American Humane

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
(Redirected from American Humane Association)

American Humane
Founded1877 (144 years ago)
FocusAnimal welfare, animal rights, child welfare
Area served
United States
MethodTraining, disaster response

American Humane (AH) is an organization founded in 1877 committed to ensuring the safety, welfare, and well-being of animals. It was previously called the International Humane Association before changing its name in 1878. In 1940, it became the sole monitoring body for the humane treatment of animals on the sets of Hollywood films and other broadcast productions. American Humane is best known for its certification mark "No Animals Were Harmed", which appears at the end of film or television credits where animals are featured. It has also run the Red Star Animal Emergency Services since 1916. In 2000, American Humane formed the Farm Animal Services program, an animal welfare label system for food products. American Humane is currently[when?] headquartered in Washington, D.C.[4] It is a section 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.[5]

Early history[edit]

The American Humane Association, 1919

American Humane began on October 9, 1877, as the International Humane Association, with the amalgamation of 27 organizations from across the United States after a meeting at the Kennard House in Cleveland, Ohio.[6] The invitation to the other groups came from the Illinois Humane Society, sent on September 15, 1877, to discuss the specific problem of farm animal maltreatment during their transport between the eastern and western US. Groups attending the meeting included associations from the State of New York, Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Maryland, Connecticut, and New Hampshire. A group from Minnesota also pledged its support to the forthcoming results of the conference, though they could not attend, and a group from the Canadian province of Quebec requested that a transcript of the proceedings be sent to them afterward.[7]

The International Humane Association changed its name to the "American Humane Association" in November 1878.[8] New member organizations were in attendance for their second annual general meeting, held in Baltimore, Maryland, and also came from California, Massachusetts, Maine, Delaware, and the District of Columbia. Canadian regions were also included in the Association.[9] From 1892 to 1900, Francis H. Rowley was Secretary of the American Humane Association.[10]

In 1916, American Humane founded Red Star Rescue Relief after the U.S. Secretary of War asked American Humane to rescue injured horses on the battlefields of World War I.[11] Notable members of 1917 included President William O. Stillman and 2nd Vice-President Peter G. Gerry. There were 36 Vice-Presidents listed including William Howard Taft, Thomas R. Marshall, and Francis H. Rowley.[12]

In 1954, tensions within the ranks of American Humane members came to a head at the organization's annual meeting, as a member-nominated slate of board candidates stood for office in opposition to a board-nominated slate. The majority of those assembled at the Atlanta, Georgia, convention elected the three candidates on the member-nominated slate; J. Perry, Raymond Naramore, and Roland Smith. In the meeting's aftermath, there were firings and resignations on the part of staff members, including Larry Andrews, Marcia Glaser, Helen Jones, and Fred Myers. This core group went on to found a new organization, the National Humane Society, later known as The Humane Society of the United States, as an alternative to American Humane.[13]

American Humane's first "No Animals Were Harmed" end credit was issued at the end of the movie The Doberman Gang in 1972.[14]

In 1997, American Humane launched The Front Porch Project to prevent child abuse and neglect.[14]

Charity evaluations[edit]

American Humane is a BBB accredited charity.[15] American Humane also received a B+ rating from CharityWatch.[16]

Red Star Animal Emergency Services[edit]

According to The Gettysburg Times, the "American Humane Association began offering animal relief in August 1916, by accepting an invitation of the War Department to help animals used by the U.S. Army during WWI. The invitation resulted in the development of the American Red Star Animal Relief Program known today as Red Star Rescue Relief. Since its inception, the American Humane Association's Red Star Animal Emergency Services has responded to national and international disasters, rescuing thousands of animals."[17] Disasters in which the group has rescued animals including the 2011 Joplin tornado,[18] Hurricane Katrina, the 2010 Haiti earthquake,[19] Hurricane Sandy,[20] the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, and the September 11 attacks.[21]

Today, Red Star Rescue Relief includes a fleet of emergency response vehicles customized to help animals in disasters, as well as specialized rescue equipment designed specifically for animal search and rescue.[17]

Recently, Red Star Rescue Relief saved hundreds of shelter animals following an F-5 tornado in Oklahoma. In addition to natural disasters, Red Star Rescue Relief also recovers animals from dog-fighting rings, man-made disasters, and hazardous animal shelters.[22]


American Humane has released several books and publications including:

  • Animal Stars: Behind the Scenes with Your Favorite Animal Actors (2014) chronicles the animals and trainers in popular movies and television shows.[23][24]
  • Pet Meets Baby (2011) which provides tips to animal owners on how to prepare for a baby.[25]
  • Protecting Children, a quarterly journal focused on child welfare.[26]

Work in the film industry[edit]

Film and television unit[edit]

American Humane began its work in film in 1940 after an incident that occurred on the set of the film Jesse James.[27] The group began protesting the public release of the film because of a scene in which a horse was forced to run off the edge of a cliff.[28] The horse fell over 70 feet to the ground below and broke its spine, having to be put down afterwards.[29] In 1966, American Humane's access to some sets was diminished for 14 years following the dismantling of the Hays Office, during which time their jurisdiction was lessened.

By contract with the Screen Actors Guild, American Humane monitors animal use on film sets. However, the Screen Actors Guild has no jurisdiction concerning non-American and non-union productions.[30]

In 1980,[31] following the release of Heaven's Gate, the opening of which was met with a national picketing and protest effort after complaints about how the filming of the movie had involved the inhumane treatment of animals – including the deaths of five horses – the Screen Actors Guild negotiated for the universal presence of American Humane on the set as part of its union deal, forcing moviemakers to contact American Humane in advance of any animal being present on set.[32]

Today the American Humane Film and Television Unit specifically oversees animals used during media productions, and it is sanctioned by the Screen Actors Guild to oversee a production's humane care of animals. It is the only organization with jurisdiction to do so within the United States.[33] Because of this, American Humane may choose to issue the end credit disclaimer "No Animals Were Harmed", with a piece of a filmstrip that depicts a dog, a horse and an elephant.[34] American Humane also reports on animal safety during filming if public concerns arise or if animal accidents happen on the set.[35] American Humane protects the animals on the set as well as the cast/crew members who interact with the animals. According to American Humane, they ensure that budgets and time constraints do not compromise the safety or care of the animals.[36]


American Humane's standard of animal care is outlined in the Guidelines for the Safe Use of Animals in Filmed Media, which were established in 1988. It covers large animals, as well as fish, insects, birds, reptiles, and any other living creature.[37] On the set, American Humane's Certified Animal Safety Representatives attempt to ensure the Guidelines are upheld.[38] American Humane's oversight includes film, television, commercials, music videos, and Internet productions.[39]


In the late 1980s, American Humane was accused by Bob Barker and the United Activists for Animal Rights of condoning animal cruelty on the set of Project X and in several other media projects. The basis of the accusation was the allowing of a cattle prod and a gun on set, and the rumored beating of the chimpanzee on set. American Humane responded by launching a $10 million suit for libel, slander and invasion of privacy against Barker.[40] American Humane claimed that there had been a two-year "vendetta" against them behind the accusations.[41] In a series of public advertisements along with the $10 million libel suit, American Humane stated that the allegations were made based on insufficient and misleading information.[40] The suit was eventually settled by Barker's insurance company, which paid American Humane $300,000.[42]

Los Angeles Times reported, in 2001, that the American Humane Film Unit "has been slow to criticize cases of animal mistreatment, yet quick to defend the big-budget studios it is supposed to police," and that an examination of American Humane "also raises questions about the association's effectiveness." The article cites numerous cases of animals injured during filming which the American Humane may have overlooked.[43]

In late 2013, The Hollywood Reporter ran a story which implicated American Humane in turning a blind eye to and underreporting incidents of animal abuse on television and movie sets. For example, during the filming of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, 27 animals died. Nevertheless, the movie received a "no animals were harmed" disclaimer. During the filming of the movie Life of Pi, the tiger "King" nearly drowned in a pool, yet this incident was not reported outside of the American Humane organization.[44]

