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Mission and Guiding Principles

“Whenever we, as a society, allow an animal to die from starvation or abuse, or whenever a euthanizing agent enters the bloodstream of a healthy animal, we wound humanity.”

Anna C. Briggs, Founder 

In 1948, in response to our Nation’s constant killing of stray and abandoned companion animals, Mrs. Anna C. Briggs founded The National Humane Education Society (NHES) as a private, nonprofit animal welfare organization with a central mission “to foster a sentiment of kindness to animals in children and adults…” This mission stemmed from Mrs. Briggs’ philosophical belief system that “Animals have intrinsic value in and of themselves and are deserving of our protection.”

Then, in 1963, Alice Morgan Wright, NHES board member and benefactress, wrote 12 Guiding Principles to serve as a simple blueprint for the creation of a more humane world:

  1. To oppose cruelty in all its forms.
  2. To strive for an end to bullfighting, rodeo and all cruel sports whenever performed and wherever represented as art or as entertainment.
  3. To strive to abolish cruel trapping.
  4. To discourage hunting, especially as a sport.
  5. To oppose all poisoning of wildlife.
  6. To protect and conserve wildlife for its own sake and not as a resource for Man’s exploitation.
  7. To aid or initiate programs for slaughter reform.
  8. To teach humane handling and care of work animals and food animals.
  9. To advance programs in the humane sterilization of cats and dogs in order to reduce their overpopulation.
  10. To provide for the rescue, housing and feeding of lost, stray or abandoned animals until suitable homes are found.
  11. To urge that when it is necessary to put any tame animal to death, unless some better method of euthanasia is available, it be so arranged that the animal be held in the arms of some human friend while it is being given a painless preliminary anesthetic, to be stroked and comforted with reassuring words until it loses consciousness after which the lethal agent should be quickly administered.
  12. To recognize in animals their capacity for friendship and their need for friends. To Befriend all Earth’s creatures of the land, the sea and the air—to defend them against ravages by mankind, and to inspire in human beings compassion for all.

Now, more than sixty years after its founding, without financial assistance from local, state, or federal governments, NHES continues to grow and to decrease animal suffering through its humane education & advocacy and animal care programs. Today, with nearly is committed to the implementation of Alice Morgan Wright’s 12 Guiding Principles as a blueprint for the creation of a more humane world.

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