“The Humane Economy: Appreciating, Not Exploiting Animals” by Wayne Pacelle


This presentation is brought to you by Arizona
State University’s Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability, and a generous
investment by Julie Ann Wrigley. So tonight I want to tell you a little bit
about this new book that I’ve written that Debbie has mentioned called the Humane Economy. And I want to get into it first by just mentioning
a little bit about the Humane Society of the United States. I’ve been privileged to serve as President
and CEO of the organization for the last 11, nearly 12 years. And it is a perfect fit for me because it
advocates for all animals. And I am concerned about companion animals. I’m concerned about farm animals. I’m concerned about wild animals, wherever
they are– whether they’re in Arizona or other parts of the US or anywhere in the world. And as you can see from this montage of different
species, these are all creatures that we advocate on behalf of. And it really is an amazing circumstance that
animals are everywhere in our lives. And one aspect that I try to drop out in this
book is that animals are actually a big part of our economy. And they’ve been a big part of the economy
in terms of people exploiting them. That’s been one big rationale for people having
animals and using them, but there’s a new economy that’s being built that’s grounded
on the idea of appreciating animals and tapping into this vast and emerging sentiment that
exists that recognizes the place of animals in our society. And it’s the tension between those two visions
of how we’re going to handle animals in the economy that is really the central work of
the organization that I represent and work for. You know, when we think about animals and
the economy, you can really monetize many dimensions of how we’re dealing with animals. 171 million dogs and cats live in our homes
and then if you add in the rabbits and the hamsters and so many other species, it’s about
350 million animals in our homes. There are more pets than people in American
households and we spend more than $60 billion a year on these creatures– not just food,
but also veterinary care and toys. I know that our Lily gets a lot of toys and
a lot of different kinds of treats that we’re buying all the time. And so many of us who have animals in our
lives treat these creatures as members of the family. They are not ornaments, they are not things
to just have around when we happen to like them. They are members of our lives, our family,
and we care about them, we celebrate them, and when we lose them, we grieve for them. And what a human response it is and an appropriate
response to grieve when we lose these creatures. We also are connected to nature. We spend at least $55 billion a year on wildlife
watching and other wildlife appreciation activities. We have a whole network of national parks
in the United States. You’ve got Petrified Forest here, you’ve got
Grand Canyon, you’ve got lots of other federal lands, and lots of state parks. All over the United States parks and places
are places of refuge for us as well as for animals. We’re deeply connected to nature. You can look at the biggest cities in the
United States like New York City, the most populous city in the US. Right in the middle of the city the planners
of that city designed a park, Central Park, a place even in the height of civilization,
human construction, and architecture, road building, we wanted a place where people could
go and kind of take a deep breath and see green spaces and breathe some fresh air. Parks and places that protect animals are
really part of who we are. And, you know, this notion of how we treat
the animals is not some invention of contemporary times. It’s been something that’s been around as
a notion for so many years, but looking at our contemporary times, it’s a map of the
United States, of course, and if you can see on the lower corner of this slide, this is
a status of lawmaking on malicious cruelty to animals in 1985. So there are three keys. One is this blue pit bull type dog represents
a state in 1985 that had a felony level penalty for dogfighting. So you can see a few states did, New Mexico
here, and then Kansas and Oklahoma, maybe about 10 states. And then the next one is this white chicken
or rooster. And that represents a state that had felony
level penalties for cockfighting in 1985. You can see very few states, Wisconsin and
New York and, you know, just three or four or five states. And then, finally, this yellow cat– the colors
aren’t really coming out great resolution here– this cat represents a state that had
felony level penalties for general malicious cruelty, doing something really terrible to
an animal. You can see a few states had it, but not many. We said at the Humane Society, I mean, this
is unacceptable. I mean, if we are going to address issues
broadly of how human beings relate to animals, we are going to have to have a baseline standard
of care. We cannot just have a slap on the wrist or
no slap at all for people who exhibit the most intentional and malicious forms of cruelty. So we said, one thing we’ve got to do is change
this legal framework. So we’ve been working state by state and,
of course, at the federal level as well to strengthen the legal framework for animals. And now this is what it looks like. [APPLAUSE] This map has been filled out and what it says,
I think, to the nation, to the world is that we don’t tolerate malicious cruelty to animals,
no stage fights. Unfortunately, we had to do this on the ballot
here, not in the legislature. The legislature wouldn’t outlaw cockfighting
here in Arizona, but we took it to the people and it was overwhelmingly approved. So one of the things that we’re working on
now is, of course, having this anti-cruelty sensibility be broadly applied. And if you think about the work of the Humane
Society of the United States, you think, well, we’re not really debating the issue of whether
cruelty to animals is wrong. That legal framework that I showed you already
kind of shows that we’ve resolved that question. The key question for us today is how do we
logically apply anti-cruelty principles in a world where animals are used in so many
different sectors of the economy and where their use is often tied to so many practices
that intersect with our daily lives like the food we eat, the household products and cosmetics
that we buy in the store, the clothes that we wear, the coats and other garments, the
gloves and the boots and the shoes, the forms of entertainment like going to the circus
or going to SeaWorld and other forms of entertainment to have live animal acts, and I could go on
and on and on. That is really the central question of what
we’re trying to accomplish is to more logically apply this notion that all animals matter
and that we should be decent to them. You know, we’re starting to see more and more
laws to protect exotic animals and to deal with puppy mills, but there’s also a backlash
to try to stop us from taking pictures of animals on large scale farms or to enshrine
the existing state of the law which might be deficient in terms of animal protection
by passing, say, right to farm measure. So we’ve got a real mix and blend of issues
that are being debated in state legislatures, in the Congress, debated in corporate boardrooms. And we’re at a very vibrant time in the history
of the animal protection movement when we’re really reaching a tipping point in terms of
really accepting the idea that animals matter and that protection of animals should be enshrined
in the law and should be enshrined in the policies of corporations that have animals
in their operational models. So– just looking up here– so, you know,
these are some difficult images to see and they, I think, reflect some diversity of uses
of animals in our society. And, as I said, you know, it’s not just that
we have dogs or cats in our homes or it’s not just that the marine mammals [INAUDIBLE],
animals are everywhere in our lives. And they’re built into so many economic activities
that a lot of people don’t even think about. They don’t ponder what’s going on in food
and agricultural, in testing and wildlife management, And one of the things that we’re
trying to do is ask people of conscience to take these matters in a very serious way and
to act on these beliefs. And, of course, this notion that I’ve advanced
here with the Humane Economy is that we don’t have to have winners and losers. We can have a robust, growing economy and
also be good to animals. In fact, my argument is that only the companies
that are good to animals are the ones, in the end, that are going to succeed because
now we have this mass of consumers who are increasingly alert to the needs of animals. This presentation is brought to you by Arizona State University’s Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability, for educational, and non-commercial use only.

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