A decade ago, few of us could have predicted the monumental progress for animals we would see in the years ahead. The U.S. government effectively banned the use of chimpanzees in research; Ringling Bros. & Barnum and Bailey Circus removed elephants from its shows and ultimately closed for good; SeaWorld announced it would stop breeding orcas in captivity and eliminate circus-style shows. These were just a few of the watershed moments of the past 10 years.

We’re headed into the next decade with incredible momentum from another victory-filled year for animals. Below you’ll find highlights of the amazing progress you helped us achieve in 2019. Together, we’re fighting—and winning—the big fights to end animal suffering. With you standing with us, we’re already focusing on what we can achieve for animals in the years ahead.

Portrait of a hen

Preventing cruelty to farm animals

We waged successful legislative campaigns to ban the production and sale of eggs from caged hens in Washington and Oregon. In 2018, we helped pass a nearly identical law in California, meaning we’ve passed the strongest laws for hens in the world throughout the entire West Coast.

We made history by waging a successful campaign to ban the sale of animal fur in California, with the support of our allies. California, a trendsetter in animal welfare and in fashion, is the first state to pass such a measure.

We persuaded designers and retailers—such as Prada, St. John Knits, 3.1 Phillip Lim, Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s—to establish fur-free policies.

We launched the most comprehensive plant-based initiative in food service history with Sodexo, the industry’s second largest company with operations at 13,000 locations across the U.S.

Sad red fox in a cage on a fur farm
A growing concern for animal welfare has led to high-fashion brands going fur-free.
Jo-Anne McArthur
SPCA Montreal
House of Fluff coat using a realistic fur alternative
Realistic alternatives, like this coat by House of Fluff, are part of the trend away from animal fur in fashion.
Ruven Afanador
House of Fluff
Bobcat portrait

Defending our wildlife

We helped pass legislation to end trophy hunting of bobcats in California. Over the past 10 years, trophy hunters have killed more than 10,000 bobcats in the state.

With your support, we defeated efforts to expand trophy hunting of black bears, including the opening of a black bear hunt in Connecticut, a bear-hounding bill in New Hampshire, a spring bear hunt in Maine, and a bill that would have allowed bear baiting, trapping, bombing and deadfalls (in which hunters use a heavy weight to crush the animal) in West Virginia.

After a strong collaborative effort with our partners, we secured a proposal from the New Mexico Fish and Game Commission to end recreational trapping of mountain lions in the state.

We fought hard to keep federal protections for gray wolves intact, including defeating efforts to delist gray wolves from the Endangered Species Act. With our allies, we garnered more than 1.8 million public comments in response to the proposed delisting by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. At press time, the animals remain protected.

With our support, New Mexico banned coyote killing contests and Arizona passed a measure ending all wildlife killing contests for coyotes, bobcats, foxes and other animals.

Our Prairie Dog Coalition moved more than 400 prairie dogs out of harm’s way and into burrows in key conservation areas, as well as protected nearly 14,000 prairie dogs from painful disease.

Right whale in the ocean

We continued a fertility control research study for wild burros near Kingman, Arizona (the first-ever immunocontraception project for burros on public lands). We are also continuing a research project on deer in Hastings-on-Hudson in New York and are embarking on a new study in Head of the Harbor, New York, to further refine how to deliver immunocontraception in the field. Programs like these serve as humane alternatives to roundups or culling, saving countless animal lives.

We have assisted over 150 communities across the country with resolving wildlife conflicts humanely and effectively, and we’ve reached more than 800 professionals and community members through training and outreach on humane approaches to wildlife conflict resolution.

Together with our allies, we submitted over 100,000 signed comments asking the federal government to take stronger action, including seasonally closing several lobster fishing areas, to protect critically endangered North Atlantic right whales who are dying in heavy fishing gear.


Caring for companion animals

Portrait of a cat

Our Pets for Life program reached a major milestone in providing more than 500,000 supplies and services such as spay/neuter to pets in underserved communities since the program started in 2012. In 2019, Pets for Life reached over 8,000 pets in its two core markets of Philadelphia and Los Angeles and more than 25,000 through its mentorship partners, including its first international partners in Ontario, Canada.

Through Spayathon™ for Puerto Rico, an HSUS-led coalition spayed/neutered and vaccinated more than 25,000 animals in 2019, bringing the total number to nearly 45,000 since the initiative began in 2018.

Our Rural Area Veterinary Services (RAVS) program provided high-quality veterinary services to more than 7,000 animals in underserved remote communities where poverty and geographic isolation make regular care unavailable. Our mobile field clinics provided a range of essential services, including spay/neuter surgeries, vaccinations and wellness exams, as well as emergency treatment and specialized care for sick and injured animals. In addition, RAVS provided intensive hands-on clinical training to 200 veterinary and veterinary nursing students.

Our Humane Society International street dog programs in India and the Philippines facilitated the spay/neuter of 5,000 dogs and vaccinations of 30,000 animals. In Latin America and the Caribbean, HSI assisted with the spay/neuter of over 10,000 dogs and cats.

The Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association helped pass a ban on cat declawing in New York, the first-ever statewide ban on the procedure.

