Carving for a Cause

It’s Halloween time and every year we carve pumpkins with our kids.  It’s a family tradition on our farm and one we always look forward to.  This year we were looking for new ideas and I saw a friend had a link on her Facebook page for the Better Homes & Garden Carving for a Cause.  The link takes you to a page where you can download stencils for pumpkins for a $2 donation.  My friend had commented that she would be canceling her subscription to the magazine because of what she found when she clicked on the link. 

When I clicked on the link, I quickly saw why my friend was canceling her subscription.  The first stencil download was of a cat or dog and the donation was going to the Humane Society of the United States. 

The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) is not like the other charitable organizations Better Homes & Gardens had listed.  The other charities were the March of Dimes, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Susan G Komen for the Cure and Rebuilding Together.  I think these last four organizations are for a great cause and I am thrilled Better Homes & Gardens is supporting them. 

It’s unfortunate HSUS has tricked so many of us into thinking they are affiliated with the Humane Society in our communities.  HSUS pulls at our heart strings with their commercials, leading us all to believe they collect donations to help abandoned or abused cats and dogs.  What I have learned upon doing research is that HSUS doesn’t run a shelter, nor are they associated with any local Humane Society Shelter.  They do not donate their money to help local shelters.  HSUS is not a charitable organization like the other four listed above. 

In 2008, HSUS collected over $130 Million dollars and less than $450,000 was used for the hands on care of pets in animal shelters.  That is less than 1/2 of 1% of the money raised that actually went to help cats and dogs.  So how does HSUS spend all of that money?  HSUS paid 400 employees approximately $30 Million a year in salaries and benefits.  For every dollar they raise, HSUS sends approximately $.28 back out the door to raise more money.  They pay a lock box company $4 Million a year to count the money they raise from their commercials that pull at our heart strings.  The majority of their money goes to lobbying, which is against regulations for a 501(c)(3) status organization.  As a result, five Missouri Congressmen are calling for an IRS investigation.   

I give to a local shelter instead of HSUS or ASPCA.  I know that when I give a donation to my local shelter it is actually going to help the animals in need.  My shelter even accepts donations of dog/cat food, that way people know their donation is going to the animals. 

I decided best way to address this issue was to contact the editor of Better Homes and Gardens.  I sent an email to and explained why I had concerns about the magazine helping raise money for HSUS.   I was pleasantly surprised to get a response within 3  hours of sending my email.  I was told by the editor their contribution of $5,000 is a one-time restricted donation to the Animal Rescue Team’s efforts to aid animals after natural disasters.  I applaud Better Homes & Gardens for responding to me and for making this issue a little more clear.   I really hope HSUS does use this money to help animals but I have to tell ya, I’m a little skeptical after looking at their track record.

About Chris Chinn

My husband, Kevin, and I are 5th generation farmers. We live on our family hog farm in Missouri with our two children. Our dream is that our children will have the opportunity be the 6th generation of farmers in our family.
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4 Responses to Carving for a Cause

  1. Mike Haley says:

    Hey Chris,

    I wonder if Better Homes and Gardens knows that HSUS chose to leave NARSC (the group that works with FEMA) over a year ago. From what I understand there was several reasons y they chose to do this ranging from FEMA requiring them to see the rescue to the end instead of just the PR events to HSUS’s inability to get along with other charities like Red Star and Red Cross.

    Because of this HSUS has severely limited their ability to help animals in times of natural disasters. If better homes and gardens truly wanted their dollars to help the cause they would be sporting Red Star (American Humane Association) animal rescue instead.

  2. Pingback: Pumpkin carving for HSUS? | ND Feeding Families

  3. kellymrivard says:

    Thanks for bringing attention to this issue, Chris. Fantastic post, well-written and to the point. Also, thank you so much to Mike for highlight valuable information about HSUS’s withdrawal from disaster relief efforts. It was their big chance to do good in the world, and they wasted it on self-serving PR and misleading fundraising efforts.

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