“The Humane Economy” 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. Wrigley Lecture Series–
world renowned thinkers and problem solvers engage
the community in dialogues to address sustainability
challenges. Welcome everyone. On behalf of the Julie
Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability, Sosa and I would like to
welcome you tonight. My name is Catherine Gross. I’m a student at
ASU and in addition to the student
organization, Veg Aware, I am also an intern with the
Humane Society of the United States Arizona, which has
been an incredible experience. I nominated our special
guest, Wayne Pacelle, to be a Wrigley
speaker and I’m so thrilled that he’s here today. Let me tell you more
about the Wrigley Lecture Series on Sustainability. It is funded by
Julie Ann Wrigley and the series brings
world-renowned thinkers and problem-solvers
to campus where they engage the community
in addressing sustainability challenges. Wrigley speakers are chosen
by a select committee of sustainability scientists,
graduate and undergraduate students like myself, and
the Wrigley Institute staff members. These special visitors
stimulate our efforts in sustainability
research and education to ensure that our programs meet
the needs of a changing worlds. Wrigley visitors
offer more than a concluding hour-long speech that
encapsulates their life’s work. On Wrigley days, our
speakers meet informally with faculty members,
students, and community members in a variety of settings. Now I’d like to introduce
to you Dr. Deborah Wilson. Dr. Wilson is a
renowned surgeon. She is on the Arizona
State Council of the Humane Society of the
United States Arizona and she is one of Arizona’s most
effective and passionate animal advocates. She is also on the HSUS farm
animal protection council. Her animal rescue and
sanctuary, the Circle L Ranch in Prescott Valley,
is constantly overflowing with rescued animals
and often home to over 60 dogs, several litters of puppies, 18
horses, one mule, 17 sheep, 90 goats, forty geese–
four geese, I’m sorry– four roosters,
seven hens, over 200 rescued animals total. I’m honored to introduce
Dr. Deborah Wilson. [APPLAUSE] Thank you. So this is Sosa and Sosa is
the very fortunate recipient of the services of
the Humane Society of the United States rural
area veterinary services. Sosa was on Apache
reservation in San Carlos and was hit by a car
and her leg was injured and it needed to be amputated. So I am honored to be able to
introduce one of the people I respect and admire most
in this world, Wayne Pacelle, the President and
Chief Executive Officer of the Humane Society
of the United States. I have known Wayne
for over 10 years now and I think more than anyone
else I know or know of, Wayne has committed his
life to the animals. Wayne speaks for the animals,
he advocates for the animals, he writes for the
animals, he testifies in front of Senate and
Congress for the animals. He will do anything
for the animals. And when it comes
down to a crisis, to Katrina, to a puppy mill
rescue, to a dog fighting raid, Wayne is right in there
with the rest of us with his sleeves rolled up,
mucking around like we do. He has written two books. The first book, The Bond,
Our Kinship with Animals, Our Call to Defend Them
was published in 2011 and was a New York
Times bestseller. His second book,
The Humane Economy, How Innovators and
Consumers are Transforming the Lives of Animals will
be released next month. This book is a story of
how entrepreneurs, Fortune 500 CEOs, world-class
scientists, forward-thinking
philanthropists, and a new class of political
and governmental leaders, both inspired and pressured
by conscious consumers, are changing the
lives for animals. Wayne Pacelle. [APPLAUSE] You know, someone who
has so many animals in her home and
her sanctuary, what an amazing example of humanity
and decency Deborah is. And I’m really
humbled to be here. Cat, thank you for that
very wonderful introduction. I’m so glad that each of
you has come out tonight. Thank you very, very much
for being part of this. Dr. Wilson said that
this is a passion of mine and it always has been a
great passion ever since I was a little kid,
animals have always occupied the mental
space for me. And I really didn’t
need anyone to tell me that I needed to
be good to animals. I wasn’t alert to the
wide range of problems that exist for
animals, but I knew that we as a human
species, as individuals needed to do our best and to
protect animals from cruelty. So I’m especially
glad to be out here in Arizona, a state that
has had a number of animal issues on the ballot. And the people of the state I’m
always favored ballot measures, whether it’s outlawing
cockfighting or banning steel jaw traps or stopping
extreme confinement of animals on factory farms or defeating
terrible measures that were submitted to the ballot
by the legislature to kind of enshrine trophy
hunting rights or to do other things that
were really inimical to animal welfare. And I’m also glad
to be specifically at the School of Sustainability. I mean, what a
wonderful concept it is to have a teaching
institution that talks about our
responsibilities to the planet and to one another. So Lauren, thank you,
Lauren [? Cuby ?], thank you very
much for having me and of course, the
Wrigley Lecture Series has so many wonderful
and esteemed people. I am, as they say, very,
very pleased to be among them and among these great
leaders who are really asking us to do more as
individuals and a society to protect this
planet and, of course, to protect the
creatures who live on it and depend upon our
goodness and our mercy. 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. You know, it wasn’t
that long ago when we thought that
animals were just kind of operating
purely by instinct, people denied that they could
feel pain like we humans do, a lot of people
thought they were just in this endless quest of
food gathering and mating, and there wasn’t
much to their lives. We now know from the work of
Jane Goodall with chimpanzees in Africa and Donald
Griffin and all the work he’s done with bats
and other species and so many other scientists
that these animals have rich lives. They have a sense
of past and future. They have a feeling of
love and appreciation for their family members. They have the same spark
of life that we have. They have the same desire
to live that we have. They may not be our equals
in terms of mental capacity, in creating the things that
we have created as a species, but in their capacity to
suffer, they are equals. And in terms of relevant
moral criteria, that, to me, is the key one. You know, when I think
about the humanity economy, I think about this
issue of whales. You know, we were
once the greatest– greatest in the sense
of the biggest– whaling nation in the world. We had ships that left ports
in New Bedford and Nantucket and they would ply
the world’s oceans in search of right whales
and humpback whales, and blue whales, and fin whales. And people killed those whales
and cut them up, extracted the oil, and whale oil fuel the
18th century and 19th century economies of a growing
nation, the United States, but in the latter part of the
19th century, the second half, we developed petroleum
and we began also to begin to think about our
responsibilities to animals. After the Civil War you had
the first conservation groups formed, you had more
and more science, Charles Darwin advanced
his theories of evolution and the continuity of life,
and we began to realize well, we may be able to generate
energy in other ways and we also are now recognizing
that these whales are the largest animals who
