Opposition’s Agenda

(Available as a .pdf for download)

HSUS, a DC-based corporation with $322 million in assets, is leading the opposition to Question 3, the Right to Food for Maine referendum. In 2020, HSUS received $214.4 million in revenue, with $39.6 million earmarked for investigations and lobbying. [1]

HSUS was formed in 1954 as an animal welfare organization. Despite being called the Humane Society of the United States, HSUS does not run or oversee local animal shelters or rescues. [2]

When HSUS brought Wayne Pacelle on as CEO in 2004, it resulted in a shift in organizational priorities, with the group increasingly focusing on opposing hunting and working to stop the use of animals in agriculture. In 2005, the Fund for Animals, an anti-hunting organization led by Wayne Pacelle, merged with HSUS. [3, 4]

Pacelle stated in Full Cry magazine, “We are going to use the ballot box and the democratic process to stop all hunting in the United States. We will take it species by species until all hunting is stopped in California. Then we will take it state by state.” [5]

Leadership for HSUS increasingly reflects ties to big money and political interests unrelated to protecting animal welfare.

HSUS Board members include Carolyn Everson, Vice President of the Global Business Group at Facebook and former Vice President of Microsoft’s Global Sales teams, and Georgina Bloomberg, daughter of former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg. [6]

One name comes up more than any other in HSUS leadership, and that’s McKinsey & Company.

McKinsey has been advising governments, military and corporations on policy and spending priorities for over 90 years. McKinsey led the way in helping corporations convert to wartime production for World War II. In 1973, McKinsey led a project for a consortium of grocery chains and food packagers to implement the barcode for use in food sales. [7]

McKinsey touts the fact that its clients include 90 of the world’s 100 biggest companies. The group also manages a $12 billion hedge fund that has been used to assist its clients in increasing profits. [8]

HSUS Board Member Adi Kumar is an active Partner at McKinsey. [6]

Erin Frackleton, Chief Operating Officer for HSUS, is a former partner McKinsey & Company. [9]

Sharon Lee Patrick, HSUS Board Member, is a former Principal for McKinsey & Company. [6]

The McKinsey Center for Agricultural Transformation partners with governments, donors, and companies “to improve evidence-based planning and set priorities for accelerating agricultural transformation.” [10]

McKinsey works with EU biotech companies to expand markets for their products. [11]

McKinsey was brought in as a consultant to promote the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). AGRA was started by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. [12] The Gates foundation had previously hired McKinsey to assist in implementing vaccine drug trials in Africa. [13]

AGRA is pushing changes to seed laws that protect patented seeds and penalize seed trading. [13] McKinsey has been developing policy plans for AGRA and organizing lobbying meetings between agricultural investors and government representatives in African countries. [14] McKinsey is promoting policies in Africa to encourage landspreading of sludge and industrial wastes by farmers, consolidation of farm land control, and increase use of AI in farming. [15, 16]

HSUS Board member Brad Jakeman is Co-Founder and Managing Partner Rethink Food LLC. [6]

Rethink Food LLC a is a venture fund investing in agriculture technology, processing and consumer packaged goods. Rethink Food partners include McKinsey, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, and Impossible Foods. [17] Over the past five years, McKinsey has been actively promoting the value of synthetic meat products Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods. [18]

In 2016 HSUS, along with Tyson Foods and Bill Gates, invested venture capital in Beyond Meat. [19]

Since that time, HSUS and spin-off group Animal Wellness Action have been actively promoting Beyond Meat as a solution to animal welfare concerns. [20, 21, 22]

AWA is a DC-based lobbying corporation started in 2018 by long-time HSUS CEO Wayne Pacelle, after he resigned from HSUS following a series of sexual assault allegations from workers. AWA employs former HSUS lobbyist Marty Irby as its Executive Director. AWA start-up funding included major donations from the Vice President of HSUS. [23, 24]

In September of 2021, Animal Wellness Action announced formation of a new group, “Right to Food Leaves a Bad Taste In Our Mouth Coalition.” The press release from AWA showed its DC-roots, listing the campaign against Question 3 as being in Portland, Oregon instead of Portland, Maine. [Link: https://animalwellnessaction.org/2021/09/27/broad-coalition-of-maine-based-organizations-urges-voters-to-reject-question-3/]

