The 10- to 20-minute tests, developed by behaviorists and tweaked by practitioners, ask two basic questions: Will the dog attack humans? What about other dogs?
Evaluators may observe the dog react to a large doll (a toddler surrogate); a hooded human, shaking a cane; an unfamiliar leashed dog or a plush toy dog.
But these tests have never been rigorously validated.
Dr. Bennett’s 2012 study of 67 pet dogs, which compared results of two behavior tests with owners’ own reporting, found that in the areas of aggression and fearfulness, the tests showed high percentages of false positives and false negatives. A 2015 study of dog-on-dog aggression testing showed that shelter dogs responded more aggressively to a fake dog than a real one.
Janis Bradley of the National Canine Research Council, co-author with Dr. Patronek of the analysis published last fall, suggested that shelters should instead devote limited resources to “observing the many interactions that happen between dogs and people in the daily routine of the shelter.”
But Kelley Bollen, a behaviorist and shelter consultant in Northampton, Mass., maintained that a careful evaluation can identify potentially problematic behaviors. Much depends on the assessor’s skill, she added.
In fact, no qualifications exist for administering evaluations. Interpreting dogs, with their diverse dialects and complex body language — wiggling butts, lip-licking, semaphoric ears and tails — often becomes subjective.
Indianapolis Animal Care Services, which admitted 8,380 dogs to its municipal shelter in 2016, is often overcrowded and understaffed, yet faces intense scrutiny to save dogs while protecting the public. Last year it euthanized 718 dogs for behavior, based on testing and employee interactions. The agency consulted Dr. Bennett, a shelter specialist, to better manage that difficult balance.
Even as she demonstrated assessments for staff members, Dr. Bennett noted another factor that renders results suspect: the unquantifiable impact of shelter life on dogs.
Dogs thrive on routine and social interaction. The transition to a shelter can be traumatizing, with its cacophony of howls and barking, smells and isolating steel cages. A dog afflicted with kennel stress can swiftly deteriorate: spinning; pacing; jumping like a pogo stick; drooling; and showing a loss of appetite. It may charge barriers, appearing aggressive.
Conversely, some dogs shut down in self-protective, submissive mode, masking what may even be aggressive behavior that only emerges in a safe setting, like a home.
Little dogs can become more snippy. But no matter what evaluations may show, they always seem to get a pass. “I’ll warn, ‘He nips and snarls,’” recounted Laura Waddell, a seasoned trainer who does volunteer evaluations for Liberty Humane Society in Jersey City, N.J. “And I get back: ‘I don’t care! I’m in love!’”
One way to reduce kennel stress, Ms. Sadler, the shelter consultant, said, is through programs like hers, Dogs Playing for Life, which matches dogs for outside playgroups. Shelter directors say it is a more revealing and humane way to evaluate behavior. The approach is used at many large shelters, including in New York City, Phoenix and Los Angeles.
The most disputed of the assessments is the food test. Research has shown that shelter dogs who guard their food bowls, as Bacon did, do not necessarily do so at home.
The exercise purports to evaluate “resource guarding” — how viciously a dog will protect a possession, such as food, toys, people. Common-sense owners wouldn’t grab a dog’s food while it is eating. But shelters worry about children.
Dr. Bennett suggested that Bacon’s bite of the fake hand didn’t necessitate a draconian outcome. With counseling, she said, a household without youngsters would be fine.
The shelter workers dearly wanted to save Bacon. But they were so overwhelmed that they did not have the capability to match him appropriately and counsel new owners.
So Bacon remained at the shelter for several weeks, waiting. Finally, Linda’s Camp K9, an Indiana pet-boarding business that also rescues dogs, took him on. He settled right down and recently was adopted. Linda Candler, the director, placed him in a home without young children, teaching the owners how to feed him so he wouldn’t be set up to fail.