ever lived on the planet. They can be 100 feet long
and be 100 tons in terms of the biggest blue whales. Should we be killing them? Should we be
harpooning them just for some whale oil when
we now have alternatives? And you can kind of fast
forward to our current circumstance where the United
States, once the biggest whaling nation in
the world, is now the biggest opponent
of commercial whaling in the world. We lead international efforts to
stop whaling and now only three nations in the world the 200
or so nations still engaged in commercial whaling and it’s
a dying activity in all three of those countries–
Japan, Norway, and Iceland. And in its place, now we
have a new business built on the appreciation of whales. We have whale
watching tours that leave from Monterrey or
from Los Angeles or now from New Bedford or Nantucket. And the only place we
see the whaling ships is in the museums that talk
about this portion of our US history. And now it’s a multibillion
dollar economic enterprise to keep whales alive
and to watch them. And the beauty is
you can watch them over and over and over again. You can kill them only
once but you can watch them 100, 200, or 500 times. That is sustainability,
that is humane, and that is economic
progress, and I think, for all of
us here tonight, a great example of
what it means to think about the humane economy. This is Lily, whom I
mentioned to you before. And this is at a PetSmart. And, you know, PetSmart,
based here in Phoenix, is one of the big brand names
in the area of pet supplies and pets. And it was a couple decades ago
that PetSmart and just about every other pet store
in the United States was selling dogs for profit
and those dogs were produced by breeders, typically in the
Midwest– in Iowa and Kansas and Missouri and Nebraska,
maybe Pennsylvania or a few other states– and
the dogs were kind of raised like farm animals
were raised on farms. It was an agricultural
mentality. The mother dogs, the breeding
dogs, were kept in a cage. They were impregnated
every cycle. They were kept outside during
the extremes of heat or cold. They were never
getting in the house. They might have hundreds
of dogs in a single one of these puppy mills. They were denied
veterinarian care. And when they were used up,
they were killed and discarded. That is the state of
puppy mills in the US and the pet stores
were the ones that were channeling and selling
those dogs who were inhumanely produced at these mills,
mainly in the middle part of the country. But PetSmart, in
the 90s, said were going to upend in that model. We’re going to stop getting
dogs from puppy mills and we’re going to open
our doors to rescue groups and shelters and we’re
going to kind of trade on the idea of people meeting
this incredible new family member and bringing this new
family member into their lives, like we brought
Lily into our lives. And they saw that when people
adopted a dog from the shelter, they spent five times more with
lots of toys and lots of beds and lots of food. And they were monetizing the
idea of love and appreciation for animals. So PetSmart has grown
as an enormous company. In fact, in 2014 there
was a private equity, it was the largest
private equity deal in the world, where
PetSmart was acquired by one of these
private equity entities and it was the biggest private
equity deal in the world. It wasn’t a mining company
that was purchased, it wasn’t a telecom
company that was purchased, it wasn’t a defense contractor,
it was a pet store chain. That really speaks to the
incredible power of pets and animals in our lives. And Lily, we adopted her at a
PetSmart in northern Virginia and she is the love
of our life for sure. You know, it was
a year ago, March, that Ringling Brothers
decided that it was going to give up its
elephants in traveling acts. It’s a campaign that HSUS and so
many other animal organizations had launched decades
ago that continued. The notion that elephants,
the biggest land mammals in the world, are going to go
to Milwaukee for three days and then they’re going
to go to Minneapolis and then they’re
going to go to Fargo and then they’re going
to go to Cheyenne and then they’re
going to go to Denver. And they’re on the road
for 350 days a year. They’re on chains
22 hours a day. The only time they
get off of the chains is when they’re walked
over to the rink when they do their performances. And the handlers
all have bull hooks. I mean the public was saying
no, we don’t want this. These animals are incredible,
they’re intelligent, they’re smart, they live in the
wild with their extended family groups. And they live in an
equatorial part of the world, whether India or
the Asian elephants or the African elephants om
Kenya or Tanzania or Botswana. And Ringling Brothers realized
that the public, especially kids, was turning
away from this idea that they had seen
investigations of what happens the elephants or they just
saw that the elephants were just unhappy being shuttled
around and on these boxcars on trains. And it was a real moment in
the history of the animal protection movement
when Ringling decided to give up the elephants. And, you know, was a
cartoon just after this that basically, OK,
we’re in better shape, but what about you
orcas at SeaWorld? And as some of
you saw last week, we had a pretty big
announcement about this issue. [APPLAUSE] And– it was a book
called death at SeaWorld by a friend of
mine, David Kirby, who really talked about the
death of Dawn Brancheau, was a trainer of orcas and was
involved in the performances. And she was killed by a whale
named Tilikum and Kirby didn’t talk just about that, but
talked about the frustration that the orcas feel and
them being in a small pool and how they can live
100 years in the wild. And then there was
also a documentary called Blackfish that has
been running serially on CNN. Many of you have
probably seen this. And this really begin to
change public attitudes toward SeaWorld and toward
the captive display industry. And this was what happened to
the stock price of SeaWorld. So once the public began
to see what– [APPLAUSE] once the public saw the real
story, they didn’t like it. And, again, thinking
about the principles of the humane economy, these
notions of the public really begin to understand and
then boycotting or talking to friends or others,
telling other people, don’t go, started to have an
effect and the stock price drop precipitously,
attendance dropped. And, of course, we live
in this dynamic world and it was really
exciting for me to, with the CEO of SeaWorld,
to announce last week that they were ending the
breeding of orcas that they were going to
shift their model to a rescue and rehabilitation model
for marine mammals, and that they were
going to start and join with us in our global campaigns
against commercial sealing and whaling and shark penning. And we even got them to change
their food policy at SeaWorld where they have 22 and 1/2
million customers and 20,000 employees. They’re all doing–
SeaWorld is going to do only cage free eggs, crate
free pork, sustainable seafood. They’re going to
have vegan options. This is an
incredible, [APPLAUSE] incredible transformation
and example of the humane economy at work. And notably, when we made
the announcement on Thursday, on Thursday and Friday the
stock price went up about 15.5%, showing that when you
do the right thing, you’re going to be rewarded
in the humane economy. You know, the economy has
so many different areas where animals are used. They’ve been used in cosmetic
tests, poisoning animals at high dosages, feeding
animals chemicals and compounds or finished cosmetic products
