On this special holiday devoted to giving thanks, we would like to share our Top 10 Reasons to be thankful in 2014:
- Farmers and ranchers who put the “thanks” in Thanksgiving by going the extra mile to raise their animals humanely.
Some 10 billion animals are raised on our nation’s farms and ranches, yet the vast majority – almost 90 percent – are not provided animal-centric welfare standards beyond the industry standards offered by trade association guidelines and retailer-imposed audits. Our hats are off to those farmers and ranchers who go the extra mile and raise their animals according to science-based, verifiable standards that ensure they have adequate space, lighting, food and water, humane treatment and the ability to express natural behaviors. More than 100 producers on 8,000 farms have joined our American Humane Certified™ program – the country’s first and largest farm animal welfare effort now protecting 1 billion animals. Thank you! And now it is even easier than ever for Americans to make humane choices at the grocery store and to set a humane table this holiday season and all year long. Join us and do your part by purchasing humanely raised products.
- Our dedicated Red Star® Rescue volunteers. We couldn’t deploy to some of America’s most dangerous disaster zones and major animal cruelty cases without them. They take their hard-earned time off from day jobs to deploy with American Humane Association and help animals in crisis. They stand ready to spring into action at a moment’s notice, and this year joined us in cases including an emergency deployment to help 200 animals at a shelter that lost its way in New Jersey, and twice in Tennessee to help starving horses and a mule who were found in such bad shape they were literally “breathing skeletons.” Thanks to their help, animals survived and have been given second chances at life.
- Military Hero Dog Teams. There are an estimated 2,500 military working dogs and contract working dogs helping to protect our servicemen and women in the line of duty. It’s estimated that each dog can save the lives of between 150-200 members of the military, and when they’re not searching out hidden threats, they provide a sense of comfort and reminder of home to the people they work with. Their two-legged heroes on the other end of the leash do so much to keep their fellow brothers and sisters in arms safe from hidden threats. This Thanksgiving, we celebrate American heroes on both ends of the leash who have served with honor in our nation’s military.
- Hero Dog Susie and hero dogs everywhere. Susie the pit bull was named the American Hero Dog at the 2014 American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards™, and it’s easy to see why. She took home top honors in the Therapy Dog Category because of her constant visits to those in need of the comfort of a therapy dog. Susie’s mom, Donna Lawrence, is truly a humane hero. As the survivor of a brutal dog attack herself, she gave a second chance at life to this dog who had been left for dead in a North Carolina park. But together they embarked on a mission to bring about harsher penalties for animal abusers through the passage of “Susie’s Law.” Truly, Susie, and all seven of our other Hero Dog Awards winners – Bretagne, Chaney, JJ, Kai, Kota, Xena, and Xxon – are canine champions to be thankful for.
- Scientific Advisory Committee members. These preeminent internationally respected experts create and update the scientific, evidence-based certification standards for our Humane Heartland™ and Humane Hollywood™’s “No Animals Were Harmed®” programs, the latter which has monitored the safety of animal actors on set 75 years! We thank the leading welfare experts, scientists, veterinarians and humane advocates who give generously of their time and talents to ensure the humane protections of the voiceless.
- Our dedicated celebrity advocates. Some of Hollywood’s brightest stars are counted among our most loyal fans and advocates for building a more humane world. Such luminaries as Naomi Judd, Pauley Perrette, Miranda Lambert, Ice-T and Coco, and so many more help us to spread our 138-year old message of compassion, caring, and hope.
- Research partners. Through generous support from forward-thinking foundations and corporations who care about children and animals, we are able to continue our vital humane research work. From the Canines and Childhood Cancer clinical trial to our survey research, the groundbreaking work to find meaningful solutions for issues impacting children and animals wouldn’t be possible without our research partners.
- Child and animal welfare workers. These local heroes do so much every day in our hometown communities rescuing our most precious in time of need and crisis. American Humane Association has long supported their efforts through training and research, and salutes their valuable contributions to making our hometowns more humane.
- Our own families and friends – two and four legged. They know the importance of American Humane Association’s mission, and serve as our daily inspirations. We cherish getting to spend our holidays with them.
- And most importantly, YOU! We remain ever grateful for your compassion, caring and support. Every day we go to work to protect more than a billion children, pets, and farm animals from cruelty, abuse, and neglect, and we couldn’t do it without you. Whether it’s through your contributions, buying our new book Animal Stars: Behind the Scenes with Your Favorite Animal Actors, liking our Facebook posts, retweeting our latest news, or helping to spread our message of compassion, caring, and hope, thank you. Together, we can build a more humane world.
I hope you enjoy your holiday weekend, your time with loved ones, watching the football games, braving the crowds at the malls, and those fabulous leftovers!
With kindness and gratitude,
Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at American Humane Association.