HSUS raids the Fund for Animals

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, May 1994:

WASHINGTON D.C.––No one at the
Humane Society of the U.S. was talking––not on
the record––but spring maneuvers apparently
intended to consolidate political influence both
internally and externally may give the group a very
different profile on Capitol Hill. Events of note
included the March 15 resignation of Kenneth
Inglis, considered the most militant animal rights
activist on the board of directors; the hiring of for-
mer North Shore Animal League president David
Ganz, apparently to raise funds in connection with
a new HSUS government relations arm, including
a political action committee; and the wooing away
of virtually the whole political apparatus of the
Fund for Animals, including national director
Wayne Pacelle, attorney Aaron Medlock, and
Ohio lobbyist Bill Long, who had represented both
the Fund and HSUS in recent months.

The actions were seen by Washington
D.C. insiders as a coup for HSUS president Paul
rwin and a poker-playing clique also including
vice presidents John Grandy and David Wills.
Pacelle was apparently brought into the game
through Wills, with whom he was recently sharing
an apartment, and Pacelle then recruited Medlock,
a former roommate as well as Fund colleague.
Pacelle is expected to be titular head of the HSUS
PAC, with Medlock in charge of national lobbying
and Long in charge of state lobbying.
HSUS a boys’ club?
The formation of the political arm
appears to isolate HSUS executive vice president
Patricia Forkan, who was hired away from the
Fund some years ago, and had been in charge of
governmental affairs. The job titles expected to be
given to Medlock and Long would seem to super-
sede those of HSUS senior lobbyist Martha Glenn
and state legislative coordinator Ann Church.
Forkan was once seen as Irwin’s chief
rival for the top spot at HSUS upon longtime presi-
dent John Hoyt’s death or retirement. However,
Irwin succeeded to the presidency in 1991, when
Hoyt moved up to head Humane Society
International, an umbrella created for HSUS and
foreign operations, including the newly formed
Humane Society of Canada, which recently
opened an office in the Toronto financial district.
Friends of Pacelle and Wills said they were told
that the two were being “groomed on the fast
track” to succeed Hoyt and Irwin, implying that
Forkan is out of the picture.
Why? “Because she’s a woman.
Because she’s not one of the boys,” explained one
insider. “Don’t you get it? Irwin is squelching the
one department at HSUS that has been controlled
and staffed mainly by women.”
That allegation may have been supported
by an electronic bulletin board posting, attributed
to former HSUS public relations officer Helen
Mitternight, that circulated about Washington
D.C. after her departure several months ago: “God
help any woman who still works for HSUS.”
The players
Inglis told ANIMAL PEOPLE that his
resignation had nothing to do with the other moves,
but it may have had the effect of neutralizing
Pacelle, long considered an animal rights radical,
if Pacelle had any notion of building a board con-
stituency behind the chief executives’ backs––as
he was accused of during his association with The
Animals’ Agendamagazine.
Medlock, an attorney, was reputedly
instrumental in the 1986 takeover of the New
England Anti-Vivisection Society by the Fund and
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. Then
an aide to former NEAVS president Robert Ford,
he has been named by other takeover participants
as the insider who relayed essential information to
the Fund and PETA. Medlock later worked for the
Fund in Washington D.C., from March 1992 until
August 1993, then rejoined the Fund, after a brief
hiatus in San Francisco in January 1994, working
from Boston as a newsletter editor.
Pacelle, formerly Fund founder Cleveland
Amory’s anticipated successor, shared a Boston
apartment and office with Medlock in 1988-1989,
after joining the Fund as executive director, fol-
lowing a brief stint on the staff of The Animals’
Agenda. Retitled national director when he relocat-
ed to Washington D.C., Pacelle had become the
Fund’s most visible representative. He concurrent-
ly served five years on The Animals’ Agenda board.
In 1992 he engineered the firing of news editor
Merritt Clifton, which brought the subsequent res-
ignation of editor Kim Bartlett. Bartlett is now the
publisher and Clifton the editor of ANIMAL PEO-
P L E. Pacelle apparently also arranged the 1993
ouster of Patrice Greanville, who had worked for
the magazine in various capacities since its found-
ing. Ironically, Bartlett and Greanville had hired
Pacelle as their assistant editor at The Animals’
Agenda, and recommended Pacelle to Amory.
While Pacelle and Medlock have higher
profiles, the most intriguing of the HSUS additions
was that of Ganz, president of NSAL from the
1986 death of his predecessor, Alex Lewyt, until
March 1, 1993. Unpopular with the staff, Ganz
quit after board president Elizabeth Lewyt fired his
wife. He was then paid $216,000 a year, approxi-
mately twice as much as his successor, attorney
