HSUS is a radical no-meat, anti-hunting, anti-gun octopus that spends millions swallowing other animal groups whole, but habitually gives less than 1 percent of its annual revenue to a few selected local shelters. It's not that they can't afford it -- they raked in $101.6 million last year alone.
HSUS got so big because of CEO Wayne Pacelle's takeovers of the extremist Fund for Animals and the respectable Doris Day Animal League, in what he calls "corporate combinations."
That, and his ability to create high-profile projects like disaster relief crews that swoop stranded cats and dogs from flooded housetops while the TV cameras watch -- then quietly dump them on nearby shelters without so much as a dime's worth of support.
Pacelle gets the credit, the grunts get the critters.
In 2008, the Los Angeles Times said, Pacelle couldn't get more aggressive without some CGI movie magic.
Most local animal shelters have caught on to him. Many prominently display signs and Web site disclaimers reading "Not affiliated with the Humane Society of the United States."
They're angry that HSUS spent $22.3 million last year siphoning $51.9 million from animal lovers so they could lobby against "factory farmers," harass hunters and anglers, file lawsuits against circuses and animal acts, and muscle farmers and ranchers into bankruptcy.
Two weeks ago, Brandon Hunnicutt, president of the Nebraska Corn Growers Association, told its annual meeting that HSUS is not out to change agriculture, "they're out to completely destroy it" -- the living embodiment of lawyer Christopher Manes' 1992 book, "Green Rage: Radical Environmentalism and the Unmaking of Civilization."
But HSUS literature and news releases don't give you a clue. Last week, HSUS campaign director Paul Shapiro -- who once climbed atop a McDonald's at lunch hour with a "No Meat" banner -- told KOLN-TV News in Lincoln, Neb., "The HSUS has about 11 million supporters across the U.S. These are supporters that donate to the organization."
That's odd. Supporters who donate get the membership magazine. The HSUS 2009 Form 990 says HSUS sent out its bimonthly membership magazine to 450,000 people -- and there are penalties for filing false IRS reports.
But it's a standard Big Green tactic: They lie.
Defenders say HSUS is not a Big Green group, but an animal welfare group far removed from the environmental movement.
Then why is Joshua Reichert, mastermind of Pew Charitable Trusts' Environment Group, on HSUS' board of directors? And Mary Max, trustee of Global Green? And Andrew Rowan, president of the Center for Respect for Life & Environment?
And get this: HSUS Treasurer and CFO G. Thomas Waite III is also an officer of 10 other related groups, including EarthKind USA, Earth Voice International, and the National Association for Humane and Environmental Education.
Big Green pretenses get completely ridiculous when you see which foundations are giving them how much for what. Like the Marisla Foundation (Getty Oil money) and its $50,000 HSUS grant for "Mexico's regulation of marine noise impacts."
And the Ford Foundation's $185,000 "[t]o optimize the participation of foundation grantees in the World Summit on Sustainable Development."
Then, of course, the Harold Simmons Foundation's $10,000 to HSUS for "Cocktail reception."
This holiday season, donate to your local homeless doggy and kitty shelter, not HSUS.
Examiner contributor Ron Arnold is executive vice president of the Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise.