Humane Society of the United States

Humane Society of the United States
HSUS logo.svg
Founder(s) Fred Myers, Helen Jones, Larry Andrews, Marcia Glaser
Founded 1954 (as National Humane Society)
Location Washington, D.C
Key people Wayne Pacelle, CEO
Focus Animal welfare, animal rights
Members 11 million[1]
Motto "Celebrating Animals, Confronting Cruelty"

The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), based in Washington, D.C., is the largest animal advocacy organization in the world. In 2009, HSUS reported assets of over US$160 million.[2]

The journalist Fred Myers and three others founded HSUS in 1954 to address what they saw as cruelties of national scope, and resolving animal welfare problems by applying strategies beyond the ability of local organizations.[3] HSUS operates animal sanctuaries in five states. It does not run local shelters or oversee local animal care and control agencies, but promotes best practice and provides assistance to shelters and sheltering programs.[4] The group's current major campaigns target five issues: factory farming, animal fighting, the fur trade, puppy mills, and wildlife abuse.[5]

HSUS publishes Animal Sheltering, a bi-monthly magazine for animal sheltering professionals.[6] HSUS distributed the magazine to more than 450,000 people in 2009.[2] It also operates the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association, which provides free veterinary services for animals in impoverished communities.[7]



While determined to be aggressive in the struggle against animal cruelty, the HSUS founders were committed to pursuing a practical, effective course that accepted incremental improvements. When it came to questions like the use of animals in research, or the use of animals for food, the founders did not envision HSUS would be an organization wedded to all-or-nothing approaches.[8]

The values that shaped the HSUS's formation in 1954 came from the humane movement that originated in the 1860s. The idea of kindness to animals made significant inroads in American culture in the years following the Civil War. The development of sympathy for creatures in pain, the satisfaction of keeping them as pets, and the heightening awareness about the relationship between cruelty to animals and interpersonal violence strengthened the movement’s popular appeal.[9]

The most immediate philosophical influence on 1950s-era advocates, including those associated with HSUS, was the reverence-for-life concept advanced by Albert Schweitzer. Schweitzer included a deep regard for nonhuman animals in his canon of beliefs, and animal advocates laboring to give their concerns a higher profile were buoyed by Schweitzer’s 1952 Nobel Peace Prize speech, in which he noted that "compassion, in which ethics takes root, does not assume its true proportions until it embraces not only man but every living being."[10]

Myers and his colleagues found another exemplar of their values in Joseph Wood Krutch (1893–1970), whose writings reflected a deep level of appreciation for wilderness and for nonhuman life. With The Great Chain of Life (1957), Krutch established himself as a philosopher of humaneness, and in 1970, HSUS’s highest award was renamed in his honor.[11]

The growing environmental movement of the early 1970s also influenced the ethical and practical evolution of HSUS. The burgeoning crisis of pollution and wildlife-habitat loss made the public increasingly aware that humans needed to change their behavior toward other living things. By that time, too, the treatment of animals had become a topic of serious discussion within moral philosophy.

The debate spilled over into public consciousness with the publication of Peter Singer’s Animal Liberation (1975). Singer’s book sought to recast concern for animals as a justice-based cause like the movements for civil rights and women’s rights.[12]

Much of what Singer wrote concerning the prevention or reduction of animals’ suffering was in harmony with the HSUS’s objectives. Singer’s philosophy did not rest solely upon the rights of animals. His principal concern, like that of the HSUS, was the mitigation and elimination of suffering, and he endorsed the view that ethical treatment sometimes permitted or even required killing animals to end their misery.[13]

The 1980s witnessed a flourishing of concern about animals and a proliferation of new organizations, many influenced by the emergence of a philosophy holding that animals had inherent rights. Those committed to the purest form of animal rights rejected any human use of animals. In this changing context, the HSUS faced new challenges. As newer animal organizations adopted more radical approaches to achieve their goals, the organization born in anti-establishment politics now found itself identified - and sometimes criticized - as the "establishment" group of record.

