When you support The HSUS, you back a non-profit organization rated by its peers as the nation’s number one force for animal protection. In some ways, it is incomplete to talk only of The HSUS, because we really are a constellation of organizations working in coordinated and complementary ways to drive big changes in public policy and enforcement, corporate reforms, public education and awareness, and hands on care for animals. In addition to The HSUS, there is Humane Society International, which is now operating in 20 countries; the Humane Society Legislative Fund, which does lobbying and political work; the Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust, which permanently protects habitat for wildlife in more than 30 states; The Fund for Animals, which runs several animal care centers; the Doris Day Animal League, which does critical policy work; and the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association, which aims to put veterinarians at the forefront of the cause of animal protection.
Between these organizations, there are literally hundreds of campaigns and activities. But I want to remind you of a few key goals for 2015, as we close the door on the prior year and look ahead to assert the role of human responsibility in our dealings with animals.
Ending animal testing for cosmetics worldwide
We made big gains in the European Union and India in banning cosmetics animal testing as well as the sale of cruel cosmetics, and now we need to expand the map to prohibit these archaic, outmoded live testing practices everywhere. In the United States, that will include working for the passage of the Humane Cosmetics Act in Congress.
Eliminating gestation crates and battery cages and other inhumane factory farming practices
Yesterday, we watched with excitement as Prop 2 and a related law took effect in California to establish that farm animals have the right to lie down, turn around, stand up, and fully extend their limbs– a watershed moment in our campaign against factory farming. We led the fight to pass these measures, and we’ve also fought to defend them against lawsuits and other attempts to undermine them. As I write, we’re working full-tilt to promote and facilitate compliance in the Golden State. But we’re also busy gearing up for a year of continuing efforts to secure anti-confinement laws throughout the nation, to work with the biggest food retailers to see that they no longer purchase animal products that come from animals confined in cages or crates, to work with major institutional food service providers to cut their meat use, to reduce financing for extreme confinement systems in emerging and developing economies worldwide, and to support and collaborate with small family farmers committed to the highest standards of animal care, including the interests of farm animals in being able to live healthy and happy lives, free from confinement.
Driving down euthanasia in the United States, and promoting humane street dog management programs throughout the developing and industrializing world
We work tirelessly to curb the abuses of puppy mills here and abroad, rescuing animals, pushing higher standards, restricting importation, and working to persuade pet stores and the public to prioritize animals from shelters and responsible breeders over those offered for sale by puppy mills and their retail partners. We are also working in underserved communities, in urban and rural regions, to bring spay-and-neuter and other services to animals and the people who care about them. Our charge extends to helping dogs in the developing world through our innovative capture, neuter, vaccinate, and release (CNVR) method.
Putting a stop to horse slaughter and horse soring throughout North America
We’ve fought the horse slaughter industry toe-to-toe in the legislative arena, the courts, the frameworks of international trade and diplomacy, and in the public arena, and 2014 was a turning point, with gains in the United States and in Mexico. But the horse slaughter industry is one that just won’t stay dead, and we’re going to have to meet its relentless campaigning in defense of an indefensible proposition.
The same is true for the horse soring racket, now in turmoil and disarray after several years of big setbacks dealt out by The HSUS and its partners and by federal, state and local law enforcement and regulatory agencies. We’ve investigated the trade, helped to secure the first convictions of soring trainers, and successfully pushed for heightened enforcement of the Horse Protection Act. For its part, the horse soring faction in show competition has done its mighty best to halt our progress, especially when it comes to passage of the Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act. This year, we’ll do everything we can to get it across the finish line, and you’ll see the best from The HSUS as it seeks to convert the broad support for this legislation into action toward its passage.
Passing anti-cruelty laws throughout the world, to create a legal framework that allows for prosecution of people who engage in malicious cruelty.
In 2014, we achieved a milestone by achieving our goal of establishing felony-level penalties for malicious cruelty in every state. Now we want to do that throughout the world, to normalize the notion that animal cruelty is not just a moral problem, but a legal one as well. We’ll continue our vigorous efforts at home and abroad to end dogfighting and cockfighting.
Ending the bloody ivory and horn trade to save elephants and rhinos from poaching and trafficking.
Poachers kill tens of thousands of elephants and rhinos each year, with people in far-off markets wearing or consuming ivory or rhino horn and perhaps not realizing that they are contributing to the decline of the largest land mammals on the planet. Although the federal government has announced its plans for a war on poaching and the ivory trade, trophy hunters and other interest groups have gotten in the way of final action and implementation. We’re fighting their blocking maneuvers and continuing our efforts at the multinational level and in the states in the United States to crack down on the problem, focusing more on the demand that drives the killing on the ground in Africa and Asia.
Of course, we’ll continue our efforts to end commercial sealing and whaling; protect wolves, bears, lions, and others from trophy hunting and other unfair and inhumane hunting and trapping practices; mount an offensive against drugging of horses on race day; complete the transfer of chimps from laboratories to sanctuaries; end the trade in dangerous exotics as pets, and much more. We hope you’ll redouble your commitment to The HSUS and its family of organizations this year, in order to put us in the greatest position to drive reform in the tremendously wide-ranging and challenging arenas in which we work.