WASHINGTON, Feb. 9 — The HumaneWatch.org, a project of the nonprofit Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF), called on the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to open an investigation into the fundraising practices of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).
As a basis for its request, HumaneWatch reported an analysis that found that more than 85 percent of the animals in HSUS’s TV appeals between January 2009 and September 2011 were cats and dogs, when one percent of the money donated to HSUS is sent to hands-on pet shelters, according to HSUS tax returns.
A recent Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request revealed that more than 120 complaints have been filed with the FTC since December 2011 regarding HSUS. Many of the complaints are from Americans who gave money to HSUS, while not fully understanding where the organization’s money is spent and that it is not associated with local humane societies.
“This is deception on a national level, and the FTC needs to act now,” said J. Justin Wilson, CCF's Senior Research Analyst. “HSUS routinely employs familiar images of sad-looking dogs and cats in their advertisements. Yet, the majority of HSUS’s donations are used to bankroll an animal rights agenda. This emotionally charged bait-and-switch doesn’t just harm donors. It harms needy shelters and pets.”
According to HumaneWatch, recent public polling determined that 71 percent of Americans mistakenly believe that HSUS is a pet shelter umbrella group, and 68 percent wrongly think that HSUS spends most of its money on pet shelters. HumaneWatch added that less than 1 percent of HSUS fundraising appeals have contained a disclaimer that local humane societies are independent of HSUS.
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