Updated: Muck Boots Sleeps While Social Media Lights Up Over HSUS Fundraiser | #WhatTheMuck


Please note the updated information and timeline of events as the unfolded. Scroll to end of post to read more.

Click here to view Part 2 with my observations and to join the discussion on lessons learned from the event.

Facebook’s News Feed algorithms can be a real pain in the rear for most folks, delaying the appearance of posts for most Page Fans or friends with possibly only 10% of the audience being reached on a great post. But the more engagement a post receives, the more visible it will be to a Page’s audience. Well in this case, that delay may mean that page administrators over at The Original Muck Books Company are looking for a taller pair of boots on Tuesday morning.

On Friday, August 1, Muck Boot’s Facebook account shared a photo promoting a fundraising effort that raised roughly $2,000 for the Humane Society of the United State. This happened not just once, but twice. The photos have since been hidden from the Company’s Timeline, but they are still visible in Page albums. Someone will have a rude awakening on Tuesday morning as hundreds of farmers, ranchers, hunters and anglers have taken to social media sharing their opinions of the Company’s apparent fundraising activities.

Muck Boot HSUS fundraising

For those of you who are not aware, HSUS is an animal rights organization under the guise of helping shelter pets in times of abuse, neglect and disaster. When a case is reported or a door of opportunity exists for publicity to help animals in need, the organization swoops in, makes statements for the cameras and often leaves local humane society and pet shelter organizations to foot the bill. HSUS campaigns heavily in the public eye for working on behalf of neglected pets and lobbies heavily against animal agriculture, hunting, fishing, trapping and modern food production practices while advocating for a vegan diet. The organization has been heavily criticized by charity monitoring groups, recently having their charity ratings lowered and there have been several questions about their fraudulent tax returns, stuff profits outside of the country and lining the pockets of their leadership.

I’ve written about my opinions of HSUS previously on the blog. Click Here to read more.

Edits made to one of the posts by Muck Boots

Edits made to one of the posts by Muck Boots

Let’s hope the posts by Muck Boots were a mistake or maybe even that they were unaware of the status of HSUS among their customer base. Either way, they have yet to release any corrections to the post, but discussion boards are already lighting up for both agriculture and hunting communities.

I encourage you to head over and leave comments on Muck Boot’s Facebook and Twitter (@MuckBootsCo) accounts letting them know you’re not okay with making donations to fraudulent groups like HSUS who campaign against our way of life. When you do comment, please be respectful.

Update: Apparently it needs emphasizing that it looks awful silly to proclaim you’re throwing away a pair of $100+ boots over a Facebook post. I have yet to see an official statement from Muck Boots in support of HSUS.

This move, if not corrected, will certainly make me think twice before choosing Muck over another brand of boots when it comes time for my next purchase. What about you?


Update 9 a.m. Mountain Time: Looks like the photos were just removed from the Muck Boot Facebook account.


Update 10:15 Mountain Time: Muck Boots has shared this response on their Facebook page:

“We would like to respond to our loyal customers and provide additional information about recent posts on social media regarding a monetary donation to a local animal care organization. Our post inaccurately stated that a donation was made to The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). Moreover, the post itself was inappropriate under the circumstances.

Family members of an employee who recently passed away requested that, in lieu of flowers, co-workers donate funds to the Humane Association of Northwestern Rhode Island, a local association founded in 1978 to solve community issues primarily related to stray cats. They are not affiliated with HSUS as the posts incorrectly stated.

The money is not a corporate donation, but a collection of personal contributions from employees with the intent of remembering a beloved co-worker. While our intentions were good, the use of corporate social channels under these circumstances was inappropriate.

Muck Boots has a heritage of respect for the outdoors and for nature. We apologize for the anger and confusion the posts have caused and have removed them from our social channels.”


Update 12 p.m. Mountain Time: It appears not all is well with Muck Boot’s response or claim on where the fundraiser donation was directed. The Humane Association of Northwestern Rhode Island made this statement on their Facebook page a few moments ago: (h/t Dairy Carrie for pointing this out)

“Okay folks to clear things up – WE HAVE NOT RECEIVED A DONATION FROM MUCK BOOTS! WE ARE NOT AFIILIATED WITH THE HSUS. Although a $2000 donation would be very nice. But please stop calling us to ask, we have enough to do caring for the animals in our shelter and taking care of out clinic patients.”


