Yesterday the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), the world’s richest animal-rights organization, launched its "National Conference on Animals in Disaster," a four-day event meant to "ensure that all pet owners have a plan for their animals in case of a disaster." With cameras running, HSUS president Wayne Pacelle sermonized about lessons learned from Hurricane Katrina: "When we fail to account for the needs of animals, we really cannot have a successful disaster response." It’s a nice sentiment, but considering the track record HSUS has established in its most recent "relief efforts," you’ll understand if we’re suspicious.
Amid a flurry of accusations that HSUS misallocated funds and defrauded donors, Louisiana Attorney General Charles Foti has opened up a full investigation into the $30 million the group raised after Katrina. Ostensibly this money was going to direct animal rescues and reunions. But HSUS’s repeated failure to account for how and where this cash was spent leads some (including the Bayou State’s chief law enforcement officer) to suspect that the funds were funneled into non-Katrina-related projects.
It appears hypocritical for HSUS to promote its disaster-relief virtues while simultaneously under investigation for serious vices. Somehow we doubt The New York Times would have devoted A-Section space to a Rep. William Jefferson press conference on congressional ethics, a Rush Limbaugh "Just Say No" seminar, a "Safe Driving with the Kennedys" conference, or … well, you get the idea.