Wayne Pacelle: The Human Conundrum
When I saw Dan‘s comment on Thursday’s post that begins with "Wayne Pacelle is a hypocritical fraud who speaks out of both sides of his mouth" I thought: thems is fightin’ words. I don’t know Wayne personally, and I’ve always wondered whether he thinks we have the right to use animals. I would think his vegan standard for himself wouldn’t include a more-than-full-time job in conflict with veganism.
He’s a walking conundrum, with the root of the problem being his veganism (or so I thought). If he weren’t a vegan, I’d feel much, much better about his intentions and his actions. But the manifestation of his veganism baffles me.
As an exercise, I decided to examine some of his quotes to decide if I agreed with Dan, whose comment initially struck me as harsh. What I discovered, much to my chagrin, was that veganism isn’t the main issue. The issue is welfare and how little sense it makes to me.
In a Cattle Network interview, Wayne says that 1 in 30 Americans backs the HSUS, and what I want to know is: why? About the HSUS mission, Wayne says:
We confront . . . the worst abuses of factory farming such as confinement of animals in crates and cages; inhumane and unsporting hunting practices such as "canned hunts" of captive exotic animals; and the clubbing of baby seals and other animals for the commercial fur trade.
Welfare, then, as HSUS would never claim to be a rights group, says: You can use and abuse sentient nonhumans. You can slaughter them. You can hunt them. What we want is to curb some of the worst abuses, but we don’t want to get in the way of the other abuses that are inherent in the system as well as other abuses that aren’t inherent in it. Does 1 in every 30 Americans think that sounds like a worthwhile mission? Are they okay with all of the abuse and cruelty that HSUS doesn’t want to stop, like all other hunting and all other ways to kill animals for their fur, and everything else that occurs in order to turn a cow into meat?
When Wayne is asked about his veganism he basically calls it a
"dietary preference," which I suppose tells you why he can justify
being a vegan while working against veganism.
Perhaps most important, and the one thing I wish 1 in every 30 Americans would ponder for a moment is this:
. . . In cases of animal abuse in the meat and poultry industry, do you
believe itâs a problem confined to line employees or does it go further
up the management chain?
A: Workers have responsibilities, and they cannot just abuse animals.
is your definition of abuse, Wayne? What is your definition of abuse, 1
in 30 Americans? It seems to me that the job of those in the "meat and
poultry" industries is to abuse animals. It’s what they do all day
long. It’s their job description.
In a different interview he says:
he believe that humans have any natural rights, I wonder? Though he’s a
vegan, he doesn’t believe in animal rights, but "for the most part"
thinks animals need to be left alone. When you take his words and pit
them against his actions, I understand why Dan could say that he speaks
out of both sides of his mouth (and Dan also further explains himself in a subsequent comment).
Finally, Wayne’s girlfriend says this about him and her cat, Libby:
interesting with animals. He doesn’t want to bother them or invade
their space. He’s like ‘Hello, Libby.’" She imitated a formal,
masculine voice, then laughed. "I just want to swoop her up and bury my
head in her fur. He just lets her be. So, of course, she just crawls on
the counters and he lets her crawl up and sit on his chest. If he needs
to work, he’ll ask me to remove her."
but I’m back to the enigma that is a person who doesn’t want to bother
animals, and has chosen a career that depends on the institutionalized
"bothering" of animals.