“His potential made him stand out,” Ms. Candler said. “Bacon is amazing.”Continue reading the main story
|Founded||November 22, 1954; 63 years ago (1954-11-22) (as National Humane Society)|
Tax ID no.
|Legal status||501(c)(3)nonprofit organization|
|Focus||Animal protection, Animal rights, Cruelty to Animals, Humane education, Animal Ethics, Animal law, wildlife conservation|
|Coordinates||38°54′22″N77°03′04″W / 38.906°N 77.051°W / 38.906; -77.051|
|Method||public education, science-based analysis, training and education, grant-making, litigation, legislation, public policy|
Acting President and Chief Executive Officer
|Eric L. Bernthal|
The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), based in Washington, D.C., is an American nonprofit organization founded by journalist Fred Myers and Helen Jones, Larry Andrews, and Marcia Glaser in 1954, to address what they saw as animal-related cruelties of national scope, and to resolve animal welfare problems by applying strategies beyond the resources or abilities of local organizations. In 2013, the Chronicle of Philanthropy identified HSUS as the 136th largest charity in the United States in its Philanthropy 400 listing. As of 2001, the group's major campaigns targeted five issues: factory farming, animal fighting, the fur trade, puppy mills, and wildlife abuse. The organization works on a full range of animal issues, including companion animals, wildlife, farm animals, horses and other equines, and animals used in research, testing and education.
HSUS reported its revenue as US$129 million and net assets of US$215 million as of December 31, 2014.
HSUS pursues its global work through an affiliate, Humane Society International, which listed staff members in 17 nations for 2013. Other affiliated entities include the Doris Day Animal League, founded by the actress Doris Day, and the Fund for Animals, founded by the television and social critic Cleveland Amory. Together with its affiliate, the Fund for Animals, HSUS operates animal sanctuaries in five states.
HSUS does not run local shelters or oversee local animal care and control agencies; it promotes best practices and supports such entities throughout the country with a range of services.
HSUS formed after a schism surfaced in the American Humane Association over pound seizure, rodeo, and other issue of policy. The incorporators of HSUS included four people—Larry Andrews, Marcia Glaser, Helen Jones, and Fred Myers—all of whom were active in the leadership of existing local and national groups, who would become its first four employees. They believed that a new kind of organization would strengthen the American humane movement, and they set up HSUS as the "National Humane Society," in Washington, DC to ensure that it could play a strong role in national policy development concerning animal welfare. HSUS's guiding principle was ratified by its national membership in 1956: "The Humane Society of the United States opposes and seeks to prevent all use or exploitation of animals that causes pain, suffering, or fear."
The values that shaped HSUS's formation in 1954, came in some degree from the humane movement that originated in the 1860s in the United States. The idea of kindness to animals made significant inroads in American culture in the years following the Civil War. The development of sympathy for creatures in pain, the satisfaction of keeping them as pets, and the heightening awareness about the relationship between cruelty to animals and interpersonal violence strengthened the movement’s popular appeal.
The most immediate philosophical influence on 1950s-era advocates, including those associated with HSUS, was the reverence-for-life concept advanced by Albert Schweitzer. Schweitzer included a deep regard for nonhuman animals in his canon of beliefs, and animal advocates laboring to give their concerns a higher profile were buoyed by Schweitzer’s 1952 Nobel Peace Prize speech, in which he noted that "compassion, in which ethics takes root, does not assume its true proportions until it embraces not only man but every living being."
Myers and his colleagues found another exemplar of their values in Joseph Wood Krutch (1893–1970), whose writings reflected a deep level of appreciation for wilderness and for nonhuman life. With The Great Chain of Life (1957), Krutch established himself as a philosopher of humaneness, and in 1970, HSUS' highest award was renamed in his honor.
The growing environmental movement of the early 1970s also influenced the ethical and practical evolution of HSUS. The burgeoning crisis of pollution and wildlife-habitat loss made the public increasingly aware that humans needed to change their behavior toward other living things. By that time, too, the treatment of animals had become a topic of serious discussion within moral philosophy.
The debate spilled over into public consciousness with the publication of Peter Singer’s Animal Liberation (1975). Singer’s book sought to recast concern for animals as a justice-based cause like the movements for civil rights and women’s rights.
Most of what Singer wrote concerning the prevention or reduction of animals’ suffering was in harmony with HSUS’s objectives. Singer’s philosophy did not rest upon the rights of animals, and he specifically rejected the framework of rights in favor of a utilitarian assessment that focused on animal sentience. His principal concern, like that of HSUS, was the mitigation and elimination of suffering, and he endorsed the view that ethical treatment sometimes permitted or even required killing animals to end their misery.
