Posts tagged Wayne Pacelle

If you’re against cruelty, why aren’t your senators?

Are you against dog and cock fitting?  Are you against hens in battery cages and inhumane factory farms? 

Whether you are a Republican or a Democrat, you are not going to be happy with this news. (The Republic, Seattle PI, SF Chronicle)

Last night the US Senate denied consideration and debate of two amendments to the farm bill that would 1) improve the lives of chickens on factory farms and 2) cracks down on dog fighting and cock-fighting (remember Micheal Vick’s major case).

Both amendments had considerable support in the US Senate and the egg industry reform amendment was sponsored by Democrats, Republicans and Independents including Sens. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., Scott Brown, R-Mass., Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., Susan Collins, R-Maine, Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn., Bernard Sanders, I-Vt., David Vitter, R-La. and Ron Wyden, D-Ore and several more. (HSUS)

Note that it was not the egg industry that was against this amendment!  In fact, the United Egg Producers Association was a huge supporter of the amendment and advocated for its passage.

So what went wrong last night?  A group of lobbyists (American Farm Bureau Federation, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the National Pork Producers Council) are too afraid of their own customers.  Their fear — that they will have to be humane to animals. (HSUS)

“This is a matter of self-determination for the egg industry,” said David Lathem, second-generation egg farmer from Georgia and chairman of UEP in a press release several weeks ago. “No other sector of animal agriculture should prevent our industry from innovating, improving animal welfare, and finding best practices that will protect our farmers and answer major questions posed by consumers.”

So if congress will not or can not act on our behalf, we do it ourselves. 

First it’s our duty to stop buying any meat from producers who are continuing to treat animals inhumanely.  Meat can be obtained from local humane farms or easily from Whole Foods (see post here).

Second, support the Humane Society of the US who will work to include these amendments in the US House version of this bill (See Pacelle blog).

Lastly, write to your local newspaper in response to this news story (Seattle PI).  Let them know how factory farms, dog fighting and cock-fighting causes us personal pain as we feel deeply that animals, regardless of their role in agriculture, should be treated humanely.

Also, you can let you representatives know that you want to see action on humane issues for farm animals.

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“The Bond” book signing in Northgate Seattle

Wayne Pacelle (HSUS) at the Northgate Barnes & Noble

With more dogs than children, it was a typical Seattle event at the Barnes & Noble yesterday morning when Wayne Pacelle, President of the HSUS came to talk about our human responsibility towards animals — a topic included in his book The Bond: Our Kinship With Animals, Our Call to Defend Them.

The group discussion was started with a great bit of local support for St. Matthew School in the Lake City area.  Nancy Edwards, school librarian, passed out coupons to visitors that allowed part of B&N’s proceeds from a purchase of “The Bond” to go towards the school’s book fair.

River that greeter dog

Our friends from PAWS were also in attendance, and River, a big black sweetie, greeted people at the door.  As an organization, PAWS works to help our community integrate with local wildlife and serves companion animals.

Pacelle’s talk on the issues of animal welfare, and especially advocacy to prevent cruelty,  included animals from horses, chickens to laboratory animals.  The crowd was well prepared with questions, and listened with engagement.

Ruth Kildall asked a question of particular interest to Washingtonians about why the HSUS decided to forgo the state ballot initiative (I-1130) to ban chicken confinement pens and instead pursue national legislation for the improvement of conditions for all hens.  Clearly other audience members had the same questions, as ears perked up once again.

Local Seattle activists Claudine Erlandson and Ruth Kildall at “The Bond” book signing.

Pacelle’s reasoning was one of resources, and he explained that the HSUS and local constituents could help the majority of hens in the US by pursuing national legislation rather than state initiative.  A state initiative would have required considerable resources beyond the successful signature gathering.  Furthermore, such initiatives would only be an option for advocates in states where the ballot initiative method is allowed to circumvent the state legislature.   The grim outcome of a patchwork of state laws to protect chickens could mean that the majority of US chickens would reside in states with no protection laws, Pacelle explained.

Wayne Pacelle explaining Meatless Mondays

Pacelle also encouraged us to choose Meatless Mondays to reduce the amount of meat we eat as a society.  “Meatless Monday saves the lives of 1.5 billion animals a year.” explained Pacelle.

In the company of friends, this book signing was a reminder that our goals to prevent cruelty to animals are shared by so many people right here in my own backyard of North Seattle.

An AHELP hospice dog, waiting for the book signing, sticks his tongue out at me.

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