The Humane Society of the United States

Rating: 2.97 stars   342 reviews

Issues: Animals

Location: 2100 L Street, NW Washington DC 20037 USA

Mission: The Mission of The Humane Society of the United States is to create a humane and sustainable world for all animals, including people, through education, advocacy, and the promotion of respect and compassion.
Results: -We passed a bill in Congress making interstate dogfighting and cockfighting a federal felony -We worked with law enforcement agencies to bust abusive puppy mill operations -We continued to investigate and combat Canada’s gruesome hunt of Atlantic harp seals, and our boycott of Canadian seafood now has the support of more than 1,000 restaurants and food businesses and 300,000 individuals -We persuaded the National Institutes of Health to ban the new breeding of chimpanzees for research -We provided hands-on care to thousands of animals at our network of sanctuaries and wildlife centers -We responded to the wildfires in southern California, and helped save more than 1,000 animals—dogs, cats, horses, goats, and others -We passed the first bill in a state legislature to outlaw cruel confinement of farm animals when Oregon banned gestation crates for breeding pigs -Food industry leaders like Burger King, Wolfgang Puck, and Compass Group adopted ground-breaking humane reforms advanced by The HSUS -Our efforts persuaded leaders in the fashion industry such as Calvin Klein, Kenneth Cole, Tommy Hilfiger, and Foot Locker to go fur-free, and other designers and retailers such as Burlington Coat Factory to drastically reduce the amount of fur they sell -We passed two precedent-setting bills in the New York state legislature to require accurate labeling of all fur garments, and ban the electrocution of animals in fur factories -We passed state legislation in Illinois to ban horse slaughter -We continued passing laws to ban Internet hunting, with 34 states now prohibiting the practice -In Congress, we secured language in the Senate Interior Appropriations bill to stop the imports of polar bear trophies killed by sport hunters in the Arctic -We won court victories to protect endangered right whales from being harmed by fishing longlines, to stop invasive research on Steller sea lions, and to protect wolves and Canada lynx -Our Rural Area Veterinary Services (RAVS) program provided more than 30,000 medical treatments to animals in remote areas of the country often underserved by veterinarians -We helped pass 86 new animal protection laws in state legislatures in 2007, a record year
Target demographics: mostly women ages 40-50
Geographic areas served: USA and beyond
2014 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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EIN 53-0225390
202-452-1100
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Community Reviews

Role: General Member of the Public
Rating: 1 stars  

They are NOT the American Humane Society, but people do not recognize that and donate to them by mistake. Their financial records are a nightmare and they have been voted to be one of the worst as far as WHAT they use their money for and most of it goes into the pockets of the board members. This was reported by a very reliable money magazine. They use their money to harass those that are trying to eliminate catastrophic diseases. They do NOT use their money for no-kill shelters or free neutering shelters, in fact most of their money after they take very large salaries goes to lobbying.
Absolutely, not a good use of donated money.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

In International and National meetings

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Really, use their money for neuter and spay shelters and no-kill shelters and lower their salaries to show that they really care for animals.

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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

The Humane Society does not just focus on companion animals... It works to protect ALL animals, including farm animals and wild animals. This has made it enemies, who spread conspiracy rumors to try and prevent people from donating to this charity. The Center for Consumer Freedom is a front organization for many animal-abusing industries and loves to attack the HSUS to protect the greed of its constituents. The HSUS does not want to prevent people from owning pets, in fact it spends money actively promoting pet adoption (see, for example, their Shelter Pet Project). The HSUS works to pass legislation (like Prop B in Missouri) to help millions of companion animals... and it works tirelessly to end dog fighting and to put a stop to puppy mills. While also fighting abuse on factory farms. I commend the HSUS for focusing on all animals and confronting animal cruelty in all it's forms. I volunteer at a local animal shelter and also donate monthly to HSUS. The HSUS passes animal protection legislation and carries out large scale rescues that my shelter doesn't have the resources for... I'm glad that there is an organization out there that gets such large-scale results. I see their work as complementing the work of local shelters.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Seeing the laws and agreements they've helped pass in Ohio, Missouri, and elsewhere.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

It's great just the way it is!

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Review from CharityNavigator
Rating: 1 stars  

I don't see how this organization can be for helping animals when less than 1/2 of 1% of their income goes to help animals, but spend millions on lobbying and playing politics. And when they do donate to shelters it's the high profile shelters that are in the media spotlight. It's all here in black and white, see for yourself. Donate to your local shelters and rescues.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Their lack of really being for the best interest of pets and people.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Donate the money where they tell the general public it's going, to the animals, no to fund campaigns.

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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

The Humane Society of the United States is the most effective animal protection organization in the country - which is PRECISELY why there are disparaging reviews here. Big Agriculture, Puppy mills and dog breeders, ranchers, circuses, animal experimentation labs and all other industries that profit from animals in a way that causes suffering are united in their hatred for this organization that is putting forward efforts to - for example, ensure some animals aren't confined to cages their entire lives where they can't turn around.

