During the 88th Academy Awards ceremony this past Sunday night, advertisers lined up to sell their products or services to the viewership. Not all of these commercials sought to sell, however. Some of them sought to educate.
That was the intended purpose of one particular ad ran by the anti-HSUS group HumaneWatch. In a minute-long spot that appeared during the broadcast, the group points out some eye-opening facts about Humane Society of the United States.
For instance, according to 2014 tax returns, HSUS has placed $55 million of fundraising dollars in offshore accounts and $49 million on salaries and pension plans for its employees.
The advertisement also shined a light on how relatively little HSUS has given to animal shelters, despite implying that it gives much more to them. According to HumaneWatch, only one percent of funds go to local pet shelters.
HSUS CEO Wayne Pacelle denies the truthfulness of the advertisement, despite it supplying factual evidence.
In addition to the information the advertisement shared, it’s important to note that HSUS also uses donor money for legislative purposes, a fact that isn’t necessarily shared with donors. Between HSUS and its Humane Society Legislative Fund PAC, over 5,000,000 was spent in 2014 during the last election cycle on state ballot issues and contributions to federal candidates (see more about this in the graphic below). In the first two months of 2016, the Humane Society Legislative Fund PAC has already spent over $188,000 on federal candidates.
As the HumaneWatch advertisement states, things aren’t always what they seem. It is important to remember that when considering a donation of your hard-earned dollars to any organization, especially one with such a controversial history.