The Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF) recently announced the launch of HumaneWatch.org, a watchdog project dedicated to analyzing the activities of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). HumaneWatch will include a blog written by CCF’s Director of Research, a growing document library, and a database capable of tracking the dozens of nonprofit (and for-profit) organizations that make up HSUS’s sprawling financial empire.

The Humane Society of the United States has become the animal rights industry’s most powerful player, but it has avoided serious public scrutiny for years. HSUS raises nearly $100 million annually from Americans who largely believe their donations filter down to local pet shelters and improve the lives of dogs and cats. But in 2008, less than one-half of one percent of HSUS’s budget consisted of grants to actual hands-on “humane societies” that deal with the thankless task of sheltering unwanted pets.

“Someone has to ask the hard questions about the Humane Society of the United States, and HumaneWatch will be a relentless source of useful information,” said CCF Director of Research David Martosko. “Nearly 1 million Americans donate money to HSUS every year. And most are completely unaware that they’re bankrolling PETA-style propaganda, far-reaching anti-meat campaigns, a huge staff of lawyers, and bloated pension plans for HSUS executives.”

In 2008 alone, HSUS put more than $2.5 million into pension plans—money that its own advertising suggested would be put toward the direct care of animals. (HSUS neither operates nor is legally affiliated with any pet shelters anywhere.)

Martosko continued: “Even the best charities can run off the rails, so it’s no surprise the professional dog-watchers need their own watchdog. Donors to the Humane Society of the United States deserve to know exactly how their money is being spent. HumaneWatch will create an open dialogue for farmers, scientists, fashion designers, entertainers, and countless Americans who love both their pets and their chicken sandwiches.”