Home Organization WMNF | Humane Society of the United States CEO discusses organizing #MeToo moment, HSUS future and career arc

WMNF | Humane Society of the United States CEO discusses organizing #MeToo moment, HSUS future and career arc


Kitty Block — President and CEO of United States Humanitarian Society (HSUS), as well as CEO of Humane Society International, the global division of HSUS – in an interview this week on “Talking Animals” discussed starting early in the animal welfare field, as her mother was an animal activist.

Block recalled how, when she was in second grade, she took a school trip to the Ringling Bros. Circus. and Barnum & Bailey and, while her classmates were delighted with the elephants on show, Block was disturbed by the show, told the teacher she was unwell and wanted to go home . The professor ignored the request, so Block called his mom, who immediately came to pick her up; she understood.

Block explains that she wanted to follow in her mother’s footsteps, pursuing animal activism, deciding to go to law school to fortify her efforts. She went to work for PETA, as an investigator, then joined the office of PETA’s external attorney, Phil Hirschkop, an accomplished and prominent lawyer who has argued several Supreme Court cases.

From there, she launched her career at HSUS, where she has now worked for almost 30 years. Presumably due to her long tenure and institutional knowledge, her HSUS accomplishments, and being a lawyer, although she says she is not sure exactly why, Block was named interim CEO in 2018, when the organization was shaken by Sexual harassment scandal focused on then-CEO Wayne Pacelle.

Block took on the challenges, big and small, it faced in helping the HSUS navigate the immensely turbulent waters of this scandal, deal with the far-reaching fallout, widespread media coverage, and ensure that culture is there. become completely safe for all residents of the HSUS.

From that now secure base, Block tells what she sees when she looks five years ahead, both at the HSUS and the larger animal welfare landscape. We touch on a number of other topics, including his very visible support for Amendment 13, the successful 2018 initiative proposing a dog-racing ban in Florida and a very recent case of the HSUS intervening in a house. of Muncie, Indiana, where about 30 cats lived amid suspected gross neglect.