Do HumaneWatchers know where THEIR money is spent?

Anyone who is familiar with Richard Berman’s enterprises knows that deception is the key to his astroturf empire.

But seldom have we seen evidence of his deception shown as blatantly as in the Center for Consumer Freedom’s 2009 tax return.

The CCF — also known as HumaneWatch — describes its mission as “research and education on food, beverage and lifestyle issues”. But according to CCF’s tax return, a staggering 86% of donations to the organization were redirected to Berman’s union-busting campaign, the Employment Policies Institute Foundation (EPI). 86 cents out of every dollar donated to HumaneWatch or CCF was used to undermine working wages, employee health care, and labor unions.

How many HumaneWatch donors know that “educating consumers about lifestyle issues” means lobbying to strip workers of their health benefits and wages?

The remainder of CCF’s donations were redirected to Berman’s for-profit PR firm, Berman & Company, Inc., to the tune of $1,461,597.00. That left CCF $779,222.00 in the red for 2009, a shameful performance record that would earn it the lowest possible rating in any charity evaluator’s system — if CCF were significant enough to warrant an evaluation.

If there’s one lesson we can take away from this, it’s that Richard Berman cares about human rights as little as he cares about animal rights. What Richard Berman cares about is money, and finding creative ways of diverting it into his personal bank account.

Because Berman thrives on deception and obfuscation, he does not makes the tax returns for his “nonprofits” available online. However, we have assembled the most recent tax returns for his money-making enterprises in the Document Library.

Exit, Stage Left

It appears that David Martosko’s troubled and chaotic reign at HumaneWatch may be coming to an end.

Following revelations of Martosko’s substance abuse problems, arrests, his connection with stalking of activists and apparent impersonation of a veterinarian, there are signs that the Center for Consumer Freedom’s failed opera singer is finally being yanked off center stage.

The Center for Consumer Freedom is now hiring a “Researcher/Analyst”. That’s Martosko’s current job.

Like Martosko’s position as the “Director of Research”, the job requires no research experience and no scientific background, only the ability to look up information on the internet, and preferably “some knowledge of… the animal rights movement” or at least a “hidden, passionate interest” in it. In other words, no training or experience is needed, just a willingness to smear animal protection charities for money. The supposedly nonprofit position promises a “lucrative financial incentive plan”.

The HumaneWatch Facebook group appears to be moderated by someone other than Martosko now, and he or she is clamping down on discussion with an iron fist. Even the merest mention of Martosko’s scandals from their core members is stifled. Some have left HumaneWatch in disgust over the draconian censorship.

Martosko’s name has been removed from internal HumaneWatch documents.

And Martosko himself is nowhere to be found.

On March 1st, David Martosko is scheduled to speak at the Alberta Chicken Producers‘ General Meeting. But according to their website: “[O]ur Guest Speaker David Martosko has cancelled his appearance. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.” So sad.

On March 19th, the Wisconsin Ag Women’s Summit will feature David Martosko speaking on “How to Survive in the Era of HSUS”. Oops. Not so fast. Dale M. Beaty tells us that “Unfortunately, David Martosko informed us this weekend that he is unable to present. We are in the process of finding a similar presenter to fill his spot.”

On April 7th, The NY Farm Bureau is hosting an event to coach farmers on how to defend themselves from activist cameras. David Martosko is the featured speaker. Or is he? NYFB’s Legal Affairs Department confirms that Martosko had to cancel his appearance due to a “personal conflict”.

Martosko’s criminal hearing for public drunkenness, swearing and trespassing on the grounds of a church/school doesn’t take place until May, so the possibility of jail time doesn’t explain the abrupt cancellation of his speaking engagemnets. Inpatient rehab is certainly a possibility. However, that doesn’t explain why his presence is being so vigorously scrubbed from the HumaneWatch website.

CCF may be hiring an apprentice for Martosko to coach in the finer aspects of the Dark Side, but given their frantic efforts to distance themselves from this latest disgrace, we find it more likely that Richard Berman has demanded a more stable backup for Martosko — and possibly, a future replacement.