The 1980s witnessed a flourishing of concern about animals and a proliferation of new organizations, many influenced by the emergence of a philosophy holding that animals had inherent rights. Those committed to the purest form of animal rights rejected any human use of animals. In this changing context, HSUS faced new challenges. As newer animal organizations adopted more radical approaches to achieve their goals, the organization born in anti-establishment politics now found itself identified – and sometimes criticized – as the "establishment" group of record.
In 1954, HSUS’s founders decided to create a new kind of animal organization, based in the nation’s capital, to confront national cruelties beyond the reach of local societies and state federations. Humane slaughter became an immediate priority and commanded a substantial portion of the organization’s resources. Myers and his colleagues also viewed this first campaign as a vehicle for promoting movement cohesion.
Humane slaughter legislation
In 1958, the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act passed, which required the proper use of humane slaughter methods at slaughterhouses subject to federal inspection. Only four years after HSUS’s formation, Myers pointed out that the movement had united, for the first time in eighty-five years, to achieve enactment of federal legislation that would affect the lives of tens of millions of animals. He was encouraged that "hundreds of local societies could lift their eyes from local problems to a great national cruelty."
Regulation of experimentation upon animals
HSUS also made the use of animals in research, testing, and education an early focus. In the post–World War II era, an increasingly assertive biomedical research community sought to obtain animals from pounds and shelters handling municipal animal control contracts. Local humane societies across the nation resisted. HSUS sought to bolster the movement’s strong opposition to pound seizure, believing that no public pound or privately operated humane society should be compelled by law to provide animals for experimental use.
HSUS took the position that animal experimentation should be regulated, and in the 1950s it placed investigators in laboratories to gather evidence of substandard conditions and animal suffering and neglect. The HSUS was not an anti-vivisection society, Myers explained in 1958. Rather, it stood for the principle that "every humane society … should be actively concerned about the treatment accorded to such a vast number of animals."
Beginning in the 1990s, HSUS board member David O. Wiebers, a medical doctor associated with the Mayo Clinic, undertook efforts to lessen tensions between animal protection organizations and the scientific community, and to seek to identify areas of common agreement.
Companion animals and shelters
Service to local animal shelters, with a special focus on solving problems and challenges of importance to every one of the nation's humane societies, was an early priority for HSUS. Its first brochure, "They Preach Cruelty," focused on the tragedy of animal overpopulation. HSUS and its state branches operated animal shelters in Waterford, Virginia, Salt Lake City Utah, and Boulder, Colorado, and elsewhere, during the 1960s, and part of the 1970s. From the early 1960s onward, HSUS worked to promote the most humane methods possible for euthanasia of animals in shelters, using its Waterford, Virginia animal shelter as a model for best practices in this area. HSUS does not currently operate any Animal Shelters.
Under Phyllis Wright, HSUS was a driving force behind the shift to use of sodium pentobarbital for animal euthanasia, in opposition to the use of gas chambers and decompression, the standard shelter killing methods until the early 1980s.
In 1984, a General Accounting Office report confirmed HSUS allegations of major problems with puppy mills in the United States, setting the stage for proposed legislation to regulate mills in the 1990s.
Exposure of cruelty in the dog trade
In 1961, HSUS investigator Frank McMahon launched a probe of dog dealers around the country to generate support for a federal law to prevent cruelty to animals destined for use in laboratories. The five-year investigation into the multilayered trade in dogs paid off in February 1966 when Life published a photo-essay of a raid conducted on a Maryland dog dealer’s premises by McMahon and the state police. The Life spread sparked outrage, and tens of thousands of Americans wrote to their congressional representatives, demanding action to protect animals and prevent pet theft. That summer the U.S. Congress approved the Laboratory Animal Welfare Act (later renamed the "Animal Welfare Act of 1966"), only the second major federal humane law passed since World War II.
Goals and expansion
Other broad goals during this time included a reduction in the U.S.’s homeless dog and cat population, the reform of inhumane euthanasia practices, and to regulate pet shops and to end the commercial pet breeding trade. HSUS and its state branches operated animal shelters in Waterford, Virginia, Salt Lake City Utah, and Boulder, Colorado, and elsewhere, during the 1960s, and part of the 1970s. Today, HSUS operates five animal sanctuaries in the states of California, Florida Massachusetts, Oregon, and Texas.
HSUS also worked, from the 1960s, to promote humane education of children in the schools. Much of this work was carried out under the auspices of an affiliate, the National Association for the Advancement of Humane Education. In the 1980s, HSUS sponsored several validation studies designed to demonstrate the value of humane education.
