This has been a topic I've wanted to address for quite some time, but honestly, this isn't something I know enough about to really justify posting anything.
However, I had someone send this article to me that does as nice a job of summarizing the situation in a clear, and rational manner. The article appeared in the March, 2007 issue of the Rocky Mountain Wrinkle, the newsletter of the Centennial Chinese Shar Pei Club.
The point of the article is to let people know the true goals of several organizations, primarily HSUS and PETA -- but there are others.
If you're not actively involved in the Animal Welfare, don't discount me as crazy. I had always kind of suspected that PETA was a bit crazy, but was very suspicious of people who called the Humane Society of the United States evil. The Humane Society was great -- they were the shelter in my home town. They loved animals.
Unfortunately, the local Humane Societies, and the HSUS are in no way similar.
I write this to encourage you to know what organizations stand for before donating money to them. A lot of them are VERY good at fundraising, but their motives, and the ways they spend their money, are far from what most people think they are.
In general, if you want to give money to help needy animals, I encourage you to support local shelters and rescue groups in your communities.
You can read the article here -- and I highly encourage you to do so.