This week we release our 2017 annual report, an account of recent achievements in our broad-ranging mission to help all animals. The report is teeming with encouraging news about the advances we made on issues ranging from negotiating with corporations, to producing large-scale animal welfare reforms, to pressing for major legislative goals, to educating and mobilizing millions of Americans through our outreach work, to responding to destructive natural disasters and challenging cruelty cases, to providing direct care to animals in sanctuary.
These successes are a source of pride for all of us at the Humane Society of the United States. Not only do they represent real and positive outcomes for animals, based on campaigns and initiatives carried out with intelligence and energy by a dedicated staff, they also represent the strength, the devotion and the faith of donors and supporters who believe in our ability to bring about the greatest possible progress for animals.
In 2017, we sought to exert a far-reaching, meaningful and long-lasting impact across a wide number of programs. Here are just a few examples of our successes:
Animals used in research: We reached an agreement with the New York Blood Center to support the care of a colony of former research chimpanzees in Liberia, even as we continued our efforts to ensure safe harbor for chimpanzees at sanctuaries in the United States.
Disaster relief: When disaster struck in the form of powerful hurricanes and earthquakes late last summer, we mobilized to rescue, transport and provide care for thousands of animals in Florida, Puerto Rico, Texas, the British Virgin Islands and Mexico. Hundreds of thousands of people donated to help the affected animals, people and communities, and that support made it possible for us to provide urgent, necessary and lifesaving service in multiple areas of deployment.
Fur-free fashion: We registered historic gains in advancing fur-free fashion, securing agreements from major brands and retailers—including Gucci, Michael Kors and Jimmy Choo—to commit to a fur-free future. Yoox Net-a-Porter, Stein Mart, Burlington Stores and VF Corporation (the parent company of dozens of popular brands, including The North Face, Timberland and Nautica) all committed to phasing out fur products.
Farm animals: Through our Nine Billion Lives campaign, dozens of companies agreed to adopt minimum standards for the care of broiler chickens that dramatically improve their welfare, with a number of them agreeing to major changes in the methods used to raise and slaughter birds. We moved the nation’s largest food service companies—and nearly 70 school districts, hospitals and other food buyers—to implement culinary strategies to serve less meat and more plants, and trained nearly 2,000 food service professionals in plant-based cooking. Humane Society International obtained cage-free commitments from companies in Asia and Latin America, including JBS, Kraft Heinz, Sapore and Hoteles ESTELAR.
Puppy mills: We delivered on our commitment to increase the pressure on puppy mill cruelty throughout the nation. An undercover investigation revealed that puppies were being mistreated at a boutique pet store in Manhattan, and, under pressure, the store closed down. California banned the sale of puppies in pet stores unless they come from rescues or shelters.
Fighting cruelty around the world: Humane Society International worked in more than 50 countries to drive change for animals. Our HSI Mexico team won a major victory when that nation banned dogfighting, and Mexico City updated its constitution to recognize animals as sentient beings. Guatemala passed sweeping anti-cruelty legislation, including a dogfighting ban, a prohibition on tail and ear docking of farm animals and a ban on cosmetic testing on animals. The Nepalese Supreme Court banned public culls of street dogs using poisons, beating and shooting, and directed the government of Nepal to introduce a humane management plan for homeless animals.
Trophy hunting: Following pressure from citizens and scientists, the British Columbia government announced a provincial ban on trophy hunting of grizzly bears. In Connecticut and Florida we blocked bear hunting, and a federal appeals court upheld California’s right to keep mountain lion trophies from coming into the state. We won a federal court ruling to spare 1,000 wolves from death by trophy hunters and trappers in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin.
In addition to these achievements, we provided direct care for more than 125,000 animals, and our supporters notched some 135,000 hours in volunteer time.
There’s much more to share, from the five dog meat farms we shut down in South Korea to the work we are doing to save wild equines from round-ups and slaughter to the astounding progress we made for the protection of elephants and other performing wild animals. I encourage you to read through the entire report, and to share it with others who care about our mission and want to know more about our approach and the scope of our work.
Our 2018 priorities include the expansion of our campaigns against puppy mills, and fighting the testing of cosmetics on animals, the slaughter of horses for human consumption, the spread of trophy hunting, the dog meat trade, and the cruel treatment of broiler hens and other animals raised for food.
There’s never been a better time to stand up and be counted when it comes to the struggle to protect animals. On behalf of my colleagues, I’d like to invite you to stand with us, as we seek to extend the vision that stands behind our very name: the creation of a humane society.