As an organization focused on protecting all animals, the Humane Society of the United States and its affiliates take on some big industries and interest groups, and many of them have long used their deep pockets to try and undermine our reputation in the public sphere in hopes of making us less effective.

One of the most recent arrivals is the Center for Environment and Welfare. This group is connected to front groups that have attacked us for years, such as the Center for Consumer Freedom, Help Pet Shelters and HumaneWatch. Most of these groups have connections to Berman and Company, an aggressive PR firm that has been repeatedly exposed for its deceptive practices. These entities use misleading names, false narratives and misdirection to attack our work in an attempt to protect the status quo of cruelty and derail progress for animals.

What do the Center for Environment and Welfare and other opposition groups say about the HSUS?

The most common attack is that the HSUS doesn’t run animal shelters and gives less than 1% of its budget to local shelters.

But while we do provide millions in financial support to many other entities and allies, the HSUS is not primarily a grantmaking organization, and local animal shelters have always been independent of the HSUS. Since its founding in 1954, the HSUS has had a different focus and scope of work. There are approximately 13,000 animal shelters and rescue organizations in the United States; many are private, nonprofit organizations with their own boards of directors, and others are run by city or county departments. While their names may be similar (Humane Society, SPCA, Rescue League), they each have their own policies, governance and operational priorities. No national organization, including the HSUS, runs them or serves as a parent association, and never has.

The HSUS was created to care for animals in crisis and tackle systemic abuses on a national and global scale. Our goal was not to replicate the work of local shelters and rescues but to help fill in critical gaps. That is who we are, and that is who we have always been.

While the HSUS provides direct care to thousands of animals each year, our mission is different from that of local animal shelters. We focus on addressing the root causes of animal cruelty and abuse to build a more humane world.

We also believe we can’t do it alone, and building a stronger animal protection movement through partnership with local shelters and rescues is one of our top priorities. We spend 73% of our funds on program expenses to help pets, wildlife, animals in laboratories, farm animals, marine mammals and other animals at risk. As part of those efforts, we partner with local organizations to advance policy reform and program development to help pets and their families.

We also work to support and advance animal care with our education and training programs for local organizations, and we provide millions of dollars in grants every year. While grants are critical to our work to help local organizations, we focus primarily on the systemic reasons that families are separated from their pets, including our policy work to eliminate pet restrictions in housing and to expand access to veterinary care, including spay/neuter.

Who is behind these attacks?

Masquerading as a legitimate organization, the Center for Environment and Welfare is a front group for corporations trying to thwart animal welfare and environmental and other public interest reforms. CEW is affiliated with the Center for Consumer Freedom, which also goes by the Center for Organizational Research and Education. But no matter what you call it, it’s not a consumer protection organization or a watchdog group, and it has no public welfare mission.

CEW slings mud for companies that profit from the mistreatment of animals—including those in the industrial agribusiness sector that defend lifelong confinement of animals, inhumane slaughter practices and the reckless use of antibiotics on factory farms.

Where can I find more information?

The website WhoAttacksHSUS addresses some of the most frequent criticisms and deceptions these groups use. A number of reliable media outlets have covered Berman and Company and its deceptive practices. You can search Google for their latest campaigns against other causes. SourceWatch, a publication of the Center for Media and Democracy (a reputable nonprofit watchdog organization), also has information about the Center for Consumer Freedom and

If you work for a local shelter or rescue group, we wholeheartedly thank you for your efforts on behalf of animals. We’re grateful to have so many people and groups focused on different aspects of animal protection—there’s so much for all of us to do! If you have questions about something you’ve seen or heard, we’re happy to help. Find your HSUS state director or contact us at