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2012 Accomplishments

See what we achieved for animals in 2012

In 2012, The Humane Society of the United States made important strides for animal protection. Take a look at our 2012 Victories for Animals video and click on the listed accomplishments for additional information.

Click on the expandable items below for additional information on each of the HSUS's accomplishments for animals in 2012.

Provided Care for 100,000+ Animals, Including Pets Affected by Hurricane Sandy

— After Hurricane Sandy hit New York and New Jersey, we opened a hotline for residents to report stranded pets and more than 1,300 calls came in asking for our help. Working with numerous public and private agencies in New York and New Jersey, our staff and volunteers rescued 257 animals, sheltered more than 500, and helped reunite more than 400 pets with their families.

— We also set up an emergency pet shelter and transported animals affected by tornadoes in Kentucky. In the wake of destructive wildfires in Western states, we donated hay to feed hundreds of threatened horses in Colorado, Montana, and Utah; provided food and water to pets left behind in Montana; and helped set up an emergency pet shelter in Idaho. After Hurricane Isaac, we helped care for pets in Jefferson Parish, La., and transported nearly 200 homeless animals from Louisiana and Mississippi to East Coast shelters to be placed for adoption. We also helped rescue more than 20 horses from floodwaters in Mississippi and helped save 10 emaciated horses in Alabama.

— We provided direct care to more than 100,000 animals through our programs, which range from Humane Wildlife Services to Pets for Life to rural veterinary services.

— The Animal Rescue Team helped rescue more than 3,500 animals, including:

  • More than 1,000 dogs from five puppy mills in North Carolina, one in Ohio, one in Mississippi, another in South Carolina, and another in Texas
  • Dozens of dogs from suspected dogfighting operations in Florida, Michigan, and Pennsylvania
  • Tigers, cougars, leopards, wolf-hybrids, and a macaque monkey from the Collins Zoo, an unaccredited Mississippi facility where we had conducted an undercover investigation and submitted legal complaints
  • More than 120 dogs from poor conditions at a commercial breeding facility in Quebec
  • More than 100 parrots and other birds from poor conditions in Ohio

— Learn more about our 2012 accomplishments for companion animals.

Spared 110 Chimps from Use as Research Subjects

— The HSUS contributed $500,000 to construct sanctuary space for 110 federally-owned chimpanzees being transferred from at the NIH’s New Iberia Research Center to Chimp Haven, the federal chimpanzee sanctuary in Keithville, La.

— Learn more about our 2012 accomplishments in animal testing and research.

Banned Four Giant Snake Species as Pets

— The U.S. Department of the Interior announced a ban on the import and trade in Burmese pythons, yellow anacondas, and northern and southern African pythons, after The HSUS and other groups campaigned to regulate the trade in large constrictor snakes for the sake of animal welfare, public safety, and the environment.

— We also assisted federal wildlife police with an investigation, Operation Cyberwild, that led to the arrest of a dozen people in California and Nevada for illegal online trafficking of wildlife and wildlife parts.

— Learn more about our 2012 accomplishments for wildlife.

Banned New Ownership of Dangerous Wild Animals in Ohio

— Ohio Gov. John Kasich signed legislation to ban new ownership of dangerous wild animals in the state. This move to protect public safety and animal welfare was part of an eight-point agreement among The HSUS, leading agricultural groups, and the previous governor.

— Learn more about our 2012 accomplishments for wildlife.

Encouraged Amazon.com to Stop Selling Whale and Dolphin Meat

— A report by the Environment Investigative Agency and Humane Society International revealed that Amazon.com's Japanese website was selling products from endangered and protected whale species. After tens of thousands of HSI supporters spoke out, Amazon added an official ban on selling whale and dolphin products on its U.S. and Japanese websites.

— We also helped passed legislation banning the practice of shark finning in Illinois, several countries and in the European Union, after last year’s victories in several Pacific Coast states.

— Learn more about our 2012 accomplishments for wildlife.

Banned Hound Hunting of Bears and Bobcats in California

— California enacted protections for dogs and wildlife by banning the cruel hound hunting of bears and bobcats.

— Learn more about our 2012 accomplishments for wildlife.

Helped Land a Historic Judgment Against a Slaughter Plant

— A settlement stemming from The HSUS’s 2008 undercover investigation documenting extreme animal abuse at a slaughterhouse producing meat for America’s school lunch program resulted in a final, symbolic judgment against the Hallmark Meat Packing Company of nearly $500 million – the largest ever of its kind.

— Click to learn more about our 2012 accomplishments for farm animals.

Defended a Law Against Selling Foie Gras from Force-Fed Ducks

— California’s law against the sale of foie gras from force-fed ducks came under fire from a group of factory farmers and chefs who buy from them, arguing for a repeal, but The HSUS strongly lobbied to defend the ban. State legislative leaders announced that they wouldn’t take up any bill advanced by critics of the law.

