For the past week or so, I’ve been seeing headlines such as this in my Google alerts:
I finally got around to checking the details of this story and wanted to go right to the source, the HSUS press release which begins:
Relief for beleaguered pet owners living along the Louisiana Gulf Coast will arrive Thursday—a delivery of 12 tons of dog and cat food arranged by The Humane Society of the United States.
The Humane Society of the United States coordinated the donation of 12 tons of dog and cat food from Mars Petcare U.S. and one-third ton of dog food from The Humane Choice Company, the maker of The HSUS’ dog food. The food will be turned over to the Plaquemines Parish Department of Health and Animal Control. Staffers and volunteers there will then take the food to a distribution site, centrally located in Plaquemines Parish, to distribute the food directly to residents in coastal areas affected by the BP spill.
In this age of media overload, it’s understandable that some details get missed when outlets pick up stories. That’s perhaps what led to the headline at the first link and other similar stories carried elsewhere. But the job of the press is to report and accurately characterize the facts. And the facts here are:
- Mars, maker of Pedigree and other pet food brands, donated 12 tons of pet food.
- Humane Choice, the bird seed vegan pet food sold by HSUS, donated 700 pounds (roughly 1/3 of a ton) of food
- Plaquemines Parish AC staffers and volunteers took the food to a distribution site and handed it out to pet owners in need.
When you look at it that way, HSUS hardly seems like the big hero. Mars donated the overwhelming majority of the food, locals moved the food and distributed it.
I hate to be picky but, isn’t this another We spend $20 million a year on local shelters, misleading-the-public-for-good-publicity scenario?
Pack of gum, anyone?