Update 7:30 p.m. Mountain Time: HANRI updated their status again to confirm that they have been in touch with Muck Boots, who will be sending in a donation. Ok, glad we know that Muck Boots is holding up to the initial statements of a donation to be made. Several folks have commented asking exactly what beliefs HANRI is in-line with HSUS on. I’m sure it’ll stir up the pot if this local Rhode Island group isn’t very fond of livestock farming or hunting… But it’s probably much preferred to the national HSUS and their pocketbooks.

“Okay everybody, let’s clear the air here…Not sure what all the controversy was about today but I do not want our organization to be misrepresented. I got a call from Muck Boots and they are donating to our organization in honor of one of their employees who recently passed away. And while we are not affiliated with the HSUS we do NOT condemn them and actually share many of their values, (only I don’t make $200,000 a year.) I just found it interesting that this donation caused so much controversy when there are so many other issues to be concerned with. I also wonder why so many people who are obviously partake in activities that are contrary to our beliefs “liked” our page.”


Update August 6: Sean O’brien left this response in the comments section below.

“Thanks for your post Ryan. Needless to say, yesterday was not a good day for us and certainly not our social media team. We made a mistake — ok several — and for that we’re really, really sorry.

Truth be told, here’s what happened…we suffered the loss of a colleague from cancer. As you can surely understand, that’s never easy. Employees got together, and, based on his family’s wishes, decided to contribute funds to our local humane society in lieu of flowers. We know that’s what he would have wanted. Honestly, here in Smithfield, Rhode Island, we were thinking of “rescue” puppies and kittens and never a broader agenda. It was not the intent to capitalize on a contribution or a death, but rather, we wanted to share the good will embraced by our employees with our community. We do realize that posting content on this on our branded Muck channels was a major mistake, one we won’t make again. We’re sickened by the fact that wearers of Muck feel as is we’ve let them down. It was never our intention. ”

— Sean O’Brien, director footwear, Muck.


Update August7, 3:30 p.m. Eastern: Muck Boots updated their Facebook page with a more lengthy response to address concerns raised after Tuesday’s statement.

A few days ago we made a series of mistakes here and on our other social media channels. Words can’t express how sorry we are that we’ve caused so much disappointment in our brand. There’s been a lot of speculation as to what happened, and clearly our initial statement caused even more confusion.

While we’ve been quiet here, please know that we’ve been reading every one of your comments and I want to personally address your concerns.

Here’s exactly what happened…we suffered the loss of a colleague a few months ago. Our colleague had a long fight with cancer and had a cat that was by his side until the very end. Because of that, his family requested that — in lieu of flowers — donations by employees, not the company, be made to a local animal shelter in his honor. The Humane Association of Northwestern Rhode Island (HANRI) was identified as our local shelter; it’s about ten miles from our office in Smithfield, Rhode Island.

Here are the mistakes we made: first, we posted photos on our Facebook page and on Instagram of an employee-sponsored collection effort in our warehouse, which was disrespectful to our colleague and completely inappropriate. Despite our good intent, we should never have used these corporate channels for what was a private matter. Then, we incorrectly tagged Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) in the posts, when the money was actually intended for our local animal shelter. And finally, when the statement went up in an attempt to clarify the events, the money hadn’t yet been delivered, because the funds were still being collected. Cash and personal checks were hand-delivered yesterday by the same employees who raised the funds.

Needless to say, our entire team has learned some hard lessons this week.

We know it is you, our customers, who have helped build the Muck Boot brand to what it is today. We would never intentionally alienate you, and we sincerely apologize if we have done so this past week. We’ve worked hard over the years to build quality footwear and to build a brand that is broadly trusted – we hope that you’ll give us a chance to earn back that trust.

Farmers, outdoor enthusiasts and sportsmen are among our most loyal customers and at the core of what we do and why we do it. You can continue to count on us for the very best footwear and to never forget who we work for – you, our customers.

— Sean O’Brien, director of footwear, Muck Boots.

Screenshot of Facebook Update from The Original Muck Boots Company

 

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About Ryan Goodman (982 Articles)
Ryan Goodman lives in Helena, MT and comes from an Arkansas cattle ranching family. Since growing up on a family cow/calf and stocker-calf operation, he has spent the last several years learning about farming systems across the country. A graduate of Oklahoma State, Ryan is currently working on a Master's degree from the University of Tennessee. He works continuously to share his story of ranch life through community outreach and social media, all while encouraging others in agriculture to do the same.

17 Comments on Updated: Muck Boots Sleeps While Social Media Lights Up Over HSUS Fundraiser | #WhatTheMuck

  1. Ryan, please note that Humane Watch, the site that’s disputing HSUS’s charitable activities was created by Richard Berman. Here’s some info.

