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December 31, 2010

2010 HSUS Accomplishments

Victory for dogs in largest puppy mill state — The passage in November of Prop B—a ballot measure against puppy mills in in Missouri—is a highlight of our 2010 accomplishments.

It has been a remarkable year for animals. Here is a summary of some of our major accomplishments for 2010.

Thousands of animals rescued

HSUS teams came to the aid of animals all across the country. We led the rescue of more than 100 dogs being housed outdoors in sub-freezing temperatures in Alabama. We helped rescue nearly 90 dogs from a puppy mill in New Jersey, rescued 120 cats from a suspected hoarding situation in Tennessee, removed 180 dogs from a squalid, overwhelmed nonprofit organization in Mississippi, and saved 49 starving horses in West Virginia. We also rescued thousands more animals from puppy mills and hoarding situations across the country. Many more animals were spared from cruelty and abuse as a result of our animal fighting enforcement activities and other work with law enforcement agencies, and through our Humane Wildlife Services program.

More than 42,000 animals receive care

In addition to rescuing thousands of animals, The HSUS and our affiliated organizations cared for more animals than any other animal protection organization in the country. More than 15,000 of those animals are either permanent residents or were treated and released from our network of five animal care centers. More than 8,300 animals were treated by veterinarians through our Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association.

Missouri voters pass ballot measure to protect dogs

On Nov. 2, Missouri voters passed a ballot measure to end some of the worst abuses at the state's notorious puppy mills. The measure requires large-scale dog breeding operations to provide their dogs with the basics of humane care, and limits the number of breeding dogs to 50 per facility. Missourians for the Protection of Dogs, a coalition with strong support from The HSUS, submitted more than 190,000 signatures to place a measure on the November 2010 Missouri ballot. The coalition ran a grassroots campaign that generated nearly 1 million votes in favor of the measure in the state, which is home to more puppy mills than any other state in the nation.

Arizona voters reject legislative power grab to control wildlife management

Arizona voters resoundingly rejected Proposition 109, which was a special-interest power grab placed on the ballot by the legislature to block future wildlife protection ballot initiatives. The HSUS led a coalition that campaigned against Prop 109, which was an attack on voting rights, and a thinly veiled effort to hand all state-level wildlife policy over to state lawmakers, who are generally too beholden to the NRA. Prop 109 also put the state’s voter-approved restriction on the use of steel-jawed leghold traps at risk. 

Huge dogfighting operation busted

The HSUS’s animal fighting team worked alongside the Jefferson County Humane Society in southeast Ohio to rescue 200 dogs from a suspected dogfighting operation—the largest single dogfighting yard that we’ve ever uncovered. All of the animals were surrendered to The HSUS.

Trey, one of 200 dogs rescued from a suspected dogfighting operation in Ohio
Sarah Barnett
Dog rescued from fighting operation relaxes in his foster home.

We worked closely with rescue organizations, foster programs, animal shelters, and individuals across the country to evaluate all the dogs and find placement for more than 100 (so far). Eighteen of those dogs were driven by HSUS staff to animal shelters and rescue groups in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Maine.

Egg policies relieve suffering of caged hens

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed legislation backed by The HSUS that makes California a cage-free state by 2015. That's when the new law requiring that all shell (whole) eggs sold in California must come from hens who were able to stand up, lie down, turn around, and fully extend their limbs without touching one another or the sides of an enclosure.

A growing list of companies have adopted cage-free egg purchasing policies. Retail giant Wal-Mart moved its private line eggs to cage-free in response to an HSUS shareholder resolution. Hellmann’s, a company that uses hundreds of millions of eggs annually in North America to produce mayonnaise, announced that it has converted all of Hellmann’s Light to cage-free (meaning approximately 125,000 fewer hens in battery cages) and is committed to converting the rest of Hellmann’s mayonnaise to cage-free as well. This will mean well more than a million fewer birds will ever know the confines of a battery cage.

The HSUS also worked with officials at Subway, Sonic, Golden Corral, Cracker Barrel, Ruby Tuesday, Carnival Cruise Lines, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, Norwegian Cruise Lines, Virgin America, Harry & David, and Einstein Bros. Bagels, to adopt policies to phase in cage-free eggs. Many colleges and universities have also gone cage-free in 2010. Kraft Foods, Sara Lee, and Otis Spunkmeyer each pledged to begin using 1 million or more cage-free eggs.

HSUS investigations uncover cruelty

The HSUS conducted an undercover investigation at four egg factory farms in Iowa, documenting abuses including injured and sick hens, rough handling, and trampling caused by overcrowding in small battery cages. We also exposed rampant abuse and food safety problems at a factory farm owned by Cal-Maine, the nation's top egg producer. At the nation's largest turkey hatchery in Willmar, Minn., The HSUS found live baby turkeys being thrown into grinding machines and turkeys having their toes and other body parts amputated without painkillers.

