Rick Berman Attacks the Humane Society

Sad puppyFront group man extraordinaire Rick Berman and his attack group, the Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF), have launched a new Web site, HumaneWatch.org, to harass the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), the country's largest animal welfare organization. In pursuing its mission of stopping animal cruelty, HSUS has apparently run afoul of some large, wealthy business interests, and now it is getting some major pushback.

The Humane Society works to stop egregious, ongoing animal abuse, particularly in money-making enterprises like puppy mills, factory farming, dogfighting, cockfighting, and unsporting hunting practices like "canned hunts," where hunters pay to shoot at captive, domestically-raised, exotic animals. While this is a laudable goal, it pits HSUS against a significant number of wealthy, powerful businesses that engage in animal cruelty practices, like meat and egg producers, factory farmers, canned hunting businesses, contract research labs that do animal testing for big corporations and pharmaceutical companies that exploit animals to manufacture drugs like Premarin, which is used to treat the symptoms of menopause. Premarin is made from pregnant mares' urine and is marketed by Wyeth Pharmacueticals, one of the world's largest drug companies.

People Love Animals

HumaneWatch.org may have a hard time trying to build public animosity towards the Humane Society, since most of civil society cannot countenance the extreme cruelty against animals that occurs in these facilities. (There are now a number of videos showing such treatment posted at SourceWatch.org). At present, Berman's site, HumaneWatch.org, is trying to generate outrage against HSUS by ridiculing the group's recent activities, like raising funds for animal relief in Haiti and marketing its own brand of cruelty-free, all-natural dry dog food that does not support the factory farming industry. HumaneWatch is also trying to hurt and embarrass businesses that donate to HSUS, like the Yellow Tail Wine company, which recently donated $100,000 to HSUS's Animal Rescue Team. To target Yellow Tail, HumaneWatch.org posted a video of a cowboy standing in a manure-filled pen surrounded by cows, and pouring a bottle of Yellow Tail wine on the ground, while explaining that he is doing it to retaliate against the company for supporting the Humane Society. The video makes you want to donate to HSUS and go out and buy Yellow Tail wine to thank them for caring about animals.

Money bagsWho is Funding HumaneWatch.org?

Berman typically sets up his front groups as 501(c)4 organizations and then carries out his attacks through these groups to avoid disclosing his donors, so we have no way of knowing which industries or companies are funding Berman's attack on the Humane Society. We can probably get a good idea, though. Just determine which businesses profit most from animal cruelty, and you'll likely find the funders among them.

One thing we can be certain about: the Humane Society must be doing a decent job of lobbying on behalf of animal welfare, or it wouldn't have found itself in Berman's crosshairs.


Richard Berman has been a regular front man for business and industry in campaigns against consumer safety and environmental groups. Through his public affairs firm, Berman and Company, Berman has fought unions, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, PETA and other watchdog groups in their efforts to raise awareness about obesity, the minimum wage, the dangers of smoking, mad cow disease, drunk driving, and other causes. Berman runs at least 15 industry-funded front groups and projects, such as the Center for Union Facts and holds 16 "positions" in those organizations.

This article has a major mistake: The HSUS is NOT an animal welfare group. It pretends to be, so the donations keep rolling in, but its sole aim is to end all animal agriculture. Their steps towards animal 'welfare' are actually steps towards animal 'liberation', where no animal can be owned, restrained, incarcerated, exploited, and of course, eaten. Forced veganism on the populace. In the process, that means no cats or dogs. If you don't believe me, read what the HSUS says - their own words: http://www.naiaonline.org/articles/article/quotes-from-the-leaders-of-the-animal-rights-movement Rick Berman is protecting the industries who are threatened by HSUS. I don't like a lot of what I read about him, and those industries need to clean up their act, but if they are threatened they are going to fight back. Wouldn't you? Animal welfare groups now can't negotiate improvements for animals, because the doors are slammed shut, thanks to the HSUS and PeTA.

