Love ‘em or hate ‘em, you simply have to give the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) points for chutzpah. This year HSUS has already poured more than $4.2 million into a ballot initiative fight aimed at pricing eggs out of Californians’ reach. And now the group is begging for more money from unsuspecting consumers. Yesterday the animal rights group’s president, Wayne Pacelle, e-mailed millions of people with the panicked claim that “we’re facing a severe shortage of funds to keep our TV ads on the air next week … please, give whatever you can to help us finish this fight.”
Pacelle quoted this urgent-sounding message from his California campaign manager:
We’re facing a fairly imminent cash crunch — we have about $300,000 on hand now, and that should cover us for the cable TV ads in California for the remainder of this week … We need to raise an additional $250,000 over the next 48 hours so we can reach voters in the smaller TV markets … We have to pay the stations on Thursday!
News flash: In its own 2007 Annual Report, HSUS disclosed over $206 million in net assets. Yes, you read that right. $206 million. Mooching for more has the distinct feel of a mismanaged Wall Street giant with its hand out for a financial rescue.
Except that, unlike the recently bailed-out banks and insurance giants, HSUS has plenty of working capital. And it has a dismal track record when it comes to managing its money. For this so-called “humane society” (which spends barely 4 percent of its budget on actual pet shelters) to cry poverty and solicit even more is dishonest, sneaky, and, sadly, par for the course.