The HSUS uses videos as a key instrument in our campaign to tell the story of our human relationships with animals. Nothing tells the story better. Some of these videos chronicle uplifting happenings – animals rescued and then placed in forever homes, or formerly abused animals with their lives entirely turned around and living in sanctuaries. Others pull back the curtain on abuse, and seek to show the world what’s happening, as a means of demanding change — like reforms directed at the horrors of puppy mills or other abusive situations for animals. These videos sustain some of our most important investigations and exposés.
These are the most-watched videos of 2016, on YouTube and Facebook, as part of my round-up of the activities of The HSUS and its affiliates for 2016:
In August this year, The HSUS was called in to assist with the rescue of 66 dogs and three horses from a Gallia County, Ohio, property. The dogs were living in an extremely dirty, extremely hot house in unsafe and unsanitary conditions. The smell of urine was stifling, and the animals, some of whom were in desperate need of medical care, had little access to food and water. The animals were moved to a temporary shelter where they received veterinary attention, food, and lots of hugs and kisses.
The Fund for Animals’ Duchess Sanctuary is a 1,120-acre oasis in Oregon for about 200 formerly abused, abandoned, neglected, and homeless horses. This video of 110 of the sanctuary’s magnificent residents running downhill to pasture — as excited as puppy dogs getting a treat – was one of our most popular of 2016.
Among the most popular videos of 2016 was this one, also from Duchess, where Jennifer Kunz, director of operations, introduces the beautiful sanctuary and some of the horses who live there. As Jennifer tells us in the video, many of the horses at Duchess were rescued from the Pregnant Mare Urine industry which produces pharmaceuticals containing the urine of impregnated horses. Horses in the industry endure cruel and inhumane treatment. Other residents were rescued from public lands, auctions, slaughter, and other dangerous situations.
In this video, which was originally streamed live in February, Humane Society International’s Director of Animal Protection and Crisis Response Adam Parascandola takes viewers inside one of South Korea’s dog meat farms. HSI closed down the farm and removed all 250 dogs, who would have otherwise been headed for the butcher’s block, to the United States and Canada where they were placed for adoption. South Korea is the only country in the world where dogs are solely bred on farms for human consumption, and – as this video shows — the animals are often kept in terrible conditions.
We asked children the question as part of our Don’t Buy Into Puppy Mills campaign, and we got some pretty funny answers. But the truth is, most puppies sold in pet stores and online come from puppy mills, where their parents lead lives of horrible abuse and deprivation. The HSUS works on many fronts to end the scourge of puppy mills, ranging from working with local and state governments to create laws against puppy mills, fighting to uphold puppy mill laws in courts, working to create federal rules that discourage puppy mills, and conducting hands-on rescue work to save dogs caught up in mills.
This eye-opening video of 20 people stuck together in a tiny elevator was part of our campaign to persuade the supermarket chain Publix – the last holdout among the largest 25 grocers in the nation — to go cage-free. It reminded viewers of the sad lives of battery-cage hens who are packed in tiny cages, with not even enough room to spread their wings. After our months-long campaign that also involved full-page newspaper ads, television commercials, dedicated social media efforts promoting our CagedForPublix website, and more, Publix, in July, announced a timeline for going 100 percent cage-free.
In March, the HSUS Animal Rescue Team was called in to assist with the removal of nearly 300 dogs from the horrors of a filthy Arkansas puppy mill. The neglected dogs were living in the midst of the decaying corpses of other dogs, and many were in desperate need of medical attention. Among the dogs we found Daniel, a puppy living in a dirty shed with his mother and a sibling. Daniel was so malnourished, he could not use his front legs, but he found the strength to crawl to his rescuers on his belly to greet them.
Daniel’s story touched so many of our followers that this video chronicling his progress was also among our top videos of 2016. In the video, you can watch Daniel go from a malnourished puppy caught up in a terrible situation to a happy furball eager to take his first steps and walk on a leash. All this after just after days of dedicated veterinary care, an appropriate diet, hands-on care, and plenty of leg massages. Daniel has since found a forever home.
In October, when Hurricane Matthew struck parts of the United States, our team was on the ground in South Carolina, wading through the flooded streets to rescue animals stuck in dangerously rising waters. Among those helped were an elderly homeowner who barely made it out himself. His neighborhood was under 15 feet of water and his four cats and one dog were stranded inside his home and in a school bus. Our rescuers were prepared for the worst because of the harsh conditions but miraculously they found all the animals alive – wet and scared out of their wits, but alive.
In September, the HSUS Animal Rescue Team was called in to assist the Cabarrus County, N.C. sheriff’s office with a rescue. Our team found nearly 150 animals, including dogs, cats, and goats, living in filthy, unsafe conditions. Many animals had untreated medical issues. North Carolina is a hotbed for puppy mill activity because it has failed to pass laws to establish humane breeding standards. As you can see from the list of our top videos, puppy mills are a topic that resonate with animal lovers, and this video, exposing the filthy conditions inside the mill, the plight of the animals caught up in this trade, and, ultimately, their rescue, was among the most viewed this year.