As I travel around the United States on a national book tour to promote The Humane Economy, I am able to have a conversation with and engage the broader public on the work of The HSUS and the emerging humane economy taking shape all around us. On Sunday, at a packed ‘in conversation” event with Congressman Earl Blumenauer at Powell’s book store in Portland, Ore., I was elated to remind the crowd that Ringling’s last show with elephant acts would conclude that day – after 145 years! We also talked about people putting boots on the ground to qualify our anti-wildlife-trafficking ballot initiative in that state, bringing the issue of stopping the ivory trade in front of voters in November.
The night before, after a talk at the University Book Store in Seattle, I spoke at the annual gala of Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest, as we celebrated the end of the era of invasive experiments on chimpanzees and planned for the difficult and expensive task of caring for the hundreds of chimpanzees scheduled to come out of labs and retire to sanctuaries in the months ahead. A few days before that, in front of a crowd of 300 on the Harvard University campus, I had a memorable “in conversation” event with best-selling author and journalist Michael Pollan. Among other things, we talked about the importance of the Massachusetts ballot measure to ban the extreme confinement of farm animals – a subject that Boston Globe columnist Scott Lehigh took up in a column on the heels of my visit. Only two weeks back, I opened the tour at a special event with U.S. Senator Cory Booker and Washington Post columnist Kathleen Parker. We talked about the senator’s efforts in Congress to dramatically reduce chemical testing on animals – with the debate soon to come to a close in Congress and The HSUS and the Humane Society Legislative Fund fighting for language to advance 21st century science and to leave old, crude ways of generating data for risk assessments behind.
While The Humane Economy looks at the dynamic forces helping to create an animal-friendly economy, there’s a very granular element to the book tour. We are building our ranks of animal advocates, expanding the public’s understanding of our work, driving big ideas, pushing ahead key campaigns, and forging new relationships with people. So far on the tour, I have made stops at universities, start-up companies, and even at a number of Fortune 500 companies, including PetSmart, McDonald’s, and Google, with visits to come at Cargill, Citibank, and others. My tour updates on Twitter and Facebook have sparked interest among people in other countries who are now joining the discussion.
We are reaching millions of people with the message of animal protection, with appearances on NPR’s “Diane Rehm Show” to HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher” to CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” and we’ve got other major television appearances scheduled in the coming days and weeks. I’m glad that columnists and magazines are writing about the humane economy. Tomorrow night, I’m going to participate in a national debate, to be broadcast on more than 200 NPR affiliates, about trophy hunting and conservation, on the program “Intelligence Squared.” This is an issue gaining real traction; the killing of wild and endangered species makes no economic sense, and it’s demonstrably cruel and gratuitous.
The HSUS does so much good for animals, and writing serious-minded works for publication is one of them. The Humane Economy, which debuted at #2 on the Washington Post bestseller list, is just the latest. Dr. Michael Greger wrote a bestselling book released in December 2015 about health and food called How Not to Die. Christine Gutleben edited a volume with Karen Prior and Charles Camosy called Every Living Thing: How Pope Francis, Evangelicals and Other Christian Leaders are Inspiring All of Us to Care for Animals, and Dr. Stephanie Clark is preparing to publish the proceedings of a conference on humane education and our universities. Finally, Dr. Jonathan Balcombe has just completed writing a book called What a Fish Knows: The Inner Lives of Our Underwater Cousins, set for release in early June.
Our founders were men and women of ideas, and one thing we strive to do is drive thought leadership in our movement. But the goal is always to put ideas into action. I’m excited to continue the tour and to continue the conversation with caring Americans. The humane economy is taking form before our eyes, but it’s going to take the efforts of all of us to make it whole and to make it happen with all deliberate speed.
In December 2015, a U. S. Department of Agriculture inspector came upon a macabre scene in a cluttered shed at C & L Puppies, a puppy mill in Weldon, Iowa. A large, plastic table was sitting on blocks in the center of the room – used to perform cesarean sections on dogs and other major . . .
On Sunday, the elephants of Ringling Bros. will perform for the last time at shows in Providence, R.I. and Wilkes Barre, Penn., signaling a turning point in the history of our society’s tolerance of wild animal acts. When Ringling announced its decision last year to end its traveling elephant acts, I called it a “Berlin Wall moment.” Ringling had . . .
This week, 171 dogs raised for the butcher block in Wonju, South Korea, have received a stay of execution and have been flown into the United States. We worked with the farmer in February to permanently shut down his farm and rescue all 250 dogs on the property. So they’ve left their cages and squalor, and . . .
Last year, The HSUS and Humane Society International supercharged animal protection in Puerto Rico – putting unprecedented resources on the ground to turn around the sad and overwhelming plight of animals on the island. Mired in crushing debt that’s made headlines across the United States, it’s Puerto Rico’s animals that are in the most acute . . .
In The Humane Economy, I look at the question of animal protection partly through an economic lens. I argue that the vast majority of dollars devoted to animal protection go to cleaning up the messes made by others – people who use animals for profit, but then abandon or discard them when they no longer consider them useful or . . .
After the New York Blood Center abandoned more than 60 chimpanzees on a series of islands in Liberia without sufficient food or water for the animals to survive, we responded to the emergency – at the inopportune time that the country was going through an Ebola crisis. We’ve been caring for these chimps for more than . . .
It should not be a capital crime to engage in an essential feeding behavior. Yet in the mixed-up ideologies of old-school proponents of predator control and fisheries management, that’s just what happens. As a result, California sea lions in Oregon and Washington face the prospect of being killed because they eat fish. Mind you, both the salmon . . .
From the bull fiestas of Spain to the Yulin dog meat festival, there are many events and enterprises across the world that, while cast by enthusiasts as a celebration of tradition, culture, and religion, can be more accurately described as cruel and anachronistic. For years now, Humane Society International has been confronting these spectacles of . . .
Dogfighting is a big, global business – legal, if you can believe it, in more than 120 countries. It’s an example of the old, inhumane economy at work, still staked in the ground in these nations. The toll of this enterprise is inflicted foremost on innocent animals, but there are many indirect costs as well, . . .