Trahan: The Rise of the Animal Rights Movement


hsusBy David Trahan — In politics today, it is virtually impossible to expose the true motives of an individual candidate or special interest group; in addition, with technology and the vast media resources available to manipulate film and written media, special interests can use highly paid media consultants to hide their real agenda.  Unfortunately, voters are easily swayed by thirty second television ads and 10 second sound bites.  Compound this problem with individuals so blinded by cult like beliefs they are willing to dishonestly spin the truth and you have a recipe for disaster.

The extreme animal rights movement understands this situation better than most and this November, the leader of this movement, the Humane Society of the United States, led by their Director Wayne Pacelle, will spend millions of dollars on televisions ads using disturbing images of bears and buzz words like inhumane, cruel and un-sportsman like, to promote their extreme agenda: end all hunting.

The Humane Society of the United States was founded in 1954 by Missouri journalist Fred Myers.  Initially, HSUS was created to address animal issues like slaughterhouse rules and laboratory animal experimentation.  During Myers’ life (1904-1963) the organization spent all of their time on these issues and wildlife policy came much later.

In 1993, future, and yet to be hired HSUS leader, Wayne Pacelle, lived with two PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animal) workers in Silver Spring, Maryland where he worked as Director of the Fund for Animals, the most vocal anti-hunting organization in the country.  Up to this point in his life he had participated in “hunt Sabs” sabotages or disruptions of legal hunts on public lands. In addition, he had been arrested fourteen times for various violations, including civil disobedience related to animals.

In the fall of 1990, a young Wayne Pacelle caught the ear of animal rights extremists with this quote, in Full Cry Magazine: “We are going to use the ballot box and the democratic process to stop all hunting in the United States … We will take it species by species until all hunting is stopped in California. Then we will take it state by state.”

In a 1993 eye-opening interview with Ted Kerasote, author of the book, “Bloodties, Nature, Culture and the Hunt,” Pacelle revealed his life’s mission and core animal rights beliefs in detail.  He described to his employer how when he was hired by the Fund for Animals, he stated, he had no limitations on his time or where he would travel and his only desire in life was to end hunting.  He went on to describe the animal rights movement as that of the emancipation of slaves.  During the interview he was asked whether hunting was a necessary management tool and responded “no”, but that he understood animals needed to be managed, but only on a case by case basis and only offending animals and only by agents of the state.

He described how wolves could be used to manage nature, instead of human intervention; more disturbing, he idolized a famous woman who worked for the Fund for Animals named Heidi Prescott.  Her claim to fame was that she was the first person arrested for disrupting a legal hunt ad the first person to serve prison time for such offense.  She is equally famous for, at the age of 25, reinforcing her commitment to zero population growth by having her tubes tied.  Pacelle, in an act of solidarity, also made a similar symbolic statement when he told the author, he also planned to have no children and that he would not put another consumer on this planet.

Just a year later, Pacelle was hired as the lobbyist and spokesman for HSUS.  He went on to serve in that capacity for 10 years and then on June 1, 2004 was hired as the President of HSUS.  Just after taking over HSUS, Pacelle hired his old friend Hiedi Prescott, who now runs campaign operations at the organization; in addition, he has hired many individuals who either worked for or were employed by PETA.

Below is a list of HSUS employees with PETA connections, some of these individuals have links to the Animal Liberation Front, who according to the FBI, is one of our nation’s most violent domestic terrorist organizations.  According to the FBI, ALF and their partner Earth Liberation Front, ELF have committed over 600 criminal acts causing $43 million in damage:

  • Matt Prescott, HSUS food policy director—former corporate campaigner with PETA
  • Ann Chynoweth, senior director of the End Animal Fighting and Cruelty Campaign at HSUS—former researcher and the director of grassroots campaigns at PETA
  • Mary Beth Sweetland, HSUS director of investigation—former director of research and rescue at PETA
  • Paul Shapiro, “factory farm” campaign director—former PETA volunteer
  • Alexis Fox, Mass. state director—former legal fellow at The PETA Foundation (aka Foundation to Support Animal Protection)
  • Jill Fritz, HSUS Mich. Director— former PETA student coordinator
  • Peter Petersan, Deputy Director of Animal Protection Litigation—former PETA activist
  • Leana Stormont, HSUS attorney—former PETA counsel
  • Miyun Park, former HSUS VP—former PETA employee
  • Patrick Kwan, New York state director—former media assistant for PETA-linked Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine

Recognizing his past reputation as an extremist in the category of PETA, Pacelle began transforming HSUS by consolidating the Fund for Animals into the HSUS; in addition, he combined the Doris Day Animal League and the SPCA Wildlife Care Center into HSUS.  Since that time Pacelle has built an empire exploiting the individual state referendum process participating in 42 referendums around the country; including bans on baiting bears and cougars in Colorado and similar initiatives in Massachussetts, Oregon and Washington, and trapping in California.

Today, the HSUS raises $160 million a year and has $200 million in assets, employing over 630 people.

The Humane Society of the United State is a propaganda and fundraising powerhouse, but, their dozens of lawyers, media consultants and spin doctors cannot hide the fact that they are on a crusade to destroy hunting.  Next month, I will write the third column in this series highlighting the actual referendum language that exposes Pacelle’s and HSUS’s real agenda.


David Trahan is Executive Director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine.


  1. Here in Maine, we don’t need these outside extremists whack jobs coming to our state in an attempt to dictate how we choose to do things. We need to show these misguided individuals the quickest route to the state line with an invitation to never come back.


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