It is my privilege to live and work within the confines of the most unique animal protection organization in the world—with the greatest collection of issue experts and social reformers working on issues related to companion animals, farm animals, wildlife, horses, the use of animals in research and testing, and so many other human-animal concerns. Every day my colleagues do their best to make real the commitment of our founders to help all animals, everywhere.
Michelle Riley/The HSUS
We've made strides for animals in California and elsewhere.
Our detractors constantly try to define us, saying we should focus more on one area or another—or more likely, they just think we should stop doing what we’re doing. Groups like puppy millers and factory farmers fear change, and they don’t like the criticism from a powerful organization like The HSUS or the prospect of having to do better when it comes to the care and treatment of animals. But that’s what we insist upon, and that’s what we work for.
This morning, Tracie Cone of the Associated Press wrote a story about my colleague, HSUS California state director Jennifer Fearing, highlighting the fact that The HSUS’s broad work has driven a wave of new policy-making in California since our landmark Hallmark slaughter plant investigation in Chino, announced in January 2008. We not only passed Prop 2 in the wake of that downed animal investigation, but our work also helped to secure about 30 positive legislative outcomes in the state—laws relating to downers, cockfighting, tail docking of dairy cows, shark finning, the sale of battery cage eggs, and many other subjects—with Jennifer so ably steering these measures to passage with our allies both within and outside of the Capitol. "Of all the animal organizations, HSUS has the money and the political savvy to be problematic for my clients going forward," said Michael Boccadoro, a poultry industry lobbyist, in the AP piece. "They are on another level. We are aware of it and are watching in terms of their actions."
Late last week, NBC in New York City ran a piece on our investigation of more than 100 pet stores in New York (see video) and their link to some of the most notorious puppy mills in the Midwest. We’ve long linked mills to pet stores, and this exposé from reporters Katy Tur and Tom Burke makes that connection incontrovertible.
In Phoenix, the CBS affiliate worked with The HSUS on a shocking piece about captive hunts (watch the video here). The piece by investigative reporter Morgan Loew showed gut-wrenching footage of HSUS undercover investigations of these canned hunts and an unconscionable defense of this sordid industry from Safari Club International.
Today, the New York Times posted a piece about our campaign to end the use of chimpanzees in invasive research. The piece is slated to run in the Science Times section of the newspaper tomorrow. Passing federal legislation to phase out the invasive use of chimps and retire them to sanctuaries is one of our top priorities.
That’s just a small sampling of what we’re doing at any one time at The HSUS. But it shows how millions of Americans are learning of our programs and campaigns to educate the public, shine the spotlight on cruelty, and galvanize support for changes in the treatment of animals. Awareness is an antecedent to lasting reform, and that’s the end goal of all of our work.