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Rick Berman's Cease and Desist Letter/Retraction

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The current article you are reading does not reflect the views of the current editors and contributors of the new Ecorazzi

Earlier today we received a cease and desist letter concerning this article. We are choosing to honor the request while our lawyers look over the information and determine how best to proceed.

I do want to correct one immediate error. I wrote, “Berman says that HSUS doesn’t give any money to shelter animals…” That statement is incorrect. Berman has said instead that “roughly 1 percent of HSUS’s budget is given to pet shelters.”

Berman also posted a rebuttal to Wayne Pacelle’s claims on his website. You can read his side of the story here.

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  • Bob

    Wayne Pacelle and HSUS are the real wolves in sheeps clothing.

    They don’t do anything for shelter animals or animal welfare. They are an animal rights group that tries to pretend it is an animal welfare group.

    • So they didn’t help 700+ cats rescued from a Florida hoarder a few months back?

      They didn’t help a 100 malamutes rescued from a bad breeder in Montana?

      They didn’t help at the various floods and tornadoes this year?

      They didn’t help bring about an agreement from egg producers to move their chickens from battery cages to roomy community systems?

      They haven’t worked against confined hunts, and against private ownership of wild animals in the country?

      They haven’t advocated against puppy mills, or investigated bad puppy and kitten mills, or the worst of roadside zoos?

      So you’re saying they haven’t done any of these things.

      Why don’t we cut through the playing and the back and forth, and all of us just acknowledge it’s because of HSUS success that it’s receiving so much pushback.

      If HSUS didn’t do anything, Berman wouldn’t care about the organization. In fact, if everything that Berman claims about HSUS were true, I would hazard a pretty darn good guess that you wouldn’t have a HumaneWatch. Or a HSSP, either.

      • don miguelo

        I like the way you think!!! Finally, someone who can fight off 1 million spent in a egocentric smear campaign with basic facts!
        And I just CAN’T WAIT for HSSP’s accountability rating next year when THEIR stats are in at “Charity Navigator”!! –(is there a negative rating?!)

        If people are in doubt somehow about HSUS they can check the rating there right now for themselves–and it ain’t too shabby either. http://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=search.summary&orgid=3848

      • fearnot

        well they HSUS sure helped the Alabama 44 ..right into the gas chamber..sure “helped Fay ( not Faye) after being coerced and shamed by giving a measly 5,000 dollars AFTER they were found to be lying about who actually had the dog.. Sure “helped” kill MANY 6 week old puppies in North Carolina by testifying that they would grow up to be “too mean to live” sure “helped” the VICK DOGS AFTER LYING ABOUT WHERE THEY WERE ( NOT WITH THE HSUS).and calling for all of them to be KILLED. one thing they sure helped themselves too?? the 50,000 dollars of blood money the Eagles “donated’ to them to keep Vick in the spotlight.. with that kind of help who needs REAL HELP.. shelters do.. and the HSSP ( no matter who funds it) ONLY ASKS FOR DIRECT DONATIONS.. not for $20.12 PER MONTH (heck they will even take it straight out of your bank account.. or credit card) slimy practices make for expose’s like HSSP. so tell me.. what is wrong with asking people to donate directly to shelters.. do you find that offensive.. that donations are directly given to the shelter.. with no middle man doling the money out like Scrooge..43 million is FIVE years. to the thousands of shelters across the USA?? measly and miserly that is what the HSUS is..
        You may not like Berman.. but you MUST like the idea that giving directly to shelters is a GREAT THING TO DO
        GIve Locally.. think globally.. Friends DO NOT LET Friends Donate to the HSUS

        • Bunk.

          You can’t keep bringing up one act, like it’s the only proof you need–completely discounting all the thousands, perhaps tens of thousands of other acts.

          Michael Vick is over and done with. He served time in prison, he lost a lot of credibility, but he ended up going to play in Philadelphia–at which point, he stopped advocating against dog fighting. Vick is self-serving, cold, despicable, and the HSUS made, in my opinion, a mistake to be seen with him.

