Today, we unveiled a very eye-catching, prominent banner – 40 feet by 40 feet – on an outside wall of our headquarters in downtown Washington, D.C.
As always, it conveys the notion that we work for all animals, by including images of multiple species and proudly displaying our logo, which consists of 19 different animals. But the primary message in the ad, “a humane society starts with you,” conveys another central element of who we are: we all have a role to play in changing the circumstances for animals for the better.
The HSUS is a powerful and strategic organization, with a world-class staff. But our professional staff cannot turn around the myriad problems for animals on their own. We rely on our members and supporters, and in fact, the whole of society to act in accordance with their sensibilities about animals.
We all have a role to play. Supporting charities like The HSUS is critical, since animal protection groups organize and lead and influence. But there’s more to it than that.
We make food choices with consequences for animals, and those decisions either enable or disable the industrial model of animal agriculture. We buy products, like household goods or cosmetics, either tested or not tested on animals. We get our dogs and cats from places that treat companion animals like a cash crop and the breeding females like machines, or from outfits that show a compassionate concern for animals.
In the face of major policy debates for animals, whether it’s factory farming, puppy mills or the use of lead ammunition, we choose to contact our lawmakers or not, and that helps determine outcomes for animal protection policies. We drive carefully on the road to avoid hitting wildlife, and we handle conflicts with wildlife in a way that gives them consideration or treats them as expendable.
When it comes to protecting animals, it’s a team effort. But it starts with every one of us. A humane society really does start with you.