Porky & Buddy’s Pet Health: Where Your Humane Society Money Goes

Dear Porky and Buddy,

I am very concerned. I just saw an ad in the New York Times placed by an organization called HumaneWatch.org. It said, “The Humane Society of the United States is NOT your local animal shelter. In fact, it gives less than one-half of one percent of its $100 million budget to hands-on pet shelters. Meanwhile, this wealthy animal rights group socked away over $2.5 million of Americans’ donations in its own pension plans.”

Can this be true? I give money to the HSUS. I have always assumed that they provide funds to the Oswego County Humane Society. Do they? And why should my donations be used for pension plans?


Dear Rick,

Whoa! We are glad you asked this question, because these ads, which have appeared in many national papers, have caused a lot of confusion.

First some background on the ads themselves. HumaneWatch.org is an organization affiliated of the “Center for Consumer Freedom,” which, in spite of its name, is known as a front group for corporations trying to thwart animal welfare, environmental, and other public interest reforms. It is not a consumer protection organization, and it has no social welfare mission.

CCF was started with a grant from tobacco companies to attack anti-smoking organizations. With support from the restaurant, alcohol, and agribusiness industries, it has mounted campaigns against Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Center for Science in the Public Interest, most recently the Humane Society of the United States, and others.

So don’t confuse HumaneWatch.org with any organization that cares one iota about animal welfare.

That said, the content of the ad is absolutely true. And our response is, is, “So what?” The HSUS is not affiliated in any way with the Oswego County Humane Society or any other local organization. We are all independent organizations, set up to meet local needs. The HSUS is a national organization with a national focus. It works primarily on state and national legislation, regional and statewide animal cruelty investigations, response to national disasters, and public awareness campaigns. It does operate five sanctuaries but they are for wildlife and horses.

It provides some funding to local organizations for specific purposes, frequently spay/neuter programs, and large scale animal cruelty investigations, but not for general operating costs . It also generously shares its resources and expertise, providing public relations materials, training and consultations with local organizations. When OCHS was first beginning ten years ago, HSUS assisted us with a consultant who was invaluable in helping us focus on effective strategies for our development.

Some of the HSUS campaigns are controversial, to be sure, but they truly are about promoting animal welfare. So why should their staff, who have devoted their lives to this important cause, not have a pension? The assumption that animal welfare work is not important enough to deserve decent pay and benefits is, frankly, one that annoys us.

The Oswego County Humane Society provides spay/neuter services and assistance, fostering and adoption of animals in urgent need, humane education programs, and information and referrals to animal lovers throughout Oswego County. Our office is located at 265 West First Street, Oswego, New York. Phone (315) 207-1070. Email:[email protected] Website: www.oswegohumane.org.