Several years ago the Humane Society of the United States CEO Wayne Pacelle told me that he’d eventually win…that he could win the hearts of Americans about humane treatment of animals because we in agriculture just weren’t doing it right. His slow and steady wins the race approach seems to have passed a milestone as Pacelle and his HSUS campaigners have now successfully integrated their doctrine into religious dogma. What’s the impact to you in agriculture? That no doubt remains to be seen. When will animal care issues be preached from a pulpit near you? Maybe sooner than you think.
It wasn’t too long ago that some Methodist Church conferences were considering policy changes on livestock care issues. Now, The Humane Society of the United States, through its Faith Outreach program, announces a new book, “Every Living Thing: How Pope Francis, Evangelicals and other Christian Leaders are inspiring all of us to Care for Animals.”
Published through Front Edge Publishing, the book is a collection of the latest teachings from Christian leaders on animal protection issues, compiled to inspire individuals and spark fresh discussion in congregations. “Every Living Thing” includes the new Evangelical Statement on Responsible Care for Animals, by top Evangelical leaders and released at an event held at The National Press Club in Washington, DC.
Pacelle, in his blog on the HSUS website, writes, “While this campaign is an exciting and new high-water mark for us, it’s not a new thing for our organization. The HSUS has worked with people of faith for 60 years, and in fact, my two predecessors were clerical leaders before they took their turns in leading our esteemed organization. It was about a decade ago that The HSUS established a Faith Outreach Program, and the organization has proven to be a place for persons and institutions of faith to unite in a concern for God’s creatures.”
What we in agriculture call animal care is more often called by others animal rights. Are you ready for this fight on a new front? Fighting in your own state house or on Capitol Hill is one thing. Are you ready to have that discussion at the church potluck? If not, you may think about what you’d say ahead of time.