We also documented the inhumane treatment of female breeding pigs and piglets at a Virginia factory farm owned by a subsidiary of Smithfield Foods—the world's largest pork producer—where female breeding pigs were crammed inside tiny "gestation crates" and suffered injuries.

Another HSUS investigation drew attention to neglect of exotic animals at the Collins Zoo in Mississippi, which spurred action by the state Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks to inspect the facility and issue citations. The HSUS also uncovered the cruel practice of bear baiting in South Carolina, spectator events where packs of dogs jump on and bite a captive, declawed bear tied to a stake in the ground.

New law to criminalize “crush” videos

More than 200 members of Congress co-sponsored a federal bill to combat cruel animal “crush” videos. The narrowly-crafted statute bans the intentional crushing, burning, drowning and impaling of puppies, kittens, and other animals for the depraved purpose of peddling videos of such extreme acts of animal cruelty for the sexual titillation of viewers. Both houses gave final approval to the bill in November, and the president signed the bill into law in December.

Agreement in Ohio

The HSUS worked with Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland and agriculture industry leaders in the state to negotiate an agreement that will lead to major animal welfare improvements in Ohio, including a ban on veal crates by 2017, a ban on new gestation crates in the state after Dec. 31, 2010, and a moratorium on permits for new battery cage confinement facilities for laying hens. The agreement will also lead to improvements in the state's approach to dealing with puppy mills, cockfighting, and some wild animals kept as pets.

Support for pets in the Gulf Region

In January, the St. Bernard Parish Animal Shelter in Louisiana celebrated the grand opening of its new facility, built with a $250,000 grant from The HSUS. This project was part of our ongoing work to help animals and build humane infrastructure in the Gulf Coast region.

The HSUS’ Gulf Coast Spay/Neuter Campaign, which began in 2006 to reduce shelter euthanasia in Louisiana and Mississippi by increasing sterilization rates among owned pets, continued to develop with the establishment of five more high-volume, low-cost spay/neuter clinics in the region. Our research-based marketing campaign, including television, radio, and print advertising and community outreach events launched in conjunction with the opening of each new clinic. At outreach events co-hosted by HSUS and the local shelter or spay/neuter providers, pet owners received free support such as free pet food, vaccinations, and supplies. 

When the oil spill economic crisis caused a heightened influx of animals into Gulf shelters, which are already overwhelmed, The HSUS responded by coordinating the transfer of more than 100 shelter dogs from the region to shelters in New Jersey and the Washington, D.C. area. We increased our support to shelters, as well as to pet owners in the region by co-hosting additional outreach events designed to help struggling families afford care for their pets.

In December, a new animal shelter built with a $600,000 grant from The HSUS officially opened at the Dixon Correctional Institute in Jackson, La.

States pass animal protection reforms

This year, 97 new state laws and regulations were enacted to protect animals.

The HSUS worked with state groups and lawmakers to press for passage of a landmark law in Hawaii to protect sharks from being killed for their fins. In Florida, the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission unanimously decided to prohibit the cruel practice of releasing packs of dogs to chase foxes and coyotes inside a fenced enclosure. Louisiana strengthened its laws against the cruel bloodsport of cockfighting by making it illegal to be a spectator at a cockfight. New Hampshire and Rhode Island both banned inhumane greyhound racing.

Alaska upgraded its anemic anti-cruelty laws by passing a law making egregious acts of animal cruelty a felony. Illinois, Utah, and Wisconsin all passed laws requiring the addition of a bittering agent to antifreeze to prevent poisonings of children and pets. Also in Illinois, lawmakers prohibited keeping primates as pets, protecting animal welfare and public safety.

Florida lawmakers approved a bill to address the trade in certain dangerous reptiles as pets. The Utah legislature passed an important bill removing a requirement that animal shelters turn over pets to research facilities.

Fur labeling reforms move forward

President Obama signed a new law to require all fur garments to be accurately labeled. The HSUS presented testimony before a House subcommitteee in support of the measure.

In addition, The HSUS settled with Saks Incorporated, owner of Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdale's and Macy's in a lawsuit over mislabeling of fur garments. The retailers agreed to impose strict new labeling practices, change advertising policies, and/or endorse fur labeling legislation.  The HSUS also worked with CBS' Los Angeles affiliate, CBS2/KCAL9, on an Emmy-winning investigative news report that found unlabeled animal fur garments being sold as faux fur.