While the HSUS welcomed and benefited from growing social interest in animals, it did not embrace the language and philosophy of animal rights. The HSUS representatives expressed their beliefs that animals were "entitled to humane treatment and to equal and fair consideration."[14]

Like many of the organizations and individuals associated with humane work, the HSUS did try to come to terms with the shift toward rights-based language and arguments. In 1978, attorneys Robert Welborn and Murdaugh Stuart Madden conducted a workshop at the HSUS annual conference, "Can Animal Rights Be Legally Defined?", and the assembled constituents passed a resolution to the effect that "animals have the right to live and grow under conditions that are comfortable and reasonably natural... animals that are used by man in any way have the right to be free from abuse, pain, and torment caused or permitted by man... animals that are domesticated or whose natural environment is altered by man have the right to receive from man adequate food, shelter, and care." [15]

In 1980 the notion of rights also surfaced in an HSUS convention resolution which, noting that "such rights naturally evolve from long accepted doctrines of justice or fairness or some other dimension of morality" and called for "pursuit on all fronts... the clear articulation and establishment of the rights of animals" [16]

In 1986, the HSUS director of laboratory welfare, John McArdle, opined that "HSUS is definitely shifting in the direction of animal rights faster than anyone would realize from our literature".[17] The HSUS fired McArdle shortly thereafter, he alleged, for being an "animal rights activist.".[18][dead link] At about the same time, HSUS president John Hoyt stated that "this new [animal rights] philosophy has served as a catalyst in the shaping of our own philosophies, policies, and goals." [19]


The Humane Society of the United States headquarters located in the West End neighborhood of Washington, D.C.

In 1954, HSUS’s founders decided to create a new kind of animal organization, based in the nation’s capital, to confront national cruelties beyond the reach of local societies and state federations. Humane slaughter became an immediate priority and commanded a substantial portion of the organization’s resources. Myers and his colleagues also viewed this first campaign as a vehicle for promoting movement cohesion.

When the Humane Slaughter Act passed in 1958 only four years after HSUS’s formation, Myers pointed out that the movement had united, for the first time, to achieve enactment of federal legislation that would affect the lives of tens of millions of animals. He was encouraged that "hundreds of local societies could lift their eyes from local problems to a great national cruelty."[3]

HSUS also made the use of animals in research, testing, and education an early focus. In the post–World War II era, an increasingly assertive biomedical research community sought to obtain animals from pounds and shelters handling municipal animal control contracts. Local humane societies across the nation resisted. HSUS sought to bolster the movement’s strong opposition to pound seizure, believing that no public pound or privately operated humane society should be compelled by law to provide animals for experimental use.[20]

HSUS took the position that animal experimentation should be regulated, and in the 1950s it placed investigators in laboratories to gather evidence of substandard conditions and animal suffering and neglect.[21] The HSUS was not an anti-vivisection society, Myers explained in 1958. Rather, it stood for the principle that "every humane society … should be actively concerned about the treatment accorded to such a vast number of animals."[3]

In 1961, HSUS investigator Frank McMahon launched a probe of dog dealers around the country to generate support for a federal law to prevent cruelty to animals destined for use in laboratories. The five-year investigation into the multilayered trade in dogs paid off in February 1966 when Life published a photo-essay of a raid conducted on a Maryland dog dealer’s premises by McMahon and the state police.[22][23]

The Life spread sparked outrage, and tens of thousands of Americans wrote to their congressional representatives, demanding action to protect animals and prevent pet theft. That summer the U.S. Congress approved the Laboratory Animal Welfare Act (later renamed the "Animal Welfare Act of 1966"), only the second major federal humane law passed since World War II.[24]

Other broad goals during this time included a reduction in the nation’s homeless dog and cat population, the reform of inhumane euthanasia practices, and the restriction of abuses by the pet shop and commercial pet breeding trades.

