As you likely heard, the animal welfare world has recently been in the news in an extremely negative way. It came to light that that two prominent men associated with The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) engaged in sexual harassment and or/inappropriate behavior in the workplace. Further, an HSUS board member made statements that were objectionable. While these three people are no longer with HSUS, significant damage has been done.
Members of our senior management and board have been monitoring this issue and discussing the impacts on Marin Humane. We know there are members of our community who are confused about our relationship with HSUS. Please remember, Marin Humane is not a chapter or branch of HSUS. We are a private, independent nonprofit focused on the direct, often transformative, care of the animals and people in our community. Our affiliation with HSUS has been as collaborative partners on individual projects (like the Korea dogs), or needs that come up, (like disaster relief or important legislation). Going forward, we will be very cautious about how we partner with this large organization and will be monitoring what changes will be made to the workplace culture, policies, and people at HSUS.
Marin Humane is committed to creating a culture and environment that cares not only for animals but also for our staff, volunteers, and supporters. From our strategic planning goals related to workplace culture and values, to our mandatory training of supervisors on the prevention of sexual harassment, Marin Humane strives to be a place where respect, collaboration, trust, and kindness are a priority. If you ever have concerns related to harassment at Marin Humane, please speak to your supervisor, to Valerie Robbins, Director of HR, or Anne Oliver, Director of Volunteer Services. If these issues arise, we will investigate promptly and take appropriate action.
After much deliberation, Marin Humane will remain supportive of the Prevent Cruelty California initiative. While HSUS is a coalition partner, they are one of 12. We believe working for a more humane world for farm animals in our state is too important an effort to abandon.
Lastly, while we are deeply disappointed in those who behaved terribly, we recognize that the vast majority of staff at HSUS are hardworking, honest, and committed people who care just as much about the cause of animal welfare as we do here. We hope HSUS can one day regain the trust of the public but in the meantime, we’re focusing on the important work that needs to be done every day, right here.
If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to talk to any member of our senior management team. And if you receive questions from the public about this story, please remind them we are not a part of HSUS and then refer them to Development, to MarCom, or to my office.
Thank you for the incredible work you do on behalf of animals and people.
Nancy B McKenney, MNPL, CAWA