Rescuing dogs during Hurricane Katrina

Racelle Carlson from the Arizona Humane Society leads two rescued dogs from a flooded neighborhood in New Orleans, La., to a processing area where the dogs will be examined, fed and evacuated to area shelters on September 6, 2005.

Melanie Stetson Freeman/The Christian Science Monitor via Getty Images

Humane Society Programs

As we talked about in the last section, the HSUS has had many accomplishments over the years. In the 21st century, the organization has kept its momentum going. Here are two programs that have launched in the last few years:

  • The Cleveland Armory Black Beauty Ranch: Located in eastern Texas, the ranch serves as a sanctuary for more than 1,300 injured or mistreated animals. There are two other wildlife centers, one in Cape Cod, Mass., and the other in Southern California. The HSUS' sanctuaries provide homes to more animals than any other animal rights group in the United States.
  • The Rural Area Veterinary Services (RAVS): This program gives veterinary care to animals whose owners might not be able to afford it and to animal owners who may not be near veterinary care. In 2006, around 1,000 volunteer veterinarians and students offered their services. They gave more than $1.3 million worth of free care to 40,000 animals [source: HSUS].

Along with these new programs, the HSUS had some major achievements in 2007, in several areas of concern. To someone not well schooled in the animal cruelty trade, some of these areas may be surprising. These are some of the animal rights advances that took place because of HSUS programs and lobbying:

  • Animal fighting: The U.S. Congress passed a bill making dogfighting and cockfighting a felony.
  • Animals in research: The National Institutes of Health stopped breeding chimpanzees for research.
  • Disaster relief: Staff and volunteers helped to save 1,000 animals during the California wildfires
  • Factory farming: Oregon outlawed cruel confinement of farm animals.
  • Fur: A continuing investigation revealed dog fur imported from China and garments labeled as fake fur that contain real fur.
  • Horse slaughter: Illinois banned horse slaughter, and the three remaining horse slaughter facilities in the United States closed.
  • Hunting: Several states banned Internet hunting.
  • Puppy mills: The HSUS worked closely with law enforcement to expose puppy mills throughout the United States [source: HSUS].

Humane Society International also persuaded the European Union to ban the trade of cat and dog fur and elephant ivory and continued to monitor seal hunts that take place in Canada.

Toy cat made with real cat fur

Humane Society International (HSI) spokesperson Nicola Beynon displays a toy cat purchased in Sydney, Australia whose face is made of real cat fur, at a press conference on July 10, 2003.

Greg Wood/AFP/Getty Images

The HSUS works diligently to improve the welfare of animals around the globe, but it can't possibly be everywhere all at once. For this reason, the Humane Society teams up with other animal-rights groups and services to accomplish its mission. In the next section, we'll take a look at the HSUS' relationship with those other groups.