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.


Hunters kill thousands of predators every year. Here in the mountains of North Carolina, they ship in Coyotes to use as target practice. So no, nature doesn't need their "help". One of the more popular hunting magazines is called "Predator!" Not too long ago the headlines screamed "Bag a 100 coyotes this season!" What ever weak and lame excuses are being made (and no, there really aren't too many complaints about starving deer populations around here), the fact remains that canned hunting practices, baiting and trapping are slow, painful and cruel deaths. Hunting is a cowardly sport. A "win win" situation for losers who can't compete on a level field (see Dick Cheney) and have to prover their man (or woman hood) by tormenting animals. Remember Sarah Palin? Offering a money bonuses for the hind legs of wolves shot from planes? What an inspiration. Nature needs our help controlling the hunting population. All this hunting naturally upsets the balance of nature, particularly when hunters and wild life are competing for the same "starving deer".

<blockquote>"So, it is safe to assume that you are a vegan, wear and use only synthetic fibers?"</blockquote> Are cotton and linen synthetic? <blockquote>"Nature doesn't need help controlling the deer population?" </blockquote> Actually, it doesn't. It just doesn't always control them enough for human convenience.

YOU are responsible for understanding the organizations you donate to. YOU are responsible for understanding that the "The Humane Society of the United States" is not the same, or affiliated with, your locate "Humane Society" in Texas or any other state. The Humane Society of the United States does not sell shelter animals into labs. IMPORTANT - Get it straight - Just because a non-profit/rescue organization has the words "Humane Society" in their name does not mean they are part of "The Humane Society of the United States" -- THEY AREN'T. They are completely separate, unrelated organizations. Do your homework and take Rick Berman's one-man show with a grain of salt! Me-thinks Rick protests just alittle too much (lets say "hidden agenda").

I am not a fan of HSUS nor will I ever be. I feel that they are lobbyists and they deceive individuals on their website regarding donations. They make people think that they are having a direct impact on helping animals, when in fact it's paying for lobbying against any extreme measure they deem fit. It's just wrong. I tell everyone I know that if you want to make an impact and help out locally, where you live. Donate directly to that shelter. I live in Indiana and we have Humane Societies in just about every county. But I think it's a "mindset" that people believe the HSUS is like a Corporate office for the Humane Societies in our communities and it's NOT. So again, if you worked hard for your money and want to donate it so that the animals actually benefit, take it directly to the shelter or organization you want it to go to. We work too hard to have our money not go to the animals.

Unfortunately, the reality is that public policies determine many aspects of how we, and animals, must live our lives. That makes lobbying a necessary evil, and while shelters are of the utmost importance, someone must press to enact policies to stop animal cruelty at the commercial level. That is a reality that is beyond shelters' ability to address. Anne Landman

So now the problem is that HSUS IS NOT part of the local shelter system? Since you are obviously not a member, why are you complaining about being "deceived". You sound like you've been reading to many CCF sites or maybe that idiotic "AR-HR" (Animal Rights or Human Responsibility) site. Probably more appropriately called "Animal Rights or Corporate Profits". The actually have an ad campaign about HSUS "deception", even though it is obviously run by a disgruntled dog breeder going by the name of "Erica Saunders". He or she does nothing but complain about HSUS puppy mill raids and other animal abuse exposures. The breeders and animal profiteers have all got their fangs out because somebody is threatening their cash cow and they may actually have to get a job! Well, good for HSUS! To be honest, a lot of local shelters are pretty awful. As the previous poster pointed out, many sell animals into vivisection. Animals in 20 counties in North Carolina are gassed because a vet on the state rabies board makes and sells gas chambers. In Oregon, they had to pass a state law forbidding shelters from using animals for fur. They still trap and sell cats to sell for class room disection in Portland. So, it really just depends. Animals need voices in government just like everybody else. At least the HSUS doesn't grease palms. It is also not the "mindset" of people who support and /or donate to HSUS that they are a shelter. It sounds like you are the one who is being deceived, or more likely is trying to deceive.

