The pictures, videos and stories of abuse kept emotions high at the fourth annual Taking Action for Animals Conference, organized by the Humane Society of the United States. California Proposition 2, which would impact veal, pork and egg producers in California lead the list of legislative and legal maneuvers intended to attack animal agriculture. Other priority items include several bills proposed to be sent up to Capitol Hill as well.
Attendance at the conference, held July 19-21, increased to about 800. Event sponsors included the Animal Legal Defense Fund, Born Free USA, Humane Society Legislative Fund, United Poultry Concerns and the World Society for the Protection of Animals.
Wayne Pacelle, HSUS president told attendees: "We have arrived! We are in the mainstream!" However, later in that same speech he said, "We have to refine our message to be mainstream." He has doubts that his organization's vegetarian and vegan messages, and agenda, will not be accepted by the majority of Americans.
Though the meeting offered animal rights focused workshops, there were equally as many presented that addressed how to effectively lobby, present campaigns to the public and tactics for litigating issues.
This meeting continues to reflect a major change in the animal-rights movement. The audience increasingly reflects a professional demeanor, and were dressed in business casual attire. It is clear that HSUS has found, and continues to cultivate, a segment of activists that are educated, organized professionals (predominantly women) capable of making calculated moves to further the organization's influence.