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Humane Society's Wayne Pacelle Fires Back Over Puppy Mill Compromise

Categories: Animals

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Wayne Pacelle of the Humane Society of the United States
​Governor Jay Nixon yesterday announced new measures (and $1.1 million in funding) to monitor dog-breeding operations here, in light of the "Missouri Compromise" that he signed into law earlier this year. The compromise gutted key parts of Prop B, a voter-approved crackdown on puppy mills -- even while promising more money for enforcement and inspection.

Nixon's announcement quickly drew a rebuttal from the man who, more than just about anyone, was the architect of the Prop B puppy mill initiative: Wayne Pacelle, president of the Humane Society of the United States. Pacelle just happens to be in St. Louis today --
he's giving a reading for his new book, The Bond: Our Kinship with Animals, Our Call to Defend Them, tonight at the Ethical Society of St. Louis.

Pacelle says that he's pleased with the increased enforcement dollars. But he criticized the fact that the funding is being offered as a trade-off for the tougher restrictions: "None of that is a substitute for retaining the good solid core protections voters approved in Prop B."

In direct response to Prop B's dismantling, the Humane Society is pushing a constitutional amendment for the November 2012 ballot -- the Your Vote Counts Act. If approved, the amendment would bar the Legislature from overturning voter initiatives unless it can summon a 3/4 majority. (Today in Missouri, unlike many other states, only a simple majority is required.)

"We don't want this kind of miscarriage of the democratic process to go unnoticed," Pacelle says, explaining that, if the new amendment is approved by voters, "there would have to be some level of bipartisan agreement to undo initiatives. It can't just be because one side disagrees with it."

The Humane Society spent approximately $2.5 million pushing Prop B. When it comes to Your Vote Counts, Pacelle says, the organization is again willing to spend. "We will put resources into it," he vows. "We really believe in the right of citizens to make law directly. And we believe that elected officials should respect the judgment of voters."

And despite the setback over the puppy mill legislation, Pacelle made it clear that his organization's not going away. The Humane Society intends to monitor the Missouri Department of Agriculture as it writes the regulations called for by Nixon's "Compromise."

"They can't get rid of us that easily," he says.

As former RFT staff writer Kristen Hinman detailed in a April 2010 feature, "Down on the Farm," with Pacelle at the head, the Humane Society has focused on a state-by-state push to end factory farming, one new restriction (and one new state) at a time.

At the time of Hinman's piece, the campaign was still relatively stealth -- the Humane Society had achieved a series of victories at the state level that forced big agriculture to make major changes to the way it treated animals, without too much blowback outside the farming community.

But, as Hinman detailed, that began to change by 2010. "For a long time, the ag industry didn't seem to see a way to slap away the Humane Society's whip hand. But within the past year, through social media, influence peddling and, most recently, preemptive political maneuvering, farmers big and small have begun to circle the wagons to protect their livelihood," she wrote.

And what happened in Missouri this year showed that even disorganized, badly funded agriculture interests could score a victory in a pro-agriculture state. Even though the Humane Society was able to eek out a win at the ballot box for Prop B, it was not to stand: The Missouri Legislature swiftly moved to gut the new law, and Governor Nixon ultimately signed into law a measure that stripped out many key components -- including the ban on any breeding operation with more than 50 dogs. That provision would have automatically put most of the state's big dog breeders out of business.

Pacelle tells Daily RFT that it was the first time the Humane Society has been thwarted in such an initiative. (That it came after a hard-fought victory at the ballot box surely made it even more galling.)

In the late-90s, Missouri voters approved a Humane Society-backed initiative outlawing cockfighting. Opponents fought back in the Legislature, Pacelle recalls.

"They had a similar argument in 1999," he says. "They said this would be the first stop to banning all hunting, or agriculture, or dog breeding." But in1999, enough legislators remained unconvinced; the cockfighting ban was signed into law.

St. Louis is now the 45th city Pacelle has visited on his book tour. He tells Daily RFT, somewhat surprisingly, that his critics haven't been showing up at stops along the way.

"It's been amazing," he says. "It's been uniformly positive. The critics have been silent on the book.

"I think part of it is that they've developed this caricature of the Humane Society, and when the complexity and the nuance are reflected in the narrative, it doesn't conform to their crazy false portrait," he adds. "We're not against agricultural -- we're for humane and sustainable agriculture. We're not against animal research -- we're for innovation as a way to make it obsolete through the development of new testing tools and mechanism. I'm not an orthodox person, and the Humane Society of the United States is not an orthodox group. It doesn't fit their stereotype, and they don't want to confront that."

Wayne Pacelle reads from his book tonight at the Ethical Society of St. Louis, 9001 Clayton Road, beginning at 7 p.m. Reservations are recommended.



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357 comments
John
John

Let the hillbillies make their money cages dogs, for god sake it's Missouri-what do you expect.

Terry Ward
Terry Ward

By the way, did any of you bother to answer this call from your Supreme Leader?

  "Below are the cities that Pacelle will visit on his book tour. If you’re in the area, we encourage you to stop by and ask him some tough questions. If you do ask Pacelle a question, please tell us about it"

http://humanewatch.org/index.p...

Terry Ward
Terry Ward

Did any of you anti-humaniacs  bother to turn up anywhere along the book tour to tell Mr. Pacelle what you think of him?According to your Humanewatch manifesto "the coming weeks will offer many opportunities (those book-signings) to ask him what he believes".