It is discouraging that we have so many people in this country that are masquerading as caring for animals while they are really only seeking to line their profits from businesses that exploit and cause suffering to animals. And I hope anyone objectively reading these reviews understands this is the motivation of all the negative reviews here. For more background on this transparent smear campaign, please see www.humanewatch.info

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I've read about the animals they directly save around the country. I'm aware of the effective tactics they employ across the U.S. to try and end the unnecessary suffering of animals and I've met the incredibly selfless, compassionate and dedicated staff.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Nothing!

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Rating: 3 stars  

Regardless of the good things that the HSUS does (and I am sure there are many), their fundraising tactics are awful, in my opinion. I sent in one donation, and instead of a thank you, they sent a "membership card" and a request for another donation. I receive a request for money in the mail every other week, it seems, accompanied by a junky "gift"that I did not request. I would much rather that my money go towards actually helping animals, so I sent them a letter indicating that I would give ONCE a year, and NOT to send me any more junk. I not only received no reply to this letter (which I wasn't expecting anyway, but would have been nice), but what comes in the mail? More junk, and another request for money.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I have not personally experienced any results.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Revise their donation request policy and limit what they send out.

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Role: General Member of the Public
Rating: 1 stars  

HSUS is great -- if you believe that all people should be vegans (ie - nothing in the diet comes form an animal or animal product) and don't mind the fact that they don't think anyone should own a pet.

"We have no problem with the extinction of domestic animals. They are creations of human selective breeding" -- Wayne Pacelle, HSUS CEO, from Animal People News. No domestic animals means not only no meat, eggs, cheese, milk, wool etc., but also no service dogs, police dogs, bomb-sniffing dogs, seeing eye dogs, dogs for the hearing impaired...the list goes on.

The HSUS is currently under investigation for tax fraud. In 2008, their assets totaled about $162 million. Their operating budget about$99 million. Of that, only about $455 thousand went to helping animals, $27 million went to fund raising, the rest to salaries, pensions and lobbying. That's less than one-half of one percent that actually went to helping animals. These figures are public record.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I am a veterinarian. I've worked in a number of animal shelters over the years. I have never known of any local shelter to receive any aid from HSUS. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, HSUS collected $37 million supposedly to help the animal victims of that disaster. Less than $7 million could be accounted for. The LA attorney general launched an 18 month investigation. Only then did HSUS agree to build a shelter in LA

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

See it disbanded, or at least be honest in their true goals.

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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) is by far the most active and effective animal protection organization out there. Not only do they work to improve the welfare of companion animals (i.e. dogs and cats) but they also fight to end seal and whale slaughter, exploitation of wild animals, and they are the leading organization that fights to improve the treatment of farm animals. They are regularly under attack by faux consumer groups -- as in the Center for Consumer Freedom and Humanewatch -- but they are not deterred. For more on who's behind these attacks, one needs only to look at the money behind CCF and Humanewatch -- money from factory farming corporations, commercial dog breeders (see puppy mills), furriers, and others who profit from the exploitation or abuse of animals. I support the HSUS with my values and my money. I know exactly what work they do, as I get frequent emails and newsletters and read their publication. HSUS is the organization to support if you are concerned about the welfare of all animals!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Animal welfare laws that have been changed thanks to the HSUS and its supporters.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I am very happy with how this organization operates. I have met many of the leaders personally and am thankful that they have chosen to follow their passion and use their business skills for this wonderful organization.

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Rating: 5 stars  

I have worked side by side with members of the Humane Society of the United States to help get Proposition 2 passed in Califonia, which would simply give pigs, an animal more intelligent as a dog, enough room to simply turn around before paying the ultimate price. The HSUS does so much for millions of animals, whether it's dogs in shelters getting help, puppy mills being forced to comply with basic standards, to trying to help end the barbaric seal hunt in Canada where baby seals are clubbed, often in front of their crying mothers. The HSUS is a very noble charity and does so much for animals, all animals.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I dealt with many of the HSUS staff who are very dedicated to helping animals.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I would want them to pass more propositions to help animals on factory farms, which are so very cruel.

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Rating: 1 stars  

1) The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) is a “humane society” in name only. It isn’t affiliated with any hands-on “humane society” organizations, and it doesn’t operate a single pet shelter or pet adoption facility anywhere. During 2008, HSUS contributed barely $450,000— less than one-half of one percent of its budget—in grants to dog and cat shelters. By comparison, that same year it gave $2.25 million to a political campaign committee behind an anti-meat ballot initiative in California, and put $2.5 million into HSUS’s executive pension plan. HSUS is the wealthiest animal-rights lobbying organization on earth. It agitates for the same goals as PETA and other radical groups, but uses fewer naked interns.

2) Beginning on the day of NFL quarterback Michael Vick’s 2007 dogfighting indictment, HSUS raised money online with the false promise that it would “care for the dogs seized in the Michael Vick case.” The New York Times later reported that HSUS wasn’t caring for Vick’s dogs at all. And HSUS President Wayne Pacelle told the Times that his group urged government officials to “put down” (that is, kill) the dogs rather than adopt them out to suitable homes. HSUS later quietly altered its Internet fundraising pitch. Vick now gives HSUS “sponsored” speeches. And most of his dogs have been rehabilitated—without any help from HSUS.

