Laws, Lobbyists, and HumaneWatch Lies

As part of their smear campaign against animal welfare, HumaneWatch publishes a series of inept attempts at infographics called “The Visual HSUS”. Their latest propaganda complains that the HSUS spends more on “lobbying” than it does on funding pet shelters. But HumaneWatch shoots itself in the foot by quoting the purpose of the HSUS from their Articles of Incorporation 56 years ago: “To protect all living things… from cruelty and neglect, with special emphasis on cruelties of national scope.” National scope. That’s an important phrase. The HSUS was never intended to fund local pet shelters; that’s simply not its purpose. The HSUS (along with other national groups like the ASPCA) confront issues that local groups don’t have the influence or resources to tackle. And these national efforts have been the greatest deterrent to animal cruelty the world has ever seen. In addition to disaster relief work, large-scale animal rescues, sanctuaries and wildlife rehabilitation centers, public awareness campaigns, shelter advocacy, and dozens of other HSUS programs and campaigns for animal welfare, they also educate legislators on the need for animal protection. That’s not the same as lobbying, but HumaneWatch — an alias of the Center for Consumer Freedom, itself run by a corporate lobbyist — would rather you didn’t know that. Let’s take a look at what HumaneWatch considers lobbying, and what came of it:
  • Thanks to the HSUS, the Humane Slaughter Act was passed in 1958. Fifty years later, HSUS undercover investigations of a slaughterhouse in Chino, CA and subsequent testimony before Congress led to a comprehensive ban on processing of sickly “downer” cattle.
  • In 1976, the Humane Transport Act prohibited the shipping of puppies in freezing or suffocating baggage compartments, shipped in lettuce crates and other unsafe containers. Thank HSUS investigations and their work with Congress for putting an end to that.
  • The Animal Welfare Act received additional enforcement funding in 2002 thanks to the efforts and testimony of the HSUS.
  • HSUS CEO Wayne Pacelle teamed up with actress/activist Tippi Hedren and other animal welfare advocates to save thousands of big cats from death and suffering in the exotic animal trade. The Captive Wildlife Safety Act of 2003 banned the interstate trafficking of lions, tigers, jaguars, and other big cats. It was passed unanimously by Congress.
  • The PETS Act of 2006 requires states receiving FEMA aid to accommodate pets and service animals in their plans for disaster evacuations. It was passed thanks to HSUS’ work with legislators, and their testimony about the events of Hurricane Katrina.
  • When the Supreme Court struck down the law making the sale of crush videos illegal, HSUS led the charge to pass a new bill. HSUS investigations revealed a surge in crush video sales following the invalidation of the law, and a new bill was promptly signed into law in 2010.
These laws constitute a tiny sample of the more than 1,000 anti-cruelty laws passed through the efforts of the HSUS. Legislation is the only effective deterrent to the cruelty of animal abusing industries. When you consider that more than 70% of HSUS-backed ballot campaigns to protect animals from cruelty are successful, it’s no surprise that HSUS was voted the #1 animal protection nonprofit by Guidestar’s Philanthropedia study. Now, ask yourself why industry-funded groups like HumaneWatch would try to oppose and discredit that. Could it be… money? Companies that profit from animal cruelty know that the HSUS’ legislative efforts are the biggest threat to inhumane business practices. The PR firms they hire — front groups like the Center for Consumer Freedom — know it too. And it scares them. It scares them because animal welfare advocates are winning the battle for the humane treatment of animals, one person, one company, one issue, one state, one law at a time. If you would like to support the HSUS’ efforts to protect animals from cruelty, please consider making a donation to the Humane Society of the United States or its legislative branch, the Humane Society Legislative Fund. Volunteer to help animals. And warn your friends about deceptive anti-animal groups like HumaneWatch.