TomKi
TomKi

Shelley Powers and other hate-filled animal rights activists have caused a lot of damage and have absolutely no respect for the law or human rights.

fearnot
fearnot

ah here is Terry .. calling in the reinforcements John?  When Terry shows up nothing good can happen.. put on your troll deflecting hats.. the excrement and insults will be thick and fast...better yet do as I do.. when you see "little black dogs".. or Terry Ward.. turn off your computer and walk your dog as I am doing right now. Bye now

fearnot
fearnot

so put a cap on how much waste a dog breeding operation can produce.. or make sure the waste is properly disposed of if that is your concern

Mike N.
Mike N.

Wow, is this a record for the number of comments on daily rft?  I love to see a generally civil discussion about a controversial topic (unlike what happens on a certain 'major daily''s website...)

TomKi
TomKi

This goes to prove that they shouldn't have given the HSUS ANYTHING.

fearnot
fearnot

as I said.. when you cannot refute the message try to make the poster look small.. attacks like Johns are meant to insult people.He trolls the internet daily in support of his God, Wayne Pacelle.. and of course to show off his "superior" intelligence. Won't work here John.. you are a mean spirited jerk and it really shows.

fearnot
fearnot

political contributions are legal in most places up to a point.. if you, Ms Powers think that line has been crossed please report it . HSUS did quite a bit of lobbying themselves on this issue if I am correct.. did they cross that line between "charity" and legislation?  only time will tell

fearnot
fearnot

English is my primary language but I speak and write several others..  I* can't be bothered to look for your comment about English as a primary language .. but suffice to say that you know nothing about wine or the English language.. fining is a method used to clear the wine of particles.. egg whites are used. gelatin as well ( from animals ).also some forms of bentonite.. there you have had your lesson in the higher aspects of life for the day go have a glass of Gallo

ToldYouSo
ToldYouSo

Are you kidding? Wayne Pacelle is a big waste of time.

Terry Ward
Terry Ward

We have no respect for twits and knuckleheads.

Terry Ward
Terry Ward

John has NO need for 'reinforcements'.John Doppler Schiff is a mighty force for animals, all on his own

Terry Ward
Terry Ward

Don't forget to shut the door behind you.

Terry Ward
Terry Ward

One man's waste is another man's Humanewatcher.

Shelley Powers
Shelley Powers

Well, the article was linked at both anti-B/pro HumaneWatch and Stop HumaneWatch Facebook pages. That's like yelling "Fresh Meat!" among a bunch of starving Vikings.

Terry Ward
Terry Ward

Punctuation is your friend, fearnot.

Terry Ward
Terry Ward

'Time' seems to be taking an awfully long time, doesn't it?

Shelley Powers
Shelley Powers

I imagine that the contributions are legal. Never implied they weren't. However, contributions also influence politicians, and the agribusiness interests in this state do like to spread the money around.

HSUS lobbied, but did not contribute to individual campaigns.

Shelley Powers
Shelley Powers

I know that you seem to have a hard time focusing on the topic of this article.

Terry Ward
Terry Ward

So much for the confidence of your convictions.

ToldYouSo
ToldYouSo

You have no self respect at all, or you wouldn't say so many silly things in an otherwise generally productive forum. 

ToldYouSo
ToldYouSo

The door is already shut for you, Terry. You lost, remember? Now all you can do is support yourself by bloodsport, if you can get away with it. But you can't. Your door is shut and locked up tight, forever. No one steals Missouri. Quit trying.

ToldYouSo
ToldYouSo

I know it's hard to go without dinner, but you might lose a few pounds of wishful thinking. Nostalgia for the good ol' days, before the Missouri guard tossed your ignorant, freedom-gobbling 'law' out the window.

Terry Ward
Terry Ward

Even better if the Humanewatchers think the meat is puppy.

ToldYouSo
ToldYouSo

Quit wasting our time TW. You should be retired by now. Prop B is toast.

fearnot
fearnot

you mean like Mr Schiff?

ToldYouSo
ToldYouSo

Is the topic of this article 'citizen initiatives'?

ToldYouSo
ToldYouSo

You really need a better vocabulary, Big Little Guns. Something new perhaps.

Terry Ward
Terry Ward

We have enough self-respect to recognize a twit when we see one.

Terry Ward
Terry Ward

'Understanding the subtlety of sarcasm usage requires second-order interpretation of the speaker's intentions. This sophisticated understanding can be lacking in some people with certain forms of brain damage'

ToldYouSo
ToldYouSo

Didn't do much reading a a child, did you.

Terry Ward
Terry Ward

Bloodsport?Is that a sausage or a street gang cruise destination?

ToldYouSo
ToldYouSo

If you didn't believe everyone here is a 'puppymill', your bill could have probably made it through. But because you know not the difference, you are useless to your cause.

Terry Ward
Terry Ward

"Give me puppymills or give me death!"

Bonnie Thompson Jensen
Bonnie Thompson Jensen

Oh get real ! Are you saying you eat puppy? That's nice, because none of us do..

Terry Ward
Terry Ward

And you are wearing a chicken suit.I know this.

Terry Ward
Terry Ward

We shall retire to our kitchen to make some.

ToldYouSo
ToldYouSo

The only 'disdain' operative here is yours. And it's effete now, totally useless. Get with the program; the legislators studied the issue and found a bad bill. They did their job. To your total dismay.

Shelley Powers
Shelley Powers

Actually, yes it is for the most part. Specific citizen initiatives, and our elected officials disdain for the voters.

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