Ranked Nonprofits: National Animal Welfare, Rights, & Protection 2011

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Our task must be to free ourselves... by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty. -Albert Einstein
Our task must be to free ourselves... by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty. -Albert Einstein

The Cause: Animal welfare, rights, and protection is one of the most popular issue areas to which individual donors give and is an area in which colleagues working in the field are extremely passionate. Many experts spoke of the importance of protecting animals similar to protecting the marginalized in society. Without human support, many animals face abuse, neglect, and suffering.

The Scope: Experts were asked to recommend nonprofits that work in one or more of the following categories, protecting: companion animals, farm animals, animals used for research, and wildlife animals. The reason why we included different types of animals, and didn't only focus on companion animals was because the welfare of other types of animals (factory farm animals, animals used in laboratories, and wildlife) were equally as important. Different nonprofits approach the issue area differently. Some nonprofits emphasize on fighting for the well-being of animals (animal welfare), while others fight for the rights of animals (animal rights). Types of nonprofits might include advocacy, legislative, education, regulatory, or direct services (shelters, animal rescue, and sanctuaries). You can read more about the scope of the research here .


169 National Animal Welfare, Rights, & Protection experts recommended the following 15 outstanding nonprofits.
Meet the experts and read more about this research.


Top Nonprofit Mission
1 Medal-small-2011 HSUS (Humane Society of The United States)
The HSUS seeks a humane and sustainable world for all animals; a world that will also benefit people. We are America's mainstream force against cruelty, exploitation, and neglect, and also the nation's most trusted voice extolling the human-animal bond. Our mission statement: Celebrating Animals, Confronting Cruelty.
2 Medal-small-2011 ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals)
The mission of the ASPCA, as stated by our founder, Henry Bergh, is to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States.
3 Medal-small-2011 PetSmart Charities
To improve the quality of life for all companion animals by creating and supporting programs that save the lives of homeless pets and promote healthy relationships between people and pets.
4 Medal-small-2011 Best Friends Animal Society (Best Friends)
Best Friends Animal Society believes kindness towards animals creates a better world for all of us. To this end, Best Friends works with shelters, rescue groups and our members nationwide on a variety of grassroots programs designed to bring about a time when there are No More Homeless Pets.
5 Medal-small-2011 Farm Sanctuary
To provide rescue and care for abused and neglected farm animals; Provide adoption service and information on farm animal care; Educate and disseminate information on farm animal issues; Conduct cruelty investigations and assist authorities in farm animal cruelty cases; Monitor legislative action.
6 Medal-small-2011 Maddie's Fund
Maddie’s Fund is helping to create a no-kill nation where all healthy and treatable shelter dogs and cats are guaranteed a loving home.
7 Medal-small-2011 Alley Cat Allies (ACA)
Alley Cat Allies' mission is to end the killing of cats and lead the movement for their humane care.
8 Medal-small-2011 PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals)
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is dedicated to establishing and protecting the rights of all animals. PETA operates under the simple principle that animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, or use for entertainment. PETA focuses its attention on the four areas in which the largest numbers of animals suffer the most intensely for the longest periods of time: on factory farms, in laboratories, in the fur trade, and in the entertainment industry. PETA also work on a variety of other issues, including the cruel killing of beavers, birds and other "pests," and the abuse of backyard dogs. PETA works through public education, cruelty investigations, research, animal rescue, legislation, special events, celebrity involvement, and direct action.
9 Medal-small-2011 Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF)
ALDF's mission is to protect the lives and advance the interests of animals through the legal system.
10 Medal-small-2011 Mercy for Animals
Mercy For Animals works to be a voice for animals through proactive consumer education. MFA focuses on farmed animal advocacy and promoting cruelty-free food choices.
11 Medal-small-2011 Humane Alliance of WNC (Humane Alliance)
Our mission is to provide the non-lethal solution to the homeless, abandoned, and feral animal populations so that euthanasia is no longer an acceptable means of population control.
12 Medal-small-2011 Sea Shepherd Conservation Society
To end the destruction of habitat and slaughter of wildlife in the world's oceans in order to conserve and protect ecosystems and species.
13 Medal-small-2011 New England Anti-Vivisection Society (NEAVS)
One of the oldest and most respected animal advocacy organizations in the country, the New England Anti-Vivisection Society (NEAVS), founded in 1895, works to end animal experiments and replace them with modern alternatives that are ethically and scientifically superior. NEAVS works to: change laws, policies and practices; promote the development and use of non-animal alternatives in science and at all levels of science education; and support rescues of animals from research and their permanent placement and care in sanctuary. In addition, NEAVS educates the public about the cruelty, financial waste, and scientific limitations and dangers of animal research. NEAVS brings together doctors, scientists, and other professionals who support our anti-vivisection mission with individuals from the animal protection movement and the general public. Our mission is accomplished through education and outreach programs, research and investigation, legislation, legal action, and strategic negotiation.
14 Medal-small-2011 Society of Animal Welfare Administrators (SAWA)
Promoting humane ideals and a professional approach to management of private or governmental animal welfare and control agencies, promoting the sharing of information among and within animal care agencies, to provide educational opportunities for members, and to enhance the positive and professional image of animal welfare and control agencies.
15 Medal-small-2011 Center for Biological Diversity (CBD)
At the Center for Biological Diversity, we believe that the welfare of human beings is deeply linked to nature to the existence in our world of a vast diversity of wild animals and plants. Because diversity has intrinsic value, and because its loss impoverishes society, we work to secure a future for all species, great and small, hovering on the brink of extinction. We do so through science, law, and creative media, with a focus on protecting the lands, waters, and climate that species need to survive. We want those who come after us to inherit a world where the wild is still alive.


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Through independent research, Philanthropedia has leveraged the wisdom of 3121 experts to provide reviews on 767 top nonprofits across 47 causes.