BEEF Daily

HSUS Tells Shelters It’s Okay To Kill Animals


Some are fighting for shelters to adopt “No Kill” policies, but is HSUS standing in the way?

Nathan J. Winograd, director for the No Kill Advocacy Center, recently penned an opinion piece featured on the Huffington Post. The op-ed, “HSUS Tells Animal Shelters: Go Ahead And Kill Animals If You Want,” brings to light what many of us already know about animal rights activists: the health and safety of the animals aren’t their top priority.

You might recall that the Center For Consumer Freedom reported that “PETA killed a staggering 89.4% (29,398) of the adoptable pets in its care during 2012. Despite years of public outrage over its euthanasia program, the notorious animal rights group has continued killing adoptable dogs and cats at an average of over 30 pets/week.”

The Humane Society of the U.S. (HSUS) is often characterized as “PETA in a business suit,” and although it appears to be less radical in its tactics than PETA, HSUS’s multi-million-dollar annual budget isn’t saving many dogs or cats either.

Winograd is an advocate for the “No Kill Equation” model for animal shelters, which seeks to offer care to animals that can potentially be adopted. According to Winograd, “Through the No Kill Equation, every healthy and treatable animal entering a shelter can have a new beginning instead of the end of the line they face, if those shelters commit themselves wholeheartedly to building the infrastructure necessary to create and sustain a No Kill nation.”

He says that today many shelters can save 90-99% of the animals in their care, while other shelters are killing up to 99% of the animals they house in their facilities. How can this be? And why?

Winograd writes, “Can anyone with even a hint of compassion actually say it is better to kill baby kittens than bottle-feed them? Kill animals rather than promote adoptions? Kill animals rather than work with rescue groups? Of course not, especially since implementing alternatives to killing is more cost-effective, and in many cases, cheaper than killing animals. Tragically, however, many shelter directors have decided that it is better to kill baby kittens, to kill animals despite rescue groups ready, willing and able to save them, and to kill animals rather than keeping them alive long enough to find homes. In fact, some shelters have no adoption hours, are not open to the public for adoptions, and refuse to do any adoptions, choosing to kill the animals instead.”

Winograd says there’s a proven alternative that isn’t difficult, expensive or impractical to employ, and that should be promoted by the nation’s large national animal protection groups.

“But they are not. Instead, after admitting that these programs are crucial to save lives, they tell shelters that not only do they ‘remain at the discretion of each community to choose whether and how to implement,’ but that they should not be criticized for refusing to do so, while millions of animals continue to lose their lives in shelters every year precisely because those shelters have chosen not to. Worse, they tell activists that they should not try to force shelters to implement those programs, even though doing so would save the lives of the animals they are currently killing. In other words, HSUS is telling shelters these programs are necessary to save lives, but they do not have to do them and can choose to kill the animals instead.”

Winograd says such policy changes in places like California have resulted in a 370% increase in shelter-animal adoptions, at no cost to taxpayers. Yet, HSUS opposed these laws and endorsed a rollback of the rule in California when it was proposed. Why? How does that make sense? It just shows to me that HSUS isn’t even bothering to hide its true colors anymore. This wolf in sheep’s clothing has dropped its camouflage and exposed its claws and fangs. Plain and simple, they are after your dollar and not much else.

You can read the entire opinion piece here.

Check out a critical assessment of animal shelters here.

At face value, this article about animal shelters doesn’t appear to have anything to do with livestock producers. However, I urge you to think critically about how this can impact your livelihoods. If HSUS and PETA are no longer even trying to pretend to care about dogs and cats, what do you think they are busy doing instead? Animal agriculture has had a target on its back for many years now, and it’s no secret that HSUS would love to abolish animal agriculture and promote a vegan society, if given the chance.

Are you outraged at the level of euthanasia in pet shelters? Why do you think so many people willingly send money to support HSUS and PETA? Do you think these groups are direct threats to animal agriculture? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.


You might also like:

Limited Feeder Numbers Will Bring Extremely High Prices

70+ Photos Showcase Familes Working Together On The Ranch

9 Things To Consider Before Culling A Cow

Tips On When To Deworm Your Cows

Discuss this Blog Entry 24

tom hansen (not verified)
on Sep 30, 2013

30 a week? 29,398 a year equals 565 a week! typical gobbledygook "statistics"

on Sep 30, 2013

I believe 30/week refers to how many animals have been killed in the shelter's history.

