Humane Society of the United States

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The headquarters of the Humane Society of the United States in Washington DC

The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) is an organization in the United States whose goal is the protection of animals and the advancement of their welfare. With 10.6 million members and a budget of around US $ 120 million, HSUS, which describes itself as a mainstream organization , is the largest animal welfare organization in the world. The organization was founded in 1954 and is based in the US capital Washington, DC


The concrete goals of the Humane Society in the field of animal welfare are diverse. For example, the organization advocates responsible keeping of pets and against their extensive breeding. The breeding of animals for fur production is rejected as well as cockfighting , dogfighting , bullfighting and comparable forms of using animals for entertainment purposes.

In the field of agricultural breeding of farm animals and the use of experimental animals in biomedical research , the Humane Society advocates the greatest possible reduction in the associated pain and suffering of animals, but does not fundamentally reject these forms of animal use. The organization takes a similarly pragmatic approach in the field of hunting and fishing . The main aim of these leisure activities is to avoid unnecessary suffering and particularly cruel methods. Especially with regard to its objectives in these areas, the HSUS differs from organizations with a more radical understanding of animal welfare, such as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).

Further goals include the protection of endangered wild animals , the action against improper trade in captured wild animals and the trade in products from wild animals, and the improvement of the situation of animals in zoological gardens , dolphinariums and similar facilities.


The basis for the practical work of the Humane Society is a pragmatic approach that primarily relies on small and gradual improvements. One of its most prominent and public awareness activities is the nationwide operation of animal shelters in the United States that provide medical care and nutrition for abandoned pets. Other important activities include campaigns to pass new animal welfare laws, public relations work to educate the population about methods of keeping and treating animals, and cooperation with teachers and schools in the field of educating children in favor of the humane treatment of animals.

The Humane Society is a non-profit organization and is funded exclusively through membership fees, donations, bequests and public funding programs. It is led by a board of 27 members and is divided into seven regional offices and local structures. The organization publishes the membership magazine "All Animals" and the magazine "Animal Sheltering" for all people working in animal welfare. It also hosts the Genesis Awards ceremonies.

The organization strictly rejects violence against people or their threats as well as other forms of illegal activities to achieve their goals.


The Humane Society of the United States was founded on November 22, 1954 by a small group around the journalist Fred Myers. The philosophical foundations were among other things the claim of "respect for life" of the doctor and theologian Albert Schweitzer as well as the ideas of the American writer Joseph Wood Krutch , who primarily propagated a deeply felt respect for the wilderness and non-human life. Its early successes included the passage of the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act , a law that mandated new standards for the slaughter of farm animals, just four years after the organization was founded.

One of the most famous recent actions in September 2005 was the organization's operation to rescue pets that were left by their owners during Hurricane Katrina in the southern United States. As a direct consequence, a law was passed around a year later, by which all relevant authorities and organizations are obliged to include the appropriate rescue and care of pets in their planning for disaster control.

Web links

Commons : Humane Society of the United States  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files