the Oscars?

Why, the corporate food industry, of course. A little bit of online research reveals “Humane Watch” to be a project of “the Center for Consumer Freedom,” which is in turn run by right wing PR flack Rick Berman, who does quite a bit of the food industry’s dirty work. Why does the food industry hate the Humane Society? Well, in addition to using (way more than 1% of) its donations to provide shelter for stray cats and dogs, the Humane Society also spends money lobbying for its secret and evil agenda of more humane treatment for animals. And when said animals are farm animals, this has the potential to cause a dent in profits. Anti-cruelty measures backed by the HS in the past include dolphin-safe tuna fishing, (slightly) better treatment of downed cattle, regulations on horse slaughter, and the number of hens you’re allowed to cram into a shit-covered cage at once. Those crazy, freedom-destroying radicals!

Past causes of Mr. Berman’s include spreading lies about the health benefits of trans fats(!), sugary soft drinks, and fast food, as well as good ol’ fashioned global warming denial. In his free time, he makes videos about how the sky is purple and touching hot stoves will not burn you. But seriously, arguing these things under the guise of “consumer freedom” is some genuine doublespeak, no? Go here to donate money to The Humane Society.

(Via ThinkProgress)

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    • AmyK

      Thanks for the blog post! Want to help us fight corporate front groups that attack animal welfare organizations for profit?

      Join us at Stop HumaneWatch. We’ve had the number on Rick Berman and CCF since they started HumaneWatch two years ago.


    • John Doppler Schiff

      Thanks for covering this! Richard Berman runs a multimillion dollar astroturf empire that attacks “radicals” like Mothers Against Drunk Driving, teachers unions, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and of course, the HSUS.

      He runs more than 100 deceptive front groups, smear campaigns, and phony “charities” that attack these groups while lining his pockets.

      And according to the IRS, it’s mostly legal.

      If Berman’s work as a corporate liar-for-hire offends you too, you may want to get more information on his operations:

      Berman relies on ignorance, fear, and blind emotion to spread his misinformation. Please tell a friend and help derail his schemes!

    • Bea Elliott

      And if you REALLY want to help ALL animals the most effective, quickest, cheapest way is to leave their bodies off your plate! Go Vegan!

    • Elizabeth

      This is rather ignorant. The budget reports are available to the public, although I am unable to find them right now. And less than 1% of their profits go to shelters, as it says in that commercial. I think a lot of the point of that commercial is to look further into things that you are donating to. If you would like your money to go to shelters, donate directly to a shelter. If you research HSUS and agree that you also would like to promote a vegan lifestyle and end all forms of animal agriculture, http://www.humanesociety.org/issues/eating/, then by all means donate to this. I think this was just a little wake up call that HSUS isn’t a foundation solely for saving animals in need, as many of their commercials may suggest. Only 16% of their revenue goes to direct care and service (http://www.humanesociety.org/assets/pdfs/publications/2010_annual_report/2010_ar_financials.pdf). They are merely trying to point this out, that things are not EXACTLY what they seem.

    • Sarah

      Wow, you really ignored the fact the humane society really doesn’t do ANYTHING to help the animals that they advertise on their sappy commercials, pulling at your heartstrings and trying to get at your money. That’s what I’d call false advertising. That’s the REAL issue here. I know local humane societies (the ones that actual help animals and place them in homes) and animal rescues that are against the national HSUS organization for these reasons. Instead, HSUS takes your money and spends it mostly on their employee pensions and government lobbying.

      On that note, I’m all for humane treatment of animals, but since I actually know people who are involved in the food production industry, I know that for the most part farmers and ranchers are the ones that really know what is best for the livestock they care for and that are their livelihood. I know there are bad apples, but there are bad apples in parents too. Just because I’ve heard of horrible stories of abuse to children at the hands of their parents doesn’t mean I assume all parents to be child abusers.

      And as for the vegan argument…who is going to take care of these animals if they aren’t taken care of for the purpose of food? How well do you think they’ll be treated when there is no livelihood in taking care of livestock. Will you be hosting one on your living room couch? No, they would go extinct.

      Sorry that was kind of a jump from the initial issue brought up (this commercial regarding domestic animals and HSUS’s failure to provide care for them like they pretend to do) to livestock care and regulations, but the author is the one who made that large leap (backed up by the pro-HSUS trolls in the previous three comments).

      • KMF

        Thanks for stopping by, Rich.

      • kim Waterfield

        Do you really think the world is going to all decide to go vegan overnight and that we would have millions of farmed animals looking for homes????? It will take many, many years for people to realize how wrong it is to cause so much suffering just to satisfy our taste buds. And yes, they probably will become extinct, but, I would rather that than have them live a life of constant physical and mental torture, only to end up in the slaughterhouse. If slaughterhouses had glass walls we would all be vegan.

    • Elizabeth

      I’m sorry, KMF, was that directed at me? You feel a need to be snarky because I cited EXACTLY what I was talking about?

      And yay Sarah!! Informed opinions, looking at both sides of things! People like you make me much less frustrated.