First-of-its-Kind Report Offers Insight into Status of Animals in U.S.

You've probably seen reports about how countries have scored in regard to each other in various areas, from rankings about education and economics to evaluations in narrower areas, like the Happy Planet Index or the Trafficking in Persons annual report. But almost no one is engaging in quantitative assessments of the status of animal protection. Our friends at the Humane Research Council, founders of HumaneSpot and creators of the Animal Tracker report, have just released the Humane Trends Baseline Report, which collects 25 diverse indicators to "assess the status and progress of animal well-being, providing a comprehensive view of animal use and abuse in the United States."

The categories of indicators include:

  • companion animals (such as number of animals killed and proportion of new animals purchased);
  • animals used in science (such as proportion of states w/ student choice policies and proportion of experiments involving pain w/o providing anesthesia);
  • wildlife and exotics (such as proportion of endangered species and proportion of states with laws limiting exotic animal ownership);
  • farmed animals (such as consumption of animal products and proportion of states with minimal anti-confinement laws);
  • general indicators (such as amount of discussion of animal issues and proportion of universities with animal protection studies programs).
Read the complete report as a PDF file.

View the report website.

Since this is the inaugural report, the data and categories are limited, and the report looks only at the United States. But this is an important survey that provides a snapshot of the status of animals in U.S. society and that offers educators an excellent tool for exploring important issues surrounding our relationship with animals, such as whether our choices and the systems we support that abuse and exploit animals are consistent with our values, how we can make choices that do the most good and least harm for all, and what obstacles we can remove to make it easier for our society to treat animals with respect and compassion. The report could also serve as a springboard for students to create additional indicators that provide a clearer and more detailed picture, as well as for students to apply the indicators to other countries and see how the U.S. compares. A useful tool for critical and creative thinking.

~ Marsha

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