Valuing the “human” in “humane”

The humane society we envision for animals will also be a better world for people, and it’s only through human efforts that we’ll get where we want to go. Because our advocacy is driven by people, we’re strongest when our people are empowered and valued. A work environment that fosters inclusion and collaboration energizes our teams, drives better thinking and makes our impact for animals more sustainable. Working with communities and stakeholders around the country and the world, we integrate a wide range of cultural perspectives in our approach to create a humane and sustainable world for all animals. We are committed to advancing diversity, equity and inclusion in every aspect of our work and at all levels of our organization. We recognize and respect the full spectrum of human qualities, so that the unique talents of all employees are dignified with equitable access to opportunities and an ability to contribute to our mission.

Why this work is important

Recognizing how animal cruelty and exploitation intersects with other deeply rooted societal injustices makes us better advocates for animals. We will be more effective against intensive confinement of animals in agriculture if we grasp how these practices often disproportionately impact less affluent and minority communities. We can speak more authentically to the challenges of international trophy hunting if we grasp the ways in which it intersects with the history of colonial exploitation of resources. We can be more effective advocates for pets and pet owners in underserved communities if we recognize the systemic injustices that often underlie unequal access to resources. Even more fundamentally, it’s simply the right thing to do. 


Our DEI leadership

Headshot of Lafayette Melton

Lafayette Melton

Senior Director of Talent Acquisition and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

An accomplished human resources professional, diversity advocate and change agent, Lafayette Melton is responsible for the development and implementation of the Humane Society of the United States’ diversity, equity and inclusion strategy.

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Headshot of Tai Conley

Tai Conley

Senior Principal Strategist for DEI Program Strategy

With a background in organizational strategy, Tai Conley leads the Humane Society of the United States’ external diversity, equity and inclusion strategy and chairs the organization’s DEI Taskforce.

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Our work

The Humane Society family of organizations is dedicated to creating a humane and sustainable world for all animals—a world that also benefits people. Central to that goal is our commitment to attract and retain a diverse workforce, one that mirrors the countries where we operate and the exceptional talent that our world has to offer. We are fostering a culture of inclusion and creating a work environment that welcomes individuals of all races, ethnicities, genders, cultures, abilities, skills and disciplines. Here’s how we’re building this culture. 

  • Committing to diversity, equity and inclusion to build a stronger, more inclusive animal protection movement where all people can have a sense of belonging.

  • Expanding our hiring sources to include multiple dimensions of diversity, requiring diverse slates of candidates and interviewers for all roles, and updating our performance review process to mitigate bias. 

  • Establishing specific goals (e.g., retention rates, culture survey scores, representation, etc.) and tracking progress to keep ourselves accountable. 

  • Conducting ongoing diversity trainings to equip all employees with a foundational understanding of what DEI is and what responsibilities they hold for creating an inclusive culture. Our workforce is global, and it’s important that we know how to interact effectively and respectfully with people from different cultures, backgrounds, experiences and perspectives. Trainings address non-inclusive behaviors, microaggressions and the role and value of allyship. 

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Our DEI strategy

Our diversity, equity and inclusion platform is founded on the three E's of equity: education, engagement and empowerment. Equity can be defined as ensuring equal possible outcomes for every individual by providing impartial, just and fair treatment. We are focused on building equity first, because without equity, we cannot truly grow and sustain diversity and inclusion. We must ensure that different voices have the space to be heard.

We believe that equity is achieved through the evaluation, analysis and dismantling of systemic barriers that prevent access. Through a comprehensive diversity strategy that assesses the whole of how we work—from hiring and promoting to how we develop policies and programs—we seek to remove these systemic barriers by providing intentional outreach and resources needed to ensure a more inclusive animal protection movement.

Three E's of equity


The Humane Society family of organizations will provide information to diverse audiences regarding our programs and policies, as well as the ways in which diversity, equity and inclusion have a direct impact on the success of our mission to help all animals.


The Humane Society family of organizations will broaden our stakeholder engagement with diverse communities through a variety of touchpoints, including outreach programs and community-based events, that add value and strengthen relationships to build a stronger, more inclusive animal protection movement. We will apply a DEI lens to our programs and policies to understand impact and to identify and engage diverse stakeholders, mitigate bias and promote inclusion of marginalized populations within our animal protection work.


The Humane Society family of organizations will invest directly in historically marginalized communities by way of stipends, scholarships, career pipeline programs, volunteer leadership and accessible direct care services to remove barriers to access, deepen engagement and build a more inclusive animal protection movement.