Jolley: Five Minutes With Wayne Pacelle & The HSUS Controversies
The last time I interviewed Wayne Pacelle, it was done by phone; a lengthy conversation that took considerably longer than five minutes. This time, when Rachel Querry, his senior director of communications, contacted me and asked if I might be interested in talking with him again, I was of two minds.
First, as a follow up to the David Martosko interview that took HSUS to task for their involvement in the Ringling Brothers suit – an effort that was thrown out of court after almost a decade of high-priced legal wrangling and resulted in the most famous Circus in the world hitting back with a RICO suit – absolutely I was interested! I thought it might make for a fascinating response to the charges leveled by Martosko.
Second, with so much HSUS stuff going on – the news has been chock full of tidbits about things like Prop 2, puppy mills and farrowing crates to name just a few – I didn’t want any misunderstanding between what was asked and what was said to taint the interview. I suggested I submit the questions in writing and Pacelle respond to them the same way. After a quick check, Querry said he would agree.
A few other points about this interview: The judge who dismissed the case against Ringling Brothers did so because he said the main witness against the circus was paid almost $200,000 which puts the validity of his testimony in serious question. Pacelle says he’s disappointed that the case was dismissed on a technical issue and there was a lot of additional testimony backing their claims.
The horse case I asked about has an interesting back story. Denisa Mallott, the woman at the center of the seizure, was first charged with 25 cases of felony abuse. Before the case made it to trial, though, the felony charges were dropped and she’s currently contesting a charge of one misdemeanor. Looking at some of the circumstances surrounding the seizure, I can only assume that an over anxious county sheriff mishandled the case from the start and Mallott is guilty of keeping horses in conditions made muddy by 18 inches of rain, the 100 feet of dry, covered space be damned. More on this one later.
As you read through this interview, you’ll notice several links. To better understand the context of the questions and the answers, please click on those links and read the background materials.
It’s been interesting watching the HSUS and Wayne Pacelle struggling to defend their organization in so many places at once. They have been unable to generate very few grassroots supporters of their group for online commenting. Instead they have been using paid employees to search for news articles about the HSUS and leave their tired talking points in the comment section. Pacelle himself has had to do several interviews like this in an attempt to minimize the damage being caused by farmers, ranchers, hunters and pet owners when they share the truth about the HSUS with others. I find it a bit humorous how he tries to portray the HSUS, the wealthiest vegan, animal rights group in the world, as being a victim. Pacelle claims to want constructive dialog with ag leaders, but the truth is that farmers and ranchers just need to be having constructive dialog with consumers of their products and then the HSUS become irrelevant.