Local Animal Shelters Must Further Distance Themselves from HSUS & ASPCA

In an article penned for Huffington Post online on July 28th, Ken White, the President of Peninsula Humane Society & SPCA condemned Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) for their national efforts to benefit from name recognition with local Humane Society/SPCA chapters despite having NO actual affiliation and little interest in helping them, financially or otherwise. These national animal rights organizations use that name association in advertising in order to bring in higher donation totals, and many local animal shelters have denounced them for this abuse of power.

From Ken White:

“Both ASPCA (the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) and HSUS (the Humane Society of the United States) spend a great deal of money advertising on television and sending mail throughout the nation asking for charitable funds. Neither the ASPCA nor HSUS, however, are YOUR local animal welfare organization. They do not operate the shelter for homeless animals in your community. They are not “parent” organizations and the local humane societies and SPCAs are not their chapters.”

This article was mostly critical of HSUS/ASPCA’s methods of operation; unfortunately, not all the words Mr. White had for these organizations were disapproving. In one paragraph he mentions, “I won’t and I don’t criticize the work done by these national organizations.” While the message he likely meant to convey is that we should all take the time to discover for ourselves whether these groups deserve support or not, that statement can be seen as half-hearted support in itself.

The bottom line: HSUS and ASPCA don’t deserve our support. They’ve proven time and time again that their goals do not truly align with improving animal welfare, for if they did they could surely spare much more money to pass along to local shelters. However, money is all too important to these groups to share it in such a way. They desire to spend it on much more important (to them) things, such as salaries, more advertising (spending money to make more money), hedge funds, lobbying efforts, and so on.

So it not nearly enough for these local chapters to simply distance themselves from HSUS/ASPCA’s work. They must also do their best to shine a spotlight on the national organizations’ extremism in order to further disassociate from them. A great start for these local chapters can be change their names. Many shelters have done this in the last decade. One example – in 2010, the Humane Society of Park County in Cody, Wyoming was fed up with HSUS’s efforts, so they changed their business name to the Park County Animal Shelter.

Leigh Dvariskish on the change:

“The HSUS political agenda has created grief for us locally. We’ve tried to get the message out that we don’t receive funding and aren’t connected to them, but it hasn’t worked. . .Their intention is to push their political ideas, and some of them aren’t popular here locally. They lobby against hunting and other ag issues, even sometimes pets, and that makes people paranoid about where their money is going.”

It is extremely unfortunate that this is a route that many shelters have to take in order to disassociate from national groups like HSUS. The reality is that the animal rights agenda has become big business exactly because of things like this name association, and it shows no signs of stopping anytime soon. They will continue to swindle donations from well-meaning individuals who just want to see animals in need receive help.

Local shelters must fight back. We, just like most of you, support animal welfare and want to see the good work these shelters are doing continue. Therefore, we ask that you seek out a local shelter to financially support if you want to help animals with your money.

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