When you invest in HSUS, as a donor, volunteer, or advocate, you want returns. That’s why it’s so important to measure the progress we are making. Through the years, The HSUS has established itself as the most impactful organization protecting animals.
I’m pleased to share our list of this year’s top victories in the struggle to make this world a better one for all, and I hope you’ll take a moment to view our “2012 Victories for Animals” video, too and consider making a donation to support our life-saving work.
- McDonald’s. Burger King. Wendy’s. Target. Kroger. Safeway. Sysco. The list goes on. Starting in February, a steady flow of announcements concerning The HSUS’s partnerships with food industry titans ensued, with 50 major companies announcing plans to eliminate gestation crates from their supply chains. Meatingplace magazine put a fine point on it, noting, “The move [from gestation crates to group housing] is inevitable.”
- HSUS investigations blew the lid on animal cruelty. Our investigation into horse soring was a thunderbolt within the industry – reshaping public perceptions, creating a huge push for meaningful reforms that included rulemaking from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the introduction of federal legislation that would strengthen the Horse Protection Act, the conviction of Hall of Fame trainer Jackie McConnell, and worldwide exposure to this cruel and unacceptable practice. HSUS undercover investigators exposed extreme animal suffering at four major factory farms and drove reform in the pig and egg industries: Kreider egg farms in Pennsylvania, Wyoming Premium Farms in Wyoming (a Tyson Foods pig supplier), and two pork companies — Seaboard Foods and Prestage Farms — in Oklahoma. Our investigators also exposed mistreatment and overbreeding of tigers and dangers for visitors at the biggest exotic animal park in the U.S., in Oklahoma.
- At our urging, the National Institutes of Health made 110 chimps at New Iberia Research Center “permanently ineligible for research” and agreed to send them to a Louisiana-based sanctuary, an effort The HSUS is supporting financially. In the product testing arena, our hard-hitting cosmetics campaign gathered more than 400,000 petition signatures from caring consumers and big names like Paul McCartney and Leona Lewis, and Humane Society International was instrumental in preserving Europe’s 2013 ban on selling animal-tested cosmetics.
- Ohio passed legislation, in the wake of the Zanesville tragedy, to ban new ownership of big cats, wolves, bears, most primate species and other dangerous exotic animals as pets. The Obama Administration banned imports and trade in four species of large constricting snakes as pets, including the Burmese python.
- California lawmakers enacted legislation to ban hound hunting of bears and bobcats –
building on our prior ballot initiative wins on hound hunting in Colorado, Massachusetts, Oregon, and Washington.
- The HSUS’s Animal Rescue Team raided puppy mills throughout the U.S. and Canada, and rescued animals from horse starvation cases, a parrot sanctuary gone awry, and so many other crises. Our teams also responded to Super Storm Sandy with a huge on-the-ground operation for rescue and sheltering of pets, and reunited hundreds with their families in New York and New Jersey.
- Federal courts upheld California’s Prop 2 banning extreme confinement of farm animals and its ban on foie gras, as well as the new Ohio law on exotics. In November, a settlement stemming from The HSUS’s 2008 undercover investigation documenting extreme animal abuse at a slaughterhouse producing meat for America’s school lunch program resulted in a final, symbolic judgment against the Hallmark Meat Packing Company of nearly $500 million – the largest ever of its kind.
- On the international front, Bhutan agreed to ban barren battery cages for egg-laying hens, and India’s Animal Welfare Board stated that battery cage confinement is in violation of India’s Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, with several Indian states supporting this interpretation. We helped to stop the construction of a massive foie gras production facility in China, persuading a U.K. based-investment company to withdraw financing for the project. Humane Society International also assisted groups in China, Taiwan, Singapore, South Korea, Brazil and Mexico with action alerts and twitter storm campaigns pressuring McDonald’s to extend its phase-out of gestation crates to Asia and Latin America.
- We passed legislation banning the practice of shark finning in Illinois, several countries and in the European Union, after last year’s victories in several Pacific Coast states, and we helped to persuade Amazon to stop selling whale and dolphin meat globally and shark fins in the United States.
- In our efforts to halt the abuse of animals in puppy mills, we held the line against cuts in funding for federal enforcement, saw several mills shut down in various states, secured new legislation in seven states including Ohio, released a report on the American Kennel Club’s links to puppy mills and our undercover investigation tying Chicago-area pet stores to puppy mills, and pushed for a new federal rule that will bring Internet puppy sellers under Animal Welfare Act regulations.
In the past few days, and in the days ahead, I am drawing out major accomplishments in different program areas. As you’ll see, the world is changing for the better, and it’s because of intentional, strategic efforts, and the growing force of our organization, our movement, and our cause.