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.

Revenge of the sockpuppet

Some time ago, HumaneWatchers exposed a “secret group” of HSUS fans who were undermining HumaneWatch’s industry-funded efforts to spread lies and libel around the internet. That covert group had been hiding in a place where only the most clever of investigators could have found them: a Facebook group named “Stop HumaneWatch“.

Members of SHW were undoubtedly stunned by the revelation. “How could they have identified us?” they must have wondered. “They must have a spy in our midst!”

HumaneWatch revealed more of that investigative prowess today. David Martosko singlehandedly uncovered the fact that HSUS employees Anne, Sarah, and Hillary were operating under the pseudonyms “AnneHSUS”, “SarahHSUS”, and “HillaryHSUS”. It was a fiendishly clever disguise that only a master of deduction (or perhaps opera) could have exposed. Well, that, or someone who actually reads their comments, in which they often and openly disclosed the fact that they are employed by the HSUS.

Not content to rest on his already-squashed and misshapen laurels, Martosko repeated his false claim that HSUS uses “unethical tactics to hide their identities”, linking to his earlier article about veterinarian Patty Khuly. Following the “sockpuppet” incident — which did not involve an HSUS employee — Dr. Khuly publicly apologized “for having egregiously implied the HSUS was behind the missives”. And in a phone interview, she confirmed that she had notified David Martosko in email that she had no evidence implicating the HSUS or its employees in the incident.

Martosko was informed that his sockpuppet story is incorrect. He knows that his repetition of that falsehood is a lie. and he continues to lie about it, just as he refers to the retracted WSB-TV story he provided misinformation for.

Martosko writes in his blog on sockpuppets:

By trying to hide your identity when you leave a comment, you’re trying to influence everyone else’s perception of how credible the article is by pretending to be a disinterested third party who’s just offering a fair critique.

But here’s a news flash for HSUS employees: Blogs keep logs. And those records include the IP address of everyone who stops by to leave an incendiary remark.

Martosko’s definition is slightly off — a consistent pseudonym does not a sockpuppet make — but his warning about IP traces is absolutely correct.

The HSUS does not use sockpuppets. There is an official policy against it at the Humane Society of the US, and their employees are invariably patient, professional, and courteous in the face of mind-numbing ignorance and hate from HumaneWatchers. If HSUS employees depended on these unethical tactics, they would certainly have been exposed and discredited by now.

Allow me to demonstrate.

Consider the following comment left on this website by an individual named “Greg”, who signed up with the fake email address “”:

Where’s the DISLIKE button? Hope the money from Pacelle feels good. Your heart is a black rock.

When we first saw this comment, we dismissed it as the usual HumaneWatcher bile. But the homoerotic oral fixation expressed by “Greg” towards our happily-married webmaster disturbed us. So we followed Martosko’s advice on incendiary remarks, and traced the IP address of the poster through an IP geolocation service.

A well-known drunk driving zone in Burke, VA

Lo and behold, that IP address is assigned to Verizon FIOS account belonging to a Washington DC account holder residing in Burke, VA. And that address happens to be a stone’s throw away from the home address of that serial liar and crusader against sockpuppetry, David Martosko.

Geolocation is not an exact science: without a subpoena to force an internet provider to hand over access records, only the neighborhood can be pinpointed. So it’s possible that it was one of Martosko’s sexually conflicted neighbors hiding behind that phallocentric sockpuppet identity, and they just happened to randomly target this website with a personal attack. Sure. It could happen.

But it’s far more likely that this is yet another example of Martosko’s true colors showing through his threadbare suit.

Martosko’s lawyer, Atticus Reaser, specializes in DUI defense, traffic defense, and computer crime defense. When David Martosko called his office, Mr. Reaser hit the trifecta.

And here’s a teaser for an upcoming article: if Mr. Reaser can brush up on libel law, he’ll have hit the superfecta.

Martosko’s downward spiral

In July of 2010, David Martosko made the following statement on the HumaneWatch blog:
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.

Some time thereafter, Martosko’s personal biography disappeared from the HumaneWatch site.

Martosko has a substantial ego, and has always enjoyed the limelight, so his sudden withdrawal aroused our suspicions. We now know the reason for his announced departure.

On July 8th, 2010, David Martosko was arrested for yet another alcohol-related incident. He was taken into custody and charged with Class 3 and Class 4 Misdemeanor offenses: trespassing on school/church grounds at night, public swearing, and intoxication. This is Martosko’s 18th run-in with the law that we are aware of.