HSUS and its state branches operated animal shelters in Waterford, Virginia, Salt Lake City Utah, and Boulder, Colorado, and elsewhere, during the 1960s, and part of the 1970s.[25]

In the 1970s, HSUS would branch out into the arenas of wildlife and marine mammal protection.

Recent history

In the spring of 2004, the HSUS board appointed Wayne Pacelle as CEO and president. A former executive director of The Fund for Animals and named in 1997 as "one of America's most important animal rights activists,"[26] the Yale graduate spent a decade as HSUS’s chief lobbyist and spokesperson, and expressed a strong commitment to expand the organization’s base of support as well as its influence on public policies that affect animals.[27]

Since Pacelle’s appointment, HSUS has claimed among its successes the adoption of "cage-free" egg-purchasing policies by hundreds of universities and dozens of corporations;[28] the exposure of an international trophy hunting scam subsequently ended through legislative reform;[29] a number of successful congressional votes to outlaw horse slaughter; progress in securing legislation at the state and federal level to outlaw animal fighting and the interstate transport of fighting implements;[30] the enactment of internet hunting bans in nearly all of the states;[31][dead link] announcements by Wolfgang Puck and Burger King that they would increase their use of animal products derived under less abusive standards;[32] and an agreement by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to begin enforcement of federal laws concerning the transportation of farm animals.[33]

The HSUS’s campaign to end the hunting of seals in Canada secured pledges to boycott Canadian seafood from 300 restaurants and companies, plus 120,000 individuals.[34]

Canada's seal hunt regulations do not permit the hunting of "whitecoat" seals less than two weeks old, and but do allow the harvest of seals once they molt their white coat to become silver and blue coated adults at that point in their lifecycle.[35] In 2008, 275,000 out of 5.5 million seals were designated as harvestable by Fisheries and Oceans Canada.[36]

In September 2005, when thousands of animals were left behind as people evacuated during Hurricane Katrina, HSUS joined other organizations in a massive search-and-rescue effort that saved approximately ten thousand animals, and raised more than $34 million dollars for direct relief, reconstruction, and recovery in the Gulf Coast region. HSUS led the campaign that culminated in the federal passage of the PETS Act in October 2006, requiring all local, state, and federal agencies to include animals in their disaster planning scenarios.[37]

On the third anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, HSUS reported that it had spent or committed $7.3 million on direct response and efforts to reunite people and lost pets, $8.3 million on reconstruction grants for 54 humane societies in the Gulf Coast region, and $2.3 million on reimbursement grants to 130 humane societies from around the country that assisted in the response. The society also reported that it had committed $800,000 and $900,000, respectively, to shelter-medicine programs at the veterinary schools of Louisiana State University and Mississippi State University, and $600,000 to the construction of an emergency overflow shelter at the Dixon Correctional Institute in Jackson, Louisiana. HSUS reported that it had directed $2.76 million in in-kind contributions to the relief effort, and collected another one million dollars from other donors in grants to Gulf Coast societies.[38]

In August 2008, Pacelle appeared with Louisiana Attorney General James "Buddy" Caldwell at a press conference marking the enactment of a law prohibiting cockfighting in Louisiana, the last state to do so. The prohibition resulted from a longtime campaign led by HSUS.[39]

During 2006, HSUS helped to secure the passage of 70 new state laws to protect animals. Two successful November ballot initiatives conducted with the support of the society outlawed dove hunting in Michigan and, through Proposition 204, abusive livestock-farming practices in Arizona.[40] In 2008, HSUS helped to pass 91 state animal-welfare laws, including Proposition 2 in California.[41][42]

In late 2006, HSUS broke the story of its investigation into the sale of coats trimmed with real fur but labeled "faux" or fake. Laboratory testing found that the fur came from purpose-bred raccoon dogs in China that were sometimes beaten to death and skinned alive. The story of fur animals beaten to death and skinned alive is disputed by a fur industry trade group.[43] As of October 2011, HSUS continues to use the debunked video in its fundraising efforts and campaigns to end human use of fur.[44]

The investigation reportedly prompted several retailers including Macy’s and J.C. Penney to pull the garments from the sale floor. Legislation was introduced in the U.S. Congress to require that all fur jackets be properly labeled, and to ban raccoon dog fur.[45]

In July 2007, HSUS led calls for the National Football League to suspend Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick in the wake of allegations that he had been involved with dog fighting activity.[46] Vick was prosecuted and convicted under federal law.