Relationship to animal rights
While HSUS welcomed and benefited from growing social interest in animals, it did not originally embrace the language and philosophy of animal rights. Rather, HSUS representatives expressed their beliefs that animals were "entitled to humane treatment and to equal and fair consideration." Like many of the organizations and individuals associated with humane work, HSUS did try to come to terms with the shift toward rights-based language and arguments. In 1978, attorneys Robert Welborn and Murdaugh Stuart Madden conducted a workshop at the HSUS annual conference, "Can Animal Rights Be Legally Defined?", and assembled constituents passed a resolution to the effect that "animals have the right to live and grow under conditions that are comfortable and reasonably natural... animals that are used by man in any way have the right to be free from abuse, pain, and torment caused or permitted by man... animals that are domesticated or whose natural environment is altered by man have the right to receive from man adequate food, shelter, and care." In 1980 the notion of rights surfaced in an HSUS convention resolution which, noting that "such rights naturally evolve from long accepted doctrines of justice or fairness or some other dimension of morality," called for "pursuit on all fronts... the clear articulation and establishment of the rights of animals"
In 1986, HSUS employee John McArdle declared that "HSUS is definitely shifting in the direction of animal rights faster than anyone would realize from our literature". The HSUS fired McArdle shortly thereafter, he alleged, for being an "animal rights activist.". At about the same time, former HSUS president John Hoyt stated that "this new [animal rights] philosophy has served as a catalyst in the shaping of our own philosophies, policies, and goals."
Position against the use of violence
Since 1990 at least, HSUS has expressed a clear opposition to "the use of threats and acts of violence against people and willful destruction and theft of property." In 2008, HSUS offered a reward for information leading to the identification and arrest of parties involved with the firebombing of two University of California animal researchers.
In the spring of 2004, the HSUS board appointed Wayne Pacelle as CEO and president. A former executive director of The Fund for Animals and named in 1997 as "one of America's most important animal rights activists," the Yale graduate spent a decade as HSUS’s chief lobbyist and spokesperson, and expressed a strong commitment to expand the organization’s base of support as well as its influence on public policies that affect animals. Under Pacelle's leadership, HSUS has undertaken several dozen ballot initiative and referendum campaigns in a number of states, concerning issues like unsportsmanlike hunting practices, cruelty in industrial agriculture, greyhound racing, puppy mill cruelty and animal trapping. In August 2014, Pacelle was again named to the NonProfit Times' "Power and Influence Top 50" for his achievements in leading HSUS, the fourth time he has been so recognized.
Since Pacelle’s appointment, HSUS has claimed successes such as the adoption of "cage-free" egg-purchasing policies by hundreds of universities and dozens of corporations; the exposure of an international trophy hunting scam subsequently ended through legislative reform; a number of successful congressional votes to outlaw horse slaughter; progress in securing legislation at the state and federal level to outlaw animal fighting and the interstate transport of fighting implements; the enactment of internet hunting bans in nearly all of the states; announcements by Wolfgang Puck and Burger King that they would increase their use of animal products derived under less abusive standards; and an agreement by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to begin enforcement of federal laws concerning the transportation of farm animals.
In 2018, The Washington Post reported on an investigation by the Humane Society board into allegations of sexual harassment involving Wayne Pacelle. The investigation found three credible accusations of sexual harassment and female leaders who said their “warnings about his conduct went unheeded.”  The board voted to keep Pacelle, but after several board members resigned in protest and high-profile donors revealed they would withhold donations, Pacelle announced his resignation on February 2, 2018. 
Animal protection litigation section
HSUS launched an animal protection litigation section in 2005. The section works with several thousand pro bono attorneys around the country to pursue its docket of cases. Under section leader Jonathan Lovvorn, the animal protection litigation group has won approximately three dozen cases in its first decade of existence, taking a practical approach, which Lovvorn explained in a 2012 interview. "We look at cases that are going to have a concrete impact on animals but are winnable. You won't see us out asking for courts to declare animals persons. Or to file habeas corpus requests on behalf of animals, or other things that require judges to go way beyond what they're comfortable with." In 2010, the section estimated that it had filed more than 50 legal actions in 25 states, and won 80% of its cases, while booking 10,000 hours of pro bono attorney time for a total in-kind contribution of $4 million.
