On the Blog

On the Blog: Dispelling Misinformation from Our Opponents

On the blog A Humane World, the Humane Society of the United States counters attacks by our opponents, in particular the front group Center for Consumer Freedom and its smear campaign project HumaneWatch. CCF is a corporate front group funded by tobacco, alcohol, restaurant and agribusiness special interests.

Learn more about this group’s distortions from selected articles below.

When attack ads backfire

Berman’s maneuvers may work with some of the other public-interest groups he attacks, but not on the HSUS. After he ran one of his phony advertisements during the Oscars, we received an unexpected boost in our fundraising. The ad rubbed a lot of our supporters the wrong way – so much so that one donor pledged $1 million to us to fight Berman and the animal-abuse interests he serves. -Berman’s smear during the Oscars Backfires

Marginal opponents continue ineffective attacks

“While he’s had associations with many different sectors of industry in our economy, Berman has long claimed to be most closely connected to the food industry. But given our announcements with nearly 100 food companies that have changed their purchasing practices to go more humane, he’s been routed in the area where he’s claimed the strongest allegiances, and now dropped by a major publication. -Opponents of animal protection look more marginal than ever

Who is behind Chipotle attacks?

“Factory farming interests are undoubtedly paying Berman to conduct this flaccid, not-very-clever campaign because they don’t like that a fast-serve company like Chipotle, which embraces animal welfare and public health in its business model, is so successful.”- Dissecting the attack on Chipotle

Big gains for animals

“Fortune has just published a pretty extraordinary round-up of our high-impact work with the world’s largest food retail corporations… The Fortune article is also a stunning repudiation of the claims and work of former tobacco lobbyist Richard Berman.”- Fortune-Teller: Big Gains on Animal Welfare

Winning ugly

A at a recording taken at an industry event shows, Berman’s own words show how he manipulates to fight against important causes. – Bootlegged Speech of Berman Shows Deception, Dirty Tactics off the Charts

The price of progress

“Precisely because The HSUS is so effective, we are the target of disinformation campaigns from our political adversaries, whether it’s HumaneWatch, Humane Farming Association, or others.” – How Our Victories Breed Enemies

Calling out our haters

“Future historians who write about the triumph of animal protection ideals and policies probably won’t even grant a footnote to the small-minded obstructionists, the Rick Bermans, the Forrest Lucases, and the Ted Nugents of the world, just as the vast majority of those who stood in the way of civil rights have long been forgotten to history, and for good reason.” – Answering the Haters of Animal Protection

Maximum deception

“There’s more work to be done by The Times and other news outlets, and there’s a whole mess of work to be done by the IRS to unravel [Berman’s] multi-pronged self-enrichment scheme.” – Maximum Deception from Berman

Fourth and wrong

“Rick Berman blew a load of cash last night by placing a television ad in the Washington, D.C. market during the Super Bowl pre-game. It was an attempt to attack The Humane Society of the United States…” – Front Groups Fumble During Superbowl

The HSUS’s dedicated work against dogfighting

“[I]t’s perfectly logical that a guy like Berman would attack The HSUS. We are the greatest threat to animal cruelty. And the people who profit from cruelty don’t want us to make progress…There are thousands of dogs still suffering in fighting pits who need our attention. The HSUS works every day to put dogfighters in jail and to protect tens of thousands of dogs chewed up in this industry, pulling dogs out of fighting rings and working with our partners in the pit bull rescue community to give them care and new homes.” – Our Commitment to End Dogfighting

Working not just for pets, but for all animals

“…[O]n the very day of CCF’s USA Today ad, our Animal Rescue Team came to the aid of more than 140 dogs at a North Carolina puppy mill….Our Pets for Life team was…giving out spay-and-neuter vouchers and other critical pet care services…Some of that work may not qualify as making grants to animal shelters (which we do often), but was it life-saving work? Did it help dogs and cats? …The answer in every case: absolutely yes.” – Helping Pets in Need, And Also Fighting Large-Scale Cruelty 

Misleading attacks undermine our work against animal abuse

“Though we cannot tell you who is paying Berman, we can tell you who stands to benefit from his dirty work. The worst players in factory farming would like The HSUS to stand down so they can continue practices like confining breeding pigs or veal calves in tiny cages so small they cannot even turn around for essentially their entire lives. Puppy millers might be banking on Berman…” – Give ‘Dr. Evil’ a Taste of His Own Medicine

Disinformation and deception from Beltway con artist

Rick Berman is the king of charity fraud…I could go on about the leadership role he’s taken to defend the worst cruelties, to oppose even the most modest animal welfare reforms, and to shill for the worst animal abuse industries in America. But today, this man rolled out a new animal welfare “charitable organization,” and he’s the man behind the curtain.” – More Deception from Con Man Richard Berman

