We’ve been checking in with former TEDxManhattan speakers to get an update on their work. Below, Wayne Pacelle, President and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, talks about the organization’s ongoing farm animal protection campaign. See Wayne’s 2012 talk here.
What have been the most exciting developments in your work since TEDxManhattan?
Our farm animal protection campaign has achieved some major successes since I spoke. We persuaded more than 60 of the world’s largest food companies—including McDonald’s, Costco, Oscar Mayer, and dozens more—to eliminate gestation crates from their supply chains. We also passed a law in Rhode Island banning gestation crates, veal crates, and dairy cow tail docking. Canada’s National Farm Animal Care Council has recommended a phase-out of gestation crates as well.
What are your biggest plans for the 2nd half of 2013?
We’re working hard in Canada to achieve a nationwide ban on gestation crates following the National Farm Animal Care Council’s release in June of a proposal that would do just that. We anticipate a fight in the state legislatures against those seeking to criminalize whistleblowing on factory farms with the introduction of “ag-gag” bills —and after successfully defeating all eleven bills that were introduced this year, we’re confident that we’ll do so again in the second half of the year. We’re building strong opposition to Rep. Steve King’s dangerous amendment to the Farm Bill, which could repeal all the state laws against puppy mills, shark finning, the extreme confinement of farm animals, the slaughter and sale of meat from horses, and laws that protect workers, the environment, and consumers. And we also plan to override New Jersey Governor Christie’s veto of our gestation crate bill, which overwhelmingly passed the legislature in May.
Where can we learn more about your work going forward?
We have a ton of resources on our website, www.humanesociety.org, and I encourage you and the TEDxManhattan audience to subscribe to my blog.
What impact did TEDxManhattan have on your work?
It reminded me of the breadth of opposition to factory farming. It’s an issue of animal welfare, public health, personal health, environmental protection, and the health of rural communities.
What else would you like to share with the TEDxManhattan audience?
This is an issue that touches every one of us. We have power to change the food production system by making conscious choices about food and getting involved in broader, collective efforts to drive long-overdue reforms.