Yellowtail + HSUS does not equal ag support, but why?

The agriculture fanatic that I am, I thought it was high-time I commented on Yellowtail donating $100,000 to the Human Society of the United States. There are many accusations about both Yellowtail and HSUS, and I wanted to know the source of the backlash against Yellowtail. First of all, I need to get something off my chest. I LOVE YELLOWTAIL. It’s difficult enough to find a wine one likes, and even harder to find a brand that is so affordable. Before I bash Yellowtail, I needed to make my love for the wine clear and did some research to make a judgment call on the negative feedback from this donation.

My love for the Yellowtail is starting to crumble due to recent events. For those of you who have lived under a rock, Ag fans involved with social media have been in an uproar about the Yellowtail donation to HSUS. I have not seen such an uproar against a company since it was discovered that tobacco causes cancer.

(Photo courtesy of

The Center for Consumer Freedom posted about the issues associated with the donation and was kind enough to summarize the 2008 tax filing by HSUS. The tax filing was used by the Center for Consumer Freedom and others to prove how HSUS has been misusing its donations. I feel focusing on how HSUS spends its money is irrelevant of the main cause of uproar. The focus of anger should be on what the HSUS has done to halt certain farming practices, not how the company is run. On the HSUS Web site, one of the main “problems” it aims to correct is factory farming. The term “factory farming” alone could be another blog post, but I will have to save that for another day. HSUS’s campaign  against animal farming should be the heart of the issue in this donation, but many people seem to stray from this idea.

The main argument to be made is that HSUS does not support factory farming, as ugly of a word as it is; therefore Yellowtail’s support of HSUS is cause for soreness. To argue on grounds of how HSUS spends their money I feel makes the Ag community look foolish. Again, I did a little investigative work around the HSUS’s Web site, and found its mission statement:

“The mission of The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) is to create a humane and sustainable world for all animals. . . . We seek to forge a lasting and comprehensive change in human consciousness of and behavior toward all animals in order to prevent animal cruelty, exploitation, and neglect and to protect wild habitats and the entire community of life.

The HSUS seeks to achieve our goals through education, advocacy, public policy reform, and the empowerment of our supporters and partners.”

A large portion of HSUS’s money being dedicated to legislation and advocacy seems on par with the mission statement. Why is so much time and energy being wasted on criticizing a company for following what it clearly has set out to do? For that matter, the argument that the CEO of HSUS is overpaid is an illogical argument. The CEO of a national organization earning $250,000 is comparatively low. According to The American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) the average CEO earns $364,041 per year. This means the CEO of HSUS is earning $100,000 less than average.

The moral of this money story is a. focus on the root of the problem and b. make sure the problems you complain about are legitimate within the context of where you take the facts.

Admittedly, the .05% of the total money brought in by HSUS is an extremely low amount of money to give to animal shelters, (this amount again according to Center for Consumer Freedom) but animal shelters are not HSUS’s main focus. Shame on whoever donates money to the organization thinking HSUS has shelters as a main focus.

Many of the Tweets and blogs I have read recently focus on the wrong issues. If you are going to make a logical argument, do not digress from the original problem. Yellowtail’s public relations people should have thought about the backlash this donation would have throughout the agriculture community. HSUS’s acts against farming should be the main argument used not how HSUS runs its organization.

All you farming supporters out there, please please please focus your argument against Yellowtail and HSUS on what HSUS has done against the agriculture community, not how HSUS runs its business. As always, please comment. I feel as if this topic is touchy and is in need of some feed back.

Keep Growing,



1 Comment

  1. Sarah said,

    February 8, 2010 at 7:28 pm

    Nice to see someone looking into the facts! Thank you!

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