until half the animals die. And they put the products
in the eye at a dosage level that we would never
really experience and the eye is severely injured. These became customary practices
in terms of the research and development activities
from many companies and we said, no, this
is not acceptable, it doesn’t give you
reliable results and now we have better ways. We can use safer ingredients,
things that would not poison us or hurt
our eyes and we can test some of these new
compounds and chemicals with 21st century technologies–
high throughput tests and other methods
that can give us a much more sophisticated
read on the toxicity or lack of toxicity of these products. And we’re now seeing an
incredible global movement to end cosmetic testing and
chemical testing on animals. India, the second biggest
country in the world by population, just a couple
of years ago at our urging not only banned any cosmetic testing
on animals but said you cannot sell any cosmetics in
India, 1.2 billion people, if you tested the cosmetics
on animals somewhere else, closing off the entire market,
one of the biggest countries in the world. The European Union
did the same thing for the 30 or so
countries that are part of the EU, 500 million
people in that market. When global companies can
now get no access to India and the EU and New Zealand
and other countries, the writing is on the wall
that change has to come and we’re seeing great change. All of these brands are stopped,
have stopped using animals for their cosmetic tests,
an incredible group and we’re going to see
that number expand. This, again, is the humane
economy in progress. And many of you, I’m sure,
heard about the killing of Cecil by a Minnesota
dentist this summer. He had a guide and he and the
guide took part of an elephant and used the elephant as
bait to lure Cecil out of Hwange National Park and
then shot Cecil with an arrow and then posed for this
photo after killing Cecil. A very brave Zimbabwean activist
heard about this, got word out, created an international
furor, and the public really began to wake up to the
realities of globe trotting trophy hunting where
wealthy Americans travel all over the world to
kill the rarest animals, to accumulate
points, if you will, within the
trophy-hunting community. So the Africa Big
Five is an award you get if you shoot a lion,
a leopard, a Cape Buffalo, a rhino, and an elephants. There are antler
games of the world, there are bears
of the world where you shoot five of
the eight bears, there are cats of
the world where you shoot six of the eight
big cats of the world. This is a trophy hunting
subculture that exists and Americans are at the center
of it killing these animals all over the world in this
competitive trophy hunting enterprise. So we and others began
to say, you know, not only are we going to try to
shut down the American market to these imports– and we now
have gotten the United States to list African lions as
threatened or endangered and it’s going to stop
the flow of trophies into the United States. We got that done just
a couple of months ago. But we also worked
with the airlines to get them to stop shipping
trophies of any members of the African Big Five at
all– not to the United States and not to any other place. So these are the airlines
that have committed to no shipping of trophies. An incredible, incredible
[INAUDIBLE]. [APPLAUSE] So, you know, the
airlines didn’t have to have their
accountants and other people doing a lot of
arithmetic on this issue. The pool of people
interested in trophy hunting is in the thousands. The pool of people interested
in seeing lions and elephants and leopards and other creatures
is in the tens and hundreds of millions. The economic potential
of wildlife watching is so much more vast. Why would these companies
want to jeopardize their brand by having a tiny percentage
of their passengers involved in this trade and
trafficking of animal parts when so many other
consumers are going to judge whether this is a
good company or a bad company based on what they’re
carrying in the cargo hold. And we’re seeing
a broader change. This is an ad that the
government of Botswana took in National
Geographic magazine. Botswana in 2014,
took effect in 2015, banned all trophy
hunting of elephants and all other creatures. This is only two million
people in Botswana. It’s the largest elephant
population in all of Africa. It’s got lions and
leopards and all of these incredible creatures. They used to be the
biggest trophy hunting country along with
South Africa in Africa and they banned it overnight. And what they’re
now doing is saying come to Botswana
by the millions, you know, to see and
appreciate our wildlife and leave these
creatures intact. This, again, is the humane
economy in progress. And, you know, there is
plenty of economic analysis to support this. It’s, of course,
common sense, but there was a study done to show that
elephants are 76 times more valuable to the economies
of Africa alive than dead. You kill the elephant and
the trophy hunting escapade or you kill them for their
ivory to provide this product in the international
marketplace for trinkets or other sorts of
things made from ivory, but when people go
and see these animals, that’s where the millions
of dollars are generated. You know, when
people go to Africa, they’re not generally going
to see the architecture, they’re not going
there to see– they’re going to see the greatest, you
know, assemblage of wildlife in the world. And the future of these
African countries, the future of their
economic health, the future in terms of jobs
for young people and women depends on preserving
these wild creatures. That is the future of
the African continent. So many of the countries
in Africa and so many leaders in Africa now
recognize this and that’s why Botswana, that’s why Kenya
banned sport hunting, that’s why Rwanda, you have these
incredible experiences to go see the mountain
gorillas in Rwanda. It’s the biggest
industry in Rwanda. Protecting those gorillas is
part of a moral responsibility, but it’s also part of
economic and national security for these countries. And, you know, I
mentioned fashion too. Just a few months
ago, we announced that Hugo Boss the
luxury fashion retailer, is ending its sale of fur. And just on Tuesday we announce
that Giorgio Armani is also leaving fur aside. [APPLAUSE] You know, when you
have expeditions who go to the North Pole
or to the South Pole, are people decked out in a
bobcat coat or a coyote coat? No. We’ve got Gore-Tex,
we’ve got products that we have developed, whether
synthetic or natural fibers that keep us much warmer. We now can mimic
almost entirely the fur of animals with fake fur. There is no reason to
kill 20 or 30 or 40 animals to make a fur
coat whether they’re trapped in the wild or
raised on a fur factory. This is a relic of an
earlier era in our history and now it’s time to move on. We can have successful fashion,
we can keep ourselves warm, we can be stylish without
leaving a trail of animal victims in the process. It’s not about sacrificing. We can have all of the
things that we want. But just make an easy
choice with a better outcome for the animals. It’s that simple in
this day and age. We have this incredible
human creativity. We can figure out these
problems and that’s what’s at the core of the
humane economy, the idea that we are smart enough to
figure out a different way. And one of the biggest
issues of all, of course, is the raising of
animals for food. The average American eats
29 or so animals a year. Think about that. I mean, Dr. Wilson rescues a lot
of dogs, you know, personally. Most of us aren’t capable
of that sort of sacrifice and that level of
commitment but just by eating more
thoughtfully you could save 5 or 10 or 15 or, if you go
all the way, 29 animals a year, just by eating more or
only plant-based foods. And, you know, now we
have so many companies that are producing
plant based proteins that are so similar
to meat in terms of their texture
and their taste. They’re superior in their
nutritional qualities and they don’t come with the
bad stuff like the hormones or the ractopamine
or the other things that we feed these
animals in order to keep them from getting
sick in these overcrowded environments or to accelerate or
spur their growth so that they are getting to a market weight
in a short period of time and then we can slaughter them. And, you know, when
you think about what we’re doing with these
animals on these farms, if you really kind of
pull the curtain back and see what we
are doing to them, you think, oh my god,
this is just madness, but somehow we become
socialized to accept these routine practices
as acceptable. You know, these poor
laying hens in this cage, there are six or
eight birds in a cage, and under the industry
voluntary standard which 25% of the egg
producers don’t even meat, the birds get 67 square
inches of space per bird. Every standard 8 1/2 by 11 sheet
of paper is 93 square inches. I mean, you have an average copy
paper, not the legal sheets, 8 1/2 by 14 or 11 by
14, whatever it is, the normal size 8 and 1/2
by 11 is 93 square inches, about that big. Each bird gets 2/3 the
size of that sheet of paper to live on that amount of
space for the 12 to 18 months that she’s alive. It would be like a small
elevator in an office building that you spend some time in. Think of the smallest elevator
that you’ve ever been in and think about six or eight
people in that elevator and it’s stuck. I mean, you’d go crazy
after 30 minutes. Think about an hour,
think about six hours, think about 24 hours, think
about, well, maybe they’ll push some food in front
of you once a day, maybe give you a drink of water. Think about two months
or six months or a year. I mean, this is madness. Are we this miserly that
that’s the best we can do? Are we this
uncreative that that’s the best we can achieve an
agricultural production? Are we this heartless to
do this to these living, breathing suffering creatures
who depend on our mercy and are a goodness
and our decency? I mean, this is ridiculous. It should never
have gotten this bad and it should never have
been the system that came to dominate US egg
production in the United States. So here you have a hen who
through a normal reproductive process is producing an egg. She doesn’t need to be killed,
yet we’re still putting them through this torment. Or think about these pigs. You know, we have
so much information about the intelligence of pigs. You know, so many
scientists have said they are at least
as smart as dogs are. They have this great nose. They want to root
around in the mud, they want to search for grubs. They eat insects. They’re omnivorous. They’re not just this
slothful creature that just lays in the
mud and doesn’t move. They move around. Look at wild pigs. Look at their
behavior in the wild. But this is what we do to them? We take a 300 or 400
or 500 pound breeding sow and put her in a
two foot wide crate about as wide as my shoulders? Seven feet long,
she’s pretty long, five and a half, six feet. The only thing she can
do for the three years basically that she’s in
the crate producing piglets is to take one step
forward and one step back. I mean, they go mad, they wave
their heads back and forth, they chew on the
bars of the crates. I can tell you, I’ve
been to these farms. I’ve been to these
pig farms, I’ve been to these egg factories. I went to an egg factory
that 10 million birds, had a complex of facilities. They were stacked eight high. I mean, think of big
cities in Arizona. I mean, there were more
birds in one building than there are the biggest
cities all crammed together. That is conventional
agriculture. And, yes, it’s efficient,
yes it produces cheap– in terms of the
cost of the supermarket– cheap eggs and cheap pork,
but at what moral cost and what cost in terms of
the waste, the public health problems of antibiotic
resistant bacteria, the problems of property values
dropping as this load of manure comes from all these
animals crammed in one place with untreated waste going into
lagoons that pollutes the air and putrifies the water? I mean, what are the costs? The costs are so
expensive when you factor all the
externalities and when you have a true accounting
of what’s going on. The heart disease,
the cancers that are associated with a diet
heavy in animal product consumption with all these
hormones and other products given to the animals. The good news is that finally,
we’re breaking through. We’re starting to see
animals if they’re going to be raised for food at
least they’re allowed to move. You know, animals with wings
and legs, animals built to move should be allowed to move. It’s that basic. You know, it’s not complicated
animal rights theory. It’s just common sense. These are living
beings and now, really because of the work of
HSUS and other groups where we’ve thrown back the
curtain on what’s happening and we’ve really got the public
stirred up about these issues, we’re starting to
see big change. Big companies like Nestle,
the biggest food company in the world, has
adopted the five freedoms of animal welfare. Wal-Mart, the biggest
retailer in the world that sells 25% of all
groceries has also adopted the five freedoms
of farm animal welfare. McDonald’s in September for
the $2 billion plus exit buys says it’s going
to entirely cage free. And what’s happening is
an absolute revolution in the pig industry and
also in the egg industry. And we have convinced all
the big names, just about all the big names, in food
retail– whether the fast food companies like McDonald’s
or Burger King, or they’re food service
providers like Aramark or Sodexo, or grocery chains
like Basha’s or Albertson’s or Safeway or Costco,
they’re now all starting to change their
supply chains to reflect the sensibility about animals. So these are just
some of the companies that have gone cage free. Here are some others and others. Just in the last– [APPLAUSE]
almost all of these companies just in the last six months
have taken this step. Again, a small step for us. A small step, in some
ways, for these companies, but a very, very big
step for us as a society and certainly for these animals. And, you know, this whole notion
of the humane economy is one that I’m hoping becomes part
of our national discussion, this idea that we cannot
disassociate our commerce and our business
from our values. When we go to work, we don’t
leave our values behind. I mean, we live in a
capitalist economy. The businesses that are
doing work, providing jobs are the core of our society. They’re supposed to
play by the rules, they’re supposed to
reach for high standards. Businesses produce
goods and services that are valuable for us. They enhance and
enrich our lives. They give us flat screen
TVs, they give us iPhones, they give us all sorts of things
that are so important to us. In the process of getting
those products and so many others to market we don’t
want to violate and compromise our principles. I mean, food
companies should not be pushing food on us that
comes from tortured animals. Cosmetic companies should not
be doing poisoning of animals as a customary practice to
get those products to market. Clothing company should