    “HumaneWatch is a project of the Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF). Both are the creation of corporate lobbyist Richard Berman, who attacks charities on behalf of the industries that anonymously fund his campaigns.”

    CCF fights against the public interest groups that expose unhealthy, unsafe, or inhumane practices. They have opposed Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the Center for Science in the Public Interest, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), among others.”

    Also, HSUS doesn’t represent themselves as an organization that represents local shelters — they never have! I’ve also never seen their stated goals of doing away with meat eating, although they do condone a vegan lifestyle.

    I think the Facebook attack on the boot company is sad and vindictive. HSUS isn’t the enemy; neither is this company.

    Sorry to disagree. :(

    Like

    • Thanks for the thoughts Lilah, and yes, I’m afraid we’ll have to disagree.

      Although some may disagree with HumaneWatch, many of the documents and links they share are from credible sources. And Charity Navigator is a reliable source gauging non-profits out there.

      HSUS is very much a campaign organization who represents themselves as supporting local shelters. I’ve experienced this in personal conversations with several of their state Directors and it can be observed when they swoop in to rescue dogs and cats in the event of a disaster or huge recovery, leaving locals standing with the bills. They have campaigned in many state ballot initiatives across the country to restrict agriculture’s freedom to do business and take care of livestock, and that’s definitely something we shouldn’t stand for.

      Muck Boots isn’t the enemy and that’s not what I’m stating here. But I do think it’s important to make sure they are aware of our opinions on HSUS.

      I appreciate the comment and respect your opinion to disagree with my perspective.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Lilah, you wouldn’t happen to be a paid member of the “Emerging Media Department” at HSUS, would you? seems their sole claim to fame is to scour the net for stories that place HSUS in a (rightly) unflattering light and spin them into attacks against anyone who dares breathe a word against their factory fund raising machine.
    her post above is line for line the standard “press release” against Humane Watch. I’m glad the group exists- it helps people understand what HSUS is really about -stuffing their own pockets and their offshore accounts under the guise of a “charity”.
    ps- I don’t work for HW, CCF or any other industry group, nor have I been paid, compensated in any way or otherwise given any “consideration” for this message (unlike HSUS’s paid Plaintiff in the case you folks lost against Feld Entertainment to the tune of fifteen million bucks- )

    Like

    • Good heavens, no! I have nothing to do with HSUS. I just feel that information about CCF is important. Just because I disagree with CCF and some point here doesn’t make me a shill for HSUS. So, please, the term “you people” is quite inaccurate.

      Like

  3. Thanks for your response. I’m confused about why HSUS received the downgrade from Charity Navigator. They’re well rated by many other such or similar organizations. My understanding is that it revered to a legal case, but I’m unsure if they were even plaintiffs.
    Let’s just hope we all have the same goal (ag and HSUS): the humane treatment of animals. And yes, if HSUS is swooping in and then walking away, that’s terrible. However, they wouldn’t be able to accomplish much if they focused their efforts on local shelters. They have donated millions to “animal care,” but they’re definitely a national and international organization, so there’s not much local involvement. It’s ironic that Rick Berman goes after them, yet is not required to disclose the Center for Consumer Freedom’s funding sources. Pot calling the kettle black, as far as I’m concerned.
    I know it’s scary that HSUS wants to change laws and create ballot initiatives, but industries cannot police themselves, no matter how many good intentions its members may have. :(

    Like

    • Yes Lilah, Defendents in a $15 million settlement – http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/capitalbusiness/ringling-circus-prevails-in-14-year-legal-case-collects-16m-from-humane-society-others/2014/05/16/50ce00b8-dd15-11e3-8009-71de85b9c527_story.html

      And I’m in no way defending CCF. That’s irrelevant in this conversation.

      And it’s one thing to step in and correct a wrong, it’s another to do it by taking advantage of animal abuse, editing and narrating the content and holding onto the evidence for an opportune time of release that will better line their pockets.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Wow.

      Like

  4. Being an avid sportsman and livestock owner I am really saddened to see Muck raising money for the HSUS. The HSUS actively spends the bulk of their fund actively lobbying against legal hunting and raising livestock. What a shame. I own several pairs of Muck boots but probably never again.

    Like

  5. So are we buying into the Muck Story of where the funds went? Muck better start flooding their sites with pics. of the owners riding animals while elk hunting or something thats gonna get us to believe the “error”.

