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AZA: Disinvite Wayne Pacelle and the H$U$ From Your Annual Conference

This petition had 1,235 supporters

The Association of Zoos & Aquariums has invited Humane Society of the United States CEO Wayne Pacelle to be a keynote speaker at their annual conference in September 2017.  HSUS representative Jonathan Balcombe will also be giving a presentation.  Despite their public veneer, the HSUS is an animal rights lobbying group that shares PETA's radical views, and works towards the closing of all zoos and aquariums, the banning of meat and other animal related products, and the abolishing of pet ownership.  Pacelle and the HSUS are enemies of the zoological community.  Despite claims that "AZA-accredited facilities are well respected by HSUS," they continue to attack and harass respectable zoos and aquariums worldwide, claiming "even some AZA-accredited zoos contain forgotten and outdated exhibits."

Pacelle admits, "I don't have a hands-on fondness for animals. I did not grow up bonded to any particular nonhuman animal."  Pacelle claims, "If I had my personal view, perhaps that might take hold. In fact, I don't want to see another dog or cat born," and further states, "One generation and out. We have no problems with the extinction of domestic animals."  Jonathan Balcombe, meanwhile, posted a blog in which he compares eating meat to being a member of the Klu Klux Klan, concluding about a neighbor's plans to have Christmas dinner with meat, "For me, that was just as jarring, if less surprising, than if she really had admitted to terrorizing black Americans."

In addition to extremist views, the Humane Society of the United States is involved in unethical practices.  The HSUS has sent more than $100 million in donor funds to the Cayman Islands and other offshore accounts, and paid a multi-million dollar settlement to Feld Entertainment to avoid federal racketeering charges when it was revealed that the HSUS and other animal rights groups had paid a plaintiff who gave false testimony regarding the treatment of elephants by Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus as part of a lawsuit brought by the animal rights groups that the presiding judge called "frivolous," "vexatious," and "groundless and unreasonable from its inception."  All of this has resulted in the Humane Society of the United States having their charity rating downgraded and a donor advisory issued against them.  Recently, formal complaints have been filed with the IRS concerning the HSUS's questionable relationship with Whole Foods and attacks on competing grocery stores.

Inviting Pacelle and Balcombe to speak at AZA's annual conference is a slap in the face of zoological professionals and their supporters, and it casts serious doubts on the AZA's ability to effectively represent zoos and aquariums.  The AZA appears to endorse the radical and unethical statements and actions listed above by associating with HSUS leaders and representatives.  If the AZA is to remain relevant and respected, it must rescind the invitations to Wayne Pacelle and Jonathan Balcombe, completely disassociate itself from the Humane Society of the United States, and expand its mission to not only represent zoos and aquariums around the world, but to defend them from the unwarranted attacks from critics who place personal agendas above animal welfare and conservation, and to point out the anti-animal truth behind animal rights groups like the HSUS.

Please note that since verified email addresses for the AZA and its leadership have been difficult to find, I ask that you, in addition to signing this petition,  go to to share your views with the AZA directly.  The petition letter may to be too long for their contact form, so you may have to omit sections of it.  If you are an AZA member or otherwise have contact with AZA leadership, I ask that you please use those alternative contact methods as well.  Expressing your opposition to Pacelle and the HSUS through the AZA's social media page is also recommended, but please be aware that the AZA is aggressively deleting anti-HSUS posts and comments, and even blocking zoo supporters from their social media pages for expressing their legitimate concerns.  

The time for looking the other way and hoping that the animal rights cult won't target you or your animals has passed.  If the corrupt Humane Society of the United States can infiltrate and influence a pro-animal organization as respected as the AZA, then we must recognize they and their fellow animal rights groups will never stop until they have completely severed the human-animal bond and ended all human-animal interaction.  If an AZA-HSUS partnership is allowed to flourish, it could ultimately bring an end to zoos and aquariums and the wonderful conservation work they do and the appreciation for wildlife they inspire in millions of people each year.  Don't let the accomplishments of our ever-evolving zoos be swept away simply because a small but vocal and well funded group of fanatics don't believe that animals should be in the care of human beings.

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