ASPCA VS Humane Society: Differences And Where You Should Donate


Among the most prominent animal welfare organizations in the United States are the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) and the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).

Whether you are here to just learn the differences between these two organizations or having a hard time deciding which one to make donations to, you should understand that both organizations work to prevent animal cruelty, provide disaster relief, rescue animals, and improve their living conditions, although they have distinct missions, methods, and areas of focus.

[table id=11 /]

Key Differences Between The ASPCA And The Humane Society Of the United States

1. The ASPCA was founded in 1866 to prevent cruelty towards animals within the perimeters of the United States, while HSUS was established in 1954 and they work on a global scale to create a humane and protected environment for all animals as well helping animals in crisis.

2. Animal shelters, hospitals and spay/neuter clinics, and pet adoption are run by the ASPCA. However, HSUS does not run local shelters or hospitals but they support animal shelters and have an animal rescue team.

3. The ASPCA operates the Animal Poison Control Center, a unique resource for the emergency treatment of poisoned animals, which the HSUS does not offer.

4. On legislation and lobbying, the HSUS has a more active role, lobbying for animal welfare laws at both the federal and state levels. The ASPCA also supports the legislation but is not as heavily involved in lobbying activities.

5. In funding distribution, HSUS provides more grants to other animal welfare organizations. The ASPCA also gives grants but has a greater emphasis on providing direct services such as animal health care and adoption.

6. The ASPCA is more locally focused with initiatives like animal relocation and adoption programs primarily in the United States. HSUS, however, has a more widespread reach, engaging in animal protection activities and investigations both domestically and internationally.

7. Both the ASPCA and HSUS have faced criticisms. The ASPCA has been critiqued for financial misconduct, bribery settlement, and animal cruelty in the past. The HSUS has been accused of misleading donors with advertising campaigns, wasteful spending, and harboring controversial positions on animal farming and veganism. Both have faced scrutiny over their executive compensation.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA)

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) is a renowned non-profit organization dedicated to preventing cruelty towards animals within the borders of the United States. The organization’s efforts extend across a variety of areas including animal health services, anti-cruelty operations, community outreach, and animal relocation initiatives.

History And Mission Of ASPCA

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) was founded in 1866 and is one of the oldest animal welfare organizations in the United States. The organization has always maintained a steadfast belief in the moral obligation humans have toward treating all creatures with dignity and respect. It is the belief that animals deserve legal safeguarding, irrespective of the shifting tides of human sentiment, that has guided the ASPCA through its one-and-a-half-century journey.

The ASPCA aims to alleviate suffering and promote kindness towards animals. In their commitment to ensuring animal well-being, they push for penalties reflecting the gravity of animal abuse crimes, recognizing the often-seen correlation between animal cruelty and other forms of violence. From working horses of New York City to household pets and farm animals today, the ASPCA continues to uphold the welfare of all animals. Recognizing the profound benefits of the symbiotic relationship between humans and animals, they prioritize the welfare of individual animals alongside preserving animal populations and species.

How Does The ASPCA Help Animals And Pet Owners

1. Animal Welfare Awareness Programs

The ASPCA goes beyond simple animal care and rescue, making significant efforts to reshape society’s view of animals. They tirelessly champion the cause of animal rights, engaging with communities and spreading awareness about animal welfare through education and advocacy initiatives. Their mission is to inspire empathy towards animals, promoting a culture where every creature is treated with the respect and kindness they deserve.

Offering Refuge and Rehabilitation: Homeless or neglected dogs can benefit from the ASPCA’s rescue or shelter offerings. These shelters offer more than just a roof; they serve as rehabilitation centers where animals receive medical care, nourishment, and love.

Furthermore, through their well-organized adoption programs, the ASPCA ensures that these animals find their forever homes, guiding potential pet owners through the adoption process and offering post-adoption support.

2. Disaster Response And Relief

The ASPCA is committed to stepping in during times of disaster. Recognizing the havoc natural disasters can wreak on pet owners and their animals, the ASPCA deploys teams to affected areas to provide emergency aid. They rescue stranded animals, provide temporary shelters, and distribute essential supplies to affected pet owners.

3. Taking a Stand Against Animal Cruelty

In collaboration with law enforcement, the ASPCA actively investigates cases of animal cruelty. They offer forensic services and train law enforcement officials on enforcing animal cruelty laws effectively, thereby making communities safer for animals.

