Peta (People for the Ethical Treatmet of Animals) and HSUS (Humane Society of the United States) are both trying to lay claim to the estate of the late Leona Helmsley, once dubbed the Queen of Mean. Helmsley’s fortune is estimated at $5-8 billion (around 3 times the combined incomes of everyone living in Zimbabwe). Helmsley ammassed her fortune through shrwed real estate investing and a chain of hotels (apparently taking the Monopoly rulebook as a life guide). She earned her reputation as a tyrannical employer, once quotes as saying “Only the little people pay taxes.” Upon her death she left $12 million to her dog, Trouble, more than to any of her four grandchildren (two were left out the will completely). She put the lion’s share of her fortune in a trust fund for the care and welfare of dogs – this could provide around $400 million per year for various efforts to improve animal welfare.
So should the money go to Peta? An organisation which killed more than 90% of the adoptable animals that entered its shelters in Virginia? Or perhaps to HSUS, which spent less than 8% (approx $6.5million) of its $91 million donations (2006 Budget on website), to support animal shelters, choosing rather to spend the money fighting for animal rights on the hill.
Hopefully Leona Helmsley’s fortune will instead be divided up between much smaller animal shelters which directly contribute to animal welfare. HSUS have long played the trick of gaining donations by associating their effots with their local animal shelters – in truth HSUS absorb many of the resources that would do much to improve animal welfare in individual animal shelters, and use it to fight for animal rights on the hill.