Canadian seal cull campaign
Once launched in 2005, the HSUS's campaign to end the hunting of seals in Canada secured pledges from 300 restaurants and companies, plus 120,000 individuals, to boycott Canadian seafood. By 2014, the campaign claimed more than 6,500 restaurants, grocery stores and seafood supply companies were participants the Protect Seals campaign.
The corporate expansion forged by Pacelle included mergers with The Fund for Animals (2005), founded by social critic and author Cleveland Amory and the Doris Day Animal League (2006), founded by screen actress and singer Doris Day. This made possible the establishment of a separate campaigns department, an equine issues department, a litigation section, the enhancement of signature programs likes Pets for Life and Wild Neighbors, and an expanded range of hands-on care programs for animals. During the first 2½ years of Pacelle’s tenure, overall revenues and expenditures grew by more than 50 percent. In early 2008, HSUS re-organized its direct veterinary care work and its veterinary advocacy under a new entity, the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association, formed through an alliance with the Association of Veterinarians for Animal Rights (AVAR).
Corporate social responsibility outreach
Engagement with major corporations in an effort to persuade them to press for reforms in their supply chains has been a significant priority for HSUS in the last decade, and as a result of its efforts, more than 60 major food suppliers have used their leverage to change production level practices in the pork industry.
Shareholder resolutions play a part in HSUS campaigns to generate corporate reform.
In 2007, HSUS launched a program designed to advance relationships and awareness within the American faith community at all levels. The program provides speakers, produces videos and other materials, and works with faith leaders to lead discussion of animal issues within the broader religious community. HSUS works on this program with Farm Forward, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that implements innovative strategies to promote conscientious food choices, reduce farmed animal suffering, and advance sustainable agriculture.
Humane Society Institute for Science and Policy
The Humane Society Institute for Science and Policy (HSISP), founded in 2010, supports the application of scientific and technical analysis and expertise to animal welfare issues and policy questions worldwide. and HSISP is sustained by HSUS's own core group of academic, scientific, and technical experts in animal welfare, as well as outside scientists. HSISP is the manager of the Animal Studies Repository, a digital collection of academic and scientific resources related to animal studies and to animal welfare science. HSISP has held three conferences, the first on purebred dogs and genetic defects,the second on outdoor cats and associated management issues, and the third on sentience as a factor in determining animal welfare policy.
Hurricane Katrina animal rescue
In September 2005, when thousands of animals were left behind as people evacuated during Hurricane Katrina, HSUS joined other organizations in a massive search-and-rescue effort that saved approximately ten thousand animals, and raised more than $34 million for direct relief, reconstruction, and recovery in the Gulf Coast region. HSUS led the campaign that culminated in the federal passage of the PETS Act in October 2006, requiring all local, state, and federal agencies to include animals in their disaster planning scenarios.
In August 2008, Pacelle appeared with Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell at a press conference marking the enactment of a law prohibiting cockfighting in Louisiana, the last state to do so. The prohibition resulted from a longtime campaign led by HSUS. The HSUS remains active in the Gulf region, funding a number of projects aimed at reducing the area's pet overpopulation problem, and improving access to pet care for the Gulf Coast residents.
Investigation into "faux" fur
In late 2006, HSUS broke the story of its investigation into the sale of coats trimmed with real fur but labeled "faux" or fake. Laboratory testing found that the fur came from purpose-bred raccoon dogs in China that were sometimes beaten to death and skinned alive. The story of fur animals beaten to death and skinned alive is disputed by a fur industry trade group. The investigation reportedly prompted several retailers including Macy’s and J.C. Penney to pull the garments from the sale floor. Legislation was introduced in the U.S. Congress to require that all fur jackets be properly labeled, and to ban raccoon dog fur.
In 2014, HSUS accused Kohl's department store of selling a men's jacket made with real animal fur as "faux," and issued a warning to consumers.
Investigation of Westland Meat Packing Company
In February 2008, after an undercover investigation conducted by HSUS at the Westland Meat Packing Company alleged substantial animal abuse, the USDA forced the recall of 143 million pounds of beef, some of which had been routed into the nation's school lunch program. HSUS had been a longtime advocate for the elimination of downer animals from the nation's food supply, and the undercover investigation led to the USDA adopting the policy. In November 2013, the Justice Department reached a $155 million settlement with the firms that operated the plant.Michael Greger, Director of Public Health and Animal Agriculture for HSUS at that time, testified before Congress about the matter.
