Humane Watch Is Not Your Friend…

by Mary Haight on September 15, 2011

Humane Watch poses as a friend to animal lovers using the time tested approach “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.” Stepping into the breach between animal welfare groups and HSUS, Humane Watch rants against HSUS and their fundraising practices, and harps on how HSUS doesn’t have anything to do with your local humane society as if they should.  They do mirror frustrations in the industry which keep repeating themselves as new people and groups come into this work.

To be sure, there has been a lot of bad blood between HSUS and those who care for animals. Fundraising practices have been seen as selfish, too close to unethical for comfort, and worse.  In their partnerships with locals, some glaring inequities were noted in the 8-State historic sweep of a major dog fighting ring:  the cost of caring for a flood of animals from a bust lands on a local shelter, or two, and court evidence cases can be lengthy affairs, with dogs being held over 8 months later.  The cost of law enforcement can land on private shelters.

After the dogs have long left their custody, HSUS fundraising  goes into high gear for the event. Neither money nor the spotlight is shared with those shelters who take on the financial burdens of care. Animal care is an odd duck – people look at this work in a very different way.  Business as usual is not acceptable. In the public mind, what is ethically, morally right applies.  A peculiar notion to attach to business, but this “business” holds the life or death of sentient beings in the balance.

While acknowledgement and fundraising help has been a thorn in the side of shelters who do this work, it came to a head when HSUS used a dog named Fay in a fundraising commercial that led people to believe the dog was in HSUS care and custody.  That was a case that could have landed in court for something more serious than misleading advertising.

Then there was the fight about pit bulls and how HSUS would not stop recommending to courts that they kill any dog that had been fought. It took months to get HSUS to the table with Best Friends, Bad Rap and others, and change that approach – see the results of what could be done rehabilitating instead of killing.

The last nerve was hit when HSUS enlisted Vick to speak to kids in their End Dogfighting program.

But who is Humane Watch? How many of those more than 350,000 “friends” on FaceBook bothered to check anything beyond the first page?  Did you? Some pet people are on the Humane Watch page for reasons of oversight.  Yet I suspect there are those who do not know that Rick Berman, a lobbyist/PR agent for dirty industry, got $600,000 from big tobacco to start the website and their campaign against HSUS, Greenpeace, science, the Center for Disease Control, etc.  So I’m going to say it again. Humane Watch is owned by the Center for Consumer Freedom, also run by Rick Berman. They claim they can’t divulge their contributors (agribiz, commercial puppy mills among them) for fear of reprisals. They are the twisters of truth, fabricators of falsehoods, spinners of specious arguments…but here, let someone else say something:

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