Monday, December 26, 2011

Your charitable dollars...

We've reached the end of the year and many folks (like myself) are looking at year-end charitable contributions for tax purposes. We all see so many tug at heartstrings commercials on TV: starving children in Africa (for seventy cents a day...), the creepy Dixie Carter tilted head commercial and of course the 60-90 second spots for the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).

It sure looks like those HSUS folks are saving animals doesn't it? Why, look at all those scared animals in the videos - HSUS saved them from deplorable conditions right? If I sign up for a yearly membership (billed monthly at $19.99) they'll throw in a fleece jacket AND an all-purpose tote (reusable grocery bag) and I can feel good about all the animals that will be helped with my renewable donation right? See, there's the problem - and don't feel badly, I think their celebrity spokespeople have been duped as well.

HSUS is a legislative lobbying organization - it is not an organization designed to actually help animals. Surprised? Read on.

What if the American Cancer Society operated like the Humane Society of the United States?

  • less than 1% of your donations would go to cancer research, however ACS' mission statement would underscore the importance of cancer research and cancer prevention.

  • ACS would offer consulting services to non-profit research labs - how to run your cancer study - at a considerable fee to the non-profit lab.

  • The vast majority (99.99%) of cancer research programs and initiatives wouldn't receive even a penny of funding.

  • Death rates would be inflated and clinical data (other people data of course) would be manipulated in advertisements and donor sheets in order to procure more donations out of the well-meaning public.

  • ACS would spend two-thirds of it's operating budget sponsoring and driving legislation that banned everything that might even remotely contribute to cancer: do you like cheese? People who have cancer ate cheese - CHEESE CAUSES CANCER! BAN CHEESE!!!

  • ACS would 'pay' itself first, with 1/2 of total operating budget going to compensation packages.

  • Would you still write that check to The American Cancer Society every December?

    So what does the HSUS want to accomplish with your hard earned money?
    Mandatory Spay and Neuter:
    If every dog and ever cat is spayed and neutered (HSUS advocates pediatric spay and neuter) where are you going to get your next puppy?
    Kennel Fees and Kennel Licensing:
    HSUS is working very hard in all fifty states to institute state-wide licensing for all breeders. National registration, subjection to unannounced home inspections, etc. At first blush this sounds like a great idea right? What if you're a responsible breeder of say...golden retrievers. You have waited three years to plan this perfect litter. Both the parents have health clearances, and a pedigree complete with such clearances. You've planned for healthy and happy puppies. A kennel license will cost you $500/year for that one litter and you will be inspected twice a year (a'la health inspectors). Listen, I take good care of my dogs - but having dogs and breeding them responsibly should not subject my premise to unlawful inspection. Oh and now that we're policing all these breeders, who is going to pay for the inspectors? Who is going to enforce compliance? If a backyard breeder wants to breed puppies without clearances in unsanitary conditions - what makes you think they'll step up and buy mandatory kennel licenses for all of their breeding stock? Or stick around to pay the non-compliance fines?
    Elimination of domesticated animals:
    “We have no ethical obligation to preserve the different breeds of livestock produced through selective breeding ...One generation and out. We have no problems with the extinction of domestic animals. They are creations of human selective breeding.”
    Wayne Pacelle  Animal People News, May 1993

    So what can you do to help actual animals?
    Start small and start local - your local shelter might be called "something-something Humane Society", but it is not affiliated with the HSUS. Remember HSUS doesn't operate a single shelter. That local shelter of yours has needs that you can help them meet: they all need towels, blankets, paper towels, cleaning supplies, dog food, dog toys, cat food, cat toys, litterboxes and cat litter - the list goes on and is endless. Local shelters need volunteers too - go help out one Saturday a month, take some dogs for a walk, groom a cat, answer the phones. Want to be a real hero? Write them a check. You'll get the same feel-good tax-deductible experience and your dollars will make a difference to the animals and to your community too. Can't give cash? Be creative, those ugly purple towels you spot at a yard sale for $.25/each will be put to good use at your shelter.   Walk in a fundraiser and gain sponsorship from your family and friends.

    Some links:
    HSUS Donations to shelters:
    Fun Quotes from Waybe Pacelle:
    Center for Consumer Freedom:

    Extra Credit Reading - Here's PETA:

    No comments: