I really hit a nerve in a recent column. I pointed out that HSUS Food Policy Director Matt Prescott devised a PETA campaign a few years back comparing American farms to Nazi concentration camps. Given that Prescott is often personally contacting retailers and restaurants and asking them to make anti-pork farmer comments, it’s important that these companies understand just who they’re dealing with. In this case, it’s a guy who has stated radical and ridiculous beliefs about farming.
HSUS must hate being compared to PETA, because Prescott seemed to trip all over himself to tell Pork Network that his “views have since evolved” (before attacking me for most of the rest of his rambling reply). But what may have changed could simply be this: Prescott still believes farms are concentration camps, though his new view is that he won’t be open about it while at HSUS, as he was at PETA.
Let’s cut through the nonsense: This wasn’t just a one-off. This extreme vegan rhetoric is something that Prescott has spouted over time. For example, he said in 2007 that “there’s never an excuse to kill and eat an animal.” That’s pretty clear. (The Holocaust Museum also stated that Prescott was “not honest” in obtaining permission to use its pictures in PETA’s Holocaust on Your Plate campaign, so it’s more than fair to be skeptical of his assertion that he’s had a change of heart.)
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen the convenient “my views have changed” defense at HSUS. John “J.P.” Goodwin is now a director of animal cruelty policy at HSUS, where he was hired in 1997. In the 90s Goodwin was also a spokesperson for the Animal Liberation Front, which has been designated by the FBI as a domestic terror threat. Goodwin referred to a fire that caused almost $1 million in damage by telling the Deseret News, “We’re ecstatic.” Goodwin has also said, “My goal is the abolition of animal agriculture.”
But again, we have a supposed change of heart, with HSUS CEO Wayne Pacelle saying Goodwin has reformed. (Pacelle also said that convicted dogfighting kingpin Michael Vick “would do a good job as a pet owner”—after HSUS had received $50,000 from Vick’s employer—so you can decide for yourself how credible Pacelle is.)
There’s even more. A number of HSUS staffers were contributors to the now-defunct magazine No Compromise, which was a sort of terrorist-cheerleading publication that disseminated information on building incendiary devices. A number of current HSUS employees were listed at various points as “contributors” to No Compromise, including Michael Markarian, Chief Program & Policy Officer at HSUS; Heidi Prescott, a senior VP; and Paul Shapiro, HSUS’s farm-animal VP.