not be relying on trappers to put out steel
jawed traps to kill bobcats and beavers
and other creatures to keep us warm with our coats. Ringling Brothers should
not be keeping elephants on chains for 22 hours a day
and shipping them to 120 cities a year. I mean, these are crazy things. We can do better. We are not making some
complicated argument about animal rights. We’re really talking more
about human responsibility. It’s more about us than it
is about them as animals. Of course, we have to accept
the basic principle that animals think and feel, but any
person who is conscious knows that to be true. We are really talking about
acting on established values. If we accept that cruelty
to animals is wrong, we cannot countenance the sorts
of things that I’ve shown you in pictures on these slides. We can and must and
should do better. If we are so great as
a species, and we are, we should be able
to figure this out. The whole watchword of
human history has changed. We moved from the
telegraph to the telephone to the iPhone, the internet. We moved from the
horse and buggy to the internal combustion
engine to aircraft travel. I mean, think of any industry
and think of the progress that we’ve seen to bring
us to where we are. Think of architecture. Think of almost any
business and, of course, they’ve been changing. It’s time that we change
the way that animals are treated in businesses
that were grounded on animal exploitation. It’s right for animals,
it’s right increasingly for the businesses
because that’s what we’re expecting
as a society that is more and more alert
to the needs of animals. But this sort of
change that happens across different sectors of the
economy is not self-executing. It happens because there
are good people who stand up and demand reform. The whole history
of our country is built on thought leaders
and principled people who said we’ve got to do
things a better way, whether they were moral
crusaders or business entrepreneurs. I mean, look at the
history of our country. I mean, in the latter
part of the 18th century when we were formed, it was
just white propertied males who had all the political
rights and all the power and had the capital. We had a struggle for
the first 80 years of our history to
eliminate chattel slavery. We fought a great
civil war over it. 600,000 people died. It split the country
in half, but people were fighting for a principle
that human bondage is unacceptable and
it was inconsistent with the principles
of our constitution and our Bill of Rights. Those lofty principles
mean something– freedom, justice, fairness. We had the denial of women’s
voting rights for 140 years. It wasn’t until 1920
that half the population got the right to vote. There were suffragists
who fought and battled, who were mocked
early in the process, but they fought and they
got their right to vote. And, of course, we look
back and think, how could it have taken so long? How could we have been so silly? We’ve had fights over civil
rights in the 50s, in the 60s. We’re battling on environmental
protection and sustainability, but you better believe we should
also be battling for animals. We have an asymmetrical
relationship with them. We can kill them, we can
imprison them on factory farms, we can wipe out entire species. We just barely stopped
before killing off the bison in the United States. We brought them from
40 to 60 million which is 500 animals in the
period of about three decades. In the 19th century, there were
billions of passenger pigeons and in the span of just
40 years they were gone. And that was when we had much
more rudimentary technology than we have today. We had the ability to wipe
out the most abundant species from the planet even then. So our power is so much greater
now to do terrible things to animals. I mean, factory farming is
an example of human ingenuity disassociated from conscience. But when we can think
about human ingenuity and marry it to
conscience, that’s the society that we want. That’s the society that
we can all be proud of. That’s a society with
not so many victims. So I ask each of you to
think about your life what you can do to contribute
to the cause of stopping systemic cruelty and building
a truly humane society, building a humane economy. These animals depend
on our agency. They depend on our doing
something and no longer being a bystander in the
face of these problems. So I hope after tonight
you’ll join with us and I’m thankful for
your being here tonight. Thank you so much. [APPLAUSE] So we’re going to– some
of you sent in questions. I didn’t have the
mic on for that. A little gas from
the little puppy. [LAUGHTER] So some of you sent– Nothing to get in a
twist about though. [LAUGHTER] Some of you sent
in questions and I will go through them
for Wayne and give him an opportunity to answer them. So the first question is, how
did the SeaWorld come together and how will Humane Society
of the United States ensure that SeaWorld implements
the announced changes? Does the agreement include that
the orcas that SeaWorld has sent to other parks like
Paco– excuse me– does– Laurel Park? Yeah, Laurel Park, yeah. So, also, what can
we expect to see happen in other animals
in captivity at Sea World and will performances be
discontinued for the dolphins, porpoises, and sealions. Yeah, we’ve been
working on the issue of the treatment of the animals
at SeaWorld for many years. And I had a colleague, Naomi
Rose, who was an orca PhD. Scientist who studied
the orcas in Puget Sound in Washington and we were
actually involved years ago with the Keiko issue. After the movie Free
Willy there was a orca who was rescued from a really
terrible marine park in Central America. And Keiko was
brought up to Oregon and there was an attempt
to try to release him. And we’ve been working
on it, other groups have been working on
that issue as well. And once Ringling
happened a year ago I knew that SeaWorld
had been isolated and I knew that there’d
have to be change, but I wasn’t sure when it would
come and how it would come. And a longtime
friend of mine who was a Republican congressman
from California– he had just retired in 2014– he knew
the new CEO of SeaWorld, a guy named Joel Mandy. And he said he thought he
was a new kind of leader who could bring SeaWorld
into the 21st century. So he said you should talk
with him and Joel was nervous, a lot of the folks
at SeaWorld were really kind of in battle
mode and they were defending what they were doing. But I argued with him that,
you know, the humane economy is a real thing, that if your
company is going to survive, you’ve got to
change, and the orcas are never going to
be the same way seen the same way after Blackfish. And you’ve got to do
something dramatic on that. And I said not just the
orcas, these other animals. If you want to
exhibit other animals, you should do your
best to get animals who are in need of
rescue– so dolphins who were stranded on the
beach or other animals who were in trouble. And if they can be
healed but they’re unreleasable because
they’ve got injuries, then those animals need a
place and you can basically be kind of sheltering and
have a sanctuary in place. So I ticked off the different
elements of the agreement, but I think it’s
very, very important. It’s a very good advance. It’s not perfect,
but it was as far as they could go at this time. And one thing I’ve
learned is that so many companies that
embrace animal protection, that first step is the
toughest and that they will make additional steps after. I’ve seen that with
McDonald’s, I’ve seen that with
Walmart, I’ve seen it with so many other
companies in the sector. You’ve got to start. So I think the
