Fund for Animals

The Fund for Animals is an animal activist organization founded in 1967 by Cleveland Amory, a “founding father” of the animal rights movement. Not to be confused with another FFA—Future Farmers of America—the Fund is known for its anti-hunting activism and a major federal racketeering lawsuit against it.

The Fund was an independent entity until 2005, when it had a corporate merger with the Humane Society of the United States. It is now one of several affiliated groups in the HSUS network. The Fund merger was overseen by then HSUS CEO (and accused sexual predator) Wayne Pacelle, who served as national director for the Fund in the early 90s before he joined HSUS.

Ironically, Amory had originally founded the Fund following a spat with HSUS. Amory, who died in 1998, also reportedly said of HSUS: “They’ve always been primarily a direct-mail operation, and what’s known in animal rights circles as a credit-grabber.”

The Fund Hit With Fraud, Bribery, Racketeering Lawsuit

In 2000, the Fund for Animals joined several other animal rights organizations, including the ASPCA, to file a lawsuit against Feld Entertainment, the parent company of Ringling Brothers Circus, in which they alleged that the circus had been abusing elephants.

The lawsuit featured evidence from a former Feld employee who alleged that elephants were abused in violation of the Endangered Species Act. This litigation dragged on for years, during which the Fund for Animals merged with the Humane Society of the United States.

During the litigation, the former Feld employee lied under oath. Moreover, attorneys for Feld discovered that the attorneys for the animal rights organizations had secretively paid the worker over $100,000.

A judge tossed the animal abuse lawsuit against Feld in 2009 and ordered the animal rights organizations to pay Feld’s legal fees acquired during the nine-year legal battle.

That wasn’t the end of the legal drama for the Fund for Animals.

Feld returned with a RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) lawsuit — the same type of law used to take down the mafia — against the Fund and several other animal rights groups. HSUS, which merged with the Fund for Animals in 2005, was also roped in as a defendant, as were two HSUS staff lawyers.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) settled outside of court for $9.3 million in 2012. The remaining defendants, including HSUS and the Fund for Animals, settled in 2014 for $15.75 million.

Pawning Off Wildlife Centers

The Fund for Animals abandoned its ownership of two animal care centers despite raising millions of dollars a year. In 2020, the Fund transferred ownership of a wildlife center in Ramona, California to the San Diego Humane Society. And in 2016, HSUS decided to close the Fund’s Cape Wildlife Center in Massachusetts. The closure was reportedly due to budgetary concerns. Yet, the same year, HSUS spent millions running a ballot measure in Massachusetts to restrict the sale of eggs and pork. Pushing anti-meat laws is apparently a bigger priority than caring for injured wildlife.

According to the Fund’s 2019 tax return, its line-item expenditures for animal care was only $1.6 million—just 18% of its total budget. More money was spent on staff salaries and benefits.

A separate HSUS affiliate, the South Florida Wildlife Center, ceased its affiliation with HSUS in July 2020.