Hope you guess my name

Following Wednesday’s report that Center for Consumer Freedom employees appear to be impersonating activists, we have evidence of more impersonations in the name of their industry-funded agenda.

On December 19, 2010, Chicago Now blogger Steve Dale posted an article about Wayne Pacelle’s role in Michael Vick’s rehabilitation. It’s a controversial topic that’s ignites heated discussions, and CCF spokesperson David Martosko is always eager to fan the flames in order to discredit animal protection charities.

That day, Martosko published a press release announcing CCF’s purchase of a full-page ad in the NY Times. The ad attacks Pacelle’s work with Michael Vick. Not coincidentally, the following comment also appeared on Steve Dale’s blog:

The commenter, “SmallDogVet”, also criticizes the HSUS and ridicules the effectiveness of the successful End Dogfighting program:

This is a veterinarian criticizing HSUS… and because a small dog vet works with dogs every day, his opinion carries some weight, right?

Well, that’s a dangerous assumption. Maybe SmallDogVet isn’t a vet at all. Maybe SmallDogVet is secretly a bomb-sniffing Pomeranian recently back from a tour of duty in Afghanistan. On the internet, nobody knows you’re a dog.

Or maybe he’s just David Martosko defrauding the public by pretending that veterinarians support animal cruelty.

In our previous exposé, we demonstrated how the gregoire525 account was traced to a subscriber residing in the area around David Martosko’s home, and working in the area around David Martosko’s office.

If you click “SmallDogVet’s” name, it takes you to his profile page. And right there in the URL is the account name that user signed up with: gregoire525.

Now, we can’t say conclusively that David Martosko and CCF were behind this. It’s entirely possible that there’s another person out there who stalks opponents of CCF, promotes CCF’s agenda, fawns over Martosko’s posts, writes with Martosko’s cadence and mannerisms, lives within walking distance of Martosko’s house, works down the block from Martosko’s office, subscribes to the same internet service providers as Martosko, and whose user name reflects Martosko’s training (opera) and Martosko’s birthdate (5/25).

But I wouldn’t bet on it.

CCF — the dubious “nonprofit” behind the HumaneWatch smear campaign — seeks to deceive the public. They are, in fact, an industry-paid public relations firm defending unpopular, unsafe, and unethical corporate practices, but their entire existence is predicated on their ability to masquerade as a credible, public interest nonprofit.

Every op-ed piece, every letter to the editor, every press release CCF writes hides behind this mask. That’s nothing new.

But impersonating an animal care professional in order to push an anti-animal agenda goes far beyond CCF’s usual spin and distortions. It crosses the line into outright fraud.

It also calls into question the “grassroots support” that CCF claims. How many of the 200,000+ Facebook members they claim are genuine accounts? How many of the comments on CCF’s editorials are just sockpuppets mouthing David Martosko’s words? What percentage of CCF’s donations come from the American public, and what percentage comes from the corporations that have hired CCF to slander charities on their behalf?

In order to defend corporate cruelty to animals, CCF has to persuade Americans that public opinion is against animal welfare — even when CCF’s own polls prove that’s untrue. The poll commissioned by CCF revealed that 77% of Americans have a positive view of HSUS and their campaigns to stop animal cruelty.

CCF’s industry-paid opinion does not reflect the beliefs of the American public. And that’s why they resort to underhanded tactics like lies, deception… and apparently, impersonation.

ALERT: Stalker Targets Facebook Activists

I just think it's wrong, wrong, wrong to pretend to be something you're not. -- 'Gregory Davis'

Throughout 2010, an impostor has been using Facebook to gain the confidence of activists, journalists, authors, members of Congress, and prominent members of public interest groups.