Help for Haiti in the wake of earthquake disaster

A team of trained veterinary experts representing HSI, The HSUS, and HSVMA traveled to Haiti to assess animal needs and offer hands-on assistance to stray dogs and other animals affected by the earthquake. HSI has now stationed a program coordinator in Haiti to work on continuing animal welfare projects, such as spay and neuter clinics and establishing an animal care and veterinary training center.

California shows leadership on animal protection

In addition to the landmark bill on egg sales, California state legislators formed an animal protection caucus, one of the nation's first state caucuses dedicated to promoting the passage of humane legislation. The HSUS defeated a proposal for a major expansion of California’s black bear trophy hunt, which would have allowed an unlimited number of bears to be killed each year, opened more areas to hunting, and allowed the unsporting use of GPS devices on dogs’ collars.

A federal Court of Appeals overturned a lower court injunction blocking a California law banning the use of sick and disabled animals in the human food supply. After a lower court blocked the law, The HSUS appealed, and the court ruled in favor of farm animal protection and consumers.

Assault on wolves prevented

In August, a federal judge ordered a halt to the slaughter of wolves and reinstated federal Endangered Species Act protections for wolves in the northern Rocky Mountains. The ruling prevented wolf hunts from going forward in Montana and Idaho. This was the sixth successful lawsuit The HSUS has filed with other groups to maintain protections for gray wolves.

Puppy mill measures advance

Iowa Gov. Chet Culver and Oklahoma Gov. Brad Henry signed legislation in their respective states to broaden state oversight of large-scale puppy producing facilities. In California, the cities of Hermosa Beach and West Hollywood prohibited the retail sale of dogs and cats at pet stores, closing a major channel for the sale of animals from puppy and kitten mills.

Puppy mill lawsuit proceeds against Petland

A federal court ordered a lawsuit to proceed against Petland, the nation’s largest retail chain selling dogs from puppy mills, based on allegations that Petland routinely sells unhealthy puppy mill puppies to unsuspecting consumers.

Wildlife protected from poachers

Our anti-poaching campaign continued and expanded our partnerships with state wildlife agencies across the country. To date The HSUS has offered more than $260,000 in reward funds in poaching cases. Two HSUS-backed bills to strengthen anti-poaching laws were passed in Pennsylvania, a state that had some of the weakest poaching penalties in the country.

Shark protection legislation passes Congress

Legislation that will increase protection for sharks from the cruel and wasteful practice of shark finning passed in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate.  

Victory for sea lions in the courts

Ruling on an appeal filed by The HSUS, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco stopped a National Marine Fisheries Service program to kill federally protected sea lions at the Bonneville Dam on the Washington and Oregon border.

Fur-free policies gain ground

More than 100 designers and retailers have joined The HSUS fur-free list, which now includes more than 300 companies worldwide. Retailers like Caché, Oakley, Diesel, Lane Bryant, Chico's, and White House/Black Market have aligned with The HSUS to encourage the use of alternatives to animal fur and reach our constituency of ethically conscious consumers.

Spay Day fights pet overpopulation

As part of Spay Day 2010, an annual event to save animal lives by spaying or neutering pets, The HSUS and HSI launched an online pet photo contest. Entrants in the contest could fundraise on behalf of nearly 300 eligible Spay Day event organizers. Overall, more than 500 local organizations, veterinary clinics, and individuals hosted Spay Day events in 49 states, the District of Columbia, four U.S. territories, and 38 other countries.

Pet stores pledge to help puppies

This year, the 1,000th pet store signed The HSUS's Puppy-Friendly Pet Store pledge — committing not to sell puppies, and instead support local animal adoption programs and provide information about locating a reputable dog breeder. Most pet stores that sell puppies carry dogs from inhumane puppy mills.

Lawsuit against Perdue questions 'humane' claims

An HSUS member filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of all consumers duped by Perdue Farms, alleging that Perdue is illegally marketing its “Harvestland” and “Perdue” chicken products with “Humanely Raised” labels. The industry guidelines that Perdue follows allow inhumane treatment such as transporting birds on cramped trucks for long periods of time in extreme temperatures with no food or water, and egregiously cruel slaughter practices.

Shelter Pet Project encourages pet adoption

In 2010, public service announcements from the Shelter Pet Project ran more than 460,000 times in print, radio, television, and billboard advertising, spreading the important message that adopting from a shelter is a great way to find a loving pet. The Shelter Pet Project is a campaign of The HSUS, the Ad Council, and Maddie's Fund.

Victory against foie gras factory farm

A federal court in Manhattan ruled in favor of The HSUS in its lawsuit charging the nation's largest foie gras factory farm, Hudson Valley Foie Gras, with numerous violations of the federal Clean Water Act.

Watch video of 2009 Accomplishments»

See accomplishments from  2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006

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