          However, I know why HSUS did appear with him: they hoped he would provide a role model for the too many urban kids who think dog fighting is cool. Companies like Nike and game developers have been promoting this “killer dog” image for years–Vick could have been a voice against it.

          HSUS has been advocating against dog fighting for decades, and you want to focus on about one minute of time during all of that — sorry, but any rational, thinking person is going to think that you have a problem with perspective.

          HSUS worked its behind off to try and help get Proposition B passed in my state. Proposition B would have made a real dent in the puppy mills that plague my state. It passed, but then agribusiness dominated interests influenced the legislature and the Governor into “weakening” the bill.

          But I’ll never forget how hard HSUS worked for this bill. And against all puppy, kitten, bunny mills, and all the other animal advocacy it does.

          • fearnot

            ONE.. can you count Shelly.. what about Fay?? what about the Alabama 44? do you even know about these atrocities perpetuated by the HSUS. Vick is hardly. “over and done with” The HSUS would love to shove that bad piece of press to the rear, especially the part where they claimed to HAVE VICKS dogs and raised millions until they were caught with their proverbial pants down and had to change their pitch to ‘dog like Vicks” and even then called for the killing of Vicks dogs.. straight from Pacelles mouth. Did you follow the North Carolina case where six week old puppies were put to death? the HSUS “advocated’ for those “fighting dogs’ to be killed too, because of what they “might become”
            Yes I want to focus on one minute of time but gee there are so many other “minutes in time” to focus on that the clock just keeps on ticking.
            as for Prop B if you call spending MILLIONS of donor dollars that most people, think goes to shelters working your “behind off’ then so be it.. talk about focusing on “one minute”.. Prop B is finished. dead . done. over.. if you really want things to be better in your state.. use the TIP line.. does HSUS fund that?? I think not
            meanwhile I will ask again.. what is wrong with directing people straight to shelters to donate their hard earned money? Is there something evil about that?/ if there is then the HSUS must be collusion with that evil as they sometimes say donate to your local shelter..

          • Time4Dogs

            Way to go, “fearnot”. I salute you.

          • fearnot

            yup and in those “decades they have called for the killing of any dog caught in a fight ring..kill the victims.. that is what the HSUS wants..good thing cooler heads prevail and many “fight dogs” are now saved and are good pets for people .. no thanks to the HSUS who called for them all to be killed..

  • Kevin

    Defaming someone in print is libel, not slander.

  • Bnr6661

    He did not say he was a charity. He is just trying to get people to donate locally. Instead of a corporation that lies. And is for profit. Their money goes to some of the most absurd things.

    • If he wanted people to donate to local shelters, why don’t his ads feature a prominent message of donate to the local shelters. No, the ads prominently feature a quote from the HSUS, and focus on getting people NOT to donate to the HSUS.

      Want to know a national organization that helps shelters? Pet Finder has done a whole lot more for local shelters than this HSSP ever will–and it doesn’t need to slam HSUS or other national organizations in order to do so.

      If the focus was really on the shelters, the ads should have featured the shelters.

      • fearnot

        the ads do say donate locally.. unlike the hsus ads that use puppies and kitties to try to convince people that they help shelters.. they dont..

  • Excellent, and well said.

    We also know that the funding for this new…urh…”enterprise” comes from the “pet industry”.

    The same pet industry that brings us large scale commercial dog breeders.

    Puppy mills.

    • fearnot

      fundraising is just that Shelly.. FUNDRAISING.. are you concerned that the HSUS will “lose money” or have funds “siphoned off’ to go DIRECTLY to shelters? wow that is amazing.. funds going DIRECTLY TO SHELTERS what a scam.. LOL

      give to your local shelter.. to find one go :


      Be sure to check out our handy shelter locator to find shelters near you that could use time, money, or supplies. It is estimated that between 3 and 4 million dogs and cats are euthanized every year, but we can reduce this by supporting local hands-on groups.

      yes we can by supporting LOCAL shelters and not lobbying groups like the HSUS

      • Pet Finder has been providing help for people to find shelter pets and it’s associated with several thousand shelters–not the handful at HSSP.

