Humane Action Pittsburgh Defends Collaboration with State Senator Guy Reschenthaler

Last week, I blogged about the plans by Animal Friends and Humane Action Pittsburgh to host State Senator Guy Reschenthaler – R for a conversation about animal rights at a meeting scheduled for Tuesday, February 13 at the Animal Friends campus on Camp Horne Road. 

Here is the response of Humane Action Pittsburgh as posted on my Facebook post. 

Thanks for your comments Sue and for speaking up for those under represented. Environmental, transgender and poverty issues are clearly out spent by well-funded lobbyists, giving them a louder voice. I’ll be happy to provide some understanding about our group and our mission to end puppy mill misery. First, we measure the success of our campaigns on how well we can end the suffering of animals. Making protective legislation is the most impactful way to achieve that. Second, we build bridges and allies instead of protesting because we find relationships are essential to the animal protection movement… and AP is one area that democrats and republicans come together on. Third: We aim for progress, not perfection. I liken politics to veganism. Animal rights advocates range from strict vegans to full on meat eaters. We won’t turn away support from someone starting their advocacy journey who still eats fish and chicken. Hopefully, as they learn about the suffering of their food they will choose compassion over cruelty. Shaming them doesn’t help. Lawmakers are similar in that they are more likely to be persuaded with a polite and rational discussion over an all or nothing ultimatum. Our group is happy to have produced language in our Pittsburgh puppy mill ordinances that was used in a similar Los Angeles law, then in California law and is now coming back for consideration for PA law! We have and need bi-partisan support to pass puppy mill animal protection. We believe that all puppies, kittens and bunnies who suffer life in filthy wire cages, their mothers repeatedly impregnated until they can no longer reproduce and all those animals facing euthanasia because of over population deserve our willingness to overcome what divides us and work together for their legal protection. Senator Reschenthaler has become a champion for mill-bred animals and we welcome his support! With PA tied for second place on the HSUS ‘Horrible Hundred’ list with the highest number of the WORST puppy mill facilities in the U.S., we welcome all PA lawmakers to co-sponsor his bill.


Sue here, again. So they are basically saying that animal rights concerns are so much more important than anything else that they will (politely and rationally) team up with someone one of their own members acknowledges is a ‘mini-Trump’ to craft legislation? That’s oppression olympics my friends and certainly shows a fundamental lack of understanding of how intersectionality works.

Also, what they are describing regarding veganism is how a cult works, not a coalition. You don’t welcome in the meat eaters and smother them with guilt to convert the weak-minded ones who might see your ‘truth’. You work with meat eaters (like me) and respect that people make different choices for themselves, as well as the reality that we all make imperfect, flawed choices that do harm.

No one said navigating politics is easy, but I do think we should expect Animal Friends, including their leadership staff, to draw an ‘ultimatum’ around fracking for one. But again, it is not the oppression olympics. I believe in protecting animals and animal welfare. I also believe that protest is a very effective tactic. I don’t believe in kicking other people on your scramble to the endzone.

Animal protectors are not an undepresented group. People who are harmed the most by animal victimization are underrepresented (like poor folks.) Having a dialogue with someone with whom you disagree is sometimes necessary, but that’s a distinctly different thing than giving him a platform and credibility. Your failure to even acknowledge in any way what State Senator Guy represents is indicative of how far you will throw the rest of us away for your agenda.

And that’s about inhumane as you can get.

For the record, I took screenshots of the edits made to the event description after my first post. Nice try to amp up the guilt and sidestep the issue. Deleting comments, etc. Those are all oppression tactics, not an invitation to ally around common cause.

Have your meeting, do your polite networking, etc. But don’t think people actually believe you mean no harm.