accountability here is that the CEO went on
television all over the world and said we’re going to do this. And if they don’t,
then obviously they’ll lose all their
credibility and will be the subject of
withering criticism from us and everybody else. So we’ll make sure
that it gets done. Second question, how
do you diplomatically approach a company to ask
them to enact more humane policies without sounding
accusatory or demanding. In other words, what’s
the Wayne Pacelle secret to getting companies
to implement humane policies? Well, you know, I’m a big
believer in rational thought and I’m a big believer that
we have a shared set of values in our society and that you
can appeal to CEOs and board members and others and if
you make a compelling case, you know, a good, decent
person is going to respond. And if you back it
up with economics and you back it up with
science, then you’re really kind of closing the
escape routes for people who don’t want to change. One of the things I’ve seen
also is that there’s not always the sort of leadership that
you would want and hope to see, whether in the corporate
world or in politics or in any other domain in
society, but when you do have a few leaders
who break out, so many others then follow. And in my book, you know, I
talk about Whole Foods Market as a company that really has
changed the whole grocery and supermarket sector, not
just with the physical look and set up of their
stores but also by embracing animal
welfare and getting lots of vegetarian
vegan products, having now a multi-tiered
animal welfare rating system for the animal
products that are offered, talking about issues
like sustainability. I mean, you can see Whole
Foods and look at its history and then see how Safeway
and so many other companies changed as a consequence. And when one really
breaks and shows that that can be a successful
economic model, that you can monetize that, then
the others followed. And it was startling for me. I mean, I knew it
was going to happen, but it was still
startling to see after McDonald’s went
cage free in September, I mean, we’ve been making an
announcement almost every day. And our farm animal
protection team who are the best sales
force that exists– I mean, these guys and gals
are incredible– they are talking to the
food procurement people for these companies
and showing them how to do it and reminding them of
their responsibilities. And a lot of people want
to do the right thing. They just didn’t know that they
could move in this direction and now that they’re
doing it, they feel good and they want to do more. And that’s the beauty
of the humane economy. And good action begets more
progressive and positive action. Can you tell us about the
network of organizations with animal friendly titles
that have been attacking HSUS? Who are the people
and industries behind these front groups? You know, you just see it
throughout all social movements and throughout history. I mean, you look
back in the 1950s and you saw what
happened to the NAACP as it was fighting segregation. It wasn’t just citizen groups
that were fighting the NAACP, it was the government of Alabama
or the government of Arkansas, I mean, using the
power of the state to suppress these reforms
that were long overdue. If you look at in
the early 1970s, I mean, the federal government
infiltrated organizations, the American Indian
Movement and others to disrupt what was occurring. So the animal
protection movement has seen its share
of infiltration from groups that want to
maintain the status quo and we’ve also seen the state,
whether the state governments that try to have ag gag
laws that make it a crime to take pictures of
animals on factory farms or take videos of
animals on factory farms. The backlash comes in
many different forms, many different manifestations. One of the most
linear forms is when corporations that want
to thwart progress hire a public relations firm
and that public relations firm then creates some
nice-sounding name like the oil industry creating a front group
that says, oh, for sustainable and protection of the
environment when they’re really just trying to
protect their ability to drill in a sensitive area. And this is what’s happened
to us with a guy in DC who’s known to conduct character
assassination and brand attacks has been
hired by puppy mills and the pork industry
and the service industry to try to slow down
HSUS, to try to say, well, the Humane Society of the
US should give all of its money to animal shelters. Well, we love animal shelters. Animal shelters do great
work, we support them in a lot of ways,
but we’re not just a pass-through organization
that gives grants to animal shelters. We’re trying to change
the circus industry and we’re trying to
change the food industry and we’re trying to change
the testing of animals. We’re trying to deal
with wildlife management all over the world. I mean, we’re taking on
the biggest toughest fights and addressing multibillion
dollar industries every day. I like to tell my wife
Lisa that every day, to me, feels like I’m playing 100
chess games at one time, fighting all these
different battles. So I love animal shelters
but animal protection is a lot more than just
helping animals in shelters. There are 8 million dogs
and cats who enter shelters and we’ve got to get the
number of animals to zero who are euthanized
in those shelters, but there are $77 billion
animals raised for food in the world– billion. There are billions
of wild animals who are at risk from
trophy hunting and habitat destruction, commercial trade. I mean, we’re talking
about most of the resources in animal protection are devoted
to a small number of companion animals. We’re trying to address the 99%
of the other animals who are not getting as much attention. And believe me, we
don’t fault the focus of the groups that are working
to protect companion animals. We celebrate their work,
but we recognize that we’re taking on the biggest fights. But when you do,
you get a backlash. And that is exactly
what happens with us and, you know, we depend
on smart supporters of ours to see through it. And then, you know, I am half
Italian and very stubborn and it’s been said that I
have Italian Alzheimer’s. I forget everything
but a grudge. [LAUGHTER] So not
only am I committed to fighting through it, I
want to really accelerate the change in those
industries that are funding these clowns against us. So I’m going to get
after them especially. I’m a conservation biologist
but also a wild horse and burro advocate. How can we stop the
BLM from their barbaric in the field spays and
castrations of these animals and their systemic annihilation
of America’s wild horse herds. Well, the wild horses
and burros of the West that are protected
under federal law are a 1971 Wild Horse and
Free Roaming Burro Act. And, unfortunately,
we haven’t had the level of enforcement
and proper implementation of the law that was
expected after that law was passed in 1971. And we’ve gotten into a very
unusual circumstance where our federal government, which
is charged with protecting them, is gathering them up because
they think that there are too many on the public lands. And they are putting them
in holding facilities because they can’t adopt
them out to people. We now have more wild
horses and burros in federal holding facilities
than we do on the range. It’s about 50,000 wild horses
and burros out on range and another 50,000 who
are in holding facilities. And we have said that the very
clear solution to this issue where there are competing
concerns on our public lands– ranchers and some
