Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) Charity Rating Revoked

Recent developments have resulted in the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) from having it’s charity rating revoked.

What does it mean to have a charity rating revoked? Essentially there is enough information that has come to light that leads Charity Navigator to believe that there are questionable things going on within the organization, so much so that they are warning potential donors to think twice before they donate.  You can read more about that here…

While HSUS touts itself to be all about the animals (their mission statement is “Celebrating Animals, Confronting Cruelty”), they don’t seem to be putting their money where their mouth is. This is not the first charitable organization to experience difficulties aligning their mission with their actions. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is another organization that spends an incredible amount of money on fundraising and propaganda.

Most people are surprised to learn that at PETA’s animal shelter in Virginia, the organization has historically euthanized 96% of the animals that have entered the shelter. More on that and PETA here… HSUS, on the other hand, does not own or operate any animal shelters.

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I urge you to do your own research on the organization to reach your own conclusions.

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If you are considering donating money to help animals, please consider donating to your local animal shelter as your local shelter operates independently of all the “big names” like PETA, HSUS and ASPCA and therefore they usually do not directly benefit when you donate. These organizations clearly get many millions of dollars every year.   Your local shelter probably doesn’t have that kind of money coming in, but they can use it and make more of a difference with it, right there in your community!

Posted on July 14, 2014, in Shelter Vet Tails and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. I can only assume you’re unfamiliar with HumaneWatch’s origins, or tobacco lobbyist Rick Berman’s history of lies, or the fact that he runs a phony “shelter charity” that paid him over $750,000.00 while giving shelters the finger. Or the fact that every one of Mr. Berman’s sham nonprofits has been the subject of a donor advisory at Charity Navigator.

    Getting back to the misinformation you’ve parroted from Mr. Berman’s front group, there are no “questionable things” going on at HSUS. Charity Navigator made the appallingly bad decision to assess a donor advisory on the basis of Feld Entertainment’s press release, which they did not question. And it’s the first time, ever, that CN has assessed a donor advisory on the basis of a legal settlement that had nothing to do with the way the charity is run, against a charity that wasn’t even a party to the original lawsuit. (They inherited it from Fund for Animals.)

    It’s a settlement that ends 14 years of legal maneuvering by Feld, one that promised to drag on for another decade, diverting HSUS resources away from animal welfare programs. HSUS made the decision to end it, and it came at a cost.

    And of course, the animal abusers and their apologists are celebrating that as a victory. That’s to be expected… but I’m dismayed to see someone who cares for animals jumping on that bandwagon and spreading their anti-animal misinformation.

    I’ll leave you with one final thought: if the HSUS is so financially irresponsible, and does nothing for animals… why are animal abusing industries spending tens of millions of dollars each year to attack them through deceptive front groups like HumaneWatch?

    Because the HSUS is ineffective? Because it’s mismanaging its resources? Because these industries care so much about animals?

    No. They attack the HSUS because it’s the single most effective animal welfare organization on the planet.

    • Thanks for weighing in on things, John.

      Just so we’re clear, the post is about the charity rating revocation, and is not intended to have people become supporters of or Rick Berman. The information from the post is taken from the FlashReport and the take home message is at the bottom of the post, in bold. I know many, many people who have believed that giving money to large animal organizations such as PETA, HSUS or ASPCA would trickle down to their local shelter (along with shelters throughout the country), yet who are very disappointed to learn that was, for the most part, not the case. I’m confident most, if not all, shelter veterinarians throughout the country could do their jobs better and save more lives if people donated locally instead of to large organizations.

  2. Revoked?? Exactly what do you mean by revoked? A donor alert is just that, a donor alert. Please provide some documenation on this “revocation’.

    • The word choice was not mine, the charity’s rating was removed from the CN website and a donor advisory put in place. If you have issues with the word revoked, I urge you to take your issue up with Flash Report, a much bigger website than this one.

  3. A balanced approach including national, and local donations would be most prudent. Local involvement is just as necessary as a national one for many reasons. Many of the major organizations focus more on national, multi-species, animal welfare agenda that includes primarily national, state, and some local level issues that local entities simply would have no real voice in politically.

    Consequently, the large organizations are the ones who have targets placed on their backs by organizations that fight animal welfare. HSUS is completely transparent and while Charity Navigator has taken the action they have and in my opinion quite unfairly, nothing can detract from the incredible work HSUS has and does do every day worldwide. Great care to discern the role of parties claiming these organizations that we see do great work nationally for animals should be taken.

    Similarly, Peta’s role in the “shelter business” is misrepresented as well. Their low-cost, or no-cost program to assist underprivileged animal caretakers in Norfolk with end-of-life resources is not fairly represented by most. Animals which come into their care that are adoptable are referred and transferred to the local shelter. So their official intake/placement record as submitted in VDACS would look horrible. While their intent has been grossly mischaracterized, the services they provide is not offered by any other organization, and helps animals that may not otherwise receive humane end-of-life care.

    In summary, a balanced local/national commitment serves the animals from all angles. Also, I applaud your comments encouraging people to do their own research and some to their own conclusions, but please encourage them to very carefully consider the source of any information they consider.

  4. I read your piece about The HSUS, and wanted to reach out to see if I could clarify a bit more about our work. One is that PETA is a separate organization, and we aren’t affiliated.

    We absolutely agree with you that it’s important to research organizations before you donate, which is why we are transparent about the work that we do on our website. We provide our financials and annual reports for supporters to look at and communicate about our work daily on various channels. Just today we worked with the Brunswick Sheriff’s office to rescue over 100 birds in North Carolina. Having worked at a shelter prior to coming to The HSUS I saw how the work of both organizations is important in order to make change.

    In 2013 alone we helped provide care to over 100,000 animals, and helped to pass more than 100 pieces of animal protection legislation, and our annual report goes more into detail about this.

    As for Charity Navigator, the donor advisory they issued is factually incorrect, and had nothing to do with financial metrics, governance, transparency or the impact and effectiveness of our work to protect animals. The advisory came solely as a result of a legal settlement The HSUS and numerous other parties reached with the owner of Ringling Bros. circus. Charity Navigator’s donor advisory penalizes animal welfare organizations for advancing their mission through advocacy work and for defending themselves in court against scurrilous charges. The HSUS was never even a plaintiff in the original case against Ringling Bros., and essentially worked to protect itself from a lawsuit launched by a company with a history of Animal Welfare Act violations. You can read our CEO’s blog on the settlement and case here:

    I’d be happy to chat more with you about our work, and answer questions that you may have if you’d like to email me.

    Thanks for all you do for shelter animals!

    Sarah Barnett

    Additional resources:
    Financial information:
    Annual Report:
    A video wrap up of 2013

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