Is the Humane Society Really Helping Your Local Shelter?

Many do not know that your local humane society and the Humane Society of the United States are not working towards the same goal. Your local humane society is all about an animal's welfare, medical care, shelter and food while the Humane Society of the United States is only interested in animal rights. Many may be thinking that animal welfare and animal rights are one in the same, but they are not and it is confusing to those people who are not into politics.

Your local humane society is concerned with animal welfare or the humane treatment of animals. There are many animal welfare organizations that are working to create balance between owning and using animals. The Humane Society of the United States is all about animal rights, they claim animals have legal rights and they have the right to not be owned. The HSUS would like to see to it that no animal is "owned" and many members believe that animals should be set free to make their own way in the world with no outside interference.

There is some confusion about what the animal organizations in the United States actually do or are about. Hopefully this will help clear up some of the confusion; The Humane Society of the United States does not operate one animal shelter in the United States. The American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals or the ASPCA does indeed operate a shelter, just one. Their one shelter and hospital are both in New York City. The American Humane Society or AHA, operate no shelters themselves, they are however affiliated with 300 animal shelters that agree to uphold the AHA standards. There is no actual organization called the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. The term SPCA is used as a generic term nationwide that refers to animal shelters.

Many people donate to HSUS and ASPCA thinking that their local shelter will benefit when in actuality the local shelter will not receive one penny of your donation. Your local animal shelter may be called a humane society, or even the SPCA, but these are titles only and are not affiliated with any other organization. If you are still unsure got to all the organizations websites and do a bit of digging and see what you find out on each before you make that donation.

All these organizations are intended to help animals and they both do to some extent but if you want to help fund the shelter, food and medical care for animals your best bet is to give the donation directly to your local shelter, and do not forget to volunteer!

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Lucky Cats profile image

Lucky Cats 5 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California

Hi there JesadaB.

You are correct; there is a major difference between the local animal shelter and the larger, nationwide animal organizations which you've listed here. Local shelters, do provide temporary housing, food, medical attention to abandoned, unwanted animals. This is a very good thing. Usually staffed primarily with volunteers, these small organizations do their best to place animals in permanent homes through local newspaper advertisements, fund raising events, etc. Not all small, local animal shelters are the same and not all are as good or conscientious as others. Some are no kill; others give animals only 3 days of life before being euthanized. It all depends upon so many variables.

This said, I feel the need to add a bit of information about the larger organizations which you've mentioned. Many of these are dedicated to the education of people with the goal of changing attitudes towards animals; viewing animals as more valuable than is typical thus resulting in (a desired effect) better treatment and caretaking, overall, of our companion animals. the idea of not "owning" an animal is wishing to change the definition of the relationship between people and the animals we've chosen to include in our households; our families. To "own" is vastly different than to "care for" or "have as a companion." Some might think that semantics are just that; semantics but, the premise is that, once considering and applying a different paradigm to our relationship with companion animals, we will begin to regard them w/more respect and love, seeing our animal friends as deserving the intrinsic 'right' to live a good, happy and healthy life much as we wish for ourselves.

There is much more to this subject matter about which I plan to address in the near future. thank you for introducing this topic .


JesadaB profile image

JesadaB 5 years ago from Home! Author

Thanks Lucky Cats! I hope you do expand upon this subject as I think it is important for people to know that even though all the places do important work that if they are giving money to support the work their local shelters or humane societies do, they may want to give the fund directly to the organization instead of places like HSUS and ASPCA who do not directly support or care for the animals in the local shelters.

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