Wayne Pacelle

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Wayne Pacelle
Wayne Pacelle at Nicola's Books.JPG
Wayne Pacelle at a book signing event, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Born (1965-08-04) August 4, 1965 (age 50)
New Haven, Connecticut
Nationality American
Education B.A. (History and Studies in the Environment), 1987
Alma mater Yale University
Known for President of the Humane Society of the United States
Notable work The Bond: Our Kinship with Animals, Our Call to Defend Them
Predecessor Paul Irwin
Movement Animal Protection
Opponent(s) Center for Consumer Freedom, United States Association of Reptile Keepers
Lisa Fletcher: 2013-present
Website http://www.HSUS.org

Wayne Pacelle (born August 4, 1965[1]) is the President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).[2][3] Pacelle took office June 1, 2004, after serving for nearly 10 years as the organization's chief lobbyist and spokesperson. Since becoming CEO, he has substantially expanded the organization's membership base and its influence on public policy.[2]

Family and early life[edit]

Pacelle was born into an Italian-American and Greek family in New Haven, Connecticut. His parents are Richard L. Pacelle, Sr., and Patricia Pacelle.[2][4] Wayne Pacelle is the youngest of four children. His older brother, Richard L. Pacelle, Jr., is a political science professor at Georgia Southern University. Growing up in New Haven, Pacelle enjoyed reading natural history as a child and developed an early concern about mistreatment of animals. He attended Notre Dame High School and graduated with degrees in history and environmental studies from Yale University, where William Cronon served as his adviser. Pacelle's environmental studies sensitized him to the fact that "a destructive attitude toward animals in the natural world, along with innovations in technology, could produce colossal damage to animals and ecosystems". His activism led to his appointment in 1989, at age 23, as Executive Director of The Fund for Animals, the organization founded by Cleveland Amory.[1]

Career with the Humane Society of the United States[edit]

Since he joined the HSUS in 1994, Pacelle has played a role in the passage of more than 15 federal statutes to protect animals, including laws to ban the sale of videos depicting animal cruelty (1999), protect great apes in their native habitats (2000), halt interstate transport of fighting animals (2002), halt commerce in big cats for the pet trade (2003), and require government agencies to include pets in disaster planning (2006). Pacelle has testified before U.S. House and Senate committees on animal protection issues, including farm animal welfare, "canned hunting", funding for the Animal Welfare Act and other programs, trophy hunting of threatened and endangered species, cockfighting and dogfighting, puppy mills, the exotic pet trade, bear baiting, and chronic wasting disease. In addition, he has successfully advocated for a number of amendments to end federal subsidies for programs that harm animals, including one involving the mink industry.[5][6]

Pacelle has been associated with 26 successful statewide ballot measure initiatives to protect animals, including measures to prohibit cockfighting, prohibit mourning dove hunting, restrict steel traps and certain poisons, and ban inhumane factory farming methods.[7] He has also been instrumental in the passage of numerous state laws dealing with animal protection. In addition, he has been vocal in criticizing individuals and groups who resort to intimidation, vandalism, or violence in pursuit of animal protection goals.[6]

Pacelle is a cofounder of the Humane Society Legislative Fund (HSLF), a 501(c)(4) social welfare organization that lobbies for animal welfare legislation and works to elect humane-minded candidates to public office. He also cofounded Humane USA, a strictly nonpartisan political action committee (PAC) that supports candidates of any political party based on their support for animal protection. These two organizations have helped to defeat hostile anti-animal lawmakers in Congress, including Rep. Chris John of Louisiana (2004), Rep. Richard Pombo of California (2006), and Senator Conrad Burns of Montana (2006).[8]

Under Pacelle's direction, the HSUS has secured the adoption of "cage-free" egg-purchasing policies by several hundred universities and corporations;[9] the exposure of an international trophy hunting scam;[10] successful congressional votes and litigation to end horse slaughter; and an agreement from the United States Department of Agriculture to begin enforcement of federal laws concerning the transportation of farm animals. In addition, the HSUS's campaign to stop the killing of seal pups in Canada secured pledges to boycott Canadian seafood from more than 1,000 restaurants and grocery stores and 300,000 individuals.

