Don’t Send Your Selfie Donation to the Dark Side

The hot topic in animal agriculture legislation for the past few weeks has been farm protection or “ag gag” bills. But my past two blogs have been on those bills so I wanted to change it up a bit!  I am going to dive into a completely new something…or rather someone: Ellen Degeneres.

You might ask “What does Ellen have to do with animal agriculture?” Well, if you watched the Oscars on Sunday night, you probably saw Ellen’s star-studded “selfie” featuring Meryl Streep, Jennifer Lawrence, Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts, Bradley CooperKevin SpaceyLupita Nyong’o, her brother and others. You might have also noted that this picture was taken with a Samsung phone that Ellen was sporting throughout the evening. This “selfie” was retweeted over 3 million times causing Twitter to temporarily break down—it was also the most re-tweeted tweet in the HISTORY of Twitter (surpassing a 2012 tweet from President Obama). But most crucially, the Tweet got so much attention that Samsung agreed to donate 3 million dollars to two charities of Ellen’s choice. Ellen’s choices, each receiving $1.5 million, were St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital and the Humane Society of the United States. DING, DING, DING! See I told you I’d connect Ellen to animal agriculture!

Ellen Pic Stitch

Now personally, I want to like her, I really do! I think Ellen has a great sense of humor and I agree with a lot of her other “pet” (no pun intended) causes like St. Jude’s and natural disaster relief. But she has a big voice and she is constantly speaking out against animal agriculture and donating to organizations that are trying to end our industry and our livelihoods. According to his own blog, Wayne Pacelle has been a guest on the Ellen show half a dozen times and she has made many donations to HSUS throughout the years. She also played a large role during the 2008 campaign in California for Proposition 2; running advertisements and giving updates on her talk show. If you go to her charity page it features advertisement after advertisement for animal rights groups. She might be a great dancer but these donations don’t jive well with me—or with most farmers and ranchers. Personally, I think Ellen should consider donating to local pet shelters, not HSUS, so the money will be going to help pets who need homes. Think about what a difference even a fraction of that 1.5 million could make to dogs and cats in need in your state.

Now, following the Oscars, Samsung is involved in Ellen’s personal fight against animal agriculture by donating $1.5 million to HSUS. Today, the Animal Agriculture Alliance sent a letter to Samsung telling them about HSUS’ true agenda, and encouraging them to earmark their donation for local shelters. Samsung needs to know that only 20 percent of HSUS’s efforts involve pets and only 1 percent of its annual budget is donated to shelters. All of those sad TV commercials are leading people astray.

And I would like to send just a brief message to the celebrities of the star-studded “selfie”. Did you enjoy your cheese pizza at the Oscars? I find it a bit ironic that Ellen was handing out a product (cheese made by dairy cows aka animal agriculture) yet her charity will currently go to an organization fighting to demolish that same industry on a daily basis. I’m pretty sure I even heard Brad Pitt ask for Pepperoni!

HSUS has spoken out against the so-called “ag gag” legislation and there is talk about proposed HSUS tail docking legislation in both Wisconsin and Colorado. That “selfie” might be worth $1.5 million to HSUS but it will cause a much greater amount of grief for farmers and ranchers. HSUS uses donations like these every day for their legislative efforts and smear campaigns. So come on, Ellen—use that “selfie” to donate to local pet shelters and not the selfish HSUS. Your furry feline friends (and dogs too!) are counting on you!! 

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