Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) president Wayne Pacelle’s insistence that his group is “not telling people to become vegetarians” doesn’t jibe with reality [“Animal Protection Proposal Urged,” Nov. 28].

HSUS gives its formal endorsement to only one food product: Tofurky. It complained bitterly this year when a Canoga Park, California egg company claimed it had secured an HSUS endorsement. (The company’s press release was later withdrawn.)

Not only is HSUS run by a strict vegan, but it also has a “no animal products in the workplace” policy similar to the one in place at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). This is not your father’s Humane Society. In fact, it’s a “humane society” in name only, since it barely gives 4 percent of its income to organizations that shelter and adopt out dogs and cats. (HSUS itself runs no pet shelters at all.)

As time goes on, the differences between HSUS and PETA are getting blurrier. They’re both against fur and leather. They both oppose medical research to cure cancer and AIDS. They both take issue with hunting and fishing. And yes, like PETA, the Humane Society of the United States is pushing vegetarianism.

The chief difference between the two groups today is that HSUS’s interns wear nicer watches – and keep their clothes on.