4. Funding Animal Welfare Initiatives

Through its grant program, the ASPCA provides financial assistance to animal welfare organizations nationwide. This enables a multitude of programs aligned with their mission to function effectively, extending their reach beyond their direct operations.

5. Ensuring Access to Veterinary Care

The ASPCA operates hospitals and vet clinics offering a range of veterinary services, from routine checkups to emergency medical interventions at affordable rates, ensuring no low-income pet owner has to choose between their pet’s health and their finances. Their mobile spay/neuter clinics in New York allow pet owners in the neighborhood to join a waitlist for low-cost surgery.

6. Animal Poison Control Center

The ASPCA operates a dedicated helpline to guide pet owners through potential poisoning emergencies, ensuring they can take prompt and correct actions if their pet ingests a toxic substance.

7. Advocating for Animal Welfare Legislation

The ASPCA takes its advocacy to legislative levels, working to improve laws related to animal welfare. They strive to enact and enforce laws that prevent cruelty, promote responsible pet ownership, and enhance the overall well-being of animals.

Criticism Around ASPCA

Despite its substantial contributions to animal welfare, the ASPCA has faced criticism. Past allegations of inhumane practices within the organization, such as the method of euthanizing unclaimed and unadopted animals and reports of subpar treatment towards animals, have stirred controversy.

The organization’s response to calls for assistance and policies surrounding stray animals have also raised concerns. The ASPCA’s practice of charging a fee to individuals who found stray animals and required pickup led to dissent, as did reports of delayed responses to calls for animal rescue.

The ASPCA faced scrutiny for paying a $9.3 million settlement to Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus after it was revealed they had paid the plaintiff to falsely testify about the circus’ involvement in animal cruelty.

Despite these criticisms, the ASPCA’s impact on the animal welfare landscape is undeniable. It remains a leading organization in advocating for animal rights and providing care for animals in need. It’s always crucial for potential donors to conduct personal research to ensure the organization aligns with their values and expectations.

Also Read: Is ASPCA A Good Charity? The Truth About ASPCA!

The Humane Society Of the United States of America (HSUS)

The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) is one of the most influential animal advocacy organizations in America. This non-profit organization has been at the forefront of numerous significant initiatives and policy changes aimed at advancing the welfare of animals since its inception.

HSUS’s mission is a reflection of its commitment to preventing animal suffering, promoting compassionate treatment, and ensuring animals are not subjected to neglect or abuse.

Read on as we delve into the history of HSUS, its mission, and the work they do for the welfare of animals. We also explore the criticisms they have faced over time.

History And Mission Of the Humane Society

The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) was founded in 1954 with a profound vision of establishing a compassionate society for all animals. Operating on the principle of “Celebrating Animals, Confronting Cruelty”, the HSUS has dedicated itself to creating a world where animals are protected from harm, neglect, and cruelty. They aim to bring about long-lasting, systemic change, advocating for the responsible treatment of animals at individual, corporate, and legislative levels.

At the heart of the HSUS’s mission is the goal of bringing about a lasting change in societal attitudes and behavior, ensuring animals coexist in a world that respects their intrinsic value. They aim to eradicate large-scale cruelties that persist against animals, such as factory farming, animal fighting rings, puppy mills, and the wildlife trade, among others

They were instrumental in the 1958 enactment of the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act, which demanded humane slaughter methods in federal slaughterhouses.

HSUS staunchly opposed animal experimentation, fighting against the compulsory provision of animals for experimental use from public pounds and private humane societies. They worked tirelessly to reform animal shelter practices and reduce euthanasia rates, promoting responsible pet ownership and the adoption of shelter animals.

With their undercover investigations, HSUS brought to light the cruel realities of the dog trade, including puppy mills and illegal dog fights, prompting policy reforms. All these efforts together underline the HSUS’s commitment to animal welfare, protection, and advocacy for humane treatment.

The organization recognizes that animals are sentient beings deserving of respect and protection. Thus, the HSUS advocates for compassionate treatment, pushing for strong public policies, robust enforcement, corporate reforms, and public awareness to realize its mission.

How Does The Humane Society Help Animals And Pet Owners?

