It’s been a tough week for the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).
When multiple news outlets reported that HSUS CEO Wayne Pacelle was under investigation regarding multiple complaints of sexual harassment, the media storm that followed aligned with the current national focus on stories of sexual assault in the workplace. It seemed like Pacelle would soon be the next scumbag to crumble.
Yet, for a moment, it seemed like Pacelle, who has denied all allegations, would walk away from this scandal unscathed after the HSUS board of directors opted to resign themselves instead of canning the leader of this animal activist organization.
According to the New York Times, “Explaining the board’s decision to retain Pacelle after an hours-long telephone meeting, one board member, Erika Brunson, 83, said in an interview that she was aware only of what she called a ‘ridiculous’ old accusation against him regarding an alleged affair.
“She said Mr. Pacelle had ‘done nothing wrong.’
“‘Which red-blooded male hasn’t sexually harassed somebody?’ she added. ‘Women should be able to take care of themselves.’”
Despite the board’s intentions to keep the CEO on board, on Feb. 2, HSUS accepted Pacelle’s resignation with Kitty Block, attorney and HSUS’ president for the organization’s international affiliate, stepping into the position of acting chief executive.
“I am resigning, effective immediately, to allow that process to move forward expeditiously and to put aside any distractions, in the best interests of all parties,” Pacelle wrote in an email to staff.
According to the Washington Post, “Over the last decade, HSUS has grown from $160 million in assets to $210 million under Pacelle's leadership, according to the latest IRS filings.”
"The last few days have been very hard for our entire family of staff and supporters," said Rick Bernthal, chairman of the board of the HSUS. "We are profoundly grateful for Wayne's unparalleled level of accomplishments and service to the cause of animal protection and welfare.”
Already, donors are vowing to stop donating to HSUS; which is good news for those of us who know the organization’s true intentions to abolish animal agriculture and promote a vegan lifestyle. And while I won’t report in detail what some of the women have accused Pacelle of doing, you can read about it in detail from the Washington Post and learn more about the troubling and toxic environment this smooth-talking CEO had created at HSUS headquarters.
The nonprofit Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF), which runs the watchdog www.HumaneWatch.org, notes that this is just the latest example of waste and abuse at the HSUS. “For years, HSUS has fundraised on the backs of cats and dogs to pay for exorbitant executive salaries, legions of lawyers, and parking $50 million into offshore accounts,” said CCF Managing Director Will Coggin. “It’s clear that HSUS is humane in name only. It does not value its female staff, its donors, or the animals it uses as window dressing.”
Perhaps you saw the CCF Super Bowl ad yesterday, which urges viewers to donate to local shelters instead of HSUS.
I hate to write this blog post with a bit of a smile— after all, women in the workplace suffered at the hands of this heartless and overpaid activist — however, you know what they say about karma…and I must say, on behalf of all of us in the beef industry, good bye and good riddance, Wayne.
I mean, this is the guy, who in May 1993 said, “We have no ethical obligation to preserve the different breeds of livestock produced through selective breeding …One generation and out. We have no problems with the extinction of domestic animals. They are creations of human selective breeding.”
And, he was quoted in 1994 saying, “I don’t have a hands-on fondness for animals. I did not grow up bonded to any particular nonhuman animal. I like them and I pet them and I’m kind to them, but there’s no special bond between me and other animals.”
So yes, don’t let the door hit you on the way out, Wayne. Your compassion for animals that you have exemplified in your career as a money-grabbing activist has been truly a sight to see. Let’s hope the donors now take a closer look at the organization you have helped to build. Maybe they’ll think twice about sending a check to a group that promises to save animals while actively working to make them extinct.
The opinions of Amanda Radke are not necessarily those of beefmagazine.com or Farm Progress.