The HSUS has achieved remarkable things in more than six decades of advocacy, starting with a handful of reformers who created the organization in 1954. Some of the most noteworthy achievements in the organization’s early years include the instrumental role The HSUS played in passage of the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act in 1958 and the Animal Welfare Act of 1966. Since assuming leadership of The HSUS in the organization’s 50th year, in 2004, Wayne Pacelle has continued this work, leading a staff and membership that has taken animal protection to a new level.
- With a commitment to public policy making, and creating structures to enable this work, Wayne and The HSUS have worked to drive passage of more than 1,800 state laws to protect animals between 2006 and 2016. Combined with earlier efforts, this phase of new and strengthened animal protection laws resulted in the enactment of felony animal cruelty laws in all 50 states, Internet hunting bans in nearly every state, bans on private ownership of dangerous exotic animals, protections for commercially bred dogs, and laws against animal fighting in all 50 states, among others.
- Since 1994, when Wayne started with the organization, The HSUS had been on the winning side of ballot measure campaigns more than 50 times — achieving the highest win rate of any cause or economic interest on statewide ballots. The organization outlawed the target shooting of mourning doves in Michigan and abusive livestock-farming practices in Arizona in 2006. In 2008, California’s Proposition 2, which phased out confining farm animals and took effect in 2015, gained eight million votes on Election Day, more than any prior initiative in any state. The 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. In 2014, The HSUS ran a successful campaign to reject wolf hunting in Michigan, and in 2016, voters in Massachusetts approved a ballot measure to end farm animal confinement and sales of products from animals held in confinement systems, with 78 percent of voters approving the measure. Also in 2016, Oregon voters approved a measure to ban sales of products from imperiled wildlife, including ivory and rhino horn, and Oklahoma voters rejected a measure that would have exempted agricultural operations from regulations.
- Since 1999, Wayne and his team have helped to enact 138 federal animal protection laws and provisions, upgrading our federal animal fighting laws, forbidding the interstate trade in big cats for the pet trade, restricting imports of puppy mill dogs, banning shark finning in coastal waters of the United States, and dramatically reducing animal testing for safety assessments for tens of thousands of chemicals in commercial use. The HSUS closed a tax loophole that benefitted trophy hunters and won bans on horse slaughter plant operations in the United States since 2007. After our deployment that helped save more than 10,000 animals in the Gulf Coast after Katrina hit, 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. On the Farm bill in 2014, HSUS blocked an effort by Rep. Steve King of Iowa to nullify state and local laws that protect farm animals.
- During the Obama years, The HSUS led efforts to enact 45 major rulemaking actions for animal protection, including regulations to forbid the slaughter of downer cows and calves, to end invasive experiments on chimpanzees, to stop predator killing practices on 100 million acres of federal lands in Alaska, and many others.
Institutional and Public Outreach
- HSUS has achieved a revolution in purchasing practices by major food retailers throughout the world. More than 200 companies, including Compass Group, Sodexo, restaurants McDonald’s, Burger King, Denny’s, Subway, Costco, Kroger, Target and Walmart, have committed to cage-free policies. Almost all of these companies committed to phasing out their purchase of pork from operations that confine sows in gestation crates.
- In February 2008, after an undercover investigation conducted by The HSUS at the Hallmark/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, in what was the largest recall of meat at that time in the nation’s history.
- 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, helping to reduce the number of seals killed from more than 350,000 in 2006 to under 60,000 in 2014.
- In 2010, following several investigations by The HSUS documenting sales of mislabeled fur products, Congress passed new requirements for fur labeling. In 2014, The HSUS exposed Kohl’s department store for selling men’s jackets made with real animal fur labeled as “faux,” and issued a warning to consumers. Other retailers have adopted fur free policies, including Armani.
- Following the outcry over the killing of Cecil the lion by an American trophy hunter, we worked to secure commitments from 45 major airlines to adopt or reiterate policies against shipping trophy hunted animals from Africa and new policies against lion hunting.
- Increasing public scrutiny and local ordinances prompted Feld Entertainment to announce the retirement of its traveling circus animals in 2016.
- A 2016 agreement with SeaWorld to end breeding of captive orcas, to stop acquiring additional orcas and devote more resources to rescue and rehabilitation, to work with The HSUS on advocacy campaigns for marine life, and to revamp food policies for food sold to 20 million visitors per year.
- The announcement by the National Institutes of Health in 2016 that the last remaining federally owned chimpanzees will move to sanctuary was the culmination of a campaign started by The HSUS with a 2009 investigation of a federally funded research laboratory housing chimpanzees and other animals.
Mission and Operational Expansion
- Working closely with current HSUS COO Michael Markarian, Wayne engineered corporate combinations, or mergers, with The Fund for Animals (FFA) in 2005 and the Doris Day Animal League (DDAL) in 2006.
- Overall revenues and expenditures grew by more than 50 percent from 2004 to2006. By 2015, Wayne had more than doubled the size of the organization, with a staff size approaching 1,000.
- In 2005, Wayne and Mike Markarian established the HSUS’Animal Protection Litigation program, in order to drive its enforcement work. That program now has approximately 25 staff attorneys and a network of over 1,000 pro bono attorneys. It has won more than 110 favorable rulings for animals in state and federal courts, and has a win ratio of 85 percent.
- The board of directors authorized the creation of the Humane Society Legislative Fund in 2005, as a 501(c)(4). The organization allows for more lobbying and political work, as a means of augmenting the public policy successes of the organization.
- The Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association (HSVMA) was formed through an alliance with the Association of Veterinarians for Animal Rights (AVAR) in 2008.
- The Humane Society Institute for Science and Policy (HSISP) was founded in 2010 to support the application of scientific and technical analysis and expertise to animal welfare issues and policy questions worldwide.
- The HSUS launched its Faith Outreach program, in order to reach clerical leaders and people of faith and remind them of their traditions that call for mercy and compassion to all of God’s creatures.
- During his tenure, Wayne has dramatically grown the footprint of Humane Society International, which is now operating in more than 50 countries. HSI most recently opened offices in South Africa and Vietnam. HSI seeks to extend the campaigns of The HSUS onto the global stage. Wayne opened HSI’s office in 2012 in India, with the Dalai Lama.
- When Wayne took over as president in 2004, HSUS had one animal care operation and limited direct care programs. Now it has four animal care centers and the biggest, most diverse animal care program in the world. In 2016, it is likely to directly touch 300,000 animals, with its Animal Rescue Team, Street Dog Defenders, Rural Area Veterinary Services program, Pets for Life, Prairie Dog Coalition, and other campaigns and programs.