In the fall of 2008, HSUS also launched a campaign to expose the reliance of the pet store chain Petland on puppy mills where animals are raised under inhumane conditions.[47] However, Jessica Mitler from the USDA, the government agency that regulates dog breeders,[48] provided the following response to the HSUS investigation: "The agency has received no complaints from the Humane Society about a particular kennel or Petland; so they have not investigated this specifically."[49] On November 24, 2008, Petland responded to the HSUS campaign video footage of the Petland investigation[50][dead link] by stating: "Petland is outraged that HSUS would intentionally use video footage of unrelated kennels in the report to try to mislead the general public into believing these facilities have a connection to Petland."[51] In another statement dated February 19, 2009, Petland stated they turned over death threats and threats of kidnapping generated from the HSUS campaign against Petland to the proper authorities for further investigation. Petland continued by asking HSUS to cease and desist in any actions that may promote malicious intent (directly or indirectly).[52]

On March 17, 2009, HSUS launched a class action suit against Petland on behalf of patrons who allegedly purchased sick animals from the chain, under the alleged pretense that the animals had come from the nation's finest breeders.[53] On August 8, 2009, the case was dismissed by a United States District Judge for lack of facts concerning the case.[54] Petland responded to the dismissal by stating: "The Humane Society of the United States touted the lawsuit in furtherance of its fundraising and media campaign seeking to end the sale of animals through pet stores. Petland denied that it had done anything unlawful, and it believes strongly that consumers have the right to purchase and keep pets."[55] The HSUS does not oppose the ownership of pets, but maintains that the desire for profit in commercial pet stores undermines proper care of companion animals.[56]

The corporate expansion forged by Pacelle included mergers with The Fund for Animals (2005) and the Doris Day Animal League (2006). This made possible the establishment of a separate campaigns department, a litigation section, the enhancement of signature programs likes Pets for Life[57] and Wild Neighbors,[58] and an expanded range of hands-on care programs for animals[59]. During the first 2½ years of Pacelle’s tenure, overall revenues and expenditures grew by more than 50 percent.[60]

In June 2007, HSUS launched Humane Wildlife Services, a program to encourage and provide humane wildlife-removal services when wild animals intrude on human dwellings.[61]

In early 2008, HSUS re-organized its direct veterinary care work and its veterinary advocacy under a new entity, the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association,[62] which was formed through an alliance with the Association of Veterinarians for Animal Rights (AVAR),[63] a group of veterinarians that support the animal-rights movement.

In February 2008, after an undercover investigation conducted by HSUS at the Westland Meat Packing Company alleged substantial animal abuse, the USDA forced the recall 143 million pounds of beef, some of which had been routed into the nation's school lunch program.[64] HSUS had been a longtime advocate for the elimination of downer animals from the nation's food supply, and the undercover investigation led to the USDA adopting the policy.[65]

HSUS was a leader in the Proposition 2 in California, which gained eight million votes on Election Day 2008, more than any other initiative on the ballot. The measure, which prohibits certain intensive confinent practices in agriculture beginning in 2015, passed by a 63.3 to 36.7 percent margin, winning in 46 of 58 counties, and gaining support throughout the state's urban, suburban, and rural areas. It garnered votes from Democrats, Independents, and Republicans alike, as well as among Caucasians, African-Americans, Asian-Americans, and Latinos. Nearly 800,000 Californians signed petitions to place the measure on the ballot.[66]

In March 2008, HSUS released the results of a nine-month undercover investigation of the NIRC laboratory in Louisiana, alleging widespread mistreatment of chimpanzees and other primates. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack ordered an immediate investigation of the facility.[67]