In early 2017, CNN reported that American Humane's representative for the movie A Dog's Purpose failed to properly monitor and protect a dog used in the film. American Humane placed an employee on leave after a video was published showing the dog in distress while performing a stunt for the movie.[45] A third-party report later found that the video was "deliberately edited for the purpose of misleading the public and stoking public outrage."[46][47]

Recent programs[edit]

Humane Heartland[edit]

In 2000, American Humane's Farm Animals Services program created the first farm animal welfare label to be overseen by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The program began as "Free Farmed" under Adele Douglass, who left American Humane in 2003, to found Humane Farm Animal Care. American Humane's program is now called "Humane Heartland."

American Humane certifies farms after evaluating them on a five-point criteria. The animals are expected to be free from hunger, discomfort, pain, and fear, and able to express normal behaviors. Farms that meet this criteria receive an American Humane Certified label.[48]

In the past four years, the number of American Humane Certified animals has jumped more than 1,000%. Over 1 billion animals are now American Humane Certified.[48] As of July 2012, it claimed to include 100 major producers, representing approximately 500 farms,[49] and more than 135 million animals.[50] The auditing is done by American Humane, with the USDA also auditing the certifications to ensure compliance.[51][52] The label informs purchasers that American Humane has found that the animals were not subjected to unnecessary pain, distress, or fear while being raised.[53] Part of what the program demands is the implementation of minimum space requirements per animal on a farm or in farming facilities.[54] American Humane currently certifies approximately 90 percent of cage-free eggs sold in the U.S.[55]


In 2013, Foster Farms earned the American Humane Certified designation from American Humane for its handling of poultry.[56] In June 2015, Mercy for Animals released a video of an undercover investigation of several Foster Farms poultry facilities certified as "humane" by American Humane. The footage included workers treating the chickens violently and using inhumane slaughter methods; this resulted in Mercy for Animals calling American Humane's certification program "a scam".[57]

The American Humane Hero Dog Awards[edit]

Each year a series of dogs are awarded the Hero Dog Awards, given to dogs that have contributed substantially to human society. There are several categories in which dogs can be nominated, including the Military Dog category. The grand prize for the American Hero Dog was $10,000, which is given to a charity that reflects the contributions of the animal.[58] In 2011 and 2012 the awards were broadcast on the Hallmark Channel.[59] The first winner of the national award was a dog named Roselle, who led his blind owner down from the 78th floor of the World Trade Center during the September 11 attacks. There were more than 400,000 votes cast in the online poll that determined the winner. Unfortunately, Roselle died several months before the winner was announced. The award was given on November 11, 2011.[60]

Child welfare services[edit]

American Humane has several initiatives to improve child welfare services.[61]

Front Porch Project[edit]

American Humane launched the Front Porch Project in 1997 in order to prevent child abuse and neglect. American Humane works through 'sustainer' organizations in local communities in order to intervene on behalf of at-risk and abused children.[62]

In addition to building a network of community trainers, the Front Porch Project also invests in evaluating the performance of their initiatives in each of the communities they operate in.[63]

The Fatherhood Initiative[edit]

American Humane launched the Fatherhood Initiative in order to develop better methods of engaging non-resident fathers with children who are in the welfare system. The project researches the impact of non-resident fathers on their children, and examines how to foster or improve their relationship.[64]

The Fatherhood Initiative also provides information to caseworkers on techniques to identify and locate non-resident fathers.[64]

Governance and finances[edit]

American Humane's budget for 2013 was just over $13 million. Their total revenue was $13.4 million.[1]

The organization closed its Denver, Colorado office in 2011 and moved its operations to Washington, D.C.[65]

