HSUS fundraising confusing to those who support animal care

The animal shelter here in Waco, Texas, is in trouble.  Donations are down and more pets are abandoned in this bad economy. Many people think the bulging war chest of the wealthy Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) might ease these situations, which are occurring all over the nation.  Not likely.

In Sunday’s Waco Tribune-Herald is a letter to the editor from Diana Culp, claiming to be a former director with HSUS.  She refers to “common misconceptions” that national animal groups are “umbrella groups for pet shelters.”  Culp says they are not and in fact send only one percent of the funds they collect to local pet shelters.

Well, I’ll be!  You’d never know that from the fundraising pitches on TV! These heart-breaking appeals of mistreated puppies and kittens have yielded a bumper harvest of cash for HSUS.  With it, they’ve hired a small army of lawyers.  They are busy suing the daylights out of animal agriculture.  Many of us believe this is a part of a long-range effort to end animal farming.

HSUS encourages this already confusing situation, and they are already in the early stages of a new strategy.  That is to tie up the resources of those organizations that represent the interests of animal farmers with lawsuits.  Two of these are now pending and again, it gets confusing. USDA is involved in both, along with the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the National Pork Producers Council.  One suit would cripple the highly successful and self-funded beef research and promotion checkoff program.  The other challenges pork marketing slogans and activities.

Obviously, HSUS’ idea of a perfect world is one in which animal farming is stripped of its advocates and without the means to resist the onslaught animal rights groups believe will curtail and finally end meat diets.

If you are touched by the heart-rending HSUS ads of abused puppies and kittens, you can write a check to HSUS.  But—rest assured it will be used to fund an army of lawyers to harass, intimidate and bully animal agriculture.  As a result, meat production will be much more difficult and the product more expensive.

But—if you want to actually help the animals in that video, seek out your local animal shelter and write them a check.  They are doing the work for which HSUS erroneously gets credit.

Gene Hall

Public Relations Director
Texas Farm Bureau
I believe that the only hope for a food secure world is capitalism and reasonable profits for America’s farm and ranch families–that the first element of sustainability is economic survival.
Follow Gene on Twitter and Facebook.

17 Responses to “HSUS fundraising confusing to those who support animal care”

  1. Kristen Avery says:

    Gene,
    I enjoy reading your articles which are always insightful and full of fact-based information. Since I work in the agribusiness industry, I have known about HSUS’ real intentions for a while. Thank you for spreading the word about this organization and for clearing up the confusion about how they spend their funds.

    Thanks & Gig ‘Em,
    Kristen ’07

  2. Billy Brown says:

    Thanks for writing this article Gene. I have found some folks have been confused about HSUS and what they do. I hope this clears some of that misunderstanding and all donations for animal care go to their local organization.

  3. Suzie Wilde says:

    I have urged folks for years to give locally. It’s great to finally shed some light on how HSUS gives virtually nothing to local shelters.

  4. We need more people like you spreading the truth and making their lies known to the Public. Thanks!!

  5. Gene Hall says:

    I don’t know how much is being spent on the legal attacks on farmers and ranchers, but I suspect it could really help some of these shelters in dire financial straits. Gene

  6. Jim Fisher says:

    I have a strong dislike for the HSUS and deceptive methods they use to raise money, but your statement “One suit would cripple the highly successful and self-funded beef research and promotion checkoff program” is not true.

    The consumption of beef has declined under the checkoff program . Drovers reported the decline as “cumulative reductions of the past few years are rather shocking in historical context.” You can view the article and chart showing the true decline of beef consumption on the bottom of the following link (http://www.cattlenetwork.com/cattle-news/CME-Meat-consumption-to-decline-in-2012-135923558.html)

    The beef checkoff was successful in ensuring egg laying hens could not be in kept in a 4 inch larger cage. What egg laying hens have to do with promoting beef? I don’t know. Nether does HSUS and that is why they are suing.

    Simple to understand why beef consumption is dropping faster then other meats with checkoff spending like that. It’s too bad cattle ranchers have to foot the bill of their own demise.