HSVMA provided animal-welfare-focused continuing education to more than 2,500 veterinarians, veterinary technicians and veterinary students during the year, giving them the opportunity to learn about animal welfare topics typically not available in other education venues.

Teddy the beagle running in his new backyard
With your support, Teddy and 31 other beagles were released from a laboratory where they were part of a cruel and unnecessary pesticide test. They have since been adopted into loving homes.
Bryan Mitchell
AP Images for The HSUS
Portrait of two white bunnies
Alamy Stock Photo

Helping animals used in research

We pushed Corteva Agriscience (formerly Dow AgroSciences) to end an unnecessary one-year pesticide test on a group of beagles at a Michigan laboratory and secured the release of the surviving dogs to the Michigan Humane Society for adoption.

After decades of pressure, the Environmental Protection Agency committed to ending its reliance on testing on mammals such as dogs, rabbits and mice by 2035.

Portrait of a chimp at Project Chimps Sanctuary
Thanks to your support, we were able to move 20 chimpanzees once used in research to Project Chimps sanctuary in Georgia.
Meredith Lee

The Humane Cosmetics Act, which would bring an end to cosmetics testing on animals in the United States, was reintroduced in the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate with support from both parties and the cosmetic industry.

We helped move 68 chimpanzees from the laboratories where they were once used in research into sanctuaries where they can enjoy the lives they deserve. Twenty chimps joined the HSUS-supported Project Chimps sanctuary in Georgia, and 48 chimps are settling in at Chimp Haven in Louisiana.

With our support, Washington and Oregon passed laws that require dogs and cats used in research be made available for adoption, rather than euthanized, at the end of their study—bringing the total number of states with similar laws to 11.

Adult and baby elephants in the wild

Keeping exotic animals safe

Our HSI team assisted with the seizure of more than 200 exotic animals from a roadside zoo in Canada, including primates, big cats, kangaroos, wolves, bears and many other species. We provided onsite care for nearly three months and helped place the animals with sanctuaries and accredited facilities.

We helped Cincinnati, Ohio, pass an ordinance banning the use of wild animals in exhibitions. Six states and 155 other localities have passed various restrictions governing the use of wild animals in circuses and other traveling shows.

With our support, Minnesota banned the trafficking of ivory and rhino horn products, helping to protect elephants and rhinos around the world.

Our undercover investigations found hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of ivory for sale in Washington, D.C., Massachusetts and California, highlighting the need for trafficking bans across the country—which we’re continuing to fight for.

Collage of puppy mill puppies being sold in a Petland pet store, and a dog and HSUS employee after being rescued
We’re working to stop puppy mills on multiple fronts, such as transporting dogs rescued from irresponsible breeders to our partners for adoption and conducting undercover investigations that show how Petland sells sick and injured dogs from these breeders to unsuspecting buyers.
Meredith Lee/The HSUS; The HSUS

Cracking down on puppy mills

We have now helped enact 320 local ordinances that ban the sale of puppy mill puppies in pet stores. In 2019, we successfully pushed for the enactment of ordinances in some states that traditionally have not had progressive animal protection laws, including Alabama and South Carolina.

Our undercover investigation exposed a Petland store in Fairfax, Virginia, for letting rabbits die rather than take them to the vet. This led to a police search warrant during which law enforcement found 31 dead rabbits and a dead puppy in the store freezer. The store closed and two managers were charged with animal cruelty.
A second undercover investigation found mistreatment of animals and rampant disease at a Petland location in Frisco, Texas. Police cited the store owner for failure to provide proof of veterinary care.

After we released our Horrible Hundred report in May revealing neglect and mistreatment at commercial dog breeding facilities across the country, at least six of the listed breeders shut down or have been brought to court.

The New York attorney general filed a lawsuit against Chelsea Kennel Club, where a 2017 HSUS investigation uncovered the mistreatment of puppies. The store closed two months after we released the findings.

Just months after partnering with us on a training session regarding fraudulent puppy sales, the Michigan Office of the Attorney General brought its first legal action against a puppy mill accused of selling sick puppies.

HSUS employee and burro
We assisted with the rescue of more than 150 equines in Texas.
Meredith Lee
Horse running in the grass
Our work helped save wild horses and burros from an attempt to reopen horse slaughter plants.

Advocating for equines

We worked to pass the Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act to end the cruel practice of soring Tennessee walking horses by a margin of more than 3-to-1 in the U.S. House of Representatives and are pressing for passage in the Senate.

We successfully fought to keep horse slaughter plants in the U.S. shuttered despite an attempt by some members of Congress to allow them to reopen.

As a result of our work with the racing industry to improve horse welfare, including our support for the Horseracing Integrity Act to end race-day doping, we were the first animal protection group invited to speak at the Jockey Club’s annual Roundtable in the event’s 67-year history.
More than 30 rescue groups joined our Forever Foundation/Plan 4 Progress program, which provides equine trainers and volunteers with a video-based learning program and hands-on training to help them efficiently work with their horses to find homes.

