Thursday, October 29, 2009

HSUS Kleenex ads: Please make it stop (for a while, anyway)

Another holiday season, another so-sad-I’ll-start-crying-if-I’m-anywhere-near-PMS-time ad from the Humane Society of the United States. Their latest campaign features Wendie Malick at the plate, an actress I love dearly for her incredible comic timing and charm.

This rant has nothing to do with her and her good-heartedness at helping out the HSUS. This rant is about the sheer number of impressions of suffering animals the HSUS seems to want us to wade knee-deep through in an effort to part us from our money. And I say this as someone who actually likes the organization.

Enough already with the sad, starved, wounded creatures in need of my (financial) support. I have friends who won’t even open the envelopes from several animal agencies anymore. Not because they don’t believe in the mission, but because they can’t stand to see the abused creatures or read the heart wrenching stories. Rather than guilt my friends into donating, you’ve shamed them into tossing your appeals into the garbage, unseen and unanswered.

Can’t you try something a little different? How about rows of happy, healthy puppies and kittens along with a message of how for only $10, ten kittens were vaccinated against deadly diseases. Or a photo montage showing people who adopted pets from the shelter, along with the message that donations allowed these pets to be vaccinated, altered and housed until the met the loves of the life? Something that makes me want to join in the good vibes going around from helping pets find forever homes, rather than reach for a tissue box and the remote control?


Anonymous said...

You do realise that the photos that groups like the HSUS and PETA (and others) use are either shot in other countries or the film is 30 to 50 years old. They have also been known to pay people to abuse animals so they can pull emotional human chains for donations. The Amish dog breeders have been lied about repeatily. Photos are up on the web that show so called unheated dog kennels. In every photo you can see the alternative heating source clearly in the photo. They go to legislators and say that wood heat cant be used for kennels. Whats good enough for humans isn't good enough for dogs. Whats wrong with that picture?

Paw Print City said...

I published your comment, though I do not agree with it at all. As I stated up front, I believe the HSUS to be a fine organization that does some great work on behalf of animals. I'm just tired of the endless cycle of heartbreaking images as a means to get me to donate and wish they'd do a little more positive campaigning.

Hillary said...

I work for the HSUS and I'd like to address your concerns. I understand where you're coming from because I too cringe at images of animal mistreatment. I think most people do, and I've shared your feedback with the staff involved in creating these ads.

Our organization strives to establish the right balance, and we often don't use the most graphic or most gruesome images from our investigations because we don’t want to turn people off from the message. That said, we feel it's imperative to share some glimpses of the misery we’re out to eliminate.

Animal cruelty doesn't need to be exaggerated; what’s happening to many animals in the real world is bad enough, and when people see the truth they become motivated to get involved and make a difference. Needless to say, the comment by "Anonymous" is ridiculous and completely unfounded.

You may be interested to know that the HSUS is planning a four-part series of inspirational animal survivor stories that will be rolled out through our website at the end of the year; visit to check them out. Also, for a really funny series of public service announcements about the benefits of adopting shelter animals, check out

Paw Print City said...

Hillary, thank you so much for taking the time to comment. As I stated from the outset, I am a big supporter of the work done by the HSUS and I truly believe that the organization does much good in the promotion of animal welfare issues.

I'm absolutely aware that what makes it to the screen is just a taste of what animal agencies see on a regular basis and that, should you choose to do so, you could show far more graphic depictions of what befalls companion animals.

I'm thrilled to hear that more positive stories will be rolled out at year's end, and I'm very much looking forward to your 2009 wrap-up. Yeah, it still makes me cry, but in a good way.

As for "Anonymous", I have a personal policy of publishing all comments I receive, regardless of the merit of their argument. No matter how ridiculous I find the statement, I believe it's fair for people to see what animal welfare organizations are up against, even in the 21st Century.

Again, thanks so much for your response. I'll head to your site and check out the survivor stories.



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