A Little Pleasure Reading

The HumaneWatch Document Library opened its virtual doors nearly 10 months ago with a single document. The idea was simple. In the Internet Age, talking turkey about the world's richest animal rights group will always require showing, not just telling. Without documents to back up what we say, HumaneWatch would be little more than a rumor mill.

About 210 documents later—including everything from tax returns and financial audits to old calendars and magazine excerpts—we're making good on our promise to only write what we could substantiate.

Today, we’re happy to announce a “re-boot” of our Document Library. We’ve revamped and cleaned up much of the material to make it more readable. In some cases, we've provided new historical context for the documents themselves.

What we've done to date is really just the beginning. The HumaneWatch Document Library is scratching away at the surface of the nine-figure enterprise that is HSUS. More important entries are on the way—very important, in fact. (Just wait, Wayne.)  But for now, we want you to be aware of some of the most important entries.

Consider it a jumping-off point to a broader, deeper view of HSUS. We'll be updating you monthly on some of the rarer gems in the Library. Today we begin with a top-ten list, chosen by Snark, the HumaneWatch cat. (He has finicky tastes, but Snark knows a smoking gun when he sees one.)

  1. A 1981 essay on HSUS’s official support for animal “rights.” Written by then-HSUS attorney Peter Lovenheim, this piece acknowledges HSUS’s formal resolution in 1980 to “pursue on all fronts…the clear articulation and establishment of the rights of all animals.”
  2. The HSUS “X-Files.” This long, un-credited (and sometimes un-sourced) document provides one researcher's detailed look at HSUS and its key players during the mid-1990s.
  3. HSUS’s 2008 tax schedule of outgoing grants. This is HSUS’s tax form showing that less than one-half of one percent of its budget consisted of funds shared with hands-on pet shelters.
  4. Feld Entertainment’s racketeering lawsuit against HSUS and two of its lawyers. After a federal judge ruled in December 2009 that animal rights plaintiffs had engaged in a kind of pay-to-play scheme with a witness, Feld named HSUS and others in a February 2010 counterattack.
  5. An excerpt from Ted Kerasote’s 1994 book Bloodties. Kerasote interviewed a younger Wayne Pacelle (and now-HSUS VP Heidi Prescott), who provided an unvarnished look at his personal animal rights vision. You won't find Wayne so candid these days.
  6. The 2010 Animal People News watchdog report excerpt regarding HSUS. APN estimates that HSUS spends up to 50 percent of its budget on overhead costs, such as fundraising expenses and the executive pension plan.
  7. A formal request for Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act investigation into HSUS, 2010. HSUS raided an Arkansas horse owner in late 2009, seizing her animals. She's now asking the FBI to investigate HSUS, which allegedly didn't care properly for the horses.
  8. Washington Post columns by Jack Anderson from 1988 and 1991. Anderson, a former nationally syndicated investigative reporter, wrote about the financial scandals at HSUS in the late 1980s.
  9. A model class-action lawsuit against HSUS, drafted in 1990. Following the turmoil in among HSUS's executives and board members in the late 1980s, a concerned party drafted a class-aciton lawsuit against the alleged bad players. While it was never actually filed, it provides a good play-by-play of some shady goings-on at HSUS.
  10. A July 2010 HSUS direct-mail fundraising letter. The next time you hear HSUS claim it has "11 million" supporters, refer to this letter from Wayne Pacelle. He admits HSUS's membership is only about one-tenth of that. (And even that number may be dramatically inflated.)

As always, please browse the library at your leisure. You might notice something that Snark missed. If that happens, drop him a line and we'll take a message.

(Doesn't everyone wait on their cats?)