Paul Shapiro Lets His Slip Show

We constantly hear bluster from the Humane Society of the United States about how it’s supposedly not trying to wipe animal agriculture off the map. They’re only trying to combat “the worst abuses” in “factory farming,” they tell us. They’re not anti-meat. Just anti-cruelty.

Yeah. And the Cleveland Browns are going to win the Super Bowl next year.

Here’s HSUS’s Paul Shapiro. Next to Wayne Pacelle, Paul is the top HSUS guy agitating against meat and dairy producers. He’s usually calm, mild-mannered, and reasonable-sounding—which is just how HSUS likes ’em. No PETA nuts here, nosirree.

In the latest issue of Nation’s Restaurant News (read it for the recipes), Shapiro does a Q&A interview. And he comes off sounding more like a corporate PR strategist than the vegan evangelist he is:

We explain the benefits of cage-free [egg production] in terms of animal welfare and food safety … Companies that are improving the welfare of animals in their supply chain deserve to be applauded for it.

Contrast that with the following piece of video. It’s from a 2003 speech Shapiro gave at an event hosted by United Poultry Concerns. (Yes, there is such an organization.)


There you have it: “Eating meat causes animal cruelty.” That’s an animal rights message that’s very different from the focus-group-tested animal welfare lines we hear from HSUS all the time. It’s really just a repackaged version of PETA’s “meat is murder.” There’s no wiggle room.

This was about a year before HSUS hired him away from the animal rights group Compassion Over Killing. So you could view it as a case of Shapiro being stridently anti-meat in his youth, and embracing a more moderate view today.

But considering that Shapiro is still a vegan, the more intelligent way to look at this is to recognize that leopards don’t change their spots, but sometimes they learn to hunt differently. We think Paul Shapiro still agrees with his 2003 statements. But his employer recognizes that saying so openly is a recipe for cultural irrelevancy.

What do you think?