    Like

  6. In 2012, H$US paid Wayne Pacelle (CEO) $347,675

    http://www.humanesociety.org/about/overview/annual_reports_financial_statements.html?credit=web_id93480558

    Like

    • I work for a non-profit and believe me, that’s not that huge of a salary. Our honcho makes much more than Wayne Pacelle does. I find it dismaying on both fronts, but that seems to be the price of business so to speak.

      Like

  7. I doubt that the HSUS members that made these quotes support the kind of activities that most of the buyers of Muck boots engage in when wearing those boots.

    “My goal is the abolition of all animal agriculture.”
    – HSUS grassroots coordinator John “J.P.” Goodwin

    “We have no ethical obligation to preserve the different breed of livestock produced through selective breeding…One generation and out. We have no problems with the extinction of domestic animals. They are creations of human selective breeding.”
    – HSUS president and CEO Wayne Pacelle in Animal People News, May 1993

    “If we could shut down all sport hunting in a moment, we would.”— CEO Wayne Pacelle,quoted by the Associated Press, December 1991

    “Eating meat causes animal cruelty.” – HSUS senior campaigner Paul Shapiro, in a 2003 speech

    Like

  8. Ryan,
    As always you strike a cord about things that needs to be discussed. Thank you.

    Information needs to be gotten out there. From Muck Boot and HSUS. If we continue to polarize we will never do what we all are trying to do, the best for all animals right now. Solving all the worlds issues with animals is a monumental task.

    Saving ways of life/ changing ways of life start with a non-fear based conversation. I notice people fight for their view first. I imagine it is because they fear not being heard. I feel if everyone would do more active listening they may find an incremental solution on the way to a better life for the animals who are top of mind.

    Just a thought. A process needs to be used to facilitate safe and fully respected discussions not legal actions. Its coming.

    Like

  9. Sean O'Brien // August 6, 2014 at 4:51 AM // Reply

    “Thanks for your post Ryan. Needless to say, yesterday was not a good day for us and certainly not our social media team. We made a mistake — ok several — and for that we’re really, really sorry.

    Truth be told, here’s what happened…we suffered the loss of a colleague from cancer. As you can surely understand, that’s never easy. Employees got together, and, based on his family’s wishes, decided to contribute funds to our local humane society in lieu of flowers. We know that’s what he would have wanted. Honestly, here in Smithfield, Rhode Island, we were thinking of “rescue” puppies and kittens and never a broader agenda. It was not the intent to capitalize on a contribution or a death, but rather, we wanted to share the good will embraced by our employees with our community. We do realize that posting content on this on our branded Muck channels was a major mistake, one we won’t make again. We’re sickened by the fact that wearers of Muck feel as is we’ve let them down. It was never our intention. ”

    — Sean O’Brien, director footwear, Muck.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sean, thanks so much for the update. I know that several people still believe their are unanswered questions surrounding the event, but I appreciate the response. I certainly hope that Muck Boots can clarify the stance on HSUS, the discrepancies reported by HANRI and that the distasteful photo about “losing an employee” behind a stack of camo boots can be addressed. Respects go to the family who lost a loved one recently.

      I know several people were disrespectful in their comments toward Muck Boots and I certainly hope I never encouraged that rudeness. Hopefully we can all learn something from the mistakes made in the Facebook post and that we can we clear the air and address any concerns left unanswered. I certainly enjoy using my Muck Boots on the farm and ranch and hope to continue knowing the company supports our lifestyle as well.

      Like

  10. Am I the only one that thinks Muck needs a lesson in PR 101? They wait 4 days to respond (poorly) to what can only be considered an uprising of their customers. Then the response is really weak and riddled with inconsistencies, then the footwear director finds time in his busy day to respond to a blog post buried in the comments section? No Press Release, no reaffirmation to their client base, no sizable donation to an outdoors/ranching charity just in the name of good will?

    Honestly, to me it feels like Muck spent the weekend soul searching which client-base was more beneficial and the hunter/rancher/dairy crowd lost out to the fashion-forward crew. The apology was nothing more than a minimal attempt to apologize so that some of their larger outlets (Cabelas, Bass Pro, etc) could save face by saying “They apologized!” and not pull their product.

    While it may be true that this ‘mistake’ was innocent in the sense that they didn’t intend to provoke the kind of backlash they received. I think it did provide a glimpse on how out of touch Muck Boots is in regards to the fight for our collective way of life. And for that alone, I will not be buying their products again until I see proof they’ve learned otherwise.

    Like

    • Finally, a proper response from some that might have taken a marketing and public relations class at the local junior college. Kudos to Sean for stepping out of the comments section to formulate a lucid statement on their Facebook page. Hope is restored.

      Liked by 1 person

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