During December, the “season of giving,” many people donate to charitable causes like the Humane Society of the United States. It’s no surprise then that Rick Berman — Washington DC’s best-known PR hit man — has purchased a slew of December attack ads smearing the HSUS and its president, Wayne Pacelle. These ads are nothing more than Berman’s clumsy ploy on behalf of those who profit from abusing animals.
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The HSUS holds a 4-star rating with Charity Navigator, the highest possible ranking. The BBB’s Wise Giving Alliance certifies that the HSUS meets all 20 standards for charitable accountability. Worth Magazine named the HSUS one of the 10 most fiscally-reponsible charities. And Guidestar’s Philanthropedia website voted the HSUS as the top high-impact animal protection group in the country.
The HSUS has almost 60 years of experience to back up its standing as the nation’s most effective animal protection organization. The HSUS top 13 achievements of 2013 demonstrate exactly how donations help animals.
Although the HSUS provides grants to other animal welfare organizations, that is not and never has been its purpose. The HSUS has its own programs and is not a pass-through organization. Supporters of the HSUS expect it to tackle the root causes of cruelty and defend all animals, and that is what the HSUS has been doing since 1954.
Opponents of the HSUS want them to focus solely on mopping up the damage caused by Rick Berman’s clients, rather than confronting and stopping industrial animal abuse. In addition to this important advocacy work, the HSUS provides hands-on care for more animals than any other group –- dogs like Ricky Bobby and Stella, rescued from a North Carolina puppy mill –- and it drives transformational change to prevent cruelty before animals end up in distress.
Here are just a few areas where the HSUS helps animals:
- Aiding shelters when natural disasters and cruelty cases overwhelm their capacity to respond.
- Leading the nation’s most ambitious projects to reduce pet overpopulation and thereby reduce pressure on local shelters and rescues.
- Providing sanctuary, rehabilitation, veterinary treatment, and other direct care for more than 100,000 animals in 2013 alone.
- Combatting puppy mills, organized animal fighting, wildlife poaching, commercial seal slaughter and many other large-scale animal abuses.
- Managing a coast-to-coast network of nature preserves.
- Working to end the suffering of street dogs in countries around the globe.
- Combatting the trade in wildlife and fighting for endangered species here and abroad.
- Joining with corporations like McDonald’s, Safeway, Kroger, Campbell’s, Kraft, and dozens more, to reduce the suffering of farm animals in their supply chains.
- Supporting sustainable family farmers who answer to higher animal welfare standards – both in the United States and developing world.
See for yourself what the HSUS does at humanesociety.org.
So, who is this corporate front-man behind the attack on the HSUS?
Rick Berman is a Washington, D.C., lobbyist and PR operative. He learned his trade as a paid defender of the tobacco industry, and never changed. Independent news investigations have repeatedly exposed his underhanded schemes to protect corporate profits by attacking public interest groups such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and HSUS. You can find a list of exposes here, including coverage by The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, USA Today, ABC, CBS, NBC, Bloomberg, Salon, and many more.
Berman’s nonprofit schemes are the subject of a pending complaint with the IRS, and the rating agency Charity Navigator has issued donor fraud advisory alerts against several of his front groups.
If you follow the money trail, you’ll find more than 90 percent of the funds that flow into Berman’s web of tax-exempt organizations go to him or his for-profit PR firm. That’s a jaw dropping figure, almost unheard of in our nation. It’s a self-enrichment scheme of the worst kind.
When it comes to animal cruelty, there are only two sides: You’re against it, or you defend it. You know where the HSUS stands, and you know where Berman stands. Show Rick Berman that you won’t let him steal Christmas from animals!