Dog meat farm rescue dog and HSI rescuer
Through our work to end the dog meat trade in South Korea, more than 2,000 animals have been rescued from a cruel fate.
Jean Chung
HSI rescuers and a do being transported after rescue from a dog meat farm
Humane Society International has closed 15 dog meat farms and helped farmers transition to humane models of agriculture and other nonanimal businesses, such as delivering water.
Jean Chung

Rescuing animals in need

We closed two more dog meat farms in South Korea and transported more than 300 dogs to the United States, Britain and Canada for adoption. To date, we’ve shuttered 15 dog meat farms and rescued more than 2,000 dogs from winding up on someone’s dinner plate.

Through HSI, we assisted the Busan, South Korea, government and local Korean animal welfare groups in shutting down one of the largest dog meat markets in the country—and rescuing 85 surviving dogs.

We transported more than 800 homeless animals out of harm’s way and to our shelter and rescue partners in other parts of the United States, including 400 adoptable animals from shelters in Florida and South Carolina ahead of Hurricane Dorian and 120 dogs and cats from a Texas shelter in the wake of Tropical Storm Imelda.

After Hurricane Dorian, our HSI team responded to Abaco Island in the Bahamas to assist in the search and rescue of hundreds of dogs and cats.

Cat that was moved to safety by The HSUS in response to Hurricane Dorian
This homeless cat was one of the 400 adoptable animals the HSUS moved to safety ahead of Hurricane Dorian.
Darren Hauck
AP Images for The HSUS

Our Animal Rescue Team assisted with the rescue of about 180 cats and kittens, 20 chickens, three dogs and two gerbils in Pennsylvania; 190 cats, 10 dogs and more than 150 horses in Texas, as well as 30 dogs, two cats, two burros and a horse in Kansas (more on pages 8-9 and in the next issue).

Through HSI, we responded in Malawi and Mozambique in the wake of Cyclone Idai in May and provided assessment and treatment for hundreds of animals in conjunction with government veterinarians.

Fighting for all animals

Our Law Enforcement Training Center hosted 73 law enforcement trainings in areas of the United States that need it most. With the help of current and former law enforcement, we trained more than 2,430 officers from 1,170 local agencies on how to enforce state animal cruelty and fighting laws. In addition, our Humane State program has trained more than 11,640 law enforcement officers and shelter/rescue professionals in Wisconsin, Kansas, Ohio, Oklahoma and Puerto Rico.

Tennessee, Washington, New Jersey and New Hampshire made it illegal to possess or sell animal fighting paraphernalia. Now, thanks to our work, 25 states give law enforcement this powerful tool to combat cockfighting and dogfighting.

Kentucky made bestiality a crime, bringing the number of states where it is still legal down to four (Hawaii, Wyoming, West Virginia and New Mexico). When we began our campaign against the sexual abuse of animals four years ago, bestiality was legal in 13 states.

We helped secure legislation to prevent convicted animal abusers from owning animals in Colorado, Indiana, Maine and New Hampshire.

Portrait of a young pig

What will we change next?

Here are the big fights we’re taking on in 2020. Are you with us?

Dog iconPuppy mills

As many responsible breeders work to make sure their animals are healthy and loved for life, some breeders have taken another path, motivated by money to become factory farms for dogs. Puppy mills keep their animals in unsanitary, overcrowded conditions, and the mother animals are bred repeatedly and discarded when they’ve outlived their usefulness. We’re fighting to shut down puppy mills for good.

Fox iconFur in fashion

Millions of animals worldwide are killed for their fur. The methods used to raise and slaughter them are brutal. Thanks to human innovation, using animal fur for our clothing is unnecessary—and more and more top couture lines recognize it’s also repellent. Consumers and producers are answering our calls to go fur-free. We’re within sight of ending this practice on a global scale.

icon dogDog meat trade in South Korea

South Korea is the only country that farms dogs for food. Millions of dogs are raised in terrible conditions and butchered cruelly, having known only neglect and suffering throughout their lives. With your help, we’ll bring an end to this heinous industry.

icon chickenSuffering of farm animals

The animals who are part of the food system experience terrible suffering due to the way most of them are raised—in spaces barely bigger than their bodies—and slaughtered. It doesn’t have to be that way. We’re working to give veal calves, egg-laying chickens and mother pigs more space. At the same time, we’re helping consumers transition toward foods that are better for them, our planet and the animals who share it.

cougar iconTrophy hunting of wildlife

It’s hard to believe that, in an era when climate change is threatening thousands of species with extinction, there are still people who hunt animals simply to collect their skins, heads or bodies for sale or display. Whether it’s elephants poached for their ivory tusks or American mountain lions slaughtered for their paws, trophy hunting is foolish, vain and cruel. We’re working to stop it everywhere we can.

rabbit iconTesting of cosmetics on animals

We believe that, given the choice, few people would choose a bar of soap or a tube of lipstick if they knew its existence depended on the suffering of animals. We’re in the last stages of our fight to get consumers and the cosmetics industry to say “no more”—because cruelty is the opposite of beauty.

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This was written and produced by the team behind All Animals, our award-winning magazine. Each issue is packed with inspiring stories about how we are changing the world for animals together.

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Cover of All Animals Magazine with a photo of a beagle puppy.