Animal Factories and the Abuse of Power – Wayne Pacelle

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All 50 states have laws that protect animals from cruelty. We as a society believe that animals should be respected, but there is a disconnect between what we believe and the treatment that farm animals receive. Wayne Pacelle takes the TEDxManhattan stage to discuss a new, humane economy that is not only beneficial for us, but also beneficial for animals.

Video Length: 00:15:12

  • About Wayne Pacelle

    President and CEO Humane Society of the United States

    Wayne Pacelle leads the nation’s largest animal protection organization with 11 million members and constituents. The organization is the 155th more.

Publications & Reports


    • Fast Food Nation, Eric Schlosser, Mariner Books, 2001.  
      Eric Schlosser’s exposé reveals how the fast food industry has widened the income gap, fueled the obesity epidemic, and transformed our global food system.
    • Farmageddon: The True Cost of Cheap Meat, Philip Lybery and Isabel Oakeshott, 2014.
      Farmageddon is a fascinating and terrifying investigative journey behind the closed doors of a runaway industry across the world – from the UK, Europe and the USA, to China, Argentina, Peru and Mexico. It is both a wake-up call to change our current food production and eating practices and an attempt to find a way to a better farming future.
    • Every Twelve Seconds: Industrialized Slaughter and the Politics of Sight, Timothy Pachiart, 2013.
      This is an account of industrialized killing from a participant’s point of view. The author, political scientist Timothy Pachirat, was employed undercover for five months in a Great Plains slaughterhouse where 2,500 cattle were killed per day—one every twelve seconds.
    • Living the Farm Sanctuary Life: The Ultimate Guide to Eating Mindfully, Living Longer and Feeling Better Every Day, Gene Bauer, 2015.
      Cofounder and president of Farm Sanctuary, the nation’s leading farm animal protection organization, Bauer and Gene Stone, author of Forks Over Knives, explore the deeply transformative experience of visiting the sanctuary and its profound effects on people’s lives in this definitive vegan and animal-friendly lifestyle guide.
    • The Animal Activist Handbook, Matt Ball and Bruce Friedrich. 2009.
      The Animal Activist’s Handbook argues that meaning in life is to be found, quite simply, in turning away from the futile pursuit of ‘more’ and focusing instead on leaving the planet a better place than you found it.
    • The Bond: Our Kinship with Animals, Our Call to Defend Them, Wayne Pacelle, 2012.
      Pacelle also takes on animal cruelty in its many varieties, as well as stubborn opponents of animal protection—from multinational agribusiness corporations to the National Rifle Association and even our own government.



Putting Meat on the Table: Industrial Farm Animal Production in America, Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production, Pew Charitable Trusts, 2008.
The Pew Commission report recommends solutions to the problems created by concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) in four primary areas: public health, the environment, animal welfare, and rural communities.


Discussion Questions

  • What do you know about factory farming?  Have you seen footage or read about the experience of animals in CAFOs?
  • Ten billion animals are raised for food every year. What are the implications of raising so many animals?
  • Over 95% of the eggs in our country come from hens raised in battery cages. Do you think people are aware of these conditions? What can we do to get more cage-free or pasture-raised options?
  • Ag-gag legislations (a.k.a. anti-whistleblower laws) are passing in many states that prevent individuals from taking camera footage in factory farms. What are ways to ensure the public knows about the conditions and how can we get the word out to the American public about these conditions?
  • HSUS works on campaigns to promote more plant-based options and reduce the amount of meat in the country. How can we promote healthier, sustainable plant-based options to the public? What steps can consumers take to encourage corporations to add more vegetarian options?
  • What values do we place on some animals versus others? What kinds of laws or changes need to be made on factory farms to protect the animals?


Additional information

Take Action

Things You Can Do:

  1. Participate in Meatless Mondays: Try eating meatless one day a week by adding tasty vegetarian food in place of eating animals.  
  2. Learn about Factory Farming: Educate yourself and others about the use of animals in factory farming conditions.  Watch undercover investigations and try doing leafleting, pay-per-view or other forms of education.  
  3. Investigate: Learn about laws in the Animal Welfare Act, Ag-Gag laws and other legislation that impacts how animals are treated.  You can do presentations in schools to educate others about current legislation in place to help animals.
  4. Get Involved: Learn more about the campaigns that HSUS and other farm animal protection groups are working on to improve the lives of animals on factory farms
  5. Find your local representatives and e-mail or call them to support legislation that protects animals.
  6. Go to Change Food’s Tumblr site to share and give us feedback on your experiences.