Non-profit

Humane Society of the United States (HSUS)

Website:

www.humanesociety.org

Location:

WASHINGTON, DC

Tax ID:

53-0225390

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)

Budget (2017):

Revenue: $142,355,222
Expenses: $126,131,691
Assets: $285,044,623

Formation:

1954

Type:

Animal Rights Lobbying Group

President:

Kitty Block

President's Salary:

$255,630

Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) is a large left-of-center animal liberation and vegetarianism advocacy nonprofit. Founded in 1954, HSUS lobbies to end cruelty to animals and for an end to human use of animals for food and fiber. [1]

Critics object to HSUS’s misleading fundraising campaigns that imply that it operates pet shelters or is a national umbrella for pet shelters (which often use the genericized term “humane society” to identify themselves), despite HSUS having no formal affiliations with local rescues or animal shelters, even those with “Humane Society” in their names. [2]

The group was embroiled by controversy related to the “MeToo” movement in 2017, when three women at HSUS accused then-president and CEO Wayne Pacelle of sexual harassment. [3] Despite support from the HSUS Board of Directors, Pacelle resigned in January 2018, and the Board ended the investigation. [4] Kitty Block, a longtime animal liberation activist who most recently headed HSUS’s international affiliate Humane Society International, replaced Pacelle as President and CEO in 2019, after working as acting President and CEO after Pacelle’s resignation. [5]

History

HSUS was founded as an animal rights advocacy group in 1954. The founders were former members of the American Humane Society and planned for HSUS to advocate for animal rights on a national level, using lobbying, undercover investigations, and education to influence legislation for stronger animal rights laws. [6]

HSUS has credited with pushing major animal-related legislation, including the Humane Slaughter Act of 1958, the Laboratory Animal Welfare Act of 1966, and the Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards (PETS) Act of 2006. [7]

In 2005, the Fund for Animals, an anti-hunting organization led by Wayne Pacelle, merged into HSUS. Pacelle, a vegan activist, would rise to head HSUS; under his leadership, HSUS brought on a number of vegan activists with radical backgrounds and ensconced them in senior positions in the organization to advocate against conventional animal agriculture practices and to campaign for vegetarianism. [8] In 2016, Pacelle reportedly ousted Kevin Fulton (who ran an organic grazing operation) as head of HSUS’s “Nebraska agriculture council” after Fulton protested HSUS inviting animal liberation philosopher Peter Singer to keynote the group’s “Future of Food” conference. [9]

Sexual Misconduct Scandals

Wayne Pacelle

On December 20, 2017, HSUS launched an internal investigation of Wayne Pacelle, then-president and CEO of HSUS, who was accused of sexual harassment by three women within the organization. During the investigation, other high-ranking women in HSUS said that their warnings of Pacelle’s inappropriate conduct went unheeded, while others at HSUS believed that certain women in the organization rose in their careers due to romantic relationships with Pacelle. [10]

While the majority of the HSUS Board of Directors supported Pacelle through the investigation, Pacelle resigned from his position in January of 2018. Following his resignation, the board voted to immediately close the investigation, fracturing the board and leading to several resignations of board directors. [11]

After leaving HSUS, Pacelle went on to found the PAC Animal Wellness Action. He was the founder of the Humane Society Legislative Fund, and former executive director of the Fund for Animals. [12]

Pacelle’s scandal also implicated Mike Markarian, a radical animal liberation activist who worked as HSUS’s Chief Operating Officer. A former female HSUS employee who passed a complaint of inappropriate behavior by Pacelle up the HSUS chain of command alleged:[13]

Markarian called me into his office to tell me my job ‘was to protect Wayne,’ ” Fox wrote. “I told him it was ‘Wayne’s job to protect Wayne, and that he needed to reel himself in and stop sleeping with donors.’