Operating under the fictitious names “Gregory Davis”, “Preston G. Davis”, and “Gregoire525”, this individual has friended more than 300 people, gaining access to the personal information and status updates they have posted. Many of those individuals were maligned on websites run by the Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF), an industry-funded astroturf group that specializes in vicious smear campaigns against public interest groups, vegans, environmentalists, animal welfare, and the charities associated with them.

HWI has obtained evidence that suggests CCF’s Director of Research, David Martosko, is using these false identities to spy on activists and public interest groups.

Given Martosko’s obsession with activists, erratic behavior, substance abuse, rumors of stalking, and the presence of his name on a 2007 concealed weapon report, his access to this sensitive information is extremely troubling.

Timeline of Events
Note: Many of the screenshots below were taken after “Gregory” had changed his Facebook identity to “Preston”. Facebook retains the content of the post, but displays the current name on the account. Therefore, you may see instances where people are talking to “Greg”, but the replies appear under “Preston’s” name. They are the same account, and the same person. Update Feb. 08, 2011: Almost immediately after this article was published, Gregory/Preston changed his name again. The account in question is here, and if it appears on your friends list, it should be blocked, and reported as a fake account.

Jan. 2001 The Yahoo! account gregoire525 is created. 5/25 is David Martosko’s birthdate. The corresponding email account is later used to register a Facebook account under the fictitious names “Gregory Davis” and “Preston G. Davis”.
Nov. 2001 CCF launches a website,, which publishes negative profiles of activists and activist groups. Foremost among its targets are SHAC, PETA, PCRM, and the HSUS.
Aug. 2002 Gregoire525 posts in the Pro-Animal-Rights forum on Yahoo. The subject line of the post reads “SHAC group moving in from England?”, and contains an article from the Financial Times titled “US is the export target for animal rights militants”.
Nov. 2004 Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) files an IRS complaint challenging CCF’s tax-exempt status for, among other violations, engaging in prohibited electioneering against presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich.
Gregory/Preston later joins both CREW’s and Kucinich’s Facebook pages.
May 2005 CCF’s Director of Research, David Martosko, gives Senate testimony for a hearing on the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act.
He states: “The threat from domestic terrorism motivated by environmental and animal-rights ideologies is well documented, unambiguous, and growing… HSUS, PETA, and PETA’s quasi-medical affiliate, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), are troubling examples of animal-rights charities which have connections to their movement’s militant underbelly.”
Throughout his testimony, Martosko refers to SHAC, the subject of the 2005 post made by gregoire525.
Sep. 2006 The Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act is passed by the U.S. Senate. A dissenting statement was issued by Representative Dennis Kucinich.
Feb. 15, 2007 A concealed weapon petition is heard in Fairfax County Civil Court. The docket is “#CL-2007-0000410, In Re: David Matthew Martosko”. The petition is granted.
Mar. 12, 2007 David Martosko is allegedly seen stalking and photographing activists at a meeting of the National Conference on Organized Resistance.
Sep. 29, 2008 David Martosko is arrested for DUI and related offenses.
Dec. 5, 2008 David Martosko receives a suspended sentence of one year, suspension of his drivers’ license for one year, a fine, and mandatory substance abuse counseling.
Dec. 18, 2009 A Facebook account under the false name “Gregory Davis” is created, with the email address The profile is a two-dimensional caricature of a vegan activist, with a few superficially liberal interests and a political affiliation listed as “dope-smoking commie”. Gregory explains his sudden appearance with a tale of his supposed adventures building dog fostering networks in India and Bangladesh.

He joins a number of activist groups on Facebook.
Dec. 22, 2009 Although nobody publicly questioned him, Gregory posts a preemptive defense of his identity.

