Each year, the Humane Society of the United States recognizes lawmakers and corporations who support and adopt humane principles in their work. This week, I was on Capitol Hill with colleagues from the Humane Society Legislative Fund to honor 173 lawmakers with our Humane Awards, for their work to improve the lives of animals. Also this week, we are recognizing businesses that have embraced humane reforms, with our annual Henry Spira Corporate awards.
The annual Congressional Humane Awards ceremony on Tuesday evening was attended by several dozen honorees and their staff members. We recognized 45 Senators and 128 Representatives (representing 40 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands and Virgin Islands)— for their work based on their ratings on the 2018 Humane Scorecard released annually by HSLF.
The top awards went to Sens. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and Reps. Mike Conaway, R-Texas, and Collin Peterson, D-Minn. All were named 2018 Humane Legislators of the Year for their work on the Farm Bill, whose final package excluded an amendment that Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, tacked on in committee, and included positive amendments concerning pets and domestic violence, animal fighting, and dog and cat meat.
The Henry Spira Humane Corporate Progress Awards go each year to forward-thinking companies, business associations and entrepreneurs whose efforts and actions have brought relief from cruelty and suffering to millions, if not billions, of animals worldwide. The awards also commemorate the pioneering work of the late campaigner, Henry Spira, whose approaches to corporate engagement set a precedent for current efforts to advance humane values on this important front. This years recipients include:
- Bark!, a chain of pet stores that follows a humane model by not selling puppies or any live animals. Bark! has made a strong commitment to changing public policy on this subject. Its marketing manager, Laurie Newton, testified in front of state lawmakers last year to help pass a statewide ban on the sale of puppies in pet stores. Bark! partners with rescues to hold adoption events at their stores, and supports the community in many other ways, including providing free pet food to local residents affected by the federal government shutdown.
- InStyle, a magazine with a global audience of 8.7 million and an online viewership of 10 million. InStyle announced a corporate policy banning all animal fur from editorials and advertisements, making it the first major U.S. fashion publisher to have such a policy. In the May 2018 issue announcing the policy, Editor-in-chief Laura Brown wrote: “There’s nothing more beautiful than our animal friends.”
We congratulate these very deserving recipients of our Spira Awards and our Humane Awards, for moving the world toward more humane policies and a humane marketplace. When I first got involved in animal protection 25 years ago, we would have been lucky to win over even a handful of policy-makers and companies to our cause in a year’s time. The tremendous support we see today are the surest signs of a movement in its ascendancy, supported by popular opinion and acted upon by lawmakers and corporate decision-makers alike.