HA... Your silly article even shows a photo of a sad little puppy when you attack the public information campaign that correctly points out that little puppies are not what the HSUS primarily protects. What made you pick the photo of the puppy?? To pull at the heartstrings of an unsuspecting public?? You had to be aware that the "Attack" is merely a correct dissemination of the fact that the HSUS is not primarily in the business of protecting cats and puppies. That is the sum total of what you are calling an attack... a correction of public opinion. The HSUS spends a small token of it's money protecting pets and the vast majority of it pursuing a PETA type agenda and your puppy has no place in this article, it should be a picture of a tasty looking chicken.

As Karen points out (see above) the HSUS do tremendous work shutting down puppy mills. They also work to crack down on dog fighting - rescuing thousands of dogs from both of these types of operations and pushing for stricter laws to bring an end to these forms of abuse. They provide spay-neuter clinics, which is perhaps one of the most puppy-friendly things to do, all the while leading dedicated campaigns for adoption through public service announcements and awareness campaigns that your small local shelter would never be able to afford. Their website and magazines are always providing information for dog owners on how to care for their pets and solve "problem behaviors" - one of the biggest reasons why pets get abandoned. This helps to stem the tide of dogs that end up in shelters, and create sociable and well-trained animals that can be more easily adopted should anything happen to their owners. Their Disaster Response teams provide assistance and medical care in times of emergency, and thanks to donors they have the necessary equipment to carry out their missions. Their trained rescuers have helped save thousands of pets in need. Finally, their Street Dog Welfare program works to help alleviate the suffering encountered by dogs in developing countries, where overpopulation is a problem. They seem like a pretty dog-gone dog friendly bunch to me! Just because the HSUS does not run any dog shelters per se does not mean that they don't help a LOT of dogs on a daily basis! When it comes to farm animals (the last on their list, actually) their main concern is bringing an end to factory farming - one cruel practice at a time. In fact, they encourage better husbandry practices (like cage-free farming) and bring much needed public support to farmers who are invested in the welfare of their animals. Finally, a lot of people working for HSUS do indeed seem to love animals enough to have personally sworn off from eating them, and are not ashamed to let their choices be known. At the same time, their website and most of their articles concerning diet ask people to simply *reduce* their meat and dairy consumption. I would hardly call promoting Meatless Mondays and a "flexitarian" approach to be a "PETA type agenda".

CCF and its backers have a vested interest in badmouthing groups like HSUS and sadly many people believe their twists on the truth. They claim that HSUS does not spend any money on local shelters and that if you are donating money to HSUS, you are not helping animals and that you are being fooled. That is NOT TRUE! While HSUS is not the same as your local humane society, they do a tremendous amount of work to help animals to include emergency rescue, puppy mill busts, exposing cruelty in fur farms, etc. and yes helping local shelters. If anyone out there has ANY doubts as to what HSUS does with their money to help animals, I can tell you as a volunteer on several of the 12 puppy mill busts in the last 18 months in NC that their money is going to help the animals. If it were not for HSUS, the counties could not afford to execute these busts. It take resources - lots of resources, including money, to make it happen. It not only takes a lot of money, but also lots of volunteers like me, that have been trained in emergency rescue and help from many other shelters, rescues, vets and pet supply companies. Do you know who pulls all of that help together? Our HSUS state director. HSUS state directors are not paid a lot - especially for the amount of hours they put into their work. Despite what people think, donations are needed from the public to HSUS to help animals and that includes the people on their payroll to make this happen. Not one group out there runs successfully without operating costs. My point? Yes some money does not go directly to the animals' care as CCF goes on and on about - some goes to the operating expenses of a much-needed international group that helps more animals than any other group out there. HSUS does not run your local shelter and never claimed to do that, but to say they don't use your money to help animals is a blatant lie. As the article says - look at the businesses that profit from animal cruelty and look at which side they are on because it is not HSUS'. They want them to fail so they support CCF in a big way. I never trust the opinion of groups like CCF that have a vested interest in seeing good groups fail.

This guy is trying to destroy everything that is good in this country, the middle class, unions that provide good paying jobs, and benefits, animal rights. He is the lowest form on human life he doesnt care who he tries to hurt as long as he is making a buck