Monday, November 19, 2007

Wayne Pacelle - The Best Friend An Animal Could Have

In 2004 Wayne Pacelle took over as the president of the Humane Society of the United States. His appointment has ruffled the feathers of several organizations who say that this Vegan doesn't just want to protect animals he wants to turn the food chain upside down.

When talking about the people who oppose him, Pacelle is quoted by the Washington Post - "They all go wild on me," he says, adding that he has even received death threats. "My ex-boss . . . said you could tell a lot about a person by his friends and also by his enemies. I'm happy to have some of these people as my enemies."

The US Sportsman's Alliance calls him "enemy number one." The National Animal Interest Alliance says that he is a "wolf in sheep's clothing". All this because Pacelle has vowed to aggressively pursue the HSUS's goals. He's determined to stop the mistreatment of livestock, decrease the use of animals in research, protect wildlife and foster responsible pet care.

He says that for as long as he can remember, he's felt a sense of kinship and empathy toward animals. "Animals are different from us, but in a good way. They deserve not only our appreciation but also our respect," he says.

While attending Yale University in the mid-80's he made the trip to Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania. While there he witnessed a pigeon shoot, a fund raising event by the local fire department. Nothing could have prepared him for what he saw happening. Men lined up with guns, a few pigeons were released from cages and the men fired. After the birds dropped from the sky the children were encouraged to stomp on the birds and twist their necks. Not only was the event extremely violent, it indoctrinated the youth of the town by encouraging cruelty among the children.

Pacelle went back to Yale with a purpose. He started an animal advocacy group on campus and when he graduated he devoted himself to stopping animal cruelty.

He feels that since that time things are slowly getting better. There seems to be a shift in public opinion about the value of animals. In the last few years he's seen more than a dozen successful ballot initiatives, including the first ever ban on the use of gestation crates, as well as bans on leg-hold traps. More than a half dozen federal laws to protect animals have been passed, most recently the ban on interstate shipment of fighting birds and dogs.
Pacelle is proud of his testimony before Congressional committees on more than ten occasions. He's briefed them on topics such as canned bird hunts (the type Dick Cheney uses to hunt pheasants), the Animal Welfare Act, the exotic pet trade, cockfighting, bear baiting (leaving food for wild bears then shooting them while they eat), and dog fighting.

What does he see for the future? He figures all 50 states will one day treat animal cruelty and animal fighting as felonies, euthanasia of dogs and cats in shelters will dwindle, and the marketplace will diversify with humanely produced products. "I think we will see a real reduction in the number of people wearing fur and the number of major retailers selling fur," he says to the Washington Post. "We will see the end of wild animals in circus acts and the end of horse slaughter for human food. Humane sustainable agriculture, that should happen. So should phasing out animals used in research. As for the future of hunting as sport, he thinks we will see a steady decline in numbers, and we'll see the elimination of particularly extreme practices like canned hunts and baiting.

Pacelle writes articles on the HSUS website. Here is the link if you'd like to learn more about his views. There are links to the different articles at the bottom of the page. My hope is that he will continue to be successful in his fight for the welfare of animals on our planet.


Bob Johnson said...

Sounds like just the guy they need, good for him for believing what he feels is right even though it may go against the grain.

Lisa McGlaun said...


I think you are right. He seems like such a fascinating person. I hope he's able to push through some of the changes he wants to see. Especially after what happened to pets in the aftermath of Katrina. Some changes in policy are definatly overdue.

Best Wishes,

Windyridge said...

What next? No more horseback riding? The problem with HSUS is they go to the extreme. Man has been hunting since life began. I agree canned hunts may be over the top but hunting deer fair and square and then eating the meat is okay in my book. In fact it is a healthy family pursuit in the outdoors. Certainly a deer stuck on the end of a car's bumper after a crash is an offensive waste of an animal's life not to mention the human's. He wants to stop this kind of hunting too. Also in the HSUS play book is the eventual elimination of farming altogether. That's not publicized as much, neither is their secret alliance with PETA.

Lisa McGlaun said...


I don't oppose hunting in its truest sense. But after having known someone who owned a hunting guide business and talking to him at length about deer hunting, I don't know if that exists so much any more. His goal was to own a closed range where a kill was me that's a farm where I can go shot the animals in the field while they graze or chase then into a fence and then shot them. Not true hunting.

In my research I came across Pacelle's views from his college days and they were more extreme. He says he's changed his mind on some issues and has become more moderate. I don't know if that is true. I guess that remains to be seen.

So far I agree with the initiative he's helped to push through. They all seem senible to me.

This is all just my humble opinion. Thanks for your comment. It's good to hear all points of view.



Mr. Grudge said...

I think the Michael Vick story lends credence to much of what Wayne Pacelle wants to do. There is so much of what passes for sport which has no redeeming value whatsoever, that is has become casually accepted as a part of culture. Lisa, don't get me wrong, I love a good steak, but I don't plan on taking my kids out to stomp pigeons to death after I shoot them. That's just plain cruel. With that said, Happy Turkey day!

Lisa McGlaun said...


lol..I can't see you doing that either and just because you eat steak, I don't think you are cruel. I am a vegetarian but certainly don't expect everyone else to be and I still eat meat every now and then. I prefer it to be hormone-free, humanely raised meat but I still love a good burger.

Lately, animal rights issues have become almost as devisive as abortion rights. I think you can eat meat, hunt, own pets, ride horses, and manage wildlife and still be a sensible caring human being and not a sign toting member of PETA. One doesn't have to be on the fringe to work for these values.

I think having Parcelle in office is a good thing. If nothing else he seems to wake people up to the issues so they can make informed decisions about where they stand.

Awake-informed-aware-debating. That's always perferable to sleepwalking through life..:)

By the way, I LOVED your post about the wedding rings. It really touched me. You are an excellant writer!


Mr. Grudge said...

Hi Lisa,
"Awake-informed-aware-debating"...I like that. May I use it? Thank you so much for your kind words about my writing. You brought back memories for me with your post about the New York wedding rings. Thank you.

Yours is such a well written and researched blog, I became a fan right away. Be healthy and enjoy!

Lisa McGlaun said...


Of course you with it!


ChrissyJo said...

Maybe extreme values will help us get to where we should be. It is a long way away. We can't even get them to stop torturing animals before they kill them, I doubt we're anywhere close to a horse back riding ban.

Lisa McGlaun said...


You're so right. Horse riding ban? That would be so extreme and unnecessary when real cruelty is being over looked every day. I hope Pacelle makes a difference.