New Research Report Shows U.S. Scores Low on Animal Protection
An Animal Rights Article from


Humane Research Council (HRC)
August 2011

The report shows animal welfare is currently weakest for farmed animals and animals used in science.

Study includes companion animals, farm animals, wildlife, and animals used in science

SEATTLE, Wash. (August 16, 2011) - The United States scores just 34 out of a possible 100 for its treatment of animals, according to a new study released today by the nonprofit research organization, the Humane Research Council (HRC).

The “Humane Trends” report measures a diverse set of 25 indicators in a range of issues involving companion animals, farmed animals, wildlife, and animals used in science and entertainment. The scores for each category of indicators range from a low of 4 for farmed animals to a high of 48 for companion animals. Each indicator is scored individually based on the most current information available and will be tracked over time to measure progress.

Highlights from the Humane Trends study include:

  • 91 percent of U.S. adults say that protecting companion animals is important
  • There are 14 laws in seven states that limit the confinement of farm animals
  • An estimated 3.5 million cats and dogs were killed in animal shelters in 2010
  • 89 percent of U.S. medical schools do not require terminal animal labs
  • More than 9 billion land-based farm animals are slaughtered for food annually
  • Only 15 U.S. states have policies that allow students to opt out of dissection
  • 15 million hunting licenses were issued in 2011, up 520,000 in the past two years
  • There are 376 endangered animal species in the U.S. as of 2010

The scoring methodology and source data for these and the other indicators in the study are described in full on A PDF version of the report is also available upon request from the media contact.

The Humane Trends study, in development for more than two years, identifies areas where improvements have been made and where further changes would have a significant impact on animal protection. Future results will be released as gains and losses are made in each indicator.

The report shows animal welfare is currently weakest for farmed animals and animals used in science.

“The data clearly show that those of us in the U.S. need to do more to protect all animals, not just the companions that share our homes, but also the animals that end up on our dinner plates,” said HRC executive director Che Green. “We hope the Humane Trends study will help provide a basis for positive, measurable change for all animals in the form of improvements to government and corporate policies as well as consumer attitudes and behavior toward animals.”

About the Humane Research Council

The Humane Research Council is a nonprofit research organization that helps animal advocates inform and improve their efforts. For over ten years, HRC has worked with a wide range of national and local animal protection organizations and foundations. HRC also conducts independent research and provides resources and services to animal advocates, media, policymakers, and the public.

Using an objective, data-driven approach similar to organizations such as the Pew Environmental Group and FSG, the Humane Research Council is the leading source of information about behavior and attitudes toward animals.

HRC provides the world’s most comprehensive source of opinion and behavior research relating to animals at The site houses thousands of research studies covering a wide range of animal protection issues of interest to reporters, advocates, academics, and policymakers. Access to is entirely free and includes notification services via email and RSS.

In addition to helping animal advocates through client projects, HRC provides independent research like the Humane Trends study and our annual “Animal Tracker” survey of U.S. adults. These in-depth, collaborative studies serve society in general by providing insight into the relationship between humans and other animals and understanding changes in that relationship over time.

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