Eric Bruner, the board chair of the organization, resigned in January 2013 amidst revelations that American Humane paid $233,863 to his business partner, Gregory Dew, for unspecified consulting services. Dew was the highest paid American Humane "independent contractor" in the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2011, according to filings the charity submitted to the IRS.[30][66]


In 2004, Marie Belew Wheatley became executive director of American Humane. In 2010, she left to become the executive director of the Colorado Ballet, and then left the Colorado Ballet in 2013.[67] Current American Humane President and CEO Robin Ganzert received $284,912 in compensation for 2013.[68] Jack Hubbard serves as American Humane's Chief Operating Officer.[69]


John G. Shortall
John L. Shortall

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Compassion Brochure" (PDF). American Humane. Archived from the original (PDF) on August 11, 2014. Retrieved March 3, 2015.
  2. ^ "Form 990" (PDF). American Humane. 2012. Archived from the original (PDF) on December 9, 2013. Retrieved January 29, 2014. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)</
  3. ^ "About Us - American Humane - American Humane".
  4. ^ "American Humane Association moving HQ from Colorado to D.C." Denver Business Journal. February 14, 2011. Retrieved February 28, 2013.
  5. ^ "American Humane Association: Tax Status". Better Business Bureau. Retrieved March 4, 2013.
  6. ^ Claire M. Renzetti; Jeffrey L. Edleson (2008). Encyclopedia of Interpersonal Violence, Volume 1. SAGE Publications. ISBN 9781412918008. Retrieved February 28, 2013.
  7. ^ Doings of the Annual Meeting, Volumes 1. American Humane Association. 1877. pp. 5–7. Retrieved February 28, 2013.
  8. ^ Doings of the Annual Meeting, Volumes 1, p. 19
  9. ^ Doings of the Annual Meeting, Volumes 2. American Humane Association. 1878. pp. 8–9. Retrieved February 28, 2013.
  10. ^ a b The National Cyclopædia of American Biography, Volume 43. (1961). New York: James T. White & Company. pp. 206-207
  11. ^ "Colorado Floods: American Humane Association's Red Star™ rescue team mobilizes to help animal victims". Retrieved March 3, 2015.
  12. ^ The American Humane Association. Volume 5, No. 1. (January, 1917).
  13. ^ P. Parkes and J. Sichel, The Humane Society of the United States 1954-1979: Twenty Five Years of Growth and Achievement, Washington, 1979, 3
  14. ^ a b "History and Milestones". American Humane Association. Retrieved March 3, 2015.
  15. ^ "Charity Review". BBB Wise Giving Alliance. Retrieved March 2, 2015.
  16. ^ "CharityWatch Report". CharityWatch. Retrieved March 2, 2015.
  17. ^ a b "Rig headed to area to mark SPCA event". The Gettysburg Times. June 16, 2007. Retrieved February 28, 2013.
  18. ^ "American Humane Association to help animal victims of Joplin disaster". The State Journal-Register. May 25, 2011.
  19. ^ Steve Dale (January 27, 2011). "Robin Ganzert Steers American Humane Association from a Celebrated Past into A Promising Future". ChicagoNow. Archived from the original on April 2, 2015. Retrieved March 4, 2013.
  20. ^ Laura T. Coffey (October 30, 2012). "Rush is on to rescue animals stranded in Sandy's wake". Today. Retrieved March 4, 2013.
  21. ^ Erin Thompson (July 9, 2007). "Animal rescue group shows off big rig". The Evening Sun. Retrieved March 4, 2013.
  22. ^ "Charity's special 'Gratitude' event honors South Florida's premiere humanitarian". BrownFlynn. Archived from the original on April 2, 2015. Retrieved March 2, 2015.
  23. ^ "Animal Stars: Behind the Scenes With Your Favorite Animal Actors". Look to the Stars. August 15, 2014. Retrieved March 2, 2015.
