More than anything, The HSUS is about one purpose: making tangible progress to stop animal cruelty. Our determined work for all animals wins us millions of supporters.
But it also stirs the passions and fears of special interests and individuals who make a profit or get a thrill from hurting animals.
Cockfighters and dogfighters, hunters of captive animals, exotic animal dealers, factory farmers, horse soring and horse slaughter enthusiasts, and others of their ilk don’t much like us. So be it. We’re their worst nightmare – a strong, unyielding, strategic force, deploying a wide range of tools to criminalize or stigmatize their conduct, shrink it, and ultimately relegate it to the history books.
Unable to defend their cruelty, our opponents resort to attacking the messenger, hiring dark operatives to trot out falsehoods in the public square about us. When I see or hear these criticisms, it reminds me of what President Franklin D. Roosevelt said during a historic speech given in Portland in 1932: “Judge me by the enemies I have made.” If you were to judge The HSUS by the people who attack us, you would find that they do so not because we do too little for animals – but because we do too much. And against their false notions, we’ll continue to push for the animal protection reforms our supporters demand and expect. Through a mix of advocacy, direct care, education, investigation, and litigation, we’ll continue our work to bring systemic change for animals on a global scale.
Here’s who we really are:
- We are transforming the food industry and ending the era of extreme confinement of animals. We’ve worked with more than 100 of the biggest food retailers to sunset the use of gestation crates, battery cages, and veal crates in the United States, and now we’re working toward that goal abroad, too.
- We’ve strengthened anti-cruelty statutes in every state and are now embarking on a global campaign for anti-cruelty laws in every nation in the world – seeking to create a baseline standard everywhere that cruelty to animals is not just a moral problem, but a legal one, too.
- We are working to end the keeping of exotic animals, particularly the large and powerful kind, as personal pets, and have worked toward that goal in dozens of states.
- We are working to end the commercial and recreational killing of marine mammals, such as whales, seals, dolphins, and polar bears.
- We are working to close the books on the era of cosmetic and chemical testing on animals in favor of 21st century science. In 2015, we put an end to any invasive experiments on chimpanzees.
- We are working to end the euthanasia of healthy, treatable, and adoptable dogs and cats by promoting shelter pets and working to shutter puppy mills. Our Shelter Pet Project campaign, with Maddie’s Fund and the Ad Council, has generated more than a quarter billion in advertising to promote adoption of shelter dogs and cats.
- We, our global affiliate Humane Society International, and our other affiliates are together the number one provider of hands-on services to animals, touching more than 170,000 animals in 2015 – whether through our animal rescues, our veterinary programs, international street dog work, Pets for Life programs, and other on-the-ground efforts.
- We operate undercover investigations that expose the most horrific abuses – investigations that have shuttered slaughter plants, helped change state and federal laws, and led to the arrest of perpetrators of animal abuse.
- We are using a small army of lawyers to enforce the law, to block illegal killing of endangered species, to protect vulnerable creatures like the right whale, and to stop the illegal funneling of money to trade associations that lobby against animal welfare reforms.
- We provide a wide array of practical resources — financial, technical, and instructive — to local shelters and other local animal-care groups, in order to professionalize our field, to provide thought leadership and best practices, and to partner with them on a vast number of projects.
- We run the nation’s largest network of animal care centers, and are constantly at work running emergency shelters and collaborating with our network of over 270 Emergency Placement Partners to find loving homes for victims of cruelty and neglect.
We are now a force in every state in the country, and in more than 50 nations. Our ambitions are global and encompass a concern for every animal, of every species. It’s an immense task, but with the reservoir of concern for animals that exists throughout society, we’re convinced we can dramatically change the fortunes of all animals. We’ll continue that work at a fever pitch, and we thank all of you who join us in this noble mission.