        And Pet Finder manages to help without having to blast HSUS or put out ads for a quarter million dollars. Fancy that.

        • fearnot

          petfinder does a great job helping people FIND pets.. not asking people to donate to local shelters..HSSP directs people to local shelters….. that is ALL that they do.. they do not ‘adopt” pets.. or ask for “just $20.12 PER MONTH” to be donated ( that’s $241.44 PER YEAR) imagine all of the good that be done at your LOCAL shelter if you gave it to them.. as for food animals.. the HSUS wants you to PAY MORE FOR MEAT POULTRY AND DAIRY because they want you to STOP eating those products…it does not matter to them if each hen has a velvet cushion.. or each beef steer has its own mansion.. they are a vegan organization that strives to make as many people uncomfortable about the food choices as possible..they are the “nanny” food police they produce a “vegan” dog food that really will harm puppies if it is fed to them.. and ask that everyone eat a vegan lifestyle:
          when asked about his favorite place to get vegan recipes Paul Shapirio.. who works for the HSUS said:
          Favorite vegan cook book or website for recipes?

          I’m partial to humanesociety.org/recipes”

          why because they are all vegan..

    • fearnot

      give locally.. not to HSUS and groups that take your money and you never see it used in your area

  • This is so sad. Thank you for covering this story.

  • Oldhatt45

    Well, Miss Ali. Try and get your facts straight. The HSUS has given less than 1% of their “budget” to aid animal shelters. They have put considerably more than that into their pension funds for the executives like Pacelle. In addition, in case you missed it, the TV ads put out by the HSUS always show a poor dog or cat and deceptively play on peoples emotions causing them to think they are giving to animal shelters. This happens in over 80% of their TV ads, with no disclaimer as to where the money is going. So, tell the truth. The animal rights agenda being pushed by HSUS is nothing more than a sham that provides the funding for legislative lobbying (which the HSUS is being investigated for without declaring it on their tax returns and is illegal) to push for a total vegan society that uses no animal products whatsoever. Again, tell the truth and shame the devil.

  • guest

    I’m sure the HSUS could spend a little more of their donations on shelters/rescues around the country verses spending it on lobbying efforts.I rather donate locally then help HSUS rid me of the right to have my animals. I seriously doubt that the HSUS cares about animals when everything they say is anti-animal ownership. People need to start using common sense before this country is totally down in the gutter.

    • Yes, the agribusiness interests would love that HSUS give all its money to local shelters–and stop fighting for better care for livestock and against puppy mills and terrible roadside zoos.

      Yes, that’s the plan. That will show the world that HSUS cares about animals–when it stops fighting for the animals.

  • On2u

    I don’t know Rick Berman, but I don’t have to to appreciate the effort of HSSP to tell the genral public the simple truth about the HSUS. In a recent poll, 71% of Americans think that the HSUS is connected to their local shelters. HSSP telling people this is not true isn’t lying. It is not telling people to NOT donate to the HSUS, but are telling them that the money they send to the HSUS will not help the animals at their local shelter. The writer of the article seems to take offense to the name that was chosen for this new organization for they fear people will confuse it with the HSUS. The HSUS only recently has included, in very fine print, that they don’t have a relationship with local shelters. They name they chose sounds like a government agency and that was not an accident. That is why they are quoted so often, because they have positioned themselves to act in that capacity, without being affliated with the US government. Oops! That isn’t really accurate. Much of the money they collect is used for lobbying, though that is clearly in violation of the law concerning 501(c)(3) charities. If you will notice, Wayne Pacelle’s MO is to kill the messenger, or at least try to. He can’t argue against the facts that are presented, so he tries to muddy the water with character assignation. What is the HSUS afraid of? Are they afraid that people will give money to local shelters to actual help animals? What does this say about the organization and it’s followers?