The gregoire525 Yahoo! identity was created in 2002.
Dec. 25, 2009 The Center for Consumer Freedom posts an article about the HSUS suit against Ringling Bros. on their website. That same day, Gregory/Preston posts a link to the article on his wall.
Dec. 2009 – Present Gregory joins dozens of groups associated with CCF’s enemies: PETA, HSUS, Mercy for Animals, Dennis Kucinich, CREW, Sea Shepherd, SHAC, etc.. He friends prominent individuals in the fields of animal rights, veganism, and environmental protection. In all, more than 300 activists, authors, journalists, and politicians are victimized by the impostor. At least 50 of these individuals have been personally attacked on CCF websites.
Jan. 12, 2010 Gregory/Preston posts a message to his Facebook wall about exercising his Second Amendment rights over a satellite radio broadcast.

Mar. 2, 2010 David Martosko posts a press release announcing the results of a CCF-commissioned poll. Later that day, Gregory/Preston refers to it on the HSUS Facebook page.
Mar. 21, 2010 The “Stop HumaneWatch” Facebook group (SHW) is formed to combat misinformation from the Center for Consumer Freedom. Soon after, Gregory joins the group:

Martosko has made idle threats of libel suits against SHW members on several occasions.
May 2010 David Martosko’s 2008 DUI arrest is exposed on a blog critical of CCF. Martosko grudgingly admits his alcoholism on the HumaneWatch Facebook group the following day. Subsequent posts by Gregory/Preston take on a distinctly hostile tone, and he begins making inflammatory posts on the “Stop HumaneWatch” Facebook group urging members to commit acts of violence against Conklin Dairy. The comments are immediately deleted by a moderator, but not before arousing members’ suspicions that Gregory might be an agent provocateur trying to incite comments that could be used against the group.
May 28, 2010 HumaneWatch posts a blog message inciting readers to harass Jordan Winery, an HSUS donor. That same day, Gregory/Preston harasses the Jordan Winery Facebook page.
Jul. 8, 2010 Following a string of high-profile HumaneWatch failures — a scathing exposé of CCF in the NY Times, a premature celebration over the Ohio Compromise that outraged CCF’s agricultural supporters, and failures to convince Jordan Winery, Chipotlé, and other donors to abandon their support of the HSUS — Martosko is arrested again on alcohol-related charges. The charges are public intoxication, swearing, and trespassing on the grounds of a church/school.
Jul. 16, 2010 David Martosko posts the following message on the HumaneWatch website: “Instead of seeing my name plastered on everything, you’ll soon be reading articles contributed by various members of the HumaneWatch team. There will even be some outsiders sharing their own analysis.”
Jul. 2010 – Dec. 2010 Gregory’s behavior continues to become more erratic and hostile. He frequently breaks character, making disparaging remarks about animal protection groups, contradicting previous stories, defending CCF/HumaneWatch, and angrily confronting those who criticize David Martosko.
Inconsistent stories:


Confrontations with HumaneWatch opponents:


Nov. 2010 Organic farmer Kevin Fulton hosts a town hall meeting with HSUS. David Martosko, reportedly acting in an erratic manner, is refused entrance. The evening culminates with Martosko accosting Mr. Fulton at a men’s room urinal with a recording device. When the incident is related on SHW, Gregory responds:
Dec. 3, 2010 Concerned members of SHW email dozens of Gregory’s victims, warning them of their suspicions. Many of those individuals immediately cut off Gregory’s access to their personal information.
That evening, a user posts a comment on this blog under the name “Greg”, with an email of “”, an attack on the blog’s webmaster with whom Martosko has clashed previously. Greg posts: “Where’s the DISLIKE button? Hope the money from Pacelle feels good. Your heart is a black rock.”
Access logs showed that the comment originated from an Verizon FIOS subscriber in Burke, VA — a short distance from David Martosko’s house.
Two hours later, when a member of SHW refers to Martosko’s behavior in Nebraska and history of alcohol abuse, Gregory explodes:
Dec. 16, 2010 Martosko posts a blog entry calling attention to Wayne Pacelle’s role in Michael Vick’s rehabilitation. That evening, Gregory/Preston posts a link to that blog on the HSUS Facebook thread.
Dec. 29, 2010 “Gregory” posts a comment on the HSUS Facebook page calling attention to the fact that Second Chance, a horse rescued by HSUS, has died. The following morning, David Martosko posts a blog entry calling attention to the fact that Second Chance has died.
Jan. 21, 2011 “Gregory Davis” changes the name on his account to “Preston G. Davis”, and begins friending activists again. On January 21st, he replies to a reader on the HumaneWatch Facebook group in the cadence, voice, and mannerisms that David Martosko uses in his administrative capacity. Nine minutes later, he notices his error and hastily tries to cover his tracks.

