If you're on any of the many e-mail lists maintained by the Humane Society of the United States, you probably saw a desperate plea for money last night from HSUS president Wayne Pacelle. There's nothing unusual about that -- HSUS sits up and begs for dollars countless times each year. But what made this piece unusual was that it consisted almost entirely of ridiculous attacks on the Center for Consumer Freedom. Go ahead and look. We want you to read it. It's one of the best examples we've seen of the kind of scorched-earth politics this so-called "humane society" practices.
But don't feel bad for us. Frankly, we're flattered that Wayne and his $100 million-per-year operation, with a $162 million balance sheet, nearly $38 million in annual salaries, and over $2.5 million in pension funds socked away (in one year alone), with 30 lawyers on its payroll -- we could go on but you get the picture -- are spending their time attacking us.
Our entire annual budget is less than what Wayne's HSUS puts into pension funding! (Read that again.)
Make no mistake: This is a David -vs- Goliath story, and we're the ones with a pocket full of pebbles.
Is HSUS's leader getting nervous about our little research outfit? Is he concerned that we've figured out how (according to a national survey) Wayne has convinced Americans that HSUS uses most of their contributions to rescue and shelter stray and unwanted dogs and cats -- while it actually gives less than one-half of one percent of its budget to hands-on pet shelters? (That's according to documents HSUS itself files with the IRS.)
Is Wayne worried that we might tell HSUS donors how much of their "$19 a month" (from the group's ubiquitous TV ads) never reaches pet shelters -- the hard-working organizations that actually do the heavy lifting to protect the cats and dogs in those weepy commercials?
It could be that Wayne Pacelle is upset because we participated in an Atlanta ABC television news story last year, which exposed how much of his organization's money is diverted away from pet sheltering. Or maybe it's because we surfaced a story about how the Louisiana Attorney General investigated HSUS after it collected more than $34 million by using the Hurricane Katrina disaster as a fundraising gimmick
Perhaps -- just perhaps -- the fat cats at our nation's sorry excuse for a national "humane society" are just upset because someone has realized that self-proclaimed watchdogs need to be watched themselves.
Stay tuned. Visit www.HumaneWatch.org throughout the week. And keep an open mind.