San Francisco is America’s most humane city, while Seattle is second and Portland is third, according to a new study by the Humane Society of the United States.
The study ranked the “humane index” of America’s 25 largest metropolitan areas according to criteria such as the number of vegetarian restaurants per capita and Congressional leadership on animal issues.
The survey is the Humane Society’s first attempt to compare how communities across the country measure up in terms of the treatment of animals, HSUS President and CEO Wayne Pacelle said.
“By measuring a wide range of humane and inhumane conduct, we hope to inspire individuals and entire communities to strive to do better to make the world a more merciful place for animals,” Pacelle said.
The study was comprised of a dozen factors selected to provide a basis for comparing the relative humaneness of the nation’s largest metropolitan areas, including topics related to pets, farm animals, wildlife, animals in entertainment, and advocacy for animals.
West Coast cities generally performed better in the study than other areas of the country; in addition to San Francisco, Seattle, and Portland as the top three, San Diego was fifth, while Los Angeles was sixth.
On the East Coast, Washington, Boston, and Baltimore all ranked in the top ten metropolitan areas.
Among the study’s findings:
- Every studied city ranked among the top five in at least one of the criteria, but also ranked in the bottom five on at least one.
- There were two ties in the race for most humane: Baltimore and Tampa shared the 8th spot and Denver and Detroit tied for 17th.
- San Francisco and New York City have the fewest pet stores that sell puppies. Phoenix, Houston, Miami, and Tampa, Fla. all had the most retailers selling puppies per capita.
- Riverside, Calif., and Houston have the fewest fur retailers per capita. New York had three times the number fur retailers per capita than the average city surveyed.
- San Diego was the capital of captive marine mammal and elephant displays – with twice as many such animals as second-ranked Miami. Atlanta, Detroit, and Phoenix each have only five captive entertainers on display.
- Voters in Philadelphia, New York, and Seattle elect the lawmakers seen as the “most humane,” while representatives from Denver, Houston, and Dallas had the least humane voting records.
The HSUS says the study will be repeated every two years. The full, detailed results of the current study are available at www.humaneindex.org.