We cannot have a civil society unless people play by the rules. We have to be decent to each other for any such society to work, and there must be consequences for people who violate the rules. People who commit violence toward others, who corrupt the political process, or who take what’s not their own must be held accountable for their behavior. If they are not, then chaos results and no individual or community can be at peace or find security.
At The HSUS, we believe in the principles of a civil society. But it’s always a work in progress, and in America, the standards have been molded as our awareness has grown—with more protection through the years for children, minorities, women, and increasingly for nature. And our special contribution at The HSUS is that we also care about violence to animals and believe that there must be social and legal proscriptions against this behavior as well. That’s why we work so hard to fortify anti-cruelty statutes, outlaw animal fighting, and combat unacceptable forms of institutionalized cruelty such as factory farming and the fur trade.
So the first task is to win the public over and establish a new standard, such as a law against dogfighting. And then we must see that the law is enforced.
This past weekend, we held The HSUS’s third annual Humane Law Enforcement Awards. We recognized New Mexico Attorney General Gary King and the Doña Ana County Sheriff’s Office for their groundbreaking work to enforce animal fighting laws, including the state’s recently adopted anti-cockfighting law. We recognized Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller for using the tax laws to crack down on squalid and inhumane puppy mills. And we recognized Monmouth County SPCA Chief Law Enforcement Officer Buddy Amato for bringing a cat serial killer to justice. We recognized other heroes of animal protection and I urge you to read about their work and why we recognized them.
Our mission at The HSUS is “Celebrating Animals, Confronting Cruelty.” This weekend, we celebrated people who confronted cruelty and upheld the highest principles of our democratic society. These are the people who help us maintain a civil society. Without them, we would not be the great nation that we are.