HSUS Fundraising is Still Deceptive

Direct Mail EnvelopeA fan sent us a direct mail piece that he received recently from HSUS. Once again, it’s raining cats and dogs in a manner that surely fools its recipients. Click here for a copy. (We encourage anyone to send us copies of HSUS materials. Email [email protected] for details.)

The first image recipients are given is a dog on the front of the envelope. Flipping the envelope over to open the letter reveals a picture of a kitten and a puppy. And to hammer the point home, the mailing is full of address labels featuring—you guessed it—cats and dogs.

Why is this deceptive? It gives off the impression that the primary purpose of HSUS is to help cats and dogs. That’s untrue. Only 1% of the money HSUS raises is given to local pet shelters, and HSUS does not run any local pet shelters. Even HSUS’s CEO has admitted, “I think there is some confusion among the general public and I think there’s occasional confusion with, with donors.”

No kidding—and it’s due to fundraising material like this that manipulates and misleads.

HSUS may claim that it has a few lines in the fundraising letter about how it helps “all animals,” but it certainly gives off the impression that the primary use of the money will go to help dogs and cats. HSUS’s CEO has admitted that only 20% of the group’s efforts are related to pets, yet cats and dogs dominate the material used to raise money in this letter.

Also telling is that HSUS does not include a disclaimer that it is not affiliated with local humane societies, something it has done in TV ads. Nor does HSUS have a disclaimer that it does not run any pet shelters of its own.

The Oklahoma attorney general has opened an investigation into HSUS’s fundraising. If this is the kind of mailing that HSUS is doing in his state, he should have some good material towards establishing that HSUS’s fundraising is misleading and deceptive.