HSUS was also a participant in a ballot initiative campaign focusing on inhumane treatment of farm animals in Ohio.[68] The livestock-agriculture initiative was withdrawn from the ballot after a compromise was brokered between HSUS, Ohioans for Humane Farms, the Ohio Farm Bureau, and Ohio Governor Ted Strickland.[69]

HSUS led a campaign against puppy mill cruelty in Missouri in 2010. The Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act, known as "Prop B", was narrowly passed by Missouri voters.[70]

In the summer of 2010, HSUS named pop music artist Ke$ha as their "first global ambassador for animals" for their international branch (Humane Society International).


Animal research

HSUS adopts the position that the "three Rs" approach of replacement, reduction, and refinement to animal testing "will benefit both animal welfare and biomedical progress."[71] In accordance with the above, the group rejects animal testing on non-human primates, cloning, and animal experiments in pre-college science education. HSUS is also opposed to other genetic engineering procedures such as chimera research and its use in xenotransplantation.[72][73]


HSUS is an advocate for companion animals both within and outside of shelters.[74][75] The HSUS companion-animals section provides animal care information to the public, works with shelters to improve their services, promotes spaying and neutering of animals to combat overpopulation, works to end animal fighting and other cruelties, and participates in disaster-relief work that benefits animals. At the state and federal levels, HSUS works to reduce the suffering and euthanasia of homeless animals through animal control ordinances designed to regulate breeding.[76]

Through its Animal Services Consultation program, HSUS helps local animal care and control agencies to improve their operations by providing consultation. HSUS charges animal shelters and humane societies consultation fees on a sliding scale based on the size and budget of the agency. Off-site assistance including resources and data, individualized trainings, and analysis of operations is provided free of charge.[77]

Feral cats

While initially opposed to Trap-Neuter-Return programs, calling them "a form of subsidized abandonment",[78] HSUS reversed its position on March 2006 and endorsed TNR as part of a multi-pronged approach to feral cat management.[79]

Animals in sports and entertainment

HSUS opposes greyhound racing, animal fighting, and works to limit the use and abuse of animals in certain display and spectacular contexts like zoos, circuses, aquariums, and roadside exhibits.[80]

Animals as food

HSUS opposes cruelty in the raising and slaughter of animals used for food, encouraging its constituents to reduce their consumption of meat and to choose products from humanely raised animals instead of factory farm products.[81] HSUS is a supporter of Certified Humane, one of the programs that aims to certify that farm animals have been humanely treated.[82]

Former chief executive officer John Hoyt once declared, "We are not a vegetarian organization, and as a matter of policy do not consider the utilization of animals for food to be either immoral or inappropriate -- a position that, as you might expect, earns us a great deal of criticism from various animal rights organizations." [83]

Wild animals

HSUS has taken a strong stand against the private ownership of exotic animals as pets.[84] HSUS opposes the hunting of any living creature for fun, trophy, or sport. HSUS only supports killing animals for population control when carried out by officials and does not oppose hunting for food or subsistence needs.[85]

Governance and expenses

A nonprofit, charitable organization, HSUS is funded almost entirely by membership dues, contributions, foundation grants, and bequests. It receives a small amount of federal money in support of particular programs.

HSUS is governed by a 27-member, independent Board of Directors. Each Director serves as a volunteer and receives no compensation for service.

In 2010, HSUS’s program expenses comprised 77.9% of its budget.[86] HSUS’s financial efficiency ratios exceed the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance (BBBWGA) standards which require that program expenses as a percentage of total expenses be 65% or greater. HSUS meets all 21 BBWGA financial and administrative standards,[87] and all 20 of the BBB's Standards for Charity Accountability.[88]

Using different estimates of fundraising expenses and efficiency, the American Institute of Philanthropy (AIP) issued a "D" grade to HSUS's financial practices. AIP's rating system heavily penalizes charities for possessing large assets or maintaining more than three years' operating expenses in reserve.[89]

