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January 06, 2010

HSUS Hands-on Care: A World of Good Around the World

The Center for Consumer Freedom and many other outspoken enemies of animal protection are obsessed with The HSUS. They are obsessed not because they care one whit about animals—because they do not. Nor are they obsessed because they are a charity watchdog—because CCF itself is a fraudulent charity that does nothing charitable and acts as a front group for corporations that want to conceal their attacks on public interest groups. They are focused on The HSUS because we have the capacity and the power to put a stop to the types of animal abuse that CCF and their corporate funders so handsomely profit from.

Horses rescued by The HSUS
Sisneros/The HSUS
The HSUS saved tens of thousands of animals from crisis in 2009.

The contract shillers at the Center for Consumer Freedom are always going on about what The HSUS does or doesn’t do, especially in the realm of direct care and services. Apart from their willful denial of our founding mission—which is, in large part, to attack the problems that animals face on a macro-level through corporate reform campaigns, education, enforcement of laws, investigation, scientific and technical analysis, litigation, and public policy work—I marvel at their willful distortion of our direct care activities, which, across the broad spread of The HSUS’s work, are unequaled in the field of American animal protection. In addition to the enormous gains we made to help billions of animals through our big-picture work in 2009—the very work that CCF hates and wants us to stop doing—I was pleased to inventory how much we accomplished, and how many animals we helped, through direct care programs. Here are some of the highlights for the last calendar year.

  • The five HSUS Animal Care Centers took care of nearly 16,000 animals in need of sanctuary and rehabilitation, including equines, birds, mammals, reptiles, and exotics. We are one of the country’s largest providers of wildlife rehabilitation and are caring for more horses than any other sanctuary provider in the country.
  • The Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association (HSVMA) Field Services unit conducted spaying and neutering surgeries and/or wellness examinations for more than 8,000 animals, at an estimated value of $1,271,400. HSVMA works in stressed and less privileged communities and contexts throughout the world, to provide crucial veterinary care needs that might otherwise go unmet. On top of that, participation in such field work enhances the education and professional formation of hundreds of veterinary students every year.
  • Joining together with national and local animal welfare groups and law enforcement officials on more than 40 deployments, The HSUS Emergency Services Team assisted in the rescue of 10,000 animals. Hardly a week goes by without one of our teams being in the field, on the front lines, delivering animals from harm and neglect. Of course, this inventory does not count the generations of animals saved from the misery of puppy mills, dogfighting operations, and other dens of cruelty that we permanently shutter through these raids.
  • The HSUS’s Humane Wildlife Services program, forging ahead with its game-changing model for humane wildlife exclusion and reunion services, directly saved more than 1,200 animals in 2009 while serving more than 300 clients in the D.C. metro area. The unit also fielded more than 1,500 phone calls that, when added to the nearly 2,800 other calls concerning human-wildlife conflicts handled by our Urban Wildlife program, resulted in an estimated 8,150 wild animals additionally rescued or spared from being orphaned or killed.
  • The HSUS Wildlife Land Trust established its 100th wildlife sanctuary in 2009. The most recent sanctuary provides habitat for more than 15 species considered threatened, endangered or of concern. This diverse group includes grizzly bears, wolves, nesting Peregrine falcons, wolverines, mountain lions, Golden and Bald eagles, and many other species. Another WLT sanctuary is regularly visited by more than 10,000 migratory birds, including Sandhill Cranes and others.
  • The HSUS Shelter Evaluation Program provided 19 assessment consultations to animal care and control agencies seeking to improve their services. These customized evaluations improve the lives of thousands of animals annually, as the facilities seeking our assistance are able to raise their work to higher levels.

Child and puppy in Bhutan
Weinstein
HSI is improving the lives of animals abroad.

  • During Spay Day USA, we catalogued more than 38,000 cat and dog spay-neuter surgeries. Through our international affiliate, Humane Society International (HSI), we also took our spaying and neutering programs to 23 other nations, with an additional 7,750 cat and dog surgeries. As a part of this, we joined an initiative with the Bhutanese government to sterilize almost 50,000 street dogs, completing 3,000 sterilizations in the last quarter of 2009. We did or supported thousands of sterilizations in India as well, and trained 120 veterinarians and animal care workers in the Philippines, Ethiopia, and half a dozen other countries in high-volume street dog sterilization techniques.

On the wildlife and law enforcement front, HSI partnered with the Species Survival Network and World Wildlife Fund to provide training to 30 customs officers in Morocco, with a special emphasis on wildlife trade and the illegal trade in Barbary macaques as pets. HSI has also been working with wildlife rescue centers in Central America, training management and technical staff on best practices, protocols, and rehabilitation. In 2009, HSI trained 313 government and nongovernment personnel who confiscate and or receive illegal wildlife in Central America. When you add in other direct care training programs conducted by The HSUS and Humane Society International, at Animal Care Expo and elsewhere, along with the courses sponsored by Humane Society University and Humane Society Youth, it adds up to a world of good that our critics cannot bear to credit.

From the early years of The HSUS, when our state branches launched animal shelters that in several instances continue to function independently, to the current era of expanding direct care services carried out by a number of departments, we’ve been committed to direct care and service to animals for more than half a century. It is a core part of our organizational identity. As our founders envisioned, and our supporters would expect, we balance our direct care work with leadership in challenging factory farming, animal fighting, the fur trade, puppy mills, captive hunts, and other forms of institutional cruelty that CCF wants to see perpetuated. We work tirelessly on all of these fronts, and in 2010, we will take the fight to animal abusers with the gusto that causes their continuing painful obsession.

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