ASPCA gives 2% of budget to pet shelters while ‘hoarding’ millions, pushing ‘anti-farmer’ agenda: think tank

One of the country’s most prominent animal welfare groups is sitting on hundreds of millions of dollars — including millions in offshore Caribbean accounts — and doling out six-figure salaries to employees while giving just 2% of its budget to pet shelters, according to an explosive new report. The Center for the Environment and Welfare (CEW), a newly formed think tank, announced this week the launch of a paid media campaign to “expose the duplicity” of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), a nonprofit with the stated mission of preventing animal cruelty throughout the United States. The ASPCA has become a household name through its tear-jerking commercials showing images of abused dogs and cats in need of help with Sarah McLachlan singing a sad song in the background. According to CEW, however, the ASCPA is focused more on enriching itself and pushing a radical political agenda than helping pets in need. “We’re concerned about misinformation and a lack of information about the true agenda of the ASCPA,” CEW executive director Jack Hubbard told Fox News Digital in an interview. “We’re trying to educate the public about who this group is and who it’s not.” ANIMAL RIGHTS GROUPS MARCH IN PROTESTS TO URGE MORE PROTECTION FOR HUNTING DOGS CEW’s media campaign, which is currently a six-figure expenditure but will grow into a million-dollar effort, currently includes a TV ad running nationally as well as a radio spot and a digital ad on Twitter and Facebook. “This is not a flash in the pan,” said Hubbard. “This will be a sustained campaign.” Hubbard highlighted how only 2% of the ASPCA budget is given as grants to community pet shelter, using a figure from a new CEW report that cites the ASPCA’s most recent tax filings as the source of its numbers. At the same time, according to CEW, the ASPCA in 2021 had $390 million in revenue and $575 million in assets, including $310 million in investments and $105 million in savings. Perhaps most striking, the animal welfare group has about $11 million in offshore accounts in the Caribbean, while tax filings show ASPCA CEO Matt Berkshadker rakes in nearly $1 million a year and 259 of his employees make six figures. Hubbard called for Berkshadker to cut his salary in half and for ASCPA to distribute its roughly $300 million investments to local shelters “on the front lines of saving animals,” arguing people should donate their money to them, not the ASCPA, if they wish to help pets in need. FLORIDA CAT GIVEN AWAY BY OWNER FOR BEING ‘TOO AFFECTIONATE’ FINDS NEW HOME “When you start sharing this information with people, especially animal lovers, they’re outraged,” said Hubbard. “There’s a euthanasia crisis in this country, with more than a million animals killed, euthanized in the U.S. each year, and you’ve got this group sitting on $300 million in investments.” CEW’s findings seem to correlate with a 2021 investigation by CBS News, which reported at the time that while the ASPCA raised more than $2 billion for animal welfare since 2008, it spent $146 million, or about 7% of the total money raised, in grants to local animal welfare groups. Meanwhile, the group spent nearly three times that — at least $421 million — on fundraising. The CBS report also noted that the ASPCA didn’t allow local, independent Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, or SPCAs, to use its donor list if the local humane societies included language that they were distinct from the ASPCA and didn’t receive support from the national organization. Critics have accused the ASPCA of fundraising at the expense of local animal welfare organizations. In 2011, local SCPAs in California filed a complaint with the state attorney general’s office, alleging the ASPCA engages in unfair and deceptive fundraising practices that hurt local SPCAs. The ASPCA denied it was making money off donors who confuse it for local SCPAs. The ASPCA, which isn’t affiliated with local SCPAs, only runs one adoption center in New York City.  