Earlier this month, AgWeb editor Greg Vincent and I sat down with Wayne Pacelle, Humane Society of the U.S. president, at the Missouri capital. After a day of visiting with Missouri legislatures to keep Missouri’s puppy mill law in place, Pacelle said he and his staff also wanted to “challenge some of the false notions about the Humane Society of the United States,” he said.
Throughout the interview, Pacelle emphasized his organization’s desire to enter into discussions with U.S. farmers. “I think the agreement we hatched in Ohio was I thought a great example. We were heading toward a ballot initiative and then we all sat down together…and we crafted a solution that none of us felt entirely good about but that we all felt we could move forward with,” he says.
“Do you think the measures like in Ohio will work in every state? Is that something you are looking for from Missouri?” I asked.
“You know, I’ve stated publically before that we are not looking to do any ballot initiative in Missouri on farm animal welfare,” Pacelle said.
“Why?” I asked.
“Because we just decided that we are not going to do it,” Pacelle said.
“Do you think Missouri farmers are better at producing their animals?” I asked.
“Well, I think what we want is a general principle, not just in Missouri, is we want to have more dialogue and more discussion, which is part of the reason I’m talking to you guys. We want to have this discussion with farmers,” he replied.
What are acceptable production practices? “I just visited one of our member’s farms in Nebraska that was a cattle ranch, 1,000 cattle, and I think they are doing a fabulous job. In fact we are forming a national farmers and ranchers council for the Humane Society of the United States,” Pacelle said.
“Can you describe some of the practices he was engaging in that would make this an ideal situation?” Vincent asked.