Terry Ward (not verified)
on Sep 30, 2013

They do not maintain a shelter.
They maintain an euthanasia service for people who cannot afford a vet.
Hopefully you are able to afford a vet for your animals Amanda.
I will assume that if you have a dying cow you do not take her out and dump her into the forest.
Maybe you shoot her...I believe that is considered humane if it is done properly.
Most poor folks in Virginia though are in no position to shoot their sick or dying cat.

elizabeth dana (not verified)
on Dec 9, 2013

What does this exactly have to do with Beef? Bashing animal groups who maybe outliers is sport however the CONSUMERS want to know "How SAFE is the Beef"??/ So while you guys are at loggerheads over policies and special interest group rhetoric - the entire Beef market is going to Hell because of the idiotic horse breeders for slaughter is forcing to expose the real potential of horse meat getting into USA Beef JUST LIKE EUROPE - Pick your trench - STOP- stop - the horse slaughtering plant in New Mexico (a FORMER FAILED BEEF SLAUGHTERPLANT) from allowing horsemeat EVER from ruining our Beef Safety!!!! Leave discussions on puppies and kitties OFF THE BEEF BOARD!

Anonymous (not verified)
on Sep 30, 2013

There is a glaring error in your article. The animals euthanized by PETA were over a 14 year period, not during one year. See the chart on the website you referenced and this quote:

"According to records from the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, PETA killed 1,647 cats and dogs last year while placing just 19 in adoptive homes. Since 1998, a total of 29,398 pets have died at the hands of PETA workers."

Terry Ward (not verified)
on Sep 30, 2013

Amanda I don't know how to thank you for this...
Providing us weeks of amusement.
And even more proof of your addle-brained position on the Humane Society.
It's like, we don't even need to work at this anymore.
Just gonna sit back and let you do it for us..

Anonymous (not verified)
on Sep 30, 2013

it is abundantly clear that you don't care about the animals in your (supposed) care, so please stop pretending you 'care' about shelter animals. you are only jumping on this bandwagon as a way to discredit animal protection, that are concerned for ALL species. it is a transparent attempt to 'kill the messenger' instead of the message. animal husbandry has devolved into nothing more than the industrial torture complex. what's wrong with promoting a message of veganism. it is good for the planet, the animals and good for the health of the people. oh right, not so good for your continuing abuse and your bottom line. the future is veganism and the HSUS and PeTa are NOT the only ones who recognize that.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Sep 30, 2013

OMG! the beef industry is promoting a hard core vegan who thinks animals have the right to life.

First of all, Nathan Winograd is not your friend. He's a hard core vegan who thinks animals shouldn't be fed to animals:
Read more here:

There are barely 2% of shelters that follow the no-kill equation and most of them are failing miserably because they can't handle all the incoming animals and are turning animals away to fend for themselves. Limiting admission kills animals too but in a more horrific manner. Yes animals want to live but they don't want to suffer. With Nathan Winograd'a plan more animals will be abandoned on the streets to suffer a lingering death.

There are 3-4 million animals killed a year at shelters. The majority of animals killed at shelters are the hardest to place: 2.3 million adult cats & 900,000 pit bull type dogs are killed a year. We have an overpopulation of adult cats & pit bull type dogs and you can't force the public to adopt these animals. People want puppies & kittens and in two years many will be dumped at shelters. It's estimated there are over 70 million strays, mostly cats. You need to factor this number into your math equation: In ONE DAY & EVERYDAY over 733,000 puppies are advertised online by breeders. It's very hard for middle-aged to senior cats and pit-bull type dogs to compete with those odds stacked against them. We need to target spay/neuter the low income who are responsible for 80% of the pet overpopulation and limit breeding for no kill to work for all animals. The study states 17 million people want to acquire a pet, you cannot credibly equate 'considering acquiring a pet' with actual results."

Terry Ward (not verified)
on Sep 30, 2013

Amanda hit another home run.

"Each animal, like each of us, has an inalienable right to life, but because all the other things the animal protection movement claims to be seeking on behalf of animals are impossible without that first and most essential right. Without the right to life, no other “rights” can be guaranteed. How can we ensure animals the right to food, water, shelter and kind treatment, when those things can be taken away by killing?
Studies of slaughterhouse workers have found that in order to cope with the fact that they are paid to kill day in and day out, self-preservation motivates those workers to devalue animals in order to make what they are doing less morally reprehensible. In other words, the workers make the animals unworthy of any consideration on their behalf. The two most common methods of achieving this are indifference to animal suffering and even intensifying it, becoming sadistic toward the animals."

