Two weekends ago saw the return of the Humane Society of the United States’ conference “Taking Action for Animals.” HSUS didn’t hold its conference last year for an undisclosed reason (perhaps a lack of interest), choosing instead to take part in the more openly radical “Animal Rights 2013 Conference” in Northern Virginia.
Not much of note was actually said at TAFA ’14—which is one reason we’re just getting around to blogging about it. (News such as HSUS contractors reaching a $25 million settlement with a state attorney general is much more pressing.)
But it was a great place for the radicals to connect—which is strange, since HSUS spends so much time saying that it’s a moderate group representing “mainstream values.” First, HSUS gave speaking time to the notorious Bruce Friedrich, longtime PETA vice president who now works for Farm Sanctuary. Friedrich has said that “blowing things up and smashing windows” is “a great way to bring about animal liberation.” Further, Friedrich offered that “I think it would be great if all of the fast-food outlets, slaughterhouses, these laboratories, and the banks that fund them exploded tomorrow.”
Another speaker was John “J.P.” Goodwin, an HSUS staffer. Goodwin has a lengthy arrest record in pursuit of his goal of “the abolition of all animal agriculture.” He also served as a spokesman for the Animal Liberation Front, a domestic terrorist group.
Then there’s the Humane League, whose Philadelphia director is a “favorite animal advocate” of at least one HSUS staffer. She didn’t speak, but the founder of the The Humane League of Philadelphia did—a fellow who was convicted of making terroristic threats.
Most of the sessions we attended were merely ra-ra cheerleading sessions full of slogans that you’d hear at a political rally—“We’re the best,” “History is on our side,” that kind of thing. Inspiring stuff—maybe HSUS has learned a thing or two from its donor Ching Hai, who’s an Asian cult leader.
But for all of the time HSUS spent patting itself on the back, it seems in reality we are getting under its CEO Wayne Pacelle’s skin. In front of a large crowd, he said he’s motivated whenever he sees our campaign to “pop them [us] right in the face.”
Perhaps he’s bothered by his giant flop of a fundraiser recently on Capitol Hill, where we showed up with a sign with his smiling face on it (and we were about the only ones who showed up). His embarrassment was added to on the final day of the conference, when POLITICO reported that HSUS was holding its lobby day—while Congress and many staffers were out of town. Whoops.