  24. ^ "San Francisco Book Review". Animal Stars: Behind The Scenes With your Favorite Animal Actors. Archived from the original on March 20, 2015. Retrieved March 2, 2015.
  25. ^ "Helpful Information". Accvet. Archived from the original on January 12, 2015. Retrieved March 2, 2015.
  26. ^ Renzetti, Claire (2008). Encyclopedia of Interpersonal Violence, Volume 1. Sage Publications. ISBN 9781412918008. Retrieved March 2, 2015.
  27. ^ Johnna Rizzo (February 24, 2013). "Dorothy Lamour never got nominated for an Oscar, while a chimp never could". National Geographic. Retrieved February 28, 2013.
  28. ^ "Groups targeting Humane Association over treatment of apes in movies". USA Today. Associated Press. March 15, 2006. Retrieved February 28, 2013.
  29. ^ "Hollywood Under Fire in Death of 2nd Horse". Los Angeles Daily News. April 28, 2005. Retrieved February 28, 2013.
  30. ^ a b Animal People, 2013 Animal People Watchdog Report, 5, Archived September 7, 2014, at the Wayback Machine
  31. ^ The Fifth Estate. "PROFILE: American Humane". CBC News. Retrieved February 28, 2013.
  32. ^ Lisa Wolfson (August 1, 1987). "The Humane Society keeps film set abuse down". Deseret News. Retrieved March 4, 2013.
  33. ^ Eve Light Honthaner (2013). The Complete Film Production Handbook. CRC Press. ISBN 9781136053054. Retrieved February 28, 2013.
  34. ^ Empire (2012). Empire Movie Miscellany: Instant Film Buff Status Guaranteed. Random House. p. 160. ISBN 9781448132911.
  35. ^ "American Humane Investigates Horse Injury on Set of Russell Crowe's '3:10 To Yuma'". Star Pulse. October 26, 2006. Archived from the original on October 15, 2013. Retrieved February 28, 2013.
  36. ^ American Human Association. "Protecting Your Ass* From Harm" (PDF). American Human Film & Television Units. p. 4. Archived from the original (PDF) on June 20, 2012. Retrieved February 28, 2013.
  37. ^ Steven Pinker (2011). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined. Penguin Books. ISBN 9781101544648. Retrieved February 28, 2013.
  38. ^ Thomas Lennonand Robert B Garant (2011). Writing Movies for Fun and Profit: How We Made a Billion Dollars at the Box Office and You Can, Too!. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-1439186770. Retrieved February 28, 2013.
  39. ^ Elayne Boosler (March 27, 2012). "Yes, Animals Were Harmed in the Making of This Motion Picture". HuffPost. Retrieved February 28, 2013.
  40. ^ a b Lucinda Smith; Leah Feldon; Eleanor Hoover (September 18, 1989). "Speaking Up for 'Abused' Animals, Bob Barker Is Hit with a Lawsuit". People. Retrieved February 28, 2013.
  41. ^ "Game Show Host Sued For Libel". The Spokesman-Review. Associated Press. August 31, 1989. p. A7. Retrieved February 28, 2013.
  42. ^ "Animal Board Official Seeks Conflict-of-Interest Probe". Los Angeles Daily News. March 30, 1994. Retrieved March 4, 2013.
  43. ^ Ralph Frammolino; James Bates (February 9, 2001). "Questions Raised About Group That Watches Out for Animals in Movies". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 28, 2013.
  44. ^ Animals were harmed
  45. ^ Sandra Gonzalez (January 19, 2017). "'A Dog's Purpose' faces backlash after 'disturbing' video surfaces". CNN. Retrieved January 19, 2017.
  46. ^ McCleary, Kelly. "'A Dog's Purpose' video mischaracterized events, investigation finds". CNN. Retrieved June 16, 2018.
  47. ^ services, Tribune news. "'A Dog's Purpose' leaked video that raised concerns was misleadingly edited: report". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved June 16, 2018.
  48. ^ a b "American Humane Association Certifies the Welfare of Nearly One Billion Farm Animals". Growing Georgia. Retrieved March 3, 2015.
