HSUS Gets Into Hot Water with Activists Over Iams Sponsorship

In January, the Humane Society of the United States announced that the Iams Company would be the Grand National Sponsor for its Pest Fest America. This move did not go over well with other animal rights activists who have long targeted Iams for pet food animal research that the company typically contracts out to testing companies.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals circulated a letter criticizing the Iams-HSUS partnership saying, in part,

. . . By allowing Iams to sponsor Pet Fest, HSUS has provided cover for a company trying desperately to suppress criticism of its pet-food testing policies and to shift attention away from he suffering and dying animals PETA found in an Iams contract laboratory . . . By taking money from Iams and allowing it to ally itself with HSUS in this “positive festive” forum, HSUS is aiding and abetting IamsÂ’ efforts to sweep cruelty under the rug. It is lending cover and a marketing opportunity to a company that it should be actively opposing — a company that misleads consumers into believing that it cares about cats and dogs.

. . .

This growing financial relationship between HSUS and Iams creates a conflict of interest. Andrew Rowan, vice president of HSUS, is a member of the Iams Animal Care Advisory Board, a supposedly “independent group” whose purpose is to review and evaluate Iams’ policies and facilities “to ensure the health and well being of dogs and cats” confined in Iams laboratories. one has to ask how HSUS can be an impartial member of the advisory board of the company that pays for its events.

HSUS willing to compromise its principles for money? Say it ainÂ’t so.

There is another amusing aspect to the Pet Fest controversy that does not directly involve Iams. Apparently for its 2003 Pet Fest in Washington, DC, the HSUS rented a 20,000-seat sports and entertainment facility. The HSUS touted the entertainment — performing dogs doing “four-legged acrobat” tricks and “gravity-defying jumps.”

Remember that the next time some HSUS representative opens his or her mouth to condemn circuses.


The Humane Society of the United States and Iams: It Doesn’t Get Much Worse Than This. Press Release, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, January 2004.

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