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Pacelle out at HSUS after harassment complaints

Progressive Cattleman Editor David Cooper Published on 02 February 2018

A series of sexual harassment allegations led to the resignation Friday of Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, one of the biggest critics of the livestock and dairy industries in the U.S.

Pacelle’s resignation came one day after a HSUS board decision to retain him in spite of three complaints alleging multiple instances of sexual harassment, according to The Washington Post. The 17-9 vote with two members abstaining led to a backlash from some major donors to HSUS, and seven board members quit after the vote as a matter of protest.

Rick Bernthal, chairman of the HSUS board, had initially said the allegations lacked “credible evidence” after Thursday’s meeting.

Pacelle denied the allegations in statements to the Post earlier in the week. Reports from Thursday’s board meeting indicated members were more concerned with losing Pacelle’s fundraising skills with donors than punishing his behavior.

That support changed after several prominent supporters said they would cut off ties to HSUS and would organize a walkout of the Washington D.C. office in the coming week.

Under Pacelle’s guidance since 2004, HSUS became a significant player in animal rights legislation with major initiatives passed in states such as California and Massachusetts that pushed animal welfare controls onto ag operations.

Livestock groups have long targeted the group’s growing fundraising power as a threat to the longevity of operations in the U.S.

Additional allegations had been brought against another senior official. Paul Shapiro, the former HSUS vice president of farm animal protection, left the organization in January after leaving a trail of complaints from female co-workers that went back years, according to reporting in Politico.  end mark

Read the rest of The Washington Post story here and more reporting from Politico here.

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