3) HSUS’s senior management includes a former spokesman for the Animal Liberation Front (ALF), a criminal group designated as “terrorists” by the FBI. HSUS president Wayne Pacelle hired John “J.P.” Goodwin in 1997, the same year Goodwin described himself as “spokesperson for the ALF” while he fielded media calls in the wake of an ALF arson attack at a California veal processing plant. In 1997, when asked by reporters for a reaction to an ALF arson fire at a farmer’s feed co-op in Utah (which nearly killed a family sleeping on the premises), Goodwin replied, “We’re ecstatic.” That same year, Goodwin was arrested at a UC Davis protest celebrating the 10-year anniversary of an ALF arson at the university that caused $5 million in damage.

4) A 2008 Los Angeles Times investigation found that HSUS receives less than 12 percent of the money raised on its behalf by California telemarketers. Professional fundraisers keep the rest. If you exclude two campaigns run for HSUS by the “Builda-Bear Workshop” retail chain—which consisted of the sale of surplus stuffed animals (not really “fundraising”)—HSUS’s yield shrinks to just three percent. This is typical. In 2004, HSUS ran a telemarketing campaign in Connecticut with fundraisers who promised a return of “zero percent” of the proceeds. The campaign raised over $1.4 million. Not only did none of that money go to HSUS, but the group paid $175,000 for the telemarketing work. Similar filings exist in Massachusetts, New York, and other states. In 2008 HSUS collected more than $86 million in contributions, but spent more than $24 million on fundraising.

5) HSUS’s heavily promoted U.S. “boycott” of Canadian seafood—announced in 2005 as a protest against Canada’s annual seal hunt—is a phony exercise in media manipulation. A 2006 investigation found that 78 percent of the restaurants and seafood distributors described by HSUS as “boycotters” weren’t participating at all. Nearly two-thirds of them told surveyors they were completely unaware HSUS was using their names in connection with an international boycott campaign. Canada’s federal government is on record about this deception, saying: “Some animal rights groups have been misleading the public for years … it’s no surprise at all that the richest of them would mislead the public with a phony seafood boycott.” A documentary director also caught an HSUS film crew abusing a dying seal while they shot a 2007 fundraising video on the ice floes of Atlantic Canada.

6) HSUS raised $34 million in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, supposedly to help reunite lost pets with their owners. But comparatively little of that money was spent for its intended purpose. Louisiana’s Attorney General shuttered his 18-month-long investigation into where most of these millions went, shortly after HSUS announced its plan to contribute $600,000 toward the construction of an animal shelter on the grounds of a state prison. In 2009, Atlanta ABC affiliate WSB-TV reported that public disclosures of the disposition of the $34 million in Katrina-related donations added up to less than $7 million.

7) After gathering undercover video footage of improper animal handling at a Chino, CA slaughterhouse during November of 2007, HSUS sat on its video evidence for three months, even refusing to share it with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. HSUS’s Dr. Michael Greger may have perjured himself before Congress, testifying that the San Bernardino County (CA) District Attorney’s office asked the group “to hold on to the information while they completed their investigation.” The District Attorney’s office quickly denied that account, declaring that HSUS refused to make its undercover spy available to investigators if the USDA were present. Ultimately, HSUS chose to release its video footage at a politically opportune time, as it prepared to launch a livestock-related ballot campaign in California. Meanwhile, meat from the slaughterhouse continued to flow into the U.S. food supply for months.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I've seen the results of the anti-pet legislation they have passed.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Have them be upfront about where donations go, AND use more than they currently use (less than half of one percent of donations) to actually help animals.

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Rating: 1 stars  

You are going to read a lot of reviews cut and pasted from the HSUS website about HSUS being the "largest" animal rights organization in the country. Wayne Pacelle alternately claims in writing that they have 11 million members, or 2 million members. They send out only 450,000 copies of the membership magazine. They are not anywhere as big an organization as they claim. HSUS runs not one single dog or cat shelter. Not one. And the vast majority of their fundraising claims to be for dogs and cats. Any time HSUS takes a large number of dogs and cats in one of its well publicized seizures, they dump those pets on local shelters and walk away the second the cameras are turned off. They give no money to care for the animals they just "seized." The heavily touted animal protection laws that HSUS talks about are mostly animal rights drivel, trying to overthrow or weaken existing laws as they did recently in several states, with a campaign of outright lies. Instead of putting their vast fortune into programs that have been proved to address the problems of homeless pets and abused animals, HSUS chooses instead to grandstand.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I've seen this organization engage in fraudulent fundraising, questionable animal raids, showboating for the cameras while doing no hands on animal care, raising money to help puppies and kittens and then using that money to lobby against animal agriculture.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Fire the entire management team and put in its place animal welfare advocates.

Was your donation impactful?

Unlikely

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

No

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

No

What specific problem, purpose, priority, or project prompted your gift?

Improving conditions for shelter dogs and cats.

Why did you make your donation at this time?

TV ad.

What would you tell others about this organization?

Do not give them a cent until they return to their original agenda of providing significant funds to hands-on animal shelters.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2000

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