What The HSUS Does

The Humane Society of the United States (The HSUS) is the nation’s largest and most effective animal protection organization. We advocate for better laws to protect animals; conduct campaigns to reform industries; provide animal rescue and emergency response; investigate cases of animal cruelty; and care for animals through our affiliated sanctuaries and wildlife rehabilitation centers, emergency shelters and clinics.


The HSUS formed in 1954, by Fred Myers, Larry Andrews, Marcia Glaser, and Helen Jones, who recognized that the animal welfare professionals serving in local organizations were consumed with the day-to-day tasks of community animal care and control; there was no organization to speak out on a national level against cruelty or to celebrate the human-animal bond. Thus the founding mission of The HSUS was born: to support the work of local humane organizations by providing that national voice.

Today we continue to confront the largest national and international problems facing animals. These are problems which most local shelters and organizations don’t have the reach or the resources to take on, such as animal fighting, puppy mills, horse slaughter and soring, seal killing and other forms of commercial slaughter of marine mammals, captive hunting and the wildlife trade, and inhumane slaughter and factory farming. 60 years later, we’re still leading the charge to confront cruelty to all animals.

While we come to the aid of animals in crisis, we also attack the root causes of problems.  Our most important goal is to prevent animals from getting into situations of distress in the first place. The HSUS drives transformational change for animals—bringing a wide set of tools to take on the biggest fights, confronting multi-billion dollar industries, and staying the course until we achieve reform. It is because of our effectiveness that we have opponents who target us. Many try to remain nameless by funding groups like Rick Berman’s front groups and the other players listed on this site. Nevertheless, we continue to make positive change for all animals and you can see a snapshot of the victories our supporters are making possible in the videos on this page.

We take a mainstream approach and combat the most severe forms of cruelty and abuse. Leaders in the humane movement ranked us the most effective animal organization in the country, in a survey conducted by Guidestar’s Philanthropedia. We are approved by the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance for all 20 standards for charity accountability, and were named by Worth Magazine as one of the 10 most fiscally responsible charities.