Struggling Gulf Families – HSUS to the Rescue?

For the past week or so, I’ve been seeing headlines such as this in my Google alerts:

Humane Society Donates 12 Tons of Pet Food to Gulf-Stricken Louisiana

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?

15 thoughts on “Struggling Gulf Families – HSUS to the Rescue?

  1. As much as I love the stereotypical “bird seed” vegan joke, it’s insulting. We’re all working together here. You have a lot of people calling vegans things like jihadists, Nazis, etc. on this blog already.

    By the way, bird seed can be non-vegan. And most vegan food bears very little resemblance to bird seed.

    I’m just glad someone donated some food. I’ve got my issues with Mars (animal testing) but I appreciate that they donated this. I also appreciate that someone took the time to compile the facts for us.

    1. That’s my honest opinion of the Humane Choice food – that nutritionally, it would be very similar to feeding a dog “bird seed”. IOW, inadequate and dangerous. I’ve been a vegetarian for decades and have endured my share of salad humor. It truly doesn’t bother me. But if you took my comment as insulting what HUMAN vegans eat, please allow me to clarify – that is not what I meant. I meant it as I typed it – that is, with regard to Humane Choice food. Absolutely no offense intended to the dietary choices HUMANS make for themselves.

  2. Have you ever tried to coordinate/pay for the distribution of food? It’s much easier said than done. Criticize them all you want, but they put the donation process on the fast track, probably forked out some dough for it, and gave food from their own company to pets in need. Unless you want to try and get Mars company to donate 12 tons of food? It’s not a walk in the park.

    Dogs can and do fine on vegan/vegetarian diets. They will continue to do fine on vegan/vegetarian diets. That is of course moot – if you were in the middle of a disaster, I think the least of your worries is the ingredient list of donated dog food (allergies aside).

  3. If you check the Humane Society website, they clearly state that they merely deliver the food donated by Petcare. If you watch the video, the trucks and other equipment owned by HSUS must cost a pretty penny, so they deserve a pat on the back, as well.

  4. Dogs cannot do “fine” on vegan/vegetarian diets. I am currently a Dog groomer and have spent a lifetime in the animal care business. Cats are OBLIQUE carnivores and dogs due to domestication have been “humanly forced” to become scavengers and omnivores… and eat whatever is available. Anyone who thinks otherwise is uneducated and I pity their dogs and cats. Starving is a slow and painful way to die. And I personally can’t figure out how any loving dog or cat deserves that. KUDOS to Mars for stepping up to the plate and helping out the pets in the Gulf. And I don’t feed or even condone feeding dog food. Been a raw feeder for 16 years now… and counting!

    1. It’s obligate carnivore, not oblique.Being a dog groomer does not an expert on canine nutrition make.

      Dogs have not been forced to do anything. They have found a niche and the ability to process bioavailable nutrients. There are plenty of easily accessible nutrients in legumes and cooked grains. Maybe to a lesser extent than cooked animal products, but that doesn’t mean dogs cannot do well on a vegetarian diet. ALL THAT ASIDE, who cares in an emergency? I’m going to take whatever is available that will provide the necessary nutrients to my dogs until a better option is available. Wouldn’t you?

      As to starving, that’s certainly one of the sillier arguments I’ve heard against a vegetarian diet.

      I’ve fed raw. I have a dog who is extremely sensitive. She does best on a grain-based diet. Are you telling me that she is actually starved to death and I was simply unaware?

  5. A pat on the back? Maybe. Taking full credit? Not so much. I am quite sure that their PR department didn’t spend much time underlining the fact that all they did was transport the food. I am also quite certain that the HSUS PR and “emerging media” department (like the HSUS Hillary whose job it is to stay on top of the Google alerts and respond to all articles) has seen these erroneous headlines and did not bother to contact any media outlet to offer a correction on headlines which read: “Humane Society Donates 12 Tons of Pet Food to Gulf-Stricken Louisiana”. Not “Mars Donates”, but “Humane Society Donates”.

    Once again: just like Wal-Mart taking credit for the charitable donations made by its vendors, making sure that the story centers around the trucks with name and logo printed sky-high.

  6. This, by the way, is a perfect example of how the HSUS works night and day to scam a credulous public into thinking that the money you donate goes to buy, for example, pet food for environmental-disaster-stricken pets. The HSUS can point to “disaster relief efforts” and people will remember headlines about twelve tons of food ostensibly paid for by grandma’s donation bucks.

    What a crock.

  7. Oh, I’m sorry. What exactly are YOU doing to help the animals affected by the gulf oil spill? HSUS handles a myriad of animal protection issues, and to simply discredit them for not donating 500 tons of pet food is ludicrous. Like always it’s point fingers, not help the cause. This blog is sheer proof of that.

    1. I do love these “Oh yeah, well why don’t YOU do [whatever thing I would obviously not be able to do]”. As if that’s a legit argument. If I don’t do a thing myself, I am not allowed to post my opinion about it in a blog. Give me a break. But to answer your question, go ahead and give me $100 million annual budget to work with and allow me to show you how I would handle things.

    2. Maybe you need to check your reading comprehension. This article doesn’t diss HSUS for donating food, but for misleading the public about how much and who actually donated the food. You know, lying.

  8. So, if HSUS is so generous, why wasn’t it honest and had the headline read “HSUS transports 12 tons of pet food donated by Mars to needy families in the Gulf”? Because that would be giving credit to Mars–or essentially taking all credit from them for essentially being the middleman. You don’t think Mars has trucks? Also, HSUS spends a lot of time campaigning against Mars pet foods, so I give even more kudos to Mars for being willing to even work with HSUS, period.

    Tell me, how many employees does HSUS have down in the Gulf working on clean up and animal rescue? When are we going to see some stats on that? What with their 100 million dollar budget, you would think they could afford to send a little help.

  9. At about the same time HSUS was sending out its misleading press release regarding its ‘munificence,’ a handful of airmen at Dyess Air Force Base in Texas set up shop at their commissary and collected over *3000* pounds of donated dog food in 15 hours and delivered it to a local SPCA shelter. Their volunteerism has gone largely unnoticed and uncelebrated. It’s sad, really, how the Humane Society of the United States manages to suck up all the oxygen (and $$) in the animal advocacy world.

    Appreciate your blog :-)

  10. This article is really about much more than dog food. This article is about the fact that HSUS (as well as ASPCA) will again, as they did in Lousinana when they frauded the state out of 27Million dollars,) Will go to the coast, parade around with minimal expense, taking in tens of milions of dollar for “THE GULF COAST OIL SPILL ANIMAL RESCUES”.. They will AGAIN, as they always do, take in TENS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN THE NAME OF THIS EFFORT, and they will AGAIN, use a MINIMAL amount of the money for THAT ACTUAL EFFORT. They will AGAIN, keep tens of millions of these dollars that unwary people THINK that will go to this effort.. IT HAPPENS ALL THE TIME.. THE HSUS will use that money to put towards the new 300,000 sq ft OFFICE COMPLEX and the 250-300 HOMES they are building in their compound. The rest will go AGAIN to their pension funds, ceo salaries, their 100 thousand dollar a year LOBBING/PAY OFF money and to contribute to their EVERY GROWING 50M+++ stock program and hundred million dollar realestate investments.. You people seem to believe ANYTHING!

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