American Humane Association
|Founder||John Shortall, James Brown|
|Focus||Animal welfare, animal rights, child welfare|
|Method||training, disaster response,|
|Mission||Ensure the welfare, wellness and well-being of children and animals|
|Website||American Humane Association|
The American Humane Association (AHA) is an organization founded in 1877, dedicated to the welfare of animals and children. 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. AHA is best known for its trademarked certification "No Animals Were Harmed", which appears at the end of film or television credits. It has also run the Red Star Animal Emergency Services since 1916. In 2000, AHA formed the Farm Animal Services program, an animal welfare label system for food products. The Association is currently headquartered in Washington D.C. It is a section 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
- 1 Early history
- 2 Charity evaluations
- 3 Red Star Animal Emergency Services
- 4 Publications
- 5 Work in the film industry
- 6 Recent programs
- 7 Child welfare services
- 8 Governance and finances
- 9 Employees
- 10 People
- 11 See also
- 12 References
- 13 Sources
- 14 External links
The American Humane Association began on October 9, 1877, as "The International Humane Association," with the amalgamation of 27 organizations from across the US after a meeting at the Kennard House in Cleveland, Ohio. 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 pledge its support to the forthcoming results of the conference, though they could not attend, and a group from the Province of Quebec in Canada requested the proceedings be sent to them following the proceedings.
The International Humane Association changed its name to the "American Humane Association" in November 1878. New member organizations were in attendance for their second annual general meeting, held in Baltimore, Maryland, also came from California, Massachusetts, Maine, Delaware, and the District of Columbia. Canadian regions were also included in the Association.
In 1954, tensions within the ranks of American Humane Association 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 AHA.
The American Humane Association's first "No Animals Were Harmed" end credit was issued at the end of the movie The Doberman Gang in 1972.
In 1997, The American Humane Association launched The Front Porch Project in order to prevent child abuse and neglect.
Red Star Animal Emergency Services
According to the 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." Disasters where the group has rescued animals include the 2011 Joplin tornado, Hurricane Katrina, the 2010 Haiti earthquake, Hurricane Sandy, the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, and the September 11 attacks.
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.
Recently, Red Star Rescue Relief saved hundreds of shelter animals following a 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.
The American Humane Association 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 TV shows.
- Pet Meets Baby (2011) which provides tips to animal owners on how to prepare for a baby.
- Protecting Children, a quarterly journal focused on child welfare.
Work in the film industry
Film and television unit
The American Humane Association began its work in film in 1940, after an incident that occurred on the set of the film Jesse James. The group began protesting the public release of the film, because of a scene where a horse was forced to run off the edge of a cliff. The horse fell over 70 feet to the ground below and broke its spine, having to be put down afterwards. In 1966 the AHA’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, AHA monitors animal use on film sets. However, the Screen Actors Guild has no jurisdiction concerning foreign and non-union productions.
In 1980, 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 AHA on the set as part of its union deal, forcing moviemakers to contact AHA in advance of any animal being present on set.
Today the American Humane Association 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. Because of this, the AHA 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. The AHA also reports on animal safety during filming if public concerns arise or if animal accidents happen on the set. The American Humane Association protects the animals on the set as well as the cast/crew members who interact with the animals. According to the AHA, they ensure that budgets and time constraints do not compromise the safety or care of the animals.
The AHA'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. On the set, AHA's Certified Animal Safety Representatives attempt to ensure the Guidelines are upheld. AHA's oversight includes film, television, commercials, music videos, and Internet productions.
In the late 1980s, the Association 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. The Association responded by launching a $10 million suit for libel, slander and invasion of privacy against Mr. Barker. The American Humane Association claimed that there had been a two-year "vendetta" against them behind the accusations. In a series of public ads along with the $10 million libel suit, the Association stated that the allegations were made based on insufficient and misleading information. The suit was eventually settled by Barker's insurance company, which paid AHA $300,000.
The Los Angeles Times reported, in 2001, that the AHA 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 the Association "also raises questions about the association's effectiveness." The article cites numerous cases of animals injured during filming which the AHA may have overlooked.
In late 2013, The Hollywood Reporter ran a story which implicated the AHA 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 AHA organization.
In 2000, the American Humane Association'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 AHA in 2003, to found Humane Farm Animal Care. AHA's program is now called "Humane Heartland."
The American Humane Association certifies farms after evaluating them on a five point criteria. The criteria demands that the animals are free from hunger, discomfort, pain, and fear, and that the animals are able to express normal behaviors. Farms that meet this criteria receive an American Humane Certified label.
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. As of July 2012, it claimed to include 100 major producers, representing approximately 500 farms, and more than 135 million animals. The auditing is done by the AHA, with the USDA also auditing the certifications to ensure compliance. The label informs purchasers that the AHA has found that the animals were not subjected to unnecessary pain, distress, or fear while being raised. Part of what the program demands is the implementation of minimum space requirements per animal on a farm or in farming facilities. The American Humane Association currently certifies approximately 90 percent of cage-free eggs sold in the U.S.
In June 2015, Mercy for Animals released a video of an undercover investigation of several Foster Farms poultry facilities certified as "humane" by AHA. The footage included workers treating the chickens violently and using inhumane slaughter methods; this resulted in Mercy for Animals calling AHA's certification program "a scam".
The American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards
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. In 2011 and 2012 the awards were broadcast on the Hallmark Channel. 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.
Child welfare services
The American Humane Association has several initiatives to improve child welfare services.
Front Porch Project
The American Humane Association launched the Front Porch Project in 1997 in order to prevent child abuse and neglect. The American Humane Association works through 'sustainer' organizations in local communities in order to intervene on behalf of at-risk and abused children.
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.
The Fatherhood Initiative
The American Humane Association 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.
The Fatherhood Initiative also provides information to caseworkers on techniques to identify and locate non-resident fathers.
Governance and finances
AHA's budget for 2013 was just over $13 million. Their total revenue was $13.4 million.
The organization closed its Denver, Colorado office in 2011 and moved its operations to Washington, D.C.
Eric Bruner, the board chair of the organization, resigned in January 2013 amidst revelations that AHA paid $233,863 to his business partner, Gregory Dew, for unspecified consulting services. Dew was the highest paid AHA "independent contractor" in the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2011, according to filings the charity submitted to the IRS
In 2004, Marie Belew Wheatley became executive director of the AHA. She left to become the executive director of the Colorado Ballet, in 2010, and left the Colorado Ballet in 2013. Current AHA president Robin Ganzert received $284,912 in compensation for 2013.
- James Brown.
- John G. Shortall (1837-1908), president (1884-1885, 1892-1898).
- John L. Shortall.
- Elbridge T. Gerry, III president (1888).
- Albert Leffingwell, M.D., president (1904).
- William Olin Stillman, president (1904-1924).
- Frank L. Baldwin, vice president (1923).
- Robin Ganzert, president and CEO (2010–present).
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