Markarian, who left HSUS in 2018 to pursue winemaking,[14] denied the allegations to the Washington Post. [15]

Paul Shapiro

In 2018, Politico reported that an HSUS campaigner accused Paul Shapiro, a vegan activist who worked as vice president for farm animal protection at HSUS, of making sexually suggestive comments while staying with her at an AirBnB in Boston. Other female HSUS employees alleged a pattern of behavior by Shapiro including telling sexually inappropriate jokes and asking female employees to have sex. Politico reviewed documentary evidence that the trade publication alleged showed Shapiro “suggested a female employee should “take one for the team” by having sex with a donor, sent pornography and lewd emails to male employees and discussed with colleagues his sexual philosophies, such as having as many sexual partners as possible.” [16]

Shapiro told Politico that he could not comment on non-specific allegations but that he “[took] responsibility for inappropriate behavior years earlier in my career, and apologized to those who may have been offended” and that he “was held accountable for what I’d actually done, and the matter was resolved [. . . he was] removed as the head of a 30-person department which I’d run for 12 years, assumed a new position with less responsibility, no supervisees and no budgetary authority.” [17]

Fundraising Controversy

HSUS has faced criticism for misleading fundraising campaigns, saying things like “we have saved animals from crisis,” that allegedly imply that HSUS is affiliated with local pet shelters (which often use the genericized descriptor “humane society”) and other rescue organizations. [18] However, according to HSUS’s own website, “HSUS does not run or oversee local animal shelters or rescues.” [19]

HSUS is also criticized for how it spends its millions of dollars of donations. As of 2020, HSUS held a two-star (out of four) rating on Charity Navigator, and shows that in 2018, less than 67% percent of donations were spent on programs,[20] despite HSUS’s own claim that it spends 80% “directly on lifesaving animal protection programs.” [21]

In 2018, HSUS gave over $4.7 million dollars to its international affiliate Humane Society International, nearly $1 million to its lobbying arm Humane Society Legislative Fund, and over $1.3 million to its aligned veterinarians’ group, Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association. In contrast, HSUS made only small grants to local animal organizations such as the Bath County Humane Society, the Federated Humane Societies of PA, It’s a Ruff Life Rescue, the Maryland SPCA, the Ohio SPCA, the Phoenix Rescue Group, among others. [22]

People

Longtime animal liberation activist Kitty Block was named permanent president and CEO of HSUS in 2019, after she had taken over as acting president and CEO after the resignation of former President and CEO Wayne Pacelle in 2018. [23] Block is also the CEO of Humane Society International, for which she previously held the positions of president, senior vice president, and vice president. Block formerly worked for HSUS as Special Counsel to the United Nations and Treaties Department and as its director of Legal Research and Development. [24] Critics of HSUS have noted that Block once worked for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, a more radical animal liberation group, earlier in her career. [25]

Block was formerly an advisor on Trade and the Environment to the White House, and has represented HSUS in meetings of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) of Wild Fauna and Flora, the International Whaling Commission, and the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission. Block has also served on the Review Panel of the Agreement of the International Dolphin Conservation Program. [26]

Katherine L. Karl works as general counsel and chief legal officer for HSUS. Karl also serves as general counsel for both Humane Society Legislative Fund and Humane Society International. Karl formerly served as deputy general counsel of the American Cancer Society. [27]

Nicole Paquette is the Chief Programs and Policy Officer and vice president of Wildlife Protection for HSUS. Paquette was formerly the senior vice president, and general counsel at the Animal Protection Institute/Born Free USA. [28]

Board of Directors

Brad Jakeman sits on the HSUS Nominating and Philanthropy Committee. Jakeman is the Co-Chairman of the Board of the LGBT Center in New York and is on the board of Reporters Without Borders. Jakeman is the founder and managing partner of Rethink Food, sat on the board of the Ad Council, and is the former president of PepsiCo’s Global Beverage Group. [29]

Thomas McMillen formerly served three terms in the U.S. House of Representatives as a Democrat from Maryland and chaired the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports. [30]

Caren M. Fleit is a founding member of the HSUS New York State Council. Fleit has formerly held high-level marketing positions with Revlon, LVMH (Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy), and Nestle. [31]

Cathy Kangas is the President and CEO of PRAI Beauty Group, formerly served on the HSUS National Council, and is the founder of Beauty with a Cause. [32]

Charles A. Laue is the former Vice Chair of the HSUS Board, and former Chair of the HSUS Board Risk Management Committee. Laue is the Chair of the Board of the Humane Society Legislative Fund. [33]

David S. Niekerk sits on the HSUS Human Resource Committee and the board of JewishVeg.org, a Jewish-oriented vegan advocacy group. Niekerk formerly worked for Amazon as vice president of Human Resources, and worked in human resources positions at Honeywell Aerospace, Mobil Oil, and PepsiCo. [34]

