Today, we officially release our 2014 annual report, in print and electronic form. I hope you’ll read and take pride in the progress we are making across such a wide range of problem areas. Below, I’ve reproduced most of my President’s essay in the report to give you a flavor of our biggest accomplishments for last year. In every area where we invested resources, we made pretty remarkable progress. I’m proud to note that thanks to you, we grew our revenues by $10 million and expanded our global footprint and the depth and breadth of our programs domestically and internationally. With your strong backing, we’ll do even more in the future.
The Humane Society of the United States and its affiliates drive change through four primary strategies: 1) direct services for animals, delivered through a stunningly wide range of programs; 2) education and awareness, because so many people of conscience are unfamiliar with the risks animals face; 3) public policy and enforcement of anti-cruelty laws to change the legal landscape for animals; and 4) corporate reform campaigns that encourage food companies, cosmetics manufacturers, and other enterprises to become part of a new, emerging humane economy.
By working through all of these channels simultaneously, we can—and we are—delivering transformational outcomes. The HSUS and its affiliates cared for more than 100,000 animals in 2014. But our greater charge is the prevention of cruelty, and we don’t shy away from the biggest, toughest battles for animals. In those battles, 2014 may have been our most exciting year ever.
Strengthening the U.S. Anti-Cruelty Framework: South Dakota became the 50th state to adopt felony-level penalties for animal cruelty, the capstone of our 25-year campaign to establish strong penalties for malicious cruelty in every state. We helped pass federal legislation making it a crime to attend or bring a child to a dogfight or cockfight—the fourth upgrade we’ve secured to federal animal fighting laws since 2002. And we helped persuade the FBI to start tracking animal cruelty crimes.
Ending the Era of Extreme Confinement of Animals on Factory Farms: Australia and Canada committed to begin phasing out gestation crates, as did Brazil’s largest pork producer, and India shut down its only gestation crate facility. In the United States, we secured commitments from some of the nation’s largest pork producers, like Smithfield Foods and Cargill, to abandon gestation crates, too. Starbucks and Nestlé, the world’s largest food company, also announced new policies to cleanse their supply chains of eggs and pork from operations that confine animals in cages and crates.
Rounding Up Horse Slaughterers: We blocked three horse slaughter plants from opening on U.S. soil through provisions in congressional spending bills. Meanwhile, the European Commission suspended imports of horsemeat from Mexico, the leading importer of American horses.
Tightening Puppy Mill Regulations: We helped secure a U.S. Department of Agriculture rule prohibiting the import of puppies into the United States for resale, effectively stopping pet stores and brokers from bringing underage dogs from foreign puppy mills into the North American pet trade.
Banning Cruel Animal Experiments: We persuaded India to ban animal testing for cosmetic products and helped China repeal its requirement that domestically produced cosmetics be tested on animals. In Europe, our team worked on a program to prevent chemical testing on hundreds of thousands of animals.
Striking Blows Against Sealing and Whaling: The World Trade Organization largely upheld the EU’s ban on the trade in products of commercial seal hunts, while the International Court of Justice ruled that Japan’s Southern Ocean whaling program violates international rules against commercial hunting of the ocean’s most majestic creatures.
Securing Gains for Wolves: In Michigan, we decisively won ballot measures to bar wolf hunting, and a month later, we won a federal court ruling reestablishing federal protections for wolves throughout the Great Lakes. In Wyoming, we helped secure a court ruling reinstating federal protections for gray wolves.
Passing Ivory and Rhino Horn Bans: At our urging, the New York and New Jersey legislatures banned the sale of ivory—the first state laws of their kind. In Vietnam, Humane Society International’s public education program achieved a remarkable 38 percent reduction in demand for rhino horn.
There has never been a group like The HSUS, with its depth and breadth of programs and its ability to deliver powerful reforms for animals in so many arenas. All of this work is possible only because of your passion for animals and your resolve that there must be a better way for our society to treat them. To confront the challenges ahead, we ask that you rededicate yourself to our cause—not only because it’s right and good, but because if we harness the power of our collective energy, change on a massive scale is not only possible but probable. We are immensely humbled by your support.