  49. ^ "American Humane's CEO Predicts Continued Intensive Animal Agriculture, But With Significant Humane Improvements". Fox 19. Archived from the original on April 2, 2015. Retrieved March 3, 2015.
  50. ^ "Is Talk Cheap in Farm Animal Welfare?". Cause Matters Corp. May 12, 2011. Retrieved March 3, 2015.
  51. ^ Melinda Fulmer (September 20, 2000). "New Food Label to Certify Humane Treatment of Animals". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 28, 2013.
  52. ^ "Standards and Guidelines". USDA. Retrieved March 3, 2015.
  53. ^ "Label Indicates Humane Treatment, 'Free Farmed' Foods Mean Producers Are Kind to Animals". San Jose Mercury News. September 20, 2000. Retrieved March 4, 2013.
  54. ^ Price, Catherine (September 16, 2008). "Sorting Through the Claims of the Boastful Egg". The New York Times. Retrieved December 27, 2021.
  55. ^ "The Happy Egg Co Receives AHA Certification". Grocery Headquarters. Archived from the original on April 2, 2015. Retrieved March 3, 2015.
  56. ^ "American Humane® Certified FAQ". Foster Farms. Archived from the original on March 11, 2015. Retrieved March 3, 2015.
  57. ^ Mercy for Animals (June 17, 2015). "American Humane Association Slammed For Awarding 'Humane' Certification To Slaughterhouse Caught on Video Torturing Animals". PR Newswire. Retrieved June 22, 2016.
  58. ^ Christina Ng (September 19, 2012). "Military Heroes and Their Hero Dogs". ABC World News Tonight. Retrieved February 28, 2013.
  59. ^ "Kristin Chenoweth to host 'Hero Dog Awards' show". Tulsa World. September 26, 2012. Retrieved February 28, 2013.
  60. ^ Linda Wilson Fuoco (October 29, 2011). "Pet Tales -- Heroes in the spotlight: Guide dog honored for leading her human to safety on 9/11". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved March 4, 2013.
  61. ^ "Children". American Humane. Archived from the original on March 11, 2015. Retrieved March 3, 2015.
  62. ^ "Fatherhood Initiative". American Humane Association. Archived from the original on February 16, 2011. Retrieved March 3, 2015.
  63. ^ "Children". American Humane Association. Archived from the original on April 8, 2011. Retrieved March 3, 2015.
  64. ^ a b "Social Worker Training Curriculum: Engaging the Non-Resident Father" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on April 2, 2015. Retrieved March 3, 2015.
  65. ^ "American Humane Association moving HQ from Colorado to D.C." Denver Business Journal.
  66. ^ "American Humane Assn. board Chairman Eric Bruner resigns". Los Angeles Times. January 9, 2013. Retrieved June 9, 2014.
  67. ^ Kyle MacMillan (August 28, 2010). "With new director, ballet seeks financial stability". The Denver Post. Retrieved June 9, 2014.
  68. ^ "Form 990" (PDF). American Humane. Archived from the original (PDF) on April 2, 2015. Retrieved March 3, 2015.
  69. ^ Humane, American. "American Humane Names Senior Executive to Drive Support and Expansion of Programs Serving the Nation's Most Vulnerable". Retrieved October 29, 2018.
  70. ^ "William Olin Stillman Papers: Manuscripts and Special Collections: New York State Library". Retrieved June 9, 2014.
  71. ^ "Denounce Wearing of Bird Feathers". The New York Times. October 23, 1923. Retrieved November 4, 2012. Dr. Frank L. Baldwin, Vice President of American Humane Society [sic], under the auspices of Which the conference was called, characterized New York as 'the mecca of humane workers and the birthplace of the humanitarian movement.'
  72. ^ "American Humane Association, Aetna Foundation, Dave Thomas Foundation, and more". Philanthropy Journal. September 1, 2010. Archived from the original on December 20, 2010. Retrieved March 4, 2013.


  • Coleman, Sydney. Humane Society Leaders in America (Albany: American Humane Association, 1924).

External links[edit]