Martosko was previously arrested in 2008 for a number of violations, including driving while intoxicated, refusing a breathalyzer test, and drinking *while* operating a vehicle. That’s especially shocking conduct when you consider that the Center for Consumer Freedom — HumaneWatch’s parent organization — aggressively attacks Mothers Against Drunk Driving, and protests blood alcohol limits and sobriety checkpoints.

Following his newest arrest in July, Martosko has denied his erratic behavior at the Nebraska town hall meeting. He remains evasive about the events of that night, accusing eyewitnesses of “spinning tall tales”, but declining to refute any of the specific allegations made against him.

Martosko was barred from the town hall meeting in Nebraska due to his belligerence and odd behavior, which culminated in his confronting the meeting’s host, Kevin Fulton, with a recording device at a men’s room urinal. Martosko’s report on the incident only mentioned that Kevin was “reached for comment”, but unsurprisingly did not provide much detail on the location or circumstances of the attempted interview.

At the time, Martosko’s behavior seemed inexplicably bizarre. In light of his arrest on an earlier night for loitering at a church/school while drunk, belligerent, and obscene, his behavior in Nebraska makes a lot more sense.

David Martosko was granted a continuance until May 10th, 2011. We’ll let you know the outcome of that hearing and sentencing as soon as the information is available, and its impact on the HumaneWatch smear campaign.

Despite our differences with Mr. Martosko, we sincerely hope that he will find the strength to confront his addictions in the coming New Year.

Update: January 3, 2011
General VA Court Case information is now available for the trespassing charge and public intoxication/swearing.

Update: January 10, 2011
A FOIA request for the details of the incident was denied due to the criminal investigation underway against Martosko.

This correspondence is in response to your email received by the Internal Affairs Bureau of the Fairfax County Police Department in which you requested a copy of the police report and warrant associated with Mr. David Martosko’s arrest. I have determined that it is not releasable under the Virginia Freedom of Information Act. The complete police report is considered to be criminal investigation information or material. As such, it is exempted from disclosure under Section 2.2-3706 (F) (1) ofthe Code of Virginia. If I can be of further assistance please do not hesitate to contact me. Sincerely Timothy W. Field Second Lieutenant Internal Affairs Bureau 4100 Chain Bridge Road Fairfax, VA 22030 703-246-2980

We’ll try again later this year, after Martosko’s hearing and sentencing.

HumaneWatch brings out the worst

Wednesday, December 15, 2010, was a banner day for HumaneWatch, or so David Martosko thought.  For this was the day that Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, said that maybe, possibly, if he continues to go above and beyond all the requirements of his probation, Michael Vick might someday be able to own a dog. Judging from the reaction, you would think Wayne had endorsed Vick going back to dog fighting.  But the fact is, Vick sought out the HSUS to assist him in speaking to groups of inner city school children to tell them that dog fighting is wrong.  And who are these kids more likely to believe — an Ivy League-educated leader of an animal welfare organization, or a famous athlete with a multimillion-dollar contract whose image they likely have on their bedroom walls? You might also think that Vick had given money to Wayne to line his pockets.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  What happened was the Philadelphia Eagles donated money for several animal advocacy programs, including $50,000 for the HSUS to start an End Dogfighting Program in Philadelphia, $50,000 for the Philadelphia Animal Welfare Society to build a spay-neuter clinic, and $50,000 for the Berks County Humane Society to fund a mobile veterinary clinic.  Those all sound like pretty good causes to me. For the record, I disagree with Wayne and believe that Michael Vick should never be able to own a dog.  But the court order preventing him from owning a pet expires in two years, and Wayne truly believes that people who abuse animals can be rehabilitated.  If they can’t, why bother having treatment programs such as AniCare, which many animal abusers are ordered to complete? However, none of this has stopped David Martosko of HumaneWatch from trying to make the most of Wayne’s unpopular opinion.  On Sunday, HumaneWatch took out a full page ad on the Vick situation in The New York Times.  Since then, Martosko has posted about Vick on the HumaneWatch Facebook page no less than 24 times, garnering almost 3,000 comments.  The posts are passionate, strongly opinionated, and almost universally blasting Vick and the HSUS. Unfortunately, many of the comments are also quite violent, something Martosko seems to revel in and encourage in order to whip up rage against Vick and the HSUS to as high a fever pitch as possible.  Let’s take a look at a sampling: From Sunday, December 19 PsychicGirl Devine Natura was quite busy making threats about Vick.  Check out these gems:

Effie Natsis wanted to run Vick over, if not one way, then another:

Other commenters wished additional bad things to befall Vick:

