[High Plains Journal - opinion - audio at full story link]
During a recent meeting of agricultural journalists in Washington, D.C., I had the opportunity to see and hear the president of the animal rights group that is winning the hearts and votes of Congress.
Wayne Pacelle, president of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), has also had exceptional success in state referendums, causing citizens to vote in favor of restricting the way animals are raised, transported and slaughtered.
I expected Mr. Pacelle, (pronounce the final "e") to be an unkempt, wild-eyed, screaming activist. What I saw concerned me even more, as he had the handsome looks and quiet demeanor of the late John F. Kennedy, Jr. He is articulate and passionate but also businesslike about his cause. His speech, to a skeptical and potentially hostile audience, was informative and disarming. When he was finished, I asked myself if I had been duped by a polished lobbyist with a hidden agenda. I am still asking that question as I write this commentary.
You may draw your own conclusion, as I taped the entire speech (35 minutes) plus his response to questions and placed it on the website at Wayne Pacelle speech.
Bold, brazen, polished, savvy, determined and compassionate all describe the presence and words of Wayne Pacelle. He trumped animal agriculture on almost every front. If meat producers look at him as the enemy, then the tactics to confront his organization should change because the livestock industry is losing on all fronts today.
(Listen to Wayne Pacelle's comments for yourself. My quotes were condensed in some cases but every attempt was made to keep them in context.)
Editor's Note: This is Ken Root's 35th year as an agricultural reporter. He grew up on a small farm in central Oklahoma and started his career as a vocational agriculture teacher. He worked in Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri as a broadcaster and was the original host of AgriTalk. He has also been the executive director of the National AgriChemical Retailers Association in Washington, D.C. and the National Association of Farm Broadcasters in Kansas City. Ken is now the lead farm broadcaster at WHO and WMT Radio based in Des Moines, Iowa. He has been a columnist for HPJ and Midwest Ag Journal for eight years.