HSUS 2016 annual report: Transformational progress for orcas and elephants, farm and lab animals, and others
Today, we officially release our 2016 annual report. I hope you’ll read and take pride in the progress we are making across such a wide range of issues and challenges. Below, I’ve closely reproduced my President’s essay from the report. I’m proud to note that thanks to you, we grew our net assets by nearly $6 million, drove transformational change in so many sectors of the economy, dramatically expanded our global footprint, and touched nearly twice as many animals with hands-on programs as ever before. With your strong backing, we’ll do even more in the future.
At The HSUS, we fight to protect animals. But in a broader sense, we’re working to build and uphold the principles of a civil society. We honor the well-being of others, seek to diminish violence in the world and work to teach the values of kindness and goodness. And thanks to your support, 2016 was an extraordinary year for that work.
I’ve never believed that human misery and violence are severable from the cruelty and suffering that afflict animals worldwide. Our fates have always been entwined. In domestic violence cases, one day the victim is a dog and later it’s a child or a spouse. The same factory farmers who intensively confine animals and deal them never-ending privation also release massive volumes of untreated animal waste, making life miserable for people and animals.
In all arenas of life, in the everyday choices consumers make, The HSUS makes the case in the simplest way: Animals matter. And we work in practical ways to change the way they’re treated – for the better. Here are just some of the gains we secured in 2016.
We made headway in attacking the exploitation of animals used for entertainment. The HSUS reached a landmark agreement with SeaWorld to end the company’s orca breeding program and move it away from theatrical performances involving orcas. This year, Ringling Bros. ended the use of elephants in its shows, a long overdue outcome for which we and other groups worked hard.
We set the nation, and other parts of the world, on a trajectory to end the era of extreme confinement of animals on factory farms. We engaged with more than 250 food companies at home and abroad—including Walmart, Kroger, Aramark, and Denny’s—to stop cage confinement of laying hens and pigs. We gained ground in our national cage-free campaign by winning a Massachusetts ballot measure banning the sale and production of eggs, veal, and pork from animals confined in cages, and by crushing a deceptive “right to farm” constitutional amendment in Oklahoma. For the first time in our movement’s history, we also achieved important corporate policy wins for broiler chickens (the largest number of animals used in factory farms), with Perdue, Aramark, Compass Group, Sodexo, and others committing to major reforms.
We strengthened the global legal framework against cruelty. President Obama signed an executive order establishing a new provision under the Uniform Code of Military Justice applying animal cruelty standards to military bases. Humane Society International (HSI) helped enact animal cruelty legislation in El Salvador, while Honduras enacted a dogfighting ban and protection for all species of all animals, including wildlife and farm animals.
We raided puppy mills around the country, saving dogs and exposing this dirty underside of the pet trade. Boston, Philadelphia, Las Vegas, Sarasota, St. Petersburg, and dozens of other localities enacted ordinances to ban or restrict the sale of puppy mill dogs. Through our Puppy Friendly Pet Stores program—where we work with pet stores to reject puppy mill sales and instead partner with shelters and rescues on in-store adoptions—we’ve helped adopt out nearly 10,000 dogs.
We took on trophy hunting full-throttle at the state and federal levels. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service finalized a rule prohibiting cruel hunting methods targeting wolves, grizzly bears, and other predators on more than 76 million acres of National Wildlife Refuge lands in Alaska (which is under attack right now in Congress), on the heels of similar action on 20 million acres of lands managed by the National Park Service. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission voted to forego its controversial black bear trophy hunt for 2016. The New Hampshire Fish and Game Commission voted to withdraw a proposal to initiate a bobcat hunting, hounding, and trapping season. We’ve all but stopped the import of lion trophies to the United States after the federal government listed African lions as threatened or endangered across their range.
We made national and global progress against animal testing. Congress approved landmark provisions to reduce—and ultimately replace—the use of live animals for testing tens of thousands of chemicals. Following negotiations with The HSUS and other stakeholders, the Environmental Protection Agency announced a plan to phase out at least some obsolete animal testing practices. In October, Taiwan became the second major market in Southeast Asia to take a stand against cosmetics cruelty with a vote to ban animal testing in the beauty industry.
We battled wildlife trafficking throughout the world. Congress passed the Eliminate, Neutralize, and Disrupt Wildlife Trafficking Act to support global anti-poaching efforts. This complemented an Obama administration rulemaking action that restricted imports and interstate trade in ivory. In addition, The HSUS and HSI helped pass a ballot measure in Oregon and a bill in Hawaii to crack down on the trade in products from elephants, rhinos, and other species threatened with extinction.
The HSUS and our affiliates are the world’s number one animal care organization and the number one advocacy organization for animals—striking at the root causes of cruelty while also coming to the aid of animals in crisis. The HSUS, HSI, and other affiliates provided direct care and services to nearly 300,000 animals in 2016—the most we’ve ever helped. We’re able to do this work because you support us and help spread our values. It’s no time to relent, and we hope you’ll stand with us in 2017 and beyond as we take on the biggest, most difficult problems for animals in society.