The HSUS: A strong advocate for local shelters

“For the 15th year in a row, we’re celebrating National Animal Shelter and Rescue Appreciation Week this week. The HSUS has always been a leading voice for animal shelters in America…It’s bizarre timing then for the latest misleading attack from the so-called Center for Consumer Freedom, which claims that The HSUS should basically go out of business and pass all its resources to animal shelters (as if the other animals at risk or in crisis—the 99 percent who are not in shelters—don’t matter one whit).” – Celebrating Animal Shelters, This Week and Year-Round

The HSUS works for all animals and promotes pet adoption

“Berman has been campaigning for years now to eliminate The HSUS…Sorry, Rick, we won’t stop fighting cruelty to all animals, and we won’t restrict our efforts to one arena of activity conveniently removed from the business enterprises that pay you millions. You see, there are 8 million dogs and cats in animal shelters. Every one of them deserves to have a home. And that’s why we work so hard to see that happen. But there are so many other animals that need our attention, too.” – The HSUS: A Voice for All Animals

Willfully ignoring the facts

“Berman’s disparagement of The HSUS willfully disregards our founding mission and long history, in its complaint that the organization does not in fact run the nation’s dog and cat shelters…This has never been our purpose and never been our claim. Our founders instead sought to attack all kinds of cruelty at its roots, wherever it was occurring.” – A World of Change for the Better for Animals

CCF’s smear campaign called ‘misleading’

“…It’s ironic that while Berman wages his smear campaign against us, our staff across the country continue to care for animals at our sancturies and rehabilitation centers, rescue pets from cruelty and disasters, crack down on animal fighting, promote shelter pet adoption, improve conditions for farm animals, protect wildlife, and so much more.” – Our Work for Animals Won’t Be Slowed by Smear Campaign

Our work against cruelty speaks for itself

“The many industries that profit from animal abuse attack HSUS not because we don’t do enough, but precisely the opposite—because, especially from their perch, we do too much. The last thing they want is an organization like HSUS with a strong public reputation, the courage to confront cruelty, and the campaigning tools to match.” – More Misdirection from Scammers at CCF

CCF fails to derail a grant to our animal rescue work

“…[T]he typical detractors—the puppy millers, seal clubbers, cockfighters, and their pals at the so-called Center for Consumer Freedom/HumaneWatch, the front group run by millionaire public relations flack Rick Berman—reared their heads and tried to rig the outcome against us. Their efforts, as usual, failed miserably.” – Our Detractors’ Wishes Aren’t Granted… Again

WSB-TV letter to CCF

William Hoffman, the general manager at WSB-TV in Atlanta, wrote to [Richard] Berman and it was nothing but a stern rebuke.” – TV Station to CCF: Stop Misrepresenting Pulled HSUS Story

Rick Berman’s house of cards

“Rick Berman criticizing the operations of a charity is like Jack Abramoff criticizing an organization for reckless lobbying. Berman’s the worst of the worst. You can read Ian Shearn’s exposé of him and his group here.” – Full Page Proof of our Impact

New ethics complaint, investigative report released

“Today, The HSUS joined Mothers Against Drunk Driving in filing a complaint with the ethics commission in New York against an individual who gets paid millions of dollars by major American corporations to attack public interest groups and stand in the way of people trying to do good for the world.” – Richard Berman: The High Life and Low Road

Our mission is clear

“We are for all animals…Our critics can find a naïve or inattentive journalist from time to time, or they can get their press releases reprinted in trade publications with a very decided point of view, or they can spread lies on Facebook or in other social media. But reprinting false claims time and again won’t make it come true.”- Fact and Fiction: The HSUS Mission

As attacks intensify, actions speak louder than words

“On a day when the so-called Center for Consumer Freedom and its funders in agribusiness blew more than $100,000 on a full-page ad attacking The HSUS for not helping pets, we were, well, helping pets.” – Nearly 100 Victims of Animal Hoarding Rescued in Virginia

On April Fool’s Day, CCF is the joke

“Imagine that I, while serving as president and CEO of The HSUS, owned a for-profit public relations company and that 92 cents of every dollar donated to The HSUS went to that very company or to me… You’d sniff out that nifty little arrangement as a colossal self-enrichment scam, and the Internal Revenue Service, Congress, reputable journalists, and every nonprofit watchdog agency would be all over it like mud on a pig at a family farm. And rightly so. Yet that’s the very arrangement at work with the most discreditable lobbyist in Washington—Richard Berman and his so-called Center for Consumer Freedom…” – This April Fools’, CCF Is the Joke

CCF targets the HSUS’s work to help animals

“What is the so-called ‘Center for Consumer Freedom‘ and what corporations fund this shadowy organization? …Berman and his funders don’t like The HSUS for one reason: we are the greatest enemy animal abusers have ever had.” – Follow the Money