AWA created the National Veterinary Council to put vets in the forefront of its organizing and provide public credibility for its policy goals. [26, 27] The President of the Maine Veterinary Medical Association is a long-time member of the Maine Animal Welfare Advisory Council [28]. The Council has included the Maine State Director for HSUS Katie Lisnik, and is headed up by Normal Worley, who served on a HSUS congressional panel and has partnered with HSUS to assist in kennel seizures. [29, 30] In 2019 Bonnie Martinolich, Partner at Preti Flaherty and District Leader volunteer for the Humane Society of the United States, was added to the Maine Animal Welfare Advisory Council. [31]

The AWA Coalition is headed up by Gina Garey, Maine state director of Animal Wellness Action, andformer Vice President of Wealth Management for Morgan Stanley. [32] The opposition group is registered as a PAC with the Maine Ethics Commission as “No on 3: Right to Food is Wrong for Maine Committee.” AWA is listed as the only donor to that PAC.

Listing of links:
[1] https://www.humanesociety.org/sites/default/files/docs/HSUS-HSI_AR2020_LR_1.pdf
[2] https://www.humanesociety.org/resources/general-faq
[3] https://timelines.issarice.com/wiki/Timeline_of_the_Humane_Society_of_the_United_States#cite_

[4] https://humanewatch.org/10-things-you-should-know-about-hsus
[5] https://www.themainewire.com/2014/05/trahan-rise-animal-rights-movement/
[6] https://www.humanesociety.org/resources/board-directors.pdf
[7] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McKinsey_%26_Company
[8] https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/19/business/mckinsey-hedge-fund.html
[9] https://www.humanesociety.org/leadership/erin-frackleton
[10] https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/agriculture/how-we-help-clients/mckinsey-center-for-agricultural-transformation
[11] https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/life-sciences/our-insights/biotech-in-europe-a-strong-foundation-for-growth-and-innovation
[12] https://childrenshealthdefense.org/defender/gates-foundation-stop-funding-failed-green-ag-revolution
[13] https://www.australiannationalreview.com/state-of-affairs/why-the-bill-gates-global-health-empire-promises-more-empire-and-less-public-health/
[14] https://newsrnd.com/business/2021-06-09-agrarian-alliance-agra–empty-promises-for-africa-s-farmers.rJWhAgAqd.html
[15] https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/agriculture/our-insights/needle-in-a-haystack-patents-that-inspire-agricultural-innovation.pdf
[16] https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/agriculture/our-insights/agricultures-connected-future-how-technology-can-yield-new-growth
[17] https://www.rethinkfood.org/corp
[18] https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/agriculture/our-insights/alternative-proteins-the-race-for-market-share-is-on
[19] https://blog.humanesociety.org/2016/10/tyson-invests-beyond-meat.html
[20] https://animalwellnessaction.org/2020/08/13/animal-wellness-applauds-san-francisco-for-promoting-animals-people-planet-wellness-with-landmark-food-procurement-policy/
[21] https://animalwellnessaction.org/2019/08/01/where-do-the-presidential-candidates-stand-on-animal-protection/
[22] https://animalwellnessaction.org/2020/05/30/where-trump-and-biden-stand-on-animal-issues/
[23] https://animalwellnessaction.org/our-team
[24] https://nonprofitchronicles.com/2018/07/19/the-return-of-wayne-pacelle
[25] https://animalwellnessaction.org/2021/09/27/broad-coalition-of-maine-based-organizations-urges-voters-to-reject-question-3/
[26] https://animalwellnessaction.org/national-veterinary-council/
[27] https://protecttheharvest.com/news/wayne-pacelles-new-venture-aims-at-influencing-veterinary-medicine
[28] https://www.mainevetmed.org/leadership.pdf
[29] https://freerepublic.com/focus/news/2227671/posts
[30] https://mannerlymutts.blogspot.com/2009/03/kill-bill-sample-letter-hp0728ld1053-or.html
[31] https://www.preti.com/news/preti-flaherty-attorney-appointed-by-governor-to-animal-welfare-advisory-council/
[32] https://www.linkedin.com/in/gina-garey-087811a