Georgina Bloomberg, daughter of former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg, is the Chair of Humane Generation New York, a committee of HSUS. Bloomberg is on the board of the Emma and Georgina Bloomberg Foundation and the Bloomberg Family Foundation. She is the Vice President of Animal Aid USA. [35]

Elizabeth Bradham sits on the boards of Project Chimps and Coastal Community Foundation. Bradham is the former vice chair of the board of the ASPCA, former President of Social Venture Partners Charleston, and a former partner with Rothschild, Inc. [36]

Jeffrey J. Arciniaco is the President and board chair of the South Florida Wildlife Center and a co-fiduciary with the Folke H. Peterson Foundation. [37]

Jerry Cesak sits on the board of Humane Society Legislative Fund, and is the founder of the Unicorn Foundation, a donor organization to HSUS. [38]

Johanie V. Parra serves as Secretary of the boards of HSUS, the Humane Society Legislative Fund, the Fund for Animals, and the South Florida Wildlife Center. [39]

Kathleen M. Linehan is the former treasurer of the HSUS Board, and current member of the HSUS board executive committee. Linehan formerly served as special assistant to the Deputy Secretary of Energy. [40]

Marsha R. Perelman formerly served as the vice chair of the HSUS Board. Perelman currently serves as Chair of the HSUS Board Development Committee, as well as the Chair of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Perelman is the former chair of the board of the ASPCA. [41]

Paula Kislak is the director and president of the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association. Kislak serves as a trustee for the National Parks Conservation Association, and is a member of both the Trust for Public Lands and the Environmental Defense Center. [42]

Susan Atherton is the co-chair of the Board of the HSUS, and former vice chair of the Humane Society Legislative Fund. Atherton serves on the boards of Humane Society International and the San Francisco SPCA, and formerly served as the Chair of the Board at the American Red Cross Bay Area. [43]

Sylvia T. Kaser serves on the HSUS Governance and Finance Committee. Kaser has formerly served as Senior Counsel, attorney-advisor, and prosecutor in the National Security Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, as well as serving as former Counsel at the U.S. Department of Labor. [44]

