162 #TimesUpAR: Covering the Recent Public Allegations of Abuse and Harassment in the Animal Rights Movement with The Bearded Vegans

This week we pair up with The Bearded Vegans to cover the dumpster fire that is the mainstream Animal Rights movement, as revealed by the recent #TimesUpAR campaign.

In This Episode

In a collaboration with our dear friends Andy and Paul from The Bearded Vegans podcast, we take a deep dive through a timeline of the recent public allegations that have come out against male leaders in the animal rights movement. We then follow it up with a conversation about public apologies by other men in the movement, avoiding ally theater, and how we can all help create a better movement going forward.

UPDATED TO ADD: It has come to our attention that Collectively Free was not credited for the #ARTooWhite actions at the Animal Rights Conference in 2016. We apologize for this oversight, we are huge fans of both that action and that organization!

Public allegations timeline

Jan 14th

Jan 18th

Jan 25th

Jan 26th

Jan 29th

Jan 30th

Jan 31st

Feb 1st

Feb 2nd

Feb 6th

Feb 7th

Feb 8th

    • Christina Wilson comes forward about Nick Cooney, on Facebook – this time the allegations also include sexual harassment
    • Alex Hershaft posts in support of Wayne Pacelle
    • Nathan Runkle (former head of MFA, now just on the board) makes a statement on Jaya’s post

Feb 9th

  • At Mercy For Animals, No Mercy For Women, article on Nonprofit Chronicles

Additional Information

Links and Information



  • Even with Pacelle (officially) gone, his enablers remain in firm control and a culture of secrecy and corruption still looms at the top of HSUS. Also, keep in mind that when Pacelle supposedly “left” the Fund for Animals, he still remained in control via his handpicked executive staff and board members. That dynamic still exists at HSUS with Mike Markarian, Holly Hazard, Heidi Prescott,
    Josh Balk and all the board members who voted to shut down the sexual harassment investigation and to keep Pacelle in place.

    Wayne Pacelle’s misconduct at HSUS goes far beyond sexual harassment allegations. He has, as a matter of routine, lied about his accomplishments and used charitable resources to publicize false claims that elevated his stature and fostered the kind of hero worship that has been so pervasive. This put the women he interacted with at a tremendous disadvantage when considering whether or not to report inappropriate behavior. His fabricated victories enabled his predatory ways by attracting followers and by insulating him from accountability and exposure.

    Pacelle generated tremendous publicity for himself when he announced a legislative deal with United Egg Producers, which he claimed would “outlaw battery cages nationwide.” In reality, that deal would have kept laying hens confined inside egg factory cages in perpetuity.

    Facing litigation that included charges of bribery, money laundering, and obstruction of justice (a check signed by Pacelle was apparently used to pay a witness who had repeatedly lied under oath), HSUS settled a massive RICO lawsuit by paying the owners of Ringling Brothers Circus millions of dollars of charitable donations that should have been used to protect animals. That’s in addition to all the money in legal fees that were paid out. This use of charitable dollars – to cover the improper conduct of Pacelle and other executive staff – was not unlike the misuse of funds used to essentially buy the silence of women allegedly sexually harassed at HSUS.

    Details here: https://www.hfa.org/pdf/Corruption-RICO_Lawsuit-HSUS.pdf

    In the biggest blunder in animal rights history, Pacelle squandered over $10 million dollars on Proposition 2, the botched 2008 initiative that resulted in millions of laying hens being subjected to more than nine years (and counting) of preventable cage confinement. Nevertheless, Pacelle’s false assertion that he had “outlawed” battery cages in California has been his biggest claim to fame. Pacelle and the egg industry have now introduced yet another ballot initiative in California. This new initiative would declare battery cages legal in California for additional years and would forever allow the egg industry to provide hens with as little as one square foot of floor space per bird.

    Details here: https://www.hfa.org/legalizing-california-battery-cages.html

    None of the above would have been possible without the complicity of the HSUS executive staff and members of the board of directors. Just as Pacelle provided cover for Paul Shapiro, HSUS’s senior staff and board members have covered for Pacelle’s behavior. There needs to be a clean sweep.

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