The Exchange Rate in Europe is Getting Ridiculous

On Tuesday we told you about how Humane Society International is claiming to be supported by 11 million people worldwide. Now, it's entirely possible that the Humane Society of the United States (which runs HSI) got its elevensies mixed up. $11 million in debt, 11 million members—you can see how easy it would be to confuse the two.

We suspected that HSI was inflating its membership numbers, but suspicion and proof are two different things. Today we have both.

The European Commission hosts a website called the "register of interest representatives." (Think of it like a Yellow Pages for European lobbyists.) And the entry called "Humane Society International" shows something very, very interesting.

Here it is:

Total number of members that are natural persons: 50,000

Fifty thousand? That's less than half the membership of the HumaneWatch Facebook page. Which means HSI is puffing up its numbers by a staggering 22,000 percent. We've heard of influence-peddling, but this is more like influence spoofing.

The EU's population is around 501.6 million, which means that just one in every 10,000 Europeans is an HSI member. Just for perspective, if HSUS enjoyed a similarly dismal level of support in the United States, it would have just 30,000 members.

That's about 69 per Congressional district. Or, in other words, the sort of lobby group whose phone calls don't get returned.

Lotsa luck in Brussels, guys.