In the first half, Wayne Pacelle of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) joined George Knapp for his annual animal welfare program to discuss his latest book, The Humane Economy. In it, Pacelle argues that organizations with animal cruelty as part of the business model are at risk of disruption, especially as consumer awareness of animal treatment continues to increase. Animals have lives that matter to them, they think, experience suffering, and demonstrate all sorts of cognitive capacities, he explained.
The use of animals is quickly changing in many sectors of the economy, including science, wildlife management, fashion, entertainment, and food production, Pacelle continued. Within the last ten months 175 of the biggest names in food retail have decided to source cage-free eggs instead of those produced by farms which confine hens to tiny battery cages, he added. "If we're going to raise animals for food, the very least we can do is give them sufficient space to move around," he said.
Pacelle credited the passing of California's Proposition 2, or the Standards for Confining Farm Animals, with helping usher in a more humane economy in food production. Among several requirements of the proposition were that veal calves not be confined to pens which immobilized them, and sows not be kept in small gestating crates. "They're in a crate that's two feet wide... these sows can take one step forward and one step back [for three years]," he revealed. According to Pacelle, Proposition 2 had immense reverberations throughout the food industry and showed voters, i.e., customers, are no longer going to tolerate this kind of cruelty.
During hour three, Maria Kalinina of Humane Society International talked about problems with the trophy hunting. The issue was brought to the public's attention after American dentist Walter Palmer killed Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe. The gruesome nature of the lion's death shocked many people, who also did not realize the United States imports over 700 lion trophies every year, she explained. Kalinina argued against claims by trophy hunters that killing certain wild animals is a good conservation tool for overpopulation. There is no evidence to support this, she explained, noting how hunting is unsustainable since quotas are not set on sound science. Kalinina recommended sustainable management practices over hunting, such as contraception. "There is no justification for killing animals for fun," she said.
In the final hour, Holly Gann & Marty Irby of HSUS delved into equine issues, including horse slaughter operations. There is no animal America owes more to than the horse, Irby suggested, noting how the country was built on the backs of horses. Gann called horses our companions and partners in work and sport, who deserve better than to be killed for food. "We will never accept the idea of slaughtering our horses so that they can end up on a foreign dinner plate," she said. They urged support of the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act, which would prohibit the slaughter of horses for human consumption in the United States, as well as the export of live horses for the same purpose in other parts of the world.