During last night’s Oscar broadcast, a corporate front group ran an attack ad claiming that only a small percentage of the Humane Society of the United States’ donations fund animal shelters.
This ad was surprising because it seemed to come out of nowhere. Who, exactly, has such a beef with the Humane Society that they would buy ad during a broadcast where a 30 second segment costs an average of $1.7 million? As it turns out, the food industry.
It is indeed true that much of the Humane Society’s money goes to programs other than animal shelters for stray cats and dogs — much of the Society’s resources go to fighting animal cruelty in the courts and in legislatures. In court, the Humane Society defends laws prohibiting horse slaughter, it fights to protect dolphins from aggressive tuna fishing techniques, and it supports regulations governing the treatment of “downed” cattle. In Congress and state legislatures, the Humane Society backs many anti-cruelty bills, including the Egg Products Inspection Act Amendments of 2012, which would prevent egg-laying hens from being packed into tiny cagesthat leaves them with virtually no room to move around.
he anti-Humane Society ad was paid for by the Center for Consumer Freedom, a corporate front group run by right-wing PR flack Rick Berman that is closely tied to the food industry. Berman’s Center accuses the Humane Society of engaging in “a slow but steady push to take away consumer choices by forcing meat, eggs, and dairy foods out of more Americans’ reach,” and he has a long history of similarly hyperbolic claims paid for by corporations looking to misrepresent the safety of their food products.
So the anti-Humane Society ad appears to be the latest in a long line of Berman’s attempts to pad the food industry’s bottom line at the expense of ordinary Americans’ health.