John Hoyt
Person

President Emeritus, Humane Society of the United StatesReportedly a multi-millionaire, John Hoyt is president emeritus of the world’s richest animal-rights organization, the Humane Society of the United States. HSUS is an animal-rights group that pretends to be an animal-welfare group. Before taking over as president in 1970, Hoyt spent 13 years as an ordained Baptist minister. He retired as CEO in 1996, but remains a director of the HSUS-affiliated Interfaith Council for the Protection of Animals and Nature.

Hoyt turned HSUS into a multi-million-dollar conglomerate. When he took over the group’s presidency in 1970, HSUS had just 30,000 members and an annual budget of about $500,000. By 1994, HSUS’s annual revenue had grown to $22 million. It now enjoys a revenue stream of over $50 million.

Hoyt once told his members how to become more humane: “We begin, I suggest, by living more simply, more sparingly.” But he himself was often criticized for high living at HSUS’s expense. His CEO salary was over $200,000. HSUS bought his home in Germantown, Maryland, for $310,000 in 1986, and allowed him to live there rent-free until 1992. He received a $100,000 interest-free loan from one board member in 1982, while another subsidized overseas travel for his wife for years. He resigned as CEO with a $1 million retirement bonus.

Hoyt presided over HSUS while it changed from an animal-welfare organization to an animal-rights organization. He told National Journal why in the September 7, 1991 edition: “‘PETA successfully stole the spotlight…Groups like ours that have plugged along with a larger staff, a larger constituency…have been ignored,’ he said. Hoyt agreed that PETA spurred the more moderate groups to take tougher stances. The feeling was, he said, that ‘maybe the time has come to say, “Since we haven’t been successful in getting half a loaf, let’s go for the whole thing.”