Petland puppy mills campaign
In the fall of 2008, HSUS also launched a campaign to expose the reliance of the pet store chain Petland on puppy mills where animals are raised under inhumane conditions. However, Jessica Mitler from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the government agency that regulates dog breeders, provided the following response to the HSUS investigation: "The agency has received no complaints from the Humane Society about a particular kennel or Petland; so they have not investigated this specifically." On November 24, 2008, Petland responded to the HSUS campaign video footage of the Petland investigation by stating: "Petland is outraged that HSUS would intentionally use video footage of unrelated kennels in the report to try to mislead the general public into believing these facilities have a connection to Petland." In another statement dated February 19, 2009, Petland stated they turned over death threats and threats of kidnapping generated from the HSUS campaign against Petland to the proper authorities for further investigation. Petland continued by asking HSUS to cease and desist in any actions that may promote malicious intent (directly or indirectly).
On March 17, 2009, HSUS launched a class action suit against Petland on behalf of patrons who allegedly purchased sick animals from the chain, under the alleged pretense that the animals had come from the nation's finest breeders. On August 8, 2009, the case was dismissed by a United States District Judge for lack of facts concerning the case. Petland responded to the dismissal by stating: "The Humane Society of the United States touted the lawsuit in furtherance of its fundraising and media campaign seeking to end the sale of animals through pet stores. Petland denied that it had done anything unlawful, and it believes strongly that consumers have the right to purchase and keep pets." The HSUS does not oppose the ownership of pets, but maintains that the desire for profit in commercial pet stores undermines proper care of companion animals.
Political and legislative initiatives against animal abuse and cruelty
During 2013, HSUS helped to pass 109 animal protection laws at the state level. In 2006, HSUS helped to secure the passage of 70 new state laws on behalf of animals. Two successful November 2006 ballot initiatives conducted with its support outlawed dove hunting in Michigan and, through Proposition 204, abusive livestock-farming practices in Arizona. In 2008, HSUS helped to pass 91 state animal-welfare laws, including Proposition 2 in California. HSUS was a leader in the Proposition 2 campaign in California, which gained eight million votes on Election Day 2008, more than any other initiative on the ballot. The measure, which prohibits certain intensive confinement practices in agriculture beginning in 2015, passed by a 63.3 to 36.7 percent margin, winning in 46 of 58 counties, and gaining support throughout the state's urban, suburban, and rural areas. It garnered votes from Democrats, Independents, and Republicans alike, as well as among Caucasians, African-Americans, Asian-Americans, and Latinos. Nearly 800,000 Californians signed petitions to place the measure on the ballot.
HSUS was also a participant in a ballot initiative campaign focusing on inhumane treatment of farm animals in Ohio. The livestock-agriculture initiative was withdrawn from the ballot after a compromise was brokered between HSUS, Ohioans for Humane Farms, the Ohio Farm Bureau, and Ohio Governor Ted Strickland.
HSUS led a campaign against puppy mill cruelty in Missouri in 2010. The Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act, known as "Prop B", was narrowly passed by Missouri voters.
United Egg Producers
For several years, HSUS cooperated with the United Egg Producers to secure federal legislation to phase out barren battery cages for all laying hens in the United States. Discussion between HSUS and the United Egg Producers concerning a national standard for egg production began with a meeting between Jerry Crawford, an Iowa resident with ties to the egg production industry, and HSUS's Wayne Pacelle. Crawford recommended a further meeting with the United Egg Producers' Chad Gregory. The context for the meeting was HSUS's commanding win in Proposition 2 in California, and a shared belief that open warfare would serve no one's purposes. Additional negotiations produced the agreement to pursue federal legislation, the Egg Products Inspection Act of 2013, to support a shift to cage-free housing systems for laying hens, like enriched colony cages. The proposal failed in the Congress, and was not taken up in the 2014 Farm Bill, as a result of opposition by livestock production groups concerned over the precedent of federally-mandated standards for housing. Hog producers in particular recognized their vulnerability in reference to gestation crates
Positions and program work
In July 2007, HSUS led calls for the National Football League to suspend Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick in the wake of allegations that he had been involved with dog fighting activity. Vick was prosecuted and convicted under state and federal laws. HSUS has backed upgrades of the federal laws concerning animal fighting in 2007, 2008, and in relation to the Animal Fighting Spectator Prohibition Act, from 2011 to the present.
