A polarizing figure in farm country insists he and his organization are not anti-farmer.
Humane Society of the United States president Wayne Pacelle sparks strong emotions in agricultural circles; his reputation held in so low esteem the Platte Valley Humane Society board rejected a $5,000 dollar HSUS grant stating that the group’s policies are in conflict with its local supporters. Gov. Heineman has called it an organization that cannot be trusted.
Pacelle bristles at such comments.
“This has been disappointing to me to see this notion advanced that the Humane Society is against agriculture,” Pacelle says in an interview with Nebraska Radio Network. “Of course we’re not. Agriculture is vital to our nation and our economy and we all eat.”
The Columbus Telegram reported that the 10-member Platte Valley Humane Society board of directors voted unanimously to reject the HSUS grant. The board sent a letter to the HSUS explaining that as a society within an agricultural community it is concerned that some of the national group’s “policies regarding farm animals would be in conflict with the ideals of many of our local supporters.”
Gov. Heineman harshly criticized the HSUS in December during remarks to the Nebraska Cattlemen convention.
“They try to start with [regulating] pork and poultry production, and then they’re going to be after you guys,” Heineman was quoted as saying. “It’s an organization you cannot trust and I do not trust.”
Pacelle calls such sentiments “unfortunate”.
“We are a mission-oriented organization,” Pacelle 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 claims HSUS has no underlying agenda to end livestock production, pointing 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, we do not want to end livestock production,” Pacelle insists. “We’ve not said it. Our actions on the ground show that that’s not our work and our purpose.”
Pacelle has been traveling the country, promoting his book, The Bond: Our Kinship with Animals; Our Call to Defend Them. He recently attended a book signing in Omaha.