The post is later deleted from Gregory/Preston’s Facebook wall, but not from the HumaneWatch page.
Feb. 7, 2011 Gregory/Preston responds to a friend request from the webmaster of this site, John Doppler Schiff.
Mr. Schiff replies to that Facebook email by asking if Gregory/Preston is familiar with the people behind HumaneWatch, and provides a link to a hidden page on the site. The IP address of any visitor to that page is logged. Only Gregory/Preston and Schiff know of the page’s existence.
Feb. 8, 2011 At 8:57 AM and 8:59 AM, Pacific, the link is accessed twice from IP address This IP address traces back to the Washington, D.C. neighborhood of Martosko’s employer, Berman & Company, Inc.

6:26 PM. John Doppler Schiff sends another Facebook email to Gregory/Preston, inviting him to click on a link that would “change the minds of a LOT of HumaneWatchers”.
7:01 PM. Web logs show that the link is accessed from a Verizon FIOS subscriber in Burke, VA, in the same area and network as “Greg”, less than a mile from David Martosko’s residence. Only Schiff and Gregory/Preston know of the link’s existence.

7:22 PM. Gregory/Preston opens a chat window with Schiff to ask why the links aren’t working. Schiff says he will look into the problem.
7:26 PM. Gregory/Preston clearly knows he’s caught, and tries to cover his tracks. He changes his profile information in Facebook; he now pretends to be from Fairfax, VA. He changes his employer; he now pretends to work for World Bank Publishing, a company close to Berman & Company’s offices. He adds a work history, claiming to be employed by Trader Joes from 2008 to 2010.

This conflicts with his original cover story, when he previously claimed to be in India and Bangladesh. It also conflicts with the facts, as Trader Joe’s does not have locations in Colorado.


  1. Someone operating under the assumed name “Gregory Davis” and “Preston G. Davis”, using the account is friending activists, authors, legislators, bloggers, and other prominent individuals on Facebook.

  2. Gregory/Preston makes contradictory statements about his history and his ideology.

  3. At least 50 of the individuals friended by Gregory/Preston have been targeted by Richard Berman and the Center for Consumer Freedom on their websites.

  4. Nearly all of Gregory/Preston’s Facebook “likes” are directly related to issues CCF pursues.

  5. David Martosko is the spokesperson and Director of Research for CCF. He lives in Burke, VA, and works at CCF’s offices in Washington, D.C.

  6. Gregory/Preston frequently makes comments and posts which mirror Martosko’s writings within hours of their publication.

  7. Links sent privately to Gregory/Preston were subsequently visited by a person residing in Burke, VA within a mile of Martosko’s house, and working in Washington, D.C. within a mile of Martosko’s workplace.

  8. Martosko has an aggressive anti-activist agenda.

  9. Martosko is alleged to have stalked and photographed activists in 2007.

  10. Martosko has a recent history of substance abuse and erratic behavior.

  11. Martosko may have a concealed weapon permit.
If you have accepted a friend request from this questionable account, please block the account. Many of the individuals who were previously warned about “Gregory Davis” later accepted friend requests from the same account under “Preston G. Davis”. Blocking the account prevents you from seeing future requests, even if the name on the account changes.
Be wary of friend requests from people you don’t know. Don’t be shy about asking mutual friends if they can vouch for the person.
Please contact the webmaster for further information.

Update March 15, 2013

A Mother Jones report has independently confirmed Martosko’s impersonation of activists through court documents in the case of Human League of Philadelphia v. Berman & Co.