What do local shelters think of the good, old Humane Society of the U.S. (HSUS)? That was the question posed to me when I spoke at the American Farm Bureau's Promotion and Education Conference in Bloomington, MN last Friday. After discussing some of the recent happenings and run-ins occurring in my home state of South Dakota with the national organization, I reminded the group of some key statistics that we need to be sharing with our friends, neighbors and colleagues.
For example, did you know?
-83% of Americans have a favorable view of HSUS.
-71% of Americans believe HSUS is an umbrella group for local pet shelters.
-63% believe their local shelter is associated with HSUS.
-59% believe HSUS shares most of its money with local pet shelters.
-Yet, less than 1/2 of 1% actually goes to local shelters.
*Statistics courtesy of HumaneWatch.org.
During my speech, one attendee raised her hand and shared with the group that she had worked with their local shelter before, and they felt HSUS actually took away money that might otherwise be given to them directly. They were actually considering changing their name in order to differentiate themselves from the group and raise money for the work they do to help animals.
Today's homework is this: Initiate a conversation with your local animal shelter. Find out what they think about the national organization. Share with them the statistics of HSUS and how very few dollars actually trickle down to local shelters. Do they realize these things? Have they been impacted by the cute kitty and puppy commercials asking viewers for $19.99 each month for HSUS? Ask the managers how communities can assist and keep these doors open to continue to help animals.
As farmers and ranchers, we practice animal care each and every day. These local shelters have the same goals in mind. Certainly, we can work together to educate consumers how their hard-earned dollars can be better spent than sending it to our pals at the HSUS lobbying office. What are your thoughts?