A polarizing figure in some Iowa agricultural circles insists he and his organization are not anti-farmer. Wayne Pacelle, president of the Humane Society of the United States, says he’s frequently accused of being one leader of a movement to eliminate livestock production. Pacelle says he’s being badly misunderstood.
Pacelle says, “I really wanted to get past the rhetoric and I wanted to get past this notion that somehow the Humane Society is against agriculture.” He says such commentary from critics makes him bristle.
“This has been disappointing to me to see this notion advance that the Humane Society is against agriculture,” Pacelle says. “Of course, we’re not. Agriculture is vital to our nation and our economy and we all eat.” Recently, Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman called the Humane Society an agency you can’t trust.
Pacelle says that’s a ridiculous statement. “We are a mission-oriented organization,” he says. “We believe that humans have responsibilities when it comes to animals. We don’t talk about animal rights. We talk about human responsibilities.” Pacelle says the organization has no underlying agenda to end livestock production, and he points to a recently-reached agreement with the United Egg Producers to provide better treatment for hens to back his contention.
“I’ve said it a thousand times,” he says. “We do not want to end livestock production. It’s a fanciful notion. We’ve not said it. Our actions on the ground show that that’s not our work and our purpose.” Pacelle is a currently on a book tour to promote his best-seller, “The Bond: Our Kinship with Animals, Our Call to Defend Them.”