We have a lot of questions we’d like to ask Humane Society of the United States CEO Wayne Pacelle. And we think he has a lot to answer for. Pacelle’s group deceptively raises money by using images of sad dogs and cats, even though HSUS doesn’t run a single pet shelter and gives only 1% of its budget to pet shelters. In fact, Pacelle has even said that “I don’t love animals or think they are cute.”
Pacelle is no fan of ours, of course, and would never give us an interview. And the few times that we were scheduled to debate Pacelle in the media he has acted like a spoiled child and has refused to talk to us. But if he did, we imagine it might go something like this.
HumaneWatch: First things first: What is your favorite animal?
Wayne Pacelle: I relate to the chameleon, because I can pretend to be many things to many people, such as someone who deeply cares about pets. I also do like hamsters because I share their tendency to hoard things—food in their case, money in mine.
HW: We’ve obviously been very critical of your fundraising, which relies heavily on dogs and cats. How do you think it’s not misleading?
WP: Look, everybody knows that if we fund-raised on snakes and sharks, let alone an anti-bacon message, we’d collect a lot less money. And that’s what we’re after—money—so of course we’d show people primarily dogs and cats.
HW: You claim your donors know what they’re funding, yet our polling of your donors indicates otherwise. In fact, a majority thinks HSUS misleads people. How can you justify your assertion?
WP: Look, I can say whatever I want. That doesn’t mean I have a lick of proof. Plus, if you haven’t noticed, I’m extremely photogenic and that means I really don’t have to answer questions I don’t like. And I’d really appreciate it if you wrote “The HSUS” instead of “HSUS.” We’re a big deal, kind of like “The Situation.” Haven’t you seen me on TV with Ellen?
HW: Wayne, you wrote that you “don’t love animals or think they are cute.” You have also said that there’s no bond between you and other animals. Care to explain?
WP: Well, when I say things like that I’m talking to my more intellectual friends who went to Ivy League schools like me. I really didn’t mean for those quotes to pop into the mainstream. I don’t need to be emotional about the issues; I just need to know how to play on the heartstrings of others. I realize that most idiots we raise money from have never read Nietzsche or Peter Singer, but will weep at the first few notes of a Sarah Mclaughlin song.
HW: We saw that you recently got a dog. Do you feed it HSUS’s vegan kibble that apparently went off the market a year or two ago?
WP: Well, we did have plenty of leftover product since dog owners (or dogs) didn’t have much appetite for our “Humane Choice” brand. But maybe my dog is trying to tell me something by peeing on my clothing repeatedly.
HW: What’s dog-walking like around your office in downtown D.C.?
WP: I don’t get to do it much. Between traveling 140 days a year, appointments at the spray tan salon, and filming our next fundraising promo, I don’t have much time. It’s kind of beneath me, really. That’s what interns are for.
HW: You’ve been a vegan for 28 years. What would you have to say to all of the bugs that you’ve smashed on your windshield while driving? Wouldn’t it be “speciesist” to say these members of the animal kingdom don’t matter?
WP: When you walk on water, the rules don’t apply to you.