What has been most heartening since I launched my blog is that the comments are coming in faster than we can publish them. Rest assured that we are reading them, and we will continue to post samplers. I would like to keep the conversation going, so please keep your comments coming—pro and con.
Last week, one comment in particular, from "Peace," caught my eye:
You can either exhaust yourself pulling puppies out of the river all day and night, or you can run upstream and find out who is throwing puppies into the river.
Animal industries would prefer if no one really cared about animals, but if they must, they would rather us spend all of our time cleaning up after others’ mistakes, and never, of course, questioning or opposing why these "problems" happen in the first place.
Animal industries want to exist in the moral vacuum that most other industries enjoyed during the Industrial Revolution.
I think Peace has captured the situation perfectly. Some of our opponents bellyache that The HSUS doesn’t spend all of its money on hands-on animal care.
Two horses rescued from the slaughterhouse floor arrive
at the Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch.
In fact, we do spend millions on animal care—running two superb wildlife care centers and the Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch (which is the world’s largest animal sanctuary, with the most diverse set of species) and operating our Rural Area Veterinary Services program (which provides care to about 40,000 animals a year), along with our disaster services work, cruelty investigations, animal fighting raids, and so much more.
But we do spend millions of dollars—thanks to the generosity of our supporters—trying to get at the root causes of the problems animals face. We work to educate and inform the public about cruelty and abuse. We maintain a major Animal Protection Litigation section to see that once laws are passed that they be enforced. And we maintain a robust Government Affairs operation, active in Congress and almost all of the state legislatures. We have organized more than 25 successful statewide ballot initiatives, too—banning everything from cockfighting to hound hunting to steel-jawed leghold traps to gestation crates.
Those who defend inhumane practices want us to spend all of our time and energy cleaning up the mess they’ve made. Believe me, we recognize the need for hands-on care to relieve suffering, and we put our money where our mouth is. But we have the reach and power to enact new policies and to reshape cultural attitudes that will prevent animals from being harmed in the first place.
Ultimately, that is, and should be, the goal of The Humane Society of the United States and its affiliated organizations.