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An Open Invitation to Wayne Pacelle

I wasn’t going to say more but, as Denver diners prepare to sit down to meals made out of calves like young Melody while HSUS continues to spin its support for the callous “Hoofin It” event, I find that I must say just a little bit more.


Again, vegan HSUS staffers who are engaged in real work that really does help animals have my empathy. I can only imagine what it feels like to have one’s work persistently eclipsed by maelstroms made by management’s decision to engage in callous sophistry under the guise of strategy.

Yes, “callous.” It is callous to actively encourage people to dine on calves while feeling good about themselves for doing so. Why is this callous? Because to do so, you must ignore the suffering of the calves in question, not to mention the sexual violations of female animals built into every form of animal agriculture, no matter how small-scale or allegedly “humane.”

It is also callous to sacrifice some calves for purposes of some strategy. It is one thing to realize that one cannot save every calf, quite another to actively encourage people to kill and eat some of them, because you think you will gain some strategic advantage by doing so.

And, yes, “sophistry.” Today, we have seen a blog post by HSUS Wayne Pacelle, as well as a series of tweets by whoever staffs the HSUS Twitter account, asserting without demonstrating that it is somehow necessary to promote the killing of calves in order to end factory farming. This is exactly the kind of doublespeak that puts HSUS between a rock and a hard place, trusted by neither its ought-to-be allies in animal advocacy nor its sought-after allies in rural communities.

But let me follow my own advice about how to deal with people and not presume that Wayne knows he is being duplicitous. Let me assume instead that, as his blog post suggests, Wayne Pacelle is unable to conceive of a multifaceted strategy against factory farming that would be farmer-friendly and popular in rural communities but would not involve the active promotion of animal exploitation.

Wayne, let’s meet. I and other women who run farmed animal sanctuaries can see a way out of the perpetual mess in which you find yourself. Wouldn’t it be great not to have animal advocates railing about “H$U$” or putting on radio shows entitled “Love Animals? Hate HSUS”? Wouldn’t it be wonderful to truly help farmers and rural communities without having to compromise your principles to do so? It’s possible! Let us use our skills at care-taking and creative problem-solving in ethically complex situations to help you see how HSUS can lead the way to a healthy, plant-based agricultural economy.

We met once before, when we spoke at the same plenary plenary session at AR2002. It’s been too long. Let’s meet again, to discuss out how to add empathy and imagination to the HSUS strategy for ending factory farming.