For four years, HSUS received the top four-star rating from Charity Navigator, but in 2010 was downgraded to three stars. Under the new 2.0 rating system implemented by Charity Navigator in 2011, HSUS receives three stars overall, and the top four-star rating for "Accountability & Transparency". [90] HSUS's international affiliate, Humane Society International, received a two-star rating from Charity Navigator in 2011.[91]

In 2009, HSUS was ranked at 168 in the Chronicle of Philanthropy's Philanthropy 400 survey of America's largest charities.[92]

In 2010, Worth Magazine named The HSUS as one of the 10 Most Fiscally Responsible Charities. [93]

In 2011, a study by GuideStar's Philanthropedia ranked HSUS the number one high-impact nonprofit making a positive impact in the field of animal protection.[94]


The Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF) websites and argue that HSUS is not an animal welfare organization but an animal rights organization. Shortly after Wayne Pacelle joined HSUS, he stated in an interview with the Animal People newspaper that his goal was to build "a National Rifle Association of the animal rights movement."[95] A news article and interview from describes HSUS as an animal welfare group.[96] Others, from USA Today, International Herald Tribune and San Francisco Chronicle have described HSUS as an animal rights organization.[97][98][99] The IHT describes HSUS as the "least radical" of animal rights groups.[100] Feedstuffs, an agribusiness newspaper, has leveled the charge that HSUS is pursuing a vegetarianism and veganism agenda instead of animal welfare.[101] In 2010, one journalist in Oregon also claimed that HSUS "primarily works on animal rights legislation."[102]

In 1981, HSUS's president John Hoyt strongly condemned violence and extralegal tactics in HSUS News in 1981.[103] The HSUS board ratified a set of anti-violence principles in 1991, and a statement on its web site states: "We believe that any tactic or strategy involving violence toward people, or threats of violence, undermines the core ethic we espouse."[104] Current CEO Wayne Pacelle and other officials have repeatedly condemned vandalism and terrorism in public forums, and have sought to avoid association with individuals whose speech and embrace of violence contravene these standards.[27]

CCF and its wholly owned website have alleged instances of HSUS involvement with militant groups such as the Animal Liberation Front.[95] In 2000, HSUS hired John "JP" Goodwin, a former member of the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) and founder of the Coalition to Abolish the Fur Trade.[105][106][107] Goodwin now serves as an expert witness against animal fighting, working with law enforcement officials throughout the country[108], and is an outspoken critic of extralegal tactics and violence in the name of animals. In May 2005, CCF was compelled to issue a formal retraction of its claims alleging that HSUS supports terrorism.[109]

CCF has also accused HSUS of a misleading fundraising pitch in relation to the Michael Vick dog fighting case.[110] Fundraising material on HSUS's website one day after Vick's indictment states that donations will be used to "help the Humane Society of the United States care for the dogs seized in the Michael Vick case" and that donations would be "put to use right away to care for these dogs."[111] It was later revealed that the dogs were not in the care of HSUS and that the group recommended the dogs be euthanized.[112] The donation pitch was altered to remove references to caring for Vick's dogs one week after the initial pitch.[113]

CCF further argues that a large network of affiliates and subsidiaries allows HSUS to "bury millions in direct-mail and other fundraising costs in its affiliate’s budget, giving the public (and charity watchdog groups) the false impression that its own fundraising costs were relatively low." According to them, HSUS’s Earth Voice International and the Humane Society of the United States Wildlife Land Trust received ratings of one and zero stars (out of four) respectively from Charity Navigator. Earth Voice International is no longer an affiliate of HSUS, and the HSUS Wildlife Land Trust is not currently rated by Charity Navigator. The LA Times reported that based on 1997 to 2006 data in the state of California, the HSUS has a net return of 11.3% while the Wildlife Land Trust has a -70% net return.[114] According to the "Pennies for Charity" report issued by the New York State Attorney General, of the $1.95 million raised in 2008 by fundraisers, only 5.29% went to HSUS. The average return for charities in the report was 39.5%. HSUS actually incurred a net loss of $5,358 (-0.32%) in 2007. Those figures in 2006 and 2005 numbers were more positive, with 7.27% and 19.99% of contributions going to HSUS.[115]