March 19, 2013 by Nathan J. Winograd

Anonymous (not verified)
on Sep 30, 2013

PS: A quote from Nathan J Winograd: "Each animal, like each of us, has an inalienable right to life, but because all the other things the animal protection movement claims to be seeking on behalf of animals are impossible without that first and most essential right. Without the right to life, no other “rights” can be guaranteed. How can we ensure animals the right to food, water, shelter and kind treatment, when those things can be taken away by killing?

Robert B (not verified)
on Sep 30, 2013

Are you outraged at the level of euthanasia in pet shelters?

I am outraged at a society that still views animals as material possessions to be discarded by their caretakers when the animal no longer serves a purpose or is no longer pleasing.

Why do you think so many people willingly send money to support HSUS and PETA?

I do not financially support either of the above organizations, but I do believe in their efforts and what they stand for. And I would not critcize those efforts to further support my own agenda, such as the HuffPo writer has done.

Do you think these groups are direct threats to animal agriculture?

I think these groups serve as watchdogs over an industry that would do whatever it took for their bottom line.

The "wolf in sheep's clothing" is not the HSUS or PeTA. That title truly belongs to the HuffPo author. You may want to think that this is an allie to your industry, but you would be sadly mistaken. The radical faction of the No Kill movement is a single issue campaign for now. And that's because they need the focus to stay on the convience kiling of shelter animals. To have an opinion of any other industry would reveal their "claws & fangs".

Best of luck with your new allie. Keep your friends close and your enemy closer.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Sep 30, 2013

I think the HSUS really told shelters to set their own policies that reflect their needs, resources and realities. Running shelters costs money and requires staff and space. An edict from a national group that a shelter should never euthanize an animal would not reflect the individual needs of shelters. Hoarding animals in limited space is not healthy for animals. Adopting out aggressive dogs is not safe for communities. Should a national organization tell your community what decisions they should make? Sort of like we value states rights in America, no?

Anonymous (not verified)
on Sep 30, 2013

I raise beef to eat
plain and simple
if you don't wanna eat beef fine
there are way to many cats and dogs
because not enuff of them die anymore

on Oct 1, 2013

There are way to many people
because not enuff of them die anymore.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Sep 30, 2013

In the cattle business we kill cattle to feed people. No problem! In the cattle business we sometimes have to put a animal down because it is the humane thing to do. Tough sometimes but things you have to do. The point I think you are missing and give Amanda a break as we do not hide this fact. It is just a plain and simple fact of life. We don't brag about it but we do not lie about it either. HSUS can not say this at all. I would bet almost no one in the general public understands how many animals they are killing. I would guess if they did a lot of the donations that they receive would dry up. I do not necessarily disagree with putting down some of these animals, and in fact far more humane than dropping a box of kittens in my driveway. Make these people own up to what they are doing and quit making me the bad guy because I have to shoot someones stray starving pet that is bothering my livestock.

Lilly (not verified)
on Sep 30, 2013

Certainly not trying to be confronatiional here, but please, study before commenting. HSUS does not have a shelter, therefore it doesn't kill animals, it did however offer respect for the autonomy of the individual shelter to manage it's own affairs. That respect for shelter policy deeply offended Mr. Winograd. When shelters or farmers do not treat the animal humanely then HSUS gets involved. I would suggest, coming up from rural Kentucky, that farmers and shelters differ in many ways. Every farm animal raised is aquired with the intent to kill it, pretty straight forward, don't you think ? Animals that may need to be " put down because it's the humane thing to do" are aquired with intent to destroy anyway, so only the timing varies. Shelters are laden with animals from other sources, they clean up other peoples messes. Farmers raise animals for the purpose of slaughter, and as you stated yourself if a stray animal gets in your way you kill it.. So tell me again how horriffic you think shelters are. Is it okay for you to shoot a stray, but a shelter cannot use death by injection?

