Yesterday afternoon the Associated Press broke some peculiar news about the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS): The disingenuously named animal rights group has forged an alliance with disgraced NFL quarterback Michael Vick. Given the group’s well-publicized campaigns against dogfighting (a rare issue on which we wholeheartedly agree with the anti-meat giant), HSUS’s sudden change of heart about the convicted dog abuser may come as a surprise. It shouldn’t. Because as we’re telling the media today, HSUS has a history of tapping into the Michael Vick case for its own gain.
Let’s recap: Vick was indicted for his dogfighting operation on July 17, 2008. Less than twenty-four hours later, HSUS was raising money on the promise that funds would be used to “care for” Vick’s dogs. Then The New York Times reported that the group had absolutely nothing to do with “caring for” the animals. Again, no surprise — HSUS doesn’t operate a single pet shelter anywhere in America.
In fact, HSUS President Wayne Pacelle told the Times he had no idea who rescued the dogs, or where they were. But whoever had them, Pacelle advised, ought to kill them.
We publicized this deception, and HSUS quietly altered its fundraising pitch.
Fast-forward to this week. Now that most of Vick’s dogs are being rehabilitated (without the help or blessing of HSUS), the group is welcoming their oppressor with open arms, fresh from the slammer.
Pacelle says it’s because Vick can use his influence to tell kids that dogfighting is uncool. But here’s our guess: HSUS knows that most Americans are dog lovers. And Vick’s early release from federal prison is a great opportunity to turn that sympathy into donations for its anti-meat, anti-dairy, and anti-medical-research campaigns. Again.
Animal advocates everywhere should demand that HSUS return the money it raised on the false promise that it would do something distinctly humane. Is that too much to ask from a "humane society"?