Guest Column: Where’s the ‘humane’ in Humane Society?

By Rep. Jim Sacia It’s a Web site you must visit. Television ads depicting starving and abused animals are among the most heart-wrenching ads we see. We all want to dig a little deeper to help these starving creatures. After all, for a few dollars a month, we can assure these animals’ safety—or can we? The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) is responsible for these ads, and their membership is in the millions.

Here’s a dose of reality for you—the Humane Society of the United States is not your local animal shelter. In fact, less than 1/2 of 1 percent of its $100 million budget gets into the hands of local pet shelters. You who read this are, like me, animal-loving people. How does it feel to know that if you donate $200 to this alleged caring agency, $1 gets into the hands of local pet shelters? If it makes you anything other than mad, I’d be shocked. These are the least animal-loving people I have ever come up against. Sadly, they make fools out of you and me, and their clever ads get deep into our pockets. It’s big business, folks, and they know how to take care of their own at your expense.

This “animal rights group” (and I say that with great disdain) socked away more than $2.5 million in donations from Americans into its own pension plan. The figure for 2008 is $2,532,167 to be exact. HSUS gave just $452,371 to local pet shelters in 2008 out of a total budget of $99,664,400. Yes, the dog watchers need a watchdog. Again, go to for a real eye-opener.

You’ve probably figured out that the HSUS and I don’t like each other very much. If you are in any way involved in livestock production agriculture, you need to be concerned. Organizations that have millions of dollars at their disposal, including the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), are doing all they can to make vegans out of all of us. Cattle, sheep, hogs, poultry and rabbits are at the forefront of their attacks. My House Bill 4812 would reinstate horse slaughter in Illinois. These organizations and their minions are doing all they can to stop the bill. Here is a dose of reality—since horse slaughter was outlawed here in 2006, nearly 100,000 horses each year are now stuffed into trailers and shipped to Mexico to face, in many cases, a horrific end of life compared to what horses experienced at Cavel International in DeKalb, which was dealing with the issue in a most humane way. Sadly, HSUS and ASPCA turn on the spin and ignore the tragic reality that they have caused.

My heartfelt thanks to the Chicago Tribune and its reporter Angie Leventis Lourgos for an excellent, objective article on horse slaughter in the paper’s March 5 issue. Contrast that with Chicago Sun-Times columnist Michael Sneed, who buys HSUS’s swill hook, line and sinker.

I strongly support and encourage your financial help to our local pet shelters like Friends Forever in Freeport. They get it.

As always, you can reach me, Sally or Barb at (815) 232-0774 or e-mail us at You can also visit my Web site at It’s always a pleasure to hear from you.

Jim Sacia (R) is the state representative for the 89th District in Illinois.

From the May 5-11, 2010 issue

One thought on “Guest Column: Where’s the ‘humane’ in Humane Society?

  • May 5, 2010 at 10:31 am

    We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: the Humane Society of the U.S. isn’t affiliated with local shelters. Our organization was founded in 1954 with the specific purpose of tackling broader animal protection issues that shelters have neither the time nor the resources to address. For example, we have a factory farming campaign that promotes modestly larger housing for laying hens, pregnant sows and veal calves, allowing them enough room the stand up, turn around, and extend their limbs. This is the kind of commonsense reform that most consumers support. The HSUS doesn’t focus on animal rights; we focus on our collective responsibility to treat animals with decency and respect. The “HumaneWatch” website is a favorite of our opponents, but they don’t disclose that it’s maintained by the Center for Consumer Freedom, an industry front group for tobacco, alcohol and agribusiness interests. For readers who have questions about our work (including our opposition to horse slaughter), visit our website at and look up the HSUS on sites hosted by genuine charity watchdog groups such as Charity Navigator.

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