Lilly (not verified)
on Sep 30, 2013

I think the beef industry will lose it's support from mainstream America by hooking up with the radicals. Do you really think Mr. Winograd believes in Pro Life for cat feti, but will stand by your side under the Veal tree ?
What part of the title of his book "all american vegan" has you confused ? Please do not give this mass of braggadocio on the hoof, ink. I don't eat meat, but I come from a farming family. You all don't need the beatin' that comes from hangin with this misbegotten Vienna Sauage.

B Spencer (not verified)
on Sep 30, 2013

I don't disagree with euthanizing animals in shelters if they're not picked up or adopted after a period of time. Seems like there's too many "feel good" people that think all the animals have "feelings" and they're no different than humans, but if we let them overrun us, or we can't eventually afford to feed 60 billion more diseased cats and dogs that aren't euthanized because they have "feelings", what do we do with all of them? And what do we do about all that food they ate that could have been used for human food, for staving HUMANS. People need to wake up and smell the roses, you can't save everything, if you have livestock, you'll have dead stock, people have to be responsible enough to control the breeding of their pets or stock

Anonymous (not verified)
on Sep 30, 2013

To Lilly
I wished you would read what I said. I said I do not like putting down animals that are not my responsibility but I have to. I also said that I am not against shelters putting animals down as we can not take care of all of them. I will say that to the world. What I did say is why don't the goody two shoes tree hugging people own up to what they are doing. I think the majority of the people supporting them would have a whole different opinion of them.

Lilly (not verified)
on Sep 30, 2013

I did read what you said, you said HSUS does not tell people it kills animals. I responded " because they don't shelter or kill animals." I would also suggest that most shelters don't like putting down animals that others have discarded either. So, I am not sure what the " goody two shoes " tree huggers are doing in your view. I oppose gestation crates, hardly a goody two shoes. I was the cutter when we slaughtered pigs, started out placing the hook. Having been a part of the slaughter, for good decent folk I might add, I chose to live a life without animal product, been doing it for 65 years.. I don't care that others do. I think just treat them humanely, and then kill them swiftly.

Jerry Stauffer (not verified)
on Oct 1, 2013

I really doesn't matter what statistics or documentation are given. Many people will hear no evil about HSUS or PETA because of the media's blanket endorsement of them all these years. Sad. Still, cats reproduce far too rapidly to find homes for every cute kitten. We're going to have to let some die in any case.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Oct 2, 2013

I hold both PETA and CCF on about the same level as pond scum. I don't think your credibility holds up when you quote someone (CCF) who fought for keeping trans-fats in fast foods and has publicly stated that diet and calorie counting does not help people lose weight and has produced a mercury calculator for fish with safe levels 10x higher than those set by the EPA. I'm not saying HSUS is the best organization, as they do tend to make some things more difficult on feed lots and meat producers, but if you want to prove that don't reach out to the CCF for crap data.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Oct 5, 2013

PeTA has 3 million members who think they are effective for raising awareness about animal cruelty and making a positive change for animals.

Catherine Wynne (not verified)
on Oct 15, 2013

We are ranchers who raise commercial cattle for food consumption. These are not pets, but they are well treated, fed well, organic raised, and at a certain weight, they are sold. We enjoy watching the calves grow and leave our ranch to make room for the next generation of calves. People drop dogs and cats at our place on a regular basis because the word has spread that we will take the animals. They get to live the rest of their lives in peace with plenty to eat if they don't chase the animals or bother the cats. We now have goats because they appeared one morning in the pasture and someone had opened the gates to let them in. We have 38 horses and now have locks on all gates because we don't want anymore horses, because all of ours are trained as cutting or penning. My complaint is that people should not get anaimals unless they have the resouces and the ablility to support pets, We support the no-kill facilities,but I would not give a dime to the Humane Society. Their money goes to ads and salaries, they have no facilities to take in the unwanted animals. It is propaganda organization with large amount of money and nothing to backup their claims. I called their number when I found three horses at the edge of a busy highway and no one to claim ownership, I was told that they didn't have any facilities and I should call local law enforcement.

Please or Register to post comments.

What's BEEF Daily?

BEEF Daily Blog is produced by rancher Amanda Radke, one of the U.S. beef industry’s top social media “agvocates.”


Amanda Radke

Amanda Radke is a fifth generation rancher from Mitchell, S.D., who has dedicated her career to serving as a voice for the nation’s beef producers. A 2009 graduate of South Dakota State...

Sponsored Introduction Continue on to (or wait seconds) ×