by Ali Berman
Categories: Animals, Causes
Tags: .

Wayne Pacelle has become one of the most respected names in the animal rights movement. As the president of the Humane Society of the United States and a vegan of 28 years, Pacelle has worked with lawmakers, companies, other non-profits and the public to change the way this country treats animals. Next up? Tyson Foods. But this time, he plans on working for animals from the inside.

With the help of billionaire Carl Icahn, Pacelle is running for the board of Tyson Foods, the second largest meat company in the world. Why would the president of HSUS want to dirty his hands by joining a company that has proven time and time again that they don’t care about animals? To convince them that they should care, both for the sake of the animals and for their bottom line.

While in 2012 McDonald’s, Burger King, Costco, Safeway and Denny’s have all agreed to phase out gestation crates for pigs, Tyson has refused. Pacelle writes on his blog, “The company is not only making the wrong moral decision, but the wrong business decision, too. Any company has to adjust to shifting consumer tastes and demands…Is it not clear by this stampede of companies rejecting crates that there’s no future for this extreme method of confinement?”

Pacelle may not know the ins and outs of running for a board, but Carl Icahn, a giant in the business world, is advising him. Even if he doesn’t win, we hope that the conversation alone will help inspire Tyson to change with the times. Each day people are starting to care more and more about where their food comes from and how the animals were raised. Many already know and others are learning that gestation crates are cruel, outdated and deserve to be ditched for more humane methods.

If Tyson wants to stay competitive, they are going to have to alter their practices to make their customers happy. Pacelle writes, “Animals are at the center of the business model for Tyson Foods, yet it’s lagging badly on animal welfare and there is a widening gulf between its managers’ views and those of its customers and investors. If the company does not treat this issue in a serious manner, it’s going to lose market share, damage its brand, and become an outlier in the industry.”

Perhaps if Wayne Pacelle does win that board seat, he’ll serve as the conscience to a company that, so far, seems to be lacking one.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

About Ali Berman

Ali Berman is the author of Choosing a Good Life: Lessons from People Who Have Found Their Place in the World (Hazelden) and Misdirected (Seven Stories Press). She works as a humane educator for HEART teaching kids about issues affecting people, animals and the environment. Her published work can be found on her website at aliberman.com. In early 2012 Ali co-founded flipmeover, a production company with the mission to use media to raise awareness of social issues.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/patricia.friedmannfolman Patricia Friedmann-Folman

    Absolutely stupid, misguided, and unethical. This guy, and I know how they
    work I live in the United States, has got be joking. In this forum only the
    supporters of the slaughter industry and advocates of their steaks seem to
    scream “Bravo” to this decision, since the animal is then just tormented
    differently and finally still being killed. You can see from the comments here,
    that most understand nothing at all. Wayne Pacelle is an absolutely misguided Vegan;
    sorry that I disappoint everyone here. You should learn the difference between
    “Welfare” and “Liberation”, but “Liberation”
    would mean you could no longer eat your meat at the expense of the animals; Pacelle
    sees that probably the same way under the disguise of being vegan.

  • Ciarrai

    And then what? The pigs will be given a few more inches to move around and never see the light of day and have all of their natural instincts thwarted. I know humans eat meat, but the situation is very bleak. I understand where Pacelle is coming from, but I wonder what is the gain for animals in the long run. They still are subject to the sadists that are so frequently caught on the hidden cameras of organizations like Mercy for Animals (Bettencourt Dairies is the most recent video material show unconscionable treatment of dairy cows!) and the beat goes on. Tyson Foods care zero about the animals it turns into meat. Zero. They care about money. Period. Pigs have the intelligence of 3 y.o. humans, they love their piglets, they enjoy communicating with other animals. Tyson doesn’t give a fuck. Grow ‘em, kill ‘em, count the money.

  • http://www.facebook.com/iam.marko.3 Marko Madrazo

    Sorry Wayne, you can not advocate animal liberation as a vegan. You are not a vegan. You are in dire need of a vegan education. Please educate yourself. And then use your position to close Tyson and free the animals.