Most disturbing, Liz Willnow threatened Vick’s 2-, 5-, and 7-year-old children:

From Monday, December 20 Kira Baulesh spilled her venom against Vick first in regular case letters and then in all caps in case we didn’t get it the first time: From Tuesday, December 21 Ashley Nelson wanted mob-style justice: Jennifer Parmer crossed the line into blatant racism, calling for Vick to be lynched: As you can see from these posts, some sick people hang out at HumaneWatch.  But even worse is the sickness of David Martosko in encouraging comments like these.  The fact that these comments have stretched through a period of days demonstrates a pattern of conduct on the HumaneWatch Facebook page.  In addition, though some of these comments have been taken down, many are still up, and even those that were eventually taken down remained up for hours if not days. What’s even more hypocritical is the fact that many regular commenters on the HumaneWatch Facebook page are animal abusers themselves – people like Katie Dokken, Trish Bragg, Lori Barva Rogers, Barbara Hoffman, and most recently Jennifer Hobbs Butler.  Yet Martosko never bans these people, and their fellow HumaneWatchers applaud their presence and excuse their offenses. So whose side are you on, Martosko?  Either you are against animal abuse or you are not.  If you are against abuse, I challenge you to ban each and every animal abuser from your page and publicly tell us why.  The fact that you don’t speaks volumes about your true agenda.

Martosko has questions. We’ve got answers.

Cow with answersYesterday, David Martosko of HumaneWatch published five questions for his followers to ask Wayne Pacelle at the HSUS town hall meeting in Lincoln, Nebraska.   The answers are readily available at the HSUS website, Wayne Pacelle’s blogs, and in related websites.

Using these materials, I have taken the liberty of putting together some answers that Wayne Pacelle or another HSUS employee might give to Mr. Martosko’s questions. Please note: I do not work at the HSUS and have not run these answers by anyone from that organization.  These are simply my answers based on reading their materials.

1. “In 1980 at HSUS’s annual meeting, the group made it official policy to – and I quote – ‘pursue on all fronts … the clear articulation and establishment of the rights of all animals … within the full range of American life and culture.’ Is this still HSUS’s goal? If you’re trying to give so-called ‘rights’ to cows, pigs, and chickens, why wouldn’t that completely destroy the entire livestock industry?”

The HSUS works to get protections for animals.  It is not so much a question of animal rights as human responsibility.  Humans have the responsibility to treat animals humanely, and this includes animals raised for food, which are by far the largest percentage of animals used by humans.  Unfortunately, we do not always treat farm animals humanely.  This happens in two ways.  First there is treatment that everyone agrees is abuse, such as what the HSUS and even a USDA inspector has uncovered at multiple slaughter plants.  People were kicking calves and ramming them with electric prods, or using forklifts to move cows.  Despite such violations of the Humane Slaughter Act, people at these plants were treating animals this way on a routine basis.  When an inspector tried to report it, his managers demoted him and kept the plant open.  In this case the laws on the books were clearly not working, and the HSUS stepped in to help bring this situation to the attention of state and federal authorities.

Second, there are standard operating procedures in industrial agriculture that are legal but which the HSUS and the general public see as inhumane.  These include the intensive confinement of veal calves, pregnant pigs, and laying hens in cages so small they can’t turn around and cannot perform any natural behaviors such as rooting, nesting or perching.  Most people understand that an animal needs to be able to move around and perform natural behaviors, but intensive agriculture denies these basic needs.  They even deny that these animals have natural behaviors, despite the fact that they have evolved over millions of years, yet it has only been in the past few decades that we have seen widespread use of intensive confinement.  This intensive confinement also leads to food safety problems such as the salmonella outbreak we saw from the DeCoster egg operations that sickened half a million people and led to the largest egg recall in our nation’s history.  When animals are that stressed, they are likely to get sick.  Antibiotics are not the answer, as this has only led to new forms of drug-resistant bacteria that threaten human health.  The HSUS sees the answer as getting the animals out of intensive confinement and into a housing system where they can move around and express natural behaviors.

The HSUS is not out to put an end to animal agriculture as many of our opponents have charged.  Their purpose is to look out for the welfare of the animals in these systems.  If the Humane Society of the United States were to ignore the welfare of over 1 billion animals killed for food each year — by far the largest sector of animal use by humans — then it would not be doing its job.

2. “Can you name a specific meat, dairy, or egg brand that you and the Humane Society of the United States have endorsed?”