Animal cruelty

In early 2008, the HSUS's investigation of cruelty to animals at the Hallmark/Westland Meat Packing Company sparked the largest beef recall in American history and congressional calls for reform of the slaughterhouse inspection system.[11] In late February, 2008, Pacelle testified on the downer cow issue before a subcommittee of the Senate Agriculture Committee on a panel with USDA Secretary Edward Schafer.[12]


Two November 2006 ballot initiatives conducted with HSUS's support outlawed dove hunting in Michigan and abusive farming practices in Arizona. In January, 2007, several months after passage of the Arizona ballot measure, Smithfield Foods, the largest pork producer in the world, announced that it would phase out the use of gestation crates that immobilize pregnant sows through confinement.[13] During the same month, Maple Leaf Foods, Canada's largest pork producer, did the same. The Strauss Veal company, whose CEO commented that veal crates were "inhumane and archaic"[14] also followed suit.

Corporate combinations

The HSUS has experienced major growth since 2004, primarily as a result of corporate combinations Pacelle forged with The Fund for Animals in 2005 and the Doris Day Animal League in 2006. During the first 30 months of Pacelle's tenure, overall revenues and expenditures grew by more than 50 percent. HSUS's annual budget for 2006 was $103 million. The organization has nearly 10 million members and constituents.[3]

Personal Life[edit]

Wayne Pacelle is married to TV journalist Lisa Fletcher of Al Jazeera America. [15]


Pacelle has been the subject of profiles by the New York Times Magazine (2008), the Los Angeles Times (2008), The New York Times (2007), The Wall Street Journal (2006), The Washington Post (2004), Newsweek (2007), and other major publications. In 2014, he was named one of the Non-Profit Times' "Power and Influence Top 50." The citation read, "He has played a role in the passage of more than two-dozen federal statutes and 26 successful statewide ballot initiatives, which is why he is a punching bag for puppy mills and pseudo-PR firms that profit from animal cruelty."[16]

For his management of HSUS's response to Hurricane Katrina, The NonProfit Times named Pacelle "Executive of the Year" (2005).[17] In 2008, Pacelle also received a Special Achievement Award for Humanitarian Service from the National Italian American Foundation.[18] The same year, Supermarket News named Pacelle one of its "Power 50", citing his leadership on farm animal welfare issues.[19] Wayne Pacelle is a member of the CuriosityStream Advisory Board. [20]


The Bond

Published in April 2011, Pacelle's book The Bond: Our Kinship with Animals, Our Call to Defend Them is an exploration of mankind's bond with animals, and a call to respond to the needs of at-risk animals. Jane Goodall says of this book, "If the animals knew about this book, they would, without doubt, confer on Wayne Pacelle, their highest honor." The book debuted at #11 on The New York Times, #8 on the Los Angeles Times, and #8 on The Washington Post best-seller lists.

