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Mastio: It's not all about saving puppies at the activist Humane Society

Published Apr. 13, 2010 | Discuss this article on Facebook

DAVID MASTIO is deputy editorial-page editor at the Washington Times.

Contact: April 11, 2010

The Humane Society of the United States sparked quite the controversy last week, beginning with accusing the Iowa egg industry of animal abuse and ending with sniping between the group and Rep. Steve King. King charged the group is run by vegetarians who want to take meat off American tables. The Humane Society claimed King is among America's most anti-animal politicians.

So who is right?

The Humane Society defines anti-animal politicians based on a scorecard. In the latest annual report on its Web site, no Iowa representative or senator gets a passing grade, though King gets a big fat zero. Of course, plenty of the grade has little to do with animals. Expecting Republicans to sign on to global warming, gun control and expanded federal spending guarantees GOPers won't do very well.

When King alleges the group is run by vegetarians intent on taking meat off America's tables, he is just taking Humane Society honcho Wayne Pacelle at his word. Pacelle is a vegan - a vegetarian who not only doesn't eat meat but also refuses cheese, milk and eggs. In a long interview with, Pacelle says he wants to bring people along to "as compassionate a diet as they can handle." His own vegan diet being the most compassionate.

And then, of course, there is the fact that the Humane Society funds People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, according to its most recent IRS disclosure forms posted on the group's Web site. PETA openly campaigns to stop the consumption of meat. "Meat is Murder," you know.

The Humane Society defends itself by arguing it isn't extremist, but rather a mainstream charity, focused most on providing direct care for animals: "The Humane Society of the United States provides direct care to more animals than any other animal welfare group in the nation, spending more than $20 million annually supporting local animal shelters and running our own hands-on animal care programs and providing other direct-care services."

And here is where the real problem with the group can be found. The Humane Society runs television ads on national networks focused on abused, neglected and abandoned dogs and cats - the sympathetic pets most likely to open people's wallets - but then turns around and spends the bulk of its money on other things. The shelters it directly runs are not for pets, but rather primarily for wildlife and farm animals.

To read the entire story by David Mastio of the Washington Times, visit

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