Sure.  The HSUS supports humane and sustainable farmers like Kevin Fulton, who arranged this town hall meeting in Lincoln, Nebraska.  Kevin runs a pasture beef operation in which cattle are allowed to graze freely on a natural diet of grass, which cows were evolved to eat.   The HSUS is also one of 30 animal welfare groups that supports the Certified Humane label.  You can see a list of Certified Humane farmers and ranchers on their website.  The HSUS also supports the new Global GAP animal welfare standards, implemented  just last week by Whole Foods.  Again, the HSUS is not out to end animal agriculture.  Its purpose is to put an end to the worst abuses on our nation’s factory farms.

3. “If you got a federal law passed that demanded a nation-wide switch to the kind of livestock production mandated by California’s ‘Proposition 2’ law, would you and HSUS be satisfied with your achievement and completely dissolve the animal-agriculture part of your organization?”

Certainly the HSUS would be thrilled to pass a law that switches the nation to a Proposition 2 type of livestock production.  However, it would be irresponsible for the HSUS to ever dissolve the animal agriculture part of its organization.  As stated previously, farm animals make up by far the largest percentage of animals used by humans in the United States.   The HSUS would not be doing its job if it did not continue to look out for the welfare of these animals.  That might consist of continuing to work for better laws to protect these animals.  But it might also consist of working to see that current laws are being properly enforced.  As we have seen with the Humane Slaughter Act, which the HSUS was instrumental in getting passed in 1958, our nation’s laws are not always followed, and sometimes when they are not, people in charge look the other way.  So the HSUS must continue to be vigilant in making sure farm animals are treated humanely and according to the law, and that the law is being followed on farms, at auctions, in slaughterhouses, and anywhere else humans are making widespread use of these animals.

4. “Is there such a thing as meat that’s ‘humane’ enough that your ethics permit you personally to eat it? If so, where can we buy some? If not, what’s the difference between your group and PETA?”

Wayne Pacelle has not eaten meat for at least two decades, so he would likely choose not to eat meat of any sort.  However, that is his choice, and not one he asks everyone to make, including employees of the HSUS.  Nowhere is there a clause requiring HSUS employees to adhere to a certain diet.  That is one difference between the HSUS and PETA, as PETA does require certain employees to adhere to a vegan diet.  PETA also has a mission statement that precludes any use of animals by humans for any purpose.  The HSUS has no such mission statement.  Its mission is to celebrate animals and confront cruelty, which is what it does, whether cruelty occurs on a factory farm, at a puppy mill, or in an animal fighting operation, canned hunt, fur farm, or anywhere else.

5. “In HSUS’s Articles of Incorporation – its founding documents – you’ll find the following declaration: ‘No substantial part of the activities of the corporation shall consist of the carrying on of propaganda or otherwise attempting to influence legislation.’ Has that been changed since 1954? If not, what on earth have you been doing all these years? Isn’t your job to propagandize and influence legislation? Isn’t that what Prop. 2 in California and Prop. B in Missouri were all about?”

The Humane Society of the United States does not do direct lobbying or campaigning for candidates for political office.  It does have an affiliated 501(c)(4) organization, the Humane Society Legislative Fund, that works to pass animal protection laws at the state and federal level, to educate the public about animal protection issues, and to support humane candidates for office.  The HSLF tracks votes by members of Congress on animal protection issues and creates a Humane Scorecard to inform voters who care about these issues.

The HSUS has also worked with coalitions such as Californians for Humane Farms and Missourians for the Protection of Dogs to help pass ballot measures in specific states.  It is certainly not the only member of these coalitions.  For example, Missourians for the Protection of Dogs was also supported by the ASPCA, Best Friends Animal Society, Humane Society of Missouri, Missouri Alliance for Animal Legislation, and Tony LaRussa Animal Welfare Foundation.  It was also endorsed by over 150 veterinarians and clinics, over 160 Missouri businesses, and over 100 other animal protection charities.  These initiatives have broad support in the states where they have been put to a vote, sometimes winning by a landslide as in the case of Proposition 2 in California, because they are reasonable, common sense reforms that most people want to see passed.

As you can see from this blog entry, which I put together in less than an hour, the answers to Mr. Martosko’s questions are not hard to find.  Unfortunately, Mr. Martosko’s purpose is not to look for fair and balanced information about the HSUS, but to destroy the HSUS by any means necessary including slander and lies so that it cannot work for welfare reforms that might threaten the profits of those who fund HumaneWatch.  My question to Mr. Martosko is:  When are you going to stop waging a smear campaign against the Humane Society of the United States and join the rest of the country in embracing actual animal welfare?