References

  1. “Our Mission.” The Humane Society of the United States, 2020. Accessed February 13, 2020. https://www.humanesociety.org/our-mission. ^
  2. “Shelters and Rescues FAQ.” The Humane Society of the United States, 2020. Accessed February 13, 2020. https://www.humanesociety.org/resources/shelters-and-rescues-faq. ^
  3. Paquette, Danielle. “Humane Society CEO is Subject of Sexual Harassment Complaints from Trhee Women, According to Internal Investigation.” The Washington Post, January 29, 2018. https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/humane-society-ceo-is-subject-of-sexual-harassment-complaints-from-three-women-according-to-internal-investigation/2018/01/29/12c8961e-053b-11e8-94e8-e8b8600ade23_story.html. ^
  4. Bosman, Julie, Stevens, Matt, and Bromwich, Jonah Engel. “Humane Society CEO Resigns Amid Sexual Harassment Allegations.” The New York Times, February 2, 2018. Accessed February 13, 2020. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/02/us/humane-society-ceo-sexual-harassment-.html. ^
  5. “The Humane Society of the United States Accepts the Resignation of Wayne Pacelle as President and CEO.” The Humane Society of the United States, February 2, 2018. Accessed February 13, 2020. https://www.humanesociety.org/news/humane-society-united-states-accepts-resignation-wayne-pacelle-president-and-ceo. ^
  6. Nolan, Jeannette L. “Humane Society of the United States.” Encyclopaedia Britannica, 2020. Accessed February 13, 2020. https://www.britannica.com/topic/Humane-Society-of-the-United-States. ^
  7. Nolan, Jeannette L. “Humane Society of the United States.” Encyclopaedia Britannica, 2020. Accessed February 13, 2020. https://www.britannica.com/topic/Humane-Society-of-the-United-States. ^
  8. Berman, Rick. “The Humane Society of the United States: It’s Not About Puppies & Kittens.” American Hunter, March 22, 2014. https://www.americanhunter.org/articles/2014/3/22/the-humane-society-of-the-united-states-its-not-about-puppies-kittens/. ^
  9. Eule, Joseph. “The Humane Society’s Descent Into Abolitionist Veganism.” Washington Examiner, October 31, 2016. https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/weekly-standard/the-humane-societys-descent-into-abolitionist-veganism. ^
  10. Paquette, Danielle. “Humane Society CEO is Subject of Sexual Harassment Complaints from Trhee Women, According to Internal Investigation.” The Washington Post, January 29, 2018. https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/humane-society-ceo-is-subject-of-sexual-harassment-complaints-from-three-women-according-to-internal-investigation/2018/01/29/12c8961e-053b-11e8-94e8-e8b8600ade23_story.html. ^
  11. Bosman, Julie, Stevens, Matt, and Bromwich, Jonah Engel. “Humane Society CEO Resigns Amid Sexual Harassment Allegations.” The New York Times, February 2, 2018. Accessed February 13, 2020. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/02/us/humane-society-ceo-sexual-harassment-.html. ^
  12. “Our Team.” Animal Wellness Action, 2020. Accessed February 13, 2020. https://animalwellnessaction.org/our-team/. ^
  13. Paquette, Danielle. “The Humane Society’s Sexual Harassment Scandal Just Won’t End.” The Washington Post. WP Company, March 23, 2018. https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/the-humane-societys-sexual-harassment-scandal-just-wont-end/2018/03/23/52b8e996-1647-11e8-8b08-027a6ccb38eb_story.html. ^
  14. Berman, Rick. “The Swamp Thing Returns.” The Washington Times. The Washington Times, August 6, 2018. https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2018/aug/6/embattled-ceo-of-the-humane-society-of-the-united-/. ^
  15. Paquette, Danielle. “The Humane Society’s Sexual Harassment Scandal Just Won’t End.” The Washington Post. WP Company, March 23, 2018. https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/the-humane-societys-sexual-harassment-scandal-just-wont-end/2018/03/23/52b8e996-1647-11e8-8b08-027a6ccb38eb_story.html. ^
  16. Kullgren, Ian. “Female Employees Allege Culture of Sexual Harassment at Humane Society.” POLITICO Magazine, January 30, 2018. https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2018/01/30/humane-society-sexual-harassment-allegations-investigation-216553?lo=ap_a1. ^
  17. Kullgren, Ian. “Female Employees Allege Culture of Sexual Harassment at Humane Society.” POLITICO Magazine, January 30, 2018. https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2018/01/30/humane-society-sexual-harassment-allegations-investigation-216553?lo=ap_a1. ^
  18. “Donate.” The Humane Society of the United States, 2020. Accessed February 13, 2020. https://secure.humanesociety.org/site/Donation2;jsessionid=00000000.app329b?idb=1616843606&df_id=23356&mfc_pref=T&23356.donation=form1&NONCE_TOKEN=5A295E8FD4C9D6F03E6AA59082CDA351&s_src=web_footer_donate&23356_donation=form1. ^
  19. “Shelters and Rescues FAQ.” The Humane Society of the United States, 2020. Accessed February 13, 2020. https://www.humanesociety.org/resources/shelters-and-rescues-faq. ^
  20. “The Humane Society of the United States.” Charity Navigator, 2020. Acccessed February 13, 2020. https://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=search.summary&orgid=3848. ^
  21. “Donations FAQ.” The Humane Society of the United States, 2020. Accessed February 13, 2020.  https://www.humanesociety.org/resources/donations-faq. ^
  22. The Humane Society of the United States, Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990), 2018, Schedule I, Part II ^
  23. “The Humane Society of the United States Accepts the Resignation of Wayne Pacelle as President and CEO.” The Humane Society of the United States, February 2, 2018. Accessed February 13, 2020. https://www.humanesociety.org/news/humane-society-united-states-accepts-resignation-wayne-pacelle-president-and-ceo. ^
  24. “Kitty Block.” LinkedIn. Accessed February 5, 2020. https://www.linkedin.com/in/kitty-block/. ^
  25. Berman, Richard. “Bad Behavior Where Kindness Is Supposed to Thrive.” The Washington Times. The Washington Times, February 5, 2018. https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2018/feb/5/how-the-humane-societys-sexual-predator-problem-is/. ^
  26. “Kitty Block.” Humane Society International, 2020. Accessed February 5, 2020. https://www.hsi.org/about-us/our-leadership/kitty-block/. ^
  27. “Katherine Karl Joins the Humane Society of the United States as its New General Counsel.” The Humane Society of the United States, July 19, 2016. Accessed February 9, 2020. https://www.humanesociety.org/news/katherine-karl-joins-humane-society-united-states-its-new-general-counsel. ^
  28. “Nicole Paquette.” The Humane Society of the United States, 2020. Accessed February 13, 2020.  https://www.humanesociety.org/leadership/nicole-paquette. ^
  29. “Board of Directors.” The Humane Society of the United States, 2020. Accessed February 13, 2020. https://www.humanesociety.org/resources/board-directors. ^
  30. “Board of Directors.” The Humane Society of the United States, 2020. Accessed February 13, 2020. https://www.humanesociety.org/resources/board-directors. ^
  31. “Board of Directors.” The Humane Society of the United States, 2020. Accessed February 13, 2020. https://www.humanesociety.org/resources/board-directors. ^
  32. “Board of Directors.” The Humane Society of the United States, 2020. Accessed February 13, 2020. https://www.humanesociety.org/resources/board-directors. ^
  33. “Board of Directors.” The Humane Society of the United States, 2020. Accessed February 13, 2020. https://www.humanesociety.org/resources/board-directors. ^
  34. “Board of Directors.” The Humane Society of the United States, 2020. Accessed February 13, 2020. https://www.humanesociety.org/resources/board-directors. ^
  35. “Board of Directors.” The Humane Society of the United States, 2020. Accessed February 13, 2020. https://www.humanesociety.org/resources/board-directors. ^
  36. “Board of Directors.” The Humane Society of the United States, 2020. Accessed February 13, 2020. https://www.humanesociety.org/resources/board-directors. ^
  37. “Board of Directors.” The Humane Society of the United States, 2020. Accessed February 13, 2020. https://www.humanesociety.org/resources/board-directors. ^
  38. “Board of Directors.” The Humane Society of the United States, 2020. Accessed February 13, 2020. https://www.humanesociety.org/resources/board-directors. ^
  39. “Leadership Team.” South Florida Wildlife Center, 2020. Accessed February 9, 2020. http://www.southfloridawildlifecenter.org/about/our_team. ^
  40. “Board of Directors.” The Humane Society of the United States, 2020. Accessed February 13, 2020. https://www.humanesociety.org/resources/board-directors. ^
  41. “Board of Directors.” The Humane Society of the United States, 2020. Accessed February 13, 2020. https://www.humanesociety.org/resources/board-directors. ^
  42. “Board of Directors.” The Humane Society of the United States, 2020. Accessed February 13, 2020. https://www.humanesociety.org/resources/board-directors. ^
  43. “Board of Directors.” The Humane Society of the United States, 2020. Accessed February 13, 2020. https://www.humanesociety.org/resources/board-directors. ^
  44. “Board of Directors.” The Humane Society of the United States, 2020. Accessed February 13, 2020. https://www.humanesociety.org/resources/board-directors. ^
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: January 1, 1956