    Kool Aid anyone?

    • For one, that “poll” was paid for by Berman, and I take it with a grain of salt.

      And the use of the term “humane society” confuses people both ways–HSUS gets blamed when people are peeved at local shelters.

      It really is up to to people to become informed. If they want their money to go to a local shelter, donate to the shelter. If they’re also interested in fighting for animal welfare–all animals–then they should consider donating to the national organizations, such as HSUS.

      It’s not brain science–all you need to do is be able to read.

  • fearnot

    and just what does the pet industry gain by this group? NOTHING…. this HSSP group only asks that your donor dollars go DIRECTLY to the local shelters.. I would think the HSUS would love that.. they have over 130 million dollars and claim more coming in every day.. so why does this bother them so much? Every dollar that goes directly to the shelter leaves them with more money to spend on LOBBYING which is what they love to do.. even though they call themselves a “charity” Unless of course they want even MORE money.. heck every little $20.12 per MONTH counts.. and they make it easy.. just send them your credit card.. they will take care of “siphoning” your money right into their coffers. Control your own funds.. give DIRECTLY to your local shelters.. http://www.humaneforpets.com will direct AT NO CHARGE to your local groups deserving of your hard earned donor dollars..

    • If the group was more concerned about local shelters, then why aren’t the ads focused on local shelters? Instead, most of the ad space is used to attack HSUS.

      No, if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck…it’s a duck.

  • fearnot

    interesting.. my first post sailed through.. my last one.. has to be ‘moderated’.. funny thing that censorship…

  • Desireenbender

    How about Rick shell out the 4 million plus that he is forking over for ad space to local shelters? Talk about ABDURD spending.

  • JimAndersen

    I would hope Ali Berman will re-read what those full page ads in the NY Times, USA Today, the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune actually say. However, since I see a link to PETA at the bottom of this piece, I doubt the truth of the actual message will matter.
    Therefore, I bet the HSUS bleeding money away from shelters that actually provide hands on help isn’t important to Ali — especially if she’s animal rights rather than the more mainstream animal welfare.
    I also bet Ali doesn’t believe the fact that PETA has been killing thousands of adoptable animals each year in their Virginia shelter, which is at their headquarters. See: http://www.petakillsanimals.com/
    Of course the fact that the State of Virginia verifies the truth of the PETA Slaughterhouse might not matter either. See for the Virginia 2010 report: http://tinyurl.com/4olgzts

    • You realize that this story has nothing to do with PETA, don’t you?

      • fearnot

        connect the dots.. many and I mean MANY current HSUS employes were PETA operative before working at HSUS

  • Time4Dogs

    The HSUS lobbies against no-kill sheltering, and charges shelters for consultations in which they urge them to kill animals when any mandatory holding period expires. That should clue you in immediately. The HSUS asked the judge in the Vick case to kill all the dogs, even the puppies, while they fundraised off the backs of dogs they never possessed and never intended to help. Didi Culp is the founder of the Humane Society for Shelter Pets, and her organization was started a couple of years ago. If CCF and Berman decided to donate time and money to support her group, then bully for them! As a former employee of the grossly misnomered “Humane” Society of the US, Ms Culp fully understands the fraud and deception under which the HSUS fundraises. The overwhelming majority of Americans believe that their donations to HSUS go to help shelter pets. Instead, the HSUS uses those donations for salaries, pensions, fundraising efforts and excessive lobbying for anti-animal ownership legislation. The naive public does not realize that less than 1% of the money donated to HSUS is used for any hands-on care of shelter pets. Thank goodness their deceptive practices are being exposed. If you want to help shelter pets, give to your local shelter. If you want to promote a meatless, vegan, petless society, then donate to the HSUS. The HSUS lobbies excessively in every state in the union. This excessive lobbying activity violates the legal boundaries of their tax-free charity status.
    By the way, the millions spent in 5 years that you are so impressed with…..is less than 1% of the vast amounts of cash that the HSUS fraudulently raises from mostly unsuspecting donors.