PROFESSOR CALLS FOR ‘ANIMALS TO BE REPRESENTED IN COURT,’ JOIN HUMANS AS ‘CO-CREATORS OF THIS WONDERFUL WORLD’ “Most people believe they’re associated with all the local shelters, but they’re not,” said Hubbard. “The ASPCA should change name its name to the Midtown Manhattan ASPCA.” Meanwhile, CEW is also targeting the ASPCA for its lobbying efforts to influence the 2023 Farm Bill, a legislative package passed every five years that has significant impact on the country’s food supply and agriculture. The ASPCA is leading a coalition of 40 animal rights groups in the lobbying push, dubbing this week “Protect Farm Animals Week of Action” and calling on supports to contact members of Congress and take other actions to promote their agenda. That agenda includes a national moratorium on new and expanded large livestock feeding operations and a complete ban by 2040, as well as creating new animal welfare standards for the transport of livestock and poultry, such as reducing the amount of time animals can be transported without rest. The latter measure would create new challenges for staffing and transport that would likely raise supply chain costs. The ASPCA-led coalition also supports a proposal for a $100 billion for a “voluntary” program to transition animal-feeding operations to “raising pasture-based livestock, growing specialty crops, or organic commodity production.” The purpose, according CEW, is to incentivize livestock farmers to stop raising animals and focus instead on crops and plants. BIDEN ADMIN. NAMES NEVADA TOAD ENDANGERED, HAMPERING CONSTRUCTION OF GEOTHERMAL PLANT Hubbard quipped that the ASCPA wants chicken farmers to now start growing kale, calling the group’s lobbying campaign “radical” by pushing an “anti-farmer” agenda. “The organization has really radicalized in recent years, taking positions that are anti-agriculture and anti-farmer,” said Hubbard. “They’re pushing wacky and extreme policies in the Farm Bill.” Hubbard argued that the changes sought by the ASCPA would hurt both low-income Americans and national security by both making the country’s supply chain more vulnerable and raising prices. “I’m really concerned about animal rights groups trying to change country’s food policy,” he said. “We have the safest and most abundant and affordable food supply in the world. It’s good for people at all income levels. If the ASPCA is successful, the food crisis will increase, and we’re already in a hyper inflationary tailspin. Talking about measures to raise prices of healthy animal protein is beyond irresponsible and poorly timed.” The ASPCA argues the “factory farm system” enriches a small number of companies and individuals atop the food industry while treating animals cruelly and harming the environment.  FARMERS SLAM BIDEN OVER LATEST ECO REGULATION TARGETING BUSINESSES: ‘FEDERAL OVERREACH’ Hubbard countered that the ASCPA “likes to throw around the term ‘factor farms’ to malign mainly family farms,” adding that the group itself has become a “factory fundraiser.”  When reached for comment and asked to respond to CEW’s claims, the ASCPA issued a brief statement saying all its efforts are meant to ensure the welfare animals. “For more than 155 years, the ASPCA has been actively pursuing our mission ‘to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States,'” a spokesperson told Fox News Digital. “All of our lifesaving work is dedicated to rescuing, protecting, and caring for animals in need.” This isn’t the first time that the ASCPA has come under scrutiny. In May 2019, for example, 26 dogs died while the ASPCA was transporting them from Mississippi to Wisconsin. The group wasn’t forthcoming about the details of the incident, but according to reports, the cause of death was likely overheating or possibly carbon monoxide leakage. Years earlier, in 2009, the ASCPA rescued an abused dog named Oreo that had survived being thrown off a roof in Brooklyn, nursing Oreo back to health and using her in the group’s fundraising efforts. According to the ASPCA, however, Oreo started to show aggression when she recovered from her injuries. After a series of temperament tests, the ASPCA decided she was too aggressive and opted to kill her. Pets Alive Animal Sanctuary offered to take Oreo into its care, but the ASPCA refused the offer, ultimately euthanizing Oreo. The incident inspired the introduction in New York of Oreo’s Law, which would have prevented shelters from euthanizing animals if a rescue group offered to take the animal under its care. HOUSE GOP PUSHES TOUGHER WORK REQUIREMENTS FOR FOOD STAMP RECIPIENTS Then in 2012, the ASPCA paid $9.3 million to settle a racketeering and fraud lawsuit that accused it and other groups of pursuing frivolous litigation against the Ringling Bros. circus over alleged animal cruelty. Feld Entertainment, which owns Ringling Bros., sued the ASPCA and the other groups under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, claiming they and their lawyers paid more than $190,000 to a former Ringling employee who had joined them in suing the circus company. CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP The court ruled in the circus’ favor, characterizing the former employee as a paid witness whose testimony wasn’t credible.
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