1. Eliminating Animal Cruelty

The HSUS actively engages in combatting large-scale cruelties. They conduct undercover investigations, raise public awareness, and collaborate with law enforcement and policymakers to put an end to severe forms of animal mistreatment. From exposing the cruelty behind factory farming to fighting against animal testing, the HSUS works on all fronts to defend animals’ rights.

2. Building Animal Protection Movement

The HSUS supports the growth of the animal protection movement by providing training, education, and capacity-building programs to animal care organizations. They offer expert advice, professional training, resources, and networking opportunities to improve animal sheltering standards, promote humane practices, and inspire change in the way society treats animals.

3. Providing Rescues And Shelters

While the HSUS does not operate a network of pet shelters, it does provide animal rescue and emergency response. They have a dedicated team of experts that respond to natural disasters, hoarding situations, dogfighting rings, and other situations where animals are in immediate danger. Rescued animals are cared for at the moment in emergency animal care centers or placed with shelter and rescue partners.

4. Support for Animals in Crisis

The HSUS extends its care to animals in crises. They offer animal rescue and relief in disaster-stricken areas, assisting both animals and pet owners. Whether it’s a hurricane, wildfire, or other disasters, the HSUS steps in to help animals in dire situations.

5. Provision Of Animal Welfare Grants

The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) utilizes its substantial grant program to broaden its influence on animal welfare by supporting organizations that align with its mission. In 2011 alone, HSUS dispersed a notable $6.5 million to 260 different organizations both domestically and internationally.

Despite the IRS requirement only mandating the disclosure of grants exceeding $5,000, the HSUS transparently reports all grants of $500 or more. By offering such financial support, the HSUS empowers other organizations to intensify their work in protecting animals, creating a cumulative impact that expands the overall effect of the animal welfare movement.

Criticism Around Humane Society

The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) has faced substantial criticism regarding its operations and use of donor funds. The organization has been accused of misleading donors through its advertising campaigns, often featuring cats and dogs, despite not directly running any pet shelters. While HSUS does fund animal welfare initiatives, critics argue it does not allocate enough towards local pet shelters, with claims of more funds going into pension plans and Caribbean hedge funds.

Furthermore, the HSUS’s commitment to ending animal farming and promoting a vegan lifestyle has been perceived as a controversial and radical agenda, akin to that of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). There have been claims of key HSUS figures expressing support for radical animal liberation actions, further contributing to controversy.

The organization has also faced serious accusations of misconduct within its leadership. In 2018, then-CEO Wayne Pacelle and vice president Paul Shapiro resigned following allegations of sexual harassment, casting a shadow over the organization’s reputation.

The HSUS paid a $15.75 million federal racketeering lawsuit settlement in 2014, which contributed to concerns about its operations. Additionally, their charity evaluation ratings have often been less than favorable due to alleged wasteful spending, while the organization’s endorsement of controversial figures, such as convicted dogfighter Michael Vick, has also drawn criticism.

These issues have resulted in a trust deficit, with polls suggesting a significant portion of HSUS donors feel misled about the organization’s activities and affiliations.

Should I Donate To ASPCA Or the Humane Society?

We all want to donate to a charity our vision aligns with and where most of our money goes to the cause. Well, choosing between ASPCA and the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) for your donations is a personal decision, which should be guided by what matters most to you in terms of animal welfare.

If your primary concern is the welfare of pets (dogs, cats, etc.) in the United States, and you want to support an organization that directly runs shelters, provides veterinary services, and facilitates pet adoptions, then the ASPCA might align more closely with your priorities.

On the other hand, if you are passionate about a broader range of animal welfare issues, including farm animal welfare, wildlife protection, and systemic policy changes on a global scale, then you might consider donating to the HSUS.

It’s also important to note that 77% of your donations go to the cause of ASPCA, while the Humane Society Of the United States spends only 73% on its animal welfare programs.

The ASPCA offers a variety of direct services including animal rescue, adoption, and healthcare. They also run a unique Animal Poison Control Center. If you value direct, hands-on aid and a focus on pet animals, the ASPCA may be the better choice.

HSUS is highly active in advocating for policy changes at both state and federal levels. If you feel that legislative change is the key to improving animal welfare, then HSUS may align more with your belief.

Both organizations have faced criticisms related to the allocation of funds and legal disputes. You may wish to delve deeper into their financial reports and third-party evaluations to inform your decision.

Read related posts about

What do you think?