Since 1954, this nationwide organization has worked to protect animals

The Humane Society of the United States was founded in 1954 in order "to create a humane and sustainable world for all animals." The Humane Society boasts more than 11 million members, making it the country's most effective animal protection organization.

The organization's purpose. The HSUS has stayed true to its founding principles by "celebrating animals and confronting cruelty." The Humane Society's mission is "to forge a lasting and comprehensive change in human consciousness of and behavior toward all animals in order to prevent animal cruelty, exploitation, and neglect, and to protect wild habitats and the entire community of life."

The organization's methods. Education, advocacy, public policy reform, and the empowerment of supporters and partners characterize the Humane Society's efforts to accomplish its mission. HSUS emphasizes its respect for laws and the feelings of others as it moves forward to accomplish its goals. The Humane Society has direct animal care centers throughout the United States that assist thousands of animals, send lobbyists to Congress and educate the public about animal cruelty issues.

Specific Humane Society projects. The HSUS sponsors animal protection initiatives that include the prevention of animal cruelty and fighting, the elimination of puppy mills and overpopulation, the prevention of seal hunts and the fur trade, the ending of wildlife abuse, and the prevention of horse slaughter and equine abuse. The society aids animal rescue services, pet adoption, spay/neuter initiatives and direct care for animals at centers throughout the country.

Local humane societies. Local humane societies are not run by the Humane Society of the United States. They are independent establishments that serve the needs of their local communities. The HSUS does, however, work with local societies through training, evaluations, publications and other professional services.

What you can do to support the Humane Society. In addition to making donations at its website, by phone or by mail, HSUS lists several ways to support its causes, including contacting local law enforcement if you witness animal abuse, getting ID tags for your pet, preparing a disaster plan that includes your pet, adopting a pet and contacting your representatives in Congress in support of HSUS initiatives.