I'm in Las Vegas for our annual Animal Care Expo—four days of training and workshops and networking for more than 1,600 attendees. It’s the nation’s premier gathering for shelter professionals, animal rescuers, and others who work every day to help companion animals.
There are 175 exhibitors, who are displaying the latest innovations in the field—from microchips to carpet cleaners to humane traps to shelter construction. And this year, we melded Expo with our National Conference on Animals in Disasters, so we are covering the critical task of effective disaster response for animals in the post-Katrina world. In all, it’s a mega-conference for animal protection.
In the plenary session this morning, I addressed the crowd and emphasized how we must work as a nation to dramatically reduce euthanasia rates in our nation. This must be a core goal for our cause.
And I emphasized how we need to work with shelters and rescue groups across the nation to enhance our marketing to the public, to professionalize our customer service programs, to offer low-cost spay and neuter services, to make animal shelters inviting and attractive, to engage volunteers and the community, and to cooperate with each other in our communities to save animals’ lives.
Whether we call it “no kill” or “low kill," speak as advocates for higher “save rates” or “live release rates,” or fight to save every “healthy and treatable” dog and cat; whether we are Trap-Neuter-and Return advocates or breed rescuers; and whether we are public or private institutions or paid staff or part-time volunteers, we share a common purpose. We all want to prevent the needless euthanasia of companion animals in our society.
To this end, I announced the July roll-out of the Shelter Pet Project—a joint advertising campaign between The HSUS, Maddie’s Fund, and The Ad Council to promote shelter adoptions. It may result in more than $50 million worth of advertising this year alone—an unprecedented level of exposure for pets and shelters. In addition, we are already investing millions in the Gulf Coast in an innovative program to promote spaying and neutering and to enhance existing low-cost spaying and neutering capabilities. If it works, we’ll do our best to emulate it across the nation. Already, some groups in the Gulf Coast are reporting adoption rates have tripled.
So, it’s with great excitement that we are organized here at Expo to turn the tide and to save the lives of as many companion animals as possible.
P.S: When I arrived in Vegas, I was greeted with some other great news. This Sunday night at the Academy of Country Music Awards here in Vegas, Carrie Underwood captured both the Top Female Vocalist and Entertainer of the Year titles.
I don’t know how many fan votes it took to win Entertainer of the Year (the honor was determined through online voting), but I hope you were among those who voted for her. Because in addition to being a great performer, Carrie is a strong advocate for animals and a longtime supporter of The HSUS.
She’s contributed to help our Emergency Services and HSVMA Field Services programs in particular, and she believes fervently in the importance of spaying and neutering pets to prevent overpopulation.
Carrie’s support for The HSUS has sometimes triggered a response from some special interests who do not like our campaigns to combat trophy hunting, cockfighting, and seal clubbing. And some of these factions are displeased with her support for HSUS. But despite their naysaying, Carrie won the Entertainer of the Year award, demonstrating that the combination of her immense talent and the vast number of animal advocates who believe in Carrie are tough to beat.
I wrote on the blog a few weeks ago about Carrie’s announcement that sales of her new single, “Home Sweet Home,” will support The HSUS. I think now’s the perfect time to show her your support by purchasing the song.