In addition to The Bond, Pacelle has contributed to the following publications:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Pacelle, Wayne; Olsen, Patricia R. (2006-12-24). "OFFICE SPACE: THE BOSS; After 'Wild Kingdom'". New York Times. Retrieved 2011-04-01. I GREW up in New Haven, the youngest of four. 
  2. ^ a b c Hall, Carla (2008-07-19). "Wayne Pacelle works for the winged, finned and furry". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 2013-05-03. Retrieved 2013-05-03. The head of the U.S. Humane Society has retooled the organization from a mild-mannered protector of dogs and cats into an aggressive group flexing its muscle on behalf of all animals. 
  3. ^ a b Sarasohn, Judy (2006-09-07). "Merger Adds to Humane Society's Bite". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2011-04-01. One would think that a membership roster of 9.5 million would make a special interest group quite special on Capitol Hill, but the Humane Society of the United States wants more firepower. 
  4. ^ Pacelle, Richard L. Jr. (2003-03-04). Between law & politics: the Solicitor General and the structuring of race, Gender, and Reproductive Rights Litigation. College Station, Texas: Texas A&M University Press. p. xv. ISBN 978-1-58544-234-8. Retrieved 2011-04-18. Lay summary (January 2005). I want to thank my parents, Patricia and Richard, Sr., for all of their constant love, support, guidance, and encouragement. 
  5. ^ Blum, Debra (2004-06-24). "Animal-Rights Lobbyist Is Selected to Be Top Dog at Humane Society". The Chronicle of Philanthropy (Washington, D.C.: The Chronicle of Higher Education Inc.). Retrieved 2011-04-04. Mr. Pacelle, 38, has since built a career around trying to keep animals out of harm's way. 
  6. ^ a b Oldenburg, Don (2004-08-09). "Vegan in The Henhouse: Wayne Pacelle, Putting Animals On (and Off) The Table". The Washington Post. p. C01. Archived from the original on 2011-04-04. Retrieved 2011-04-04. Pacelle has been one of the most outspoken opponents of violence in the movement. 
  7. ^ "Ballot Initiatives". Washington, D.C.: The Humane Society Legislative Fund. Archived from the original on 2011-04-04. Retrieved 2011-04-04. Between 1990 and 2008, animal advocates squared off against factory farmers, hunters, and other animal industries in 41 statewide ballot campaigns, winning in 28 campaigns and marking a huge surge in the use of the process on animal issues. 
  8. ^ Birnbaum, Jeffrey H. (2007-01-30). "The Humane Society Becomes a Political Animal". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on 2011-04-11. Retrieved 2011-04-11. The Humane Society targeted both in last year's elections after Ehrlich supported bear hunting and Pombo supported commercial whaling and trapping in wildlife refuges. 
  9. ^ Weise, Elizabeth (2006-04-10). "Cage-free hens pushed to rule roost". USA Today. Archived from the original on 2011-04-05. Retrieved 2011-04-11. Egged on by a yearlong campaign by the Humane Society of the United States, colleges and universities that have instituted the policy include Yale, Tufts, Dartmouth, Vassar and the University of Wisconsin. 
  10. ^ Lorentzen, Amy (2006-08-06). "Congress votes to shut down trophy hunting tax scam". Associated Press. Archived from the original on 2008-03-11. Retrieved 2011-04-11. The issue came to lawmakers' attention after the Humane Society of the United States conducted a two-year investigation into a scam where they said hunters shot rare animals from around the world, then donated them to phony museums in order to get charitable tax deductions. 
  11. ^ Pierceall, Kimberly; Goad, Ben (2008-02-20). "Congress to investigate food safety process in wake of Chino slaughterhouse scandal". The Press-Enterprise (Riverside, California: Ronald R. Redfern). Retrieved 2011-04-12. 
  12. ^ Pacelle, Wayne (2008-02-29). "Greed vs. Good Sense". Washington, D.C.: The Humane Society of the United States. Retrieved 2011-04-12. 
  13. ^ "Arizona voters truly made difference". The Arizona Republic (Phoenix, Arizona: John Zidich). 2007-01-31. Retrieved 2011-04-12. 
  14. ^ "Nation's Largest Veal Producer Ends Use of Crates". Washington, D.C.: The Humane Society of the United States. 2008-12-24. Retrieved 2011-04-14. 
  15. ^ Roberts, Roxanne; Argetsinger, Amy (2011-04-06). "Wayne Pacelle of Humane Society and Lisa Fletcher of WJLA — new Washington power couple — are engaged". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on 2011-04-27. Retrieved 2011-04-26. No date set yet, but they plan to get married later this year. 
  16. ^ http://www.thenonprofittimes.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/8-1-14_Top50PI.pdf
  17. ^ Kahan, Stuart (2005-12-01). "NPT Executive Of The Year: Leaders who stood up to the challenges of Katrina". The NonProfit Times (Morris Plains, New Jersey: John D. McIlquham). Retrieved 2011-04-12. 
  18. ^ "NIAF 33rd Anniversary Gala Review". Washington, D.C.: National Italian American Foundation. 2008. Archived from the original on 2011-03-24. Retrieved 2011-04-01. Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society, came to the podium to receive a NIAF Special Achievement Award in Humanitarian Service, presented by fellow Connecticut native and friend, U.S. Representative Rosa De Lauro. 
  19. ^ Enis, Matthew (2008-07-17). "Wayne Pacelle". Supermarket News (New York City: Penton Media). Retrieved 2011-04-14. 
  20. ^ "CuriosityStream Advisory Board". Retrieved 31 August 2015. 

External links[edit]