HSUS usurps AHA disaster relief role
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, May 1994:
WASHINGTON D.C.––On March 9 the American Humane
Association renewed the agreement it has had with the American Red Cross since
1976 to serve as the coordinating agency for animal relief after U.S. disasters.
Eight days later, after apparently pressuring the Red Cross at the board level, the
Humane Society of the U.S. reportedly told Associated Press that the Red Cross
had designated it “the official disaster relief agency for pets and other animals.”
According to AP, HSUS vice president David Wills claimed, “There
has been no real coordinated effort so far,” ignoring the AHA role in coordinat-
ing disaster relief since 1916, and the recent disaster relief work of the North
Shore Animal League and United Animal Nations,
The alleged HSUS assertions surprised no one more than AHA emer-
gency animal relief coordinator Nicholas Gilman, coming only two days after
Gilman left a post as an HSUS field representative to replace Curt Ransom, who
quit the AHA job because he was tired of the constant travel.
“There isn’t even anyone assigned to work on disaster relief fulltime at
HSUS so far as I know,” Gilman told ANIMAL PEOPLE. “The AHA is the
only national animal welfare agency with a fulltime emergency animal relief staff
member. I don’t know what HSUS is up to, but certainly a lot of organizations
have been jumping into disaster relief,” he continued. “That’s good for improv-
ing the response to relieve animal suffering, but you also have to look at the pos-
sibility that it’s good for fundraising. We welcome HSUS participation,” Gilman
added. “We only hope that confusion does not ensue in terms of which agency is
the lead agency as designated by the Red Cross.” The issue is critical because of
the need to coordinate efforts amid chaos when essential supplies may be scarce.
An HSUS release dated March 16 but received at ANIMAL PEOPLE
on April 19 said HSUS had formed a disaster relief team in 1992. A cover letter
signed by Stephen Dickstein, identified as “project coordinator, disaster relief
team,” pointed out that the release said HSUS had been recognized as “an official
disaster relief agency,” not “the official agency,” as AP had it, and said he was
unaware that either AHA or HSUS had been designated the coordinating agency.