The 50% Pledge: We’re Still Willing to Close Shop


This weekend marks the second anniversary of our HumaneWatch 50% Pledge. A few months after our launch, we promised to shut down this website for good if the Humane Society of the United States made one simple promise: to give 50 percent of its budget to pet shelters. Currently, HSUS gives only 1 percent of its budget to hands-on pet shelters.

So far, we haven’t heard a peep from HSUS about this. And judging from the fact that HSUS’s most recent tax return (2010) once again shows that 1 percent of the money it raised went to pet shelters, it doesn’t seem willing to change.

The one thing that has changed is HSUS’s PR spin. For instance, HSUS now claims that it has given $43 million in grants to other organizations since 2005. That’s pretty good—until you consider that a sizeable chunk of this appears to be other HSUS groups. HSUS gave $4 million in grants to its ballot initiative front group in California to raise farmers’ and consumers’ costs—to say nothing of the millions it spent on grants to similar groups in Missouri, Arizona, Ohio, and Colorado. HSUS has also given millions in “grants” to its affiliate Humane Society International.

An HSUS claim is (once again) exposed as having little substance. The information is all out there, for those who want to do the digging. HSUS doesn’t want you to. That’s why it’s so important that you help spread the word. Email your friends. “Share” us with your Facebook contacts. Ask your local vet or pet shelter if you can put a flyer up. Tweet about it.

HSUS’s dithering and self-promotion may seem trivial. But consider the millions of cats and dogs that will be put down this year. That should be as good a motivation as any to make sure that the millions that HSUS takes in go directly to groups that actually run pet shelters. If our recent startling poll of HSUS donors is any indication, many of them are willing to reconsider their gifts if they only know the truth.