John Stevenson. HSUS apparently hired him to
raise megabucks––which is what he reputedly did
best at NSAL. Because donations to a PAC are not
tax-deductible, a PAC does not operate under the
same rules governing the use of funds as a humane
society or educational charity, and can in effect
spend as much upon direct mailing to raise more
funds and influence legislation as it can get. It is
believed that the new PAC will seek a constituency
with a relentless direct mail offensive, in line with
Pacelle’s long-stated goal of building “a National
Rifle Association of the animal rights movement.”
The Fund for Animals
Pacelle told Amory of his impending
departure on the evening of April 1. “He said he
could give us six more weeks,” growled Amory.
“He said he had a number of speaking engagements
to do for us, and could stay
until May 15. I told him,
‘You’re done now. You can
speak wherever you like, but
you’re not speaking for us.’ I
told him that if he needed a
desk for a week, he could use a
desk at our office, but he
wasn’t going to be paid. HSUS
has quite a record with the
Fund,” Amory continued.
“You know, I was a cofounder
of HSUS, and then I left to start
the Fund in 1974 because they
wouldn’t take a strong stand
against hunting. They hired
away Patty Forkan, who was
our first executive director.
Then they took away our
Washington D.C. director, Lewis Regenstein. Now they took Wayne.
They ought to pay us for training their staff for them. They know we
can’t get into a bidding war when they offer our people two and three
times the salary they’re making here,” which would put Pacelle’s HSUS
salary at circa $70,000 a year.
“The thing I’m afraid of now,” Amory continued, “is that
next they’ll get me. I’ve never paid myself anything, and Marian
Probst,” longtime executive secretary to Amory, “has never taken any
salary from the Fund either, so it wouldn’t be hard for them to offer us
more. But we’ve never believed money is what this work is about,”
Amory continued. “Our philosophy has always been to pay our people
what they need. Anything more goes to the animals. We’ve never
believed in paying high salaries, and we don’t want the kind of people
who want high salaries.”
Amory rewarded national outreach director Heidi Prescott,
Pacelle’s assistant in the Washington office, with a promotion to head
the office. Prescott was originally included––unawares––in Pacelle’s
plan for a mass defection, according to confidantes, but balked upon
finding out about it, forgoing a big pay raise.
“I’m not an admirer of HSUS,” Amory added. “They’ve
always been primarily a direct-mail operation, and what’s known in ani-
mal rights circles as a credit-grabber. I think Wayne will find that his
association with Irwin, Wills, and Grandy is not as productive as he
imagines it will be.”
Good riddance
As to the Fund, Amory said, “All programs will continue, but
you’ll see the whole Fund involved now. It won’t be just quotes in the
media coming from one person. I think our focus will be broader, but
the emphasis on hunting will continue. I don’t degrade the efforts
Wayne made,” Amory explained, “but I think sometimes things like this
happen for the best.”
Pacelle’s tactical judgement was often under question. One
issue was his obsession with challenging hunter harassment laws.
Pacelle, then a Yale undergraduate, rose to prominence in 1986 through
a successful constitutional challenge to an arrest for hunter harassment
during a protest of a deer hunt in the Yale-New Haven forest. Only four
states then had hunter harassment laws. Four years after Pacelle made
hunter harassment a primary issue at the Fund, 48 states had hunter
harassment laws. Three were overturned by lower courts, but all three
were reinstated either by higher courts or through legislative amend-
ments. Meanwhile an NRA recruiting drive mounted in response to
Pacelle’s campaign signed up 300,000 new members.
Other issues within the Fund included Pacelle’s centralization
of authority, and his open desire to drop the semi-autonomous state rep-
resentatives and sanctuary network that have been the strength of the
Fund for twenty years––including the Black Beauty Ranch. Located
near Tyler, Texas, the Black Beauty Ranch is the Fund’s signature pro-
ject, home of numerous animals rescued through Fund intervention in
abusive and exploitive situations.
“The sanctuaries and state representatives will be flourishing
long after we’re gone,” Amory promised from the Black Beauty Ranch.
“Black Beauty now has more animals and is in better shape than ever.
Chris and Mary Byrne,” who took over management of the sanctuary in
1990, “have done a terrific job,” Amory said, citing the recent social-
ization of Tara, a 40-year-old Asian elephant who spent 29 years in soli-
tary confinement at the now closed Prospect Park Zoo in Pawtucket,
Rhode Island. At Black Beauty she shares facilites with Conga, a 20-
year-old African elephant whom the Fund already had.
“They’re amazing together,” Amory concluded, clearly happi-
er talking about animals than about people. They’re close to the same
size, and they’ve become the best of friends.”
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