16 July 2012

Interview: Wayne Pacelle on Taking Action for Animals

The Humane Society of the United States’ Taking Action for Animals Conference is less than two weeks away – July 27 through July 30.

Wayne Pacelle, President and CEO of HSUS, took time from his busy schedule to answer a few of our questions regarding the 4-day TAFA event.

TDIV: Tell us about Taking Action for Animals (TAFA).
Wayne Pacelle: TAFA, in its 8th year, is the leading and largest national conference in the animal advocacy movement. It brings together the movement’s premier and most innovative speakers in the field today to help activists take action on behalf of animals. Workshops are held throughout the conference concluding with lobby day on Monday where attendees will meet with their federal lawmakers and/or their staff to urge them to act on the major animal protection policy issues before them.

TDIV: Why should people consider attending the conference?
Pacelle: Whether you are a seasoned advocate or just venturing into the world of animal protection, TAFA is the conference for you. It is sure to inspire attendees and arm them with the necessary tools to help animals. This year we also have a brand new track for seasoned activists – the Advanced Level – which will surely help develop one’s professional advocacy skills even further.

In addition, attendees will have the opportunity to connect with other advocates from all over the country who share the vision of a better world for animals. There will be over 60 exhibitors to visit with and discuss specific animal issues, purchase t-shirts and other fun products, as well as gather educational material to take back home. There will also be the opportunity to meet leading authors in the field such as Kathy Freston, Doron Petersan, and others. I will be signing my book, The Bond – Our Kinship with Animals, Our Call to Defend Them” which was recently released in paperback.

TDIV: Who will be speaking at the event?
Pacelle: Speakers throughout the conference will share with attendees their successes and strategies that have worked on a wide range of topics including advancing farm animal protection, the exotic animal trade, how to advance local and state legislation, as well as putting an end to dog chaining. Speakers include: Representative Sam Farr from California, HLN’s own Jane Velez-Mitchell, bestselling author Kathy Freston, singer/songwriter Nellie McKay, Gene Baur with Farm Sanctuary, Mike Baker with WSPA, fashion designers John Bartlett and Joshua Katcher and celebrity, director of the Detroit Zoological Society Ron Kagan, and so many more. Please visit http://takingactionforanimals2012.sched.org/ for a list of speakers and workshops that will be held throughout the conference.

TDIV: What is the importance of educational conferences such as TAFA?
Pacelle: We know that animals are facing so many challenges in the world today and conferences like TAFA empower individuals to take action on behalf of animals by providing them with the necessary tools to make real change, and introduce individuals to other like-minded people and experts.

TDIV: What kind of food options will be available to conference participants?
Pacelle: TAFA offers its attendees gourmet vegan meals prepared by the hotel under the direction of a consultant experienced with vegan meals. Lunches, snacks, and a banquet dinner will be provided as part of the full conference registration.

TDIV: For those who can't attend TAFA, what can they do to help animals?
Pacelle: TAFA offers outstanding workshops, opportunities to network with leaders and advocates from all across the country, and take home tool and strategies to be an effective advocate in one’s own community. If one cannot attend, each one of us can still make a real difference in the lives of animals in a variety of ways. I have put together a list of 50 things you can do for animals and you can find it at the following link – http://hsus.typepad.com/wayne/2009/10/50-ways-to-help.html. I also hope people will subscribe to my daily blog to get updates on the urgent issues of the day.

We'll succeed as a movement when we have millions of supporters who take these and other positive actions for animals. When we act in a collective way, we are a powerful force in our communities, in the political arena, and in the marketplace.

Photo credit:cc:flickr.com/photos/tedxmanhattan