    • fearnot

      back at cha George.. thanks for getting the word out
      Friends do NOT let Friends donate to the HSUS

    • Bunk.

      Provide one link to prove your statement that “HSUS lobbies against no-kill shelters”.

      Didi Culp used to work for HSUS, and from her activities after leaving the group, one gets a strong impression that the leaving was acrimonious, and she has an ax to grind. Kind of stupid on her part–she’s only burning her bridges in the animal welfare industry.

      • fearnot

        she is building bridges with those who know the truth Go Didi.. when the “whistleblowing” is in your ear it does not sound so great eh HSUS

  • fearnot

    “Not one penny. We receive nothing from them, and the amount of money they get nationally and don’t share with needy shelters like ours is a shame.”
    –Roseann Trezza, Executive Director of the Associated Humane Societies (on News 12 New Jersey)

    “We often hear, ‘We gave to the national organization.’ It’s frustrating. I’d appreciate it if they didn’t do direct-mail [fundraising] pieces here.”
    –Lynae Gieseke, executive director of the Minnesota Valley Humane Society, in the Star Tribune

    “[People think] that if they give to the national organization that somehow the local organization is benefitting. That’s completely false. There’s no money whatsoever. We have never received one dime from the HSUS.”
    – Raynette Mayer, Central Savannah River Area Humane Society volunteer (Georgia)

    “We hear it all the time, ‘But I already gave to the Humane Society.’ They think they are helping the shelter here, but they don’t understand that money doesn’t come locally.”
    –Donna Clark, Kanawha-Charleston Humane Association executive director (West Virginia)

    what shelters say about the HSUS…

    • There are over 3500 shelters in the country, and you think quoting from the directors of a few makes any kind of point? Even then, this issue isn’t a problem with HSUS–it’s a problem with the use of terms such as “humane society”–and HSUS has been around longer than many of these shelters.

      So, some of the shelters haven’t received funds. Fine. But I imagine most of these shelters haven’t given any funds to help in the fight against puppy mills, or against ill treatment of livestock, or to prevent confined hunts. That’s also fine, too — each organization has its own separate functionality.

      • fearnot

        thanks for that stat .. it helps a lot.. 3500 shelters and the HSUS “gave” 45 million over five years so that is 9 million per year that pans out to a measly 2571 dollars per year. to each shelter out of a budget ot 135 million PER YEAR… and many shelters get a fat ZERO as you can see by the above.. Shelly if you want more.. i can give you more but really to say the shelters have to give to the HSUS in order to get funds seem rather.. well uncharitable.. no? where in the world would shelters get funds to GIVE to the HSUS? backward thinking

  • I would hazard a guess that many of the commenters commenting anonymously are paid by Berman et al. We had this problem when fighting for Proposition B: stories would get blitzed by commenters, all writing anonymously, all pretending to be veterinarians or shelter workers, all saying how Prop B was bad–and when you asked if they were paid to write comments, absolute silence.

  • fearnot

    A recent investigation by Capital Press revealed that in 2010, HSUS gave
    grants worth $338,655 to animal shelters, less than one-quarter of the $1.7
    million it gave to ballot measure campaigns in Missouri and Arizona. Last
    year alone, HSUS received contributions and grants of $131.2 million,
    placing it among the 200 richest charities in the country, according to
    Forbes magazine.
    The Humane Society of the U.S. has also spent $36 million in the past 11
    years on lobbying and political campaigns. It spent $6.2 million on state
    ballot initiatives in 18 states, i…


  • fearnot

    “There is no humane society in the sky; there is no big brother, you are your own entity, all of us are volunteers. We operate with donations and fundraisers and that’s where our money comes from.”
    –Shirley Jarmon, Humane Society of Faulkner County (on KARK Arkansas)

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