The ASPCA is spamming up Facebook in a new-age direct mail campaign directed against American farmers.
It's always fun to get a lecture on the ethical issues surrounding broiler chickens from folks in New York City who wear clothes made in sweatshops in Bangladesh, Indonesia, Guatemala, and China.
Experts on agriculture and morality there, I am sure.
But expertise and logic has never been on the agenda at the ASPCA, has it?
Nope. Not even from the beginning.
In fact, the ASPCA is almost entirely out of the helping animals business.
Instead, they have become a massive direct mail mill defrauding donors who think they are helping shelter animals.
In fact, almost none of the money you give to the ASPCA actually helps shelter dogs and cats.
More than three-quarters of whatever sum you contribute to the ASPCA through the mail goes to fund more direct mail pitches. About 98 percent of these pitches ends up in the trash unopened and unread. A one percent response rate in the direct mail world is considered a good number.
What of the rest of the money? Almost all of it goes to pay for professional paper pushers housed in New York City, one of the most expensive cities in the world.
Directly helping shelter dogs and cats? Not much, and only in New York City. As Nathan Winograd notes:
Last year, the ASPCA had total revenues which were just shy of $150 million dollars. That not only made it the richest SPCA in the country, it is one of the richest 200 charities in the nation. Yet, it adopts out less animals than some rescue groups and small shelters.
So what's new?
Well, it seems the direct mail wizards at the ASPCA are retooling their lie factory.
Like the direct mail wizards at the Humane Society of the U.S., the ASPCA has tested dozens of messages and scores of direct mail packages and now they think they have just right mix of blood, feathers, and feces to shock suburbanites into opening up their checkbooks.
Americans love cheap morality almost as much as they love low-cost food and cheap clothes.
Folks who buy their meat skinned, boned, and presented in a cold case resting on a white napkin cradled in a Styrofoam tray are no doubt shocked to learn that meat production might involve blood, feathers and feces.
Ask these same folks if they are willing to pay $24 for an "organic free-range chicken," however, and most will say NO.
And what of those who say "yes"?
Not a one will be able to tell you what those words mean, or how those terms translate into a better life for a chicken that will be butchered at 7 weeks of age.
You think free-range means small scale, open-air, and eating grass, seeds, and crickets? Think again!
Of course logic and knowledge does not have much to do with direct mail where, in the vernacular of the trade, "the heart out-pulls the head."
Of course, to pull the heart you do not actually need the truth.
The truth, in fact, often gets in the way of better direct mail returns.
And so, in the past, the ASPCA has had to resort to direct mail lies so egregious they were actually brought up on Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) charges.
The ASPCA paid $9.3 million to settle that case rather than face the certainty of losing at trial.
So, can we expect solid facts and real truth to come out of the ASPCA in the future? .
Only if you believe the experts on ethical farming are direct mail fraudsters found in Manhattan, right next to Farrel's Limousine Service on E. 92 Street.
And if you believe that, I have a goose that lays golden eggs to sell you.