— Click to learn more about our 2012 accomplishments for farm animals.

Garnered Support from the Courts Across the Country

— The U.S. District Court for the Central District of California upheld the constitutionality of Proposition 2–the California ballot measure banning the inhumane confinement of egg-laying hens, breeding pigs, and veal calves in cages so small the animals cannot stretch their limbs, lie down, or turn around.

— Other legislative victories:

Expanded the Pets for Life Program to the West Coast

— Our Pets for Life program providing animal care services to under-served communities expanded to Los Angeles, in addition to existing locations in Atlanta, Chicago, and Philadelphia. Pets for Life also released a new toolkit and a new report of survey findings showing a vast disparity in how pet care services are provided in lower-income communities.

— Other victories for companion animals:

  • The USDA also announced a proposed rule to close a loophole and require large-scale commercial breeders selling puppies or kittens online to be federally licensed and inspected, which would require basic standards of care. This comes after more than 32,000 people signed an HSUS/ASPCA petition urging the Obama administration to crack down on unregulated mills.
  • We released an undercover investigation of pet stores in the Chicago area, linking many of them to puppy mills.

— Learn more about our 2012 accomplishments for companion animals.

Led an Investigation that Helped Prosecute a “Big Lick” Horse Trainer

— A groundbreaking HSUS undercover investigation documented shocking abuse of Tennessee walking horses that led to criminal indictments and public outrage. Our video footage documented the painful cruelty of horse soring, as well as animals being shocked in the face and beaten with heavy wooden sticks. Trainer Jackie McConnell was fined $75,000 and given three years probation by a federal judge.

— Other victories for equine:

  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture finalized a new rule requiring mandatory minimum penalties for violations of the Horse Protection Act, a federal law to prevent soring. The HSUS and other animal protection and horse groups had filed a petition with USDA seeking to improve enforcement of the law.
  • In the U.S. House of Representatives, Reps. Ed Whitfield, R-Ky., and Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., introduced legislation to strengthen the Horse Protection Act and allow for a stronger crackdown on the widespread abuse within the Tennessee walking horse show world.
  • The Environmental Protection Agency announced the official registration of the first contraceptive vaccine for horses in the United States, called ZonaStat-H or porcine zona pellucida (PZP). The HSUS sponsored the registration, and the vaccine can now be used by wild horse managers for all Western herds.
  • After discussions with The HSUS, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department suspended a policy allowing burros in Big Bend Ranch State Park to be killed. We're working with the agency to develop a nonlethal plan to manage the animals.
  • When the Atlantic City Steel Pier announced plans to bring back an inhumane “horse diving” act, HSUS staff contacted state officials, spoke out against the plan, and applauded the subsequent decision to cancel the event.

— Learn more about our 2012 accomplishments for equine.

Convinced Corporations to Get Out of the Gestation Crate Business

— The following companies all committed to eliminate gestation crates from their pork supply chains:

— Other victories in farm-animal housing:

  • Burger King pledged to switch 100 percent of eggs to cage-free at all U.S. locations by 2017.
  • Bon Appétit, another major food-service provider, committed to phase out eggs from caged hens, foie gras, veal from crated calves, and pork from supply systems using gestation crates by 2015.
  • Pork producer Hormel, maker of SPAM, committed to phase out gestation crates at its company-owned breeding facilities by 2017.
  • The U.S. Congress introduced bipartisan legislation to codify a landmark agreement between The HSUS and United Egg Producers, essentially doubling the space per laying hen, banning forced starvation molting, and creating a labeling program for eggs.
  • We released an undercover investigation that revealed appalling cruelty at Oklahoma factory farms owned by two of the nation's largest pork producers, Seaboard Foods and Prestage Farms. Our investigation found pigs living in cramped gestation crates for most of their lives, pigs with injuries and abscesses, and dead animals in the crates.
  • Our investigative team also exposed overcrowded cages, injured and dead birds, and filthy conditions at a Manheim, Pa., egg factory owned by Kreider Farms.
  • We released an undercover investigation of Wyoming Premium Farms that revealed disturbing abuse of mother pigs and piglets, as well as sows suffering in gestation crates. In response, meat industry giant Tyson Foods suspended its purchases from Wyoming Premium.

— Learn more about our 2012 accomplishments for farm animals.

Won Awards, Made News and Produced Videos

— The HSUS received a 2012 Webby People's Voice Award for our video “Undercover at Smithfield,” which revealed appalling conditions for pigs at a Smithfield Foods subsidiary.

— Our Meatless Monday video was named a winner in the 33rd Annual Telly Awards.

— The HSUS received a four-star rating from Charity Navigator, the highest ranking given by the independent charity evaluator.

— Learn more about our biggest news stories of 2012.

— Check out 10 videos that tell our 2012 story.

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