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2011 Accomplishments

See what you helped us achieve for animals in 2011


2011 Top Picks—Jump to victories for:

companion animals»  farm animals»  wildlife»  horses and other equines» 
animals in research»  animal rescue»

In 2011, The Humane Society of the United States made important strides for animal protection. Together with our affiliates, we provided rescue and emergency care, spay/neuter and other medical treatment, sanctuary, training, and owner assistance for more than 76,000 animals (like Honey the pit bull in the video above). We also worked with companies and trade groups to improve conditions for laying hens and other animals, shined a spotlight on cruelty through investigations, achieved victories for wildlife and animals in laboratories, opened a new horse rescue and adoption center, and helped enact stronger animal protection policies. Read more about the highlights of what we've accomplished this year.

Rescuing thousands of pets in crisis

The HSUS’ Animal Rescue Team has saved more than 8,000 animals from disasters or life-threatening cruelty in 2011, often joining with local law enforcement. We removed dogs from puppy mills in Tennessee, Montana, North Carolina, and Vermont, and rescued cats, dogs, and other pets from deplorable conditions in Alabama, Arizona, California, Florida, and Mississippi. We set up emergency shelters and cared for these pets for up to several months, working alongside other animal protection groups and volunteers.

The HSUS was also called in by local officials to rescue more than 130 Arabian horses from neglect in Maryland and 94 horses in Wyoming, helped care for about 200 Missouri puppy mill dogs, assisted with the care and placement of exotic animals from a defunct Montana sanctuary, helped care for more than 100 horses rescued from neglect in Arkansas, and transported hundreds of homeless dogs to be put up for adoption at local shelters.

In response to severe floods and tornadoes, HSUS staff and volunteers deployed to Alabama, Mississippi, Missouri, and North Dakota to rescue pets, staff emergency shelters, help reunite people with their animals, and assist local shelters with disaster response. After Hurricane Irene, we operated emergency shelters in North Carolina and Vermont to care for pets displaced by the storm, distributed pet food to residents, and worked closely with local officials to help animals in need. 

Caring for animals, finding hundreds new homes

We sponsored free spay/neuter clinics in Oregon, New York, and Wisconsin, as well as free pet wellness clinics in Chicago, Baton Rouge, Atlanta, and Philadelphia. After joining Alachua County Animal Services to rescue nearly 700 cats from deplorable conditions in Florida, we helped find homes for more than 250 cats at a massive adoption event and cared for the remaining pets until every single treatable, adoptable animal was either adopted or placed with a shelter or rescue group for adoption. In all, The HSUS has provided hands-on care for more than 76,000 animals so far this year, including through our broad network of animal care centers and our Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association.

New horse rescue center opens

We celebrated the grand opening of The Doris Day Horse Rescue and Adoption Center in Murchison, Texas—an innovative new facility for the rescue, rehabilitation, and rehoming of abused and abandoned horses.

Landmark agreement would give egg-laying hens more space

The HSUS arrived at a historic agreement with United Egg Producers, a major industry trade group, to work together to enact federal legislation that would ban barren battery cages for all 280 million laying hens in the United States. The proposed legislation would give hens nearly twice as much space and would mandate labels on egg cartons to inform consumers about how the eggs were produced.

The HSUS provided hands-on care for more than 76,000 animals in 2011

HSUS investigation uncovers cruelty of captive hunting

Our undercover investigators traveled to captive hunting ranches and auctions in Texas and New York to document unethical and cruel practices, obtaining footage that was featured in the TV special “Animal Planet Investigates: Captive Hunting Exposed.”  The investigation showed semi-tame, exotic mammals ranging from a kangaroo to an endangered oryx confined inside fenced enclosures to be shot for trophies, with one captive hunt operator even admitting that he drugged animals at his ranch with tranquilizers.

Progress to give chimpanzees a reprieve from testing

This year, Congress introduced the Great Ape Protection and Cost Savings Act with bipartisan support to phase out invasive research on chimpanzees, end the breeding of chimpanzees for invasive research, and retire government-owned chimpanzees to sanctuary. Following pressure from New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, The HSUS, and others, the National Institutes of Health officially announced it was suspending the transfer of 186 chimpanzees from a New Mexico facility to an active research laboratory in Texas, where they would have been made available for invasive research, until the National Academies’ Institute of Medicine completed a scientific review.

After input from experts including HSUS staff, the Institute of Medicine issued its landmark report confirming that there is no area of biomedical research that requires the use of chimpanzees. It was immediately followed by a decision by the National Institutes of Health to halt new grants for chimpanzee research. And finally, five elderly chimps from the New Iberia Research Center—where an earlier HSUS investigation revealed mistreatment—were transferred to sanctuary at Chimp Haven.

Undercover investigations expose puppy mill industry

HSUS undercover investigators revealed one of the largest online puppy brokers, Purebred Breeders, selling puppies from inhumane puppy mills and misleading consumers about the dogs' origins. HSUS attorneys, in partnership with consumer justice law firm Leopold Law, filed a lawsuit against Purebred Breeders on behalf of HSUS members and other consumers, and NBC's Today Show aired an exposé using our video footage. In New York, another HSUS investigation found more than 100 pet stores selling puppies from puppy mills, many with appalling records of federal violations including failing to provide vet care to sick and injured dogs.