  7. Marsha Frady says:

    There seems to be quite an increase in posts in social media against animal production, tying opposition to the “healthier” vegan lifestyle, linking animal farming to animal abuse, etc. Many of those posting are retired urban dwellers whose children are grown. They need a cause to champion and HSUS appeals to their sensitivities.

  8. Don smith says:

    Keep up the good work. HSUS has an agenda but it doesn’t include dogs and cats, just the US livestock industry.

  9. Gene Hall says:

    Well Jim, I can’t figure out if you’re an HSUS sympathizer or a cattleman who would rather not pay the checkoff. You sound like someone with a “dog in the hunt.” What is especially puzzling is why you’d post a link from Drover’s Journal that did more to support my point than yours. None of the facts in the Drovers piece are in dispute and none of them are the fault of the beef checkoff. Here’s the story again http://bit.ly/NeD35g.

    The checkoff dollars you opposed have however, served as an effective firewall against everything mentioned in the piece. It’s promoted beef in a positive way, financed research on new products and cuts that otherwise would not have happened and trained livestock farmers on humane handling. Of course, the checkoff has had a lot to do with expanding export markets…also read, more dollars in rancher’s pockets.

    The checkoff had nothing to do with stupid government policy that has bounced from one food or environmental fad to the next, or with a multi year drought that reduced numbers,raised prices and reduced consumption. But, beef is still America’s favorite. People forget that status was very much in doubt when the checkoff began. The checkoff funds research into cheaper and leaner cuts, develops low fat, low cal and low dollar recipes and provides the means to promote beef across the land.

    As for the checkoff opposing any kind of housing in poultry, it did no such thing. That was a policy position of the National Cattleman’s beef Association. The checkoff is prohibited by law from funding political or policy debate. What NCBA knows, and you should, is this. When HSUS is done with poultry and pork, they’ll be coming after beef. In coming after the checkoff, HSUS is attacking a program that has pumped many research dollars in developing humane handling techniques for cattle. But to focus on any of that is to misunderstand. HSUS does not want kinder and gentler cages, free range chicken, pork or contented cattle handling. They’ll take all that for now, but as an end goal, they want no meat production at all. Animal farmers/ranchers who get in bed with HSUS should understand this. They’ll get more than a good night’s sleep.

  10. Gene Hall says:

    My friend – cattleman Dave Edmiston, a member of the Texas Beef Council Board sent me the following email when he read the blog and comments.

    Gene,

    Sorry for the late response, I just returned from Palo Pinto County Convention. It is often hard to respond to those who have tunnel vision and have closed minds on issues. I think sometimes it is important to make our facts become alive with real substance. So this would be my attempt to look at hsus ( they haven’t earned Captial Letters ) & the check off
    1. USDA used the word FORECAST a decline in beef consumption in Dec. of 2012. Isn’t the word FORECAST the same word that weathermen use in forecasting the weather? That is based on what could happen and not what will happen…forecasting is not an accurate science.
    2. Have you noticed any absence of vehicles at any of the steak & hamburger restaurants?
    3. If there is a decline, why did I receive at least $1000 a head for packer cows (10 years old) & a dollar a pound for a bull, 445 lb heifers bring $1.80 a pound which equals to $801 & 700 lb weight calves bring a $1000. Bottom line is if we have a decline,why is the market still so strong. We sold these cattle last Thursday in San Angelo.
    4. What is really going to happen to our beef demand when the China market opens up?
    5. You can not explain a strong demand for our beef product abroad without the word check off in the same sentence.
    6. Science can prove that beef is a complete protein. Humans are unable to manufacture 8 of the 20 amino acids used to make proteins, therefore it is important to eat foods that are complete proteins. From this fact, USDA real forecast should be due to a decline in eating the complete protein beef, we forecast more unhealthy humans.

    Dave Edmiston

    • Jim Fisher says:

      Dave,

      That China carrot has been waved for the last six years. The other Asia markets stopped American beef with the last California BSE case. These markets have never returned. Just as there has been a 22% decline in imports over the last three months on top of that.

      The numbers you quoted are a mere shadow of the coin needed for the cost of production and not far from that of 1978. The beef checkoff is not without merit , but it does have issues.