Animals in research, testing, and education
Beginning in the 1990s, HSUS board member David O. Wiebers, a medical doctor associated with the Mayo Clinic, undertook efforts to lessen tensions between animal protection organizations and the scientific community, and to seek to identify areas of common agreement. The announcement by the NIH that it would no longer fund experiments that relied on Class B dealers marked the end of a long campaign by HSUS and other organizations to halt this channel for the supply of animals 
In 2013, HSUS worked closely with the Arcus Foundation and other partners in the successful effort to persuade the U.S. government to transfer the remaining chimpanzees it owns to sanctuary over time, and for an end to chimpanzee use in research, testing, and education. Since 2007, HSUS has pressed corporations still using chimpanzees in research to commit to policies of non-use. In 2011, the Institute of Medicine, part of the United States National Academies, recommended the curtailment of chimp use in testing. The IOM said that while genetic similarity made chimps valuable for medical research, such research raised ethical issues and carried a "moral cost." In 2014, Merck, the world's third largest pharmaceutical company, became the largest multinational corporation to make such a commitment.
Animals used for food
HSUS opposes cruelty in the raising and slaughter of animals used for food, and has done so since its inception in 1954. HSUS's policy of the 3 Rs encourages its constituents to reduce their consumption of meat and to choose products from humanely raised animals instead of factory farm products.
Support for humane farmers and farms
HSUS President and CEO Wayne Pacelle is a board member of the Global Animal Partnership, which recognizes humane producers with an animal welfare ratings standard that measures and rewards commitment to high welfare approaches. Pacelle frequently speaks with the agricultural press to reinforce HSUS's criticism of contemporary factory farming and related issues. Pacelle has toured family farms operating on humane principles as part of building solidarity against factory farming interests.
In recent years, HSUS has sought to build bridges with small farmers raising animals under humane conditions. One of those farmers is Joe Maxwell, who has worked for HSUS as vice president for rural affairs. In recent years, farmers committed to raising animals in humane conditions have received greater attention and public support. Via Maxwell and other staff members, HSUS has also forged ties with the global Slow Food Movement in connection with discussion of the sustainability of contemporary meat production.
HSUS was involved in the ballot initiative campaign to enact California Proposition 2 (2008), enacted as the Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act, a law requiring that eggs sold in California be laid by hens raised in cage-free settings. An HSUS-led coalition also pressed for the passage of a California foie gras band that took effect in mid-2012. In 2016, HSUS led the campaign to enact the Massachusetts Conditions for Farm Animals Initiative, which banned the use of small cages to raise animals in agriculture; it received 77.7% of public support .
However, farmers who have served on HSUS’s agriculture councils have questioned HSUS motives. Kevin Fulton, a Nebraska cattle rancher, was on HSUS’s national agriculture council but claimed that “abolitionist vegans” at HSUS had tried to reduce the council’s influence. Jim Knopik of the HSUS Nebraska agriculture council said he viewed HSUS’s treatment of farmers as a “stab in the back,” while Missouri farmer Eric Fuchs commented, "They used us for window dressing."
The HSUS has an entire department devoted to pets, and to services for companion animals. It also has sections working to end dog-fighting, and to provide rescue and emergency services to animals at risk in animal fighting, hoarding, puppy mill enterprises and disasters. The HSUS Pets for Life program uses community-level outreach in a number of American cities, including Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Philadelphia,to raise retention levels and to improve the lives of companion animals and those who care for them, by providing veterinary services in zones where convenient and low-cost care is lacking. The HSUS is a strong supporter of "pets in the workplace" programs.
HSUS publishes Animal Sheltering, a bi-monthly magazine for animal sheltering professionals. It also operates the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association, which provides free veterinary services for animals in impoverished communities.
In 2013, the HSUS gave its Henry Spira Corporate Progress Award to the Consumer Specialty Products Association to recognize the antifreeze manufacturing industry's commitment to add a bittering agent to products so that animals would not die poisonous deaths, the subject of a long-running campaign by the HSUS.
HSUS believes that, in general, wild animals are not suitable as pets, and opposes the general traffic in wild animals.
