History of the HSUS

Humane Society of the United States

The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), a non-profit organization, was founded in 1954. It is the largest animal protection agency in the world with 7 million members.

The HSUS is dedicated to seeking a humane society both in the U.S. and worldwide. The HSUS protects animals through investigation, legal action, education, consumer advocacy and multimedia campaigns as the founders proposed, to recognize and work to eliminate all forms of cruelty and injustice to animals.

At its origin, the HSUS had a staff of 4 and little money subsidized by personal loans of 3 of the staff. Robert J. Chenowith was chosen as its head with Oliver M. Evans as director.

Their work began with involvement in the treatment of animals in slaughterhouses and medical research laboratories and the indiscriminate breeding of pets.

In 1958 with the aid of Hubert Humphrey and Lyndon Johnson, the HSUS successfully saw the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act passed.

In the 1950s animals left in shelters were used for scientific research. Following secretive investigation methods, the HSUS exposed the sub-standard treatment of animals in labs. The fate of these animals brought to the attention of the public, raised an outcry and led to the Laboratory Animal Welfare Act in 1966 with the HSUS, the American Humane Association (AHA) and others securing its passage.

The first publication of the HSUS was a leaflet explaining that the mistreatment of animals was due to the number of unwanted dogs and cats. In later years, the relationship between abuse of animals and the abuse of humans was shown to be related.

Believing education to be the key to promoting a humane society, the HSUS created the National Association for the Advancement of Humane Education in 1973. Learning activities in language arts, social studies, math, health and science were developed for elementary schools. Teachers could take accredited college courses through the NAAHE.

The organization’s investigations into organized dog fighting led to penalties in many states with the first law against dog fighting passed in 1975.

The HSUS was instrumental in the first law passed against cockfighting in 1978.

The HSUS established disaster relief plans to protect pets in emergencies. HSUS treams rescued pets in tornadoes, earthquakes, hurricanes, floods and human-made disasters such as oil spills.

In 1988, the HSUS began the use of a fertility-control vaccine offering an alternative to the killing of wild animal predators by ranchers, farmers, hunters and game managers. The HSUS established sanctuaries in the U.S. prohibiting hunting and trapping. Several states have passed laws against hunting and trapping.

Also in 1988, the HSUS instituted Be a P.A.L. – Prevent a Litter campaign. Beginning with one shelter, it became policy in many shelter to sterilize pets before being released for adoption.

In 1990 the HSUS called for a national boycott of dogs bred in puppy mills followed by investigations of these facilities.

The Shame of Fur campaign was launched by the HSUS in 1988, informing people of the poor living conditions of animals raised for their fur and the number of animals killed to make clothing.

This was followed in 1990 by the Beautiful Choice campaign asking consumers to boycott companies and their products, including cosmetics that used animals for testing.

The HSUS seeks to protect animals in rodeos, racing, circuses and zoos as well as wildlife around the world. To this end the Humane Society International was established in 1992 by HSUS, dealing with problems of animals and birds on an international level.

The list goes on and on as the HSUS has instituted many programs and continues to campaign to protect all animals from inhumane treatment. Thanks to Wayne Pacelle, HSUS’s present CEO and President, their investigations, programs, education of the public and protection of all animals will help create a more humane world.

List of some important programs:

1954: The Humane Society of the United States (The HSUS) is founded.

1958: The Humane Methods of Slaughter Act is passed.

1961: The HSUS publishes its first book, Animals in a Research Laboratory.

1966: The Laboratory Animal Welfare Act is passed.

1967: The Endangered Species Act is passed.

1971: Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act

1972: Horse Protection Act

1972: Marine Mammal Protection Act

1973: The HSUS forms the National Association for Humane and Environmental Education.

1986: Center for Respect of Life and Environment is established.

1988: The “Be a P.A.L.–Prevent a Litter” and “Shame of Fur” campaigns are launched.

1991: Humane Society International is established.

1995: The HSUS establishes the Wildlife Land Trust.

2000: The HSUS launches the Humane Society Press.

Articles on the recent activities of HSUS:

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