CCF has accused HSUS of misleading donors into thinking that their donations directly support local animal shelters, when HSUS has no affiliation with or control over local humane societies. In a WSB-TV interview, Trey Burley, shelter manager at PAWS Atlanta, said, "I think that some of the folks who donate to the national organization may be under the false pretense that that money is going to a local cause."[116] The story was later retracted by the station manager, who stated to CCF: "we believe you have misrepresented the Broadcast as supporting your contention that HSUS actively misleads the public in its advertising. WSB-TV has no evidence of that nor do we believe it to be true."[117] Cheryl McAuliffe, Georgia Director for HSUS responds that the organization is "explicit as to what our campaigns are and what we are doing."

In 2006, CCF conducted an informal poll of restaurants listed as boycotting Canadian seafood in protest of the slaughter of seals. CCF claims that 62% of the chefs and restaurant managers they spoke to on the phone were unaware that their companies were listed as "boycotters" on the HSUS website. CCF then excludes those restaurants that were boycotting Canadian seafood prior to the HSUS boycott, and restaurants that serve any Canadian seafood (regardless of the type or quantity), and draws the conclusion that 78% of the interviewees were not actively participating in the boycott.[118] CCF quotes Loyola Hearn, Canadian Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, as saying: "Some animal rights groups have been misleading the public for years ... it's no surprise at all that the richest of them would mislead the public with a phony seafood boycott."[119]

HSUS further clarifies that "by long-standing tradition, local humane societies are independent entities. Each shelter has its own policies, governance, and priorities,"[120] and that shelters "would be the first to concede that they do not have the reach or the resources to tackle the national and international problems of animal fighting, puppy mills, inhumane slaughter and transport, canned hunts, the fur trade, and other problems—campaigns that we work on every day."[121]

HSUS has rejected CCF's accusations as "falsehoods and distortions" by "a flack agency and industry front group for tobacco, alcohol, and agribusiness interests."[122]

In 2006, the Attorney General of Louisiana opened an inquiry into the American Red Cross and HSUS after numerous complaints about the misuse of funds raised in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.[123] This inquiry was part of a wide-ranging effort to insure that charities providing relief for the victims of the hurricane did not profit from the incident.[124] Neither Attorney General Charles Foti nor his successor Buddy Caldwell took any action, and the inquiry focusing on HSUS ended in early 2008 with no finding of wrongdoing.[125]

Despite widespread support for a ban on domestic horse slaughter by horse professionals, Veterinarians for Equine Welfare (VEW)[126] and the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) have criticized HSUS and other organizations who lobbied for an end to horse slaughter in the United States, stating that instead of making things better "horses are being abandoned in the United States or transported to Mexico where, without U.S. federal oversight and veterinary supervision, they are slaughtered inhumanely."[127][128]

US Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer questioned the way HSUS handled its Westland/Hallmark Meat Packing Company investigation, stating that HSUS "sat on four months of production that went out into the marketplace that's now being recalled".[129]

Headquarters and regional offices

The Humane Society's national headquarters are in Washington, D.C. Its staff exceeds 500 employees. The organization also maintains field representatives in 35 states.[130] Its international arm, Humane Society International (HSI), has offices in half a dozen nations and a broad range of international animal protection programs. HSI focuses on international treaties, animal birth control, humane slaughter education, and an end to the Canadian seal hunt. Many of the HSI campaigns and legal challenges are led by HSI vice president Cristobel "Kitty" Block.[131][132][133]

Further reading

  • Donahue, Jesse, and Erik Trump, The Politics of Zoos: Exotic Animals and their Protectors (2006).
  • Hoyt, John A., Animals in Peril. 1994.
  • Irwin, Paul, Losing Paradise: The Growing Threat to Our Animals, Our Environment, and Ourselves (2000).
  • Unti, Bernard. Protecting All Animals: A Fifty-Year History of The Humane Society of the United States (2004).
  • Unti, Bernard, and Andrew Rowan. "A Social History of Animal Protection in the Post–World War Two Period." In State of the Animals 2001, edited by *Deborah J. Salem and Andrew N. Rowan. Washington, D.C.: Humane Society of the United States, 2001.