HSUS has been an active opponent of the domestic and global puppy mill industry, and helped law enforcement agencies to confiscate more than 35,000 animals from purported puppy mills since 2007. HSUS has also pressed anti-puppy mill bills in states like Indiana, Missouri, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and Texas. The number of dog breeders licensed by the United States Department of Agriculture declined from 3,486 in 2009 to 2,205 in 2011.
HSUS led the effort to secure adoption of a United States Department of Agriculture rule to prohibit the importation into the United States of dogs from foreign countries for resale unless the animals were in good health, vaccinated and at least 6 months old.
Dog breeders opposed another measure supported by HSUS, to regulate the sale of dogs over the Internet.
HSUS opposes the hunting of any living creature for fun, trophy, or sport. HSUS only supports killing animals for population control when carried out by officials and does not oppose hunting for food or subsistence needs. As a practical matter, HSUS has generally campaigned against abuses found in the treatment of wildlife. Its ballot initiatives focus on things like shooting bear over bait, hunting with hounds, and other forms of hunting the organization believes are unsporting.
Together with its global affiliate, Humane Society International, HSUS has waged a decade-long fight to end the Canadian seal hunt. In late 2013, the World Trade Organization upheld the European Union ban on trade in products of commercial seal hunts, rejecting the Canadian and Norwegian challenge.
HSUS has waged campaigns on behalf of wolves since the 1970s. In recent years, HSUS has campaigned against the killing of wolves via ballot initiatives, and—with other partners—in litigation.
In June 2007, HSUS launched Humane Wildlife Services, a program to encourage and provide humane wildlife-removal services when wild animals intrude on human dwellings.
Through its efforts in the United States, and globally through its affiliate Humane Society International, HSUS has helped to achieve prohibitions on shark finning in state and national legislatures and through administrative action here and abroad.
The HSUS offers many resources to individuals, organizations and public officials, for helping feral cats and ultimately reducing their numbers in the community. The Humane Society Institute for Science and Policy convened a conference on outdoor cat issues in December 2012, bringing together stakeholders from a range of interested perspectives.
HSUS first took a policy position on zoos in 1975, its board of directors concluding that it would be neither for nor against zoos, but would work against roadside menageries and regular zoos that could not improve. In 1984, HSUS adopted a policy that animals should not be taken from the wild for public display in zoos.
HSUS opposes greyhound racing, animal fighting, and works to limit the use and abuse of animals in certain display and spectacular contexts like zoos, circuses, aquariums, and roadside zoos.
HSUS has taken a careful but critical stance concerning practices commonly found in the horse racing industry. On occasion, HSUS has taken a position against particular practices associated with horse racing, such as the use of corticosteroids.
HSUS has long opposed the keeping of marine mammals in captivity and played a key longterm role in the campaign to end captive orca performance at SeaWorld. HSUS opposed the Georgia Aquarium's application to the National Marine Fisheries Service to import 18 beluga whales from Russia, an application the NMFS denied.
HSUS has long opposed the use of horses for food, and campaigned against their slaughter via litigation and public policy approaches. It has pursued both legislative and litigation channels as part of its campaign to prevent horse slaughter plants in the United States from resuming their operations.
HSUS, in addition to its ongoing lobbying against the pet industry, has taken a strong stance against the private ownership of any exotic pet, regardless of species. The HSUS also heavily lobbied for the passing of HB 4393 in West Virginia, which generated a large amount of controversy when its restricted animal list was originally drafted and made illegal the private ownership of common and harmless exotic pets, such as hamsters, hedgehogs, turtles, tortoises, pufferfish, sugar gliders, salamanders, alpacas and domestic hybrid cat breeds.
Governance and expenses
A nonprofit, charitable organization, HSUS is funded almost entirely by private membership dues, contributions, foundation grants, and bequests. HSUS is governed by a 27-member, independent board of directors. Each director serves as a volunteer and receives no compensation for service.
HSUS meets all 21 BBB Wise Giving Alliance financial and administrative standards, and all 20 of the BBB's Standards for Charity Accountability. In 2010, Worth Magazine named the HSUS as one of the 10 Most Fiscally Responsible Charities. In 2012, President and CEO Wayne Pacelle received $347,675 in compensation.
In 2014, Charity Navigator issued a "Donor Advisory" about HSUS, temporarily removing its rating of the organization.
HSUS gave grants to 260 other organizations in the U.S. and abroad during 2011, totaling $6.5 million.