If you’ve been waiting to confirm your suspicions about the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), we have good news. The HSUS — which by its own admission “does not operate or have any control over any animal shelter” — has joined forces with the tiny, PETA-esque Association of Veterinarians for Animal Rights (AVAR) in a blatant attempt to borrow some lab-coat credibility.
According to its president, HSUS set up this new partnership (called the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association) because “veterinarians bring a special credibility and authority on animal issues.” But is there a hidden agenda? One pet-care blogger was spot-on in her hunch that HSUS is really trying to undercut the more mainstream (and animal-rights unfriendly) American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA):

“Could it be that HSUS wanted to cloak itself in the mantle of the AVMA’s and the veterinary profession’s credibility? To make an alliance with what is essentially a fringe veterinary group, and then use that oh-so-similar name to create an impression of a much broader veterinary medical authority? … ’Special credibility’ is not medical language. It’s not even animal welfare language. It’s PR language.”

Like the (false) presumption that HSUS runs your local animal shelter, its new affiliation with the veterinary profession is bound to be good for fundraising.
But AVAR is so “fringe” that it’s not even allowed to attend North America’s largest annual veterinary convention. Contrary to what its name suggests, apparently AVAR is not as representative of ordinary animal docs as they would like us to believe. Sounds familiar.