hunters don’t like the fact that the
horses and the burros eat the forage because they want
the elk that they want to shoot or they want the cattle
that they want to graze, they want them to
get the forage. So one, we think very
elegant solution, which I talk about in the
humane economy– an example of a new technology
opening up options for us, is to contracept the horses. We have an
immuno-contraceptive vaccine that can be delivered with a gun
that has a good range of about 40 or 50 yards. And I’ve been on efforts
to contracept these horses by shooting them and it’s
painless for the horses and it’s focused on the female
segment of the population. And it’s a way to
keep them on the range and eliminate the idea
of capturing them and all the stress with the roundups
and then feeding them which is now
cannibalizing thirds of the budget of the Bureau
of Land Management, which is the federal agency
that’s managing the horses. But ultimately it’s
really about tolerance and I must say that if there
are 50,000 or so wild horses and burros roaming all of
the Western states including Arizona here, there
are four million, at least, sheep and cattle
on those public lands that produce a tiny
percentage of the beef that we eat as a society and
a small percentage of the wool that we use for
clothing in our society. So that’s an example of
the special interests kind of driving the use
of our public lands and so many problems of the round
up of the horses and burros, the killing of wolves and
mountain lions and bears and coyotes, and the
destruction of riparian areas relate to public lands grazing
and this appetite that we have for so much meat. We eat more meat per capita than
any other country in the world, I think, other
than Liechtenstein. And we eat more than
the Argentinians, we eat more than the French. I mean, there’s no reason
why we can’t reduce even by 10% or 20%. We have a campaign
called Meatless Mondays. We just ask people to start
by stop eating meat on Monday. You know, sample
the incredible array of foods that exist and
eat plant based foods. You can save animals, you
can help the environment, you can reduce the effects
of public land grazing, we can address the
climate change issues. I mean, a lot of people
talk about the energy sector and transportation and the
emission of greenhouse gases, well livestock
agriculture is as big as they come in
terms of the impact. 18% of all greenhouse
gas emissions relate to livestock agriculture. And when you think about it, 40
years ago Francis Moore Lappe wrote a book called
Diet for a Small Planet and she talked about
how animals are protein factories in reverse. They take a lot of plant
matter and convert it into a small amount
of animal flesh. The ratios vary for
different species. It might be 10 or 12
or 13 pounds of grain to produce one pound of beef,
seven or eight pounds of grain to produce one pound of
pork, three or four pounds for chicken, but those
are all inefficient uses. I mean, you go to Iowa and
other parts of the Midwest, you see these vast fields
of corn and soybeans. Almost all of that
is going to feed animals who then efficiently
convert that plant matter. So that means all the
pesticides that we apply, all the water use, all
the use of topsoil, and all the run off into
our streams and rivers. I mean, the collateral
effects of the meat industry are incredible. So I think that, again,
a serious-minded person must examine these issues. And our appetite or
our habits in eating should not impede us from
taking an honest look at what’s going on. So to follow here,
what do you think about the future of
replacing meat from animals to cultured meat
from real meat cells, still in the research
and development phase. It would be more sustainable
than conventional animal farming without the
cruelty and the fat content can be controlled with the same
taste and texture as real meat. I mean, I think
it’s totally doable. And you look at what’s
happened in our society. I mean, I started
in the workforce before the internet started. I mean, what a crazy thing
that we could be sending all these e-mail messages out
and people all over the world can get them or we could
do Skype and– I mean, things that were
science fiction are now part of our daily existence. So not only can we have cultured
meat, we’ve been doing that. We’ve been doing that
already with insulin and other products. We’ve been growing
cells already. This is just growing
cells for the purpose of creating enough
tissue that it replicates the meat that we eat. When you grow cultured cells,
you don’t have to grow a brain, you don’t have to grow a heart,
you don’t have to grow bones, it can be much more efficient. You don’t have all of
these collateral effects, and you don’t have the moral
problems of killing an animal with a brain and a heart. And even aside
from that, we have incredible, an
incredible ability to use plants to create protein. The plant based
proteins that exist, the Hampton Creek, which
I feature in the book, is replicating eggs in terms
of their binding properties and their protein
characteristics and they’re doing it more
cheaply without victimizing one laying hen. So in my adult life I’ve seen an
incredible array of plant based proteins in the marketplace. You go to any supermarket
and you see them. They are going to continue
to get better and better. And consumers will demand more
and entrepreneurs will respond, that’s the way capitalism works,
that’s the way change happens. That’s the history
of our country. And I think we’ll see
innovators who are going to be doing cell culture stuff. And the biggest minds in
the world are embracing it. Sergey Brin,
co-founder of Google, is financing some of
the cultured meat work. Bill Gates, who is pretty
good at innovation himself, he said that we need to
think about more plant Based foods and that
we need a disruption in our food industry. And I also will tell
you that I think that you’re seeing a lot
of agitation in a good way from farmers who are doing
things more humanely– who are fighting factory farming,
who are letting animals live and be like animals. And I think the
changes are happening from all sorts of directions. I mean, there’s the biggest
egg company in Arizona, which is one of the biggest in
the country, Hickman Farms, they’re going
completely cage free. They are, in fact–
[APPLAUSE] they’re going to double their capacity
and do it all cage free. They’re going to be one
of the companies that’s going to be supplying
McDonald’s and the Costco’s and the others. And the change is coming
through different channels and different portals and
it’s breathtaking to see, but we can get there faster
if we all keep pushing. And you become
members of the Humane Society of US and other groups. I mean, it’s through
collective action. One reason that I joined
HSUS on the staff is I felt that more than
anything animal protection needed a powerful organization
to take on the biggest problems that exist. You cannot fight the meat
industry or the pork lobby and all these huge companies–
Smithfield, Tyson– these are multibillion dollar
companies, global companies. You cannot fight them
with a pea shooter. You have to bring
talent and you have to bring millions of people. You have to bring
an army to bear. That’s why we’re trying to
organize the organization in the way that we’re doing it. When we have millions
of people who are in lockstep with
what we want to achieve, not for any personal gain
but for societal gain, for the altruism that
purpose of relieving the suffering of animals,
that’s what it takes. That’s why we’re trying
to grow the organization. That’s why I wrote this book. I want to travel all
