When a great and demanding need exists in any field of endeavor, it is a historical fact that men of intelligence, integrity and goodwill will find a way to fill that need. Like a rudderless ship, in 1954, the American humane movement was drifting without course or compass in a sea of indifference to animal welfare and outright cruelty for man's personal gain. National animal welfare work had languished for years; there was little direction to humane work at the state and local levels. The humane movement had become, in the eyes of an apathetic public, synonymous with cat and dog rescue work.
There was a great, basic need--a crying need--for leadership. An organization was needed to consolidate the myriad but scattered efforts of a thousand local humane societies. It had to be a national society with selfless dedication, courage, and a singleness of purpose that would bring order, direction and inspiration to struggling humanitarians. In particular, it had to be a society that would combine realistic planning with maximum potential for success while, at the same time, establishing bold objectives towards which all could work.
The HSUS was organized to fill this challenging role. From the very beginning, the new society justified the faith which so many people bestowed upon it. It quickly set forth the fundamental principle of working to oppose and seek to prevent all uses or exploitation of animals that cause pain, suffering or fear. Within this framework of policy and purpose, it set out to improve conditions for all kinds of animals under all circumstances. Abstract ideology was recognized but concrete measures for the relief of animal suffering that had been too long delayed were immediately put into practice.
Chenowith, R.J. (1966).The challenges of leadership. In R.J. Chenowith (Ed.), The humane movement, 1966: Selected discussion papers of the National Leadership Conference of The Humane Society of the United States, September 24-26, 1965, (pp. 4-10).