Follow up to HSUS and Yellowtail Wine

Earlier this month I posted about getting a few facts straight regarding the Human Society of the United States (HSUS) and Yellowtail wine. Now it’s time I get my own facts straight. After talking with a few passionate people about who really saves the needy animals in America, I learned a few things.

I am a communications and agriculture double major, so this topic is right up my alley. The number one thing Yellowtail should have done is checked its facts before launching its “Tails for Tails” campaign to celebrate animals with HSUS. I believe this is truly a case where someone did not do his or her homework. Had Yellowtail’s homework been done, the company would know that the true heroes in the animal saving business are the local Humane Societies, not HSUS. Some local humane societies around the country have even started to change their name to disassociate from the HSUS. In the communication industry, this is done when a brand has a bad reputation.

In the farming community, as I quickly learned, HSUS is considered a “bad brand”.  Brands are designed to invoke emotions for people. Yellowtail probably thought HSUS would bring out a sensitive, caring emotion in people. Instead of these mushy feelings, anger and rebellion against Yellowtail ensued. The farming community’s distaste for HSUS stems from HSUS’s problem with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and overall attempt to prevent farmers from doing their job. This campaign was created in good intention, but poor consideration for research and backlash.

An example of why I would believe the farming community has a problem with HSUS is because of the undercover California slaughterhouse scandal (yes, scandal). Fresh out of an ethics class talking about communication codes of ethics, everything about this situation was unethical, whether you are pro ag or not. I opted for the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Code of Ethics versus other communications code of ethics handbooks since this seems most closely related to a bad public relations campaign.

Violation #1 “Reveal the sponsors for causes and interests represented and avoid deceptive practices,” says the PRSA Code of Ethics. Maybe it’s just me, but I feel as if going undercover, failing to report the results immediately, (even though going undercover in it of itself is against the Communication Code of Ethics) then finally reporting the result at a peak time for elections seems slightly unethical. (More the on the election cycle and other unethical practices by HSUS at

Violation #2 “To build respect and credibility with the public for the profession of public relations,” is again quoted from the PRSA Code of Ethics. I hardly need to expand on this code of ethics. Is anyone credible after all the codes they violated in my Violation #1 section?

Violation #3 “Keep informed and educated about practices in the profession to ensure ethical conduct,” according to the PRSA Code of Ethics. I am not sure how much more clear the code of ethics can make this.

The moral of the story is that I would like to revoke my previous statement encouraging people not to complain about this donation before they realize what HSUS is all about. Complain all you want; holler and shot as loud as you can about this unethical, falsely advertised company. Yellowtail wine—do your research next time. A few hundred surveys would have saved you more than the $100,000 you spent donating to HSUS.

Keep Growing,



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