      If the checkoff was to be dismantled, it would return on a volunteer level. That speaks volumes for those involved in the beef checkoff.

      • Gene Hall says:

        Jim, Dave has not surrendered to the on-line revolution. I’m working on him. I think he would say, since he’s been involved in this, that it takes a while for these trade cards to fall. Six years does not seem like a long time. I assume you mean by the volunteer statement that the check off is very popular with ranchers. This is true. I’ve been doing this for the better part of three decades and I’m convinced, though I’m not sure I’d ever convince you that the beef business would be a shell of what it is today if not for this self help program.

        I’ve been doing a little research today. Let me leave you with a bit of it.

        • Declines in per capita beef consumption are the result of a number of factors affecting supply and demand, including natural disasters, a decline in imports, and growth in the U.S. population that makes less beef available per capita (2012 report, Department of Agricultural economics at the University of Missouri-Columbia).

        • In recent years, we’ve seen beef prices increase much faster than the rate of inflation, with consumption declining only slightly, which means that beef demand has remained strong and even increased in some recent years.

        • Data from recent years show that U.S. per capita beef consumption has declined. But that does NOT mean that consumer preference or demand has waned. Per capita consumption is often confused for beef demand, though the two are very different indeed. In fact, beef consumption actually can drop in concert with beef demand increasing, if consumers are willing to pay more for their favorite protein.

        • Consumer beef demand is measured by looking both at per capita consumption AND price. In other words, it is the amount of beef that consumers will purchase combined with the price they are willing to pay for that beef. If, for example, we have a quantity of 59.7 pounds of beef per capita to sell, we will sell it; the variable is the price at which we are able to sell it, because the price that will adjust to clear the market.

        So the checkoff focuses on maintaining strong consumer preference for beef by providing products and qualities in beef that consumers demand – taste, nutrition, consistency, tenderness and the like – so that consumers are willing pay more for that same quantity of beef. Other factors in this demand picture include the price of other meats and consumer income levels.

        • If we use consumption as a measure of demand, we ignore that desirability of what we offer, and we sell the same amount of product but at lower prices and, thus, weaker demand – as we did for nearly 20 years pre-checkoff, when 25 percent of the steaks and roasts from Choice beef in the U.S. were too tough to chew.

        Thanks for posting.

  11. As a beef producer, I am proud of what the check off programs has accomplished and what it does for the beef community. The research that has been done is only possible thanks to the check off. Research like when meat is consumed, what the most popular cuts are and also developing new cuts that everyone enjoys.

    They have also helped programs that help cattle ranchers better manage their cattle. Things range from health programs to ways to work them more efficiently to reduce stress on the cattle.

    I strongly believe in the beef checkoff program and hope for its continued success.

  12. Billy B. Brown says:

    One will find naysayers on all checkoff programs. Corn, cotton, wheat, sorghum and beef to name a few have had their critics. Some consider it a producer tax. For whatever reason these individuals fail to see or grasp the positive actions that come out the research and marketing programs of checkoff dollars.

    Research has brought the commodities not only better agronomic and genetic information but has created new uses for the products. When you have a product you have to market it. Checkoff groups work to inform and educate prospective buyers. It also enables them to become familiar with the needs of the prospective buyer and react accordingly.

    Look around, if Coca Cola didn’t spend dollars to research and market their product, where would they be? This is what successful companies do. Checkoffs are no different.

    The checkoffs are investing dollars for the future of agriculture.

  13. Green Fields Project says:

    HSUS has one goal and one goal only. To make as much money off of as many gullible people as possible. I believe the amount HSUS spends on animal care equals about 9 1/2 cents from every $20 donation. The organizations by-laws prohibit spending money on such things as lobbying but who’s in charge of enforcing by-laws these days?

    An article in the publication Finacial Times recently shed light on what happens when “rigorous animal welfare rules” as well as strict government price controls are applied to animal agriculture. Farm numbers start dropping. A lot of the smaller family farm operations find themselves unable to make ends meet farming. A solution for a few of the more resourceful farmers was to open their own Bed and Breakfast businesses. Agriculture has been reduced to “quaintness”.

  14. What a shame. Have there been any developments since October when this was posted? What can we do to help?

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