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2017 Dec Form 990 $142,355,222 $126,131,691 $285,044,623 $35,905,792 Y $137,691,644 $1,066,810 $2,798,103 $2,671,717 PDF
    2016 Dec Form 990 $126,573,499 $131,778,319 $244,783,010 $34,220,712 Y $112,881,052 $848,497 $1,725,841 $2,536,980
    2015 Dec Form 990 $133,322,929 $139,799,262 $249,379,458 $46,663,525 Y $126,104,650 $1,089,199 $1,867,496 $3,688,978 PDF
    2014 Dec Form 990 $135,499,050 $128,921,223 $250,739,778 $37,160,391 Y $124,487,650 $1,086,774 $2,308,276 $2,335,271 PDF
    2013 Dec Form 990 $132,773,775 $120,217,464 $250,956,852 $36,406,973 Y $115,513,194 $1,386,641 $2,524,989 $2,517,992 PDF
    2012 Dec Form 990 $125,763,492 $120,316,900 $229,962,360 $34,551,774 Y $112,833,027 $2,943,819 $2,431,737 $2,475,689 PDF
    2011 Dec Form 990 $133,577,658 $127,772,207 $217,017,288 $33,801,458 Y $122,743,378 $2,735,672 $4,711,346 $2,470,333 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Humane Society of the United States (HSUS)

    1255 23RD ST NW STE 450
    WASHINGTON, DC 20037-1168