I'm a carnivore and I wear leather. I own a horse that I purchased. It's a choice. I've also been a very active animal rescue volunteer for over 30 years. I can vouch that dog and cat rescue are much easier than horse rescue. My housepets have always been rescues (my dogs had been puppymill adult breeding stock). I've lived all over the globe and have personally witnessed both humane and inhumane animal treatment. I'm over-qualified by far too many professional certificates and university degrees. These are my sole credentials for my opinion basis. Humanitarian efforts towards living creatures is as much a polarizing topic as religion or politics or child-rearing. But what we are facing, per Anne's blog here, is commentary on spin-doctoring. CCF has been a spin-doctor tank all its existence, no matter who the target for their attacks. That's their bread and butter. They make great money irking people on behalf of the CCF contributors -- who much prefer staying anonymous. The US Postal Service is issuing stamps as of the end of April to raise awareness of the millions of pets in shelters. CCF is behind an email campaign sent to all volunteer animal rescue groups to counter this effort. Here's the body of that email: <<HSUS Stamp A new stamp is coming out the end of April called "Animal Rescue: Adopt A Shelter Pet Stamp" featuring shelter dogs and cats. The purpose of the stamp is to raise awareness to the millions of dogs and cats in shelters across the U.S. To launch the stamp Ellen DeGeneres is giving one million meals to shelters when people buy the stamps. The cost is the same as a regular stamp - 44 cents. Money from these stamps is going to HSUS. Ellen has not been shy about her support of HSUS. Money given there will not go to animals in shelters. HSUS's 2008 tax returns revealed that less than 1/2 of 1 percent of their budget funds a traditional (dog/cat) shelter. Money given to HSUS goes instead toward lobbying, anti-animal ownership legislation and attorneys. Please DO NOT BUY these stamps and advise your friends to do the same. The agenda of the HSUS is ANTI-ANIMAL OWNERSHIP!!! >> First, test the assumption made here. A celebrity is sending one million meals of food to shelters (she co-owns a pet food company) to launch these stamps. What's the problem with that? It's her money; she can do whatever she wants with it. That same celebrity endorses the non-profit HSUS. She can do that too. It's her choice. "Money given there will not go to animals in shelters" Now there's a real logical gap here. The celebrity is giving meals( pet food) to animal shelters. So, I ask, WHAT MONEY? The donation is in the form of pet food. Neither the celebrity nor HSUS are garnering any cash from the USPS issued stamps. Ah, yes, spin-doctoring...it's actually an example of required discretionary reading and hearing skills, isn't it? It's word play for the penultimate goal of getting an emotional reaction to trigger behaviors. Suddenly, donated pet food is magically being transmuted to monetary funds going to HSUS. Did you notice that transition? It's like one of those visual perception puzzles. What did you REALLY see and comprehend? But after broadcasting this CCF originated email, the small (a couple hundred members) rescue group to which I belong had our group website deluged with responses from members pledging not to buy the stamps. However, we actually have some members who have a strong nose for propaganda. One such posted: <<The USPS is issuing the stamps but HSUS is not getting any money from them. They are a sponsor as is Ellen DeGeneres and her Halo Dog food etc. Here's a link to the USPS and you can see all the sponsors, none of whom get any money from the sale of the stamps. This goes back several years when the HSUS bought rights to post their advertising on stamps from a company who works with the Post Office. I don't know all the details of how it worked, but this particular campaign will not put any money into the HSUS's pockets. http://stampstotherescue.com/ thecampaign. asp>> Ah, the joys of critical reading skills and the ever-questioning mind.

Don't let the (ridiculous) turkeys get you down. They were so obviously sent here to comment by the org that you're outing. Keep fighting the good fight for helpless animals!

Berman and his cronies and supporters are scumbags. It's just more of the rich wanting to get richer at any expense. Lame. People need to stand up for the innocents, abused, underdogs and voiceless of this world. God Bless all those who value and respect ALL life!