The source of information can be cause for concern

I’ve read over time some editorials and comments going after the Humane Society of the United States. At times, HumaneWatch.org is noted as a point of reference for information about the HSUS.

It’s not a bad thing in and of itself to express concerns on any organization. I know some people have suggested the HSUS does not send enough funding to local shelters and they have a problem with that.

I don’t want to speak for the HSUS. I am not a member, as I am not an active member of any group. But from what I see, the HSUS has chosen a course of action that in one key area includes changing laws, as a means to an end to protect animals.

Each animal welfare organization takes its own path. Some focus on rescuing pets from death or abuse and finding them new homes. There can be no more noble act than saving a life. Some take a path to decrease deaths and abuse through the passage of legislation or through education. Ultimately, this path is saving lives and if the HSUS is successful in pushing for better laws within its efforts currently underway in a number of states, then that’s a great thing.

Both paths – and many other paths in between – serve the same end – to protect animals.

Now – If I wanted to challenge the practices of any particular animal-welfare group, I wouldn’t use HumaneWatch.org as a source for information to support my position.

HumaneWatch.org is the baby of Richard Berman. Berman is a corporate defender and has even gone after groups such as Mothers Against Drunk Drivers. A quick check of HumaneWatch.org finds the folks who run this site are not supporters of anti-puppy mill legislation.

Now maybe there are other positions Berman holds that some people support – on other topics. But as someone who focuses on protecting animals from abuse, I can’t support someone who goes after MADD and attacks efforts to shut down puppy mills and the sale of puppies through stores.

And beyond MADD and HSUS, Berman even opposed the Americans With Disabilities Act back in 1989 and downplays the health impacts from smoking. And in this post on the HumaneWatch site it states it “is simply wrong” to suggest horse slaughter is cruel and inhumane.

Put all this together and HumaneWatch.org becomes a non-source for me.

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7 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Anne Hogan on September 17, 2010 at 11:57 am

    Thank you so much for posting; it’s unfortunate anyone believe the misinformation Berman and Martosko spread for a living. A recent investigation also showed that 92.7 % of donations to CCF go to Berman’s PR Firm. You can read more here: http://www.humanesociety.org/news/news/2010/05/investigative_report_berman_1.html

    Reply

  2. Thank you for this post, Tom!

    You are completely correct: HumaneWatch.org is not a valid source of information.

    HumaneWatch — and its parent organization, the Center for Consumer Freedom — are industry front groups that engage in a systematic campaign to discredit animal protection organizations — to “shoot the messenger”, in Berman’s own words. Their intent is to undermine animal protection organizations like HSUS, the ASPCA, and PETA, leaving corporate animal abusers free to commit horrific acts of cruelty without regulation or exposure to the public.

    Berman exploits a loophole in IRS nonprofit rules. He creates these front groups as tax-exempt 501(c)(3) “educational” organizations, then hires his own for-profit PR firm to “manage” the phony charities. Whereas reputable charities are required to disclose the salaries paid to their directors, Berman funnels corporate donations into his privately-held company, which is not required to reveal that information. At the same time, because donations to 501(c)(3) are not public information, he can shield his corporate backers from public outrage.

    Berman is a hired gun: a paid character assassin working on behalf of puppy mills, unsanitary meat packers, inhumane circuses, and other unrepentant animal abusers.

    HumaneWatch takes pains to appear credible, and has actually duped unwary media outlets into running false information about HSUS that was later retracted. Even after the story is pulled by the broadcaster, puppy mill and factory farm apologists then link to illegal copies of these bogus reports and cite them as “proof” of evil intent among animal welfare activists, without the retractions and corrections.

    HumaneWatch is a fundamentally dishonest organization, and anyone who cares about animals needs to know about their smear campaign and their efforts to undermine animal protections.

    Fortunately, the word is spreading thanks to folks like yourself! Keep up the good work.

    Here are a few resources about Berman that you might find useful.

    NY Times: Non-Profit Advocate Carves Out For-Profit Niche
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/18/us/politics/18berman.html

    ABC News: Lobbyists Hide Behind Non-Profit Fronts
    http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=news/politics&id=4140447

    CBS News: Meet Rick Berman: A.K.A. “Dr. Evil”
    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/04/05/60minutes/main2653020.shtml?source=search_story

    Star Tribune: Humane Society Fighting A Smear
    http://www.startribune.com/local/96226034.html?elr=KArksUUUoDEy3LGDiO7aiU

    Citizens for Reponsibility and Ethics in Washington, complaint filed with IRS
    http://www.citizensforethics.org/node/25601

    Berman Exposed
    http://www.bermanexposed.org

    Who is HumaneWatch?

    Reply

  3. Posted by Tom Grady on September 17, 2010 at 5:59 pm

    Thanks for posting the video and links.
    I’m just shocked by the stands the Center for Consumer Freedom takes – pro-horse slaughter, against legislation to shut down puppy mills, against MADD, against HSUS, etc …

    Reply

  4. Posted by Kathy Lewis on September 20, 2010 at 8:20 pm

    I don’t have a problem with HSUS, as a matter of fact, I’m a member. I am however concerned that their voice on the current puppymill bill in NC, may hender getting it passed. I’m not agreeing with “factory animal farming” in anyway, but I think especially, here in NC, politicians look at these industries and see both voters and income. The HSUS stand on this particular subject here in NC, is a negative (in my opinion) as far as trying to get the puppymill bill passed. JMO.

    As far as CCF and Berman, spewing out misinformation is so dangerous it should be illegal………………….

    Reply

  5. Wow, That’s eye opening & though provoking… as are many of your posts. As the daughter & granddaughter of Dairy farmers I’ve had an inside look as practices HSUS opposes. From my vantage point there are good & bad in all industries. Our family has been of the belief ” be good to your stock & they will be good to you”. There is truth behind “happy cows”, they produce more milk & in turn yield a higher profit.

    ..I’m off to read more of your posts & will be following your blog as I enjoy what I’ve read so far.

    Best wishes

    Reply

    • Posted by Tom Grady on September 25, 2010 at 4:57 pm

      Foster Dog Mama,
      That you for adding your thoughts and for the kind words about the blog.

      My best wishes to you and yours as well,

      Tom

      Reply

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