A picture of our work, protecting all animals

“The Humane Society of the United States doesn’t help just one kind of animal. We’re in business to protect them all, and we’ve been dedicated to that principle since the day of our founding—Nov. 22, 1954. When animals suffer needlessly, that’s an emergency, no matter what kind of animal or what kind of trouble—and that’s why we exist.” – A Picture of Our Work, Protecting All Animals

Support for our animal care centers, factory farming campaign

“The Humane Society of the United States is now CCF’s number one target. A couple weeks ago, CCF assailed our humanitarian relief mission in Haiti, despite the remarkable work of our people on the ground. Now, these animal cruelty apologists say they will step up their attacks on us…” – They Defend Animal Cruelty: Don’t Let Them Win

HSUS cares for animals and battles institutional cruelty

“As our founders envisioned, and our supporters would expect, we balance our direct care work with leadership in challenging factory farming, animal fighting, the fur trade, puppy mills, captive hunts, and other forms of institutional cruelty that CCF wants to see perpetuated.” – HSUS Hands-on Care: A World of Good Around the World

CCF clings to the status quo of animal abuse

“The one agreement I have with CCF is a belief that there are two sides to every story. In this instance, it’s simple. We’re against abusing animals for any reason. And Martosko and Berman support it.” – One Lone Voice Against Animal Welfare

HSUS’s broad successes draw fire from opposition

“When you are the largest and most accomplished organization in the animal protection movement, it’s logical that you’ll be feared by groups or corporations that stand in the way of progress. They typically don’t argue on the merits of the issues, but instead try to divert attention and reframe the debate.” – The HSUS Strategy for Success

CCF’s ‘solution’ to animal abuse: Keep it hidden

“When some industry groups were confronted with the abuse of downed cows, they joined with The HSUS to call for reforms. There are some within the agribusiness sector who recognize that the public is deeply concerned about animal welfare, food safety, and transparency. Then, there are the likes of CCF and David Martosko: Is there a form of institutional cruelty that they won’t defend or conceal?” – Center for Industry Freedom?

Our victories for animals draw attention

“Our triumphs of 2008 have truly shaken those who defend the mistreatment of animals as “the cost of doing business” in America. I’m thinking, for instance, about the hirelings at the CCF who attack The HSUS as part of the group’s misdirection strategy.” – With Unwavering Resolve

Misdirection obscures real issues of animal welfare

“CCF and its allies can’t win the battle of ideas, and increasingly they can’t win ballot initiative battles like Prop 2 or other battles in Congress or the state legislatures. So they attack the messenger.” – Pay No Attention to the Man Behind the Curtain

The HSUS: A mainstream force confronting cruelty

“Our opponents rightly recognize The HSUS as the greatest threat to their continued reliance on cruelty as a standard business practice, custom, or hobby. We are a force because we are 10 million strong, and when so many people of conscience take collective action, there is no question that we will advance the principles we hold so dear.” – The One to Watch

The truth about our California downer cow investigation

“The HSUS’s investigation into cruelty at a California dairy cow slaughter plant has evoked a national outcry from consumers, state government officials, Congress, the USDA, animal scientists, and even some within the meat industry…But it’s been no surprise to us that a handful of apologists for industry simply cannot bring themselves to focus on the cruelty we exposed, and instead they infuse their comments about the investigation with criticisms of The HSUS.” – Truth of the Matter

CCF attacks miss the mark

“CCF has apparently not discerned that most Americans dislike animal abuse, and that they fancy HSUS campaigns against factory farms, dogfighting and cockfighting, canned hunts, puppy mills, the exotic animal trade, the Canadian seal hunt, and other unfair and inhumane misuses of power.” – CCF Ads Are Kitty Litter

Our ongoing efforts against animal fighting

“The HSUS exists to advance a mighty idea: that good people should stand against the misuse of human power over animals. Millions of Americans support our work because they share a vision for a more compassionate and merciful society. A handful of corporations fund the hateful rhetoric that flows from the offices of CCF. Whom do you trust and whom do you believe?” – Dogfighting a Constant Battle for The HSUS

Opposition attempts to sidetrack reform

“CCF has no social welfare purpose, but simply works to attack “do gooder” groups such as The HSUS, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Center for Science in the Public Interest, and even the radicals of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention…Groups like these have been attacking the good work of animal protection for as long as I’ve been involved—truth-bending, story-telling, taking quotes out of context, and wasting the time and attention of the public.” – Contract Shillers

Our work represents core values

“Our opponents are fearful of us not because we are extreme, but precisely the opposite—because our ideas resonate with mainstream Americans.” – Desperate Distortion

Fighting for animals on Capitol Hill

“[The Congressional] hearing was supposed to be a forum about animal welfare and agriculture, but not one of the 10 industry witnesses advanced a single policy proposal to promote animal welfare. They basically just attacked The HSUS and other animal welfare groups and said that no government regulation of animal industries is needed.” – House Agriculture Subcommittee Ignores Animal Welfare Reforms