We are deep into 2014 already with several successes under our belt, including the defeat of the King amendment, major announcements from Smithfield Foods and Tyson Foods about phasing out gestation crates for breeding pigs, a ruling from a United Nations court reeling in Japan’s illegal whaling, and major gains in Congress on ending the use of chimpanzees in government laboratories and new prohibitions on attending animal fighting spectacles. But 2013 didn’t turn that long ago, and today I release our annual report for last year on our accomplishments and activities.
As you’ll see, we continued to make gains in all of the areas where we made major investments, and we fortified the financial position of the organization in a meaningful way through wise stewardship of your donations, with 81 cents of every dollar going directly toward animal protection programs.
Transparency is one of our core values, and we tell our story every day in A Humane Nation, All Animals, HumaneSociety.org, on Facebook, and through other communications platforms. But for a single document, our annual report provides the most comprehensive overview of our work. I hope you’ll dig in, as a way of gaining a richer understanding of our work. I’ll leave it to you to review my President’s essay and the pages that follow it.
We do have the most comprehensive programs in the United States and throughout the world to help all animals. Here’s just some of what we do:
- Aiding shelters, especially when natural disasters and cruelty cases overwhelm their capacity to respond.
- Leading the nation’s most ambitious projects to reduce pet overpopulation and thereby reduce pressure on local shelters and rescues.
- Providing sanctuary, rehabilitation, veterinary treatment, and other direct care for more animals than any other group – more than 118,000 animals assisted in 2013 alone.
- Combatting puppy mills, organized animal fighting, wildlife poaching, Canada’s commercial seal slaughter and many other large-scale animal abuses.
- Managing a coast-to-coast network of nature preserves, through our Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust.
- Working to end the suffering of street dogs in countries around the globe.
- Combatting the trade in wildlife here and abroad, whether it’s sharks, elephants, rhinos or other creatures whose parts put them at risk.
- Joining with hundreds of America’s major corporations in food retail (e.g., McDonald’s, Safeway and Costco), fashion (e.g., Armani and J.C. Penney), cosmetics (e.g., Lush, Aubrey Organics and Jack Black) and household products sectors (e.g., Procter & Gamble and Unilever) to conduct more humane procurement, production or testing practices.
- Fighting factory farming and providing a new vision for agriculture, including supporting sustainable family farmers who answer to higher animal welfare standards – both in the United States and the developing world.
The HSUS’s critics caricature our work, reinvent it as something it’s not, or complain that we should be doing more of one thing or another. Mainly, they just don’t want us focusing resources on animal cruelty problems of their making. I understand their perspective, and you should too.
Because we are tackling the biggest problems for animals, we get big results. But we also face fierce resistance from those committed to the status quo. That’s unfortunate, but inevitable. It’s the price of progress.
I hope this annual report inspires you to deepen your engagement, and reminds you to act as a practitioner of animal protection and as an ambassador for our organization. We cannot do this work without the participation of people like you, throughout the country and now throughout the world.