This week we released The HSUS Annual Report for 2007—a summary of the organization’s performance and effective action over the past year. I open the report with an overview of our forward movement, and I invite you to read that letter below. Then, browse the report and look back at what your individual investments and efforts yielded for animals—in the realm of public policy and enforcement, corporate reforms, public awareness and engagement, and direct care and animal rescue. You can view highlights of the report on our website, or download the full report in PDF form.
That helpless days-old puppy on the cover of this year’s annual report is just one of some 900 infant and adult dogs we rescued last fall from a dilapidated commercial breeding facility in Virginia. The rescue was a heartwarming outcome of our investigation that uncovered close to 1,000 puppy mills in a state not known to be a hub for this foul industry.
It was a small but satisfying victory in a year marked by extraordinary progress in our fight to combat cruelty whenever and wherever we find it—be it an industrial-scale factory farm breeding pets or pigs in America’s rural backwoods, or a blood-soaked fur market in China where thousands of dogs and cats are skinned alive.
While we at The Humane Society of the United States put boots on the ground and even our safety at risk, it is you members who make our work and our joint achievements possible. It is you who enable these victories—won in the field, in boardrooms, in the marketplace, in legislative bodies, and in elections.
In these pages that follow, you will read of the passage—in a single year—of 86 new state laws that benefit animals. You will learn of investigations of puppy mills and animal fighting syndicates, the trade in dogs and cats for their fur and meat, the arrests of lawbreakers and rescues of animals in peril, and much, much more.
If the founders of The HSUS could survey our situation today, they would surely be distressed by the persistence of old cruelties and the emergence of new ones. They would be amazed that dogfighting and cockfighting, fur trapping, inhumane slaughter, and captive hunting continue long after any remotely plausible defense could be offered for such depravities.
They would be appalled by new methods of industrial farming such as caging and cloning, and by perverse new methods of wildlife exploitation like hog-dog fighting, fox and coyote penning, shark finning, and other abuses they could not have imagined in the early 1950s.
When I took the helm of The HSUS in 2004, I vowed we would build on the foundation of an outstanding mainstream organization and make it better. To that end, we combined with The Fund for Animals, the Doris Day Animal League, and the Association of Veterinarians for Animal Rights.
These unions have allowed us to create many new departments and programs including Campaigns, Animal Protection Litigation, Equine Protection, Animals and Religion, and the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association.
We have grown or retooled many long established units including Investigations, Communications, Humane Society Youth, Emergency Services, and Field Services. Top litigators, policy advocates, veterinarians, animal scientists, investigators, communications specialists, and disaster experts have been added, creating the most powerful and successful animal protection organization in the world.
Our founders are not around to share in these victories, but you and I continue their mission. We are grateful for your support and for your deep generosity. In return, you have my promise that we will confront cruelty in every dark corner we find it and create a better world for the animals, and for humanity.