over the country talk about it to recruit
people like you to try to engage you in
this work, to remind people. Many of you probably know
about a lot of these problems, but some of you don’t. I didn’t know about problems. As a kid, I loved
animals so much. And my uncle, he loved
the West Highland Terriers and he wanted to
get Westies for me. I have a large family so
he got our dog, Randy, and then he got Candy, Mandy,
Sandy, and others for all of us in the family. And we loved Randy. I grew up in Connecticut
and Randy came from Kansas. We thought, oh my god,
Randy is from Kansas, isn’t that exotic and exciting? And little did I know,
later on, that Kansas was the number one puppy
mill state in the country. So here we were, an animal
loving family, my uncle loved animals, made that
choice, and a quarter mile away– so Kansas is more than
1,000 miles from Connecticut– a quarter mile away it
was the police precinct, we didn’t have a local
Humane Society in New Haven, and the police precinct was
the animal control operation. So I could have gotten a dog
and saved a life a quarter mile away, instead we
got a dog from Kansas and fed this economic
engine of puppy mills. There was no malice, it
was just lack of awareness. So that’s why I wrote the book. And, you know, I
also wrote the book to try to provide
thought leadership. I mean, we’ve been talking
about the green economy. I mean, we should. I mean, the green
economy, sustainability is a vital concept
and value system. Now we need to also
build into this broader narrative, the humane economy. So I hope you’ll all think
about getting the book and spreading it around. [LAUGHTER] [APPLAUSE] I think [INAUDIBLE]
one more question. Do you think that Michael Vick
should be able to own a dog? Well, let me just say on
the Michael Vick issue, this is an area where I waded
into the subject and I did so and I would do it again
just as I did it before. You know, in 1997,
before I was CEO, I was the Chief Political
Person at the Humane Society. I went to our resident animal
fighting expert at HSUS and I said, give me the down low
on animal fighting in the US. And he said, you know,
Wayne, it’s not good. You remember that
map I gave you. He said, you know at
the time dogfighting was a misdemeanor
in like 40 states, cockfighting was
legal in Arizona and a bunch of other states,
like six states at the time. The federal law was anemic. So I said at that
point, before I was CEO, I said we’ve got to do
something about this. And that’s why– that’s when we
started on the Arizona ballot measure and then we did
Missouri that same year. And we started this campaign. In 2002 I led the
effort in Congress to upgrade the federal
law on animal fighting. And it was under that law that
Michael Vick was prosecuted. If we hadn’t passed that law,
if we hadn’t trained those USDA law enforcement
folks, Michael Vick would never have been arrested. And we demanded Michael
Vick’s prosecution because what he did in animals
was despicable, not only staging the fights
but, you know, killing poor-performing dogs. And, you know, here
you had a guy who was a supremely
talented person, he made millions of dollars, worked
hard, I’m sure, as an athlete, but used his fortune
to do ill when he could have done
anything else in the world to entertain himself. So after he was at
Leavenworth Prison and just at the end
of his prison term he had one of his
people reach out to me, I’m sure, in large part, because
he wanted to redeem himself, but redemption is part of what
anyone does when you’ve fallen on bad times and fortune. And the person called
and said Michael would like to be involved
with the Humane Society, like to do some work
against dogfighting, sign letters or whatever. And I said to the person, I
said, well, thanks very much, but I don’t think so. I appreciate your call
though, have a nice day. So I hung up. And I started to think
about why I do this work. And I started to think
about how change happens. And I said to myself, I mean
Michael Vick did something terrible, but when it comes to
animals, we are all sinners. I mean, I and my uncle we
got that puppy mill dog, and I ate factory
farm meat products when I was a kid, we
tethered our dog outside, left her out in the cold. I mean, what was I thinking? We’re all sinners because
moral problems are everywhere around us. It is so easy for us to
point a finger at someone who is doing something that
is alien to our experience, but when, in
reality, we’re doing lots of things that are
causing as much harm to animals every day of the year. So if I said, you
know, I’m going to turn my back on
Michael Vick and not try to help him do better
and be a better person, then what business do I have
being involved at the Humane Society of the United States? We’re about change. We’re not just about affirming
people who are already doing all the right things. We’re trying to
get people who are doing the wrong thing, wittingly
or unwittingly, to do better. And I thought to myself, here
we are lily white movement in animal protection and here
is an African-American celebrity who says he wants to help. Well, I’m going to let him help
but I’m going to make him work. I called back and
said, yeah, we’ll work with him if he’s
serious about it, he sticks with it for
at least two years, and travels around
the country and talks to kids in urban
communities and talks to them about the
evils of dog fighting and warns them that you
can jeopardize your future and that it’s terrible,
it’s a terrible thing to do to animals. And I met with him. I went out to
Leavenworth prison. I recount this in my first book. And I wasn’t sure
whether he was changed. I’m not sure how
anyone’s changed, when I meet with a
factory farm entrepreneur or I work with the
CEO of SeaWorld, I don’t know exactly
what’s in a person’s heart. I can only give
them the opportunity to do the right
thing and if they don’t do the right thing
it’s on them, it’s not on me. So I traveled around with
Michael to 40 to 50 cities. We talked to tens of
thousands of kids. And I will also tell you that I
think we want a lot of support within the African-American
community for giving someone a chance to do better. And to this day I
don’t exactly know what Michael thinks about animals. He told me a lot of things
in terms of how he had grown, but can I know for sure? No. But I do know that
when his probation period ended after five years,
he was allowed to get a dog. And I was pretty confident
that at that point having been probably the most shamed
person in the United States on animal cruelty issues,
he was going to behave. I didn’t advocate
that he got a dog, but I said it’s his
legal right to do so. And I don’t make judgments
about every single person who’s going to get a dog. I mean we have
adoption procedures and we have standards
and the rule of law in our society and
cruelty to animals is wrong. If someone lands on the
other side of the fence, I’ll be the first one to demand
that they suffer penalties, but I want people to change. I want the people who are doing
the worst things to change. In fact, I want them
to be the first people to change because
those are the ones who are doing the worst things. Those are the ones we need
to stop doing bad things and move to do better things
and to treat animals properly. So, yeah, the Michael Vick thing
was an interesting one for me. [APPLAUSE] This presentation
is brought to you by Arizona State University’s
Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability for
educational and noncommercial use only.

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