A polarizing figure returns to Nebraska, insisting he isn’t as extreme as he is portrayed.
Wayne Pacelle, president of the Humane Society of the United States, will attend a forum tonight in Lincoln, sponsored by the Nebraska Agriculture Council of HSUS.
Pacelle insists there’s no reason for agriculture interests to fear either him or his group and there is no reason to form the group We Support Agriculture to counter activities of the HSUS.
“Well, there are paranoid people out there and they apparently formed a group just because people are discussing the idea of humane treatment of animals,” Pacelle tells Nebraska Radio Network.
Pacelle says HSUS simply promotes the highest standard of treatment of animals, even farm animals raised for slaughter. He says HSUS is not out to end animal agriculture, but does want humane treatment of animals during transport and at slaughter.
Also, HSUS has recently been targeting confinement used in agriculture. Specifically, HSUS wants to end the use of gestation crates in the pork industry, crates for veal calves and cramped conditions for laying hens.
The group recently reached an agreement with the United Egg Producers to provide laying hens more room. Efforts to codify it by slipping it into the Farm Bill failed.
Other agriculture groups staunchly oppose HSUS and refuse to work with the group.
Pacelle has heard the criticism aimed at him and HSUS.
“If people want to really use overheated rhetoric and if they don’t want to have a discussion about animal welfare, then there’s nothing that we can do about that,” Pacelle says.
He says no one should quarrel with HSUS’ insistence on humane treatment of animals.
“The only people who should quarrel with it are people who are opposed to those principles and those ideals.”
The Nebraska Agriculture Council of the Humane Society of the United States will host a forum this evening at the Cornhusker Hotel in downtown Lincoln.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:50]
AUDIO: Brent Martin interviews HSUS President Wayne Pacelle. [17 min.]