People who watched the February 28 Oscars broadcast on TV got more than a two-hour display of lame wisecracks and glamorous gowns. They got a sixty-second expose on the deceptive practices of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), courtesy of Humanewatch.org, the online HSUS watchdog organization.
Airing of the anti-HSUS TV spot, “Wayne’s Words,” during the Oscars was part of a continuing Humanewatch educational campaign, which also has included billboards in Times Square and full-page ads in USA Today. The ad highlights the fact that HSUS claims to help stray dogs and cats, but in reality spends less than one percent of its huge annual budget on pet shelters, while squirreling millions away in off-shore accounts.
The star-studded Oscars may have been a particularly suitable program in which to run the anti-HSUS spot. Gullible celebrities hungry for positive publicity often get conned into appearing in ads and commercials for HSUS, mistakenly thinking that the organization actually devotes most of its resources to caring for stray animals.
According to the Humanewatch website, “Wayne’s Words” provoked a strong response from HSUS CEO Wayne Pacelle, who apparently claimed that the ad “backfired” and had generated more donations to HSUS. After challenging Pacelle to “prove it,” the website noted that donations to HSUS “are down by millions” since the Humanewatch campaign started in 2010.