See also


  1. ^ "About Us: Overview : The Humane Society of the United States". Retrieved 2011-03-30. 
  2. ^ a b
  3. ^ a b c Unti, Bernard (2005-02-16). "Fred Myers: Co-Founder of The HSUS". Washington, D.C.: The Humane Society of the United States. Retrieved 2011-04-19. "After The HSUS formed on November 22, 1954, Myers and the other co-founders—Larry Andrews, Marcia Glaser, and Helen Jones—moved quickly to fulfill their goal of engaging cruelties of a national scope." 
  4. ^ "Common Questions about Animal Shelters". Washington, D.C.: The Humane Society of the United States. 2009-10-26. Retrieved 2011-04-19. "[W]e serve local animal shelters and other groups by offering..." 
  5. ^ "Campaigns : The Humane Society of the United States". Retrieved 2011-03-30. 
  6. ^ "Publications". Retrieved 2011-03-30. 
  7. ^ Banse, Tom (2006-10-04). "Mobile Vet Clinic Treats Poor Pets". Retrieved 2011-03-30. 
  8. ^ B. Unti: Protecting All Animals: A Fifty-Year History of The Humane Society of the United States (Washington, DC: 2004), 3.
  9. ^ K. Grier: Pets in America (Chapel Hill, 2006)
  10. ^ Unti, Protecting All Animals, 16.
  11. ^ Unti, Protecting All Animals, 17.
  12. ^ P. Singer, Animal Liberation: New York, 1975
  13. ^ Unti, Protecting All Animals, 18.
  14. ^ Unti, Protecting All Animals, 27.
  15. ^ The Humane Society News (Winter 1979), 16-19
  16. ^ Humane Society News (Winter 1981), 25
  17. ^ John McArdle, quoted in Katie McCabe, "Who Will Live, Who Will Die," Washingtonian August 1986, p. 115, as cited in The Humane Society in the US: Its Not about Animal Shelters, Daniel Oliver
  18. ^ "Prof threatened with libel suit | The Daily Pennsylvanian". 1990-11-27. Retrieved 2011-03-30. 
  19. ^ John Hoyt, quoted in Katie McCabe, "Katie McCabe Replies," Washingtonian October 1986, pp109-110, as cited in The Humane Society in the US: Its Not about Animal Shelters, Daniel Oliver
  20. ^ Protecting All Animals, 64-65.
  21. ^ Animals in a Research Laboratory: Washington, DC, 1961
  22. ^ Unti, Bernard. "Frank McMahon: The Investigator Who Took a Bite Out of Animal Lab Suppliers". Washington, D.C.: The Humane Society of the United States. Archived from the original on 2007-09-30. Retrieved 2011-04-19. "The conditions that shocked the troopers were all too familiar to the man who led them on to Brown's property, Frank McMahon (1926-1975), HSUS director of field services." 
  23. ^ Wayman, Stan (1966-02-04). "Concentration camps for dogs". Life 60 (5): 22–29. Retrieved 2011-04-19. "The raid was at the behest of the Humane Society of the United States, which, in its constant surveillance of places like Brown's around the country, had sent one of its agents to check conditions at Brown's twice within the past year" 
  24. ^ Unti, Bernard. "'Concentration Camps for Lost and Stolen Pets': Stan Wayman’s LIFE photo essay and the Animal Welfare Act". Washington, D.C.: The Humane Society of the United States. Archived from the original on 2007-09-30. Retrieved 2011-04-19. "...sparked a public outrage that had a catalytic effect, breaking through the political impasse that had seen one animal welfare bill after another fail in the U.S. Congress." 
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