Cracking down on illegal animal fighting

In Florida, a call to The HSUS's animal fighting tip line led to felony charges and the seizure of dozens of dogs and gamefowl being used for fighting. HSUS staff assisted with the investigation, rescue, and care of the animals at an emergency shelter. Working with local law enforcement, we also helped rescue 20 dogs from a suspected fighting operation in Indiana, about 50 dogs from fighting operations in North Carolina, and assisted with cockfighting raids in California, New York, and Texas. We also paid out 12 rewards for successful animal fighting cases nationwide.

The HSUS released undercover video footage exposing 17 illegal cockfighting rings across Texas. Our investigators documented severe animal cruelty and other criminal activity at these events where children were often present.

Relocating prairie dogs to safety

For the second year, we worked with the U.S. Forest Service, Defenders of Wildlife, World Wildlife Fund, and Biodiversity Conservation Alliance to relocate hundreds of prairie dogs from an area where they could have been killed to a new home on protected land in Wyoming’s Thunder Basin National Grassland.

The HSUS ranked most effective for animal protection

The HSUS was named the number-one organization by Philanthropedia (part of GuideStar) in its latest rankings of national animal protection groups, based on the highest impact for animals. The rankings were compiled by outside experts throughout the field of animal protection—including shelter directors, veterinarians, senior staff members of animal nonprofits, and professors and researchers.

State legislative victories for animals

This year, we've worked to help pass nearly 90 state laws to protect animals>and helped defeat 65 harmful bills. Washington, Oregon, and California enacted legislation to address the cruel shark fin trade. Hawaii, which previously had the nation's weakest dogfighting law, cracked down on this blood sport by making it a crime to attend or bet on a dogfight, or to train or sell dogs for fighting. New York also strengthened its laws against animal fighting.

Mississippi enacted an important law to make egregious cruelty to dogs and cats a felony, after The HSUS campaigned to strengthen the state's weak anti-cruelty penalties. Texas set basic standards of care for commercial dog and cat breeders and made it illegal to attend a cockfight, own or train a rooster to fight, or possess cockfighting paraphernalia. Maryland also adopted legislation requiring licensing for commercial dog breeders.

We reached an accord with United Egg Producers to support a ban on barren battery cages in the U.S.

USDA strengthens horse slaughter transport rule

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced a final rule to tighten the ban on the use of double-decker trailers to transport American horses to slaughter. These trailers have caused horrific injuries and death for many horses.

Cruelty-free testing method announced for Botox©

After The HSUS and Calvert Investments filed several shareholder resolutions urging Allergan to replace the LD 50 test, the company announced a new procedure that avoids using animals in testing batches of Botox© products. The LD50 test for Botox causes animals considerable suffering and results in death by suffocation. Allergan expects the new method will reduce its use of animals in Botox testing by 95 percent within three years.

Spay Day helps alleviate pet overpopulation and support local shelters

The HSUS and Humane Society International organized the 17th annual Spay Day, bringing together about 700 events worldwide to spay or neuter more than 48,000 dogs and cats. In addition, our Spay Day online pet photo contest raised nearly $220,000 to benefit participating shelters and rescue groups.

Ohio makes progress for animal welfare

As part of an agreement brokered between The HSUS, leading agricultural groups, and former governor Ted Strickland, the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board approved new standards to phase out veal crates and gestation crates for breeding pigs, and to prohibit new egg operations from confining laying hens in cages. Addressing another part of this agreement, state officials also approved recommendations to crack down on private ownership of dangerous exotic animals.

Hawaii donkeys airlifted to safety

The HSUS helped a herd of an estimated 600 feral donkeys at risk of starvation and lethal eradication, providing funding and coordination for The Waikoloa Donkey Rescue and Rehoming Project. 120 donkeys were humanely gathered, treated, and transported from Hawaii to Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue in California. Eagle Eye Sanctuary in California, a major funder and supporter of this project, and our Black Beauty Ranch will take in several animals. This project has also humanely captured, sterilized, and adopted out more than 200 donkeys on the Big Island of Hawaii; about 200 remain and will eventually be provided permanent homes.

New wave of promotion for shelter pet adoption

The Shelter Pet Project—a collaboration of The HSUS, the Ad Council, and Maddie’s Fund launched in 2009—released a new collection of innovative TV, print, radio, online, and outdoor ads to promote the adoption of shelter pets all across the country and to help reduce the euthanasia of healthy animals. 

Petition filed to protect vulnerable African lions

The HSUS/Humane Society International and the Fund for Animals joined the International Fund for Animal Welfare, Born Free USA, Born Free Foundation, and Defenders of Wildlife to file a petition with the Department of Interior to list African lions as endangered under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. This would generally prohibit importing lion trophies into the United States, an essential step to reversing the current decline of the population. 

Protection for sharks signed into law

President Barack Obama signed the Shark Conservation Act into law, a bill supported by The HSUS that will strengthen protections for sharks from the inhumane and wasteful practice of finning.

Cage-free trend continues

Dozens of companies have begun to use cage-free eggs in recent years, moving away from the cruelty of cramped battery cages. This year, General Mills, Hyatt Hotels & Resorts, Barilla, Whataburger, and SAGE Dining Services announced that they will switch a portion of their eggs to cage-free. The University of California, Riverside, and Loyola Marymount University will now use only cage-free eggs in campus dining facilities.

1 million strong online for animals

The HSUS celebrated 1 million fans on our Facebook page, part of our more than 11 million supporters committed to helping animals.

Watch video of 2010 Accomplishments»

Watch video of 2009 Accomplishments»

See accomplishments from 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007

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